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State concerned about waste water from new gas wells
Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Gas well drillers tapping into the deep Marcellus Shales add up to 54 substances, some of them toxic, to the water they use to fracture that rock and release the gas.
And the state Department of Environmental Protection doesn’t know what chemicals, metals and possibly radioactive elements are in the waste water that is pushed out of the wells. It is discharged into the state’s waterways including the Monongahela River, from which 350,000 people get their drinking water.
“That’s the bigger issue. They don’t have an analysis of what’s in the waste water they’re pulling out,” said Dr. Conrad Dan Volz, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh.
(21 December 2008)
Amazon pollution case could cost Chevron billions
Frank Bajak, Associated Press
LAGO AGRIO, Ecuador — When the sun beats particularly hot on this land in the middle of the jungle, the roads sweat petroleum. A Rhode Island-sized expanse of what was once pristine Amazon rainforest is crisscrossed with oil wells and pipeline grids built by Texaco Inc. a generation ago.
And for the past 15 years, a class-action lawsuit has been winding its way through the courts on behalf of the more than 125,000 people who drink, bathe, fish and wash their clothes in tainted headwaters of the Amazon River.
Now a single judge is expected to rule in the case in 2009 from a ramshackle courtroom in this northern frontier town.
(20 December 2008)
How the West’s Energy Boom Could Threaten Drinking Water for 1 in 12 Americans
Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica and David Hasemyer, The San Diego Union-Tribune
The Colorado River, the life vein of the Southwestern United States, is in trouble.
The river’s water is hoarded the moment it trickles out of the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado and begins its 1,450-mile journey to Mexico’s border. It runs south through seven states and the Grand Canyon, delivering water to Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. Along the way, it powers homes for 3 million people, nourishes 15 percent of the nation’s crops and provides drinking water to one in 12 Americans.
Now a rush to develop domestic oil, gas and uranium deposits along the river and its tributaries threatens its future.
The region could contain more oil than Alaska’s National Arctic Wildlife Refuge. It has the richest natural gas fields in the country. And nuclear energy, viewed as a key solution to the nation’s dependence on foreign energy, could use the uranium deposits held there.
But getting those resources would suck up vast quantities of the river’s water and could pollute what is left. That’s why those most concerned are water managers in places like Los Angeles and San Diego. They have the most to lose.
(21 December 2008)