Sunday, March 30, 2014

defending our water from fracking

The Center for Environmental Health links fracking to miscarriage, as well as to impaired learning and impaired intellectual ability, in children who are exposed to the air and water near fracking wells.

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson just became the highest-profile anti-fracking activist in the world.
Even though he is the CEO of one of the largest fracking companies in the world, Tillerson is suing to block a fracking development near his Texas horse ranch because it would create a "noise nuisance and traffic hazards."1 2

The situation is rich with irony, but the truth is that Rex Tillerson is right: He shouldn't have to cope with the horrendous local impacts of fracking. Nobody should. And as the CEO of America's largest natural gas producer, he has tremendous power to protect communities across the country from fracking.
Tell ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson: Fight fracking everywhere, not just in your backyard. Click here to sign the petition automatically.
Tillerson's lawsuit concerns a water tower near his property which, if built, would supply nearby fracking operations. Tillerson and his neighbors are suing to block the construction of the tower, arguing that the presence of heavy trucks hauling water to fracking sites would devalue their properties.3
Tillerson's ranch is in Bartonville, in Denton County right outside of Forth Worth, on top of the infamous Barnett shale. Fracking operations in North Texas', many of them owned by ExxonMobil, have had devastating effects on the health and safety of Tillerson's neighbors. It's no surprise, then, that Tillerson isn't the only Texan fighting to protect his home from fracking.
In the city of Denton, where some fracked wells are less than 200 feet from suburban homes, residents are organizing to place a fracking ban on the city's ballot.4 5 Dallas residents passed a de facto ban on fracking, preventing XTO, an ExxonMobil subsidiary, from fracking in the city limits.6 Hundreds of North Texas residents have stormed Texas Railroad Commission hearings to demand that the commission shut down fracking wastewater injection wells that residents believe are causing earthquakes.7
But instead of using his considerable wealth and political influence to help his neighbors fight fracking, Tillerson has vocally backed fracking -- unless, of course, it might impact the market value of his multimillion-dollar horse ranch. Tillerson's hypocrisy is truly shameful. And the best way to call it out is to admit that he's right: Not even Rex Tillerson deserves to be fracked.
Tell ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson: Fight fracking everywhere, not just in your backyard. Click here to sign the petition automatically.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Automatically add your name:
Sign the petition ►
1. Rebecca Leber, "Exxon CEO Comes Out Against Fracking Project Because It Will Affect His Property Values," ThinkProgress, February 21, 2014
2. Amy Silverstein, "Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson is Suing to Stop a Fracking Development Outside Dallas," Dallas Observer, February 21, 2014
3. Daniel Gilbert, "Exxon CEO Joins Suit Citing Fracking Concerns," Wall Street Journal, February 20, 2014
4. Julie Dermansky, "Welcome to Gasland: Denton, Texas Residents Face Fracking Impacts From EagleRidge Energy," DeSmogBlog, December 5, 2013
5. Denton Drilling Awareness Group 6. Andrew Breiner, "Did Dallas Just Ban Fracking?" ThinkProgress, December 5, 2013
7. Nicholas Sakelaris, "Railroad commission will not halt injection wells in Azle area," Dallas Business Journal, January 21, 2014

