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FrackUpdate: Chem Disclosure; States Work Towards Ban

FrackUpdate: Jan. 24-25
Scary Update on MEC Chemical Disclosure Rulemaking

Just a few days ago,  we got word that a new DENR staffer had drafted a "chemical disclosure" rule for oil and gas operations that was even weaker than we had been fearing from previous DENR descriptions.

On Tuesday, a diverse stakeholder group including Hope of CWFNC, Dave Kelly of Env. Defense Fund, James Robinson of RAFI, two industry representatives and a number of state agencies had a very collegial and productive meeting on the draft rule. The group agreed on 17 recommendations to strengthen disclosure requirements to improve agency oversight, prevent delays in effective emergency response and protect landowners and other residents in the areas where gas development could occur.
At the Jan 24 Environmental Standards Committee meeting, new Deputy Secretary Mitch Gillespie presented his "expurgated" version of the stakeholder recommendations. Among the key recommendations Gillespie called for removing from consideration for rulemaking are: a requirement to report to DENR the full chemical formulation for trade secret materials before fracking could occur, prenotification of landowners and neighbors before fracking, and a requirement to file a pre-plan that would give more details of planned operation and chemical formulation in advance of fracturing.
Chairman Howard then was dismissive of stakeholder input, saying the participants should not be considered "stakeholders" because they were not experts or landowners. At today’s full MEC meeting, he expressed contempt for the stakeholders getting media attention that is “untrue”, and acting “against” the MEC!!  Thankfully, several MEC commissioners, including Amy Pickle, Charlotte Mitchell, Ken Taylor and Marva Price had raised enough concerns at the Committee meeting get more time for full discussions. This is a warning: we'll need to monitor the MEC and DENR at every step and be prepared for some elements of the MEC to be much more aggressive with the media.



Maryland lawmakers to introduce anti-fracking bill
“Two Democratic lawmakers from Montgomery County plan to introduce legislation in the General Assembly this session that would ban the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” in Maryland.” Jan. 23, Baltimore Business Journal
Maryland Dept of Environment: All drilling permits have been withdrawn
“The prognosis for natural gas drilling via fracking in Western Maryland’s Marcellus Shale formations any time soon is looking increasingly problematic, according to a recent presentation by the Maryland Department of the Environment.” Jan. 22, Cumberland Times-News

Chester, NY prepares fracking ban
“Resolutions are in season. Some towns are talking about banning hydrofracking, others about banning guns, still others about reversing the state's strict new gun law. But Chester Supervisor Steve Neuhaus and the town board say they are reluctant to pass an absolute ban on hydrofracking, or take a position on the gun law, without the community having ample opportunity to debate the issues.” Jan. 24, The Chronicle

PA fracking wastewater likely to overwhelm Ohio injection wells
“The total amount of fracking wastewater from natural gas production in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale region has increased by about 570 percent since 2004, as a result of increased shale gas production, according to a study released yesterday by researchers at Duke and Kent State universities.” Jan. 23, EcoWatch


A rush to frack
“I recently attended the Compulsory Pooling Study Group of the N.C. Mining and Energy Commission in Sanford. As I expected, this meeting, open to the public, was highly charged with people wanting to have answers as to what will happen to their farms, land and way of life if and when fracking comes to North Carolina.” Jan. 21, News & Observer
Fracking and Farmland
“The Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) has launched new webpages, Fracking and Farmland: Stories from the Field, that provide the personal stories of farmers concerned about Ohio’s booming fracking industry and illustrations of how oil and gas extraction could impact Ohio’s food producers.” Jan. 24, EcoWatch
A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark
“This is odd. Take a look at this map of America at night. As you'd expect, the cities are ablaze, the Great Lakes and the oceans dark, but if you look at the center, where the Eastern lights give way to the empty Western plains, there's a mysterious clump of light there that makes me wonder.” Jan. 16, NPR

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