Congress to EPA: Investigate and Address Water Contamination From Fracking
For the first time, members of Congress today called upon U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to “investigate and address the water contamination” in Dimock, PA, in Parker County, TX, and in Pavillion, WY. In all three communities, the EPA has previously withdrawn investigations into water contamination and stopped providing affected residents with clean drinking water. Eight Representatives, led by Rep. Matt Cartwright (PA-17), made the request in a letter to Administrator McCarthy.
Responding to community requests in prior years, the EPA investigated alleged drilling and fracking-related oil and gas pollution of drinking water supplies in each of the three communities. In each case, the EPA’s preliminary results indicated oil and gas development was the cause of the drinking water pollution. In each case, the EPA withdrew before finalizing the results of the investigations.
“Dimock, PA, Pavillion, WY, and Parker County, TX were grateful when the EPA stepped in to help deal with their water contamination issues, and disheartened when the EPA stopped their investigations, leaving them with polluted water and little explanation,” wrote the Representatives to Administrator McCarthy. They continued, “We are writing to urge you to take any and all steps within your power to help these communities.”
Emerging data shows that the EPA was misguided in closing its investigations. In the case of Parker County, TX, for instance, independent water testing from Duke University reveals that residents’ drinking water was still contaminated when the EPA determined it was safe due to relying on faulty gas industry testing.
The EPA’s investigations into fracking-related threats to drinking water are especially important as the Obama Administration advocates for increased natural gas exports as a counterweight to Russia’s influence in Eastern Europe. Because more than 90 percent of all gas wells are fracked, increased exports mean increased fracking.
“Europeans aren’t fracking their own countries’ shale gas because they are worried about its environmental and health impacts,” said Ray Kemble, an affected resident of Dimock, Pennsylvania. He continued, “They’re right to worry. I haven’t had clean water for four years, and its due to oil and gas drilling.”
President Obama’s argument for increased unconventional oil and gas production has changed as times have changed.
“President Obama’s arguments for fracking change with the wind,” said Kemble. He continued, “Need a bridge fuel to a clean energy future? Fracking! Want energy independence? Fracking! Weaken Putin? Fracking! All the while his administration avoids clear evidence that fracking-related oil and gas development is poisoning Americans. Hopefully this letter will shake some sense into them.”
The eight members of Congress who signed the letter are:
- Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
- Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
- Jared Huffman (CA-02)
- Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
- Keith Ellison (MN-05)
- David Scott (GA-13)
- Mark Pocan (WI-02)
- Rush Holt (NJ-12)
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theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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