These are some of the stories we’ve been following this week.
Oil prices are once again increasing, but the hydraulic fracturing industry may not be able to recover quickly enough to take advantage. When oil prices dropped, fracking became less profitable, and companies shut down many of their fracking operations. However, fracking still accounts for half of the United States’ oil production.
- The families featured in the documentary Gasland were awarded more than $4.2 million by a federal jury for their lawsuit against a hydraulic fracturing company. The families’ wells were contaminated with methane.
- Three socially conscious investor groups have scored 30 oil and gas companies on how well they disclosed to investors the environmental risks and community impacts of their fracking projects; 70% of the companies assessed don’t adequately disclose these risks to investors.
- Duke Energy is seeking the permits needed to build an on-site landfill at its Sutton Plant site in North Carolina to contain coal ash removed from nearby ash ponds. The landfill would be double-lined and not near any surface water sources.
- Environmentalists have spoken out against the Tennessee Valley Authority’s potential plans to close its coal ash ponds and store the ash in place. There are concerns that the closed ponds could still leak contaminants into nearby groundwater.
- The State of New Mexico claims that the Animas River is still contaminated 7 months after the Gold King Mine leaked a large amount of heavy metals into the water. New Mexico has requested $1.5 million from the U.S. EPA as reimbursement for emergency response work, and state officials filed a notice of intent to sue the EPA and the State of Colorado.
- Two residents in Hoosick Falls, New York, are suing Honeywell and Saint-Gobain over a toxic chemical, PFOA, found in the city’s water. This is the second class-action lawsuit filed against the two companies alleging that they are responsible for contamination of the water supply.
- Portland, Oregon, is joining six other West Coast cities in a lawsuit against Monsanto, alleging that the company produced toxic chemicals that have contaminated the environment.
- India’s economy has been growing strong recently, and wealthy Indians are looking to countries such as Canada, England, and Australia to purchase trophy homes.
- The Federal Railroad Administration proposed a new safety measure requiring freight trains to have two-person crews. It’s estimated that the measure would cost railroads between $5 million and $27.7 million over a decade, but would pay off in preventing serious injuries and fatalities.
- The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) left its benchmark rate unchanged at its latest meeting and currently expects to raise the rate just twice this year.