Category Archives: pollution

The Sacketts and the Clean Water Act – NYTimes.com

The Sacketts and the Clean Water Act – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

The Sacketts and the Clean Water Act

Chantell and Michael Sackett’s case against the Environmental Protection Agency before the Supreme Court on Monday might appear to be David versus Goliath. But those supporting the Sacketts with friend-of-the-court briefs are corporate Goliaths like General Electric and real estate developers eager to weaken the E.P.A.’s ability to protect wetlands and waterways under the federal Clean Water Act.

The Sacketts owned a small lot about 500 feet from Idaho’s pristine Priest Lake. They filled part of it with dirt and rock in preparing to build a house. The E.P.A. determined that the lot is federally protected wetland so the Sacketts needed a permit to do the work, which they did not seek. The agency ordered the couple to remove the fill because pollutants were being discharged.

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This case goes far beyond the Sacketts’ right to fill in their lot without a permit. If the Supreme Court allows them to seek pre-enforcement review, it will be handing a big victory to corporations and developers who want to evade the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Eagle Ford construction is booming – San Antonio Express-News

Eagle Ford construction is booming – San Antonio Express-News.

Eagle Ford construction is booming

Updated 08:44 p.m., Thursday, December 29, 2011

The housing business remains emphatically average across the major cities in Texas, as home builders continue to pull themselves up from the recession.

But in many small South Texas communities, where oil and gas drilling is booming, housing — of any sort, be it RVs or single-family homes — can’t be added quickly enough.

Then there’s the commercial space — or, more accurately, the lack of space for lease or purchase.

Now more developers and builders from San Antonio and beyond are moving into the sparsely populated Eagle Ford Shale counties to build everything from housing to pipe yards to warehouses.

[…]

Read the full story here: San Antonio Express-News

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In Louisiana, Twist in Fight Over Texaco Drilling Lease – NYTimes.com

In Louisiana, Twist in Fight Over Texaco Drilling Lease – NYTimes.com.

Bitter Twist in Louisiana Family’s Long Drilling Fight

ERATH, La. — It began as a landlord-tenant dispute, Louisiana style.

The tenant was Texaco; the landlord the Broussard family, heirs of a Cajun rancher, who claimed that Texaco’s operation of a gas plant on its property had left the land contaminated. The lawsuit, of a kind not all that rare in these industry-heavy parts, had dragged on so long that 13 of the heirs had died.

But it took a sudden and bitter turn in recent months, when another company — a company that, like Texaco, is a subsidiary of Chevronsued to condemn most of the disputed land and expropriate it, arguing that it was acting in the national interest.

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Keystone Claptrap – NYTimes.com

Keystone Claptrap – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Keystone Claptrap

The Keystone XL oil pipeline has become the House Republicans’ weapon of choice in their fight with President Obama over jobs and taxes. Mr. Obama has said he will not make a decision on the pipeline until 2013. The Republicans are insisting that he approve it now and have attached an amendment to a bill extending the payroll tax cut in hopes of forcing his hand.

This legislative booby trap seems unlikely to make it through the Senate, and the president has all but said he would reject it if it does. But this has not stopped the House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner, from using the pipeline as a political cudgel — or from wildly inflating its economic benefits.

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Getting Gas Drilling Right – NYTimes.com

Getting Gas Drilling Right – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Getting Gas Drilling Right

fter several crowded and often raucous hearings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to give the public until Jan. 11 to comment on 2,000 pages of environmental analysis and proposed regulations designed to govern natural gas drilling in deep shale formations in New York State. The extension makes sense. The drilling decision is a momentous one, for the environment and the economy, and it is vitally important to get it right.

The issue is not the fuel. There is little doubt in our minds that natural gas, which is cheap, plentiful and cleaner than coal, could help greatly with the country’s energy and climate problems.

The question is whether it can be safely extracted by a technique called hydraulic fracturing, which involves blasting water, sand and chemicals deep into rock formations to dislodge the gas. Done carelessly, the technique poses threats to water quality, local landscapes and the atmosphere that other states, including Pennsylvania, have failed to address adequately.

