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Kentucky approves new coal-permit rules to protect water, but environmentalists file suit


Bill Estep | Lexington Herald-Leader The state this week finalized new rules on coal-mining permits that include upgraded water-quality standards. Several environmental groups argue the rules aren’t strong enough, however, and are suing over one key provision. The standards are in what is called the general permit for coal. The rules govern discharges of water from mines and coal-processing facilities ...

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Trans Energy facing criminal charges over drilling pollution


Ken Ward Jr. | Charleston Gazette A St. Marys-based natural gas company that agreed to a $3 million civil penalty is also facing federal criminal charges related to its dumping of material from its drilling operations into West Virginia streams without first obtaining a required permit, court records showed Wednesday. On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department ...

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High rates of heavy metals in Texas groundwater near natural gas sites

Researchers at the University of Texas are claiming to have found an unfortunate consequence of the gas fields in Texas. Nearly 30 percent of water wells out of 100 that reside above natural gas reserves contain unusually high levels of heavy metals, most notably, arsenic. ThinkProgress reports that 29 groundwater sites within 1.8 miles of active natural gas drilling had ...

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Take 5: NCPC leader: Fracking is environmentally safe


Sanford Herald editorial This week, we Take 5 with David McGowan. He is currently the executive director of the North Carolina Petroleum Council (NCPC). In this role, he leads the NCPC’s advocacy efforts and acts as a principal spokesperson. Previously, he served as the director of regulatory affairs for the North Carolina Association of Realtors. Most people understand at least ...

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Front Range pollution researchers surprised by ozone levels

The research of air pollution on Colorado’s Front Range has found harmful ozone and ozone-causing chemicals in amounts that have surprised the researches involved, according to a recent report by the Associated Press. Using balloons, ground stations and aircraft flights (which ran from mid-July to Aug. 18) researchers have been busy gathering data from areas to the south of Denver ...

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Fracking may endanger groundwater in California

Fracking for oil in California happens at shallower depths than previously realized and could pose a risk to precious groundwater supplies, according to a federally commissioned report released Thursday. The report found that half of the oil wells fracked in the state lie within 2,000 feet of the surface, close to aquifers. Hydraulic fracturing uses a high-pressure blend of water, ...

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Fracking study may allow feds to resume lucrative oil leases in Kern


John Cox | Bakersfield Californian The U.S. Bureau of Land Management took a big step toward resuming auctions of federal property in California for oil and gas production with its release Thursday of an independent scientific review of well stimulation activities in the state. The review by the nonpartisan California Council on Science and Technology found no instances of groundwater ...

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Pa. DEP publishes official determinations of damaged water supplies related to oil and gas operations


Stephanie Ritenbaugh and Anya Latvik | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has publicly posted documents revealing official determinations that oil and gas operations have damaged Pennsylvania water supplies since late 2008. The determination letters, made available for the first time late Thursday afternoon, show 248 incidents where drilling has contaminated water supplies, a number higher than the ...

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Time is short to avert shale industry’s imminent radioactive dilemma


Debate surrounding the health effects of hydraulic fracturing tends to center around a few figurehead issues. The potential for oil spills from wells or pipelines, air and noise pollution from drilling activities and contamination of underground drinking water supplies often dominate the conversation, prompting ill-informed standoffs between a public concerned for its safety and regulators trying to manage a burgeoning ...

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