Archive for the 'Global Warming and a New Energy Economy' Category

Burning Tires (Hazardous is the New Clean)

By Denny Green, Michigan Office Manager and Communications Coordinator

This post originally appeared on Eclectablog

You know that warm, cozy feeling you get from seeing black toxic plumes of smoke billowing up from a pile of burning hazardous rubbish and industrial waste? (No, I didn’t think so.)

Well, earlier this month Republican State Representative Aric Nesbitt introduced an eight-bill package that redefine burning old tires as “renewable energy”. (Yes, you read that right.) This pack of reckless and irresponsible ideas flagrantly thumbs its nose at Michigan’s current renewable energy standard (which defines “renewable energy sources” as things like wind and solar … you know, real renewable energy). Read the rest of this entry »

EPA Analysis of Chemicals Used in Fracking Is a Study of the Unknown

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator – Follow John on Twitter (@Noel_Johnny)

While EPA is working to update existing regulations to modernize environmental protections as the oil and gas industry evolves, the Agency is also studying how the entire process of hydraulic fracturing potentially impacts drinking water. This includes tracking the whole lifecycle of fracking from where the water is acquired all the way through how it is disposed. Recently EPA published an analysis of chemicals the industry uses in its fracturing fluid cocktail. According to EPA, the analysis of the industry funded FracFocus database was intended “to better understand the chemicals and water used to hydraulically fracture oil and gas production wells in the United States and how chemical and water use vary in different locations across the country.”

There is one key detail that tends to overshadow the results — the database is largely incomplete due to the industry’s ability to withhold critical information about the chemicals used. In fact, 1 in 10 chemicals were claimed as trade secrets and not disclosed and 70 percent of wells had at least 1 chemical withheld as a trade secret. A study published by Harvard Law School last year outlines in greater detail the drawbacks of relying on FracFocus as a dependable regulatory tool. Read the rest of this entry »

Closing the Gap: Help Keep Oil & Gas Wastewater Pollution Out of our Lakes, Rivers and Bays

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator – Follow John on Twitter (@Noel_Johnny)

This week EPA proposed an update to a 30 year old Clean Water Act program that regulates oil and gas wastewater discharges to sewage treatment plants, or publically owned treatment works (POTWs). In the past we know that oil and gas companies have sent millions of gallons of wastewater to these plants which then discharge it to local rivers, lakes and bays.

The problem is that these sewage plants were never designed to treat wastewater coming from unconventional oil and gas operations, that is, those using fracking or other modern technologies which allow the industry to access previously unreachable oil and gas reserves. Unconventional production generally is code for the majority of new oil and gas wells drilled today. Read the rest of this entry »

#Act4CleanWater – Celebrate #Earth Week at Clean Water Conference!

By Jenny Vickers, NJ Communications Manager, Clean Water Action. Follow on Twitter @CleanWaterNJ

FACEBOOK LOGOTake action for clean water during #EarthWeek! Join us at Clean Water Action’s 29th annual conference on Saturday, April 25, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, at Brookdale Community College’s Student Learning Center in Lincroft, NJ.

The event features prominent environmental leaders, scientists and policy makers discussing key issues such as Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Banning Frack Waste, Stopping Bad Oil & Gas Pipelines, Sustainable Water Infrastructure, as well as Protecting the Pinelands & Other Critical Land and Water Resources. Don’t miss out – find all the details on our website and Facebook page and register today!

Tom Moran, Star Ledger editorial page editor and longtime statehouse reporter and political columnist, will lead an Environmental Roundtable with NJ Senator Tom Kean (R-Westfield), NJ Senator Ray Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), NJ Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Freehold), and NJ Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Hamilton Square). Read the rest of this entry »

Where have you been, Ms. Fiorina?

By Jennifer Clary, California Waters Program Manager

In an April 7 blog post for Time Magazine, Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and former candidate for California governor, made the wildly inaccurate claim that “overzealous liberal environmentalists” are responsible for California’s drought.

Ms. Fiorina airs out the tired old myths propagated by the thankfully dwindling water buffaloes of the state –

Environmental policies are sending water to the ocean that should be used to support farms and farmers; no new storage has been built in half a century; this is a “man-made” drought.

Here’s the big news flash for Ms. Fiorina: we don’t have water because we haven’t had anything like normal rainfall in 4 years; tree ring data shows this is California’s worst drought in 13,000 years. Read the rest of this entry »

A Pleasant Surprise in the Field

When my fellow canvassers hear that I’ve been knocking on doors for Clean Water Action for 4 years, they often say, “so nothing catches you by surprise.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Bottomless Drought – There is More We Can Do

The drought in CABy Jennifer Clary, California Water Program Manager (Follow Our California Team on Twitter – @CleanH2OCA)

Governor Brown’s announcement Wednesday that we’re in a severe drought was far from a surprise. No spring rains are coming to rescue us this year as we embark on the 4th year of drought – the worst in California’s modern history.

