Environmental Must-Reads – January 25, 2013

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Halliburton Profit Falls on U.S. Fracking Equipment Glut

Halliburton Co. (HAL), the world’s largest provider of hydraulic-fracturing services, said fourth-quarter profit decreased as customers pushed prices down amid an equipment glut in North America.

Under the radar: Fracking wastewater radioactive

Randy Moyer hasn’t been able to work in 14 months.

He’s seen more than 40 doctors, has 10 prescriptions to his name and no less than eight inhalers stationed around his apartment.

Moyer said he began transporting brine, the wastewater from gas wells that have been hydraulically fractured, for a small hauling company in August 2011. He trucked brine from wells to treatment plants and back to wells, and sometimes cleaned out the storage tanks used to hold wastewater on drilling sites. By November 2011, the 49-year-old trucker was too ill to work. He suffered from dizziness, blurred vision, headaches, difficulty breathing, swollen lips and appendages, and a fiery red rash that covered about 50 percent of his body.

California Sued for Allegedly Failing to Regulate Fracking

California was sued for allegedly failing to regulate and supervise hydraulic fracturing by oil and gas companies under the state’s underground injection control program.

The Center For Biological Diversity, a Tucson, Arizona- based environmental group, said in a complaint filed in state court in Oakland today that the program requires the state to obtain detailed studies, conduct inspections and supervise testing before any subsurface injection or disposal project can begin.

Nature’s Capital is the Limiting Resource

Only in science fiction can humans escape the consequences of destroying their own habitat.

Fighting Unregulated Fracking in California

The Center for Biological Diversity went to court today to compel California regulators to enforce an existing state law that should protect people and the environment from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a rapidly spreading new method of oil and gas extraction. The lawsuit filed this morning in Alameda County Superior Court says the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources has allowed fracking to expand without legally required oversight.

Del. Shane Robinson and Sen. Karen Montgomery Introduce Statewide Ban on Fracking

Today, Delegate Shane Robinson (D-39) introduced new legislation in Maryland’s House of Delegates that would institute a statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Consumer advocates Food & Water Watch, part of a coalition of 22 environmental groups who co-signed a letter to Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly supporting a ban, has worked closely with Del. Robinson and Sen. Karen Montgomery on the ban bill’s development. The legislation, which will be cross-filed by Sen. Montgomery next week, is being introduced on behalf of Marylanders who believe that fracking is inherently unsafe.

200,000+ Comments Delivered to DOE Criticizing Economic Study on Natural Gas Exports

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy, CREDO, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch and Sierra Club delivered more than 200,000 public comments, including extensive technical comments and a companion economic analysis report, along with a letter signed by 80 organization to the Department of Energy (DOE) expressing outrage over an economic study on exporting natural gas overseas that it is reviewing.

Federal judge rejects motion to extend deadline for BP oil spill seafood settlement

The federal judge overseeing the massive BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill litigation has denied a request to extend the deadline for commercial fishing vessel owners and others to join a $2.3 billion settlement to cover seafood-related claims.

Oil spill could cost taxpayers billions: Environmentalists

Environmental groups are warning about a big bill in the event of an oil spill in BC.

Taxpayers could face billions of dollars in costs, unless changes are made.

Govt. ‘misguided’ on oil spill report

A salvage firm in Grand Bahama is calling oil spill estimates by the government “misguided,” insisting that Sunday’s incident was far worse than portrayed in a report.

Scientists sniff for hazards during drilling rig spills

Within weeks of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were taking air samples near the spill via one of the agency’s Hurricane Hunter aircraft (pictured). At a time when official estimates said the spill was about 5,000 barrels a day, the group’s measurements suggested that number was many times higher, as it proved to be.

Sierra Club Turns to Civil Disobedience to Stop Keystone Pipeline

Earlier this week, the Sierra Club announced that it is lifting its long-standing institutional prohibition on civil disobedience so that it can protest the development of the tar sands. The club’s board of directors approved the change, which executive director Michael Brune made public on Tuesday. While staff and board members have previously participated in acts of civil disobedience in a personal capacity, this is the first time that the organization will take part.

Legislative panels urged to act

The Assumption Parish Police Jury invited the Louisiana House and Senate Natural Resources committees on Wednesday to meet jointly in Pierre Part to try to resolve issues swirling around state government’s response to the parish’s 8.5-acre swampland sinkhole emergency near Bayou Corne.

Crew works on project for sinkhole vent system

A dump truck poured yards of earth on top of a dirt pad being built up amid flooded swamplands in northern Assumption Parish.

A bulldozer smoothed out the pile, pushing it to the watery edge of the pad just west of an 8.5-acre sinkhole near the Bayou Corne community.

Panelists review oil disaster studies

The consensus among the panel of scientists who spoke at the concluding program for the three-day-long “Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference,” was that while an impressive amount of research has been done in the wake of the 2010 Macondo Well-Deepwater Horizon blowout, more needs to be done and in greater collaboration.

Tepco plans to dump ‘cleaned’ Fukushima No. 1 water

Tokyo Electric Power Co. plans to dump contaminated water from its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean after removing radioactive substances to reduce contamination to legally permissible levels.

World’s biggest nuke plant may shut: report

The largest nuclear power plant in the world may be forced to shut down under tightened rules proposed by Japan’s new nuclear watchdog aimed at safeguarding against earthquakes, a report said on Friday.

Fukushima operator Tokyo Electric Power’s vast Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant in central Japan could be on the chopping block if the Nuclear Regulation Authority expands the definition of an active fault.

Group to plant cherry trees in Fukushima Pref.

A massive tree-planting project along about 160 kilometers of road in coastal areas of Fukushima Prefecture aims to construct the nation’s most beautiful row of flowering cherry trees in the area devastated by the March, 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, as well as the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Led by members of Happy Road Net, a nonprofit organization, and others, the tree-planting festivities will kick off Saturday in Shinchi, the prefecture’s northernmost town, with a goal of planting about 1,600 cherry trees this year.

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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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