U.S. government regulators have conditionally approved Shell Exploration’s plans to drill for oil in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Alaska. Drilling could begin as early as next July.
The decision is a setback for various environmental groups and indigenous people, who are concerned (more…)
This week the US Senate has the chance to take a big step forward for the climate, even though it will not be voting on any bill directly related to climate change. If this seems paradoxical, it isn’t really. This Wednesday may be the Senate’s best chance to fix the filibuster—a procedural tool that over the last two years was used by conservatives to prevent climate change (more…)
(Reuters) – The Obama administration issued a revised moratorium on deepwater oil drilling Monday but will likely face another tough legal battle with the companies which have so far successfully sued to get the original drilling suspension lifted.
The Justice Department said it will now seek to have the court order blocking the original moratorium thrown out, with the administration arguing a pause (more…)
Two of the largest companies involved in natural gas drilling have acknowledged pumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel-based fluids into the ground in the process of hydraulic fracturing, raising further concerns that existing state and federal regulations don’t adequately protect drinking water from drilling.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., who released the information in a statement Thursday, announced that the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which he chairs, is launching an investigation into potential environmental impacts from hydraulic fracturing.
The process, which forces highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals into rock to release the gas and oil locked inside, gives drillers unprecedented access to deeply buried gas deposits and vastly increases the country’s known energy reserves. But as ProPublica has detailed in more than 60 articles, the process comes with risks. The fluids used in hydraulic fracturing are laced with chemicals — some of which are known carcinogens. And because the process is exempt from most federal oversight, it is overseen by state agencies that are spread thin and have widely varying regulations. (more…)
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have recommended dramatically scaling back oil drilling plans off U.S. coasts and have proposed a ban on oil and gas exploration in the Arctic until oil companies significantly improve their ability to prevent and clean up oil spills.
The non-binding recommendations to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar represent a stark reversal from the pro-drilling policies of the Bush administration; the new administrator of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, is an oceanographer who has vowed to restore science to federal environmental policy.