New research documents the pollution of public water supplies caused by shale gas development, commonly known as fracking, and its negative impact of infant health. These findings call for closer environmental regulation of the industry, as levels of chemicals found in drinking water often fall below regulatory thresholds.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued new policy statements saying its approval process for natural gas pipelines and liquified natural gas facilities will take greenhouse gas emissions and “environmental justice” impacts into consideration in determining whether the infrastructure projects are in the public interest.
Although non-binding, the policy statements, issued last month, could significantly change how natural gas pipelines are approved by the commission going forward. Under its new approach, the commission would be required to determine whether a project is actually needed to meet the energy demands of a given region and whether it is in the public interest, with its benefits outweighing its potential adverse impacts, such as air pollution or threats to groundwater.
The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), one of the key organizations focused on aligning corporate environmental sustainability action with the global goals of limiting climate change, announced today that it will on longer accept commitments or validate targets from fossil fuel companies, and will remove those with previous commitments, as it looks to develop peer reviewed oil and gas target setting methodologies.
In a statement announcing the move, the organization said that “the SBTi has updated its fossil fuel policy and will no longer accept commitments or validate targets from fossil fuel companies,” but noted that “companies may be reinstated following further development of the fossil fuel sector project.”
When the City Council of a Dallas suburb last year rejected TotalEnergies’ bid to drill behind a day care, the story made nationalnews as a sign that the racial reckoning underway had helped a Texas town do what it had almost never done: Say no to drilling.
Wanda Vincent, the owner of Mother’s Heart Learning Center, had campaigned in front of the Arlington City Council, pleading for politicians to protect the children – most of them Black – in her care from the toxic gases the wells leak. She thought she’d won.
So she was stunned to learn a few months ago that TotalEnergies had again proposed to drill behind her day care, which serves some 60 young children. City rules let companies reapply after a year – and TotalEnergies was going for it. Vincent ramped up her activism again, gathering signatures from parents and staff and speaking out at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last month. Then she watched as the commissioners voted unanimously in favor of TotalEnergies’ plan to drill next to her day care.