E2 Law Blog, Greenberg Traurig LLP , E2 Law Blog, (2011)


Insights and Commentary on Environmental and Energy Issues Worldwide.

Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, multidisciplinary law firm with approximately 1800 attorneys and governmental affairs professionals in 32 locations across the United States and in Europe and Asia. The firm was selected as the 2007 USA Law Firm of the Year by Chambers and Partners.

See: David Mandelbaum. December 12, 2010.  "Marcellus Shale Update: NY Moratorium Bill Vetoed, NY Executive Order, DRBC Draft Regs, and DRBC Hearing Curtailed."

See: Robert Charrow and Laura Klaus of GT Washington D.C. and David Mandelbaum of GT Philadelphia. Feb 4, 2011. "AEP v. Connecticut: Climate Change as a Public Nuisance".

E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants, Broder, John M., and Rudolf John Collins , The New York Times, (2011)



WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday proposed the first national standard for emissions of mercury and other pollutants from coal-burning power plants, a rule that could lead to the early closing of a number of older plants and one that is certain to be challenged by the some utilities and Republicans in Congress...

Lisa P. Jackson, the agency’s administrator, said control of dozens of poisonous substances emitted by power plants was long overdue and would prevent thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of cases of disease a year.

Ms. Jackson pointedly included the head of the American Lung Association and two prominent doctors in her announcement to make the point that the regulations were designed to protect public health and not to penalize the utility industry.


Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Public health advocates said utilities had delayed the rules for more than two decades with court challenges and lobbying campaigns.

“If you think it’s expensive to put a scrubber on a smokestack, you should see how much it costs to treat a child over a lifetime with a birth defect,” said Dr. O. Marion Burton, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who stood with Ms. Jackson in announcing the rule.

Oddly, when the story first ran, it included an account of how Ms. Jackson invited a group of second graders from a nearby elementary school to the announcement. Earlier today, Mar. 17, it was edited out. Was it Broder and Rudolf, or the Times? Are children not newsworthy?

"She invited a group of second graders from a nearby elementary school to attend the rule’s unveiling at her agency."

I found a mention of it in a cached Google listing.


Why did the Times delete it?  The article as it first appears will always be located here. (PDF).  The Google cache will expire as soon as you read this.  See for yourself, read between the lines.

(Neil Zusman, 2011-03-17).

Drilling Down on Fracking Concerns, Kenworthy, Tom, Weiss Daniel J., Kaufman Lisbeth, and DiPasquale Christina , Center for American Progress, (2011)



Download this brief (pdf)

A widely used oil-and-gas drilling technique, hydraulic fracturing, is spreading rapidly to develop vast reserves of natural gas trapped in deep underground shale formations.

Hydraulic fracking, however, is coming under more rigorous oversight by the press and state and federal agencies because of its contribution to air and water pollution.

This attention is welcome, both to ensure that health and safety will be protected if gas is to be more widely used as a cleaner replacement for coal in electric plants and foreign oil as a transportation fuel. We must also more accurately measure carbon dioxide and other pollution from the combustion of gas compared to coal and oil.

This issue brief explores the ecological and economic issues of “fracking,” as it is increasingly coming to be known in the areas of the country where natural gas is tapped due to the technology. Cutting to the chase, our conclusion is this—hydraulic fracturing needs to be done carefully and be well-monitored, with particular attention paid to the full scope of carbon dioxide released into our atmosphere to gauge accurately the consequences of global warming due to the expanded use of natural gas.

...Concerns about this technique led late last year to a partial moratorium in New York state on new drilling permits that allow fracking. Nationally, advocates want to repeal a 2005 congressional exemption of fracking from oversight under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Many activists also want to require drilling companies to publicly disclose the chemicals it uses, as other industries do under the Community Right to Know law. Industry historically resists such calls, though a number of companies have recently dropped their opposition, saying they will publicize the chemicals they use.

