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By Laura Beans
According to Friends of the Earth (FOE), the UK government plans to end people's right to be notified about plans to drill for gas and oil beneath their homes and on their land, amongst other changes in the law for onshore oil and gas planning applications.
"It's little wonder communities don't trust the Government over fracking when their rights are so clearly being bulldozed aside to smooth the path for the big fracking firms," said Andrew Pendleton, head of campaigns for FOE.
No Dash for Gas
The news of the changing law is coupled with the announcement today that Cuadrilla has withdrawn its application to extend the time in which it can drill for oil in Balcombe, according to Greenpeace. It has instead decided to “reassess our programme and, in turn, the terms of our current planning application.”
“They [Cuadrilla] only recently submitted an application to extend the drilling window, now they’ve already withdrawn it and admitted they’re reassessing the programme," said Leila Deen, energy campaigner for Greenpeace.
"It’s not yet clear if this is a shift of direction or if the company merely got its sums wrong. Either way, the local council has the opportunity to revisit its previous highly controversial decision to give Cuadrilla the green light in Balcombe. The poster boy for fracking looks like it’s in trouble again.”
Earlier this year, after legal concerns raised by FOE were submitted to the Environment Agency, Cuadrilla was forced to obtain mining waste and radioactive substances permits before carrying out test drilling at Balcombe.
"We're delighted this flawed application has been withdrawn and that people will be properly notified of the extent of the planned drilling," said Pendleton. "But the majority of Balcombe residents won't be happy until Cuadrilla abandons its plans altogether."
This summer, the UK government announced a proposed 50 percent tax cut for companies involved in shale gas extraction—cutting the tax on income generated from shale gas production from 62 percent to just 30 percent.
In July, peaceful protests broke out at the exploratory drill site in Balcombe, Sussex, south of London, halting the first day of drilling by the fracking company Cuadrilla. Anti-fracking activists and community members have continued courageous displays of direct action, strengthening a collective voice adamantly opposed to the controversial process.
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.