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WHAT YOU CAN DO
TO PREVENT FRACKING

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UPCOMING EVENTS

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DOMINION "NEW MARKET PROJECT" SCOPING MEETING
Newly added FERC Scoping Hearing and Comment Deadline for Dominion's "New Market Project" as follow-up to Oct. 8th FERC hearing in Georgetown, NY. DeRuyter and West Eaton are now being considered as prospective sites for a compressor station.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014, 6:00 PM
Morrisville-Eaton Middle/ High School Auditorium
5601 Fearon Road, Morrisville, NY 13408
File online at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp (Docket # CP14-497)

SHOULD UNIVERSITIES AND PENSION FUNDS DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUEL STOCKS?
SPEAKERS: Bennett Freeman, Calvert Investments; Stephen Heintz, Rockefeller Brothers Fund; John Willis, Sustainable Insight Capital Management; Christianna Wood, Gore Creek Capital, Ltd. and MODERATOR: Michael B. Gerrard, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
The speakers include both proponents and opponents of divestment, and experts on the effect of divestment on portfolio value and its place in the corporate social responsibility movement.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2014 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Columbia Law School, 435 W. 116th St. (corner of Amsterdam Ave.), New York, NY, Room 101
New York, NY
Register at: Columbia Uinversity (registration)

SAVE THE DATE - NOT ONE WELL RALLY AGAINST FRACKING & FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY AT CUOMO'S STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
January 7 is NY Governor Cuomo's State of the State address. Join us in Albany to tell Cuomo "NOT ONE WELL" in NYS.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2015, 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Concourse Hallways, outside the entrance to the Convention Center
(note: rally is indoors)
Empire State Plaza,
Albany, NY
See more at:NOT ONE WELL RALLY AGAINST FRACKING
& FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY



AFFORDABLE, RENEWABLE, LOCAL, THE PROMISE OF CCAs

Community Choice Aggregation is now an option in six states. In essence, it's a community-owned utility, and because it represents many thousands of customers, it can negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an energy provider that is below the retail rate. Paul Fenn, the 'inventor' of CCAs, says they can usually deliver cost savings of around 15 to 20 percent.

But CCAs can deliver much more than low prices, they can also provide communities (municipalities) with an opportunity to build publicly-owned utilities that generate power locally, from renewable resources. Fenn says a successful CCA may generate more than 80 percent of its electricity locally, and reduce grid load by an equal amount.

There are two essential conditions that make a CCA feasible. First, municipalities must be permitted to access data on customer's energy use from utility companies. This information is needed to negotiate a PPA, and it's even more important if the CCA wants to design a successful locally-produced energy system. Second, CCAs must have an opt-out provision—in other words all consumers in the catchment area are automatically included in the CCA unless they actively decide not to join. Human nature being what it is, only five to ten percent of the public will opt into a CCA, but if customers must opt out, the CCA is likely to capture in excess of 80 percent of the local market.

There are no CCAs in New York yet, but that may be about to change. Earlier this year both the Assembly and Senate voted out legislation that would approve a trial program in Westchester County. The state's Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken up CCAs as a part of its Reforming Energy Vision initiative, and a group, Citizens for Local Power, is lining up municipal support for a CCA in Ulster County.

To facilitate the widespread proliferation of CCAs throughout New York, we need enabling legislation such as the bill introduced by Assembly Member Kevin Cahill in the last session. It would require utilities to share data with municipalities and provide CCAs with the opt-out provision. It would also require CCAs to offer customers power at below the prevailing market rate.



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RENEWABLE ENERGY


CLICK HERE FOR CLEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY

Now you don't have to install solar panels or a wind turbine to go green. All you have to do is switch your electric bill to Pear Energy. Remember to enter the promo code: catskillcitizen, and Pear will donate $50 to Catskill Citizens.






CCSE UPDATE AND PRESS RELEASES 2014


CCSE Update 10/28/2014
CCSE Update 09/30/2014
CCSE Update 08/26/2014
CCSE Update 07/22/2014
CCSE Update 06/24/2014
CCSE Update 05/20/2014
CCSE Update 04/22/2014
CCSE Update 03/18/2014
CCSE Update 01/28/2014
CCSE Update 01/07/2014

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF
SHALE GAS DRILLING


Read Selected Documents Authored by Jannette M. Barth, Ph.D.

