Natural gas: Bridge or detour?

Natural gas is portrayed as the “bridge fuel” that will save the US from uneven electricity supply and prices as we transition off coal and oil on our way toward using renewable biofuels, solar and wind power.

A drilling rig in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo: Green Right Now)

EPA report links water contamination to gas fracking in Wyoming

In a first, federal environment officials Thursday scientifically linked underground water pollution with hydraulic fracturing, concluding that contaminants found in central Wyoming were likely caused by the gas drilling process.

The findings by the Environmental Protection Agency come partway through a separate national study by the agency to determine whether fracking presents a risk to water resources.

Texas company declines to buy Wyoming gas field after EPA finds benzene water pollution

by Abrahm Lustgarten
ProPublica, Nov. 29, 2011, 11:14 a.m.

A deal to sell a controversial central Wyoming natural gas field has fallen apart amidst allegations that drilling there has caused water pollution.

Texas-based Legacy Resources backed out of a $45 million deal to buy the field near Pavillion, Wyom., from EnCana last week, soon after the Environmental Protection Agency said it had detected cancer-causing benzene at 50 times the level safe for humans and other carcinogenic pollutants during its latest round of sampling.

Pennies for the Planet kicks off 2009 program

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Audubon has announced that its ongoing Pennies for the Planet project will support three specific conservation efforts in 2009.

The projects are:

  • Project Puffin and the Seabird Restoration Program off the Maine coast. The Puffins have been restored to the island after once being driven off by hunters, but they must be protected as scientists learn more about how to save seabirds.
  • Four Holes Swamp, an ancient swamp that supports otters, owls and rare plants in South Carolina as well as cypress trees that are hundreds of years old. Alligators and rare bats live in this soggy setting. Parts of the swamp are protected, but more land could be preserved.
  • Wyoming’s “sagebrush sea,” an endangered habitat for pygmy rabbits, sage-grouse and pronghorns. Scientists are working to reclaim some of this area, to help save the native species, like the pronghorns, from being pushed aside by development and agriculture.

Gray wolves may be spared in Northern Rockies

By Barbara Kessler

Gray wolves, all but de-listed from the Endangered Species Act protections through a series of government steps this year, have won a reprieve. According to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official, the government will be withdrawing its declaration that the animals are fully recovered.

The move, reported by the Associated Press and various conservation groups, follows a federal court decision this summer that sided with environmentalists arguing that the wolves need continued protections.