The Stream, September 6: Western Australia Halts Fracking to Evaluate Risks

The Global Rundown

Western Australia bans onshore hydraulic fracturing in order to examine the risks associated with the practice. Hurricane Irma barrels toward the Caribbean and southern Florida. The Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles, California begins a review of its own ethics office. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte upholds a recent open-pit mining ban. A Stanford University study finds water-cooling solar panels could reduce air conditioning costs by 21 percent.

“We appreciate there is a level of community concern around fracking in WA, which is why we are commissioning an independent scientific inquiry.” –Stephen Dawson, Western Australia’s Environment Minister, in reference to the state’s decision to halt onshore fracking and evaluate the potential risks. Proponents of the ban fear that fracking could deplete or contaminate groundwater reserves. It will be the fifth Australian state to restrict the drilling technique. Reuters

By The Numbers

26 Number of mines that former Philippine Environment Secretary Gina Lopez shut down during her 10 months in office. Lopez also issued a ban on open-pit mining. She was replaced in May after lawmakers failed to confirm her to her post, but Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared on Tuesday that the open-pit mining ban would be upheld. Reuters

In context: Gina Lopez, Philippine Environment Secretary, pursues watershed protection.

185 mph Maximum wind speed of Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic. The hurricane, which has been upgraded to a Category 5, is threatening several Caribbean islands and is set to make landfall in Florida over the weekend. The Washington Post

Science, Studies, And Reports

A team from Stanford University experimented with water-cooling solar panels and found that the technology could dramatically cut costs on air conditioning. The researchers placed three cooling panels atop an on-campus building, where the setup proceeded to cool the water up to 5 degrees Celsius below the ambient temperature. Based on those findings, the researchers believe that the cooling panels could cut air conditioning electricity demand by up to 21 percent. Science Magazine

On The Radar

The Metropolitan Water District of Los Angeles, California opened a review of its own ethics office following two possible ethics violations. The water agency is a regional wholesaler that supplies water to 26 cities and other agencies, who in turn serve 19 million people in southern California. Los Angeles Times