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No More Drilling in the Dark: Exposing the Hazards of Natural Gas Production and Protecting America’s Drinking Water and Wildlife Habitats

November 19, 2011 Comments off

No More Drilling in the Dark: Exposing the Hazards of Natural Gas Production and Protecting America’s Drinking Water and Wildlife Habitats
Source: National Wildlife Federation

In recent years, there has been explosive growth in industry activities to extract natural gas from shale formations located throughout America. While the growth of the natural gas industry has provided some economic benefits to local economies, it has also been accompanied by growing public fears. In particular, concern and opposition have centered on the process of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) used to extract shale gas.

This report provides an overview of unconventional gas drilling and the key concerns and potential threats that such drilling raises for America’s land, water, air and wildlife. It also provides a number of recommendations for addressing and reducing related environmental impacts.

While many potential impacts remain unknown, there have been documented cases of pollution and impacts on habitats that raise serious concerns. Fracking chemicals and methane have contaminated underground water resources. The clearing of forests for the construction of drilling pads and access roads has fragmented habitats and led to silt runoff. Drilling accidents have led to pollution of streams and other water bodies. Fracking fluids have been shown to be harmful or deadly for plants and animals. Exhaust from drilling-related machinery has worsened air pollution. Methane leakages have contributed to increased emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which scientists link to climate change and ocean acidification.

While some state and federal agencies have begun working to respond to the growth of the industry and provide improved regulation and oversight, much more needs to be done. The National Wildlife Federation recommends a number of actions to ensure that the development of unconventional natural gas resources is pursued in an environmentally responsible manner. Needed improvements to regulatory frameworks and industry practices include greater transparency, improved research and monitoring, eliminating existing loopholes and exemptions from environmental laws, establishing mitigation and compensation mechanisms, and improving practices to reduce impacts on water resources and habitats.

+ Full Report (PDF)

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Report: Standards deliver ‘trucks that work” for wildlife, economy

August 22, 2011 Comments off

Report: Standards deliver ‘trucks that work” for wildlife, economy
Source: National Wildlife Federation (via United Auto Workers)

New fuel efficiency standards deliver for owners of pickup trucks used in outdoor and natural resource businesses and recreation, according to Trucks That Work, a new report released today by the National Wildlife Federation.

“The landmark package of fuel efficiency standards announced over the last few weeks bring fuel savings to drivers of all types of vehicles,” said Zoe Lipman, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for transportation solutions. “For those who rely on trucks for work and recreation, these standards bring significant cuts in pollution while delivering impressive performance. That means trucks that work in the outdoors and, increasingly, work for it.”

More efficient trucks mean truck owners save big. Under the final standard, heavy duty pickup and van owners save over $6,000 over the life of the vehicle – even after accounting for the cost of new technology. The added upfront costs are paid back in less than two years, and the report shows how many truck owners start saving on day one. Owners of the largest trucks, long-haul tractor-trailers, save $74,000 per truck, and that’s after accounting for additional technology cost. Better fuel efficiency also helps insulate individual, business and government budgets against the risk of rising fuel prices, while fuel savings and technology leadership aid the economy.

“America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 pickup truck gives us a glimpse of what’s possible for this sector. The 2011 F-150 is 21 percent more fuel-efficient than the previous model – and at the same time, it’s significantly more powerful, with 50 percent more horsepower and more torque,” Lipman added. “A driver who trades in an ’05 for an ’11 is effectively cutting 75 cents off the cost of every gallon at today’s prices and saving hundreds of dollars a year on gas, that now can be spent at home or in their business.”

+ Full Report (PDF)

Cleaner Vehicles Create Opportunities for Jobs, Economic Growth, Study Shows

August 12, 2011 Comments off

Cleaner Vehicles Create Opportunities for Jobs, Economic Growth, Study Shows
Source: Natural Resources Defense Council/National Wildlife Federation/United Auto Workers

More than 150,000 American workers already are making components for clean, fuel-efficient vehicles, and that number could grow significantly as the United States continues to embrace new generations of fuel efficient cars and trucks, according to a new study released today.

The report, jointly produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation and the UAW, comes just two days before President Obama is to visit an advanced battery facility in Holland, Mich., to tout how the new 54.5 mpg fuel standard for cars and light trucks will lead to innovative technologies that will enable automakers to achieve even greater mileage for their products—and save consumers money.

The report, “Supplying Ingenuity: U.S. Suppliers of Clean, Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Technologies,” underscores the strong link between fuel-efficient vehicles and economic vitality.

+ Full Report and Supply Chain Map

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