Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Fracking -- No Complaints, No Problems -- Right? Wrong!

Drillers Silence Fracking Claims With Sealed Settlements
By Jim Efstathiou Jr. and Mark Drajem

Chris and Stephanie Hallowich were sure drilling for natural gas near their Pennsylvania home was to blame for the headaches, burning eyes and sore throats they suffered after the work began. 

The companies insisted hydraulic fracturing -- the technique they used to free underground gas -- wasn’t the cause. Nevertheless, in 2011, a year after the family sued, Range Resources Corp (RRC). and two other companies agreed to a $750,000 settlement. In order to collect, the Hallowiches promised not to tell anyone, according to court filings.

The Hallowiches aren’t alone. In cases from Wyoming to Arkansas, Pennsylvania to Texas, drillers have agreed to cash settlements or property buyouts with people who say hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, ruined their water, according to a review by Bloomberg News of hundreds of regulatory and legal filings. In most cases homeowners must agree to keep quiet.

The strategy keeps data from regulators, policymakers, the news media and health researchers, and makes it difficult to challenge the industry’s claim that fracking has never tainted anyone’s water.

“At this point they feel they can get out of this litigation relatively cheaply,” Marc Bern, an attorney with Napoli Bern Ripka Sholnik LLP in New York who has negotiated about 30 settlements on behalf of homeowners, said in an interview. “Virtually on all of our settlements where they paid money they have requested and demanded that there be confidentiality.”

Energy Transformation

Because the agreements are almost always shrouded by non-disclosure pacts -- a judge ordered the Hallowich case unsealed after media requests -- no one can say for sure how many there are. Some stem from lawsuits, while others result from complaints against the drillers or with regulators that never end up in court.

“We are transforming our energy infrastructure in this country from burning coal for electricity to potentially burning a lot of natural gas,” Aaron Bernstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health, said in an interview. Non-disclosure agreements “have interfered with the ability of scientists and public health experts to understand what is at stake here.”

Global Warming - Editorial Cartoons and Grim Reality

[Click Image to Enlarge]

And then there's this...

Bloomberg to discuss preparing NYC for warming world, as projections show growing effects
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, June 11

NEW YORK — The projections paint an unsettling picture of New York’s future: a city where by the 2050s, 800,000 people could be living in a flood zone that would cover a quarter of the land, and there could be as many 90-degree days as is now normal for Birmingham, Ala.

Facing those new projections of the effects of global warming on the nation’s biggest city, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was scheduled to talk Tuesday about what to do about risks that Superstorm Sandy brought into stark relief.

“We have to look ahead and anticipate any and all future threats, not only from hurricanes and other coastal storms but also from droughts, heavy downpours and heat waves — many of which are likely to be longer and more intense in the years to come,” an excerpt from the mayor’s planned speech says.

Read more online at The Washington Post 

Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions From Energy Rose To Record High In 2012, IEA Reports
AP  |  By By KARL RITTER Posted: 06/10/2013

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Job Opening at Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper is seeking a full time Habitat Restoration Program Manager to implement the new “Living Shorelines” Program and support other Riverkeeper riparian restoration efforts. The “Living Shorelines” Program will utilize bioengineering and “natural shoreline” techniques through 5-8 demonstration projects in the Niagara River Greenway. Download the full job announcement  - Habitat Restoration Project Manager.
Application deadline is Monday, July 8, 2013.
The ideal candidate for the position will be a self-motivated, high-energy person with excellent interpersonal communication skills and direct experience in shoreline restoration projects, including engineering and construction methods using bioengineering techniques. The candidate will be expected to coordinate multiple stakeholders to accomplish project goals.  The position will be located at the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Office in Buffalo, NY.
Salary range is $50,000-$53,000, commensurate with experience. Benefits include a health insurance option, three weeks paid time off, 10 paid holidays and flexibility in the work schedule.
Since 1989, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper leads the Buffalo Niagara’s efforts to safeguard our water for present and future generations.  Our mission is to protect the quality and quantity of our water while connecting people to Great Lakes water.