These natural gas operations also produce smog-forming pollutants, contributing to air pollution problems in places such as western Wyoming and the Fort Worth area. Indeed, natural gas wells produce so much air pollution that smog in the area around Pinedale, Wyoming is sometimes as bad as in Los Angeles. And these shale gas wells can release fugitive methane, which is a potent global warming pollutant.

In a recent investigation, for example, The New York Times reported on rivers and waterways that serve public water systems in Pennsylvania being contaminated with naturally occurring radioactive materials, such as radium, as a result of drilling activities. The series has also raised serious questions about the adequacy of oversight by state and federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency.

Tom Kenworthy is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress who focuses on energy and environmental issues. Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center. Lisbeth Kaufman is a Special Assistant with the Center’s Energy team, and Christina C. DiPasquale is Associate Director of Press Relations at the Center.

Drill, Baby, Drill!: The chant of the political naif, Paul, Donald , Magiric, (2011)


From Magiric, Blog by South African freelance writer, Donald Paul.

Donald Paul

Recently, the righteous voices of reason stepped into the fray regarding the use of hydraulic fracturing technology in prospecting for shale gas in the Karoo, One of the voices is journalist Ivo Vegter, who assumed the role of Devil’s advocate. Such a role requires a modicum of intellectual rigour otherwise you end up playing God’s advocate, endorsing that which you supposedly set out to question. It’s an easy back slide and reveals a penchant for controversy over a desire for coherency.

Lewis Pugh, a critic of environmental degradation and a spokesman for Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG), challenged Shell—and other gas and oil companies—about its plan to frack in the Karoo and in so doing made a speech that was widely reprinted and replayed on various digital channels. For some it was rousing. For others, it was “propaganda” and “alarming”. The latter determined that what Pugh was saying was that there would be war over water...

The voices of reason fail to acknowledge the human rights dimension of this debate being more intent of disparaging—but not refuting—the arguments of those opposed to short-term corporate gains at the expense of the future...

The proponents of fracking cannot in any way show that fracking will not contaminate the Karoo aquifers. What they do say, repeatedly, is that there is “no known link” between fracking and aquifer and groundwater pollution. And they cite only their own expert testimony.

...The naivety continues. Vegter cited reams of outdated research regarding “signed statements from state officials representing Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Alabama, and Texas, responding to these allegations [water contamination]. As a result of our regulatory review and analysis, the GWPC concluded that state oil and gas regulations are adequately designed to directly protect water resources”.

This is so staggeringly naive it’s unbelievable. It is also shoddy research. These legislators were making a political argument, not a scientific one—in other words, they were covering their backs. The reason why the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is re-opening the debate on the use of hydraulic fracturing—hearings are being conducted as this is being written—is because whistle-blowers within EPA confirmed that political pressure had been brought to bear on the original reports. As Wes Wilson, one of the E.P.A. whistle-blowers, said in a recent interview about that report, five of the seven members of the study’s peer review panel were current or former employees of the oil and gas industry.

Numerous complainants petitioned the USA government to get the EPA to review the earlier decision on hydraulic fracking. One of them, from Neil Zusman, Ithaca, NY, is particularly poignant:

I have read widely on this topic and it is of personal interest to me. I am not a scientist. I observe the events along the historical timeline that includes civil rights, anti-war protest, and the environmental movement....

Donald Paul is a freelance writer from South Africa.

See: Aragom Eloff.  Ivo Vegter vs. the Fracking Fringe. 2011-04-18.

See: Julienned DuToit. Fracking the Karoo - The People Say No! 2011-01-31.

See: Lewis Pugh. Frack Off, Shell!. 2011-04-05

See: Robert Brand. South Africa Endorses Plans For Karoo Gas-Drill Freeze, Ending Shell Hopes - Bloomberg. 2011-04-21.

Draft Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources (Updated 2011-04-09), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) , Volume EPA/600/D‐11/001, Washington, D.C., p.1 - 140, (2011)


/frack_files/new.gif EPA's Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan

/frack_files/new.gif Science Advisory Board Public Comments Letters from the Public. March 7, 2011. Posted to Web.

