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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"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."
Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.
The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.
The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.