Sunday, June 26, 2022

Play

Pregnancy could now be the only option in Florida, more landmark privacy-related cases are now in the balance, and just how pro-LGBTQ are your local businesses?

Play

Protests erupt after the Supreme Court overturns Roe versus Wade, conservative lawmakers applaud, but a poll finds more than half of Americans call it a step backward, and President Biden signs a gun control measure.

Play

COVID funding kept rural hospitals open, cryptocurrency companies make inroads on the backroads of America, and rural communities' efforts to escape long-term poverty have unintended side effects.

New Map Shows More People Live within Oil & Gas "Threat Radius"

Play

Wednesday, May 25, 2022   

A newly created map reveals more Americans are being exposed to health threats from proximity to oil-and-gas production facilities. The map's release Tuesday comes ahead of new industry safeguards expected from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Map co-creator Alan Septoff with the group Earthworks said more than 144,000 New Mexicans live within a "threat radius" of an oil or gas facility - defined as being a half-mile. Since the group's first nationwide analysis in 2017, Septoff said, millions more people have been added to the threat radius map.

"Seventeen-point-three million people live within the threat radius - up 4.7 million from five years ago," he said. "Almost 4 million kids under 18 live within the threat radius; 3.2 million students go to school at 12,400 schools."

New safeguards being considered by the EPA would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and associated toxic air pollution from new and existing oil-and-gas facilities and address routine flaring. The gases from extraction are known to increase rates of cancer, asthma and other diseases.

Earthworks' Andrew Klooster is an optical gas imaging thermographer based in Colorado, a state with some of the strongest regulations in the country. Nonetheless, he said, what's written on paper and what's happening on the ground do not align - because the state doesn't have the capacity to enforce its regulations.

"In all the states that we work, whether it's Colorado or Texas," he said, "sites are not being inspected frequently enough and regulations are not being enforced as forcefully as they should be."

Despite a new reporting program implemented by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, quarterly reports show 262 operators did not file information about how much natural gas was lost to venting and flaring. Klooster said that's why new oil-and-gas development is making the problem worse.

"The industry, by and large, is still policing itself when it comes to air-quality violations," he said, "and there's a presumption on the part of regulators that they're voluntarily complying with most of the rules that have been adopted. The result of this presumption is pollution that continues to harm communities in all of the states that we work."

Disclosure: Sierra Club, Rio Grande Chapter contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Public Lands/Wilderness, Water. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed Alyssa's Law Thursday, saying it is one of many new safety measures she plans to adopt, to keep New Yorkers safe from gun violence. (Office of the Governor)

Social Issues

Gov. Kathy Hochul has approved a new law, requiring schools to consider installing a silent, panic-alarm system. Approval of what's known as …


Social Issues

Democrats, Republicans and other political parties in Utah hold primary elections Tuesday, and advocates for older voters are promoting the …

Environment

A report from leaders in Washington state lays out how the services of four dams on the lower Snake River could be replaced in order to save ailing sa…


The new AARP Pennsylvania poll finds 87% of voters age 50 years and older say they're "extremely motivated" to vote in the November election. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

There are fewer than five months to go until the November General Election, in which Pennsylvania voters will select a new governor and U.S. Senator…

Health and Wellness

The State of Indiana wants to learn more about Hoosiers' experiences with substance-use disorder and addiction-recovery services. Administered by …

The price of meat has gone up 12.3% in the last year. (Fxquadro/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Seven in 10 Americans view inflation as the most pressing issue facing the nation right now, and in Maine, a new report seeks to explore the causes…

Social Issues

Iowa is getting more than $9 million to improve its system of care for stroke patients, and to address staffing issues among public-health workers in …

Health and Wellness

The Food and Drug Administration could soon ban the manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes, a move advocates in Ohio said could have a positive …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021