You can read all the form letters submitted from Texas, as well as my letter here:

Public comment submitted to the SAB Staff Office Public Comments submitted by Neil Zusman, Ithaca, NY-2-28-11. (PDF, 3 pp., 118,694 bytes)

"The States have not shown that they can adequately regulate gas drilling, especially in more populated areas. Federal Regulations are clearly needed.

Time and time again, as noted by a Pew Research Group report, a wide variety of industries, in seat belts, lead paint, cigarettes and many others, have fought federal regulation only to have history prove that it never hurt their bottom line." (Neil Zusman, 2011-02-28).

See: Pew Environment Group (PEG) Factsheet: Industry Opposition to Government Regulation (PDF), October 14, 2010.

See: Letter from Thomas Curtis, AWW.  Website below:


In summary, AWWA supports protecting of sources of drinking water under any and all circumstances, including hydraulic fracturing. We appreciate the agency’s consideration of our comments. If there are any questions about these comments, please direct them to Alan Roberson, AWWA, at (202) 326-6127.

Yours Sincerely,
Thomas W. Curtis Deputy Executive Director

See this hand-written letter by Pamela Curtis of Trumansburg, New York:


See: Federal Register: Science Advisory Board Staff Office; Notification of a Public Meeting of the Science Advisory Board Panel for the Review of EPA's Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan. EPA Notice: 2/09/11.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) Science Advisory Board (SAB) Staff Office announces a public face-to-face meeting of the SAB Panel to conduct an independent review of EPA's Draft Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan.

The meeting will be held on March 7, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and March 8, 2011 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern Time).

The Panel meeting will be held at the Westin Alexandria Hotel located at 400 Courthouse Square, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Members of the public can submit comments for a federal advisory committee to consider as it develops advice for EPA. They should send their comments directly to the Designated Federal Officer for the relevant advisory committee.

Oral Statements: In general, individuals or groups requesting an oral presentation at this public meeting will be limited to five minutes per speaker. Interested parties should contact Mr. Edward Hanlon, DFO, in writing (preferably via e-mail), at the contact information noted above, by February 28, 2011 to be placed on the list of public speakers for the meeting.

Written Statements:

Written statements should be received in the SAB Staff Office by February 28, 2011 so that the information may be made available to the SAB Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan Review Panel for their consideration.

In its Fiscal Year 2010 budget report, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriation Conference Committee identified the need for a focused study of this topic. EPA scientists, under this administration and at the direction of Congress, are undertaking a study of this practice to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water and groundwater. EPA consulted with experts in the field through peer review, and technical workshops and engaged stakeholders in a dialogue about the study through facilitated public meetings.

EPA has submitted its draft study plan on hydraulic fracturing for review to the agency's Science Advisory Board (SAB).

The overall purpose of the study is to understand the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and drinking water resources. The scope of the proposed research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing, from acquisition of the water, through the mixing of chemicals and actual fracturing, to the post-fracturing stage, including the management of flowback and produced water and its ultimate treatment and disposal.

The SAB plans to review the draft plan March 7-8, 2011. Consistent with the operating procedures of the SAB, an opportunity will be provided for stakeholders and the public to provide comments to the SAB during their review. The Agency will revise the study plan in response to the SAB's comments and promptly begin the study. Initial research results are expected by the end of 2012 with a goal for a report in 2014.

See: Industry responds to public take on hydraulic fracturing | Fracking Resource Guide

See: EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Study Plan Review Panel

See: Lisa P. Jackson, EPA (lisapjackson) on Twitter

See: U.S. Congress. Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. "Hearing Highlights Lack of Objectivity in Draft EPA Fracking Study--No Evidence of Drinking Water Contamination from Fracking, Witnesses Say"May 11, 2011

Dirty Energy Money, Oil Change International , Dirty Energy Money | Oil Change International, (2011)


What the heck am I looking at?

We've created maps of political campaign contributions from companies in the oil & gas and coal industries to congressional representatives. These are relationship map of the contribution network. That means that unlike a physical map, where points are positioned at a geographic location, the icons for the companies and representatives are placed so that they are as close as possible to whomever they contribute to or receive contributions from.

