This broadcast was four years ago.
HARRY REID FOR PRESIDENT.
WTF is wrong with the rest of these
Wealthier is Healthier !
HARRY REID FOR PRESIDENT.
WTF is wrong with the rest of these
Wealthier is Healthier !
Shell’s Environmental Impact Assessment Fails to Protect the Environment and First Nation Rights:
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation opposes Shell’s proposed projectDecember 20, 2011
Edmonton – Friday marked the closing date for the Joint Review Panel (JRP) public comments on the adequacy of Shell’s proposed Jackpine mine expansion application and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Many environmental and First Nation groups, including the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), submitted initial comments outlining flaws and potential impacts of the proposed project. Once the JRP is satisfied information is adequate it will announce details of the public hearing, including dates, location, and any pre-hearing process. If the Panel is satisfied with information presented hearings will likely begin in 2012.
ACFN and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN), whose members find it increasingly difficult to hunt, fish, trap and gather as their lands are rapidly industrialized, submitted a joint submission in response to the JRP request for submissions on Shell’s Jackpine Expansion project. The joint submission asserts rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including rights pursuant to Treaty 8, to hunt, fish, and trap, which guarantees First Nations have a meaningful livelihood now and for the future. ACFN’s joint submission identifies the following overarching flaws in the application:
1. Shell has not provided sufficient information with respect to the Project’s impacts and infringements of our section 35 rights for the JRP to comply with the Terms of Reference.
2. Shell has not provided sufficient information for the JRP to be able to conduct an assessment of the cumulative effects of the Project, either on environmental components or on our section 35 rights and traditional uses.
3. Shell has not provided sufficient information for the JRP to assess water quantity issues, including the degree to which the Project could diminish water levels below the threshold level where we can still exercise our section 35 rights and fully access our traditional lands.
“We are rightfully concerned about how Shell’s proposed Jackpine Mine Expansion Project will impact and infringe our section 35 rights. It’s clear Shell’s current application does not include enough information for the JRP to appropriately assess potential impacts on our rights,” stated Chief Allan Adam of ACFN.
“We hope the JRP will respect our unique rights and implement our recommendations and not let Shell slide through the approval process without addressing our concerns,” stated Chief Adam. “We will no longer stand on the side lines as Shell permanently destroys our lands, our rivers, our rights and our community.”
Chief Adam’s comments come only weeks after ACFN served Shell Canada with a lawsuit for unfulfilled terms of agreements regarding existing tar sands mines. The agreements were meant to ensure Shell would provide a number of measures to lessen the impact of these mines on ACFN. The community asserts that Shell’s current operations are already threatening the environment and the communities way of life and plan to oppose Shell’s two new tar sands mines until all past and future concerns are addressed.
“It’s not surprising Shell is on the hook for unmet agreements in the tar sands, their track record in other countries is shameful,” stressed Eriel Deranger, spokesperson and Tar Sands communication officer for ACFN. Shell is allegedly responsible for oil spills, gas flaring and deforestation in Nigeria stripping the land of resources, destroying subsistence farming- and fishing-based economies of Ogoni people. A fate people of ACFN want to avoid. “It would be irresponsible for the Panel to approve this application and allowing the expansion of any tar sands projects. We have been calling for a moratorium on new projects and Shell is no exception. Shell has clearly failed to meet base requirements fundamental to adequate environmental, treaty and human rights protection in the area,” continued Deranger, “we can no longer afford run away expansion on our traditional lands.”
ACFN and MCFN’s concerns regarding Shell’s EIA and proposal are echoes by groups like Sierra Club Prairie and the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition (OSEC) who also put forward submissions outlining serious flaws in Shell’s EIA.
Sierra Club Prairie’s submission stated, “Development is occurring at such as fast pace that each new EIS cannot fully consider cumulative effects; projects are being announced and approved faster than the cumulative impacts can be evaluated in impact statements.” A concern shared by community members from ACFN and in Fort Chipewyan.
OSEC submission reports major gaps in the submissions that renders “information before the Panel inadequate to proceed with its assessment.” OSEC’s submission goes on to state the assessment failed to incorporate relevant information about valued species and species at risk. Many of these valued and species at risk are vital to the continuation of protected treaty rights of the people of ACFN.
Chief Adam of ACFN stated, “We’re drawing the line, and taking a strong stand against Shell. ACFN wants no further developments until Shell is brought to justice and our broader concerns about the cumulative impacts in the region are addressed, our treaty rights respected and our rights are fully recognized within the approval process once and for all.”
Eriel Deranger, ACFN Tar Sands Communication Officer 780-903-6598
orChief Allan Adam, ACFN 780-713-1220
Indigenous Environmental Network "A network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions."
As the country awaits results from a nationwide safety study on the natural gas drilling process of fracking, a separate government investigation into contamination in a place where residents have long complained that drilling fouled their water has turned up alarming levels of underground pollution.
A pair of environmental monitoring wells drilled deep into an aquifer in Pavillion, Wyo., contain high levels of cancer-causing compounds and at least one chemical commonly used in hydraulic fracturing, according to new water test results released yesterday by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Over the past nine months, The Times reviewed more than 30,000 pages of documents obtained through open records requests of state and federal agencies and by visiting various regional offices that oversee drilling in Pennsylvania. Some of the documents were leaked by state or federal officials.
