SAN FRANCISCO, CA — “Rainforest Action Network (RAN), and the community that has grown around it for more than 25 years, are mourning the sudden and tragic loss of Executive Director, Rebecca Tarbotton, who died unexpectedly on Wednesday, December 26.
A self-proclaimed “pragmatic idealist,” Rebecca Tarbotton (‘Becky’ to friends and family) was admired by environmentalists and climate change activists for her visionary work protecting forests, pushing the nation to transition to a clean energy economy and defending human rights. She was the first female executive director of RAN and a strong female voice in a movement often dominated by men.
The RAN staff, her friends and family remember a ‘force of nature’ with an infectious laugh, adventurous spirit, and a heart bursting with love.”
CINCINNATI — If there’s one thing everyone remembers about Ohio Citizen Action, it’s that we are the people who knock on your door every year. We ask you to join the organization and write a personal letter to a key decision-maker in our campaigns for safe drinking water and clean air.
One of the most fun parts of our work is when our members ask their children to draw pictures to include with their letters.
We’ve heard directly from the elected officials and corporate decision makers who receive them that the childrens’ drawings are especially effective. Kids have a wonderful way of getting straight to the heart of the matter. And, after all, wanting to leave a better world for future generations is the reason many of us get involved with Ohio Citizen Action.
Thank you for being a part of Ohio Citizen Action. I hope you’ll consider making a special, tax-deductible year-end gift to Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund. Help us to leave these kids the kind of world they deserve.
— Melissa English, Development Director, Ohio Citizen Action
Leaked fracking fluid has contaminated groundwater after a “serious” incident at a well site near Grande Prairie in September 2011, according to an investigation by the Energy Resources Conservation Board which regulates the energy industry.
EDMONTON, CANADA — “Leaked fracking fluid has contaminated groundwater after a ‘serious’ incident at a well site near Grande Prairie in September 2011, according to an investigation by the Energy Resources Conservation Board which regulates the energy industry.
Calgary-based Crew Energy ‘inadvertently’ released toxic fluids at too shallow a level in a natural gas well and then failed to realize the leak was occurring underground, said the ERCB report released Thursday.
‘There were multiple opportunities to recognize that a problem existed which could have prevented or at least minimized the impact of hydraulic fracturing operation above the base of groundwater protection,’ says the report.
While a drinking water source near the surface was not affected, a groundwater basin below it was contaminated, said ERCB spokesman Daren Barter, adding this is considered a ‘serious’ if rare incident. The ERCB gave the company a ‘high risk enforcement action’ ordering it to supply a revised fracking plan.”
CINCINNATI — “Rumpke Consolidated Cos. Inc. will receive $32 million in government financing for a new recycling plant to replace one severely damaged by fire in April.
The financing is the first such deal ever authorized for a recycling facility by the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority. It approved issuance of up to $32 million in federally tax-exempt facility bonds.”
Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine and veterinarian Michelle Bamberger.
SALEM — “The researchers, veterinarian Michelle Bamberger and Robert Oswald, published the study of 24 cases of farmers in six shale states, including Ohio and Pennsylvania. They concluded the livestock experienced neurological, reproductive and gastrointestinal problems after being exposed to fracking fluids either accidentally or incidentally.
The article was originally published in New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy.
According to the study, more than one-third of the cases involved conventional wells and the remainder were horizontal wells.
The most dramatic case, the study noted, was the death of 17 cattle in one hour after being exposed directly to hydraulic fracturing fluid.
In north central Pennsylvania, 140 cattle were exposed to fracking wastewater after an impoundment was breached. Seventy of the cattle died and the remainder produced only 11 calves in which only three survived.”
CLEVELAND — “The snows are late in coming this year — the longest time between snowfalls in 85 years. But low snowfalls are only one threat to water levels in the Great Lakes at a time when frackers need more fresh water and a new Ohio water-withdrawal bill favors industrial uses.
The intersection of dropping lake levels and rising demand for water puts added pressure on Ohio Department of Natural Resources scientists and an appointed advisory board to draft tough water-use regulations. ODNR officials say they are working on tough rules, but time is not on Ohio’s side.
… When it comes to these irreplaceable liquid assets, the state must be fresh water’s toughest steward.”
The Big Sandy power plant in eastern Kentucky. Its owners said it would shut down the facility’s coal-burning furnaces in 2015.
WASHINGTON, DC — “American Electric Power, or A.E.P., the nation’s biggest consumer of coal, announced that it would shut its coal-burning boilers at the Big Sandy electric power plant near Louisa, Ky., a 1,100-megawatt facility that since the early 1960s has been burning coal that was mined locally.