Think of it like a social networking site in which companies and politicians have become 'friends' by giving money.

This site is a project of Oil Change International, developed by Greg Michalec and Skye Bender-deMoll and designed by Diligent Creative. Earlier versions of the site were named 'Follow the Oil Money' and 'Follow the Coal Money'.

See: Budget Proposals Follow Energy Influence: Obama Goes After Producers, Sen. Paul Goes After Regulators | - Money and Politics

Despite overhaul, gas wastewater still a problem, Caruso, David , The Mercury |, Pottstown, PA, (2011)


Pennsylvania's natural gas drillers are still flushing vast quantities of contaminated wastewater into rivers that supply drinking water, despite major progress by the industry over the past year in curtailing the practice.



Under pressure from environmentalists and state officials, energy companies that have been drilling thousands of gas wells in the state's countryside spent part of 2010 overhauling the way they handle the chemically tainted and sometimes radioactive water that gushes from the ground after a drilling technique known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Until the second half of last year, Pennsylvania had been the only state to allow most of this wastewater to be discharged into rivers after only partial treatment. Other states required most or all of the brine to be disposed of by injecting it deep underground.

In recent months, though, the industry has boasted big gains in the amount of well wastewater that is reused, rather than trucked to treatment plants that empty into rivers and streams.

See: Articles on Fracking waste water.

See: Pittsburgh’s drinking water is radioactive, thanks to fracking. Only question is, how much?

Cornell University Law School - 2011 Energy Conference, Cornell University Law School , Cornell University Law School, (2011)


Special Community Forum:

Thursday, March 31, Friday, April 1, Saturday, April 2, 2011.

Cornell Law School | Free Admission

Natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing ("hydrofracking") may be poised to begin in Upstate New York.

...This heated issue is part of the larger state, national, and international energy picture. The conference will use natural gas drilling as a lens to explore energy policy, the global energy market, and the integral role the law can and must play in creating energy security and ensuring a sustainable future.

...The conference will explore, among other topics, the legal issues associated with natural gas drilling and energy policy, different scientific perspectives on how clean and sustainable natural gas is, alternative clean energy sources, and the potential risks and benefits of shale gas development in Upstate New York.

PLEASE NOTE: Seating is limited at most panels, and registration is first-come, first-served. Registrants not seated in the amphitheater where the panel is taking place will be seated in an adjacent amphitheater where the panel will be broadcast live via simulcast. Contact Ben Tettlebaum,, with questions or concerns.

See: Cornell 2011 Energy Conference (New!)

Cornell 2011 Energy Conference, Zusman, Neil , Ithaca, NY, (2011)

I attended the Energy Conference 3/31 - 4/2/2011.

Getting serious about natural gas
Getting serious about natural gas at the 2011 Cornell Energy Conference.
Photo by Neil Zusman.

See: Cornell University Law School - 2011 Energy Conference

First posted the photographs on 4/8 and liked how it played against Dylan and the Dead (1989) "All Along the Watchtower", but copyrights... I couldn't use Dylan and the Dead on YouTube- rock it Google.

But now I think the ballads about John Henry resonate for me - the classic man against machine tale, and I think that this conference was about that and more (mechanical, chemical). It needs a ballad. Sort of like the one about digging a tunnel for the railroad...but more about the one in progress, digging for the truth. The music is from the great Anthology of American Music. Vol. 2. (Neil Zusman, 2011-04-19).

John Hardy” stands right next to “John Henry” as one of the most popular “figures” in the folk song tradition. (In the Anthology too, they are next to each other). In fact, many people combined the two songs and many scholars confused the two characters as Alan Lomax once said. Both were black railroad workers but their story is quite different.

The historical John Hardy killed a man during a crap game and was hanged for his crime. Before his execution he wanted to make peace with God so they sent a preacher and went to the river to baptise him. On the scaffold he claimed his repentance for his crime and probably sang some verses that would be included in the ballad that bore his name.


Harry Smith, ed. Anthology of American Music. Vol. 2. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. 1997. "The Williamson Brothers & Curry: Gonna Die With My Hammer in My Hand".; "The Carter Family: John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man."