Can New York Learn from Texas?. Economist Jannette Barth's latest analysis of the economic impact of shale gas plays.

Read more about LNG exports by entering the word "exports" in the Search feature of our website.



NEW ITEMS IN LEARN MORE

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    Impact of Industrial Wind Turbines on Residential Property Assessment In Ontario 2012 Assessment Base Year Study. Municipal Property Assessment Corp.

Safety Advisory Bulletin - Guidance for Pipeline Flow Reversals, Product Changes and Conversion to Service
    Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration September 2014

Waste Not: Common Sense Ways to Reduce Methane Pollution from the Oil and Natural Gas Industry
    Clean Air Task Force Report Summary. The full report will be available in Dec, 2014. Earthjustice, Earthworks, and Environmental Defense Fund have reviewed this report. The full text of the report will be available online at http://catf.us/resources/publications/view/205

Star Power The Growing Role of Solar Energy in America
    Written by: Judee Burr and Lindsey Hallock Frontier Group Rob Sargent Environment America Research & Policy Center, Nov, 2014



NATURAL GAS EXPORTS: WASHINGTON’S REVOLVING DOOR FUELS CLIMATE THREAT
    Lee Fang from Republic Reports and Steve Horn from De Smog Blog, posted Nov, 2014

BURNING MONEY Updating Rules for Oil and Gas Loss on Federal Lands
    Taxpayers for Common Sense, Making Government Work, Nov., 2014.

IN THE PITS : Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal into Open Unlined Pits and the Threat to California’s Water and Air
    Clean Water Action, Clean Water Fund Report, Nov., 2014

Climate Solutions for a Stronger America: A Guide for Engaging and Winning on Climage Change & Clean Energy
    2nd Edition, 2014; Authors Betsy Taylor and Kathy Washienko, Breakthrough Strategies & Solutions, Inc.

The fossil fuel bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration
    Elizabeth Bast, Shakuntala Makhijani, Sam Pickard and Shelagh Whitley, Oil Change International and Overseas Deveelopment Institute, November 2014

NEW TRACERS CAN IDENTIFY FRACKING FLUIDS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
    Authors: Avner Vengosh and Robert Jackson, Duke University. Scientists have developed new geochemical tracers that can identify hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that have been spilled or released into the environment. Oct, 20, 2014

Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study
    Authors: Gregg P Macey, Ruth Breech, Mark Chernaik, Caroline Cox, Denny Larson, Deb Thomas and David O Carpenter for Environmental Health. October 30, 2014

Warning Sign: Toxic air Pollution identified at Oil and gas Development Sites ?
    Results from Community ; Air Monitoring Reveal Chemicals Linked to Health Hazards; Coming Clean and global Community monitor • oCtober 2014

"PM2.5 Airborne Particulates" Abstract
    Crispin Pierce, Kristin Walters, Jeron Jacobson and Zachary Kroening University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire; Accepted for publication in the Journal of Environmental Health (Nov. 2015, in press). Abstract: The rapid growth of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas extraction in the U.S. has led to more than 140 permitted “frac” sand mines and processing plants in Wisconsin.

PM2.5 Airborne Particulates near Frac Sand Operations--Acceptance Letter
    Accepted for publication in the Journal of Environmental Health (Nov. 2015, in press).

MATERIAL RISKS: HOW PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY IS SLOWING TAR SANDS DEVELOPMENT
    This paper was conceived, written and researched collectively by Tom Sanzillo, Lorne Stockman, Deborah Rogers, Hannah McKinnon, Elizabeth Bast, and Steve Kretzmann. With assistance and/or additional contributions from Adam Wolfensohn, and Amin Asadollahi for the Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis, Oct.2014.

