Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Feds Want to Shut Off Oil & Gas Lights Near Parks

The National Park System has proposed updating 36-year-old regulations regarding oil and gas operations on its public lands. Monday's action follows on the heels of a federal judge's ruling at the end of September to delay a similar Bureau of Land Management action. The NPS proposal includes rules for surface and groundwater contamination, fracking waste water disposal, disruption of wildlife, visitor hazards such as hyrogen sulfide gas, and views being spoiled by manmade items such as light pollution from operations' burning "excess" natural gas, among other subjects. Under the rule, the 60 percent of operations previously exempt from NPS oil and gas rules because they were "grandfathered" in when the rules were written, would no longer be exempt. Both agencies are under the umbrella of the Department of Interior. In mid-March, Interior's Secretary Sally Jewell announced the department's intentions to support the Obama Administration's ambitious clean energy and climate change reform agenda, and referenced both the recently stalled BLM action and the NPS proposed action.   The NPS proposal would apply to 534 non-federal oil and gas operations on a total of 12 NPS sites, and would address issues such as surface contamination, leaks, spills, odors, noise, disruption of wildlife migration routes, adverse effects on sensitive species, archaeological damage from blasting, and visitor safety hazards such as hydrogen sulfide gas, and explosions and fires from leaking oil and gas. Specific regulations concerning fracking impacts to water quality and waste water disposal are included in the proposal. Also of concern are impacts to the visitor experience, such as "viewshed" intrusions by roads, traffic, pipelines and drilling, and night sky intrusion from artificial lights and gas flares...more

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