A dangerous new Coast Guard policy would allow the fracking industry to ship millions of gallons of toxic and radioactive waste from Pennsylvania and West Virginia down the Ohio River to Ohio and down the Mississippi to Texas and Louisiana, where it would likely be disposed of in earthquake-causing injection wells.1 2 3
A barge accident could spill dangerous wastewater directly into these rivers, which provide drinking water for millions. Further, by making it less expensive to dispose of fracking wastewater, the policy would incentivize more fracking.
The Coast Guard is accepting public comments on its policy until November 29. We need to tell the Coast Guard to reverse course on the proposed policy and not put our water at risk to help the fracking industry dump its toxic waste.
Tell the Coast Guard: Don't open our waterways to radioactive fracking wastewater. Click here to submit a public comment.
Fracking in Pennsylvania and West Virginia produces gargantuan amounts of toxic wastewater -- and the fracking industry is running out of places to dump it.4 Fracking wastewater contains a slew of toxic, cancer-causing chemicals used during fracking, as well as radioactive material that naturally occurs in shale and returns to the surface with the water and chemicals used for fracking. Conventional wastewater treatment facilities can't remove many of the toxins in fracking wastewater and, in some cases, they even make it more dangerous!5
But despite the terrifying threat of a major spill, the Coast Guard has refused to conduct a rigorous, comprehensive environmental review, instead baselessly declaring that it doesn't expect the policy to have any substantial environmental impact. The Coast Guard even plans to allow the fracking industry to keep secret the toxic chemicals in its wastewater -- making it dramatically harder to safely contain and clean up a spill if it occurs.
Even if the wastewater gets to its intended destination without spilling, it still poses a major threat to communities that will become a dumping ground for fracking waste. Wastewater injection wells can cause dangerous earthquakes and drinking water contamination.6 7
Activists across the country are waging pitched battles to shut down the fracking industry. The Coast Guard shouldn't help the fracking industry contaminate our water, pollute our air, and accelerate climate change by opening our rivers to toxic fracking waste.
Tell the Coast Guard: Don't open America's waterways to radioactive fracking wastewater. Click here to submit a public comment.
Thanks for fighting fracking.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Take action now ►
1. Sharon Kelly, "Coast Guard Proposal to Allow Barges to Haul Fracking Wastewater Draws Fire From Environmentalists," DeSmogBlog, November 9, 2013
2. Mike Ludwig, "Coast Guard Moves to Approve Barging of Hazardous Fracking Waste on Major Rivers," TruthOut, November 13, 2013
3. Emily DeMarco, "U.S. Coast Guard publishes proposed policy on moving frack wastewater by barge," PublicSource, November 1, 2013
4. Bob Downing, "Pennsylvania drilling wastes might overwhelm Ohio injection wells," Akron Beacon Journal, January 23, 2013
5. Bill Chameides, "Fracking Water: It’s Just So Hard to Clean," National Geographic, October 4, 2013
6. Abrahm Lustgarten, "Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us," ProPublica, June 21, 2012
7. Ryan Grenoble, "Oklahoma 'Earthquake Swarm' May Be Linked Wastewater Disposal From Fracking," Huffington Post, October 24, 2013

Climate Activist—
Protect our national treasures from substandard oil and gas operations.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted last night to pass the so-called "Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act" (HR 2728), a bill that would block federal environmental standards of hydraulic fracturing on federal lands.

A companion bill has been distributed in the Senate by Utah Senator Orrin Hatch.

I'm not going to sugarcoat it—this is a terrible idea. At a time when, with your support and activism, we've been working so hard across the country to protect communities by establishing tougher environmental and public health standards on the natural gas industry, this bill would put the air, water, and wildlife on federal lands at grave risk from substandard oil and gas operations.

It is crazy for Congress to strip the federal government of any right to take action to protect our public lands. These special places don't belong to the oil and gas companies—they belong to all of us and to future generations of Americans. And we must stand together to protect them.

When we last wrote to you about the House bill a little more than a week ago, 27,678 of you took action by sending emails to your U.S. Representatives. Thank you for speaking out against this outrageous bill.

Now, I'd like to ask you to take action again—this time by helping us stop this foolishness in the Senate.

Please email your Senators today to oppose the Hatch bill. Tell your Senators we need to work together to promote stronger standards on the natural gas industry to protect our communities and our natural environment. The last thing we should be doing is gutting the protections we already have.

Please take action today.

Jim MarstonThank you for your standing with us,
Jim Marston
Vice President, US Climate and Energy

Several years ago, gas companies set up fracking operations near the Hallowich family farm in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Soon after, the Hallowiches started experiencing health problems like nosebleeds, sore throats, and unexplained headaches. They were forced to abandon their home and to sue the gas companies, eventually reaching a settlement that includes a standard gag order.
But in an unprecedented move, the gas companies insisted the gag order extend to the Hallowiches’ children, age 7 and 10 years old at the time, legally barring them from talking about what happened to them -- and fracking -- forever.
As a parent, I am outraged that these dirty fracking companies have stooped to a new low by going after children. That's why I started my own campaign on CREDO Mobilize that allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Range Resources, Mark West Energy Partners, and Williams Gas, asks the following:
Stop silencing children. Take immediate legal action to remove the Hallowich children from the gag order placed on their family, and ensure your company does not include children in any future gag orders related to fracking.

