Posts tagged: fracking

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
19 August 2013, 4:37 PM
Dryden, NY featured on national television
Dryden resident Deborah Cipolla-Dennis shared her story on MSNBC. (Photo courtesy of Mary Ann Sumner)

The town of Dryden, NY has earned a spot in the national conversation about fracking.

The town’s story of fighting back against the fracking industry—and winning—was spotlighted on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show this weekend.

With her friends and neighbors at home cheering her on, Dryden resident Deborah Cipolla-Dennis made the trek from her quiet rural home to Rockefeller Center in mid-town Manhattan to share the town’s story.

It was Deborah’s first time on television. But you wouldn’t know from her calm, cool and collected demeanor. Take a look at how she talks about her town taking on the powerful oil and gas industry:

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
08 August 2013, 5:43 PM
The oil and gas industry's worst nightmare, apparently
A Pennsylvania family's spring became flammable after a Marcellus well was drilled on their property. (© J.B.Pribanic)

A while back, I was invited to a D.C. elementary school to watch 5th graders deliver a presentation about drinking water.

These students were proposing a “Water Bill of Rights” stating that people have the right to know what’s in their groundwater and that it’s safe to drink. Sounds like a good idea to me.

One group of students had done a special project—on fracking. After considering both sides of the issue, and learning that the chemicals used in fracking are often secret, many of the students decided it wasn’t a good idea. Afterwards, I asked them to tell me—in their own words—why they felt that way.

Here’s what they said:

I was reminded of that day when news of the fracking industry’s attempt to silence a 7- and 10-year-old sister and brother with a gag order went worldwide.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
01 August 2013, 11:44 AM
Whatever happened to "sticks and stones"?
Company lawyers have said they intend to enforce a lifetime gag order on a 7- and 10-year-old. (Rebecca Barray)

According to just-released transcripts in a fracking industry secrecy case, the lawyer for the gas company said the company intended to enforce a lifetime gag order on a 7- and 10-year-old, preventing them from ever talking about Marcellus Shale or fracking.

Independent legal experts interviewed by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are shaking their heads, saying they’ve never seen a gag order like this apply to children.

The lawyer’s statement was revealed in previously sealed court transcripts, released yesterday after a lawsuit brought by the Post-Gazette. Earthjustice submitted an amicus brief in the case on behalf of doctors, scientists and researchers.

View Chrissy Pepino's blog posts
10 July 2013, 11:21 AM
Chemicals used in fracking are linked to hormone disruption and cancer
A sign hangs by the Inglewood Oil Field in Los Angeles, CA, warning of hazardous fumes. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)

Avoiding alcohol and caffeine are standard recommendations for a pregnant women. No surprise there! The simple and effective way of keeping infants safe is stripping the environment toxins that cause low birth weight, birth defects, respiratory problems, cancer and fertility problems. Yet the most common substances used to frack for natural gas are cancer-causing agents.

The statistics are startling; according to a new report by the Center for Environmental Health, 25 percent of chemicals used in fracking have been linked to cancer, and 35 percent of chemicals used in fracking disrupt the normal functioning of our hormones. As a result, the fracking chemicals have significantly higher impacts on pregnant women and children. Communities in geographic proximity to the industry boom are exposed to many of the 600+ chemicals used in natural gas fracking fluids.

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View Tom Turner's blog posts
16 April 2013, 6:05 PM
Under pressure from Earthjustice and others, senators seek to rein practice in
An almond farmer watches oil wells that have sprouted near almond orchards in the Central Valley town of Shafter, CA. (Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)
See photo essay »

As reported in the current issue of Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine, oil fracking has become big news in California, where the practice is conducted in the shadows and is essentially unregulated—the Wild Wild West, if you will. (See: Extreme Energy: Out of Control Out West)

That may be about to change.

At least 10 bills have been introduced in the state legislature since the Magazine came out; three would impose moratoriums to halt fracking until regulations can be put in effect. Others would require disclosure of the chemicals being used, mandate groundwater monitoring before and after fracking operations, and classify wastewater from the fracking process as hazardous waste. A state-court lawsuit by Earthjustice is working its way through the system, and a federal court just ruled that failure by the Bureau of Land Management to study the environmental impact of fracking is illegal—but the judge declined to rescind the permits, so the practice continues.

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View Trip Van Noppen's blog posts
03 April 2013, 2:46 PM
It's time to head in a clean energy direction
Fracking has been linked to both air and water contamination. (Courtesy of J.B. Pribanic)

Just as clean, renewable energy is lifting off and the impacts of climate disruption become ever more visible, fossil energy production is becoming dramatically more extreme. But extreme fossil energy production is exactly what we don’t need.

