Category Archives: the environment

Rush Holt: Drilling Dysfunction on Our Public Lands

From Congressman Rush Holt’s Newsletter:

Together with Ranking Democrat Ed Markey and the staff of the House Committee on Natural Resources, I have worked for more than a year to gather and analyze data about safety and environmental violations committed by oil and gas companies. Our report, “Drilling Dysfunction: How the Failure to Oversee Drilling on Public Lands Endangers Health and the Environment,” has just been released, and its findings are alarming.

The report finds that from 1998 to 2011, more than two thousand violations were handed out by the U.S. Department of Interior to oil and gas companies drilling on taxpayer-owned lands. More than 500 of these violations were classified as “major” by committee staff, including 293 violations related to non-functional blowout preventers and 113 citations for deficiencies in casing and cementing programs.

Yet the enforcement of safety rules was erratic and inconsistent, and all told, the Interior Department collected only $273,875 in fines. That’s roughly equal to a single minute’s worth of oil company profits – the equivalent of levying a 10-cent fine against someone who earns $50,000 a year.

Can anyone seriously argue that these fines are sufficient to deter wrongdoing or that they reflect the very real risks that drilling poses to the environment and public health?

The Longest-Serving Representative with an Unbroken 100% Environmental Rating

The League of Conservation Voters has just announced its 2011 National Environmental Scorecard, and I was pleased to see that they have once again recognized my efforts to protect the environment and public health with a 100 percent rating.

Long before coming to Congress, I was committed to protecting and sustaining our environment – our air, water, land, and the complex web of life. It is that commitment that is reflected in the League of Conservation Voters’ rating. In fact, I am now the longest-serving member of the U.S. House of Representatives to have received a 100 percent rating in each year of service.

Too often in 2011, the privileged interests at oil companies and corporate polluters fought to weaken the laws that protect our natural resources, seeking to exploit a public trust for private gain. We must all work to ensure that, in 2012, they do not succeed.

Sincerely,

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

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Filed under Congressman Rush Holt, Environmental Scorecard, Newsletter, oil drilling, public land, the environment, US Department of Interior

>The GOP’s "Environmental Wish List" is Horrifying

>The following appeared over at the environmentally conscientious blog treehugger.com, it’s an eye-opener for anyone that believes the environment is important and think that the GOP will stand behind their cause:

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave — or perhaps a lavish, sealed-off compound — for the last few months, you’re likely fully aware that the GOP is in full-bore Tea Partying mode. Which means ultra-anti-regulatory sentiment and pro-corporate cheer-leading rule the day. Man, that was a lot of hyphens. Anyhow, Republicans have seized their moment in the sun to pursue a bill known as the 3-D Act (Domestic Jobs, Domestic Energy and Deficit Reduction). It’s essentially what the New York Times calls “the right’s environmental wish list” — a series of 12 initiatives that include gutting the Clean Air Act, opening up pristine lands for drilling, and trampling the Endangered Species Act.

Here’s the abridged “wish list” from the NY Times, and my response to each entry:

1. Put oil and natural gas leasing on the Outer Continental shelf on a fast track, holding lease sales every nine months and making them dependent on commercial expressions of interest (rather than, say, ecosystem requirements) to determine what parcels should be leased. Ensure that a year after the bill becomes law, there will be three lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and one off the coast of Virginia.

In other words, this would put oil interests first and make ecological considerations near-obsolete. It would also mean much more drilling in the Gulf and off the East Coast.

2. Open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to an “environmentally sound program for the exploration, development and production of the oil and gas resources …”

Republicans have been after this for years, but there’s a reason they haven’t gotten it: Cleaning up oil spills in the Arctic, as we saw with the Exxon Valdez, is excruciatingly difficult — and spills therefore do immense damage to the native habitats and local economies.

3. Expedite lease sales for companies seeking to extract oil and natural gas from complex geologic formations like oil shale and tar sands in the West.

The GOP wants to bring the devastatingly destructive tar sands operation like the one in Alberta, Canada, to the United States. Remember, that operation produces what is considered the “dirtiest fuel on earth”.

4. Set a nine-month deadline for the environmental review of any federal action like such leasing.

Read: less talk, more drilling.

Continue read >>>> Here

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Filed under NY Times, the environment, the GOP, Treehugger.com

Video: Grenafege For Assembly

State Assembly Candidate for 13th Legislative District, Democrat James Grenafege, released a new campaign video today.

Grenafege, a Middletowntown resident, is running to unseat Republican Amy Handlin from her cushy assembly seat in Trenton.

The video contains a brief biographical profile on Mr. Grenafege and details some of the issues that he feels are important to residents in the 13th district as well as the State.
Job Creation, Leadership, Ethics and the Environment are just a few of the issues that Jim Grenafege cares about.

To find out more about James Grenafege and where he stands on the issues, vist the candidates website www.assembly13.org

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Filed under 13th Assembly District, Amy Handlin, Assembly13.org, Democratic Candidate, ethics, Jim Grenafege, Job creation, Monmouth County, New Jersey, the environment