Environmental Regulation

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report finds that hydraulic fracturing likely contaminated groundwater in Pavillion, Wyoming

February 2, 2012

“In testimony before Congress, Jim Martin, EPA regional administrator for the area that includes Pavillion, rebuffed accusations that the agency’s sampling, data analysis and findings were flawed. He also rejected allegations that the EPA hadn’t consulted with industry representatives and state officials in Wyoming.”

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A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency draft report on groundwater pollution in Wyoming denies that it could apply to hydraulic fracturing in any other part of the U.S.

February 2, 2012

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in no way contends that a draft report on groundwater pollution in Wyoming could apply to hydraulic fracturing in any other part of the U.S., an EPA official told a U.S. House subcommittee. “The geologic conditions that exist with the Marcellus Shale are significantly different,” Martin told the House Science Committee’s energy and environment subcommittee, which held a hearing in Washington on the draft EPA report released Dec. 8.”

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United Nations Panel of Heads of State and Environment Ministers: World can no longer afford to ignore the environmental cost of economic growth and must redefine the concept of ‘national wealth’

February 2, 2012

“The world can no longer afford to ignore the environmental cost of economic growth and must redefine the very concept of national wealth, a UN panel of heads of state and environment ministers said. The panel challenged leaders to recognize that “current global development is unsustainable.” By 2030, the planet will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water.”

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Environmental Groups sue the Obama Administration for granting the U.S. Navy permits to test underwater sonar in whale waters along the West Coast

January 30, 2012

“The alliance said it wasn’t seeking to stop the testing but to scale it back, especially at certain times and in waters important for feeding and giving birth. Several studies have found that marine mammals can hear low-frequency sonar, which is magnified under water, and periodically dolphins and even whales have been found with perforated ear drums.”

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In his State of the Union Address, President Obama calls on Congress to set a clean energy standard, advocates for clean energy tax credits and increased energy use efficiency

January 25, 2012

“We can also spur energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep right now to pass a comprehensive plan to fight climate change. But there’s no reason why Congress shouldn’t at least set a clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you haven’t acted. Well tonight, I will. I’m directing my Administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

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In his State of the Union Address, President Obama states that his Administration “will take every possible action to safely develop” natural gas

January 24, 2012

“We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly one hundred years, and my Administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy. Experts believe this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. And I’m requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use. America will develop this resource without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk.”

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Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline benefits Warren Buffett’s railroad company

January 23, 2012

“Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.”

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President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline may prompt Canada to turn to China for oil exports

January 21, 2012

“President Barack Obama’s decision yesterday to reject a permit for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline may prompt Canada to turn to China for oil exports. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a telephone call yesterday, told Obama “Canada will continue to work to diversify its energy exports,” according to details provided by Harper’s office. Canadian Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver said relying less on the U.S. would help strengthen the country’s “financial security.””

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President Obama blocks the Keystone XL Pipeline, has the Dept. of Health and Human Services release $863 million to fund low-income family heating bills for the winter

January 21, 2012

“[The Department of] Health and Human Services released over $863 million in funding for low-income familes to pay their heating bills this winter, perhaps blunting Republican critiques that his decision to block the Keystone pipeline contributed to high energy prices.”

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American Association for the Advancement of Science Article: Mitigating Climate Change to improve human health and food security without major sacrifices

January 20, 2012

“After looking at hundreds of ways to control these pollutants, the researchers determined the 14 most effective measures for reducing climate change, like encouraging a switch to cleaner diesel engines and cookstoves, building more efficient kilns and coke ovens, capturing methane at landfills and oil wells, and reducing methane emissions from rice paddies by draining them more often.”

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European Union officials will review U.S. tests of imported orange juice amid concerns about a fungicide sprayed in Brazil

January 13, 2012

“The EU’s Standing Committee on Food Chain and Animal Health will discuss Brazilian growers’ use of carbendazim at its regular meeting Jan. 16-17 and whether more testing is needed, Frederic Vincent, the bloc’s spokesman on health, said today in a telephone interview. While no European country has halted imports, juice with concentrations of greater than 0.2 milligram per kilogram can’t enter Europe, he said.”

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The Environmental Protection Agency considers expanding its regulatory power to promote sustainable development

December 19, 2011

“Its aim: how to integrate sustainability “as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The panel who wrote the study declares part of its job to be “providing guidance to EPA on how it might implement its existing statutory authority to contribute more fully to a more sustainable-development trajectory for the United States.”

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The Interior Department announces $27 million in leases for British Petroleum to search for oil in the Gulf of Mexico

December 14, 2011

“BP is officially getting back into deep water exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, the Interior Department announced on Wednesday. The British energy giant, responsible for the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history last year in the Gulf, won $27 million worth of leases to conduct new oil-and-gas exploration in the Gulf. The awards from the Interior Department came in the first Gulf lease sale since the BP spill last year, with all winning bids bringing $337.6 million into government coffers.”

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Environment Minister Peter Kent: Canada to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol

December 12, 2011

“Canada will formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, the minister of the environment has said. Peter Kent said the protocol “does not represent a way forward for Canada” and the country would face crippling fines for failing to meet its targets. The move, which is legal and was expected, makes it the first nation to pull out of the global treaty.”

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Last-minute climate deal reached at the UN Climate Summit in Durban that delays any new effort against greenhouse gases

December 11, 2011

“The agreement in effect would postpone new concerted global action on climate change for at least eight years. Under the deal, nations committed themselves to talks aimed at reaching a legally binding agreement by 2015 that would limit emissions of [greenhouse gases]. The limits would not go into effect until 2020 at the earliest.”

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