Category Archives: Commentary

President Obama has been having quite a summer. In fact, some political pundits are calling 2015 the most successful year of his presidency — his nuclear-weapons deal with Iran, congressional approval of his Asian trade deal, seeing his health-care plan ratified by the U.S. Supreme Court and pushing a sweeping overhaul of the criminal-justice system. In the seventh year of his presidency, Obama seems to have a stronger sense of [...]

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Posted in BP Spill, Commentary, Fracking, Important Articles, Main, Politics, Regulation, Safety, Spill Damages Tagged , , , , , , ,

If anything has the ability to cut through the clutter in our 24/7 frenetic news cycle, it’s Wall Street. Say what you will about the capital markets, but the way that investors react to important news is a pretty good reality check. This week, there was a major development in the quest for just compensation for the 2010 BP oil spill, the ongoing crisis that sparked the creation of this [...]

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Posted in BP Spill, Claims, Commentary, Important Articles, Legal, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Regulation, Restoration Tagged , , , , , ,

There’s been a lot of excitement about the U.S. Supreme Court as it wrapped up its 2014-15 session, and understandably so. On Friday, many people took to the streets in celebration when the High Court ruled that same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. In fact, that ruling was held up as a sign that the nine justices were, as a whole, becoming more liberal — building upon two [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Important Articles, Legal, Main, Politics, Regulation, Safety Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

You might have missed it — there are, in all seriousness, close to 20 announced or expected Republican candidates for president in 2016 — but the outgoing governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, threw his hat into the ring earlier today. The Ivy League technocrat who once promised to reform government in a state with a rich history of corruption is a dim memory after seven years in Baton Rouge; this [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Politics, Regulation 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 , , , , , ,

One of the most frustrating things about the debate over fossil fuels and climate change is that news items that once might have been perceived as catastrophic are now viewed as ho-hum. I’m sure to some people, the constant news reports about the world breaking temperature records for particular months or for entire years, or headlines about the melting of polar ice caps or heat waves over Antarctica, begin to [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Politics Tagged , , , , , ,

My recent book — Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America — is mostly a chronicle of what I’ve learned during a quarter century of taking on the oil giants and their environmental abuse of communities and workers across the American South. In the end, I note that — while it’s been a fulfilling career for [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Fracking, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Research Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, has an article on the Huffington Post this week that seems to ask the important environmental question of the moment: What, exactly, does President Obama and his administration think it’s doing when it comes to fossil fuels? (He also wonders, interestingly, if the president is cursed when it comes to oil and gas, since every time his administration moves to expand [...]

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Posted in BP Spill, Commentary, Main, Ocean Life, Oil Spill Facts, Politics, Regulation, Response, Safety Tagged , , , , , , , ,

I’m very grateful to writer Mark Hand and the popular website CounterPunch for reviewing Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America. I thought Mark’s piece really captured the essence of the book. Here’s an excerpt: Early in his career, Smith said he learned that big oil and gas companies operated in a system that valued profits [...]

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Posted in BP Spill, Commentary, Human Interest, Important Articles, Legal, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Politics, Regulation Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Here we go again. It was a large oil spill in the Pacific Ocean off Santa Barbara in 1969 — and the pictures of oiled birds and marine wildlife — that shocked the nation, led to bans and restrictions on offshore oil drilling in California and elsewhere, and created the momentum for the very first Earth Day celebration and the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both in 1970. [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Fracking, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Ocean Life, Oil Spill Facts, Politics, Response, Safety Tagged , , , , , , ,