The Hallowich children suffered unexplained illnesses and were forced to move from their childhood home. They will be processing these traumatic experiences for the rest of their lives. Children should not be forced by fossil fuel corporations to remain silent about issues that affect their health and well-being.
The Hallowiches’ story is just the latest example of how fracking and other extreme energy extraction are affecting families across the country. Families are battling air and water contamination — some people have even been able to light their tap water on fire. And every day we see more news of droughts, wildfires, and extreme weather fueled by climate change, caused by carbon pollution from projects like these. Far too often, it’s children who bear the brunt.
When pressed by the media, Range Resources Corporation, one of the companies involved in the lawsuit, told reporters it will not enforce the application of the gag order if the children decide to speak out. But, the family’s lawyer says the gag order, as currently written, could land the kids in legal trouble if they talk publicly about what happened to them -- or the impacts of fracking -- in the future. In order to protect the Hallowich kids, all three of the companies involved must take the legal steps necessary to remove the children from the gag order.
Will you join me and add your name to my petition telling Range Resources, Mark West Energy Partners, and Williams Gas to legally remove the children from the gag order — and commit to never go after kids again?
Thank you for your support.
Corinne Ball

September 5, 2013

Wow. Last week, CREDO and 275 allied organizations delivered more than 600,000 public comments—including yours and more than 120,000 others from CREDO activists—telling the Obama administration to ban fracking on federal lands.
You may not have known it when you submitted your comment (I certainly didn't!), but you were participating in what may be the single largest display of opposition to fracking ever to take place in the United States.
This huge push to tell President Obama not to frack America couldn't come at a more important time. Since he unveiled his Climate Action Plan, President Obama has bravely spoken out about the need to confront climate change. But, as admirable as many parts of his plan are, President Obama has continued to endorse fracking for oil and gas as part of his Climate Action Plan, even though fracking is a major threat to the climate and to countless American communities.
We don't know how the Obama administration will respond to our comments. What we do know is that what has worked so far to stop fracking is relentless grassroots pressure.
In the last few years, grassroots activists from New York to California have waged and won campaigns to protect their communities from fracking. The hundreds of thousands of comments we delivered to President Obama are the direct result of that local and statewide organizing, which has drawn huge numbers of ordinary people into the anti-fracking movement.
We need to keep building momentum to ban fracking at the local level if we want to ever see change in Washington, D.C. And there's an easy way to do it. CREDO recently launched CREDO Mobilize, which allows activists like you to start petitions to make progressive change in your community. Already, dozens of local campaigns have been started to ban fracking.
Click here to find and sign the petition to ban fracking where you live. Or if one hasn't been started where you live, start your own. We'll support you every step of the way and, if your petition takes off, we'll send it to other CREDO activists to help you get more signatures.
If you're starting your own petition, the more local your petition is the better. For example, it's often easier to pressure your city council to act than it is to pressure your governor. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
  • Tell your local elected officials to ban fracking in your city or county.
  • Tell your state legislator or your member of Congress to publicly endorse a ban on fracking.
  • Start a petition opposing a proposed fracking infrastructure project—a pipeline, a compressor station, a natural gas power plant, water withdrawal permits, a silica sand mine, a wastewater injection well, etc.
We have a hard fight ahead of us and the way forward won't always be clear. The fracking industry has an awful lot of money and influence, and many of the most powerful people in the country—including President Obama—continue to claim that fracking is necessary.
But, as last week's comment delivery shows, there are also an awful lot of us fighting to stop the fracking industry from poisoning our water and air. And, as the successful fights to keep fracking out of New York, Maryland, and dozens of communities on the frontlines of the fracking boom show, we are increasingly winning the fights we pick.
Thank you for everything you do.
Zack Malitz, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

The Environmental Protection Agency released a progress report Friday that reiterated its support for increasing natural gas development in the United States.

"As the administration and EPA has made clear, natural gas has a central role to play in our energy future," the agency said in a press release. "The administration continues to work to expand production of this important domestic resource safely and responsibly." 

