Environmental Must-Reads – April 29, 2013

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Fracking Our National Parks: America’s Best Idea Threatened By Oil and Gas Addiction

Teddy Roosevelt must be rolling over in his grave. Elkhorn Ranch, where the great Republican conservationist sat on his porch overlooking the Little Missouri River and conceived his then-progressive theories of conservation, is at risk of being despoiled by fracking.

EPA says fracking releases LESS greenhouse gas

A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered estimates of how much of a potent greenhouse gas is being leaked by the natural gas industry despite rapid growth in production.

EPA lowered estimates of methane leaks during natural gas production

The Environmental Protection Agency has dramatically lowered its estimate of how much of a potent heat-trapping gas leaks during natural gas production, in a shift with major implications for a debate that has divided environmentalists: Does the recent boom in hydraulic fracturing help or hurt the fight against climate change?

Study: More fracking health concerns than previously thought

People living near gas hydraulic fracturing operations are more concerned than previously thought drilling may affect their health, U.S. researchers say.

Principal investigator Dr. Poune Saberi of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology and colleagues collected responses from 72 adults visiting a primary care physician’s office in the hydrofracking-heavy area of Bradford County, Pa.

Fracking Is Draining Western Water, Says Regional Group

Oil and gas extraction practices are permanently removing at least seven billion gallons of water from the hydrologic cycle each year in just four arid western states, according to a new report, Gone for Good, published late last week by the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC).

Pilot study: Group of Bradford Co, Pa. residents concerned about health effects of hydrofracking

Residents living in areas near natural gas operations, also known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are concerned their illnesses may be a result of nearby drilling operations. Twenty-two percent of the participants in a small pilot study surmise that hydrofracking may be the cause of such health concerns as sinus problems, sleeping difficulties, and gastrointestinal problems.

‘Halliburton Amendment’ Taints Fracking Regulations in WV

As a rule, whenever lobbyists talk about trade secrets, it’s no time to shut your eyes, close your ears or hold your tongue.

But we got the impression the WV Senate did when it approved the Department of Environmental Protection’s (WV-DEP) Horizontal Well Act rules.

Pipeline slurry spills threaten wetlands

A series of pipeline-construction spills by one company has the Ohio EPA demanding answers and environmental-advocacy groups warning that this is one more activity tied to fracking that is endangering streams and wetlands.

UT experts: BP oil spill gone from deep ocean, but remains in marshes

Scientists cannot find traces of oil in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico three years after the nation’s worst offshore spill, but residual toxins are still in the sediment along the coastal marshes, according to scientists at the University of Tennessee who have studied the effects of the spill.

New York City Sues BP for Pension Losses Over 2010 Gulf Oil Spill

New York City said on Friday it sued BP Plc for more than $39 million of losses it claims beneficiaries of the city’s pension funds sustained due to BP’s “misconduct and fraudulent behavior” linked to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“BP failed to disclose to shareowners the serious risks involved in its offshore drilling operation,” Comptroller John Liu said. “After the spill began, it misleadingly attempted to minimize the extent of the damage and the cost to shareowners.”

Washed away

Yellow Cotton Bay, officially, no longer exists.

The bay, along with Bayou Jacquin and 29 other places in Plaquemines Parish, have been lost from Louisiana’s shrinking coast.

And now they are no longer listed on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration charts.

BP oil spill three years later: Empty nets still in Louisiana

On his dock along the banks of Bayou Yscloskey, Darren Stander makes the pelicans dance.

More than a dozen of the birds have landed or hopped onto the dock, where Stander takes in crabs and oysters from the fishermen who work the bayou and Lake Borgne at its mouth. The pelicans rock back and forth, beaks rising and falling, as he waves a bait fish over their heads.

At least he’s got some company. There’s not much else going on at his dock these days. There used to be two or three people working with him; now he’s alone. The catch that’s coming in is light, particularly for crabs.

BP’s Ula Oil Leak Could Have Been ‘Major Accident,’ Norway Says

Norway said an oil and gas leak at BP Plc (BP/)’s Ula field could have been a major accident with loss of life and substantial damage, and ordered the company to review maintenance procedures after discovering “serious breaches.”

Update on Mayflower Oil Spill: Chemist finds benzene, AG investigates, residents organize

Earlier this week, I wrote about the ongoing debate in Mayflower, Arkansas as to whether oil from Exxon Mobil’s Pegasus pipeline oil spill has reached Lake Conway. Independent tests have found contaminents associated with tar sands oil in the lake, while Exxon is sticking to their claim that the lake is oil-free. Now THV11 reports that chemist Wilma Subra has found the cancer-causing chemical Benzene in the air and water around Lake Conway.

One Month After Exxon’s Arkansas Oil Spill, Still No Answers to Basic Questions

One month after a 65-year-old ExxonMobil pipeline burst without warning and dumped Canadian tar sands oil in the town of Mayflower, Ark., government investigators and residents are still looking for answers to basic questions about the spill.

Assumption sinkhole’s containment wall gets extended

Texas Brine Co. is building a westward extension of a 1.5-mile containment berm encircling the Assumption Parish sinkhole because a 200-foot stretch of the earthen wall is sinking, authorities said Friday.

The berm has been under construction for months to keep oil, salt and other contaminants from escaping the 13-acre sinkhole and harming surrounding freshwater swamps, bayous and aquatic life.

No Keystone pipeline? No problem, Alberta will just go north to the Arctic Ocean

They may stop the Keystone XL pipeline, but that won’t stop the oilmen of Alberta from trying to get the stuff out of the ground and to market somewhere. They will roll barrels of the stuff down the highway by hand if they have to, or do something equally ridiculous: ship it north to Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean. There is some logic to this; after thirty years of negotiating, agreements were reached with native peoples to build the Mackenzie Valley pipeline to carry natural gas south, but nobody needs that right now, so why not carry bitumen north?

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

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