I just signed this WH petition. The White House will have to respond to it if it reaches the 25,000 mark.
Fracking, or drilling for natural gas, is as of 2005 exempt from a major environmental regulation called the Clean Water Act. Drillers pump a water/chemical mixture into the ground under pressure, which fractures certain rocks that hold natural gas. The gas is piped out and the water and chemicals remain in the ground. Here’s an excellent video explainer. And here are some background on how fracking became exempt from pollution controls. Basically, drillers got the exemption by claiming that the chemical mixture they use are proprietary information - an industry secret.
Now, there are about 500,000 fracking wells in the U.S.Tens of thousands are being opened right now. The petition asks that frackers show how their chemicals affect water in rivers, lakes, streams, wells, and aquifers.
I don’t think it’s controversial for the public, farmers, cities, beer and softdrink manufacturers, or anyone to know which chemicals are in their water. I know petitions are a pain. Please give this one your two minutes. Here’s the link:
"During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to "create a centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format." Last week, President Obama fulfilled that promise with the rollout of Ethics.gov, which “brings records and data from across the federal government to one central location, making it easier for citizens to hold public officials accountable.”
Ethics.gov is available to the public and allows anyone to access and search the records of seven different databases:
• White House Visitor Records;
• Office of Government Ethics Travel Reports;
• Lobbying Disclosure Act Data;
• Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act Data;
• Federal Election Commission Individual Contribution Reports;
• Federal Election Commission Candidate Reports; and
• Federal Election Commission Committee Reports.
According to a White House press release, the database includes millions of White House visitor records, records for entities registered with the Federal Election Commission such as PACs, records for each candidate who has either registered with the FEC or appeared on a ballot list prepared by a state elections office, lobbying registrations, and much more.
On his Sunlight Foundation blog, John Wonderlich, who is Policy Director for the Sunlight Foundation and an advocate for open government, wrote that while Ethics.gov fulfilled the president’s pledge, “neither money and politics research nor executive branch oversight are going to be revolutionized by this search page — at least not yet.” He added that while it will not happen immediately, the site could become a primary destination for investigative journalists or ethics officials.”
On January 12th, the National Ocean Council (NOC) released a draft National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan. The plan, which is available for public comment through February 27th, outlines key milestones, identifies responsible Federal agencies, and indicates the expected timeframe for completion of Implementation Plan actions including:
Streamlining ocean and coastal permitting processes, beginning with aquaculture;
Improving water quality;
Providing climate-change forecasts and vulnerability assessments for coastal communities;
And improving environmental response management in the Arctic.
The actions reflect feedback provided to the NOC through two public comment periods and 12 regional listening sessions.
To read the draft Implementation Plan, see the full range of proposed actions, and submit comments, visit: www.whitehouse.gov/oceans. Comments received will be posted on the NOC website, and the NOC will review and incorporate comments before finalizing the Plan in 2012.
Basically, the Save Award is a stop waste campaign and increases recycling in the Federal Government. It takes seconds to vote, which is a good thing.
"President Obama believes the best ideas usually come from the front lines. That’s why in 2009 he launched the SAVE Award (Securing Americans Value and Efficiency), seeking ideas from federal employees to make government more effective and efficient and ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely. In just three weeks, OMB received tens of thousands of ideas on how to make government more efficient and effective.
Over the past two years, federal employees have submitted more than 56,000 cost-cutting ideas through the SAVE Award. Dozens of the most promising ideas have been included in the President’s Budget, specifically in the Terminations, Reductions, and Savings volume. Each year OMB narrows the best ideas to a “final four.” The American people vote online to choose the winner. The winner will come to Washington to present their idea to the President.”
"The 135 pages of documents were also made available to the media, but the most important information—related to the administration’s decision to restructure Solyndra’s loan in February 2011—may never be made public.
The relatively small batch of documents released on Friday brings the grand total of documents the administration says it has delivered to Capitol Hill so far to 185,000. The Energy Department sent 100,000 documents earlier this week.
Senior White House officials—on a conference call Friday afternoon with reporters and also in a letter on Friday to Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla.—reiterated what the administration has said all along: The decision to award Solyndra its loan guarantee was made on the merits and not influenced by political donors, such as George Kaiser, the Oklahoma oil billionaire who was a big 2008 Obama supporter. Kaiser is a major investor in Solyndra.
“These documents—like the 185,000 already produced by the Administration, like the Argonaut documents released Wednesday, like the hearing testimony, and like the briefings provided by Administration officials—do not contain evidence of favoritism to political supporters or any wrongdoing by the White House in connection with the Solyndra loan guarantee,” White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said in the letter to Upton and Stearns that accompanied the documents.
The newly released documents address three areas the White House deems an adequate response to the subpoena, which was approved on a strict party-line vote with no Democratic support earlier this month. These include information the White House had about the company’s investors and the Energy Department’s review of the loan guarantee when it was conditionally approved in March 2009 and finalized in September 2009.”
“No means no. No means no if she’s drunk or sober. No means no if she’s in the dorm room or on the street. No means no even if she said yes first and changed her mind. No means no—no matter what. I’m asking all of you, all of you to help get this message out.” —Joe Biden
The USDA’s gorgeous pamphlet on bees “Bee Basics” (PDF). It’s an educational piece on pollination, bee identification, and things you can do to help save bees. Btw, I’m head over heals for bees. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Michelle Obama’s bee hive on the lawn of the White House last weekend. Plenty to read about bees and climate change, HERE.