Tag Archives: fort worth

Have You Hugged a Train Lately? National Train Day is May 12th.

Celebrate the fun and excitement of trains this Saturday! There are local events in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio,  Jefferson, and Giddings–as well as other places across the country if you are not lucky enough to be in Texas.

National Train Day poster

Ever since my first trip at age 6, I’ve considered it the most civilized way to travel. Stretch your legs, get up and walk around any time, recline you seat without squeezing the person behind you… you can’t do these driving a car or taking a plane. Plus the U.S. Department of Energy says passenger trains are 20-50 percent more fuel efficient than planes or cars on a per-passenger mile basis. Relax and breathe easier on a train!

We can and should take pride in our trains. The United States has the most miles of track of any country in the world and Texas has the most miles of any state. Though the current levels of service don’t match up to Europe or Asia, we can change that.

Head over to the National Train Day website to find out more and to share your story about what trains mean to you. Share your stories here, too!

Bonus points if you ride your bike to the station!

-Kari Banta, Transportation Associate

We Won’t Get Fooled Again: How Unfair Trade Threatens Texas’ Environment

Why should any Texas enviro care about trade? Let me tell you a bit about what the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is, and why you should be concerned as a boot-wearing Southern green activist.

Today through May 18th in Dallas, as negotiators representing nations and corporations from across the world meet behind closed doors for the 12th round of talks on the TPP, a coalition of union members, environmentalists, occupiers, and consumer advocates will be there to shine a light on the backroom deal.

The TPP is a massive, new international trade and investment pact between the United States and countries throughout the Pacific Rim like Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Peru, Australia, and eventually Japan.  Instead of being debated out in the open, the TPP has thus far been negotiated in the shadows. Approximately 600 corporate lobbyists have been given special “cleared advisor” status to review negotiating documents and advise negotiators.  Meanwhile, the general public has been barred from even reviewing what U.S. negotiators have proposed in our names.

So how does this tie into the Texas environmental community? Texas is home to the Barnett and Eagle Ford shales – some of the world’s largest reserves of natural gas. Countries participating in TPP negotiations rely heavily on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG), and stand to benefit from provisions in TPP that would open the floodgates for expanded US production and exports of LNG.  In a recent  letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the Sierra Club’s natural gas and labor & trade departments urged Kirk to ensure that the TPP does not allow for export of substantially increased quantities of domestic liquefied natural gas (LNG) without proper analysis and adequate protections for the American public.

Furthermore, we are concerned about language in previous FTAs that lets foreign corporations sue governments directly — in private and non-transparent tribunals — for unlimited cash compensation over almost any domestic law (environmental or otherwise) that the corporation argues might hurt its profitability.

Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune discussed this issue in a recent blog post citing:

“By the end of 2011, corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, and Cargill) had brought 450 disputes worth hundreds of millions of dollars against the governments of 89 countries. Many of those cases directly targeted environmental and other public interest laws.”

If you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, come rally and march with us in order to let negotiators know that Texans want fair trade that protects both our environment and workers, and that we won’t get fooled again by bad trade deals.

TPP Out of the Shadows!

Rally and March for Good Jobs, Affordable Medicine & a Healthy Environment

Saturday, May 12 * 1:00pm

Addison Circle Park * 15650 Addison Rd * Addison, TX

https://www.facebook.com/events/429902193705698/

Click here to reserve your free seat on a bus from San Antonio or Austin


Dave Cortez
Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter
512-477-6195 (office)

David (dot) Cortez (at) SierraClub (dot) org

Stopping the Frack Attack

From our national offices, we bring you the latest on fracking and the national effort to find out what exactly is in those chemical cocktails…

CONTACTS:
Oliver Bernstein, Sierra Club, (512) 289-8618
Gwen Lachelt, EARTHWORKS, (505) 469-0380

Americans Call For Tighter Regulation of Hydraulic ‘Fracking’ in Oil and Gas Drilling

Overflow Crowds of Concerned Residents Attend EPA Public Meetings across the Country

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Thousands of Americans are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a comprehensive study of the environmental and health threats of natural gas fracturing. Pollution from this drilling technique – commonly known as fracking – has been the focus of three heavily attended public meetings in Texas, Colorado and Pennsylvania this summer. The final meetings, next week in Binghamton, N.Y., drew so much interest that the EPA was initially forced to reschedule them.

“Natural gas companies should welcome additional scrutiny and embrace regulation that will protect public health and the environment,” said Sierra Club Deputy Executive Director Bruce Hamilton. “Indeed some of them have already called for greater disclosure. EPA’s proposed scope of study is a good first step but it can and should go much further. This hydraulic fracturing study must be fully funded to allow an in-depth analysis of the data. We also need changes in federal and state regulations requiring this industry to protect our air, water, and communities.”

Fracking involves the high pressure injection of enormous amounts of water, sand and chemicals into drilling sites to force gas deposits to the surface. Estimates vary, but anywhere from 30% to 85% of fracking fluids remain underground and could potentially harm underground water resources.  Most wells are fracked several times over the life of the well. The EPA should also study threats to geological formations from drilling and fracking to identify ground fractures that have the potential to carry fracking fluids to domestic drinking water supplies.

“Oil and gas drilling is spreading across the American landscape with little regulation, putting our air, water and health at risk,” says Gwen Lachelt, Director of EARTHWORKS’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. “This industry is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act and most other environmental laws. Hopefully this new EPA study will provide a scientifically reliable, independent analysis of the impacts of fracking.”

Improperly sealed drilling wells can also contaminate groundwater. The industry claims that less than 1 percent of fracking fluids are comprised of chemical agents but EARTHWORKS’ research shows that companies can use as much as 40 tons of chemicals for every million gallons of water used in fracking.  There are no requirements at the federal level to compel industry to disclose what chemicals it is injecting into the ground, although just this week the EPA announced that it is asking natural gas companies to voluntarily disclose this information.

The EPA proposes to study the relationship between hydraulic fracturing and its potential drinking water pollution. The EPA’s Science Advisory Board — an independent, external federal advisory committee — recently recommended that EPA’s study look at the entire life cycle of fracturing operations.

Oil and gas is produced in 34 states from an estimated 800,000 wells, according to the Energy Information Agency. Under the 2005 Energy Policy Act, fracking is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Oil and gas producers are also exempted from part of the Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) governing hazardous waste, the federal Superfund law, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (which requires companies to report their toxic releases), and part of the Clean Air Act. These exemptions threaten the air, water and health of communities affected by natural gas.

The final public meetings on the proposed EPA study are September 13 and 15, 2010 in Binghamton, NY, in the heart of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. For more information on these meetings, contact Roger Downs at roger.downs@sierraclub.org or Nadia Steinzor at nsteinzor@earthworksaction.org.

For more information visit

http://sierraclub.org/naturalgas/
http://hfmeeting.cadmusweb.com/
http://www.earthworksaction.org/hydfracking.cfm

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