On May 16 the U.S. Senate confirmed MIT professor Dr. Ernest Moniz as the new Secretary of Energy. Among his responsibilities are oversight of investments in clean energy and Federal measures to address the global climate crisis. He will also have full authority to decide what role domestically-fracked gas will play in the nation’s energy future, which is of concern to environmentalists. Please view the OPEN LETTER to Secretary Moniz from Deb Nardone, the Sierra Club’s Beyond Natural Gas Campaign Director.
|June 1, 2013|
|1:00 pm||to||3:00 pm|
This campaign strategy meeting will be hosted by Marcellus Protest and led by Sam Bernhardt from the nonprofit group Food and Water Watch. All are invited.
1:00-3:00 pm, Saturday, June 1, 2013
Friends Meeting House
4836 Ellsworth Ave. Shadyside neighborhood
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
To protect our communities from the degradation of hydraulic fracturing, we need to organize and mobilize, but we must use our resources efficiently and strategically. How we can effectively select targets and design effective campaigns will be discussed, followed by a workshop to develop campaign skills..
For more information, contact Mel Packer at melpacker at aol dot com.
Sam Bernhardt is the Pennsylvania Organizer at Food & Water Watch, Based in Philadelphia, Sam coordinates Food & Water Watch campaigns on food and water issues around the state. His work in Pennsylvania centers around empowering communities to fight by training and organizing groups to hold their elected officials accountable.
If a nationwide moratorium on hydrofracking is not yet in the cards, at least we can close some of most egregious loopholes. That is what the bipartisan Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act (FRAC Act) is designed to do. Introduced on May 9 by Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO1) and Chris Gibson (R-NY19 ), the FRAC Act would do the following: (more…)
In an encouraging move for Fractivists and folk worried about local rights, on May 2 a New York Appeals Court upheld the right of a municipality to use zoning laws to ban hydro fracking operations in their district. This decision was discussed in detail on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR (51 mins) with participants including Deborah Goldberg (Earth justice) and Micheal Brune (Sierra Club).
|June 20, 2013|
As part of a national ‘preview’ tour Gasland Part II will be shown free to the public on Thursday, June 20, at the Soldiers and Sailors Hall in Oakland. Doors open at 6 pm with live music and the screening begins at 7 pm. Director Josh Fox will be present. Gasland Part II is an HBO Documentary Films release presented by Gasland Grassroots. It will premiere on HBO on July 8th.
Numerous events were held around the region on Earth Day, but two events are highlighted here. As part of the continuing campaign to at least regulate Marcellus shale gas drilling, if not stop it completely, in the morning about 75 activists marched from the North Shore to the DEP regional office on Washington Island. At the DEP office the protesters called for less industry influence on regulation, some moratoria, and a re-newed emphasis on renewable energy. The later point was the topic of an evening Town Hall meeting where environmental, labor and business leaders hosted a Climate Legacy Town Hall meeting to call on President Obama to make America a leader in solving the climate crisis by doubling down on clean energy. (more…)
If you really wanted to damage a prime natural area with industrial shale gas extraction, it would be hard to chose a better site place than the Rock Run watershed in Loyalsock State Forest in Sullivan County, northeast of Williamsport. Rock Run is often referred to as “the prettiest stream’ in Pennsylvania, a stream that the state should be protecting with the utmost effort. The state does not own the mineral rights beneath a portion of the Rock Run watershed, but according to the 1983 deed the DCNR has the authority to restrict development in that portion of the watershed. At issue is whether DCNR will exercise its authority and limit Andarko Petroleum from drilling in the area. See HERE for more background information and how you can help.
The small community of LaBelle in Fayette County is having a rough time. Last December residents complained at a DEP public hearing about air pollution from a minefill site on the banks of the Monongahela River. Shortly afterwards they learned that coal ash from the Bruce Mansfield power plant in Beaver County would be dumped at the minefill site. Now they find that blasting explosives were illegally planted on what is still formally a ‘mine reclamation site’ as part of a planned seismic test for Marcellus shale drilling. The federal Mine Shafty and Health Administration and PA-DEP has ordered the explosives to be removed, but it does raise questions about the level of regulatory oversight. (more…)
In a new 6-minute video Prof. Anthony Ingraffea summarizes the origin of methane from fracking operations and the contribution of methane to climate change. This is a useful video to pass along to others, showing how we need to focus on developing a truly green-fueled economy. For the interim, the fracking industry needs to drastically reduce methane emissions with or without strong EPA action.