This is a serious problem, for communities, farms and the environment. The governor took a series of executive actions. They are not enough. But it’s a good start and more than any governor has done before.

Urban Conservation: The governor’s call for 25% mandatory conservation is necessary and not extreme. The governor made a point that folks who use more water than others should save more – this map from the Pacific Institute tells us who they are. Read the rest of this entry »

California’s Emergency Oil and Gas Regulations Aren’t Enough

By Andrew Grinberg, California Oil and Gas Program Manager – Follow Andrew on Twitter (@AndrewBGrinberg)

Yesterday the California Department of Conservation (DOC) and Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) issued draft emergency regulations on aquifer exemptions under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The emergency regulations describe the process that the state will use for submitting applications to US EPA for exempting aquifers which enable oil and gas companies to inject fluids for waste disposal or enhance oil recovery (EOR). The text of the draft regulations and how to submit a comment can be viewed here.

We are glad that the state is finally taking action. Steps like including the State Water Board in the exemption process and requiring public hearings are positive and should be put into permanent statute. That’s why Clean Water Action is sponsoring Assembly Bill 356 (Williams) to bring these permanent changes to the aquifer exemption process.

But, these emergency regulations just don’t go far enough to protect Californians or our water. DOGGR should immediately shut down the over 2,000 active injection wells that are operating in non-exempt aquifers in violation of the Federal  Safe Drinking Water Act. As long as the state allows injection to occur in non-exempt aquifers, these regulations fail to protect many potential sources of drinking water. Read the rest of this entry »

California Has It All: Oil, Gas and Dwindling Water Supplies

By John Noël, National Oil & Gas Campaigns Coordinator – Follow John on Twitter (@Noel_Johnny)

Pulling off California’s Highway 5, the road that takes you down the spine of the state is like a portal into another world. Lost Hills, a tiny town sandwiched between prime agriculture and oil fields, is ground zero for exploring the largely hidden impacts of California oil production. Rosanna Esparza, Clean Water Action organizer, and a few local community groups have been talking with local residents about the health and environmental impacts of oil production for the past year.

Amazingly, there have been no extensive studies of the health impacts on communities in the shadow of California oil and gas development. Clean Water Fund and Earthworks recently published a health investigation of the Lost Hills area in an effort to better understand the long term public health risks posed by the air these communities breathe every day. The results can only be viewed as a snapshot in time and more research is needed but the report is a clear indication of a serious problem. Lost Hills’ population is 97 percent Latino/Hispanic who’s “most disadvantaged community members often have no choice in where they live, and no voice in the decision-making processes that affect their daily lives.” As 43 percent of the community is below the poverty line, it is a clear case of environmental injustice that the community is not fully aware of the myriad of hazards posed by the incredible scale of oil and gas development upwind (learn more about the study here). With this in mind, I hopped in Rosanna’s car and we pulled away from the Lost Hills recreation center parking lot for a closer look. Read the rest of this entry »

Start Oyster Creek cleanup as soon as plant closes

By Janet Tauro, Clean Water Action, NJ Board Chair – Follow on Twitter @CleanWaterNJ

The situation continues to deteriorate at the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in Lacey Township, New Jersey.

Federal regulators are moving toward increased oversight following an unplanned, emergency shutdown this month after valves that control steam pressure malfunctioned . It was the fifth unplanned shutdown since 2013, and as time goes by for the corroding dinosaur plant, mechanical problems continue to mount. Investigators are looking for the cause, and also determining if plant owners, Exelon, are skipping costly repairs and maintenance since the plant will close in 2019.

Oyster Creek’s design is the same as Fukushima’ and inherently flawed. Its reactor cavity is undersized and would not be adequate to contain the huge amount of radioactive steam produced in the event of core damage. As a retrofit, vents were installed in the late Eighties, but they lack radiation filters and don’t open automatically. If there was a catastrophic event, clouds of highly radioactive steam would be blasted into surrounding communities.

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has consistently ignored recommendations from senior staff who advocated for radiation filters, and upgrades to the vents so that they would open automatically. Reports indicate that operators at Fukushima delayed opening the vents knowing they would be unleashing highly radioactive steam on their families, friends, and homes.

Oyster Creek is an unnecessary risk for New Jersey. Its contribution to the grid can be offset through energy efficiency, and renewables. The 1,100 megawatts of solar energy produced in state last year easily exceeded Oyster Creek’s 650 megawatt output.

It’s time for Oyster Creek to close, and a full decommissioning that would employ about 650 skilled workers for up to 15 years should begin as soon as the reactor is switched off. After 46 years of exposing the public to radiological releases, tritium leaks into the groundwater, thermal pollution of Barnegat Bay, and fish kills, the least Exelon can do is clean up their mess when they close.

That will take political will and sustained efforts from the environmental community and concerned citizens.

 

 

 

 

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