Steel-drivin' men like John Henry used large hammers and stakes to pound holes into the rock, which were then filled with explosives that would blast a cavity deeper and deeper into the mountain. In the folk ballads, the central event took place under such conditions.

Eager to reduce costs and speed up progress, some tunnel engineers were using steam drills to power their way into the rock. According to some accounts, on hearing of the machine, John Henry challenged the steam drill to a contest. He won, but died of exhaustion, his life cut short by his own superhuman effort.

Carlene Hempel, Deb Procopio, Dan Shaver, Beth Novak. John Henry The Steel Driving Man. Electronic Resource. Accessed 2011-04-19.

Discover this great Anthology of American Folk Music by Harry Smith here and an even more amazing resource exploring it:


Gadaya. The Old Weird America. "Gonna Die with a Hammer in my Hand." Electronic Resource. Accessed 2011-04-19.

See: Congress Launches Investigation Into Gas Drilling Practices

Committee Democrats Release New Report Detailing Hydraulic Fracturing Products: Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing, U.S. Congress , Washington, D.C., p.1-32, (2011)



Apr 16, 2011

Today Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry A. Waxman, Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Edward J. Markey, and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette released a new report that summarizes the types, volumes, and chemical contents of the hydraulic fracturing products used by the 14 leading oil and gas service companies.

The report contains the first comprehensive national inventory of chemicals used by hydraulic fracturing companies during the drilling process.

“Hydraulic fracturing has helped to expand natural gas production in the United States, but we must ensure that these new resources don’t come at the expense of public health,” said Rep. Waxman.

“This report shows that these companies are injecting millions of gallons of products that contain potentially hazardous chemicals, including known carcinogens. I urge EPA and DOE to make certain that we have strong protections in place to prevent these chemicals from entering drinking water supplies.”

See: U.S. Congress. Committee on Energy and Commerce. Minority Staff (Henry Waxman, Edward Markey, Diana DeGette). "Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing". Washington, D.C. April 2011. (PDF)


Universal Well Services, for example, told the Committee that it “obtains hydraulic fracturing products from third-party manufacturers, and to the extent not publicly disclosed, product composition is proprietary to the respective vendor and not to the Company.”31

Complete Production Services noted that the company always uses fluids from third-party suppliers who provide an MSDS for each product. Complete confirmed that it is “not aware of any circumstances in which the vendors who provided the products have disclosed this proprietary information” to the company, further noting that “such information is highly proprietary for these vendors, and would not generally be disclosed to service providers” like Complete.32

Key Energy Services similarly stated that it “generally does not have access to the trade secret information as a purchaser of the chemical(s).”33

Trican also told the Committee that it has limited knowledge of “off the shelf” products purchased from a chemical distributor or manufacturer, noting that “Trican does not have any information in its possession about the components of such products beyond what the distributor of each product provided Trican in the MSDS sheet.”34

In these cases, it appears that the companies are injecting fluids containing unknown chemicals about which they may have limited understanding of the potential risks posed to human health and the environment.


Hydraulic fracturing has opened access to vast domestic reserves of natural gas that could provide an important stepping stone to a clean energy future. Yet questions about the safety of hydraulic fracturing persist, which are compounded by the secrecy surrounding the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids.

This analysis is the most comprehensive national assessment to date of the types and volumes of chemical used in the hydraulic fracturing process.

It shows that between 2005 and 2009, the 14 leading hydraulic fracturing companies in the United States used over 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 compounds. More than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants.

31. Letter from Reginald J. Brown to Henry A. Waxman, Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Edward J. Markey, Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (Apr. 16, 2010).

32. Letter from Philip Perry to Henry A. Waxman, Chairman, Committee Energy and Commerce, and Edward J. Markey, Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment (Aug. 6, 2010).

33. E-mail from Peter Spivack to Committee Staff (Aug. 5, 2010).

34. E-mail from Lee Blalack to Committee Staff (July 29, 2010).



by Ian Urbina:


Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.

