One reason proof of harm is hard to find is that drillers pay people to keep quiet. Now the unsealing of a once-confidential settlement in Pennsylvania gives a clear view of how the silencing works. The 17-page, two-year-old settlement agreement includes a $750,000 payment to a family critical of fracking, saying they became sick, as well as a gag order that applies to their 7- and 10-year-old children for the rest of their lives.
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We told you so. But now a Harvard study also says it: the FracFocus registry designed and operated by the drilling industry (and its close friends) fails to meet the public's right to accountability and complete disclosure of chemicals pumped into underground formations that may impact people's drinking-water wells.
The March 29, 2013, spill from ExxonMobil's Pegasus Pipeline near Mayflower, Arkansas is a big deal for several reasons. But the most important thing about the Mayflower spill may be that ExxonMobil and the federal agencies involved seem to be trying to keep news media from getting close enough to see what is going on. Read SEJ's letter protesting the media treatment, and EPA's response.Topics on the Beat:
Francesca Lyman asks "What does Hurricane Sandy tell us about coping with human health and consequences of climate change?"SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:
Sunlight cures many ills. A month after watchdog Sheila Kaplan exposed a White House blackout of an EPA report on children's environmental health, the Obama administration uncorked it. Of course, the timing may have had something to do with the election as well; EPA announced its publication January 25, just a few days after the inauguration.
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William Souder explains how Rachel Carson's seminal 1962 work Silent Spring shaped (and still shapes) modern environmentalism (from his new book, On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson).SEJ Publication Types:
If you are hunting stories — or useful background for a story under way — you may find a useful tool in EPA's online, searchable Environmental Impact Statement database.
There are well over a thousand binational or multinational environmental agreements, usually technical and obscure. However, environmental reporters would do well to know about them — to shed light on local stories and to find national or international news. Here's help.