Friday, January 2, 2015

ND moves to raise radioactive fracking waste limit x10

North Dakota Moves to Ease Oil-and-Gas Radioactive Waste Rules Dramatically

New standard would be 10 times current limits in a state whose economy is fueled by the fracking boom.  Public comment till 2/06 (see below)

By Zahra Hirji, InsideClimate News
Dec 19, 2014
North Dakota is the No. 2 crude oil producer in the nation. (Credit: porchlife, Flickr)

North Dakota regulators recently announced plans to bump up the state's allowable oil-and-gas radioactive waste disposal limit by tenfold.

The current threshold is one of the strictest in the country, at 5 picocuries per gram. That's roughly the equivalent of the natural radiation levels found in North Dakota soil. Consequently, many companies truck their waste out of state to places with higher limits, including the neighboring Minnesota and Montana.

But the new limit of 50 picocuries per gram, proposed by the state's Department of Health last week, on Dec. 12, would change all that. Although it's far from the loosest limit around, it would be one of the highest in the Great Plains region.....    

....The Department of Health will hold three public meetings about the rulemaking in January, and it recently extended the public comment period on the rules through February 6. ....more here

A crude proposal: The pros and cons of a controversial Phillips 66 oil-by-rail project

BY RHYS HEYDEN    New Times    12/31/14

When viewed from the proper angle, the central conflict here bears a peculiar type of poetic symmetry: A local refinery would like to transport much of its crude oil into San Luis Obispo County via train, while opponents would prefer such plans to be driven out of the county on a rail.....

.... The primary thrust of the rail spur project is fairly simple: construction of a rail spur facility that would allow the refinery in Nipomo to receive crude oil via rail. Currently, the facility receives oil only by pipeline.....

.... Andrew Christie, director of the local Santa Lucia Chapter [of the Sierra Club], told New Times that his organization emphatically objects to the rail spur project.

There are just no grounds on which to support this project,” he told New Times. “The impacts are understated, the EIR has been deficient from the start, and there are still 11 ‘significant and unavoidable’ impacts in a defective EIR.”

The 11 “significant and unavoidable” project impacts Christie refers to are a touchstone for the MRWG as well—five in the “air quality and greenhouse gases” category and one each in “biological resources,” “cultural resources,” “hazards and hazardous materials,” “public services and utilities,” and “water resources” categories.

All of these impacts are essentially due to the potential for high levels of toxic emissions from the oil trains or the mushrooming consequences of a possible crude oil spill and/or derailment......  more here

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