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Issue Briefs

Briefs Found: 15
February 11, 2014
Filed in: ,

The Rapid Industrialization of Frac Sand

Frac sand is an essential component in the fracking process; it is combined with large quantities of water and toxic chemicals, which are injected underground at high pressure to crack dense rock and release oil and gas.

January 29, 2014

Trouble Brewing in the Great Lakes

Unconventional oil and gas development poses a significant threat to the North American Great Lakes, the largest cluster of freshwater lakes in the world.

August 28, 2013
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The EPA’s Failure to Track Factory Farms

In the spring of 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that detailed the EPA’s internal process for proposing a CAFO reporting rule, known as the “308 Rule” under Section 308 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

August 19, 2013
Filed in: ,

Fracking Colorado: Illusory Benefits, Hidden Costs

Coloradans are increasingly aware of the problems that accompany drilling and fracking for oil and natural gas. Communities are working to ban the practice and, of course, the oil and gas industry is fighting back. But the industry’s primary argument – that fracking drives economic growth and prosperity in the state – just doesn’t add up.

December 13, 2011

What the SLUDGE is this?

Sludge is the solid remnants of the wastewater treatment process. Wastewater treatment facilities, most of which are publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), are able to remove many of the bacteria, viruses and chemicals that end up in sludge. POTWs serve approximately 75 percent of the U.S. population. Yet these facilities do not have enough money to purchase the technology needed to remove all of the prescription drugs and chemicals that enter the wastewater stream every day from our household and personal care products.

December 8, 2011
Filed in: ,

Why the Water Industry is Promoting Shale Gas Development

Gas drillers use a water-intensive process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract natural gas from shale. The process injects millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and chemicals, under high pressure to crack the rock formation to release natural gas. Private water players can make money on both ends by selling water to drillers and then treating the wastewater.

October 19, 2011

Illinois American Water and Aqua Illinois: Community Experiences with the Largest Investor Owned Water Utilities in Illinois

How problematic is it for the public when it loses control of its water to a private corporation? Get the facts on the poor track records of Illinois American Water and Aqua Illinois and how they demonstrate that privatization is an unacceptable and irresponsible alternative to traditional public provision of water and sewer service. Many of the companies’ customers, both households and businesses, have reported paying too much for inadequate service. These consumer experiences underscore the importance of keeping w

October 17, 2011
Filed in: ,

Food and Water: A Common Stake

When an essential resource from nature becomes privatized, access to it becomes market-driven, and decisions about how that resource is used are made by private interests that may lie thousands of miles beyond a community’s borders. Furthermore, when water or food is treated as a market commodity, it can become concentrated in the hands of a few powerful private interests. They can assert pressure on policymakers to achieve favorable rules for their shareholders—often to the detriment of consumers, producers and communities. The importance of keeping the global commons under public control is an issue at the heart of democracy.

August 4, 2011
Filed in: ,

Pipe Dreams: What the Gas Industry Doesn’t Want you to Know about Fracking and U.S. Energy Independence

Today, the oil and gas industry is loudly promoting natural gas production as a means of increasing American energy independence and national energy security. Industry representatives have specifically used this argument to lobby against federal oversight of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” the harmful technology that drillers hope to use to increase production by tapping into America’s shale rock formations.

July 28, 2011

Water=Life: How Privatization Undermines the Human Right to Water

The U.N. General Assembly declared in July 2010 that access to clean water and sanitation is an essential human right, calling on states and organizations to help provide access for the 884 million people currently without safe drinking water and the more than 2.6 billion people without basic sanitation. In the past, public-private partnerships — agreements between governments and water companies for the private operation of publicly owned water systems — were heralded as a solution to meeting this crucial need. However, evidence is mounting that private control of water services can actually stand in the way of the human right to water more than it can help to achieve it. Although private utility management in itself may not constitute a violation of the right to water, as Violeta Petrova noted in the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, “[T]he particular circumstances in which privatization is carried out might give rise to substantive and procedural violations of the right to water.” Unfortunately, these circumstances are met all too often.

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