Category Archives: Causes

I’ve long predicted that California will be the place where the rubber hits the road for the fracking boom in America. The rewards in a resource-rich state are too great for Big Oil and Gas to ignore, but the risks — of wasting millions upon millions of gallons of water in a drought-stricken state, of causing earthquakes in a region criss-crossed by fault lines, of polluting the already smoggy air [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Important Articles, Investigations, Main, Politics, Regulation, Research, Safety, Testing Tagged , , , , , , ,

It didn’t get much attention in the American news media, but there was an important anniversary this week. It’s been two years now since the explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where a series of negligent acts led to a runway crude-oil train that hit the center of town on a busy Friday night, killing an astonishing 47 people, many of them inside a packed discotheque. Not surprisingly, such a horrific accident raised [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Important Articles, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Regulation, Safety Tagged , , , , , ,

Everybody needs to vent sometimes, right? That’s certainly true for someone like me, a veteran environmental attorney who’s had more than my share of frustrations in dealing with Big Oil, their high-priced lawyers, and the politicians who receive huge wads of campaign cash. It helps to have a blog to get things off my chest. But I’ll tell you one thing that doesn’t need to vent! Fracking rigs. There’s yet [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Important Articles, Investigations, Main, Research, Safety Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

In my last blog post, I discussed how Pope Francis’ call for worldwide action on global warming is a game-changer. It’s also worth noting the remarkable depth of his encyclical on the environment that was published last week. In addition to confirming the consensus among the world’s leading scientists on climate change, Francis also covered a wide range of interlocking issues that affect the environment. In particular, he wrote at length [...]

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Posted in Causes, Commentary, Important Articles, Main, Ocean Life, Response, Safety Tagged , , , , , ,

The wetlands in Louisiana just can’t catch a break. Between 1932 and 2010, the state lost these critical marshes and swamps equal to the size of the state of Delaware, and that rate is accelerating. One of the best hopes for restoring these vanished wetlands — a lawsuit filed by the levee board in New Orleans seeking 97 big oil and gas companies to pay for a century worth of damage caused [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Main, Regulation, Safety Tagged , , , , , ,

The fate of the Keystone XL pipeline — the project that’s become the face of fossil-fuel exploitation in the United States — remains very much up in the air. It’s still not 100 percent clear which way the Obama administration will go on the project, while some Republican candidates like former Texas Gov. Rick Perry say that — in the case the issue is still unresolved in January 2017 — [...]

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Posted in Causes, Important Articles, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Regulation, Response, Safety Tagged , , , , , , ,

When is the government ever going to get it right on regulating those mile-long oil trains that are criss-crossing America these days, thanks to the fracking boom? You know the ones — the trains that activists call “oil bombs” because so many of them have exploded in the last two years, causing mass fatalities in Quebec and scaring the bejesus out of citizens from North Dakota to Alabama and everywhere [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Important Articles, Main, Regulation, Safety Tagged , , , , ,

By this point, we’re all pretty familiar with the touchstones of the debate over fracking for oil and natural gas. During the early days of this unconventional drilling practice, the best argument in favor of fracking did have something going for it: Natural gas is a much cleaner burning power source than the fuels that it typically replaces, especially coal. Crude oil isn’t very clean, but at least there are [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Investigations, Main, Regulation, Safety Tagged , , , , ,

Tomorrow is the 5th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion that triggered an environmental calamity in the Gulf of Mexico. For many of us the region, it’s an anniversary tinged with vivid and painful memories. As I recount in my new book, Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Assault on America, we were in the skies over [...]

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Posted in BP Spill, Causes, Human Interest, Important Articles, Investigations, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Response, Safety, Spill Damages Tagged , , , , , , ,

It seemed like we’d run out of new environmental and public health problems caused by the fracking boom. Since folks started paying attention to the surge in unconventional gas drilling across the United States, we’ve seen neighbors lighting their tap water on fire with a match, tainted well water, leaks and spills into once-pristine streams, foul-smelling air pollution, increasing emissions of methane (a critical greenhouse gas), dumping of radioactive wastewater [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Important Articles, Main, Radiation, Research, Safety Tagged , , , , , , ,