But the relatively new drilling method “” known as high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking “” carries significant environmental risks. It involves injecting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, at high pressures to break up rock formations and release the gas.
With hydrofracking, a well can produce over a million gallons of wastewater that is often laced with highly corrosive salts, carcinogens like benzene and radioactive elements like radium, all of which can occur naturally thousands of feet underground. Other carcinogenic materials can be added to the wastewater by the chemicals used in the hydrofracking itself.
While the existence of the toxic wastes has been reported, thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood.
The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle.
Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. Their concern is based partly on a 2009 study, never made public, written by an E.P.A. consultant who concluded that some sewage treatment plants were incapable of removing certain drilling waste contaminants and were probably violating the law.
The Times also found never-reported studies by the E.P.A. and a confidential study by the drilling industry that all concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.
But the E.P.A. has not intervened. In fact, federal and state regulators are allowing most sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not to test for radioactivity. And most drinking-water intake plants downstream from those sewage treatment plants in Pennsylvania, with the blessing of regulators, have not tested for radioactivity since before 2006, even though the drilling boom began in 2008.
In other words, there is no way of guaranteeing that the drinking water taken in by all these plants is safe.
There were more than 493,000 active natural-gas wells in the United States in 2009, almost double the number in 1990. Around 90 percent have used hydrofracking to get more gas flowing, according to the drilling industry.
Gas has seeped into underground drinking-water supplies in at least five states, including Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia, and residents blamed natural-gas drilling.
Air pollution caused by natural-gas drilling is a growing threat, too. Wyoming, for example, failed in 2009 to meet federal standards for air quality for the first time in its history partly because of the fumes containing benzene and toluene from roughly 27,000 wells, the vast majority drilled in the past five years.
In a sparsely populated Sublette County in Wyoming, which has some of the highest concentrations of wells, vapors reacting to sunlight have contributed to levels of ozone higher than those recorded in Houston and Los Angeles.
More than 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater was produced by Pennsylvania wells over the past three years, far more than has been previously disclosed. Most of this water “” enough to cover Manhattan in three inches “” was sent to treatment plants not equipped to remove many of the toxic materials in drilling waste.¶At least 12 sewage treatment plants in three states accepted gas industry wastewater and discharged waste that was only partly treated into rivers, lakes and streams.
¶Of more than 179 wells producing wastewater with high levels of radiation, at least 116 reported levels of radium or other radioactive materials 100 times as high as the levels set by federal drinking-water standards. At least 15 wells produced wastewater carrying more than 1,000 times the amount of radioactive elements considered acceptable.
Industry officials say they are not concerned.
“These low levels of radioactivity pose no threat to the public or worker safety and are more a public perception issue than a real health threat,” said James E. Grey, chief operating officer of Triana Energy.
In interviews, industry trade groups like the Marcellus Shale Coalition and Energy in Depth, as well as representatives from energy companies like Shell and Chesapeake Energy, said they were producing far less wastewater because they were recycling much of it rather than disposing of it after each job.
But even with recycling, the amount of wastewater produced in Pennsylvania is expected to increase because, according to industry projections, more than 50,000 new wells are likely to be drilled over the next two decades.
The radioactivity in the wastewater is not necessarily dangerous to people who are near it. It can be blocked by thin barriers, including skin, so exposure is generally harmless.
Rather, E.P.A. and industry researchers say, the bigger danger of radioactive wastewater is its potential to contaminate drinking water or enter the food chain through fish or farming. Once radium enters a person’s body, by eating, drinking or breathing, it can cause cancer and other health problems, many federal studies show.
Little Testing for Radioactivity
Under federal law, testing for radioactivity in drinking water is required only at drinking-water plants. But federal and state regulators have given nearly all drinking-water intake facilities in Pennsylvania permission to test only once every six or nine years.
The Times reviewed data from more than 65 intake plants downstream from some of the busiest drilling regions in the state. Not one has tested for radioactivity since 2008, and most have not tested since at least 2005, before most of the drilling waste was being produced.
And in 2009 and 2010, public sewage treatment plants directly upstream from some of these drinking-water intake facilities accepted wastewater that contained radioactivity levels as high as 2,122 times the drinking-water standard. But most sewage plants are not required to monitor for radioactive elements in the water they discharge. So there is virtually no data on such contaminants as water leaves these plants. Regulators and gas producers have repeatedly said that the waste is not a threat because it is so diluted in rivers or by treatment plants. But industry and federal research cast doubt on those statements.
A confidential industry study from 1990, conducted for the American Petroleum Institute, concluded that “using conservative assumptions,” radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who eat fish from those waters regularly.
The industry study focused on drilling industry wastewater being dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, where it would be far more diluted than in rivers. It also used estimates of radium levels far below those found in Pennsylvania’s drilling waste, according to the study’s lead author, Anne F. Meinhold, an environmental risk expert now at NASA.
Other federal, state and academic studies have also found dilution problems with radioactive drilling waste.