...“Questions about the safety of hydraulic fracturing persist, which are compounded by the secrecy surrounding the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids,” said the report, which was written by Representatives Henry A. Waxman of California, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

...Some of the ingredients mixed into the hydraulic fracturing fluids were common and generally harmless, like salt and citric acid. Others were unexpected, like instant coffee and walnut hulls, the report said. Many of the ingredients were “extremely toxic,” including benzene, a known human carcinogen, and lead.

...Ms. Degette, and Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, Democrat of New York, recently reintroduced the FRAC Act, a bill that would require chemical disclosure from all drilling companies, including a provision that companies release proprietary information to health professionals if it is needed for treatment. The FRAC Act would also create an online registry of chemicals on a well-by-well basis, but it would require drillers to disclose what they plan to use before they fracture a well, as well as a post-fracturing report.

See: Urbina, Ian. “Millions of Gallons of Hazardous Chemicals Injected Into Wells, Report Says.” The New York Times 16 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2011.

See also: Texas Oil and Gas Acciountability Project. The Dark Side of the Boom: How Natural Gas Drilling in Texas Threatens Public Health and Safety: Sen. Lon Burnam Joins Calling for ‘Urgent’ Reforms


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety




The Dark Side of the Boom: How Natural Gas Drilling in Texas Threatens Public Health and Safety: Sen. Lon Burnam Joins Calling for ‘Urgent’ Reforms

AUSTIN, TX, APRIL 14 – State, local and federal officials and regulatory agencies are failing to protect Texans from the health and safety risks of the natural gas boom, according to a report released today by the Texas Oil & Gas Accountability Project (OGAP).

Coalition to Protect New York | Let's Live Frack Free!, CPNY , Coalition to Protect New York, (2011)


Urgent Action on Water Withdrawal - see "Action" page

CPNY is a coalition of individuals and groups dedicated to halting the dangerous, destructive practice of high-volume hydrofracking for methane gas in our region.

This unconventional method of gas extraction is a huge and looming intrusion that signifies the industrialization of our area now rich in tourism, agriculture, recreational areas, wineries, and open spaces. We must defeat fracking to protect our families, the environment, our property values — indeed, our very way of life.

Our Vision: We say YES to that which promotes the health and vibrancy of our land, our resources, and ourselves. Our vision, like our work, is evolving.

Our Mission: Working together with other like-mined people and organizations, we aim to stop fracking before it gains a foothold in New York State. We inform, educate, and empower people to resist company directors, state and federal officials and all who frack our legislatures, and our public discourse.

We use the term “fracking” to mean all the processes involved in exploring, developing, extracting, disposing, storing, and distributing shale gas via high-volume, slick-water horizontal and vertical drilling, and secondarily but equally importantly to denote the “fracturing” of our health, environment, and communities.

We also do not use the term "natural" gas in regards to shale gas. The only natural state for gas trapped within shale rock deep in the ground underlying New York State is to remain where it is - serving as bedrock. The term "natural," like many other carefully chosen terms used by the extraction industry, is intended to give the false impression that shale gas is a benign and "clean, green" fuel, when in fact its extraction via this unconventional method, is as or more dirty than coal.

Coal mining companies fight back against permit veto, Gilbert, Natasha , The Great Beyond |, (2011)


US coal mining companies have scored some points in their fight against the Environmental Protection Agency’s tough stance on mountaintop mining. A federal judge has ruled (PDF) in a preliminary decision that the EPA may have overstepped its legal authority by imposing strict new environmental standards on mining permits (via New York Times). The move comes just one day after the agency vetoed a permit for what would have been the country's largest mountaintop coal mine in Appalachia, West Virginia (see Nature’s blog here).

See: Ken Ward Jr. "Breaking news: EPA vetoes Spruce Mine permit." Coal Tattoo. Jan. 13, 2011.

