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Monitoring Environmental Destruction From the Sky – October 20, 2014

SkyTruth uses satellite imagery and data-crunching to track fracking, mountaintop removal, and oil spills around the world

The twenty-first century has been dubbed the "surveillance society," a culture where police departments increasingly deploy drones to spy from above, smart phones precisely track their owners' locations, and government agencies routinely record our emails and phone calls. In this new milieu, environmentalists have started to do some watch-dogging of their own, documenting industry's misdeeds by adapting newly available technology and tactics to fit their needs. 

Jonah Field, WyomingPhoto by EcoFlight.Wellpads, access roads, pipeline corridors and other natural-gas infrastructure in western Wyoming’s Jonah Field. High-altitude imagery allows SkyTruth to reveal the sheer scope of development as well as changes over… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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Federal Coal Leasing Undermining Obama’s Climate Goals – July 28, 2014

Coal mining on public lands could wipe out power plant reforms, Greenpeace report finds

A report published today by Greenpeace highlights a growing contradiction in government policies on one of the dirtiest of fossil fuels: coal. In June, the Obama administration announced a plan to crack down on carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Meanwhile, the federal Bureau of Land Management has continued to quietly lease publicly owned coal seams to mining corporations at deeply discounted prices. These rock-bottom rates have helped drive a push for expanded exports of American coal, and they risk wiping out the benefits of President Obama's new greenhouse gas controls.

coal minePhoto by eastcoalfax/FlickrThe Bureau of Land Management has leased 2.2 billion tons of coal on… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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Proposed Federal Legislation Could Weaken Secret Legal Settlements – June 26, 2014

Future fracking cases could be affected

This April, Lisa and Robert Parr of Wise County, Texas won a widely-publicized $3 million verdict in a case alleging they had suffered health problems from pollution related to gas fracking. Last week, a Texas judge upheld that verdict and ordered the defendant, Aruba Petroleum, to pay up.

closeup photo of a woman's face, duct tape covers her mouthPhoto adapted from image by Katie TegtmeyerIt’s not known how many fracking cases have been settled prior to jury verdict, or under what terms, because of the widespread use of non-disclosure agreements.

Although the case was widely labeled as unprecedented,… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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North Sea Gas Well Still Leaking – April 2, 2012

Total’s Elgin Project Reveals the Dangers of Pursuing ‘Extreme Energy’

Photo by Flickr user crawfish headTotal's Elgin drilling platform (not pictured here) is one of over 570 oil and gas rigs in the North Sea. The
North Sea was the scene of the world's worst offshore rig disaster, the Piper Alpha explosion, which
killed 167 people in 1988.

A natural gas leak from one of the world’s most treacherous underwater oil and gas fields continues unabated in the North Sea, raising worries about what would happen if the massive cloud of gas were to ignite and concerns about how the spewing methane can worsen climate change.

The leak of flammable gas was discovered last… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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Oil and Gas Drilling Linked to Smog – March 8, 2012

Findings Could Further Complicate Push for More Drilling

Last month, yet another federal agency weighed in and highlighted new and striking concerns about the impact of oil and gas drilling — this time on air quality.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere, completed a study that measured air emissions, starting just outside Denver, Colorado, that may help explain smog problems across parts of the Western US.

Photo by Aaron GustafsonIn parts of Utah visibility has plunged to levels normally only seen during hot urban summers. At times
it's so bad that flights have to be diverted… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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