Environment

The United States oil business is booming and the country could soon be the largest crude oil producer in the world. Despite this record-breaking production, climate change activists campaigning to move away from fossil fuels say they are making progress.

The U.S. is one of only a few countries in the world that allow private individuals to own the minerals under their land, a policy that dates to the Founding Fathers as they sought to elevate private interests over those of the British Crown. This financial incentive to allow new drilling goes a long way in explaining the nation's natural gas boom. The National Association of Royalty Owners estimates some 12 million American landowners receive royalties for the exploitation of oil, gas and other mineral resources under their property.

The nation's rush to increase oil production is having a long-distance impact on the Great Lakes region.

Geologic formations have given parts of the region ample deposits of sand, including the hard, round version that is used in fracking. Seen from space a few months ago by the Landsat 8 satellite, the light brown mines dot a landscape of green fields and forests. 

Pollution Cleanup Moves Ahead On Great Lakes

Mar 13, 2018
Caitlin Whyte / Great Lakes Today

Just off Lake Ontario in Irondequoit Bay, Dave Hulburt is doing some work at the BayCreek Paddling Center.

NASA Glenn Research Center

As Great Lakes advocates lobby Congress this week, a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency details how the federal government and states plan to fight algae blooms in Lake Erie. But the agency isn't proposing more federal regulations to accomplish the task.

Many advocates for the Great Lakes are in Washington, D.C., this week to push back against President Trump's proposal to slash funding for the region. They want Congress to continue its bipartisan support on issues such as cleaning up pollution and protecting drinking water.

Canada and the province of Ontario recently released their plan to combat toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie.  Phosphorus is the primary cause of the blooms that turn parts of the lake green most summers.

The U.S. and Canada hope to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent, from 2008 levels.  It’s all part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Evacuation orders are in place for residents in the Powhatan Point area after an explosion and fire at a well pad.
WTOV9

In eastern Ohio's Belmont County, some residents are still evacuated from their homes after a natural gas well explosion last week.

Ohio and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have settled a lawsuit over dredging in the Cuyahoga River.  

The state and the federal agency have fought for years over how to handle sediment scooped from the river. The Army Corps wanted to dump it into Lake Erie, but the state said that was unsafe.

Under the settlement, the Army Corps will bear the cost of disposing of sediment dredged in 2016 and 2017. That material was placed in confined disposal facilities, not in the lake.

The settlement was filed Wednesday in federal court in Cleveland.

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