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|Tuesday, August 26, 2014|
FERC: IF IT’S NOT RIGHT UNDER OUR NOSE, WE DON’T SEE IT
The adverse impacts of projects like gas pipelines and LNG export terminals extend far beyond the immediate vicinity where the projects are sited. These include “upstream impacts” such as the damage done to human health, natural resources, and local economies in regions where shale gas is extracted, and the deleterious effect of methane emissions on climate change. For years, EPA regional offices and others have argued that these impacts must be considered before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission grants licenses for gas infrastructure projects, but the commission continues to conduct sketchy environmental reviews that ignore all but the most obvious immediate impacts. In an interview with E&E;, in late June, acting FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur defended the commission’s practice, saying, “We look at the direct project impacts, we do not do a cradle-to-grave, molecule-by-molecule analysis of where … a fuel is coming from, what’s going to happen at the end of the ship when it goes off to the other side of the Earth and what other fuel it displaces.” LaFleur maintained that federal law doesn’t allow the commission to take a broader view of environmental impacts, and cited a court decision that found FERC had conducted an adequate analysis in the case of one natural gas pipeline.
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS TO MINISINK RESIDENTS:
SUCK IT UP!
In denying a suit brought by the residents of Minisink, NY, who fought to keep a polluting compressor station out of their neighborhood, D.C. Circuit Judge Wilkins acknowledged, “Almost no one would want natural gas infrastructure built on their block” but concluded “such facilities must be built somewhere.” In this case “somewhere” is in the heart of a residential neighborhood that is home to many 9/11 first responders who already are suffering health impacts related to toxic exposure.
WHAT HAPPENED IN COLORADO
A month ago it looked like Colorado was set for a showdown over fracking. Grassroots organizers with the backing of millionaire Rep. Jared Polis (D) had collected over a quarter of a million signatures in support of two anti-fracking ballot initiatives—one would have upheld the rights of municipalities to ban fracking, the other would have prohibited fracking within two thousand feet of an occupied building. The gas companies countered with two ballot initiatives of their own, one of which would have withheld state funds from municipalities that impose bans.
The citizen-backed ballot initiatives appeared popular in early polls, but the gas industry threatened to spend twenty million dollars to defeat them, and Democrats feared that Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall would lose their reelection bids if the initiatives remained on the ballot. At the last minute, Polis pulled the citizen-backed initiatives as part of deal in which the industry also withdrew its ballot initiatives and Governor Hickenlooper announced that he would appoint a commission to recommend policy for the state. The move split Colorado’s anti-fracking community and let stand lawsuits against the handful of municipal bans in the state. The ban in the town of Longmont was struck down just days before the deal was struck, and a few days afterward, a the deal was reached, a court overturned the Fort Collins ban.
DEMAND A STATEWIDE BAN ON FRACKING
We know fracking is dangerous and destructive. The only thing we don’t
know is what Governor Cuomo will do
if he’s reelected. Demand a ban now!
FRACKING ON THE BALLOT IN NYS
For the first time since fracking became a concern to many New Yorkers, it’s emerged as a top-tier issue in a major race. On Tuesday, September 9, Democrats will get to choose between incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo and challenger Zephyr Teachout.
Governor Cuomo hasn’t had a lot to say about the issue in recent months. The official position of his administration is that he’s waiting for the Department of Health to complete its review before making a determination as to whether or not to permit fracking in New York State. No decision is expected before next year.
Fracking and renewable energy are at the very heart of Fordham Law Professor Zephyr Teachout’s campaign. She says she will impose a statewide fracking ban on her first day in office and immediately set about studying the feasibility of moving New York to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, along the lines suggested by the Solutions Project. Teachout has been pressing her campaign in a number of visits to upstate New York, including an appearance in Ithaca, where she was given a rousing introduction by Helen Slottje.
The Candidates at a Glance
Click image to enlarge.
Polls open noon to 9 PM Tuesday September 9Only registered Democrats will be allowed to vote. Voters who will be unable to vote in person should apply for an absentee ballot immediately.
CONNECTICUT BANS FRACKING WASTE
August 18 ~ Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law a bill that would prohibit the importation of fracking waste for three years. Malloy declared that the moratorium “must become a permanent ban” unless the industry fully discloses both the chemicals used in fracking and the naturally occurring chemicals found in waste products. One legislator who was instrumental in shepherding the bill through the legislature said the law was necessary because it was unclear what Cuomo would do after the election. “We’re concerned that being so close to New York we would be bombarded with fracking waste,” said state Senator Ed Meyer.
NEW JERSEY’S CHRISTIE VETOES FRACK WASTE BILL
August 12 ~ Claiming it would violate the U.S. constitution, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a bipartisan bill that would bar the importation of frack waste. The measure had passed both houses of the legislature by wide margins, so an override of the veto is possible.
PEOPLE’S CLIMATE MARCH
The People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21st, which is likely to be the largest climate march in history, will a have a sizable anti-fracking contingent.
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