DRILLING DEEPER A REALITY CHECK ON U.S. GOVERNMENT FORECASTS FOR A LASTING TIGHT OIL & SHALE GAS BOOM
    by J. David Hughes, Post Carbon Institute, Oct., 2014

FRACKING’S TOXIC LOOPHOLE Thanks to the “Halliburton Loophole,” Hydraulic Fracturing Companies Are Injecting Chemicals More Toxic than Diesel
    Environmental Integrity Project, Oct 22, 2014. This report was researched and written by Eric Schaeffer and Courtney Bernhardt. The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws.

Drilling in California: Who’s at risk?
    Tanja Srebotnjak and Miriam Rotkin-Ellman, Natural Resources Defense Council, Posted Oct 2014.

FOOD, FOSSIL FUELS AND FILTHY FINANCE
    Oxfam Briefing Paper 191, Oct 17, 2014

Video: FRACK US: the dangers of gas fracking.
    RT Documentary--53 minutes. Published on Oct 10, 2014 All across the USA people are rising up against fracking. They don’t believe the process is safe and think it causes wide-scale land contamination. Ever more extraction sites are being approved and developed with new plant being built in once idyllic landscapes.

Department of the Army Letter: Permit Application by Constitution Pipeline Co., LLC
    Letter dated Oct 8, 2014 regarding construction of a new 124-mile-long natural gas pipeline.

Strengthening the EPA’s Clean Power Plan Increasing renewable energy use will achieve greater emissions reductions
    Union of Concerned Scientists Policy Brief, Oct. 2014. Document also available at: www.ucsusa.org/renewablesandcleanpowerplan

Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Fossil Energy Extracted from Federal Lands and Waters: An Update
    Wilderness Society Report by Stratus Consulting, Sept, 2014

Limited impact on decadal-scale climate change from increased use of natural gas
    Nature, Oct, 2014. Authors: Haewon McJeon, Jae Edmonds, Nico Bauer, Leon Clarke, Brian Fisher, Brian P. Flannery, Jérôme Hilaire, Volker Krey, Giacomo Marangoni, Raymond Mi, Keywan Riahi, Holger Rogner & Massimo Tavoni "Our results show that although market penetration of globally abundant gas may substantially change the future energy system, it is not necessarily an effective substitute for climate change mitigation policy9, 10.:

Upper Delaware River Basin: One of 10 Special Places
    As natural gas extraction expands across the Central Appalachian region, that industrial-scale energy development is encroaching on public lands that are critically important for fishing and hunting. In this report, Trout Unlimited takes a deeper look into those public places, outlining the potential risks posed by gas drilling operations and providing recommendations from sportsmen and women that promote responsible energy development.

The 2001–Present Induced Earthquake Sequence in the Raton Basin of Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado
    Authors: Justin L. Rubinstein, William L. Ellsworth, Arthur McGarr, and Harley M. Benz, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, October 2014,

The URGENT Case for a Ban on Fracking
    Food & Water Watch, Sept 2014

DEP PA Water Supply Determination Letters
    The following list identifies cases where DEP determined that a private water supply was impacted by oil and gas activities in Pennsylvania

The State Clean Energy Cookbook: A Dozen Recipes for State Action on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
    Standord Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance and Hoover Institutiion's Shultz-Stephenson Task Force on Energy Policy, posted September, 2014.

Organic compounds in produced waters from shale gas wells
    by Samuel J. Maguire-Boyle and Andrew R. Barron, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts (Formerly the Journal of Environmental Monitoring), August13, 2014; abstract.

GLOBAL SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT Water Availability and Business Risks
    Authors: PAUL REIG, TIANYI LUO, AND JONATHAN N. PROCTOR; World resources Institute Posted Sept, 2014.

GLOBAL SHALE GAS DEVELOPMENT Water Availability and Business Risks (Exec Summary)
    Authors: PAUL REIG, TIANYI LUO, AND JONATHAN N. PROCTOR; World Resources Institute, Posted Sept, 2014.

Climate Impacts of Natural Gas Production and LNG Export: A Synopsis of Current Science
    August 2014., Creative Commons, Oregon Sierra Club.

TOXIC WORKPLACE: Fracking Hazards on the Job
    Food & Water Watch, August 2014.

