Methane gas from fracking will worsen climate change, report Cornell researchers

Groups protesting natural gas drilling have focused on the threat to water supplies. They point to the modern drilling or “fracking” methods, which shatter rock deep beneath the earth, opening fissures that threaten water stores; and they cite cases of wells being contaminated near fracking operations in Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
Now new research by three Cornell University scientists suggests that fracking could cause even more havoc with the atmosphere

Ethanol: Jobs and politics trump good sense?

The EPA’s decision to increase the allowable percentage of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent has ignited a fiery debate among America’s mega-industrial interests. Watching the Titans queue up on their respective sides of this issue has been almost embarrassing; there are so many nakedly exposed agendas and odd alliances.
What’s not so amusing are the serious environmental consequences of both the production and combustion of ethanol. But first let’s sort out the teammates.

Soon not just your kid, but your car could get a report card

New government labels are coming for cars and they could clearly send some vehicles straight to the head of the class, while others wind up just a grade away from detention.

These new labels, developed by the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Environmental Protection, are designed to make it clearer for consumers where a car stands on the spectrums of fuel economy, carbon emissions and energy use. The idea is to help people compare vehicles across types, which can be tricky under the current system, which displays a car’s EPA-figured gas mileage on the retail sticker sheet plastered to the side window.

One new label under consideration grades the vehicle for energy use and emissions.

One new label under consideration grades the vehicle for energy use and emissions.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, drilling away at environmental protections

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
While some U.S. senators struggle to find a way forward on climate action, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has stepped into the fray to call for a time out.
Murkowski, in fact, has been in the fray for a while. And while she’s not alone — many others in Congress have said they’re more concerned about slowing government regulations than slowing climate change — she has recently distinguished herself as one of the strongest opponents of controls on carbon pollution.

Murkowski, a longtime, ardent supporter of oil drilling, has become more vocal in the past year in her efforts to keep industry free of strong environmental controls. In January, she proposed stripping the EPA of its ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. More recently, she’s lamented that the BP oil disaster has temporarily halted exploratory offshore drilling in the arctic planned by Shell Oil for this summer; a topic that even many conservative opponents of climate action have remained silent on in the face of the ongoing historic, despoiling of the gulf.