The Stream, May 1, 2020: Queensland Buries Scientific Data Suggesting a Ban on Fracking in Fragile Basin

The Global Rundown

Officials in Queensland, Australia, bury scientific information suggesting a ban on fracking in the fragile Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre basin. Florida’s Tampa Bay area faces property devaluation due to rising sea levels. Urban experts estimate that the coronavirus pandemic will result in 100 million “new poor” living in the world’s cities. Judge rules that Nestle is allowed to pump more water from a controversial well in Osceola County, Michigan. Environmental groups in the U.S. file suit over the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. 

“This regulation is plainly unlawful. It violates the simple but powerful mandate of the Clean Water Act to protect the integrity of our nation’s waters.” –Jon Devine, director of federal water policy at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in reference to the Trump administration’s Navigable Waters Protection Rule. The law, which replaces the Obama-era Water of the United States rule, has drawn recent lawsuits from two environmental coalitions, who allege that the new regulations leave a majority of western waterways unprotected. Earlier this week, a group of western ranchers also filed suit against the new law, arguing that the new law is still too strict. Desert Sun

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By The Numbers

100 million Number of city dwellers worldwide that will fall into poverty due to the coronavirus pandemic, urban experts warn. The “new poor” will be especially concentrated in densely-populated cities, experts predict, and will be vulnerable to shortages of water, sanitation systems, and healthcare. Reuters

400 gallons per minute Amount of water that Nestle Waters North America is allowed to pump from a well in Osceola County, Michigan, under a state permit that was upheld by an administrative law judge last week. The permit had been challenged by local conservationists and the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, who allege that the pumping will disrupt the Chippewa Creek watershed. Nestle claims that the withdrawal rate will not hurt the environment, and Judge Dan Pulter ruled that the increased pumping rate is “reasonable under common law principles of water law in Michigan.” U.S. News & World Report

Science, Studies, and Reports

Queensland, Australia, hired an independent scientific panel to analyze the impact of fracking on the fragile Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre basin, but buried the findings after the panel recommended a ban on fracking, according to information gathered by Guardian Australia. For months, environmental groups have been requesting a public release of the report, which concluded that unconventional petroleum and gas production could be detrimental to the basin. The Guardian

On the Radar

Homes in the Tampa Bay area are among the Florida properties facing the greatest threat of devaluation due to sea level rise over the next three decades, according to a newly-released report conducted by consulting firm McKinsey. The report synthesized climate change predictions and data on elevation, tides, and properties to identify the Florida counties as highest risk for property devaluation. The results included the Tampa Bay area’s Pinellas, Citrus, and Manatee counties, along with six others in the state. Tampa Bay Times

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