Environment America, a group of state-based environmental advocacy organizations, released a report Thursday called “Fracking by the Numbers,” which quantifies damage done by fracking across the United States.
According to the report, fracking operations in the U.S. generated 280 billion gallons of toxic waste water in 2012. The report also found that, since 2005, fracking has used 250 billion gallons of fresh water, degraded 360,000 acres, and released 100 million metric tons of global warming pollutants into the atmosphere.
In August, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management ended the public comment period on a proposed rule to regulate fracking on federal and Indian lands. BLM has not yet said when it expects to finalize the rule.
During a phone call with reporters, however, John Rumpler, a senior attorney for Environment America, said that the regulations are not enough. Instead, he said, the administration should ban hydraulic fracturing altogether.
“The numbers on fracking add up to an environmental nightmare. Constructing a regulatory regime sufficient to protect our water and our health … seems implausible at best,” Rumpler said, adding: “At the end of the day, protecting our environment and public health will require a ban on fracking.”
Katie Brown, a spokesperson for Energy in Depth, a pro-oil and gas-drilling group, called the findings baseless. “Environment America’s latest report simply repackages tired and thoroughly debunked claims. The actual numbers show that natural gas and hydraulic fracturing are slashing air pollution, rapidly reducing greenhouse gases, and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs,” she said in a statement.
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Along party lines, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted to tighten privacy standards for Internet service providers. "The regulations will require providers to receive explicit customer consent before using an individual’s web browsing or app usage history for marketing purposes. The broadband industry fought to keep that obligation out of the rules."
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."