Blackout in the Gas Patch How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement
    How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement Published: August 7, 2014 by Earthworks By: Nadia Steinzor -

FEMA Mitigation Policy: Limits on Subsurface Uses of Hazard Mitigation Assistance Acquired Lands
    Policy Number: FP 302-405-146-1, May 5, 2014

Up in Flames: U.S. Shale Oil Boom Comes at Expense of Wasted Natural Gas, Increased CO2
    AUGUST 2014 EARTHWORKST OIL & GAS ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT

Climate Impacts of Natural Gas Production and LNG Export: A Synopsis of Current Science
    Oregon Sierra Club, Ted Gleichman, editor. August, 2014

Potential Public Health Impacts of Natural Gas Development and Production in the Marcellus Shale in Western Maryland
    July 2014 Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health School of Public Health University of Maryland, College Park

Open Letter from members of Congress to Obama
    "To enhance our nations' energy security and reliability and to protect our environment, methane emissions must be reduced. Letter signed by 49 members of Congress. May 14, 2014

Anatomy of an Industry Front Group How the oil and gas industry runs the show at the Center for Sustainable Shale Development
    Public Accountability Initiative, August, 2014 report Executive Summary

UP IN FLAMES: Taxpayers Left Out in the Cold as Publicly Owned Natural Gas is Carelessly Wasted
    Western Values Project, May, 2014.

Letter: Shale Gas Development and Mars Area School Permitting Decision
    Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy letter to PA DEP dated Aug 12, 2014

Considerations in Signing an Easement Agreement
    Pipeline Safety Coalition, Posted August, 2014

Landowner's Guide to Pipelines: Safety, Responsibilities, Your Rights
    Pipeline Safety Trust, July 2014

FRACKING BEYOND THE LAW Despite Industry Denials, Investigation Reveals Continued Use of Diesel Fuels in Hydraulic Fracturing
    The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys to advocate for effective enforcement of environmental laws. Report Aug 13, 2014

After Action Review Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Incident Response Chevron Appalachia LLC - Lanco 7H Well Fire Dunkard Township, Greene County
    This report provides an After Action Review (AAR) of the Chevron Appalachia LLC Lanco 7H well fire incident. This well fire incident occurred from February 11, 2014 through March 3, 2014.

SUMMARY OF BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIONS INFORMATION GATHERING EFFORTS CHEVRON LANCO PAD A GAS WELL FIRE
    This summary offers factual circumstances that may bear upon more complete evaluation of the Lanco A Well Fire and its cause(s).

Blackout in the Gas Patch How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement
    Earthworks report, August, 2014. Author: Nadia Steinzor. Earthworks' Oil & Gas Accountability Project

Blackout in the Gas Patch: How Pennsylvania Residents are Left in the Dark on Health and Enforcement -
    Report Executive Summary by Earthworks, August, 2014. Earthworks conducted a year-long investigation into how DEP permits and oversees gas and oil operations, what has occurred at certain loca- tions, and the circumstances facing numerous households and communities. - See more at: http://www.earthworksaction.org/library/detail/blackout_summary#.U-O8a1ZD5g0

Environmental Public Health Dimensions of Shale and Tight Gas Development
    Authors: Seth B.C. Shonkoff, Jake Hays and Madelon L. Finkel in Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 122, Num 8, August, 2014

Fracking in the Digital Landscape
    2014 Makovsky Report, Makovsky Integrated Communications

Lighting the Way The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013
    Written by: Jordan Schneider, Frontier Group Rob Sargent, Environment America Research & Policy Center August 2014

Biotic impacts of energy development from shale: research priorities and knowledge gaps
    Authors: Sara Souther, Morgan W Tingley, Viorel D Popescu, David TS Hayman, Maureen E Ryan, Tabitha A Graves, Brett Hartl, and Kimberly Terrell. The Ecological Society of America, 2014. * Exploitation of oil and gas reserves trapped in shale rock, including the extraction process known as “fracking”, poses substantial and unexplored risks to living creatures • Understanding the biotic impacts of operations that fracture shale to access reserves is hindered by the unavailability of high-quality data about fracturing fluids, wastewater, and spills or violations • The risks of chemical contamination from spills, deep well failures, storage leaks, and underground fluid migration are top research priorities • Cumulative effects of shale development may represent the most severe threats to plants and animals, but are particularly challenging to study

