Illinois Introduces Strongest Fracking Disclosure Bill in the Country

Illinois Introduces Strongest Fracking Disclosure Bill in the Country

3/11/2013

Illinois would have the strongest protective oversight rules on fracking in the country under legislation introduced on Feb. 21 in the General Assembly. The bill includes nearly all the key elements for an effective chemical disclosure policy identified in a previous Center for Effective Government report. The bill represents stronger model legislation for states that want to protect the public from the health and environmental risks of fracking. Continue reading “Illinois Introduces Strongest Fracking Disclosure Bill in the Country”

The Hagy Story: Loopholes Shield Fracking Industry While Families Pay the Price

Laurel Peltier

In 1989, Dusty and Tamera Hagy bought 81 rural acres in Jackson County, West Virginia. Twenty-one years later, the Hagys sued four natural gas drilling firms alleging the natural gas wells drilled on their property in 2008 contaminated their drinking water and caused physical harm.

The Hagys’ water contamination lawsuit demonstrates how the natural gas industry has built a near-perfect “federal legal exemption’s framework” that when combined with lax or absent state regulations and the legal system’s high costs, inherently approves of citizen collateral damage with no restitution.

The consequence of this framework is that the burden of proof is placed on plaintiffs who, at best, are forced to settle with natural gas companies, thereby sealing the case from public scrutiny, scientific examination and legal precedence. Because the Hagys didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement with the natural gas companies involved, their legal case gives the public a rare window into how fracking lawsuits play out in reality. Continue reading “The Hagy Story: Loopholes Shield Fracking Industry While Families Pay the Price”

Fort Collins Bans Fracking as Democracy Comes Alive in Colorado

Gary Wockner

“If you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get.” —Van Jones

Almost exactly nine months ago on May 22, 2012, I wrote an editorial in the Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper, Fort Colllins Should Ban Fracking. And yesterday, on Feb. 19, a sharply divided Fort Collins City Council voted 5-2 to ban fracking in the City of Fort Collins.

Nine months ago the conversation around fracking was relatively new in Colorado and few people and environmental groups were directly addressing it. Now, nine months later, very much has changed—fracking is in the news constantly, many environmental groups are engaged in the fight to stop fracking and the issue is escalating wildly throughout the public across the state.

What has changed in a mere nine months?

Continue reading “Fort Collins Bans Fracking as Democracy Comes Alive in Colorado”

Toxic Fracking Wastewater Dumped into Sewer, Why No Arrest?

Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan

Ohio State Rep. Bob Hagan participates in a rally outside of Wells Academy/Steubenville High School Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, in Steubenville, Ohio. Hagan, a Youngstown Democrat has been vocal on earthquakes being studied for ties to deep injection disposal of fracking wastewater. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Do we have two different systems of justice—one for the wealthy businessperson and another for the common folk?

Well it sure seems so, as the Ohio governor and business interests joined hands in the latest incident where at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking wastewater was dumped into a storm drain that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio. The governor got his enforcers to overlook the violations as the poisonous brine seeped into our valley and flowed to other communities downstream. Continue reading “Toxic Fracking Wastewater Dumped into Sewer, Why No Arrest?”

Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater Reaffirms Natural Gas Industry Free-for-All in Ohio

Employees of Tom’s Septic and Sewer in McDonald, who declined to give their names, clean brine Tuesday morning from a storm sewer along Salt Springs Road in Youngstown. In the background is the D&L Energy office building. The spill occurred last week on the property. Photo by Brenda J. Linert

A week after the dumping of at least 20,000 gallons of toxic and potentially radioactive fracking waste into a storm drain that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River in Youngstown, Ohio, by Hard Rock Excavating, state regulators have yet to disclose information about the quantity of waste and the chemicals involved. Environmental advocates are urging the state to act quickly to prosecute the perpetrator and look beyond the one incident to take more aggressive steps to protect the state’s public health and environment from future threats.

