Resident in her backyard that abuts Little Blue Run (Environmental Integrity Project, 2010).
GREENE TWP, PA — “Pennsylvania and national groups today are calling attention to a major court filing made late July 27 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) that will result in the closure of Little Blue Run, the nation’s largest coal ash impoundment.
The state action filed the first-ever lawsuit against a coal ash dump operator for causing a potential “imminent and substantial endangerment” to human health and the environment by operating the nation’s largest coal ash impoundment, Little Blue Run, which spans the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border.”
— Little Blue Run Action Group, EcoWatch
link to article
— Stephen Huba, East Liverpool Review
— Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal
— Susan Phillips, StateImpact Pennsylvania
BUFFALO COUNTY, MN — “A controversial frac sand processing plant and rail transfer facility planned near Cochrane-Fountain City School (C-FC) was unanimously voted down last week by the Buffalo County Board of Adjustments.
The development would have resulted in up to 500 semi truckloads of sand coming to the site daily. The sand would then have been processed inside the closed plant and loaded onto trains on a looped track. The facility would have been 1,250 feet from the school.
An overwhelming turnout at the public hearing, which lasted well into the night, brought many in opposition to the proposal, including C-FC School Board members, neighbors and a slew of attorneys. Many of those in opposition argued that the project required a zoning change to move ahead, rather than the two conditional use permits sought by the landowners and Glacial Sands, a Texas frac sand company.”
— Sarah Squires, Winona Post
link to article
Cincinnati Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan chairs the Strategic Growth Committee.
CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Council’s Strategic Growth Committee will vote Tuesday on Chairwoman Laure Quinlivan’s proposal to ban injection wells in the city. The proposal came at the urging of the Southwest Ohio No Frack Forum.
The full text of the ordinance reads as follows:
WHEREAS, the City is concerned about the potential for waste being injected into the ground within the City and being harmful to its citizens and the environment; and
WHEREAS, municipalities have the power to enact laws that preserve the public health, safety and welfare of the municipality and its citizens; and
WHEREAS, City officials are unable to assess the risks to the public health, safety and welfare of injected waste; and
WHEREAS, the Council recognizes the need to expressly prohibit waste disposal by injection into any land within the City; now, therefore,
BE IT MODIFIED by the Council of the City of Cincinnati, State of Ohio:
Section 1. That Section 729-1-D – Disposal, of Cincinnati Municipal Code, Title VII, Chapter 729 – Waste Disposal, is hereby modified as follows:
Sec. 729-1-D. – Disposal. (a) “Disposal” or “Dispose” shall mean the discharge, deposit, dumping, injection, spilling, leaking, emitting, or placing of any waste material into or on any land, except if the disposition or placement constitutes temporary storage or treatment. Disposal shall not mean injection into any land by well or otherwise, which shall be prohibited on any land in the city. Notwithstanding the foregoing, disposal of waste into a residential septic system, as that term is defined in OAC 1301:7-9-02(B)(54), shall be permitted.
Section 2. That existing Section 729-1-D of Chapter 729 of Title VII of the Cincinnati Municipal Code is hereby repealed.
Section 3. That this ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.
— Paul Ryder, Assistant Director, Ohio Citizen Action
CHARLESTON, WV — “A science panel has found probable links between mid-Ohio Valley residents’ exposure to a chemical used by a DuPont plant in West Virginia and both thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, attorneys for the residents said yesterday.
The C8 Science Panel also found no probable links between the chemical, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, and several other health issues. Those include stroke, influenza, asthma, chronic obstructive airway disease, lupus, Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and attention-deficit disorders and learning disabilities in children.
The findings were the latest released by the panel on studies of data collected from about 70,000 residents. The three-member science panel was formed in 2005 as part of a class-action settlement of a lawsuit that said water supplies were contaminated in Ohio and West Virginia.”
— John Raby, Associated Press
link to article
Dr. Anne Wise
CLEVELAND — “Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that hides fracking chemicals from physicians, nurses and emergency responders. Yes, drilling companies have to disclose exactly what chemicals they are using, but not until 60 days after a well is completed. Even then, they don’t have to reveal “trade secret” chemicals. Fracking, unlike other industries, can designate anything as a trade secret. Drilling site crews do not have the right to know the hazardous materials they handle. Fracking fluids are composed of hundreds of different chemicals, including benzene products, dioxins, PCPs and formaldehyde — known carcinogens and highly toxic.
Doctors supposedly can access this proprietary information, but — in the midst of an emergency — we have to track down whatever chemical company claimed the trade secret, fax or call in a request, and wait. The law does not require that this information be provided within a specified time. Furthermore, our lawmakers decided that we can use this information only for treating an individual patient. If there’s a spill or well leak in your community, your doctor isn’t allowed to tell you what you might have been exposed to — unless you’re already hurt.
Medicine is advanced by research. This law prevents researchers from adequately studying populations living near gas wells. How convenient for frackers that our law prevents science that might identify current or future health problems caused by their technology.”
— Dr, Anne Wise, letter to the editor, Cleveland Plain Dealer
link to letter
Protesters at Hobet mine in Lincoln County.
