A new OMB Watch report calls full advance disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients "the necessary first step" to protecting people's drinking water and concluded "no state has yet established all of the elements of a chemical disclosure policy strong enough to ensure the quality of the water and the health of communities near gas wells."
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About two dozen chemicals in the 8.3 million gallons of fluid used to fracture a gas-bearing Marcellus Shale formation near Canton, Ohio were disclosed on a public website — but the identities of another four chemical ingredients were withheld on the claim that they were trade secrets. EnergyWire's Peter Behr takes a look at the controversy.Region:
The American Bird Conservancy has gone to court after the Interior Department stonewalled its Freedom-of-Information-Act requests for correspondence between feds and the wind industry on how potential wind projects in 10 states might affect birds and bats.Region:
A federal judge has denied BP's bid to see 21 e-mails and other documents sent between the White House and other federal agencies. More chilling, perhaps, was BP's effort to get e-mails sent by two private-sector scientists in an apparent effort to discredit their work.
A new report from the IEA includes guidelines emphasizing transparency and the monitoring of environmental and social impacts. That includes full disclosure of fracking fluid ingredients and testing of baseline water and air conditions before drilling begins.
A company wants to mine Virginia's major uranium deposit so the state formed a multi-agency panel to study ending the three-decade ban on uranium mining. That panel hired a consulting firm that critics say was stacked with experts affiliated with the nuclear industry.Topics on the Beat:Region:
The federal Data.gov, while not perfect, has grown over three years especially strong in datasets from federal agencies that deal with the environment, energy, natural resources, health, and science. Many of them are downloadable, so that you can crunch them on your own computer. Several are map layers or geo-tagged in some way. See a few randomly chosen examples here.Topics on the Beat:
The Ohio legislature cleared a fracking bill May 24, 2012 that increases inspections of wells and requires drillers to hold liability insurance. But Reuters reports: "Many Democrats said the bill paves the way for the industry to hide information about toxic chemicals that could contaminate groundwater."Topics on the Beat:Region:
After backroom lobbying by gas and oil industry groups, the Obama White House watered down the promised fracking-fluid disclosure requirement promised earlier this year — imposing it only after completion of the fracking operation, when the information may have little effect (such as public pressure on BLM to deny a drilling permit).
Here are some recent reports by the Congressional Research Service related to the environment/energy beat. Congress does not release them to the public. We again thank the Federation of American Scientists' Government Secrecy Project for doing so.Topics on the Beat: