News Service: NY River Country’s Most Endangered

A conservation group has named New York’s Upper Delaware River the “most endangered” in the country, warning of a threat from natural gas drilling that could compare with the spill in the gulf.

The controversial technique for drilling gas wells in shale, known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” has earned the river the top spot on the most endangered list. Shale gas proponents believe that natural gas is a bridge to the renewable, clean-energy future but critics argue that fracking has caused significant spills and contamination around the country.

The Upper Delaware watershed, where there are plans to drill more than 1,700 natural gas wells, provides drinking water for millions.

The conservation group’s Amy Kober says, “We don’t want to turn the drinking water supply for 17 million people into an environmental disaster area like we’re seeing now in the Gulf of Mexico.”

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Conflicts of Interest – New York Style: Senator George Winner’s Shale Play

Sen. George Winner. Photo: DC Bureau
Sen. George Winner. Photo: DC Bureau
The same year a powerful republican New York state senator endorsed industry-drafted revisions to gas drilling laws, his law firm represented the largest natural gas producer in the state. When asked whether he found his actions to be a conflict of interest, state Senator George Winner (R-NY) responded, “Not at all.”

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Nat Geo: Coast Pipelines Face Damage as Gulf Oil Eats Marshes?

A vast network of pipes and platforms is woven into the U.S. Gulf Coast marshes and experts say the Deepwater Horizon spill could expose them to potential ruptures and wreckage.

If the oil kills off marsh plants, the wetlands will turn to open water, putting the shallowly buried coastal pipelines at risk of ships strikes, storms, and corrosive salt water. Every breach means more leaking oil and costly repairs and replacements.

Oil-and-gas infrastructure would be endangered by disappearing wetlands particularly during storms and hurricanes. Without the marshes to act as a natural storm shield, waves could gather more steam. Supercharged waves can loosen wetland soil and whip a pipe around like a garden hose.

Even a boat’s propeller blades can be enough to spark and oil spill when pipelines become exposed.

READ THIS STORY AT NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM

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The Washington Post: U.S. agency overseeing oil drilling ignored warnings of risks

Documents show that the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the federal agency responsible for regulating offshore oil drilling, repeatedly ignored warnings from government scientists regarding environmental risks as it pushed to quickly approve energy exploration activities. MMS officials receive cash bonuses for meeting federal deadlines on leasing offshore oil and gas exploration.

Other federal government scientists such as some in NOAA and the Marine Mammal Commission have tried to raise red flags in the past under both the Bush and Obama administration but their appeals were disregarded.

The actions of MMS are partly shaped by the 2005 regulation that assumes oil and gas companies can best evaluate the environmental impact of their operations.

READ THIS STORY AT WASHINGTONPOST.COM

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