Here are some of the top stories we followed this week:
- The federal government is working on a disaster plan in the event of an urban oil train wreck. As we’ve discussed before, oil trains are increasingly being utilized by energy companies, and a wreck could cause significant damage, especially in a heavily populated area.
- New federal regulations are also on the way to strengthen oversight of off-shore drilling. The announcement comes 5 years after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Fifteen years ago, Erin Brockovich became a hit. However, residents of the town of Hinkley, whose plight was made famous by the movie, are still having issues with their water.
- Contaminated firing ranges were awarded contracts for training employees of federal law enforcement agencies. The announcement has upset unions concerned about workplace safety violations.
- A measure to prohibit fracking permits in Maryland until late 2017 has passed the legislature, effectively banning the practice in the state since no fracking has taken place there yet. The governor will now have to decide whether to sign the bill.
- State officials in New York are investigating a home heating oil spill in Lake Oscawana.
- Residents in Chandler, Arizona are fighting a proposed power line because of concerns that the aboveground line will decrease their property values.
- A rails-to-trails project in Bedford County, Pennsylvania is rapidly progressing. We’ve consulted on and written about rails-to-trails projects before.
- One company trying to build a basalt mine in New Mexico filed a lawsuit against a county and a landfill for violating anti-trust laws. The lawsuit alleges that the landfill was crushing and selling basalt without the proper permits and zoning.