Climate Zombies Now Run The House, Johnson, Brad , The Wonk Room, (2011)



The incoming Republican chairs of the House of Representatives plan to send the United States back to the Stone Age with respect to climate policy. All of them opposed the climate legislation supported by President Barack Obama, and now oppose limits on global warming pollution under the Clean Air Act. Several have accused climate scientists of doctoring data and suppressing dissent; the others merely claim climate policy is actually a conspiracy to destroy the American economy. Meet the climate zombies who will be in charge of developing all federal legislation for the next two years:


Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
John Barrasso (R-WY)
Roy Blunt (R-MO)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Scott Brown (R-MA)
Dan Coats (R-IN)
Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
John Ensign (R-NV)
Mike Enzi (R-WY)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
John Hoeven (R-ND)
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
Jim Inhofe (R-OK)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
John McCain (R-AZ)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Rob Portman (R-OH)
Jim Risch (R-ID)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Richard Shelby (R-AL)
John Thune (R-SD)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)



Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
Todd Akin (R-MO)
Rodney Alexander (R-LA)
Michele Bachmann (R-MN)
Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD)
Joe Barton (R-TX)
Charlie Bass (R-NH)
Judy Biggert (R-IL)
Brian Bilbray (R-CA)
Rob Bishop (R-UT)
Diane Black (R-TN)
Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
John Boehner (R-OH)
Kevin Brady (R-TX)
Mo Brooks (R-AL)
Paul Broun (R-GA)
Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
Ann Buerkle (R-NY)
Michael Burgess (R-TX)
Dan Burton (R-IN)
Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Dave Camp (R-MI)
John Campbell (R-CA)
John Carter (R-TX)
Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)
Tom Cole (R-OK)
Mike Conaway (R-TX)
Chip Cravaack (R-MN)
John Culberson (R-TX)
Jeff Denham (R-CA)
Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL)
Robert Dold (R-IL)
John Duncan (R-TN)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
Blake Farenthold (R-TX)
Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
Bill Flores (R-TX)
Randy Forbes (R-VA)
Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Scott Garrett (R-NJ)
Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
Bob Gibbs (R-OH)
Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
Louie Gohmert (R-TX)
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
Trey Gowdy (R-SC)
Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Mike Grimm (R-NY)
Ralph Hall (R-TX)
Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Doc Hastings (R-WA)
Nan Hayworth (R-NY)
Wally Herger (R-CA)
Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)
Bill Huizenga (R-MI)
Randy Hultgren (R-IL)
Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Robert Hurt (R-VA)
Darryl Issa (R-CA)
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)
Steve King (R-IA)
Jack Kingston (R-GA)
Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
James Lankford (R-OK)
Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Dan Lungren (R-CA)
Don Manzullo (R-IL)
Mike McCaul (R-TX)
Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Thad McCotter (R-MI)
Patrick McHenry (R-NC)
David McKinley (R-WV)
Candice Miller (R-MI)
Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Mick Mulvaney (R-SC)
Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)
Kristi Noem (R-SD)
Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Pete Olson (R-TX)
Ron Paul (R-TX)
Steve Pearce (R-NM)
Mike Pence (R-IN)
Ted Poe (R-TX)
Bill Posey (R-FL)
Tom Price (R-GA)
Ben Quayle (R-AZ)
Denny Rehberg (R-MT)
Scott Rigell (R-VA)
Cathy Rodgers (R-WA)
Phil Roe (R-TN)
Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA)
Todd Rokita (R-IN)
Peter Roskam (R-IL)
Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Bobby Schilling (R-IL)
Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI)
Pete Sessions (R-TX)
John Shimkus (R-IL)
Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Steve Southerland (R-FL)
Cliff Stearns (R-FL)
Steve Stivers (R-OH)
John Sullivan (R-OK)
Lee Terry (R-NE)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Mac Thornberry (R-TX)
Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Fred Upton (R-MI)
Tim Walberg (R-MI)
Greg Walden (R-OR)
Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Allen West (R-FL)
Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA)
Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rob Woodall (R-GA)
Don Young (R-AK)
Todd Young (R-IN)

See: Grist. Dec. 29, 2010. "Upton argues Obama plans to destroy America in the name of global warming."

Clean Water Act Definition of "Waters of the United States", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) , US EPA: Wetalnds | Clean Water Act Defionition of "Waters of the United States", (2011)



Americans depend on clean and abundant water. However, over the past decade, interpretations of Supreme Court rulings removed some critical waters from Federal protection, and caused confusion about which waters and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. As a result, important waters now lack clear protection under the law, and businesses and regulators face uncertainty and delay. The Obama Administration is committed to protecting waters on which the health of people, the economy and ecosystems depend.

U.S. EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have developed draft guidance for determining whether a waterway, water body, or wetland is protected by the Clean Water Act. This guidance would replace previous guidance to reaffirm protection for critical waters. It also will provide clearer, more predictable guidelines for determining which water bodies are protected by the Clean Water Act. The draft guidance will be open for 60 days of public comment to allow all stakeholders to provide input and feedback before it is finalized.

The draft guidance will reaffirm protections for small streams that feed into larger streams, rivers, bays and coastal waters. It will also reaffirm protection for wetlands that filter pollution and help protect communities from flooding. Discharging pollution into protected waters (e.g., dumping sewage, contaminants, or industrial pollution) or filling protected waters and wetlands (e.g., building a housing development or a parking lot) require permits. This guidance will keep safe the streams and wetlands that affect the quality of the water used for drinking, swimming, fishing, farming, manufacturing, tourism and other activities essential to the American economy and quality of life. It also will provide regulatory clarity, predictability, consistency and transparency.

See: William Ringler sentenced to prison of Clean Water Act violation

See: Supreme Court Restricts Clean Water Act

See: Laws and Regulations, United States - water, effects, environmental, disasters, pollutants, history, impact, EPA, pesticide, toxic, world, human, sources, disposal, use, health, oil.

See: Environmental, Health and Safety Online

See: Polluters and Environmental Criminals - 2007 Enforcement of EPA Regulations and Laws - Envforcement Actions, Criminal and Civil casess.

Chu Names Panel to Study Fracking, Broder, John , Green | A Blog About the Environment, (2011)



Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has appointed a panel of seven scientific and environmental worthies to study the rapidly growing method of natural gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing and to make recommendations about how it can be done more cleanly and more safely.

The group includes John Deutch, a former Central Intelligence Agency director; Kathleen McGinty, a former top White House environmental adviser; and Daniel Yergin, probably the best-known oil industry analyst in the country...


Broder's piece goes on to offer a smokescreen of protest by the right, but according to Dusty Horwitt of the Environmental Working Group, “An industry insider like John Deutch is completely unacceptable to lead this panel...It looks as if the Obama Administration has already reached the conclusion that fracking is safe.”

Dr. Chu announced his decision late Thursday. This being Washington, House Republicans immediately issued a press release denouncing the study as wasteful, duplicative and yet another example of regulatory red tape run amok.

On the other side of the Capitol, Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, went them one better, introducing a bill to dismantle the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency...

The EWG press release presents a clearer picture of the Administration's positioning and refers to a study by Duke University researchers,  that found high concentrations of methane in 68 wells near shale-gas drilling and hydrofracking sites in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York, confirming property owners’ suspicions that gas extraction was leaking methane into their drinking water.

The "Paper of Record" has just as much a right as any blogger to present the facts or distort them.

In, "E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants", I caught the editors of the Times editing out an account of how Ms. Jackson invited a group of second graders from a nearby elementary school to the announcement. Earlier today, Mar. 17, it was edited out. Was it Broder and Rudolf, or the Times? Are children not newsworthy?

"She invited a group of second graders from a nearby elementary school to attend the rule’s unveiling at her agency."

Why did the Times delete it?  The article as it first appears will always be located here. (PDF).  The Google cache will expire as soon as you read this.  See for yourself, read between the lines.

(Neil Zusman, 2011-03-17).

See: Clifford Krauss: propagandist par excellence

See: E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants

See: Scientific Study Links Flammable Drinking Water to Fracking

See: U.S. Congress. Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. "Hearing Highlights Lack of Objectivity in Draft EPA Fracking Study--No Evidence of Drinking Water Contamination from Fracking, Witnesses Say"May 11, 2011