Big Sandy this year became a symbol of the plight of the coal industry nationwide. Strict new environmental regulations are forcing large utilities to spend billions of dollars to retrofit old coal-burning plants or shut them down, replacing them in most cases with equipment that uses cleaner-burning natural gas.
A.E.P., which is based in Ohio, has repeatedly changed its mind over what to do with Big Sandy, a big employer in eastern Kentucky, both at the 120-employee plant itself and in the Appalachian-area coal mines that feed it 2.5 million tons of coal each year.”
AKRON — “When Congress approved and then renewed the Clean Air Act, it placed the priority on public health. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has the job of ensuring the law fulfills its purpose. Thus, armed with scientific studies and court rulings, the agency announced last week a new standard for soot pollution, ordering reductions in emissions from smokestacks, diesel engines and other sources of tiny particles.
These particles generate haze, and they pose a health hazard. The elderly and children are most vulnerable. The soot penetrates deeply into respiratory systems, triggering lung and heart conditions, often aggravating asthma. Studies link soot to roughly 15,000 premature deaths a year.
…More, the agency has set a reasonable deadline of 2020 for meeting the new standard. If the past is any indication, a fudge factor will come into play, allowing for additional flexibility. The important thing is, the agency has acted, establishing a standard with the law in mind, giving priority to public health. Soon enough, the air will be a significant measure cleaner, and the safe bet is, few will complain or want to reverse the result.”
DENVER, CO — “The oil and gas industry on Monday hit Longmont with a lawsuit to kill voters’ recent ban on fracking within city limits.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association contends the ban is illegal because it denies mineral owners the right to develop their property and blocks operations that state laws allow.
COGA has asked Weld County district court to invalidate the resolution passed by Longmont voters.
‘We recognize and understand that the citizens of Longmont are concerned about the safety of their environment,’ COGA president Tisha Schuller said in a written statement.
‘We hope that the lawsuit can be quickly resolved,’ Schuller continued, so that industry and the city can cooperate ‘to address those concerns in a way that does not illegally preclude the safe and responsible development of oil and gas reserves.’
Even as water grows more precious, the Environmental Protection Agency has permitted oil and gas, mining and other industries to contaminate aquifers in more than 1,500 places.
NEW YORK, NY — “Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation’s drinking water.
In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.
EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.
‘You are sacrificing these aquifers,’ said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. ‘By definition, you are putting pollution into them. … If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go.’”
AUSTIN, TX — “It’s not often that a new regulatory idea becomes so popular that one or more states per month climb on the bandwagon. But that is precisely what has happened with the push to disclose which chemicals are pumped into the ground to stimulate oil and natural gas production during the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
A year ago, only three states (Arkansas, Montana and Wyoming) required oil and gas producers to tell the public what chemicals they were using. Two other states (Colorado and Texas) were actively developing such rules. Today, just twelve months later, statutes or regulations mandating ‘frack’ chemical disclosure are on the books in no fewer than 18 states, and proposals are pending or under consideration in several others.
FracFocus, an online registry that compiles information on hydraulic fracturing chemicals both for states where disclosure is voluntary and required, has been up and running for just 20 months, but already it houses approximately 800,000 records that include ingredients data. As of December 5, 2012, this data represented 33,606 wells. The amount of information on the site continues to grow rapidly.”
SALEM — “According to the original lawsuit, the landowners felt deprived of the ‘fair value right’ of their land. This means that within one year from the expiration or cancellation of the lease, the landowners should have been able to obtain a third-party offer to lease the land.
The landowners contend that this ‘fair value right’ means that they should be able to obtain the signing bonus payments and royalty percentages that other landowners are getting in Columbiana County.
A copy of the lease was included in the original lawsuit filed, and the language in question can be seen in the adjacent box.
However, Judge Markus did not agree with the landowners’ interpretation of the language, and denied the motion for a summary judgment. He also denied the motion for summary judgment on the meaning of the same language for Chesapeake Exploration.”
Location of the gas processing plant at the intersection of state Route 644 and Tunnel Hill and Hagan roads.
HANOVERTON — “John is the M3 Midstream LLC construction coordinator of the project, and once completed, the first plant of this kind in the area will serve as a collection and compression site for the natural gas from wells being drilled in eastern Ohio.
The independent midstream energy company, also known as Momentum, is a partner with Chesapeake Energy and EnerVest and the plant is located between state Route 644 and Tunnel Hill Road in Hanover Township.
John said the company’s entire purpose is liquids extraction and the local operation includes a cryogenic processing facility that will extract natural gas liquids (NGL) from the shale gas, such as propane, butane and ethane.”
Letters to Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman
6,615 members have sent handwritten letters and petitions to Senator Brown urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
3,751 members have petitioned Senator Portman urging him to support US EPA rules that will protect our health from polluting coal plants as of January 24, 2012.
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