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Kathleen Scatassa's Blog

Helen Holden Slottje, a winner of the 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize.

In 2010, Helen Holden Slottje, a lawyer in upstate New York pioneered a legal strategy to keep fracking out of communities using local zoning laws. Four years later, her hard work and bravery was rewarded with the Goldman Environmental Prize, sometimes referred to as the “Green Nobel.” Read about Helen's work, and listen to an interview where she discusses how and why she became involved in the fracking fight.

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.

A group of 5th graders did 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, they explained—in their own words—why they felt that way.

New uncovered documents show that fracking company Range Resources persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its investigation into water contamination of a Texas home—in spite of the fact that preliminary testing showed that the company could have been responsible for cancer causing benzene and flammable methane in the family’s drinking water.

Here’s what we know: Fracking is already happening in California. Based on the oil and gas industry’s own admission, there were 600 wells that were fracked in 2011 alone. Here’s what we don’t know: exactly where, when, or what chemicals the oil and gas industry is blasting into the ground during fracking.

After being sued by a group of families in Pennsylvania with methane-contaminated water, fracking giant Chesapeake agreed today to pay the families a $1.6 million settlement. What’s particularly noteworthy about this development is this: for perhaps the first time, the details of the case are being made public.

Next week, New York State is planning to release a 1,000+ page document that could guide how the controversial gas drilling technique, called fracking, will proceed in the state.

Hydraulic fracturing, fracking for short, occurs when oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of chemically-treated water into the ground to force oil and gas from tightly-packed shale deposits.

In the quiet moments after her two-year-old daughter has gone to bed, actress Jessica Alba scours the Internet in search of how to protect her children from toxic chemicals in consumer products.

Like so many other parents, she’s distressed by what she finds: BPA in baby bottles, lead and cadmium in toys, formaldehyde in furniture.

“Our children are being used as the testing animals,” she realized.

In a hearing on Capitol Hill today, Republican members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee struggled to make the case against an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency into the controversial gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) - a process in which oil and gas companies blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract the gas from underground deposits.

The symmetry is just eerie.

Exactly one year after the BP disaster in the Gulf, natural gas drilling company Chesapeake admitted that a well it was hydraulically fracturing (or “fracking”) for natural gas went out of control in LeRoy, Pennsylvania late Tuesday, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, farms – even where cattle continue to graze – and into a stream.

The Associated Press had a story today detailing how regulators in Pennsylvania spend as little as 35 minutes reviewing gas drilling permits, before giving companies approval to blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to extract the gas – a controversial practice known as fracking.

In a hearing, today, lawmakers on Capitol Hill probed the health and environmental impacts of a gas drilling boom fueled by the controversial gas extraction technique known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Using this technique, companies blast millions of gallons of chemically treated water into the earth to force natural gas from underground deposits.

Natural gas has been touted as a more responsible energy source than coal in the face of climate change, but a new study conducted by researchers at Cornell University argues otherwise.

The study, which is scheduled to be published in the journal Climatic Change Letters, argues the advantages that gas produced from fracking has over coal are offset by the fugitive emissions of methane gas.

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but secret gas drilling chemicals don’t belong in drinking water.

That’s exactly the kind of sentiment that makes it very inconvenient for Dick Cheney’s buddies at Halliburton who want to use secret chemicals to extract gas from the earth – a controversial method known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

You see, the pesky Safe Drinking Water Act kept getting in the way. So they asked for special treatment from Congress. And in 2005 they got it.

Which has a worse smog problem ? The car-choked sprawling megalopolis of Los Angeles? Or the wide open plains of Wyoming?

If you guessed LA, you’d be wrong. It’s actually Wyoming.

This depressing tidbit comes courtesy of the oil and gas industry, which is in the midst of a drilling boom that has left the air in Wyoming and other areas cloaked in smog and hazardous air pollutants.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but we’re positively thrilled to see GASLAND—the truth-telling/irreverent film about toxic gas drilling—get an Oscar nod for best documentary. If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you waiting for? It’s readily available on DVD.

The debate over climate change legislation is heating up. And as members of Congress grapple with which position to take, they'll be bombarded with opinions from many different sides of the debate.

But last week, as members of Congress arrived at work in the morning and left in the evening, they were greeted by the silent stares of one important (albeit non-voting) constituency: the plants and animals likely to be impacted by rising sea levels, changing weather patterns, and other impacts of climate change.

Those oft-repeated words by Justice Louis Brandeis—referring to the importance of transparency and openness—took on a special meaning this week when Earthjustice sued Lysol-maker Reckitt-Benckiser and other household cleaners manufacturing giants for failing to disclose the chemical ingredients in their products and the health risks they pose.

About the Earthjustice Blog

The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.