EJToday: Top Headlines
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Past efforts to regulate toxic and polluting waste from oil and gas drilling operations were thwarted when back-room industry pressure subverted the law and science that justified it. Today, history may be about to repeat itself.
Natural gas drillers hail newly begun reuse and recycling of the millions of gallons of toxic wastewater as a breakthrough that will mitigate harmful effects of their operations. But not all of it is being recycled. Some of it is being spread on roads and contaminating surface water -- rather than groundwater, as before.
As gas companies race to drill more wells that produce gas with a technique known as hydrofracking, the dangers of the toxic wastewater they discharge turn out to be greater than previously understood.
Greenwire sorts through the dust storm of counterclaims on the accuracy of "Gasland," an Oscar-nominated documentary about the impacts of gas drilling and production methods known as "fracking."
"The Obama administration scaled back toxic air rules on heavy industrial boilers, a sign it may be willing to compromise with businesses and Republicans on future air pollution rules."
After a December 2008 spill of toxic coal ash at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston plant, EPA vowed to bring the ubiquitous waste under regulation. First, industry got to the Obama White House to sandbag the effort. Now, GOP lawmakers heavily funded by electric utilities have slipped a rider into the House stopgap spending bill to quash EPA's effort to protect the public altogether.
"The EPA's Hydraulic Fracturing Public Informational Meeting was probably the strangest exhibition of performance art ever to grace the stage of the Broome County Forum Theater in Binghamton, New York."
The removal of a dam on Twelve Mile Creek in Pickens County, SC, will release a glut of sediment that will bury more deeply PCB-tainted sediments in a reservoir further downstream.
"Miami-Dade, amid a changing regulatory environment and slower growth, is looking for cheaper ways to meet future water needs."
"Sewage-filled tanker trucks have dumped 153 million gallons of human waste and restaurant grease at a Pelion disposal site that lies in one of the most vulnerable areas for groundwater pollution in South Carolina."
"ASBESTOS, Quebec -- A plan to increase production from Canada's last asbestos mine near this town named for the deadly mineral has enraged physicians and public health workers around the globe."
"Neighbors of a toxic mine in northern Nevada have filed a class-action lawsuit against BP America and Atlantic Richfield Co. accusing them of intentionally and negligently concealing the extent of the contamination leaking off the abandoned site for decades."
"A court in Ecuador's Amazon told Chevron Corp on Monday to pay $8.6 billion in environmental damages, but the U.S. oil company vowed to fight on in a lawsuit seen as a global test case."
"Fast-growing interest in natural-gas drilling could create a flood of cash for Ohio cities eager to treat wastewater used to coax the gas from deep inside Utica and Marcellus shale. But what's good for the cities might be bad for the state. The process could pollute Ohio streams and rivers, environmental officials say."