“The degree of chutzpah exhibited by Hard Rock in this instance is astounding—but it’s almost what you would expect in a state where we have one enforcement staffer for every 2,000 oil and gas wells,” said Julian Boggs, Environment Ohio state policy advocate, noting that it was a company whistleblower, not state regulators, who uncovered the flagrant violation. Continue reading “Dumping of Toxic Fracking Wastewater Reaffirms Natural Gas Industry Free-for-All in Ohio”

Michigan’s 21 Million Gallon Frack Job: A National Record?

02-05-2013
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Ban Michigan Fracking

The destruction of the world’s fresh water due to fracking is at the uppermost of our minds, as we live and drink the water in the Great Lakes state. How much water is being used for Michigan’s frack industry is now proven to be obscenely underestimated. Michigan may have set a national record for allowing Encana Oil & Gas USA to frack a natural gas well with more than 21 million gallons of water.

A second nearby well is set to be fracked with more than 16 million gallons, according to a permit granted Encana late last year by Michigan regulators.

These big numbers are a big surprise. Most industry and government claims of water usage go by Marcellus shale figures, but here in Michigan, the frackers are using more water than perhaps anywhere else in the nation. Continue reading “Michigan’s 21 Million Gallon Frack Job: A National Record?”

Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information

Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information

Asking court to force Wyoming to reveal information about toxins pumped into ground
January 22, 2013
Casper, WY  —

In an effort to help protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and Center for Effective Government (formerly OMB Watch) went to court today to ask a judge to require the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) to disclose information about chemicals used during the controversial oil and gas development process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Pavillion, WY. (Ecoflight)
Pavillion, Wyoming. “Produced” water is brought back to the surface after fracking takes place. The water and fracking fluid is placed into evaporation ponds. (Ecoflight)

Under regulations approved in 2010, Wyoming became the first state in the nation to require well operators to disclose the identities of chemicals that are mixed with water and injected into the ground during fracking. But since the regulations were adopted, the Commission has approved some 50 secrecy requests, shielding identifying information about over 190 different chemicals, by Halliburton and other oil and gas service companies. Continue reading “Groups In Court Today Seeking Fracking Chemical Information”

Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules

Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules

10/23/2012

 As of Oct. 15, oil and gas operators must notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) via e-mail two days in advance of extracting natural gas from a hydraulically fractured or refractured well. This notification requirement is part of EPA’s new Clean Air Act (CAA) standards, which will reduce emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during natural gas production by requiring “green completions” after January 2015. Industry opposes the standards, but a new report shows they are crucial to protecting the public.

The oil and gas industry appears to be ramping up its lobbying efforts to dismantle the new rule, beginning with criticism of the advance notice requirement that went into effect last week. In particular, drillers are upset that they must send the advance notice to EPA, preferring state regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Continue reading “Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules”

EPA’s Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

EPA’s Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest

AP  |  By By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTIPosted: 01/16/2013 3:20 am EST  |  Updated: 01/16/2013 9:08 am EST

Epa Water Contamination InvestigationWEATHERFORD, Texas (AP) — When a man in a Fort Worth suburb reported his family’s drinking water had begun “bubbling” like champagne, the federal government sounded an alarm: An oil company may have tainted their wells while drilling for natural gas.

At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.

Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.

For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers in his well, which he says contains so much methane that the gas in water pouring out of a garden hose can be ignited. Continue reading “EPA’s Water Contamination Investigation Halted In Texas After Range Resources Protest”

Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules | OMB Watch

Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules

Posted on October 23, 2012

As of Oct. 15, oil and gas operators must notify the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) via e-mail two days in advance of extracting natural gas from a hydraulically fractured or refractured well. This notification requirement is part of EPA’s new Clean Air Act (CAA) standards, which will reduce emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during natural gas production by requiring “green completions” after January 2015. Industry opposes the standards, but a new report shows they are crucial to protecting the public.

The oil and gas industry appears to be ramping up its lobbying efforts to dismantle the new rule, beginning with criticism of the advance notice requirement that went into effect last week. In particular, drillers are upset that they must send the advance notice to EPA, preferring state regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Continue reading “Government Accountability Office Report Debunks Industry Criticism of New Federal Fracking Rules | OMB Watch”