Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking ruled March 25, 2013, that a company could withhold as trade secret the ingredients used in the fluids it pumped under high pressure to fracture gas- and oil-bearing rock. Environmentalists had sought to make the ingredient list public.
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The Society of Environmental Journalists wrote Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about the Election Day incident of attempted intimidation in Colorado, when the Secretary threatened to "punch out" SEJ member Dave Philipps, senior investigative reporter with the Colorado Springs Gazette.
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:
Most current fracking operations happen on non-federal lands. But on federal lands, things are different — Obama intends to require disclosure of fluids as a condition of new leases for fracking on federal lands. If it takes place, this could push the ingredient lists further into the open.Region:
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.
Designating lands as wilderness or some other highly protected status always is contentious, but the BLM has identified 24 areas in 9 western states the agency says have significant local support for this idea: CA (9 areas), CO (3), ID (1), MT (1), NM (2), NV (2), OR (2), UT (3), and WA (1).Topics on the Beat:
The agency says the remaining 17 sites covering ~285,000 acres in six states have the best solar gain and energy transmission traits, the fewest conflicts with environmental, cultural, and historic resources, and the best compatibility with each state's efforts. Public meetings commence Nov 30 and a 90-day public comment period ends Jan. 27, 2012. A variance process could be used to approve additional solar development elsewhere.
The naturally-occurring erionite causes malignant mesothelioma and evidence suggests it is much more toxic than asbestos. Concern is rising as development that disturbs erionite deposits occurs in 12 western states.Region:
As part of its push to improve the nation's power system, the Obama administration is trying to expedite construction of 7 transmission lines, in various stages of planning and design, spanning 3,100 miles in 12 states.Region:
Greater sage-grouse are at just 3% of their historical numbers, and warrant protection, according to the Bureau of Land Management. But since other species are in even more dire straits, the birds haven't been declared a threatened or endangered species. The US Dept. of Agriculture money is a work-around aimed at saving the birds and their habitat.Region: