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August 03 2012

12:00

Delaware Tax Haven: The Other Shale Gas Industry Loophole

Most people think of downtown Houston, Texas as ground zero for the oil and gas industry. Houston, after all, serves as home base for corporate headquarters of oil and gas giants, including the likes of BP America, ConocoPhillips, and Shell Oil Company, to name a few.

Comparably speaking, few would think of Wilmington, Delaware in a similar vein. But perhaps they should, according to a recent New York Times investigative report by Leslie Wayne.

Wayne's story revealed that Delaware serves as what journalist Nicholas Shaxson calls a "Treasure Island" in his recent book by that namesake. It's an "onshore tax haven" and an even more robust one than the Caymen Islands, to boot.

The Delaware "Island" is heavilized utilized by oil and gas majors, all of which are part of the "two-thirds of the Fortune 500" corporations parking their money in The First State.

Delaware is an outlier in the way it does business,” David Brunori, a professor at George Washington Law School told The Times. “What it offers is an opportunity to game the system and do it legally.”

The numbers are astounding. "Over the last decade, the Delaware loophole has enabled corporations to reduce the taxes paid to other states by an estimated $9.5 billion," Wayne wrote

"More than 900,000 business entities choose Delaware as a location to incorporate," explained another report. "The number…exceeds Delaware's human population of 850,000."

Marcellus Shale Frackers Utilize the "Delaware Loophole" 

The New York Times story also demonstrated that the shale gas industry has become an expert at utilizing the "Delaware Loophole" tax haven to dodge taxes, just as it is a champion at dodging chemical fluid disclosure and other accountability to the Safe Drinking Water Act, thanks to the "Halliburton Loophole." The latter is explained in great detail in DeSmogBlog's "Fracking the Future."

Utilization of the "Delaware Loophole" is far from the story of a few bad apples gone astray for the industry. As Wayne explains, the use of this "onshore tax haven" is the norm.

More than 400 corporate subsidiaries linked to Marcellus Shale gas exploration have been registered in Delaware, most within the last four years, according to the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a nonprofit group based in Harrisburg that studies the state’s tax policy.

In 2004, the center estimated that the Delaware loophole had cost the state $400 million annually in lost revenue — and that was before the energy boom.

More than two-thirds of the companies in the Marcellus Shale Coalition, an industry alliance based in Pittsburgh, are registered to a single address: 1209 North Orange Street, according to the center.

These fiscal figures, as Wayne points out, predate the ongoing shale gas "Gold Rush" in the Marcellus. SEIU of Pennsylvania has calculated $550 million/year in lost tax revenue in the state from the shale gas industry due to the loophole.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives set out to tackle the "Delaware Loophole" quagmire in the spring of 2012, but merely offered half-measure legislation that would have allowed corporations - including the frackers - to continue gaming the system. Coryn S. Wolk of the activist group Protecting Our Waters summarized the bill in a recent post:

In March, 2012, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives created a bipartisan bill, HB 2150, aimed at closing corporate tax loopholes. However, as the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center noted in their detailed opposition to the bill, the bill would have cost Pennsylvania more money by soothing corporations with major tax cuts and leaving the loopholes accessible to any clever accountant.

Tax cheating in Delaware goes far above and beyond the Marcellus Shale. All of the oil and gas majors, with operations around the world, take full advantage of all Delaware has to offer.

"Piping Profits"

If things in this sphere were only limited to shale gas companies operating in the Marcellus Shale, the battle would seem big. Big, but not insurmountable.

Yet, as the Norway-based NGOPublish What You Pay points out in a recent report titled, "Piping profits: the secret world of oil, gas and mining giants," the game is more rigged than most would like to admit.

How rigged? Overwhelmingly so.

The report shows that ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and ExxonMobil have 439 out of their combined 783 subsidiaries located in well-known tax havens around the world, including in Delaware. All three companies maintain fracking operations, as well, meaning they benefit from both the Halliburton and Delaware Loopholes.

Adding BP and Shell into the mix, Publish What You Pay revealed that the five majors have 749 tax haven subsidiaries located in Delaware out of a grand total of 3,632 global tax haven subsidiaries. This amounts to 20.6-percent of them, to be precise.

These figures moved Publish What You Pay's Executive Director, Mona Thowsen, to conclude, “What this study shows is that the extractive industry ownership structure and its huge use of secrecy jurisdictions may work against the urgent need to reduce corruption and aggressive tax avoidance in this sector."

Tax Justice Network: $21-$32 Trillion Parked in Offshore Accounts

A recent lengthy report titled "The Price of Offshore Revisited" by the Tax Justice Network reveals just how big of a problem tax havens are on a global scale, reaching far beyond Delaware's boundaries.

As Democracy Now! explained,

[The] new report…reveals how wealthy individuals and their families have between $21 and $32 trillion of hidden financial assets around the world in what are known as offshore accounts or tax havens. The conservative estimate of $21 trillion—conservative estimate—is as much money as the entire annual economic output of the United States and Japan combined. The actual sums could be higher because the study only deals with financial wealth deposited in bank and investment accounts, and not other assets such as property and yachts.

The inquiry…is being touted as the most comprehensive report ever on the "offshore economy." 

The Democracy Now! interview below is worth watching on the whole, as oil and gas industry "offshoring" is but the tip of the iceberg.

Photo CreditGunnar Pippel | ShutterStock

Exhaustive Study Finds Global Elite

December 01 2011

22:43

LNG Groundhog Day: Cheniere Energy Signs Yet Another Gas Export Deal on Gulf Coast

Another day, another unconventional gas export deal signed. Nascent North American LNG (liquefied natural gas) export deals are happening so fast and furiously that it is hard to keep track of them all.

The latest: On November 21, Cheniere Energy Partners signed a 20-year LNG export deal with Gas Natural Fenosa, an energy company which operates primarily in Spain but also in such countries as Italy, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Morocco. Cheniere will maintain the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal located off of Sabine Lake between Texas and Louisiana, which feeds into the Gulf of Mexico, while Gas Natural Fenosa will ship the gas to the global market.

Cheniere, which made waves when its CEO Charif Souki announced that his corporation's business model would center exclusively around LNG export terminals, also recently signed a 20-year export deal with BG Group, short for British Gas Group.

Like the recent export deal with BG Group, which involves carrying fracked unconventional gas from various shale basins around the United States via pipelines to the Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, the Gas Natural Fenosa deal also centers around the export of gas from Sabine Pass to the global market.

This new deal will presumably center around shipment of LNG to the Latin American market, whereas the BG Group deal centers around exports to the European market.

A press release explaining the details of the deal reads, “LNG will be loaded onto Gas Natural Fenosa's vessels…[with] twenty years commencing upon the date of first commercial delivery, and an extension option of up to ten years. LNG deliveries are expected to commence in 2016.”

It is increasingly clear that export is the name of the game for the gas companies fracking all over America, exploding the industry's claims to support U.S. energy independence.

A recent Senate hearing confirmed that the industry's plans to export gas from the U.S. will raise gas prices for Americans.

So much for that oil and gas industry canard that unconventional gas fracking "promises more affordable energy for Americans."

 

Image Credit: Oleksandr Kalinichenko / Shutterstock

September 14 2011

19:33

Battle for Fracking Public Perception Lost, Says Gas Industry Insider

The gas industry has not done itself any favors by downplaying the risks associated with fracking, something the industry is apparently just realizing. Labeling affected citizens ‘fracktivists’ or ‘uneducated’ in order to delegitimize their complaints has only emphasized the industry’s callousness and inability to respond to real fears in a meaningful way. People trust the industry less than ever before, and with increased drilling across the globe, discontent is becoming even more widespread.

 
Now, after more than a decade of reckless drilling mishaps and a strengthening anti-fracking movement, the industry is willing to admit they’ve lost the public perception battle. From the outside this looks like a perfect opportunity for the industry to become more transparent and accountable. Instead this admission has only strengthened the industry’s resolve to up the communications ante
 
The industry’s posture throughout the shale gas boom and the inglorious rise of fracking has been one of arrogance. The people and the economy need unconventional gas, they say, and they have held fast to this mantra, even in situations of environmental contamination and community harm.  In the face of protest, the industry has cited gas-funded statistics to remind the people just how much our economic stability, employment rates, environment and energy security hang upon the projected success of unconventional gas exploration. 
 
We have a better future in store, says the industry, and fracked gas is the lynchpin. The risks associated with drilling can only be understood as the unintended but necessary costs of a secure-energy future. The victims in this equation are silenced, bought out and called patriots. 
 
But the inherently dangerous drilling procedures associated with unconventional gas have become too difficult to downplay and the increasingly vocal anti-frack movement is getting better at organizing, information sharing and media communications strategies. And that is exactly where the gas industry is looking to make improvements.
 
At an oil and gas strategy conference culminating yesterday in Denver, Colorado, keynote speaker and president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association Tisha Conoly-Schuller described the industry’s opposition as ‘evolved’ and ‘mainstream.’
 
“The public is skeptical of anything we say,” she cautions, adding “the favorable perception of the oil and gas industry polls at seven percent – that’s lower than Congress. The public does not believe us. We need someone else delivering our message for us.”
 
Naturalgaswatch.org, the ‘Official Blogger’ of the conference called “Enhancing Shale Oil & Gas Development Strategies,” recounts Conoly-Schuller’s list of recommendations to the industry representatives at the conference:
 
 - identifying other messengers to carry positive messages about oil and gas to a skeptical public; university professors, she said, polled the highest and are well positioned in that regard.
 
 - broadening the sources of information for executives — “We have sources we are comfortable with,” she said, “and they reinforce our views. We need to go beyond that, even if it makes our blood boil, so we can learn the language used by our opposition and learn what they think. These nuts make up about 90 percent of our population, so we can’t really call them nuts any more. They’re the mainstream.”
 
 - respecting industry critics — “Historically, the industry has been dismissive of its critics,” she said. “We have to understand that they are well-intentioned and believe in what they are doing.”
 
 - recognize the emotional nature of the discourse — “It’s ineffective to respond to emotion with science. We need empathy and we have to recognize that emotional is not irrational.”
 
reframe the issue of hydraulic fracturing in economic terms — “We need to talk about how energy is the building block of our economy.”
 
 - engage in dialogue about hydraulic fracturing more broadly — “Engage with people with people not necessarily to change their minds, but to learn what they know and think. That will inform what works.”
 
 - reposition the industry to appeal more broadly to young people — “The issue is serious, but we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously. We need to become much more clever. Our industry is going to have to become hipper.” 
It will not be lost on critics of the gas industry that no suggestions are made for the kind of reform asked for by those left in fracking’s wake. The conference’s main topic, strategic communications, points to a repeat of the same faulty strategies that got the industry into this mess in the first place: little substantive changes to safety and performance, and far more aggressive public relations campaigns.  
 
Peter Sandman, who is hosting a similar ‘communications’ conference for Canadian gas companies says the industry has been miserable in its attempts to improve risk communications. The general public, he says, view an improvement as “acknowledging prior misbehaviors and current problems, sharing control, becoming more accountable to critics, etc.” But for the mistaken industry “it means doing a better job of explaining the industry’s strengths and rebutting opponents’ claims.”

The tensions splitting supporters and opponents of fracking have never been more clear, yet, instead of focusing the time and resources necessary to respond to these concerns over human and environmental health, the industry is gearing up for a public relations battle to put the tar sands committee to shame. But that battle, we already know, has been lost.
So, just what is the gas industry thinking?

September 10 2011

14:15

More Than a War of Words: Gas Industry Plays Fracking Victim

Evoking an emotional response in one’s audience is a rhetorical means of persuasion well documented since Aristotle. But like Aristotle writes in his Rhetoric, if the reliable character of the speaker isn’t enough to convince a crowd, an emotional appeal might be the next best route to getting what you want – a strategy that is evidently well suited to a powerful but untrustworthy voice, like that of the gas industry.

The oil and gas industry's chief spokespeople have become rhetorical masters, the veritable trailblazers of the devolution of public relations into spin and misinformation campaigns. They probably have a thing or two to teach Aristotle about the art of persuasion and conjuring. Take climate science for example, where the industry has conjured up a ‘climate change debate’ out of thin air, or warming air for that matter. With a few flicks of the rhetorical wand a ‘debate’ over the anthropogenic warming of the climate began, despite an overwhelming consensus on the matter from the world’s leading scientists.  

But we’ve long passed the point where we take industry at its word. We have become too skeptical to trust the ‘character of the speaker’ and the industry knows this all too well. Hence the blatant emotional play at work in so much oil and gas industry public relations. 

Most recently the gas industry has chosen to play victim in a rather surprising aspect of the fracking controversy – its language.
It isn’t fair, they say, to refer to hydraulic fracturing as ‘fracking’ because that makes people think of a similar, ill-reputed four letter word. Fracing or frac’ing are the industry preferred abbreviations of hydraulic fracturing, and gas lobbyists would have us believe the term has been maliciously hijacked by the environmental movement to mischaracterize the process as something…unseemly. Of course no mention is made of how water contamination, industrialization or air pollution have in their own way contributed to fracking’s reputation.
 
The disputed ‘k’ in the frack controversy was allegedly added by the mainstream media to clarify the words pronunciation and was later commandeered by the environmental movement to evoke a plethora of play on f-words. For example, 'Don't frack with New York State.'
 
According to the Associated Press, a communications firm in Pennsylvania found fracking to be worse off in public opinion that strip mining. A public relations firm representative Gregory Matusky says the only less desirable terms are longwall mining, offshore drilling and Gulf drilling. For Matusky the only answer for the gas industry is to stop using the term, replacing it with more favorable alternatives like natural-gas drilling or horizontal drilling, both of which generate more positive associations.

The gas industry, it appears, is on the wrong side of the emotional struggle and needs to redraw the battle lines. As Matusky writes: “A better, more positive term is warranted. The industry needs to identify negatively charged words and replace them with positive language.”

Complain as the industry might, they have long had a strong hold on the language shaping public perception of fracked gas. “Natural gas,” perhaps the most insidious and misleading fossil fuel title after ‘ethical oil’ or ‘clean coal,’ is an industry favorite, playing into the fuel’s misrepresentation as a ‘clean’ ‘alternative,’ two other commonly misused descriptors. Shale gas and unconventional gas are also newly coined terms used to describe what is essentially gas recovered through fracking.
 
Trying to rework the language, however, might be a move in the wrong direction. According to Edward Tenner of The Atlantic, the industry best be careful in its next steps. "Euphimisms," says Tenner, "are usually counterproductive by calling attention to controversy." A rose by any other name… 
 
The industry's pitch for sympathy is perhaps most offensive for its detraction from the true victims of fracking. Instead of playing semantic games perhaps the industry should focus on increased transparency or improved operating procedures. These, after all, would be more direct solutions to fracking's dirty connotations. 
 
For the industry, however, the concerns generated by a decade of poor industry practices are just environmental hysteria misdirected at fracking. “It also caused the Great depression, the Black Plague, the October Revolution and the breakup of the Beatles,” says Chris Tucker, spokesman for Energy in Depth, the gas industry front group. 
Reposted by02mydafsoup-01 02mydafsoup-01

August 23 2011

03:05

Halliburton CEO Instructs Underling To Sip New Fracking Fluid At Gas Industry Conference

Halliburton Chief Executive Officer Dave Lesar touted the safety of the company's new CleanStim fracking fluid during a keynote address at a gas industry conference in Colorado earlier this month. Lesar was so confident in the safety of CleanStim, he was willing to drink it. Er, not exactly. He didn't imbibe himself, but handed the fracking fluid over to one of his underlings, an unnamed Halliburton executive, who took a "swig" of the fracking fluid according to the Associated Press report filed tonight.

Although Halliburton acknowledges that CleanStim is “not intended for human consumption,” it boasts that the new fracking fluid is made with "ingredients from the food industry."

The "executive drinks own chemical" trick shows that Halliburton is clearly stepping up its PR game in the face of growing public concern over the controversial fracking process.

It is great that Halliburton has created a supposedly safe fracking fluid, don't get me wrong. But CleanStim isn't the formula that is in widespread use at gas fracking operations around the country right now. The public still has no clue about the exact formulas the industry is using currently (because the industry doesn't want the public to know). But what little information we do have is that most current formulas are likely to contain a laundry list of cancer-causing chemicals.

We don't hear about gas industry executives drinking the current chemical cocktail during PR stunts, yet they assure us that it is all safe, of course. Forgive the residents of communities whose drinking water has become tainted due to gas drilling operations if they don't take Mr. Lesar's stunt seriously.

As an EDF staffer put it in the Associated Press article, "a homeowner in Pennsylvania doesn't have the option of having an underling drink his water. He has to do it himself."

August 03 2011

22:24

Environmental Working Group Reveals EPA Knowledge of Water Contamination From Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has been known by the EPA to contaminate underground sources of drinking water since 1987. In a 25-year old investigative report, discovered by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Earthjustice, the EPA outlines how fracking for shale gas contaminated a domestic water well in West Virginia.

In a full-length report, called “Cracks in the Façade,” the EWG describes how the uncovered document contradicts the gas industry’s claim that there are no documented cases of water contamination due to fracking. 

The EPA found that fluid from a shale gas well more than 4,000 feet deep contaminated well water and that the incident was “illustrative” of pollution problems associated with oil and gas drilling. With now-uncharacteristic candor, the EPA report outlines how the contamination occurs: “During the fracturing process…fractures can be produced, allowing migration of native brine, fracturing fluid and hydrocarbons from the oil or gas well to a nearby water well. When this happens, the water well can be permanently damaged and a new well must be drilled or an alternative source of drinking water found.”

The report also describes how the EPA’s investigation into the contamination case was obstructed by confidentiality agreements signed between the gas industry and affected landowners. 

The EPA reported that the gas industry mostly settled out of court: “In addition to concealing the nature and size of any settlement entered into between the parties, impoundment curtails access to scientific and administrative documentation of the incident.”

The resurrected report is significant for the fracking debate, in which the issue of water contamination is central. Despite the importance of the EPA’s findings, neither the EPA nor Congress have ever cited the damning report.

In an interview with a former EPA official who worked on the 1987 report, the EWG found that numerous additional cases of groundwater contamination from fracking were also known about by the federal agency, but confidential legal settlements hampered further investigations.

The EWG says the discovered report brings the EPA’s integrity into question. It is unclear why the EPA did not cite its own findings in a subsequent and now largely delegitimized report on fracking in 2004. The 2004 report, which claimed fracking in coal bed methane presented no danger to drinking water, was pivotal in the passing of the 2005 Energy Policy Act which exempted the process from federal oversight. The EPA stressed that they studied only coal bed methane because they had “not heard concerns from citizens regarding any other type of hydraulic fracturing,” despite their own 1987 findings to the contrary.

These concerns over the EPA’s commitment to public health and safety are especially relevant, writes the EWG, as the body’s current two-year study of fracking is underway.

The additional studies, interviews and official documents included in EWG’s report confirm the importance of the EPA’s much-needed review of the process. 

The EWG concludes that their “investigation established that hydraulic fracturing poses significant risks to the drinking water sources on which more than 100 million Americans depend. The EPA’s report, combined with industry and government papers showing that fractures can spread unpredictably and can intersect with adjacent wells, strongly indicate that hydraulic fracturing puts these water supplies in danger.”

April 25 2011

04:10

Check Out Earthjustice's Fracking Video Short "Things Always Find A Way To Happen"

Earthjustice released a great video short earlier this month explaining the threats posed by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for unconventional gas, including water contamination, an exploding house, dead livestock, and health impacts on residents living near fracking operations, to name a few. 

It's a great brief overview of the reasons why the lax oversight of fracking and other unconventional gas industry practices deserves immediate and intense scrutiny from public health and safety officials. Just last week, we witnessed Chesapeake Energy's fracking well blowout in Bradford County, Pennsylvania - which eerily took place one year after the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico - contaminating local waterways and properties with drilling chemicals. That well blowout is thankfully now under control and awaiting a permanent plug, but it serves as another reminder of how ill-prepared the gas industry is to respond to such emergencies, and to prevent them in the first place.

Watch the Earthjustice short:
<!--break-->

As Earthjustice Managing Attorney Deborah Goldberg said recently,

“How many wells need to blow out, how many people need to get sick, how many communities need to be devastated before elected leaders say ‘enough is enough’? The gas has been there for millions of years, it can stay there a little longer until we figure how — and if — we can extract it safely.”

Agreed.

Check out Earthjustice's website for more about their work to curb the fracking bonanza and empower citizens to fight back against reckless gas industry practices.

March 21 2011

20:30

Gas Industry Working Overtime to Smother Revived FRAC Act Efforts To Rein In Hydraulic Fracturing

Last week, US Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) reintroduced legislation to the Senate that would close the oversight gap that the gas industry has taken full advantage of since 2005. The “Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act,” commonly known as the FRAC Act, would close the Halliburton Loophole in Dick Cheney’s infamous 2005 Energy Policy Act, which exempted hydraulic fracturing from the auspices of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

Hydraulic fracturing is used in 90% of all unconventional natural gas wells in the U.S. and involves the injection of millions of gallons of water, sand and dangerous chemicals into the ground. The bill would also require that the natural gas industry publicly disclose the chemicals they use to drill for unconventional gas. These chemicals, including potent cancer-causing agents, are protected as industry trade secrets.