Time Warner Cable News/Siena College Poll July 20-23, 2014 544 Registered Voters in Hudson Valley Southern Tier in New York
    Q20. Switching gears, the State Department of Environmental Conservation - or DEC - is expected to soon issue a decision on whether or not to allow hydrofracking - that is, the proposed method to recover natural gas from parts of upstate New York - to move forward. How much have you heard or read about it - a great deal, some, not very much, or nothing at all? Q21. Do you support or oppose the Department of Environmental Conservation allowing hydrofracking to move forward in parts of upstate New York? Q22A. Hydrofracking is too dangerous as it leads to unsafe levels of methane gas being released Q22B. Hydrofracking is important in order to harvest the abundant supply of natural gas that is otherwise currently inaccessible

DRINKING WATER: EPA Program to Protect Underground Sources from Injection of Fluids Associated With Oil and Gas Production Needs Improvement
    GAO Report 14-555, June, 2014.

Fracking Brussels: A Who's Who of the EU Shale Gas Lobby
    Friends of the Earth Europe; author Rachel Tansey, published july, 2014

Shale gas and fracking: examining the evidence
    Gwen Harrison, Stuart Parkinson and Gary McFarlane; Published by © Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) in July 2014

Health and fracking: Should the medical profession be concerned?
    This article attempts to summarise the health concerns and discuss them within the South African context. Published in the South African Medical Journal, May, 2014.

A Summary Report of Perceptions of the Politics and Regulation of Unconventional Shale Development in Texas
    Authors: Sam Gallaher, Doctoral Candidate Jonathan Pierce, Post-Doctoral Scholar Chris Weible, Associate Professor Jennifer Kagan, Graduate Assistant Tanya Heikkila, Associate Professor Benjamin Blair, Research Associate School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, Denver, July, 2014


An all-volunteer grassroots organization with members throughout New York and around the country.

We support the American Clean Energy Agenda. Find out how your organization can also lend its support info@catskillcitizens.org.


Call Governor Cuomo (518) 474-8390   Call Governor Cuomo (212) 681-4580

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: A NEW WORRY ON HUNGRY HILL: FORMALDEHYDE

Fremont Center, NY - The construction of the Millennium Pipeline Company's gas compressor station on Hungry Hill Road in the Town of Hancock has transformed what used to be a rural community. It caused structural damage to at least one home, lowered property values, and compelled residents to temporarily evacuate the area on two occasions.. Now a peer-reviewed study published in Environmental Health demonstrates that compressor stations also threaten the health of neighborhood residents. Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study sampled air in several states including Wyoming, Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania and found elevated levels of eight volatile chemicals that exceeded federal health guidelines.

Of particular concern to the residents of Hungry Hill is the presence of formaldehyde found in the air around compressor stations. Formaldehyde is a suspected carcinogen that can affect nearly every tissue in the body. It can cause everything from allergies and asthma to neurological damage and reproductive problems. The effect of formaldehyde on children is still being studied, but as scientists learn more about it, they are consistently lowering the level of what constitutes safe exposure. This troubles Jessica Kenyon who lives across the street from the Hancock compressor station with her husband and two children, aged four and fourteen. "This is something new to worry about", she said. "I wonder if we should buy an air filter for the house, or even if that would help."

In order to measure the health risks faced by the Kenyons and their neighbors, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and Hancock Residents for Preservation of the Catskills have partnered to monitor the air around the compressor station. Air testing began even before the compressor station went online. This established a "baseline" that can be used to show that pollutants emitted by Millennium's facility are not coming from another source. Catskill Citizens member Kate Bowers organized the training session for area volunteers who were instructed in the proper use of federally approved air-sampling devices. "As fracked gas infrastructure expands all across the U.S., more and more communities are finding that they have to shoulder responsibilities that are being neglected by regulatory agencies," she said. "Neither the federal government or the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are monitoring emissions on Hungry Hill, so we're doing it ourselves."

