Read this. Then envision an EPA and DER with LESS resources and inspectors. That’s what the GOP has in mind. Trust me, as a person who once had gasoline in his towns well water supply, and my family drank it, it’s a health and mental nightmare. You are poisoned. But where is the outrage? John Boehner knows who is to blame. That’s right. It’s Obamas fault. So like I said, just imagine a world with no oversight. The GOP can. It’s their plan.
This is kind of precious. So what happens when a village council in Alaska wants a mining project to go forward but the EPA report comes back pointing out the negative environmental consequences? The council goes out and hires their own expert to rebut the claims.
So they hired Dr. Donald Macalady, professor emeritus of chemistry and geochemistry at the Colorado School of Mines, and the school’s previous director of the Center for Environmental Risk for the job.
Only one problem, the good Dr’s own study predicted even more dire consequences.
Macalady’s report said the mine would likely eliminate the salmon spawning runs “in a large portion of the area’s watersheds,” and that this “elimination will be essentially irreversible.”
But here’s where it gets really good, the Village council president just assumed that their cherry picked expert from the School of Mines would naturally greenlight the project, so she sent his report to the EPA without reading it. So what does the village council do when they finally realize the study doesn’t say what they wanted it to say, ask for it back of course.
The Iliamna Village Council has asked to rescind an analysis it submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that backs up conclusions by the federal agency about the potentially negative impacts of large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay region.
Macalady’s review was accompanied by a letter from the village council president, Lorene Anelon, dated June 29, in which she expressed frustration with the EPA process.
Days later, she submitted a council resolution, dated July 2, rescinding the review and directing it not be made part of the official record as the council’s position. The resolution says the council “inadvertently” sent in written testimony signed by Anelon and that Anelon hired Macalady “without full authority of the Council” to submit testimony for the EPA comment period.
Sadly for Anelon and the corrupt village council, the EPA called “no take backs.”
The comments were among the thousands submitted on the EPA assessment that can be read online. The EPA, in a statement Tuesday, said comments made to the public comment docket cannot be retrieved once submitted. Policy dictates that to make changes, people must submit another comment referring to their previous comment correcting any errors and/or re-stating their position or opinion, EPA said.
Though not relevant to the story, rumor has it the EPA also called “shotgun” and “not it.” Then just for lulz:
June 30 was the deadline for comments on the EPA’s revised assessment, which found construction of a large-scale mine near the headwaters of a world-premier salmon fishery could have major impacts on streams and wetlands even without a mishap. A final report is expected later this year and could affect permitting decisions for the proposed Pebble Mine project.
So not only did the futile attempted retraction come too late, the council ran out of time to send in any revision to their comments. They have to live with the Macalady’s report being their only scientific input.
Too bad, so sad. It’s getting to the point where you can’t reliably trust industry shills to shill for industry. Illustrating this I’ll just close with one more section from Macalady’s report:
Macalady, in his review, said build-out from the mine “will change forever the cultural and social environment of the region. Additional development is a possibility, but it is difficult to imagine what would be the economic basis for this development. Fisheries will probably be gone, sporting activities that are attractive to wilderness lovers will be very limited due to mining damages to the landscape. Economic survival in the post-mining environment could be much more difficult than it is at present.”
At an event Wednesday celebrating the renaming of the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in his honor, former president Bill Clinton began his remarks by saying the accolade could easily have gone to his vice president, Al Gore.
During the eight years of his presidency, Clinton presided over some of the most sweeping environmental protections in the nation’s history, pushed by Gore and others in the administration.
Clinton’s environmental agenda included a massive cleanup of polluted Superfund sites, protections for millions of acres of wildlands and the enforcement of tougher air-quality standards under the Clean Air Act.
The EPA headquarters already had a name — the Ariel Rios Building, honoring an undercover Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent killed in the line of duty three decades ago at age 28.
The building once housed the ATF. Now that the agency has its own building, Rios’s family supported naming a reflecting pool for him instead.
The EPA was proposed and created in 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon.
The EPA “will forever be known as the William Jefferson Clinton building,” Boxer said, praising the former president for expanding the economy and environmental protections in the 1990s, against strong political opposition.
Browner described economic growth coupled with environmental protections as her former boss’s mantra. Key to Clinton’s success, she said, was his recognition “that the EPA’s work was about protecting the most vulnerable among us, the children,” she said. “When you do that, you protect all of us.”
On Monday, President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Gina McCarthy as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency—a promotion for the deputy who has been behind some of the toughest new environmental regulations in the past four years.
As the assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, McCarthy has helped implement a raft of new or improved national standards for pollutants such as mercury, sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions, and soot, and she oversaw the first-ever limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.
“Every American is—or will soon be—breathing cleaner air because of McCarthy,” says Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch.
Her appointment to the top spot at EPA is seen by enviros as good news for the future of greenhouse gas regulations. After rolling out emission limits for new power plants last year, the EPA is now expected to set rules for existing power plants—a huge task given the number of old, dirty plants around the country. That’s just one item on a long list of environmental regulations that were delayed until after the 2012 election. Now McCarthy will manage the implementation and/or drafting of these regs.
A Texas state judge is promoting his recent decisions favoring a gas driller in its dispute with a local landowner as part of his election campaign, a move some legal scholars say may violate state judicial ethics rules.
May violate? May? Read the whole thing. Judge Trey Loftin ruled in favor of gas driller Range Resources (one can’t help but wonder how much they donated to his campaign) in every manner possible during this case, including forcing an environmental blogger to turn over private emails. And to top off this steaming shit pile with a lovely rat poison pellet, Judge Trey Loftin is also a limbaugh fan:
Loftin, who is campaigning to keep his state judgeship in a county west of Dallas, also sent out materials with the image of talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who credited the judge’s ruling in favor of driller Range Resources Corp. (RRC), based in Fort Worth, Texas, for getting the EPA to reverse course.
For more background on this extremely disturbing case, see the excellent compilation by DeSmogBlog:
The Associated Press has a breaking investigative story out today revealing that the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) censored a smoking gun scientific report in March 2012 that it had contracted out to a scientist who conducted field data on 32 water samples in Weatherford, TX.
That report, according to the AP, would have explicitly linked methane migration to hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Weatherford, a city with 25,000+ citizens located in the heart of the Barnett Shale geologic formation 30 minutes from Dallas.
So there you go. The fossil fuel lobby is so grotesquely powerful it can bully the EPA into censoring factual evidence all so they can continue to poison America’s water with impunity. And their puppet judges who grovel about for rush limbaugh’s approval are all too happy to help.
On a side note, while “Obama’s EPA” is technically correct, let’s not forget who’s really behind this:
A similar dispute unfolded in west-central Wyoming in late 2011, when the EPA released an initial report that showed hydraulic fracturing could have contaminated groundwater. After industry and GOP leaders went on the attack, the agency said it had decided to do more testing. It has yet to announce a final conclusion.
So what’s it going to take to fix this, thousands of people being killed Bhopal-style due to fracking-related water contamination?
News outlets are reporting that Lisa Jackson, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will not return for the second term of the Obama administration.
Jackson will probably be remembered as the point person for the first US attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It wasn’t necessarily a position that she—or Obama—chose. But partisan gridlock ensured that there would be no legislation addressing emissions, and Jackson inherited a Supreme Court decision from the Bush administration that indicated the Clean Air Act required some sort of action. Within months of the inauguration, Jackson’s EPA used Bush-era research to issue an endangerment finding on greenhouse gasses. Three years later, that finding led to the first limits imposed on carbon dioxide emissions by large sources, limits that would severely curtail the construction of new coal plants.
By the time they were issued, however, a sharp fall in the price of natural gas was already doing more to limit the use of coal than any EPA regulation could. (Fracking, which led to the plunge in prices, was also the subject of some initial EPA oversight.)
Recently The New York Times published my op-ed ‘How Liberals Win,’ in which I argued that throughout American history, liberal advancements have been mainly achieved with corporate support, and not without. For example, FDR needed corporations to establish basic workplace standards. LBJ needed them to spark a wave of environmental regulation. And Obama needed them to win health care, stimulus, Wall Street reform, higher fuel-efficiency standards, and stronger food-safety rules.
But as you surely know, I was not able to include a cap on carbon emissions on that list. And it might look at first glance that the failure of ‘cap-and-trade’ legislation, which had a multitude of corporate compromises that made environmentalists cringe to varying degrees, debunks my case.
Soon after the bill was left for dead in the Senate, 350.org’s Bill McKibben declared, ‘So now we know what we didn’t before: making nice doesn’t work. It was worth a try, and I’m completely serious when I say I’m grateful they made the effort, but it didn’t even come close to working. So we better try something else … we’re going to need a movement, the one thing we haven’t had.’
