Category Archives: Commentary

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 , , , , , , ,

New Orleans has been through a lot of political and physical upheaval since 2005 and the days after Hurricane Katrina. But there is much that hasn’t changed at all. Because so much of our city—nearly 80 percent—was harmed by the levee breaks following Katrina, it made sense to give the updating of the City Zoning Ordinance and the attendant Master Plan a lot of attention since the storm. And to [...]

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There are a few places that have really come to symbolize the folly that has been nuclear power in America in the decades since World War II. One of the more famous ones is the San Onofre plant in Southern California, built next to the Pacific Ocean and perilously close to a major fault line, in one of the nation’s more populated corners. What could go wrong? But then, poorly [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Important Articles, Main, Nuclear disaster, Oil Spill Facts, Radiation, Response, Safety Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Canadian province of Alberta is a pretty conservative place, or at least it used to be. Political analysts who follow developments there say it’s been comparable in the recent past to America’s so-called “red states” — somewhat similar to Idaho, with which it shares a border. But now — in the wake of an election that was held on Tuesday — the conservative party that’s held sway for more [...]

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Today, on the actual 5th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, I published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, voicing my dismay not only at the current state of the Gulf of Mexico but over the complete failure to take the necessary steps to make sure this never happens again. Here’s an excerpt: The Obama administration, for its part, has been a lot more aggressive about awarding new leases [...]

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

I’m very grateful for this review in the Advocate of my new book, Crude Justice: How In Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America. You can read the review here. © Smith Stag, LLC 2015 – All Rights Reserved

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Posted in BP Spill, Commentary, Fracking, Important Articles, Legal, Main, Oil Spill Facts Tagged , ,

My feelings about BP and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe have been consistent from Day One. Working closely with dedicated environmentalists from Louisiana and elsewhere, we have never fully trusted the oil giant’s public version of events. We have fought for safety and protection of workers and wildlife — ever skeptical of early reports that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico was safe to eat or that beaches were free [...]

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

ExxonMobil is arguably the world’s most powerful corporation, with annual revenues greater than many developing nations and a penchant for CIA-grade secrecy. It’s headquartered in a fortress-style building just outside of Dallas that some employees jokingly call “the Death Star.” But if you remember “Star Wars,” you know that even “the Death Star” had a tiny flaw, one that young Luke Skywalker could exploit — with dramatic consequences. In other [...]

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

It doesn’t happen every day, but environmentalists got a rare dollop of good news this week. For months, supporters had been urging the president to veto any bill from the Republican-led Congress that would seek to mandate the Keystone XL pipeline, the project that would carry millions of barrels of dirty Canadian tar sands oil across the American heartland to facilities on the Gulf Coast. It’s a proposal that would [...]

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Last week, it was my honor to fly to Los Angeles to sit down for an interview with PBS’ Tavis Smiley for his nationwide late night show, to discuss my new book Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America. It was a fast-moving conversation that touched a lot of ground, including my early cases over radioactive [...]

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