Over the years, I’ve been privileged to have met many famous people who have engaged in our national political life – AJ Muste, William F. Buckley, Jr., Gene McCarthy, William Sloane Coffin, Carlos Fuentes to name just a few.
But meeting with and talking to Lois Gibbs was an incredible experience because like Rosa Parks it wasn’t her station in life which has earned her such respect and notoriety but her determination to confront injustice most would have ignored.
Her message to those of us who want to organize to address pollution issues be it in urban, suburban or rural Oregon must follow three strategic rules
- Good science is the first place to start to combat those who have been given what amounts to a license to pollute by government agencies like DEQ;
- Develop good law by asking the right question – not how do you stop the damage from the polluter but how do you make industry safe for its employees and neighbors?
- Advocates for change must first speak out and then organize. And as they organize they must learn how to think “outside the box” of conventional politics. Read More from Russ.
While fracking has been going on for years, many of the chemicals used in the process were considered by industry and regulators to exist under the umbrella of proprietary chemicals or “trade secrets”. When mixed with water and sand the mixture is pumped deep underground to break apart rocks to facilitate gas extraction.
Recent pressure from environmental advocacy groups and regulators has prompted fracking companies to release 100 percent of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid chemicals as well as their health impacts. Many of these chemicals are toxic and the lack of transparency by most of the industry has instilled worry in communities living with fracking.
What one public health researcher at the University of Pittsburgh calls “a step in the right direction” is going to take months to implement, but some hope that this will lead to more transparency by the fracking industry.
While some fracking companies do release proprietary compounds on FracFocus.org, the exact concentrations and health impacts are not clearly outlined. Some 25 states already mandate that chemical compounds be released to the public, and many hope this move by industry will bring about broad-based transparency and expanded efforts to educate the public.
The industry-backed American Petroleum Institute calls this mandate from the EPA “unnecessary and duplicative” as “chemical information is already available to EPA … [and] state regulators”. The seemingly antiquated sentiment expressed by oil and gas’ main lobbying group leaves out one thing: people. People like you and me can’t readily access this information and certainly can’t understand its’ scope of importance. What does Tetrakis Hydroxymethyl-Phosphonium Sulfate mean to you? Yes, to industry insiders this compound and its role might be easily understood but to me and I’m assuming other non-industry folks it sounds scary and disruptive.
I’m not alone in feeling this way. Many are calling for the processes and implications of fracking to be presented to the communities this invasive practice is harming to be more accessible. While this legislation is a step forward it is indicative of a growing movement against the industry’s hands off approach to energy development. More and more communities are standing up and demanding that the full scope of health, community and social impacts be investigated and taken into account.
This Order is issued to all railroad carriers that transport in a single train in commerce within the United States, 1,000,000 gallons or more of UN 1267, Petroleum crude oil, Class 3, sourced from the Bakken shale formation in the Williston Basin (Bakken crude oil). By this Order, DOT is requiring that each railroad carrier provide the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) for each state in which it operates trains transporting 1,000,000 gallons or more of Bakken crude oil, notification regarding the expected movement of such trains through the counties in the state. Read More.
Ohio geologists linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing. Ohio state government reacted by issuing new permit conditions in certain areas. This makes Ohio’s restrictions among the nation’s strictest (at least for the limited areas). Read More.
A new study helps explain this discrepancy. The most commonly used air monitoring techniques often underestimate public health threats because they don’t catch toxic emissions that spike. Read more.
This is funny and so sad talking about fracking related problems in the only way that the Daily Show can. Click here to watch.
The state agency’s chief lawyer said Monday that he saw no conflict of interest in Calloway’s prior representation of Duke, the nation’s largest electricity company. Read more.
Two hundred wells near homes and school held at bay by an emergency moratorium on all new drilling. Read more.
On Jan. 9th Disney said the company has pulled out of the remaining installments of the Rocking Ohio tour. The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids’ interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program. Wait the Oil and Gas Industry has a new idea to reach young children. An Ohio association funded by oil and gas drillers has been paying for teacher-training seminars in which industry-funded representatives demonstrate how students can learn about oil and gas extraction in fun ways. Read more.
As the first official research is published that confirms water contamination by hydraulic fracturing, an alarming amount and array of hazardous chemicals and compounds – including arsenic, chloride, barium and radium – are found in Pennsylvania groundwater. Read more.