CategoryCommentary

Flooding of Atlantic coastal cities about to get a lot worse

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If you live near the Atlantic Ocean — and millions of Americans do, along the most densely populated stretch of the nation — then you know the coastal flooding is always in the background. When a big storm like a Nor’easter barrels its way up the Eastern Seaboard, cities from Miami Beach all the way up to Maine can expect some beach erosion and possibly a couple feet of water...

Hitting the Dakota Access pipeline where it hurts

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Things are stirring again with the Dakota Access pipeline. It was late last year, near the end of his term, when then-President Barack Obama handed a victory to activists seeking to block the opening of the $3.8 billion project. This is the pipeline which aims to ship fracked oil from the Bakken field in North Dakota across the U.S. Heartland to refineries and ports on the Gulf Coast — and...

The news on nuclear power isn’t all good

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Over the course of the last few months, there’s been a run of good news on nuclear power. The state of America’s nuclear industry — both from an environmental and an economic standpoint — is weakening; many of the nation’s reactors are at least four decades old with increasing repair problems, and a number are sited in the worst possible locations, near major...

‘Putting a wrench into the gears of the pipeline machine’

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The movement against dangerous oil and natural gas pipelines is spreading. And what’s truly remarkable is that the epicenter of the movement is developing along the Gulf Coast, a region that historically has not been known for a strong environmental community. Clearly, the catalyst for that movement has been the historic protests — led by the Native American community — against...

Louisiana citizens wise up to pipeline dangers

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For most of the last eight decades or so that Big Oil’s had its way with the state of Louisiana, it was rare — unheard of, really — for local residents to oppose an energy-related project. For most folks, environmentalism — opposing new drilling or unsightly pipelines in your backyard — was something that maybe “the Yankees” did, but not Louisianans. And...

Christmas comes early for La. pollution fighters

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A few months ago, I told you about the latest public health crisis in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” — the strip of heavily polluting refineries, chemical plants and other industrial facilities that line the banks of the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge all the way down past New Orleans. Many of the most threatened community are predominantly poor and predominantly black...

EPA comes out with the truth on fracking and drinking water

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It was just a year and a half ago that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came out with its first draft of a much-anticipated report about the impact that the boom in hydraulic fracking operations, or fracking, around the country was having on our drinking water. Environmentalists had encouraged such a study because the anecdotal evidence — people living near fracking rigs who...

How Dakota pipeline firm also threatens Louisiana

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There was some very good news this week on the environmental front, for a change. At a moment when things looked darkest for the stirring protest movement against the Dakota Access pipeline — with a brutal winter bearing down on the rural North Dakota protest site and authorities threatening to clear out their encampment — there was a dramatic reversal of fortune. Army officials...

Climate change is attacking the Great Barrier Reef

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One of the more fantastic experiences that I’ve enjoyed in my lifetime was an opportunity, several years ago, to scuba dive along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This is truly one of the world’s great natural splendors; it is the largest living thing on Planet Earth, stretching some 900 miles, and it is also much larger than anything that humans have ever constructed. Chock full...

The Dakota pipeline and the assault on Native Americans

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Thanksgiving is a day for spending time with family and friends, but also a time to remember some of the simple moral values that make America the nation that it is — or at least that it can be. The elegant origin story of the holiday is a tale of unity and overcoming differences, when the first European settlers in America and Native Americans combined the bounty of their harvests to...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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