Catskill Citizens member Jennifer Clark is one of the volunteers collecting air samples. She said,"Even though fracking hasn't been permitted in New York, we're already being exposed to the risks of shale gas development. When Millennium's compressor station went online just a few miles from my home and business, I wanted to know how it would affect the air quality." Catskill Citizens and its partners are currently seeking funding so they can continue to monitor the air during the winter months when the compressor station will increase its hours of operation.

Coming Clean and Global Community Monitor released Warning Signs: Toxic Air Pollution at Oil and Gas Development Sites, in conjunction with the report published in Environmental Health. It describes the toxic emissions associated with shale gas infrastructure and is intended for the general public. For further information call (845) 468-7063, or email info@catskillcitizens.org.


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METHANE: THE "LOW HANGING FRUIT" OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Take Action!
In an important article, Climate change, Obama, and methane, posted on The Hill, Cornell scientist Robert Howarth chides the president for "once again failing to announce strong, decisive action to combat methane at the recent Climate Summit." Methane, he says, is the "low hanging fruit" of greenhouse gas because the planet responds much more quickly to reductions of methane emissions than to reductions in carbon dioxide.

YOU CAN SEE IT FROM SPACE


Click Image to Enlarge
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan

You can see it from space: A report in Geophysical Research Letters concludes that the 2,500 square mile methane hot spot in America's Southwest is "likely from established gas, coal, and coalbed methane mining and processing."


In 2015 EPA will require oil and gas companies to use "green completion" technology when developing oil and gas wells, and that will help reduce wellhead emissions of methane, but that doesn't begin to address the extent of the problem. If the U.S. is going to get serious about the issue, it must begin by framing it in a way that reflects the urgency of the situation.

First it must bring its estimates of "fugitive emissions" from natural gas production more in line with the work of independent scientists. EPA estimates the figure at 1.2 percent of total natural gas production, but Seth B. Shonkoff, Executive Director of PSE Healthy Energy, recently said, "The most authoritative [scientific studies] say the EPA underestimates methane emissions by about 50 percent."

Second, EPA must stop referencing the global warming potential (GWP) of methane over a one hundred-year time period and, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, assess its impact over the next twenty years—after all, this is all the time we have if we are to forestall the worst impacts of global warming. This simple recalibration would make it clear that methane emissions currently account for at least 27 percent, not 9 percent, of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions—even supposing EPA's current estimates are otherwise accurate.

An IPPC study found that methane emissions have increased by 150 percent since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution; carbon dioxide emissions have increased by 40 percent over the same period.

Read more:


LET THE SCIENCE DECIDE—OR DECIDE THE SCIENCE?

Governor Andrew Cuomo has repeatedly said he wants science to decide the fate of fracking, but an investigative report by Scott Waldman posted on Capital New York indicates that officials in his administration, including at least one non-scientist, played a role in rewriting portions of a United States Geological Survey study so that it downplays the risks associated with shale gas extraction.

The study, Occurrence of Methane in Groundwater of South-Central New York State, 2012, was intended to establish a baseline of methane in groundwater in the Southern Tier, a region of the state that the Cuomo administration has considered opening up to hydraulic fracturing. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) helped fund the study, and that gave the administration access to an early draft of the report—and it used that access to influence the content of the published report.

Waldman cites a reference to hazards associated with gas pipelines and gas storage facilities that was dropped from the final report at the behest of someone in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. "Everybody has an angle", commented USGS hydrologist Paul Heisig, lead author of the study.

Another change highlighted by Waldman was the addition of a sentence reassuring the reader that "The risk [of drinking water contamination] can be reduced if the casing and cementing of [gas] wells is properly designed and constructed." But that's a very big "if". A 2014 study suggests that the industry may be incapable of reliably designing and constructing leak-proof shale gas wells. Cornell's Anthony Ingraffea led a team that examined records compiled on all the oil and gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania between 2000 and 2012 and concluded that there are structural problems with almost ten percent of the shale wells drilled in Northeast Pennsylvania, the region adjacent to New York"s Southern Tier.