LINCOLN COUNTY, WV — “Ramping up renewed efforts to end mountaintop removal mining in central Appalachia, scores of protesters staged a daring action at the controversial Hobet strip mine today in Lincoln County, West Virginia, shutting down operations through a series of coordinated lock downs, tree-sits and banner drops. In a symbolic challenge to the Obama administration’s failed regulatory policies, the protest targeted the Hobet 45 mountaintop removal mine, which had been granted a widely denounced permit over two years ago.
According to RAMPS, a West Virginia-based grassroots groups that organized the ‘mountain mobilization’ protest as part of a nationwide summer of actions against devastating extraction industry operations, St. Louis-based mine owner Patriot Coal has left behind a legacy of destruction in coal country for both area residents and miners. Patriot filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, which could also affect pension and United Mine Workers of America union contracts.
‘The government has aided and abetted the coal industry in evading environmental and mine safety regulations. We are here today to demand that the government and coal industry end strip mining, repay their debt to Appalachia, and secure a just transition for this region,’ said Dustin Steele of Matewan, West Virginia, in a released statement. The son and grandson of union coal miners, Steele took part in one of the truck lockdowns.”
Landowner refusal can’t stop drilling
PORTAGE COUNTY — “When a Chesapeake Energy land man approached him months ago with an offer to lease the Utica shale mineral rights beneath his meticulously landscaped 9.5-acre property in eastern Ohio, Neeley declined. That’s when, Neeley says, the land man told him, ‘We’ll just take it.’
Neeley and 23 of his neighbors are the first group of Ohio landowners forced to take part in Utica-shale drilling under a seldom-used state law. The law lets companies add properties to large ‘drilling units’ even if leases with landowners haven’t been obtained, to maximize access to deeply buried oil and gas.Even the state isn’t immune from the law. The Chesapeake Energy drilling unit of 959 acres in Portage and Stark counties includes a 4-acre corner of Quail Hollow State Park northeast of Canton. That makes it the first state park in line for ‘fracking.’
Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials say the ‘unitization’ law guarantees fair compensation, and that the properties of unwilling landowners won’t be damaged.”
— Spencer Hunt, Columbus Dispatch
link to article
State Representative Mark Okey (D- Carrollton)
COLUMBUS — “State Rep. Mark Okey is trying to turn up the heat on Republican leaders at the Statehouse to get behind a bill to protect landowners from oil and natural gas companies developing the Marcellus and Utica shale plays in eastern Ohio.
Calling such companies ‘predatory,’ the Democrat from Carrollton is urging Gov. John Kasich and other Republican leaders to support his Truth in Leasing Act. It would establish regulations for the oil and gas leasing process and require companies to pay property owners a minimum royalty of 15 percent on oil and gas extracted in the shale plays.”
— Jeff Bell, Columbus Business First
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WASHINGTON, DC — “Plant owners and operators report to EIA that they expect to retire almost 27 gigawatts (GW) of capacity from 175 coal-fired generators between 2012 and 2016. In 2011, there were 1,387 coal-fired generators in the United States, totaling almost 318 GW. The 27 GW of retiring capacity amounts to 8.5% of total 2011 coal-fired capacity.
The coal-fired capacity expected to be retired over the next five years is more than four times greater than retirements performed during the preceding five-year period (6.5 GW). Moreover, based on EIA data, the approximate 9 GW of coal-fired capacity retirements expected to occur in 2012 will likely be the largest one-year amount in the nation’s history. The record is, however, expected to be short-lived as almost 10 GW of coal-fired capacity are expected to retire in 2015.”
— U.S. Energy Information Administration
link to article
Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez says the state is preventing him from discussing fracking issues
SCRANTON, PA— “A Dallas physician has filed a federal lawsuit against several state offices, alleging a recently enacted law that limits information medical professionals can release about persons injured by chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing is impeding his ability to treat patients.
…Because the identity of the chemicals used in the fracking process is kept secret by drillers, the companies can require a physician to sign an agreement to keep the information he or she is provided confidential.
The suit says Rodriguez has treated a number of people who have been exposed to fracking chemicals, including a man injured in a blowout at a drilling site. He alleges the gag rule would preclude him from sharing information with other physicians treating the patients.”
— Terrie Morgan-Besecker, The Wilkes-Barre Times-Leader
McDonough Auditorium, Marietta College
MARIETTA — “Injection wells — What are they and what do they mean for southeastern Ohio? Speakers will discuss the purpose, the benefits, and the risks of injection wells. These wells hold the toxic waste water from the horizontal hydraulic fracturing process used for the extraction of oil and natural gas in Ohio and from nearby states. Speakers include Teresa Mills, Ohio organizer and representative for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice; Elisa Young, founder of the grassroots group Meigs Citizens Action Now; and Pavanne Pettigrew, retiree for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. The Forum will be Tuesday, July 31, 7:00 to 8:30 PM, Marietta College McDonough Auditorium, Marietta.”