The FRAC Act was originally introduced as a set of twin bills to the House and Senate in 2009 but died in the last session of Congress. According to new supporter Senator Frank Lautenberg, the FRAC Act will give the EPA the necessary backing to, at the very least, properly investigate and assess the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing.

The industry’s aggressive lobbying campaign against the FRAC Act is part of a larger agenda to limit federal oversight of gas drilling. The legal void created by the Energy Policy Act in 2005 essentially crippled the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ability to properly monitor the boom in gas fracking activity, especially the potentially serious threat to drinking water supplies. A long history of industry pressure on EPA scientists is also present on this issue, leading to the narrowing of scope in the EPA’s investigations and the elimination of critical findings when it comes to certain fracking threats. <!--break-->

As a result of the Halliburton Loophole, the states are left to monitor the gas industry's rapidly evolving drilling practices themselves, with few federal standards in place to safeguard public health and water supplies.  A growing number of communities impacted by the gas industry’s fracking practices consider this reliance on state agencies a risky gamble.  In many states, the state oil and gas commission handles both the oversight and promotion of the industry, and as one recent report noted, “the primary mission of these agencies has been to facilitate natural gas extraction and increase revenues for the states.”  

The gas industry has responded to the proposed legislation with a misleading advertising and lobbying campaign, attempting to pressure lawmakers to keep oversight at the state level and limit federal participation. 

Industry-sponsored reports have praised the regulatory oversight of state commissions, and lobby groups have suggested that federal engagement would be bad for the environment.

Among the favorite scare tactics employed by the gas industry is the suggestion that federal involvement would mean millions in lost state revenue, further unemployment and compromised energy security. Industry lobbying efforts have so far succeeded in stalling any momentum towards the implementation of much-needed federal standards for fracking.

But as the recent New York Times’ “Drilling Down” series on gas drilling shows, the industry is in serious need of more thorough federal oversight.  According to these reports, the states are failing to monitor radioactive drilling wastes, much less ensure their proper disposal. As a result, the Times notes how the wastes can end up back in streams and rivers that source the drinking water supply. A single gas well can produce over a million gallons of radioactive waste water contaminated with cancer-causing agents, posing a threat to drinking water and health if not properly handled and disposed. 

The FRAC Act is one crucial step in the long journey to proper accountability for all risky practices in the gas industry. But powerful gas industry lobbying forces will work to derail it. In fact, they already are. 

Lee Fuller, executive director of Energy in Depth, the most vocal industry front group, was quick to attack the reintroduction of the FRAC Act, saying the bill is based on “fundamentally incorrect information.” EID insists that hydraulic fracturing was never regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), so the legislative attempt to “restore” this regulation is misguided. Yet the process was always regulated by the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program of the SDWA until language inserted into the 2005 Energy Policy Act excluded the underground injection of fluids for the sake of oil and gas extraction.  

This isn’t the only EID claim intended to confuse the public, as DeSmogBlog recently revealed

While Energy In Depth suggests that hydraulic fracturing has “become a victim of its own success,” the citizens whose water supplies and health have been put in jeopardy would beg to differ. 

The industry is still parroting the same refrain: that ‘no proven instances of water contamination have been directly linked to hydraulic fracturing.’ Yet with mounting instances of water contamination occurring across America, all this statement reflects is the near impossibility of bringing this cavalier industry to account. 

Congress must work quickly to pass the FRAC Act and to safeguard the public from the gas industry’s fracking mess.

 

January 25 2011

21:32

November 22 2010

18:00

October 12 2010

15:56

Drilling Moratorium to End

The moratorium was supposed to run through Nov. 30, but the administration is acting sooner because it has been working on changes in safety, oversight and environmental protection standards.

June 14 2010

12:03

June 10 2010

18:17

Will New York Rebel Against Fracking?

A well blowout that shot gas and water polluted with drilling fluids as high as 75 feet into the air in Pennsylvania is a vivid reminder how a new generation of gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing is becoming more of a presence in the Northeast. Discussion of whether the main result will be jobs and royalty payments or environmental degradation still remains surprisingly below the radar screen in New York State, aside from the upstate communities that are likely to be affected. But the issues are already a huge fact of life just across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.

June 02 2010

20:06

Katrina and Climate: Case Dismissed?

Back in 2005, a group of landowners in the Gulf Coast filed a case against companies in the area claiming that their greenhouse gas emissions had contributed to global warming and exacerbated the effects of Hurricane Katrina. That case has now been dismissed from federal circuit court.
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