Last year the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (SWPA) began operating in Washington County to meet the health needs of individuals and communities affected by shale gas extraction. Earlier this year SWPA was asked to share their experiences with the NY State Health Commissioner, resulting in an OpEd in the Albany Times Union. Of special interest is the SWPA finding that air pollution is of more concern than water pollution. Concluding his OpEd, SWPA’s Dr. David Brown stated: (more…)
Michael Krancer will depart his position as head of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection on April 15. This announcement by Gov. Corbett surprised the environmental community, partly because Krancer seemed to be doing exactly what the Governor wanted – ensuring an easy regulatory path for the shale gas industry to move ahead unhindered. But apparently Krancer’s heavy handed treatment of the public, as well as his gaffe’s such as denying climate change seems to have been too damaging for a Governor whose poll numbers need a lift. As our Sierra Club spokesman Jeff Schmidt said in the statement below, now is the time for the DEP to get back to Protecting the Environment. (more…)
Working with the premise that if it cannot be stopped, then at least it should be done as well as possible, five environmental organizations have worked with leaders of the shale gas industry to establish the Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD). Based in Pittsburgh, the center will provide certification throughout the Appalachian Basin for drilling operations similar to the LEED certification for ‘green’ buildings. As pointed out below by the Sierra Club’s Deb Nardone, this voluntary certification measure, albeit independently audited, is not a substitute for rigorous safeguards, monitoring, and enforcement, nor does it take care of the federal and state loopholes that the industry currently enjoys. Also see a media response to the Sierra Club’s statement. (more…)
Here is a reading of how President Obama’s nominations of a new EPA Administrator and a new Energy Secretary may reveal his strategy for climate change in his second term. Nominating MIT scientist Ernest Moniz suggests an emphasis on R&D, from carbon sequestration to nuclear to wind and solar – an ‘all of the above approach’ for the long term that disappoints the environmental community. What can be done in the short term is regulating carbon emissions and energy efficiency, etc., and this lies within the domain of the EPA, with nominee Gina McCarthy seeming to have a very suitable background. What cheers enviros is that McCarthy seems to be in favor of rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, and she will have responsibility for stronger ‘fracking’ regulations.
ACTION. Urge DCNR Secretary Allan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to open a State Forest drilling plan to public comment. (See talking points.)
You may have never heard of Loyalsock State Forest. It lies at the heart of the Endless Mountain region in Sullivan County, and has become another focal point in protection from shale gas drilling. As in most of the State Forests, the state owns the surface rights but not the mining rights. In the case of Loyalsock SF, the company Andarko is negotiating with the Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources to drill for shale gas in an area of great ecological and recreational significance known as the “Clarence Moore lands”. With special conditions set out in the mineral rights covenant, State-wide organizations called on DCNR Secretary Allan to sponsor public comment and a hearing into Anadarko’s development plans.
Individual states are approaching the extraction of deep shale gas in different ways. In Pennsylvania the Corbett administration, closely tied to the gas industry, charged ahead with allowing drillers virtually free rein and limited regulation. Responding to enormous public concern about pollution of the state’s drinking water, New York legislators have passed a two-year moratorium on fracking until a study of the possible impact on public health has been completed. In Illinois the debate has split the environmental community into those who fear that fracking is inevitable and therefore call for tight regulation, and those who simply demand a moratorium. Meanwhile, the message from the Obama administration is that natural gas is an important component of the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy, a positionthat may collide with efforts to slow climate change.
Search the site
for regular updates.
- 29 May:
- 1 June:
- 4 June:
- 5 June:
- 9 June:
C02 PPM from co2now.org