There's no indication that the hard science in the USGS report was altered—a hydrologist examining the data on methane levels would not be misled; but the public, reliant on the USGS for context and interpretation, could be swayed by the spin.



LATEST NEWS


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Search All News Items

Nov 22, 2014
The Downside of the Boom
The New York Times
DEBORAH SONTAG and ROBERT GEBELOFF

WILLISTON, N.D. — In early August 2013, Arlene Skurupey of Blacksburg, Va., got an animated call from the normally taciturn farmer who rents her family land in Billings County, N.D. There had been an accident at the Skurupey 1-9H oil well. “Oh, my gosh, the gold is blowing,” she said he told her. “B...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
It’s Time for Obama to Tighten Rules on Gas Leaks
The New York Times
Andrew Revkin

Environmental groups with varied stances on the merits of natural gas and the controversial extraction method best known as fracking have endorsed a set of cost-effective steps the Obama administration could take to stanch gas leaks from wells and other gas and oil facilities. Such emissions contrib...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
How Americans Came to Oppose Fracking
WANDERINGS
Walter Brasch

For the first time since high volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as nonconventional fracking, was developed, more Americans oppose it than support it. According to a national survey conducted by the independent non-partisan Pew Research Center, 47 percent of Americans oppo...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
New York Activists Turn to Civil Disobedience As Last Resort to Fight Regulatory Capture
DeSmogBlog
JUSTIN MIKULKA

Award-winning author and anti-fracking activist Dr. Sandra Steingraber is going to spend Thanksgiving in jail. And it won’t be her first stay there. She spent last Earth Day there as well. She is returning to jail in upstate New York after her arrest for being part of a human blockade at the gates o...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
Sandra Steingraber: Why I am in Jail
EcoWatch
Sandra Steingraber

reakfast in the Chemung County Jail is served at 5 a.m. This morning—Friday, November 21, 2014—it was Cheerios and milk plus two slaps of universally-despised “breakfast cake.” Along with trays of food—which are passed through the bars—arrive the morning rounds of meds for the inmates who take them....  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
David Suzuki writes letter to grandson arrested at Kinder Morgan protest on Burnaby Mountain
The Vancouver Sun
Jenny Uechi

"He is a role model for young people today, inspiring them to get involved in issues of their future," Suzuki writes of his grandson, who was arrested on Thursday.   [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
Steingraber, Boland and Micklem Sentenced to 15 Days in Jail for Protesting Methane Gas Storage
EcoWatch
Stefanie Spear

Renowned author, biologist and advocate Sandra Steingraber, PhD, U.S. Air Force veteran Colleen Boland (retired) and avid environmentalist Roland Micklem headed to the Chemung County jail Wednesday evening after pleading guilty and refusing to pay a fine in New York’s Reading Town Court. Judge Raymo...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
TCEQ memo proves toxic chemicals are being released in the Eagle Ford Shale
KENS 5 San Antonio
Barry Davis

When Lynn Buehring and her husband Shelby bought their modest home in Karnes county, they were planning on living out their lives there. But Lynn said those years may be much shorter than she expected. She believes the oil industry is killing her. Since the fracking boom, Buehring said she has...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
Controversial Marcellus Shale Gas Pipeline Threatens Delaware River Basin and Rural Communities in the Northeast
Huffington Post
Joy E. Stocke & Kim Nagy

"Have you heard about the pipeline?" From the Marcellus Shale in the Appalachian basin in Pennsylvania, where the fracked gas boom is in full force, to Trenton, New Jersey, just south of Washington's Crossing--where, on December 25, 1776, General George Washington and his troops made their famous...  [Full Story]

Nov 21, 2014
Dozens of Activists Arrested in Battle Against a Fracking “Gateway Drug” in New York
In These Times
Molly Bennet

Tens of thousands of years ago, as massive sheets of ice moved across river valleys in what’s now west-central New York, they cut 11 deep grooves that eventually became the Finger Lakes. Some 390 million years before that, in the sea that once covered the Appalachian Basin, algae and other organic m...  [Full Story]




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