— Southeast Ohio Fracking Interest Group
link to forum announcement
Waldpolenz Solar Park, east of Leipzig, Germany. In May, Germany’s solar power plants produced a record 22 gigawatts of energy, which is equivalent to the output of 20 nuclear plants. Norbert Allnoch, director of the Institute of Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, northeast Germany, told Reuters that the solar power delivered to the national grid on Saturday met 50% of the nation’s energy quota.
ANN ARBOR, MI — “Proponents of natural gas fracturing and oil drilling are delirious with joy over the ability to recover shale gas, which has brought down world gas prices and made the US a major player again. Likewise, North Dakota wells are set to produce up to 800,000 barrels of oil a day soon. (Although, since the world uses roughly 89 million barrels a day, and the US uses a fifth of that, and demand in Asia will likely spike in coming years, the ND addition is just not that much).
Fracking is dangerous to ground water purity, and both oil and gas, as hydrocarbons, contribute to global climate change, which is a dire threat to human well-being in coming decades and centuries.
But oil and gas triumphalists have another think coming. It is that the cost of generating electricity by wind and solar is falling rapidly. However hard they try to suppress government funding and tax breaks for renewables, Big Oil and Big Gas are doomed to lose, and in only about 4 years. At that point where it is just cheaper to generate electricity with renewables, no one is going to invest in hydrocarbons. Even with a price advantage it will take decades for renewables to displace hydrocarbons (the electricity grid, transportation, batteries, all have to be redone). But it isn’t a matter of ‘if.’ It is a matter of when. All the anti-climate-warming propaganda and pro-hydrocarbon advertising is intended to slow this process; even Big Oil and Big Gas are not so stupid as not to see the writing on the wall. But if their delaying tactics can make them billions in the meantime, they have every reason to go for it, especially if they are moral cretins who don’t care about the health of the planet.”
— Juan Cole, Informed Comment
link to article
HARRISBURG, PA — “A Commonwealth Court panel this morning threw out Pennsylvania’s attempt to establish statewide zoning for Marcellus Shale drilling, setting up a likely appeal to the state’s top court.
The appellate court ruled that the state cannot require local municipalities to allow gas drilling in areas that would conflict with their zoning rules, as several towns argued was the outcome of the Legislature passing and the governor signing Act 13 in February.
That law enacted a sweeping set of changes for how the oil and gas drilling industry operates within Pennsylvania, including creating an impact fee and, most controversially, dictating what municipalities can and cannot do regarding standards for gas drilling. Any municipality that did not follow those state-issued zoning guidelines stood to lose its share of the impact fee revenues and was liable to legal challenges.”
— Laura Olson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
WASHINGTON, DC — “Cathy Behr, an emergency room nurse in Durango, Colorado, became critically ill one day in 2008, after treating a fracking worker. Her skin turned yellow, she began vomiting, her lungs filled with fluid so that she felt as if she was “drowning from the inside out,” and she was diagnosed with multiple organ failure. For days, her doctors struggled to treat her as the fracking company refused to tell them what chemicals she was exposed to that could be making her so sick, even though her health was in jeopardy. Fortunately for Cathy, her doctors were able to save her without the information. But this incident is one of many where the oil and gas industry has refused to reveal the chemicals they are blasting into the ground–even near water sources. Others who are impacted may not be so lucky.”
Since then, some states have established new laws for disclosing fracking details to the public. Full public disclosure of chemicals and other fracking information is critical to protect public health in a number of ways. For instance, residents need to know what chemicals are being used before fracking starts in order to conduct the baseline water sampling necessary to trace the source of contamination. Emergency personnel need the information to respond effectively to accidents. Medical professionals require the information to diagnose and treat exposure symptoms. And disclosure enables researchers to develop a better understanding of fracking’s true risks, the resources that it uses, and the waste it creates.”
— Amy Mall, NRDC Switchboard
link to article
Melissa English, Ohio Citizen Action
CINCINNATI — “How fitting that the letter ‘Fracking industry lies about dangers,’ decrying the misinformation from the oil and gas industry about fracking, should appear just below Walter Williams column about what he calls ‘the first fundamental law of demand’ (‘Tyrants use human nature for benefits’ July 23). As Williams points out, the lower the cost of an action, the more incentive people have to act. This principle plays out with fracking because the Halliburton loophole, which allowed the industry to ignore managing their toxic waste in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and other laws designed to protect public health and the environment, greatly reduced the cost of fracking.
The industry has further secured their exceptionalism in Ohio recently, by inserting provisions in a new law allowing them to claim as many chemicals as they wish as trade secrets. They are not required to disclose trade secret chemicals even to the agency regulating them. Under the law, medical professionals are supposed to have access to this information in order to treat victims of chemical exposure, but there is no explanation of how this might happen beyond the suggestion that they contact the person who claimed the trade secret. Who is that, the driller? The chemical’s manufacturer? Even supposing doctors do receive the information they need to diagnose and treat one victim, the law says they can t share it, even to prevent harm to others. This secrecy only benefits the industry and at a terrible cost. Shame on our lawmakers for going along with this travesty.”
— Melissa English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action
link to letter to the editor