In just the last two years, I have seen the Louisiana coast’s oil-slicked marshes after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out, met with Pennsylvanians and Coloradans whose homes are under assault in the fracking boom, toured the Alaskan Arctic with a caribou hunter whose way of life is threatened by onshore and offshore oil development, and shared the outrage of West Virginians whose schools and streams are under siege from mountaintop removal coal mining.

Though these extreme energy projects differ in their methods of extraction, they have two things in common: their massive industrial scale, and how little we know about their potential impacts to our air, water and climate.

View Jessica Knoblauch's blog posts
25 March 2013, 12:09 PM
Plus: Buzzing over bee deaths and clean energy power up
Photo courtesy of @cdharrison (Flickr)

Bloggers think chemicals in macaroni are cheesy
Two food bloggers are campaigning against the use of chemical additives in the popular Kraft macaroni and cheese packaged meals due to concerns that the chemicals could pose health risks, reports the UK Guardian. Though found in foods sold in the U.S., the two additives, Yellow#5 and Yellow#6, are banned elsewhere in places like the UK, Norway and Austria amid claims that they can cause cancer or hyperactivity in children. The bloggers claim that since Kraft was able to replace the additives with alternatives in other countries (without a noticeable difference in taste), it should do the same in the U.S. So far, the bloggers’ petition, which highlights the larger issue of how ingredients banned elsewhere in the world can be found in items sold in U.S. stores, has gathered more than 200,000 signatures.

Environmental groups abuzz over insecticides linked to bee deaths
Several bee keepers and environmental groups have sued the U.S. EPA for failing to protect honey bees from toxic insecticides, reports Reuters. Bee colony populations have been taking a nosedive for some time now, and the collapse has many people worried about the nation’s food supply since bees pollinate everything from almonds and cranberries to avocados and pears. Studies have linked the collapse to the use of a class of super-toxic insecticides known as neonicotinoids, which plants absorb through their tissue, making them potentially toxic to insects. Though Europe has banned neonicotinoids, the toxic insecticides are used on more than 100 million acres of corn, soy and other food crops and even some home gardening products in the U.S. Currently, Earthjustice is working to stop or limit the use of the nation's most toxic pesticides, which often contaminate nearby waterways and negatively impact people's health.

View Chrissy Pepino's blog posts
18 March 2013, 1:05 PM
If gas is "natural," why is it exempt from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts?
A scarred landscape from fracking pads. (EcoFlight)

The technological advance of horizontal drilling was a game changer for the oil and gas industry. When oil and natural gas were previously being harvested, vertical drilling was the only way to extract the fossil fuel. With horizontal drilling, wells can now be fracked and re-fracked, at different depths and in all directions. By increasing the area of exploration for natural gas, many previously untouched landscapes are now being scarred due to the fracking boom.

Fracking, shorthand for hydrologic fracturing, uses tons of water, sand and chemicals- under high pressure—to create cracks in the bedrock, allowing methane gas to escape. Some claim this process is “cleaner” than dirty coal, but, on a global warming potential basis, new research shows that natural gas, oil and coal, are all equally dirty on emissions.

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View Jillian Murphy's blog posts
15 March 2013, 9:56 AM
House of Representatives legislation would protect air and water

Over the past few decades—with the help of Congress—Big Oil and Gas successfully chipped away at our bedrock environmental laws, carving out special exemptions for the fossil fuel drilling industry. In 1987, when Congress decided to implement new standards to control stormwater runoff pollution under the Clean Water Act, oil and gas companies got a pass. And in 1990 when the Clean Air Act was expanded to allow for control of more toxic air pollutants, the same industry got another pass. These exemptions from our fundamental air and water protections have left communities across the country exposed to dangerous health risks and threats to their environment from oil and gas operations right in their backyards.

Fortunately, activists engaged in the fight against fracking saw an important step forward, yesterday, with the introduction of two pieces of legislation in the House of Representatives. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced H.R. 1154, the BREATHE Act, and Rep. Matthew Cartwright (D-PA) introduced H.R. 1175, the FRESHER Act. These bills call for common sense safeguards to protect water and air resources from pollution generated by the process of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.

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View Raviya Ismail's blog posts
27 February 2013, 2:57 PM
Concern grows over methane leaks from oil and gas wells

With the fracking boom building, natural gas is touted as a clean energy source. But the hard truth is that the gas drilling sector—which includes the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or fracking—has worsened air quality in many areas. In some parts of the country undergoing such a boom, air quality has fallen below levels the EPA determined to be safe.

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