Mike Gaworecki's blog

Study Finds Connection Between Living Near Oil and Gas Development and Childhood Leukemia

oil derrick in a field in Colorado

With the rise of new technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling, oil and gas development in the United States has exploded over the past 15 years. As development expands, it’s also pushing ever closer into areas where people live. It’s been estimated that today more than 15 million Americans live within one mile of oil and gas development.

The drilling process, of course, has the potential to emit toxic substances, including the carcinogen benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and diesel exhaust, into the surrounding air and waterways. But researchers have long been trying to determine to what extent oil and gas drilling operations may threaten public health, particularly around cancer risk.

However, new research suggests that childen living in areas of high-density oil and gas development may face increased risk of health impacts, namely a certain type of leukemia, as a result of their exposure to pollutants associated with this activity.

California Regulators Allow Oil Companies to Continue Injecting Wastewater Into More Than 1,600 Wells in Protected Aquifers

Pump jack

Regulators with the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) announced in January that they plan to halt oil and gas wastewater injection in 475 oil wells in the Golden State — but also that they will continue to allow injections into federally protected aquifers at another 1,650 wells.

According to the environmental advocacy group Clean Water Action, the announcement appears to be in violation of DOGGR’s own compliance schedule, adopted by regulation in 2014, which requires all injection well operators that have not obtained an aquifer exemption from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cease injection by February 15, 2017.

Will Rex Tillerson Come Clean About What #ExxonKnew, As Company Itself Has Been Ordered To Do?

Caricature of Rex Tillerson

Update 1/19/2017: Our Children's Trust, a legal NGO helping represent the youth case, posted that Rex Tillerson's deposition is being delayed while the case's lawyers meet to resolve a dispute.

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, is set to be deposed today by lawyers for a group of 21 young plaintiffs, aged 9 to 20, who filed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. government failed to protect their rights to life, liberty, and property by not taking action to halt global warming.

The deposition comes just one day before Trump is to be inaugurated as U.S. president — and a little more than a week after a Massachusetts judge ruled that Exxon must hand over more than 40 years of its internal research on climate change, denying the oil giant’s request for a protective order that would have blocked Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's subpoenas.

PHOTOS: Eleven Cities Showing What Bold Climate Action Looks Like

Eleven cities from around the world were celebrated recently in Mexico City at the C40 Cities Awards for their commitment to innovation in the fight against climate change.

The eleven-year-old C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group brings together officials from 85 of the world’s great cities that collectively represent one quarter of the global economy. The group’s focus is spurring urban initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the health, well-being, and economic opportunity of the more 650 million people who call those 85 cities home.

Senator Repeats Industry Talking Points in Congressional Push to Mandate Biomass Energy as “Carbon Neutral”

Clear-cut forest.

The Partnership for Policy Integrity (PFPI) released a video this week revealing the cozy relationship between the biomass industry and legislators like Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) who are pushing Congress to adopt laws that would classify biomass power plants as carbon neutral.

In the video, Sen. Collins can be heard repeating biomass industry talking points nearly word-for-word during a February 3 speech. In the video, she is defending an amendment that would force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to treat power plants that burn wood and other biomass for electricity as emitting no carbon pollution.

Is Historical Oil Drilling Responsible For L.A.'s Reputation As Earthquake Prone?

A study by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey points to oil drilling operations as the likely culprit in some of the biggest earthquakes that hit Southern California in the early 20th century — which led to questions about whether or not the Los Angeles region is really as earthquake prone as it is known for.

A number of recent studies have found that earthquakes in Oklahoma and Texas were likely induced by oil production or underground injection of oilfield wastewater. For instance, USGS researchers found that wastewater disposal most likely induced the third-largest earthquake in recent Oklahoma history, the 5.1-magnitude quake that occurred on February 13 of this year.

Previous research has found no evidence that oil operations have led to induced seismic events in Southern California, particularly the greater Los Angeles region, where many of the state’s major oilfields lie, since 1935. But what about before that?

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