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2011 Proving to Be a Bad Year for Air Quality in Texas – NYTimes.com

2011 Proving to Be a Bad Year for Air Quality in Texas – NYTimes.com.

2011 Proving to Be a Bad Year for Air Quality in Texas

Nestled near subdivisions north of Fort Worth stands equipment that measures air pollutants. On 26 days this year, readings at the site showed higher concentrations of lung-damaging ozone than allowed by federal air-quality standards.

All told, Dallas-Fort Worth violated ozone standards on more days this year — 32 so far — than anywhere else in Texas, including the greater Houston area.

“Every place in Texas suffered worse air quality this year, but Dallas was a particularly extreme case,” said David Allen, a chemical engineering professor at the University of Texas who also directs a state air-quality program.

[…]

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Air Quality Difficult to Gauge in Dustier American West – NYTimes.com

Air Quality Difficult to Gauge in Dustier American West – NYTimes.com.

Quality of Air? That’s as Murky as Western Sky

DENVER — Oh say, can you see across the Grand Canyon? Not as well as you used to on some days.

The question of how clean the air is in the American West has never been an easy one to answer, strange to say. And now scientists say it is getting harder, with implications that ripple out in surprising ways, from the kitchen faucets of Los Angeles to public health clinics in canyon-land Utah to the economics of tourism.

It is at least partly about dust, something that has been entwined with Western life for a long time, and now appears to be getting worse.

[…]

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EPA ties fracking to water pollution – San Antonio Express-News

EPA ties fracking to water pollution – San Antonio Express-News.

EPA ties fracking to water pollution

Some doubt it would happen in Eagle Ford.
Updated 02:18 a.m., Friday, December 9, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday linked hydraulic fracturing with groundwater contamination in Wyoming — a first-of-its-kind conclusion by the federal agency that could trigger new scrutiny of the practice used to extract oil and natural gas nationwide.

The EPA announced its findings as part of a three-year probe into possible water pollution in Pavillion, Wyo.

[…]

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Marcellus Shale, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the E.P.A. : The New Yorker

Marcellus Shale, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the E.P.A. : The New Yorker.

Burning Love

by December 5, 2011

Americans have never met a hydrocarbon they didn’t like. Oil, natural gas, liquefied natural gas, tar-sands oil, coal-bed methane, and coal, which is, mostly, carbon—the country loves them all, not wisely, but too well. To the extent that the United States has an energy policy, it is perhaps best summed up as: if you’ve got it, burn it.

America’s latest hydrocarbon crush is shale gas.

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The Fracturing of Pennsylvania – NYTimes.com

The Fracturing of Pennsylvania – NYTimes.com.

The Fracturing of Pennsylvania

Amwell Township is a 44-square-mile plot of steep ravines and grassy pasturelands planted with alfalfa, trefoil and timothy in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. It’s home to some 4,000 people, most of whom live in villages named Amity, Lone Pine and Prosperity.

From some views, this diamond-shaped cut of land looks like the hardscrabble farmland it has been since the 18th century, when English and Scottish settlers successfully drove away the members of a Native American village called Annawanna, or “the path of the water.” Arrowheads still line the streambeds. Hickory trees march out along its high, dry ridges. Box elders ring the lower, wetter gullies. The air smells of sweet grass. Cows moo. Horses whinny.

From other vantages, it looks like an American natural-gas field, home to 10 gas wells, a compressor station — which feeds fresh gas into pipelines leading to homes hundreds of miles away — and what was, until late this summer, an open five-acre water-impoundment chemical pond. Trucks rev engines over fresh earth. Backhoes grind stubborn stones. Pipeline snakes beneath clear-cut hillsides.

The township sits atop the Marcellus Shale Deposit, one of the largest fields of natural gas in the world, a formation that stretches beneath 575 miles of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. Shale gas, even its fiercest critics concede, presents an opportunity for the United States to be less dependent on foreign oil. According to Wood Mackenzie, an energy-consulting firm, the Marcellus formation will supply 6 percent of America’s gas this year, a figure expected to more than double by 2020.

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Read tha full story here: The New York Times

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