There Goes the Neighborhood — New Study Links Oil and Gas Facilities Near Residential Areas to Increased Health Risks

The Colorado School of Public Health has released a study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, which claims that people living near oil and gas facilities may be subject to a higher risk of cancer and other diseases. The study was focused on residents of Colorado’s northern Front Range, an area of Colorado experiencing an increase in both human population and development of oil and gas resources. The researchers took air samples from multiple sites in Northern Colorado
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Landmark Ruling: Trespass Claims Against Fracking Companies Proceed as Pennsylvania Recognizes Property Rights to Natural Gas

Recently, the Pennsylvania Superior Court — PA’s appellate court — published its opinion in Briggs v. Southwestern Energy Production, potentially altering the landscape of hydraulic fracturing litigation in Pennsylvania. The intermediary appellate court’s decision centered on the interpretation of Pennsylvania’s rule of capture, which allows companies to drain a natural resource, including oil, gas, or water, from beneath property they do not own so long as they do not trespass on the surface level of the land. In its ruling, the Superior Court noted that the rule
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States Sue EPA Over Delay in Setting Methane Emissions Standards

On April 5, 2018, 14 U.S. states filed a lawsuit against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleging that the agency is “unreasonably delaying” the issuance of federal methane emissions standards. The complaint names the EPA and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as the defendants. New York State is taking the lead in this challenge; other states joining the lawsuit include California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Illinois, Iowa, and New Mexico. The District of Columbia and
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The Scorecard

In May 2017, we reported about the intentions of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to rebalance the EPA. At that time, Pruitt discussed core values and stressed that going forward the process and rule making will matter. One of the customs that Pruitt expressed he wanted to shed was “the federal government [being] actively involved in picking winners and losers by using regulations and the power to penalize…” Pruitt contended that the EPA’s mission is and should be clean air, water
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Tree for All: NJ Forest Department Distributes Free Trees to Residents

We thought it would be a breath of fresh air to report this week on a positive development to the local environment, in this instance, happening right here in my home state of New Jersey. In recent years, New Jersey has been hit with more natural disasters than ever before, resulting in a serious reduction in the amount of healthy trees in the state. The Forest Department has been pining for that to change, so it has instituted a free
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The Coming Battle Between California and EPA Over Vehicle Fuel Standards — The Implications for CO2 Emissions and Climate Change

Two weeks ago, we reported on potential moves by the EPA to weaken fuel economy standards, and in doing so, picking a fight with California and the state’s ability to set its own emission rules through its waiver under the Clean Air Act. Those threatened moves are now reality, as the EPA announced on Monday that current fuel economy standards will be revised. But underlying the moves to roll back fuel economy standards is the ongoing war between the Trump
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Wild West: Colorado Court Allows Warrantless Searches of Oilfield Sites

A rancher in southwestern Colorado had three oil wells on his property, leased to an oil company, Maralex Resources, Inc., of which the rancher was the president. One afternoon, an inspection supervisor with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) contacted a local Maralex office and requested access to the wells for a routine inspection. Because the rancher was out of town, and the properties were protected by locked gates, the Maralex office refused to permit access that day.
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Pain in the Ash: Byproduct Contamination at Coal Power Plants Back in Focus

Landfills and man-made ponds have been used for decades as dumping grounds for coal ash, which is the byproduct waste left over from burning coal in coal-fired power plants; it is one of the most prolific types of industrial waste generated in the United States. After all, coal is the biggest source of electricity production in the nation. Coal ash though contains a number of known carcinogens and is often stored in unlined pits, creating the potential for environmental and
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Cutting out the CARBs: EPA Administrator Suggests Possible Split with California on Emission Standards

Scott Pruitt, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently discussed a broad range of issues in an interview with Bloomberg TV. Chief among those, Pruitt stated that the EPA is opposed to setting stricter fuel economy standards beyond 2025 and has questioned whether individual states should be able to enact their own tougher emissions rules for cars and light trucks. Pruitt said that California, which has a waiver under the 1970 Clean Air Act giving it authority to
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EPA to Host National Leadership Summit on PFAS

In the latest on per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), earliest this week, the EPA sent a letter to the governors of 56 states and territories announcing its plan to host a National Leadership Summit on PFAS in Washington, D.C. on May 22 and 23. Stakeholders from across the country are invited to participate in identifying immediate actions to address the public’s growing concern over PFAS. At the Summit, the EPA plans to: Share information on ongoing efforts to characterize risks
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