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Babies Born Near Natural Gas Flaring Sites are 50% More Likely to be Premature

Recent studies have linked air pollution from the burning of excess natural gas to increased birth rate of premature babies. Many mothers that live near natural gas flaring sites are from low-income and minority communities, signally the environmental injustices linked deeply to these issues. In addition, there are few health-protective regulations that help control the high level of flaring that takes place across the country. Read More
Photo Credit: Trudy E. Bell

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Report Released on Impacts of Fracking in Appalachian Basin

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University and Stanford University released a comprehensive study on the impacts of fracking in the Appalachian Basin. The study focused on premature deaths in relation to air quality, regional climate changes and employment opportunities from industry expansion. Read More. 

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Homepage Water News

Atlantic Coast Pipeline – Stopped Again in Virginia

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today vacated a permit to build a compressor station for the proposed Atlantic Coast gas pipeline, citing a Virginia state board for inadequately assessing its environmental justice impacts on the largely African American community of Union Hill. Read more.

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Court says “NO” to PennEast’s Pipeline in New Jersey

In a decision that could have implications for Pennsylvania landowners in the path of PennEast’s $1 billion natural gas pipeline, a U.S. appeals court on Tuesday barred the company from using federal law to seize properties controlled by New Jersey. New Jersey, which opposes construction of the 120-mile pipeline, did not consent to PennEast’s condemnation of 42 properties preserved by the state for farmland or open space. Read More.

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Members of Seneca Nation paddle 290 miles for peace down Ohi:yo’ (Allegheny) River, Pennsylvania

Members of the Seneca Nation paddled down the entire 290 miles of the Allegheny River, called Ohi:yo’ (meaning beautiful river) in the Seneca language, in a journey called Paddle for Peace to Protect Our Waters. The journey has been organized by Seneca cause Defend Ohi:yo’, a group that helped stop corporations from dumping treated fracking water in the river just last year. The purpose of the journey is to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the environment and to protest a proposed pipeline project that will threaten the region’s rivers. <Read more>

One of many bends down the 290 mile length of Ohi:yo' (Allegheny) River
One of many bends down the 290 mile length of Ohi:yo’ (Allegheny) River
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News Archive

Pennsylvania Families Win Settlement Against Fracking Operation

Almost 10 years ago, the Haney and Voyles families of Washington County, Pennsylvania, began suspecting that a nearby fracking operation was contaminating their community and threatening their health. Family members noticed their water smelled strange, and they suffered from frequent headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness and extreme fatigue to the point where Haney’s son was diagnosed with Arsenic poisoning. In 2012, the families sued Range Resources, and journalist Eliza Griswold documented their struggle in her 2019 Pulitzer Prize winning book “Amity and Prosperity”.
After seven years, the high profile fracking suit has ended in a settlement, information released to the public via an unintentional computer error. Range Resources will be required by law to pay the families $3 million dollars in damages. Read more

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Opinion: Fix trade secret law to protect precious water from fracking

If the public is going to have a robust debate about the merits of fracking, both sides need to know what’s being pumped into the ground. <Read more>.

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Pipeline Opponents Strike Back Against Anti-Protest Laws

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First Responders, Health Professionals Question EPA’s Decision to Hide Fracking Chemicals

This month, representatives of a group of first responders, health professionals and scientists questioned EPA’s decision to withhold the secret identities of 41 chemicals used for oil and natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing that the EPA’s own regulators identified as posing health risks. <Read more>.

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Backyard Talk

What’s Up with the Green New Deal?

By Maia Lehmann. The ever-tenacious Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveiled her Green New Deal (GND) on February 7th amidst great anticipation. The non-binding resolution, co-sponsored by Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, sought to provide the United States with a comprehensive vision to combat climate change using a holistic approach. Excitement was widely felt by those who have been waiting decades to see public health, climate change, and environmental justice seriously addressed by federal legislation. But, what did Ocasio-Cortez’s plan actually lay out? And what’s happening to it now?
The goal of the Green New Deal (GND) was to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions and 100% renewable power use by 2030. This objective was met by broad support from the American public, with 87.2% of citizens polled saying that they strongly agreed with the statement. Adapting the U.S. energy portfolio is an essential step, seeing as in 2017 petroleum, natural gas, and coal accounted for 77.6% of U.S. energy—a direct disconnect from what Americans say they want from their energy sector.
The 14-page GND begins with a preamble that describes the policy issues as seen by Ocasio-Cortez: one-part climate crisis, one-part economic crisis. The preamble is followed by five goals, 24 projects, and 15 requirements that intend to lay a framework for how to address these problems. Rather than laying out concrete steps however, the GND uses a broad brush to advocate for an energy efficient electrical grids, updating infrastructure, and overhauling the transportation sector. While critics say that it is ignoring the most integral questions, it is strategically opening a space for disagreement and discussion.
The GND faces plenty of hurdles, especially since it includes several social and economic oriented projects, such as, “Guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and disability leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States.” Whether you agree with these issues or not, including them could make the reality of passing the bill even more difficult than climate legislation is already. And the difficulty of climate legislation is highlighted by the co-sponsorship of Senator Markey, who was a leader on the American Clean Energy and Security Act in 2009. The 2009 bill had a much narrower focus but still failed to pass even when both houses of Congress and the presidency was held by Democrats. However, rather than letting that cast a shadow upon the GND, perhaps it speaks to the need for radical changes to the status quo. In fact, 69.8% of Americans polled supported the intertwined social and environmental goals. And due to the inseparable nature of these policy issues it may be advantageous to craft a vision of how they could be developed in tandem. If previous incremental policy efforts have failed, and the opinions of the public are not being reflected by our lawmakers, then it is time to embrace an innovative comprehensive approach.
On March 26th the Senate voted the resolution down in a vote of 57-0, with the majority of Democrats voting “present” in protest to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bringing the bill to the floor without hearings or debate. If anything, Senate Republican’s refusal to even discuss the most pressing issues of climate change demonstrate the necessity for dramatic policy change. The halt of the GND in the senate did not stall the zeal for the overall project of the GND. Representative Ocasio-Cortez is now refocusing her efforts by writing a series of small bills that will target both social and environmental issues in a more individualized method. The GND has successfully reinvigorated and rallied the efforts and public spirit for tackling the current climate crisis and provided a vision for what a sustainable and equitable America could look like. All of the Senate Democrats running for the presidency in 2020 have endorsed the GND, signaling that its vision will continue to permeate and inspire environmental legislation. This will not be the end of a green future that will support all of America.
Sources:
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/2/7/18211709/green-new-deal-resolution-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-markey
https://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/climate-change/flaws-with-a-green-new-deal-part-2-of-2/
https://www.investopedia.com/the-green-new-deal-explained-4588463
https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_home
https://www.businessinsider.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-green-new-deal-support-among-americans-poll-2019-2
https://www.dataforprogress.org/green-new-deal-support