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Gas Industry Still Has Its Head In The Sand On Fracking

65% of Americans favor more regulation of fracking
72% of Ohio residents favor a state moratorium on fracking

At the Wall Street Journal’s recent economics conference, the chief executive of Atlas Energy LP was asked how fracking had become a four-letter word. Edward E. Cohen’s response: “I think when we talk about the natural-gas industry losing the PR war, that is not correct.”

If that is typical of how the natural gas industry is interpreting public opinion on hydraulic fracturing and the development of shale gas, then it’s got its head in a borehole.

Recent polling gives a more realistic picture of the public’s broad and deep concerns about the technique that is widely used, in conjunction with horizontal drilling, to stimulate production from oil and gas wells. The practice involves pumping a combination of water, sand and chemicals underground at high pressure to crack rock formations and release oil and gas.

A Bloomberg News poll conducted earlier this month, for example, found that 65% of Americans favor more regulation of fracking and only 18% favor less regulation. The survey of 1,002 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%.

(More) Original story here.

by Tom Kenworthy, on Mar 28, 2012

Skyrocketing Increase in Autism

Group says link to environmental factors shown, gov’t should regulate toxic chemicals
A just released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that children diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) had a skyrocketing increase of 78% compared to results from a decade ago. The CDC report shows that one in 88 children are now diagnosed with the disorder.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) notes that "a burgeoning body of independent scientific research suggests that one factor that may be in play is environmental exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, most notably mercury," and sees the staggering figures as a call for governmental action to minimize children’s exposure to toxic chemicals, especially coal plant caused mercury exposure. “Upending the federal government’s approach to regulating toxic chemicals and putting tough emissions standards in place at power plants are two good places to start,” said Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook.

Original story here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012 by Common Dreams

Neurotoxic Pesticides Helping to Decimate Bee Populations, Studies Indicate

Two studies show that a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids created disorientation among bees and caused colonies to lose weight, which may have contributed to a mysterious die-off.
- Common Dreams staff

Two new studies released on Thursday show that industrial pesticides -- specifically chemical neurotoxins called ’neonicotinoids’ -- have robust negative impact on the honey bees’ ability to navigate and sufficiently reproduce. Previous studies have shown that insecticides may play a role in ’colony collapse disorder,’ a term that describes huge bee die-offs in recent years, the direct and specific cause of which has remained elusive to scientists, but these studies are unique for being conducted in the field as opposed to in laboratory conditions.

A honeybee pollinates a flower in a citrus grove just coming into blossom. "People had found pretty trivial effects in lab and greenhouse experiments, but we have shown they can translate into really big effects in the field. This has transformed our understanding," Prof David Goulson, at the University of Stirling and leader of one of the research teams told The Guardian. "If it’s only one metre from where they forage in a lab to their nest, even an unwell bee can manage that."

One scientist, who lauded the study for its role in furthering understanding of the bees decline, also noted that the study should aware the public that these same chemical pesticides could be having similar impacts on other species as well. "There’s a general phenomenon of pollinator decline – bats, bird, butterflies, all kinds of things," he said.

March 2012