Since then, McKibben has moved the environmental community to focus on blocking fossil-fuel projects like the Keystone XL oil pipeline instead of building broad coalitions, which has left out previously supportive unions as well as corporations. And Naomi Klein, in a cover piece for The Nation, took McKibben’s logic several steps further and argued that the environmental movement should merge with the Occupy movement and declare capitalism itself the enemy of the climate.
Bill Scher is the executive editor at LiberalOasis.
I definitely plan on voting for President Obama in November, but I’m on the fence about whether or not to volunteer on his campaign. Below, I’ve prepared a list of pros and cons. What do you think I should do?
Please note that I don’t want to start arguments about any of my listed positions. I realize that a couple in particular will be very unpopular on this site, and that’s fine; I just don’t want to turn this into a flame war. Also, please forgive any typos or bad grammar, as I’m typing this in a hurry.
*I can earn credits as a poli sci major.
*I have been a fervent supporter of the president’s healthcare reform.
*The bin Laden killing was one of the gutsiest foreign policy moves imaginable.
*I’m a firm supporter of the welfare state, and Obama’s the only candidate who doesn’t want to dismantle it.
*The GOP’s assault on women’s and gay rights is nauseating.
*Obama has ended the practice of prisoner torture and (finally) brought an end to the Iraq War.
*Obama made a courageous and ultimately successful move in going forward with the auto bailout and saving the American auto industry.
*Obama has reinvigorated the EPA and the DOJ’s civil rights division.
*I’m very leery of the expanded drone program and its propensity for “collateral damage.”
*Obama’s failure to follow through on his Gitmo promise has been disappointing, to say the least.
*Obama’s extension of the Patriot Act is extremely disappointing, especially given his status as a Constitutional scholar.
*Obama’s education plans are the same old shit with a different package. I come from a long line of teachers, so this issue is always a biggie in my house.
*Although I realize everything that’s gone wrong in Afghanistan lately is not Obama’s fault, I don’t agree with the way he’s progressed on the war.
*I think Obama’s decision to veto the U.N. resolution for a Palestinian state was misguided (again, not trying to start a flame war.)
*I appreciate the repeal of DADT, but I get the distinct impression that the president is playing politics with ENDA and the larger issue of gay marriage.
I could go on and add much more to both lists, but those are the big ones. What do you, my fellow LGF bloggers, think I should do? If any other big pro or con pops into my head, I add it in the comments. Thanks in advance!
This should add some concern to those who think the Marcellus Shale gas bonanza is riddled with corruption and deceit, not to mention outright lies and cover ups. But there was no one to call.
Add shoddy work that you can see with the naked eye to that which may be in the ground. Gas Industry to the general public; “Shh. Go back to sleep. It was only the wind.”
The Gas Industry and their proxies are also trying to usurp local laws to allow the industry to drill anywhere they see fit irregardless of local zoning laws.
Despite claims by drillers that the shallow depth of natural gas deposits in Wyoming could explain the presence of off-smelling and tasting water in parts of the Pavillion deposit field, the EPA found that natural processes alone could not explain why chemicals used in hydrofracking (fracking) showed up in test wells.
The draft report, after a three-year study by the Environmental Protection Agency, represents a new scientific and political skirmish line over whether fracking, as it is more commonly known, poses a threat in the dozens of places around the nation where it is now being used to extract previously unreachable energy resources locked within rock.
The study, which was prompted by complaints from local residents about the smell and taste of their water, stressed that local conditions were unusual at the site, called the Pavillion field, in that the gas wells were far shallower than in many other drilling areas around the country. The shallow depth means that natural gas itself can seep upward naturally through the rock, and perhaps into aquifers.
But the suite of chemicals found in two test wells drilled at the site, the report said, could not be explained entirely by natural processes. The agency’s analysis of samples taken from deep monitoring wells in the aquifer indicated the presence of synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids, benzene concentrations well above standards in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards, and high methane levels.
Also complicating the inquiry is the Pavillion field’s long history. The oldest wells there were drilled 40 years ago or more, and chemicals that might have been used were not required to be listed or reported to anyone.
Regulators, politicians, and local groups have to be a whole lot more careful about accepting fracking and the companies’ promises of a clean and environmentally responsible fracking process. It means that the energy companies have to be far more careful in their use of fracking fluids that can lead to irreparable harm to aquifers and the watersheds.