EPA outlined several steps it's taking to assess the impacts fracking -- short for hydraulic fracturing -- has on the nation's water supply, as directed by Congress in 2009.
Steps include:
-- Analyzing existing data from natural gas companies on chemicals and practices used
-- Modeling how discharging waste might impact the water
-- Lab testing on water discharge
-- Testing fracking chemicals for toxicity
-- Testing groundwater in five regions near drilling activity
As expected, the study contained no new data or conclusions. The final results are not expected until late 2014.
Related: World's 10 most expensive energy projects 

Some see the lack of data or negative comments in Friday's progress report as a positive for the industry.
"It signals that the Obama administration has no real appetite for additional federal regulations until 2014 at the earliest," said Nitzan Goldberger, a natural gas analyst at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy. "That's good news for the oil and gas guys."
The Obama administration has tightened some rules around fracking, but for the most part has left regulation up to the states.
Fracking involves injecting massive amounts of water, sand and some chemicals deep underground in a bid to crack shale rock and ease the flow of oil and natural gas.
The process has unleashed an energy boom in the United States, creating thousands of jobs, driving down the price of oil and natural gas and cutting energy imports to levels not seen in decades.
But it's also raised serious concerns over its effects on the environment, including air pollution from trucks and wells, its links to earthquakes and fears that it is contaminating drinking water.
For environmentalists, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives.

Dear Friend,

Across the country, the risky method of gas drilling known as "fracking" is causing polluted air, explosions, earthquakes and even flammable tap water.

But incredibly, as frackers rush to expand the practice, it remains totally unregulated by federal health and safety officials.

The Obama Administration has begun the process of passing some rules, but it's clear they are bowing to pressure from the gas industry at every turn.

Last week, the Department of Interior released a draft rule to regulate fracking on federal lands, and like a number of opportunities before it, the Obama Administration caved to the gas industry to allowing major loopholes that fail to protect us from the dangers of fracking. The agency is now accepting comments on the rule, and we need to urge them to protect public land, water and health -- not the gas industry.

I just sent a message urging the Department of Interior to protect our water -- not the gas industry. Join me and add your name here.

The Obama Administration has begun the process of passing some rules, but it's clear they are bowing to pressure from the gas industry at every turn.
You know that when American Petroleum Industry president Jack Gerard is crowing about how closely the administration is listening to the natural gas industry, and a lobbyist from the American Chemistry Council says "It took a while for the administration to realize the role it could play...What we've seen is an evolution in thinking," we are in trouble.2
But after months of pressure from industry3 the latest Interior rule represents another in a string of recent concessions by the Obama Administration, including weakening a draft rule to reduce air pollution from fracking, refusing to take action to ban diesel fuel from fracking fluid, and even downplaying EPA studies which found water contamination from fracking in Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Fracking, involves pumping millions of gallons of water and a largely secret mix of toxic chemicals, deep underground at high pressure, to literally fracture the rock and release trapped pockets of natural gas.
One fifth of all fracking happens on federal lands, so the Interior Department rule could be an opportunity for the administration to fill the void for strong national standards to at least force companies to disclose the toxic chemicals they are pumping through our groundwater, and set strong standards for safe disposal of the fracking fluid.
But the rule fails to do even that — and we need to urge the Department of Interior to substantially strengthen it.
Rather than set strong standards for chemical disclosure and water treatment, the new rule opens up key loopholes on both.4
This allows gas drillers to keep secret until after they drill the toxic mix of chemicals in their fracking fluid — making it far easier for them to avoid accountability in cases of water contamination.
Additionally, the rule continues to allow dangerous open evaporation pits drillers use to dispose of the huge volumes of toxic fracking wastewater that is recovered after fracking. The open chemical mixture goes airborne, unleashing toxic air pollution in the surrounding area. These pits can also leak this toxic fluid into land and water, and pose a major spill risk from floods or storms.
As the gas industry rapidly scrambles to expand fracking all over the country, it isn't waiting for states or the federal government to adequately fill the regulatory void that was created when Dick Cheney exempted fracking from federal regulation in his 2005 energy bill.
It is clear that the Obama Administration has been hearing from the gas industry. Now they need to hear from us too — there is no time to waste to pass strong rules to protect us from the substantial dangers posed by natural gas fracking.
Thank you for defending our water from fracking.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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