Landmark Decision for Local Control – Major Setback for Fracking Supporters

Anti-fracking protestors, a recent march in Albany, call for Gov. Andrew to ban tracking statewide. (Photo: 350.org)

ALBANY, N.Y. — Towns across New York State and as far away as Texas and Colorado may soon feel the aftershocks of a landmark decision June 30 by the highest court in New York that towns have the authority to ban drilling for natural gas.

The 5-2 ruling by the state Court of Appeals has emboldened opponents of high-volume hydraulic fracturing, for fracking, and they hope to make the most of it.

“Any town that has held off banning fracking for fear of getting sued by the frackers just got a neon green light to proceed with a ban,” said Chip Northrup, an energy investor turned anti-drilling activist from Cooperstown. “While they are at it, they should ban frack waste, since most New York towns are more liable to being dumped on than fracked.” Continue reading Landmark Decision for Local Control – Major Setback for Fracking Supporters

Breaking Bad: A Nuclear Waste Disaster

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

Carlsbad, New Mexico – A vast salt mine under the New Mexico desert was the Department of Energy’s last nuclear waste storage solution. On Valentines night, one of the now suspect 500 waste drums from DOE’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) blast open inside DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Casks filled with 3.2 million cubic feet of deadly radioactive wastes remain buried at the crippled plant. That huge facility was rendered useless. Investigators believe the waste drums from Los Alamos were incorrectly packed under DOE supervision and one of them exploded.

“As part of the ongoing efforts to identify the cause of the event at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, we are evaluating all possible causes including the waste packages themselves,” a statement issued by DOE says. “All possible scenarios will be thoroughly investigated until the cause of the event has been determined.” Investigators are examining “the possibility that a chemical reaction may have occurred within a drum, causing a potential release.”

The disaster at WIPP is rooted in careless contractors and lack of DOE oversight, according to a DOE report released on April 24. Continue reading Breaking Bad: A Nuclear Waste Disaster

Chanute Air Force Base – the Air Force’s Legacy of Lies in the Heartland

US Geological Survey photograph of the former Chanute Air Force Base, 2008

RANTOUL, IL – Chanute Air Force Base, closed for more than two decades, remains an environmental threat to the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents. It is a case study of how the Air Force and Pentagon use their national security clout to break agreements that can break local communities.

Chanute’s History

The United States Army decided in 1917 that East Central Illinois was the ideal location for its third training airfield to support the World War I effort. It intended Chanute Field (later renamed Chanute Air Force Base) to be a temporary installation. But like so many other government installations, it survived and grew, largely because it served a practical function. It was centrally located and had superior training officers and distinguished alumni. The temporary barracks of the 1930s became permanent during World War II. Continue reading Chanute Air Force Base – the Air Force’s Legacy of Lies in the Heartland

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear EPA Coal Case

Mingo Logan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Supreme Court refused on Monday to hear the Mingo Logan case, which revolves around whether the Environmental Protection Agency may veto a dumping permit already granted by the Army Corps of Engineers. The case now goes back to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

At issue is whether the EPA may stop Arch Coal from building a huge mountaintop mine in Logan County, W.Va.  St. Louis-based Arch Coal, one of the world’s largest producers of coal, according to its website, is the parent company of Mingo Logan Coal Co.

Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 mine is located in south western West Virginia, an area of Appalachia that has been ravaged by mountaintop mining. In this controversial method of extracting coal, miners dynamite hundreds of vertical feet of mountaintop to expose the coal beneath. Continue reading Supreme Court Refuses to Hear EPA Coal Case