Laws & Regulations

"40% Of State Drilling Regulators Have Industry Ties"

"Robert Finne was talking with a friend about the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission earlier this year when they both started wondering, 'Who are these people?' So they wrote to the commission and asked. Finne, a critic of gas drilling in the Fayetteville Shale, was surprised to learn that most of the commissioners owned oil and gas drilling companies. 'I knew the cards were stacked against us, but I had no idea how badly,' Finne said."

Mike Soraghan reports for Greenwire December 19, 2011.

Source: Greenwire, 12/20/2011

States Partly Fill Federal Vacuum on Fracking Fluid Disclosure Law

Colorado, which adopted its disclosure rules December 13, 2011, joins Texas, Pennsylvania, and several other states in requiring some disclosure by drillers of the chemicals they pump into shale formations under high pressures to release natural gas. Scores of chemicals, some very toxic, may be involved.

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Oregon Court Rules That Not All Bloggers Are Journalists

The Portland judge ruled that blogger Crystal Cox, who published allegations against businessman Kevin Padrick and was subsequently sued by Padrick for defamation, was not a journalist as she lacked any conventional journalistic credentials or affiliations, and therefore was not entitled to the protections of the state's shield law.

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Louisiana Flunks at Enforcing Air, Water Laws: EPA Inspector General

"Louisiana is among the worst states at enforcing federal clean air, clean water and hazardous waste laws, and the Environmental Protection Agency should either force Louisiana and fellow laggards to do a better job, or enforce the laws itself, according to a report released Monday by EPA’s inspector general."

Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, 12/13/2011

"MSHA Blocked Questions About Previous UBB Methane Incidents"

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- U.S. Labor Department officials blocked an independent state team investigating the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster from digging into questions about the federal government's response to earlier incidents where methane leaked from the Raleigh County operation's mine floor, newly disclosed records show."

Source: Charleston Gazette, 12/09/2011

"Drilling Regulators Pull Double Duty as Industry Promoters"

"State oil and gas agencies across the country are straining to prevent a flood of new drilling from harming human health and the environment. But that's not really their job. Or at least not all of it. Their job is also to promote drilling. And sometimes the law makes that their top priority."

Source: Greenwire, 12/01/2011

Calif. Law Keeps Public from Knowing About Dangerous Pipelines

The San Francisco Chronicle revealed almost all records of the state's Public Utilities Commission, which regulates pipelines, are secret — and the PUC typically asks permission from the utility companies before releasing any information. In most other states, such information is freely available to the public.

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"Behind Closed Doors" Reports on Secret Regulatory Process

The Center for Progressive Reform looked at public records on 1,080 meetings held between October 2001 and June 2011 between the White House Office of Management and Budget and lobbyists from various interest groups. Results show the Obama administration is as bad as the Bush administration when it comes to secret meetings with industry to weaken environmental health and safety regulations.

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