Thou Shalt Not Frack Thy Neighbor’s Land

By Beth Gunston
California League of Conservation Voters

It’s only been in the last couple of years that Californians began hearing about fracking, and few of us thought that it was even happening in our state. Fracking – shorthand for hydraulic fracturing – is a method that is used to extract natural gas and oil deeply trapped below shale deposits. A process that has been in use for decades, fracking requires vast amounts of water laden with a concoction of chemicals to be pumped under high pressure to blast through shale and push up trapped gas. Well, it turns out that California has been getting fracked for years in areas including Los Angeles, Ventura, Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Kern Counties.

Pennsylvania Doctors on Fracking: Our Lips Are Sealed

By Kathleen Peine

There’s something buried in a new Pennsylvania law and it’s every bit as toxic as the chemicals used to unearth natural gas through that process called fracking. Lurking in that law is a form of enforced ignorance.

And as Will Rogers said, “When ignorance gets started, it knows no bounds.”

In this law there is a provision that essentially gags physicians when they want to tell their patients what particular chemicals they have been exposed to, should they become ill from exposure to fracking chemicals. The doctors will be required to sign confidentiality agreements in order to find out the components in their quest to treat stricken individuals. The law is advanced as a protection of proprietary secrets……as if we’re talking about New Coke here.

Fracking Impact On Water Worries Californians

By Ngoc Nguyen
New America Media

Earlier this year, the oil company Plains Exploration and Production (PXP) blasted water and chemicals more than one and half miles into the earth to force oil embedded in a sandstone formation to gush to the surface.

The process – known as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – has been debated in many U.S. communities where oil and gas deposits have been identified in recent years. But PXP wasn’t fracking in the much-touted Marcellus Shale on the East Coast, where much of the controversy over fracking has centered. It was fracking two test wells in urban Los Angeles, where 300,000 people live within a three-mile radius.

The drilling was done less than a year after community and environmental groups reached a settlement with PXP, after complaining for years about pollution from the site.

Adhering To a Status Quo City-Development Ideology Is So ‘Last Century’

By Alan Kandel

Over the past dozen or so years, I’ve written on a wide range of topics covering everything from travel, transportation, climate, community and history, to agriculture and the environment. Population and population growth are often topics of discussion in terms of how these relate to community and the environment, for example.

Keeping on point, California and the United States have been undergoing unprecedented and seemingly inexorable growth. It should be understood that development, to meet the needs of an increasing population, and one that is increasingly on the move, must not be pursued in the absence of forethought. To permit growth to occur this way would be both irresponsible and unacceptable. But, I suspect, in some sense in California’s major cities productive, prudent and proper development has been lacking meaning that such hasn’t been quite up to snuff, otherwise why the creation of and passage in 2008 of Senate Bill 375?

SB 375: What is it?

Dirty Crude Spells Dirty Air in California

By Ngoc Nguyen
New America Media

California’s long-running campaign to reduce air pollution has indirectly helped create a new problem: its oil refineries now produce more greenhouse gas emissions than refineries anywhere else in the country.

On average, California refineries emit 19 to 33 percent more greenhouse gases per barrel of crude oil when stacked up against comparable gas-producing regions in the United States, according to a recent study commissioned by the Union of Concerned Scientists. The report analyzed national and California-specific refinery data and combined it with data gathered by author Greg Karras, who has been studying and writing about refinery operations since 1989.

Green Jobs Remain the Bright Spot in the Economy

By Beth Gunston
California League of Conservation Voters

Green jobs have proven to be more than just a buzz term. As the grip of the recession continues to hold, a new report just put out by visionary group Next 10 provides stats that this budding sector of the economy is holding firm.

As pointed out in a L.A. Times article:

“The report suggests that amid volatile prices and tight markets, green entrepreneurs and their products and services will become increasingly competitive. California’s strong foundation of environmentally focused innovation and research, as well as its early-adopter culture, will also help.”

Air Pollution In Southern California Remains Serious Issue Despite Decades of Progress Made – Part 2

By Alan Kandel

In Southern California over the past two decades much in the way of air quality improvement has been achieved. There has been a marked reduction in both fine particle pollution generated at area ports (as we’ve learned from Part 1) and motor vehicle-produced smog (ground-level ozone).

Fine particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) is emitted from motor vehicles and other mobile sources (both on and off-road) in addition to industrial and power plant (stationary) sources as well as from forest fires, according to information provided by California Watch Health and Welfare reporter Bernice Yeung in the article: “Southern Californians at risk of death from air pollution, EPA says.”

Media Promotes False Republican Gas Price Attacks on Obama

By Randy Shaw

With President Obama’s approval numbers rising, the traditional media has created a new issue it claims raises “political perils:” rising gas prices. Working in lockstep with Republican backers of the Keystone XL pipeline and the “drill, baby, drill” crowd, the media is inflating an issue that a close look at the facts shows has never swayed presidential voters, and will not do so next November.

President Mostly Speaks Truth About Gas Prices

By David Dayen

So we’re going to have another fatuous debate about gas prices in this country, as if the President has a ticker on his desk that he can set to the 9/10 of a cent. President Obama made the effort to mock this. As a national politician he obviously feels he cannot say “there’s not much I can do,” but he came extremely close in this speech. I give him credit for anticipating the Republican line of attack:

You can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their 3-point plan for $2 gas. And I’ll save you the suspense. Step one is to drill and step two is to drill. And then step three is to keep drilling. (Laughter.) We heard the same line in 2007 when I was running for President. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years [...]

El Segundo Inc.: Furor Over Chevron’s Sweetheart Deal

By Steven Mikulan
The Frying Pan

The skirmish of words in El Segundo over its city manager’s proposal to raise local taxes on that city’s largest business, Chevron Oil, has suddenly become a full-fledged legal war, with the official making explosive accusations against both El Segundo’s government and Chevron. The story, which Donald Cohen has been following for Frying Pan News, began with Doug Willmore’s efforts to bring the giant refinery’s taxes in line with the taxes paid by other California oil companies. Willmore was subsequently fired on February 9 by El Segundo’s city council.