Environment

Enbridge Expands Ruptured Tar Sands Line to Move Bitumen East Along Trailbreaker Route

With the two year anniversary of the "Dilbit Disaster" fresh on our minds it seems improbable that Enbridge, the company responsible for the 1 million gallon spill of dilbit, or diluted bitumen, on a tributary of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, is currently pushing through a plan to expand that same pipeline.
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What's the Fracking Problem with Natural Gas?


Hydraulic fracturing requires massive amounts of water. Disposing of the toxic wastewater, as well as accidental spills, can contaminate drinking water and harm human health. And pumping wastewater into the ground can further increase earthquake risk. Gas leakage also leads to problems, even causing tap water to become flammable! In some cases, flaming tap water is the result of methane leaks from fracking. And methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Those are all serious cause for concern—but even they don’t pose the greatest threat from fracking. The biggest issue is that it’s just one more way to continue our destructive addiction to fossil fuels. As easily accessible oil, gas and coal reserves become depleted, corporations have increasingly looked to “unconventional” sources, such as those in the tar sands or under deep water, or embedded in underground shale deposits.
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California Filmmakers Rebut Contractors on Water Documentary

"The Water Contractors note that the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is being underwritten by public water agencies. They take issue with former Delta activist Robert Johnson's 2009 assertion that efforts are underway to privatize most of the state's water supply. (Robert has since moved on to other endeavors)," according to Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Executive Director of Restore the Delta.
"We don't actually use the word 'privatize' in the documentary. Films such as Blue Gold: World Water Wars have already explored the worldwide trend of turning water, a public trust resource, into a commodity," she noted.
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Impact of Polluter Spending on Energy Policy Can't Be Ignored

The Koch brothers-backed nonprofit Americans for Prosperity and pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future combined to spend about $23.4 million against President Barack Obama during the second half of August. That's nearly 10 times the $2.44 million that Priorities USA Action, the main super PAC supporting Obama, spent against Romney, federal records show.
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Conquering Coal - A Tale of One City's Fight

Citizens and the City had for years pressured the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to determine whether its pollution posed a serious health threat to residents living in its midst but it was not until 2003, when ozone-forming NOx spewing from its stacks exceeded Clean Air Act (CAA) standards, that the VA DEQ confirmed the health impacts and gave the plant’s owner (then Mirant) an ultimatum to clean up or shut down.
Mirant responded by shutting the plant down in the hope of proving it was needed for a reliable supply of local electricity. This only served to galvanize the campaign by providing the DC Public Service Commission an opportunity to file a petition.
The petition enabled the Secretary of Energy to look at the plant’s generation and, while ordering it to turn the plant back on, also order the utility to add pollution controls and build transmission lines that would make the plant unnecessary for reliability.
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'Goliath' Melting Year Shatters Records in Greenland

It’s been a “Goliath,” record-setting melting year in Greenland, home of the world’s second largest ice shelf. On August 8th, a full four weeks before the end of “melting season,” cumulative melting on the island had exceeded the previous record set in 2010, which included the full season.
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Cargill’s Not So Secret Expansion Plans in Indonesia

A recent Indonesia Finance Today article clarifies that Cargill plans to expand its plantation land in Indonesia to 90,000 hectares in April 2013 and that while the company’s crude palm oil production (CPO) in Indonesia is currently at 300,000 tons, it’s targeting to reach one million tons.
This is an interesting turn of events. In response to RAN’s April 2012 exposé profiling the demise of one of the world’s most important tropical rainforests for oil palm expansion, Cargill aggressively argued in a public statement that it “does not import Indonesian palm oil to the United States” in an attempt to minimize its role as one of the largest palm oil traders in the world and evade responsibility for the Indonesia deforestation crisis.
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Oil Industry Chides Media Coverage of Shale, Doesn't Address Health and Safety Concerns

Quite often, rather than responding to the issues raised in a responsible fashion, industry PR shops have questioned the motives and qualifications of journalists who investigate the problems with shale gas development, and especially those who delve into the industry’s economic prospects.
How much longer can the shale gas industry attempt to play the victim, when all the evidence compiled by investigative journalists points to significant cause for concern about threats to drinking water and public health, as well as the economic fallout of the shale gas bubble?
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Consumer Group Urges Regulators to Shutter Refiner After Leak

Consumer Watchdog called on the Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Debbie Raphael, to indefinitely close the Evergreen Oil waste-oil re-refinery in Newark, Ca. in a letter sent today. On July 6, a pipe leak spewed "superheated oil" and triggered an emergency evacuation of the facility. The company and Newark police warned the surrounding community, including a nearby elementary school, to expect a wave of "strong odors" from the leak. The accident marks the latest in a string of problems at the plant that re-refines used motor oil, including a burst pipe and major fire in March 2011 and repeated citations by the DTSC for safety violations and carelessness.
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New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water

New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania's natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies.
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