Category Archives: Human Interest

It’s beginning to look like 2015 will be a banner year for political activism around efforts to block the growth of fossil fuels — both here in the United States and around the world. Indeed, this year we’ve even seen the invention of a new word — “kayaktivists” — to describe the protesters in Seattle who bravely tried to block the movement northward of Shell’s Arctic drilling rig, by paddling [...]

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Posted in Causes, Commentary, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Regulation, Safety, Spill Damages Tagged , , , , , , , ,

For a long time, I’ve been writing about Louisiana’s so-called “Cancer Alley,” the seemingly endless line of oil refineries and chemical plants which — exploiting the state’s rich natural resources — line the Mississippi River banks from Baton Rouge all the way past New Orleans, towards the Gulf of Mexico. For decades, locals tended to view these unsightly industrial beacons, tangles of steel pipe and belching smokestacks that light the [...]

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

There has been a terrible — and completely unexpected — environmental catastrophe in Colorado. Work crews for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, undertaking a long-delayed project to deal with the hazard of wastewater from abandoned mines in and around the city of Durango, saw the accidental collapse of a barrier and a torrent of highly polluted water flowing into local rivers. The toxic waters from inside the Gold King Mine [...]

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Posted in Causes, Fracking, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Radiation, Regulation, Restoration, Spill Damages Tagged , , , , , , ,

There hasn’t been as much talk lately about the Keystone XL project, the massive proposed pipeline that would take some of the dirtiest fuel known to mankind — extracted from the tar sands of western Canada — and ship it across the American heartland to the Gulf Coast, where most it will be shipped to overseas markets. My hunch is that the Obama administration — which feels caught between a [...]

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Posted in Commentary, Human Interest, Important Articles, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Regulation, Response, Safety, Spill Damages, Wildlife 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 , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , , , , ,

The oil spill story in and around Santa Barbara just keeps getting worse. Indeed, this weekend officials had to close a number of beaches as far south as Orange County, south of Los Angeles, because of a wave of sticky, gooey tar balls, ranging from baseball-sized to football-sized, that keep coming ashore. Officials haven’t yet confirmed that the tar balls are the result of the pipeline rupture and the 105,000 [...]

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Posted in BP Spill, Human Interest, Illnesses, Important Articles, Main, Oil Spill Facts, Response, Safety Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The fight over fracking has entered a new and alarming phase. After the initial shock of the boom in unconventional gas drilling, citizens in environmentally ravaged communities have been fighting back and claiming victories. But Big Oil and their colluders — the big money politicians — don’t put up with this sort of thing for very long. I learned this a generation ago, after I and other lawyers started winning [...]

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Posted in Fracking, Human Interest, Main, Politics, Regulation, 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 , , , , , , , ,