Sharon Kelly

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Sharon Kelly is an attorney and freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She has reported for The New York Times, The Guardian, The Nation, National Wildlife, Earth Island Journal, and a variety of other publications. Prior to beginning freelance writing, she worked as a law clerk for the ACLU of Delaware.

As Oregon Sends Jordan Cove LNG Back to Drawing Board, Gulf Coast Projects Press Forward

Read time: 6 mins
LNG ship and terminal in Sweden

On Monday, Oregon state regulators dealt a blow to the proposed Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, refusing to issue a state water quality certificate required by the Army Corps of Engineers, citing unresolved concerns about water pollution and the company’s failure to answer information requests from the state in a timely manner.

This is a huge victory for clean water and healthy ecosystems in Oregon, and it will help protect our climate from dangerous fossil fuel projects,” Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “The state water quality standards are intended to protect people and species from harm, and it’s clear Jordan Cove would cause incredible damage to Oregon’s waterways.”

The state decision was made without prejudice, meaning that the company can reapply.

Teaching Kids About Climate Science Leads to More Climate-Concerned Parents on Right and Left, New Study Finds

Read time: 5 mins
Kids peer over insects to identify them

Educating kids about climate change can help their parents learn too, a scientific study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change concludes — even when parents initially doubted that climate change was cause for concern.

This study tells us that we can educate children about climate change and they’re willing to learn, which is exciting because studies find that many adults are resistant to climate education, because it runs counter to their personal identities,” said Danielle Lawson, lead author and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “It also highlights that children share that information with their parents, particularly if they’re given tools to facilitate communication — and that parents are willing to listen.”

In Some Pennsylvania Pro-Fracking Corners, Name-calling, False Claims, and Swastika-Laden Images Circulate

Read time: 9 mins
Marcellus Drilling News screenshot of story decrying the Pennsylvania Medical Society and using a swastika graphic

Cabot Oil and Gas is a shale drilling company that, according to state regulators, botched its shale gas extraction operations in an area around Carter Road in Dimock, Pennsylvania, about a decade ago.

Cabot has for years fought liability for locals’ contaminated water supplies and has remained in legal disputes long after reaching secret settlements with many Carter Road residents that reportedly included non-disclosure agreements.

Outside a courthouse not far from Dimock, a Cabot spokesman recently claimed that people complaining about water contamination from fracking were actually paid imposters, an unsubstantiated claim quickly echoed in pro-gas circles.

Oil Companies Will Be Bad Investments Within Five Years, Predicts Survey of European Fund Managers

Read time: 6 mins
Oil derricks at sunset

European fund managers are casting an increasingly skeptical eye towards the oil industry, concluding that the industry’s financial future looks grim, according to a new survey published by a London-based organization today.

Just 18 percent of the responding fund managers, including representatives of firms based in the UK, France, Spain, and Italy, predicted that “oil companies will be good investments if their business is still focused on fossil fuels in five years’ time,” according to the survey, published by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) and the Climate Change Collaboration.

EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

Read time: 7 mins
Liquid drilling wastewater pond

On April 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told two environmental groups that it had decided it was “not necessary” to update the federal standards handling toxic waste from oil and gas wells, including the waste produced by fracking.

State regulators have repeatedly proved unable to prevent the industry’s toxic waste from entering America’s drinking water supplies, including both private wells and the rivers from which public drinking water supplies are drawn, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a 2017 national study.

Gas Driller at Center of 2019 Pulitzer-Winning Book on Fracking Still Faces Legal Battles

Read time: 7 mins
Girl playing hopscotch at a playground near a fracking well pad in Pennsylvania

Eliza Griswold’s book Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America examines the impacts of fracking in western Pennsylvania, and on Monday it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in General Nonfiction.

Griswold’s book carefully refuses the birds-eye view of fracking’s impacts — readers will find few state or national statistics — and instead presents the detailed results of seven years of on-the-ground reporting. It traces the story of one extended family in western Pennsylvania, a small handful of neighbors, and eventually the two-person legal team that took on their case, now covered by a sealed settlement with natural gas driller, Range Resources, which still faces additional related legal battles today.

'Virtually No Risk of Drilling Restrictions,' West Virginia Official Tells Fracking-Reliant Petrochemical Industry

Read time: 8 mins
A slide from a presentation by West Virginia official Michael Graney, who listed "virtually no risk of drilling restrictions" as a reason to bring fracked-gas reliant petrochemical development to the region.

This week, at an industry conference focused on wooing petrochemical producers to West Virginia, officials from the state and federal government made clear their support for continuing fracked shale gas extraction and petrochemical industry development near the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale.

Why should petrochemical companies build in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio? For one thing, don’t expect regulation of shale gas drilling, Michael Graney, executive director of the West Virginia Development Office, predicted in his presentation.

America’s Missed Climate Targets Cost Global Economy $1 Trillion, Dublin-based Think Tank Finds

Read time: 6 mins
coal power station on the water

Since 1992, the United States consistently has missed its targets for reducing globe-warming emissions, and a Dublin-based think tank estimates the resulting damage to the global economy has been $1 trillion.

The U.S. polluted far more — 20 billion tons of CO2 worth — than American negotiators said it would during repeated rounds of global climate deals, including Rio in 1992, Kyoto in 1997, Copenhagen in 2009, and Paris in 2015, a report published by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) today concludes.

‘All Rhetoric and No Action’: Oil Giants Spent $1 Billion on Climate Lobbying and Ads Since Paris Pact, Says Report

Read time: 7 mins
climate policy grades for five major oil companies

A new report by a British think tank estimates that since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s five largest listed oil and gas companies spent more than $1 billion lobbying to prevent climate change regulations while also running public relations campaigns aimed at maintaining public support for climate action.

Combined, the companies spend roughly $200 million a year pushing to delay or alter climate and energy rules, particularly in the U.S. — while spending $195 million a year “on branding campaigns that suggest they support an ambitious climate agenda,” according to InfluenceMap, a UK-based non-profit that researches how corporations influence climate policy.

Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact

Read time: 6 mins
JPMorgan Chase building in New York City

A report published today names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris Agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.

The top four banks that invested most heavily in fossil fuel projects are all based in the U.S., and include JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citi, and Bank of America. Royal Bank of Canada, Barclays in Europe, Japan’s MUFG, TD Bank, Scotiabank, and Mizuho make up the remainder of the top 10.

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