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Monday, 21 May

19:01

Malaysias new Cabinet ministers are sworn in as post-election drama continues "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Malaysias 13 new federal ministers were sworn in yesterday (Monday) in a ceremony at the National Palace (Istana Negara). A foreign minister is yet to be named.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says there will eventually be 25 ministers in the Cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony came just 12 days after Malaysian voters put an end to the rule of Barisan Nasional (the National Front).

Since the election on May 9 there has been a period of high drama during which the country has seen the swearing in of the worlds oldest prime minister, the release of the jailed opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim, and police raids on the home of the former prime minister Najib Razak.

The victory of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition was the oppositions first general election win since Malaysia gained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, tried to go on a private plane to Indonesia the weekend after the election, but the immigration department has placed a ban on them leaving the country. Najib said in a tweet: I have just been informed by the immigration department of Malaysia that my family and I are no...

02:42

LNG project that promised economic boom leaves PNG in worse state: report "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Source: Isabel Esterman / Mongabay. 

  • Proponents of PNG LNP, an ExxonMobil-led natural gas project in Papua New Guinea, predicted it would bring massive economic benefits to landowners and to the country as a whole.
  • According to two recent reports by the Jubilee Australia Research Centre, PNGs economy is worse off than it would have been without the project.
  • Jubilee Australia also links the PNG LNG project to an upswing of violence in the areas around the plant.

In 2008, when a consortium led by ExxonMobil was drumming up support for a $19 billion natural gas extraction and processing project in Papua New Guinea, proponents of the development predicted it would underpin the countrys economy for decades.

Production began in 2014, and now reaches approximately 7.9 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year. However, according to two recent reports by advocacy group Jubilee Australia Research Centre, the PNG LNG project has not only exacerbated conflict and inequality in the Papua New Guinea highlands, it has also failed to produce the promised benefits. According to Jubilee Australias analysis, PNGs economy would be better off if the gas had been left in the ground.

Predicted economic impacts of the PNG LNG project compared to actual impacts (based on Jubilee Australias analysis of underlying economic trends). While exports have exceeded expectations, GDP growth has been slower than forecast and income, employment and government spending have dropped. Image courtesy of Jubilee Australia.

Big promises

When pitching the project, developers made big promises about the economic and social benefits the megaproject would bring to the country.

One influential 2008 study, an economic impact analysis commissioned by ExxonMobil and authored by Australian con...

01:24

Group questions Namatanai MPs stance on seabed mining "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Carmella Gware | Loop PNG | May 19, 2018

recent response by the Namatanai MP on Radio New Zealand over the experimental seabed mining has not gone down well with some locals.

In the May 16th article, Walter Schnaubelt was reported to have said though  too much remained unknown about the environmental impacts of seabed mining, that doesnt mean that we just shut the door.

Schnaubelt further said he was keeping an open mind on potential seabed mining, and he would maintain a neutral stand until adequate information on the benefits of the Solwara 1 project are made available to him.

Following his statement, the Alliance of Solwara Warriors said as an educated elite, Schnaubelt has to come out clear on his stance, as being neutral only indicates two reasons:

  • The benefits of seabed mining to support his election promises
  • And to swing when people react as it will have a political implication
...

00:35

MRA Act changes create uncertainty as mineral prices rise "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

Cedric Patjole | Loop PNG | May 19, 2018

Changes to the Mineral Resources Act 1992 have created uncertainty in the mining industry, especially with rising mineral prices.

Former executive director and now advisor to the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, Greg Anderson, said this during the Resources Sector Media Workshop.

He said the uncertainty created will determine exploration activity as well as whether mineral projects are developed.

Anderson gave a detailed presentation on the impact of the MRA Act changes. Positives included:

  • The extension of Exploration License term from 2 years to 5 years, and maximum size o shore increased to 10,000km2
  • Documentation required for a Mining License application now prescribed. This includes:
  • Community engagement plan, LIS, social mapping...

Sunday, 20 May

11:05

Endocrine Activity of Air Pollutants from Marcellus Drilling & Fracking "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.pacific"

A doctor for every gland in the body?

Exploring the endocrine activity of air pollutants associated with unconventional oil and gas extraction

Authors: Ashley L. Bolden, Kim Schultz, Katherine E. Pelch and Carol F. Kwiatkowski

Reference: Environmental Health, 17:26, 2018 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12940-018-0368-z

Manuscript Received: 4 September 2017; Accepted: 20 February 2018; Published: 21 March 2018

Background

In the last decade unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction has rapidly proliferated throughout the United States (US) and the world. This occurred largely because of the development of directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing which allows access to fossil fuels from geologic formations that were previously not cost effective to pursue. This process is known to use greater than 1,000 chemicals such as solvents, surfactants, detergents, and biocides. In addition, a complex mixture of chemicals, including heavy metals, naturally-occurring radioactive chemicals, and organic compounds are released from the formations and can enter air and water. Compounds associated with UOG activity have been linked to adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes in humans and laboratory animal models, which is possibly due to the presence of endocrine active chemicals.

Methods

Using systematic methods, electronic searches of PubMed and Web of Science were conducted to identify studies that measured chemicals in air near sites of UOG activity. Records were screened by title and abstract, relevant articles then underwent full text review, and data were extracted from the studies. A list of chemicals detected near UOG sites was generated. Then, the potential endocrine activity of the most frequently detected chemicals was explored via searches of literature from PubMed.

Results

Evaluation of 48 studies that sampled air near sites of UOG activity identified 106 chemicals detected in two or more studies. Ethane, benzene and n-pentane were the top three most frequently detected. Twenty-one chemicals have been shown to have endocrine activity including estrogenic and androgenic activity and the ability to alter steroidogenesis. Literature also suggested that some of the air pollutants may affect reproduction, development, and neurophysiological function, all end...

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