Environmental Working Group

November 12, 2012

CA sued over environmental toll of fracking

Source: http://www.sfgate.com, October 16, 2012
By: David R. Baker

A lawsuit filed Tuesday accuses California regulators of turning a blind eye to the dangers of fracking, in defiance of the state’s tough environmental laws.

The suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court by five environmental groups, would force the state office that oversees oil drilling to study the possible effects on groundwater and air quality before letting companies use hydraulic fracturing.

The state Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources currently lets oil companies frack wells without an environmental impact report, according to the suit. Such reports are required for most major construction or infrastructure projects.

“It’s time for our regulators and our oil and gas industry to stop denying the negative impacts of fracking and start working to prevent them,” said Jennifer Krill, executive director of Earthworks.

The suit asks a judge to rule that the division has violated the California Environmental Quality Act, a cornerstone of the state’s environmental regulations.

The suit comes at a time when fracking is growing more common in the state. The practice involves pumping a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals underground to crack rocks that contain oil or natural gas.

Fracking has already triggered a boom in oil and gas production in states such as North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas. It has also been blamed for tainting water supplies, sparking fierce debates in some of those states.…

December 14, 2011

Landowners left out of the loop on ‘fracking’ risks

Source: Los Angeles Times, December 12, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

Natural gas companies that regularly use hydraulic fracturing to drill disclose the risks to shareholders, but not to landowners, according to a report released Monday.

As a result of disclosure requirements in federal securities law, some companies that have led the push into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast to use hydraulic fracturing have described to shareholders in explicit terms the potential dangers of their work, including leaks, spills and explosions. One company, Chesapeake Energy Corp., touted in its annual report in March that its efforts to lease land from private owners was a “land grab.”

At the same time, oil and gas companies and the land acquisition companies working for them did not mention to landowners the same potential safety and environmental risks, according to the report by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based organization that has been critical of the industry.

The report said a description by Cabot Oil & Gas, a major gas producer, in its 2008 form 10-K — a securities filing of the company’s performance — was typical: “Our business involves a variety of operating risks, including: well-site blowouts, cratering and explosions; equipment failures … pollution and other environmental risks.”

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking,” involves shooting water infused with chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale formations to tap reservoirs of natural gas.…

April 7, 2011

Utilities Knew Of Chrome-6 Contamination For Years

Source: Environmental Working Group, April 5, 2011
Posted on: http://www.publicworks.com

2004 Tests Found ‘Brockovich’ Chemical Nationwide

Some water utility representatives have protested Environmental Working Group’s report of laboratory tests that found worrisome levels of chromium-6, a suspected carcinogen, in the drinking water of 31 cities across the country.

Yet the tap water industry was worried enough about the contaminant to conduct its own extensive survey in 2004 that found clear evidence of widespread chromium-6 pollution in untreated source water. The survey, conducted by the Awwa Research Foundation (since renamed the Water Research Foundation), an offshoot of the American Water Works Association, obtained data on 341 source water samples from 189 utilities in 41 states. The conclusion: chromium-6 is common in American groundwater. …

March 23, 2011

Madison considers tougher standards for well pollutants

Source: Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI), March 22, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

With more contaminants being found in city wells, the Madison Water Board is considering a tougher approach to pollutants, including heightened monitoring, filters and other treatments.

Contamination of Madison’s public drinking water wells by industrial pollutants is a growing problem. For example, pollutants are a thorny issue in Well No. 15 on the city’s East Side, and recently the possible carcinogen chromium-6 was found in all but three of 16 operating wells tested for the metal.

Madison is not alone. Lee Boushon, who heads the public water section for the state Department of Natural Resources, said other cities face increased contamination of their drinking water and are considering more aggressive regulatory approaches.…

March 15, 2011

Plant cited for release of toxic chemicals

Source: Richmond Register (KY), March 12, 2011
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

The Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection issued 10 notices of violation Thursday to the plant formerly known as Tokico, for its release of wastewater contaminated with a toxic pollutant.

The department’s Environmental Response Team (ERT) responded Feb. 4 to a report from Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. officials of the presence of a green-colored substance in the company’s storm water retention basin, according to a press release from the agency.

Sampling of the basin water revealed the presence of elevated levels of hexavalent chromium, which is used in the plant’s automotive manufacturing processes. Hitachi manufactures brakes, shocks and suspension systems for the auto industry and employs 1,100 people.…

January 27, 2011

EPA releases data for air toxics monitoring at Berks County school

Source: http://yosemite.epa.gov, Release date: 10/01/2009
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543, smith.bonnie@epa.gov

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released initial data from air toxics monitoring outside the Riverside Elementary School in Berks County, Pa.

EPA selected the Riverside School in Reading, Pa. as one of 63 schools in 22 states nationwide for air toxics monitoring.

The initial data show air toxics at the school are below levels of short-term health concerns. EPA scientists caution against drawing conclusions at this point as the study is designed to determine whether long-term, not short-term, exposure poses health risks to school children and staff. Once monitoring is complete, the full set of results from all of the schools will be analyzed to evaluate the potential for health concerns related to long-term exposure to these pollutants. As monitoring continues into the fall, EPA will post the data on its schools air toxics website at: http://www.epa.gov/schoolair.…

January 11, 2011

Chromium 6 found naturally, but levels in valley a concern

Publication Date 01/08/2011
Source: Modesto Bee (CA)
Posted on: http://envfpn.advisen.com

A likely cancerous drinking water contaminant featured in the movie “Erin Brockovich” showed up in relatively high levels in hundreds of tests throughout Stanislaus County and neighboring communities.

Some public officials say the data may be unreliable and have little meaning until the government sets a new standard, a process just getting under way.

Drinking water advocates blame pressure from industrial polluters for putting the review seven years behind schedule.…