Environmental Must-Reads – March 4, 2013

Fracking Under a Historic Farm

In its ongoing campaign to win over opponents of hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas industry has succeeded in persuading the owner of a historic Pennsylvania farm to allow gas to be extracted from beneath her property.

AP: NY Fracking Held as Cuomo, RFK Jr. Talk Health

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo came as close as he ever has to approving fracking last month, laying out a limited drilling plan for as many as 40 gas wells before changing course to await the findings of a new study after discussions with environmentalist and former brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy Jr., several people familiar with his thinking told The Associated Press.

NY fracking health study news draws cheers, jeers

While opponents of fracking are pleased at a report that Gov. Andrew Cuomo will wait for a Pennsylvania health study before deciding whether to allow drilling, landowners are preparing to sue New York over lost gas-leasing opportunities and an industry group warned Sunday that a business exodus from the state will worsen.

George Osborne’s office in Greenpeace fracking protest

Greenpeace campaigners have erected mock drilling rigs on a village green outside George Osborne’s constituency office in protest at fracking.

Unicameral debates new regulations on drillers using “fracking”

New information would be required from oil and natural gas drillers in Nebraska under legislation (LB 635) before state lawmakers. The bill’s author, Senator Norm Wallman of Cortland, says companies using the process called “fracking” would have to provide more detail. Wallman says the bill adds elements proposed by the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Cuomo Awaits Health Study, Delays Decision On Fracking

A decision on whether to allow the controversial practice of hydrofracking in New York State has been delayed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But opponents of the drilling practice are already preparing a lawsuit.

Will There Be Enough Water?

Some 2.5 billion gallons of water are used to frack oil or gas wells in the U.S. Every day. Nearly all of that water is lost, either in the fracking or by disposing it down a borehole. And industry’s water consumption is dwarfed by agriculture, responsible for more than 80 percent of this country’s enormous water use.

With climate change beginning to affect water supplies, what can be done?

New studies measure air, water impacts of frac sand mines

Competing studies are under way to assess air pollution from Wisconsin’s frac sand industry, and the author of one study said current state law isn’t protecting people well enough.

A separate study, meanwhile, will examine the impact of frac sand mines on water.

Inaction, Threats, And New Tech Prompt Mayors To Form Gas Pipeline Safety Council

A growing number of teams of scientists in cities internationally are making use of new hyper sensitive mobile gas sniffing technology to do what’s never been done before: locate, identify the source, and quantify the carbon emissions leaking from natural gas pipelines. What they’re finding isn’t good. Residents of US cities and other communities are literally sitting atop ticking time bombs, as well as being subject to chronic exposure to methane and other toxic emissions.

Tracers may ease public’s fracking fears

The future of fracking could include a patented, proprietary truth serum that would turn every backyard well into an oracle. Given its potential value in the courtroom and in public relations, a thimbleful of this magic potion could cost as much as a luxury automobile.

It’s still largely in the hypothetical stage, but if these “tracers” prove themselves in lab tests and at actual drill sites, they could resolve one of the most contentious aspects of fracking: whether deep injection of water and chemicals causes contamination of underground drinking water sources.

BP’s false oil flow claims may have delayed plugging of Macondo well, Transocean claims

BP’s false assertions that only 5,000 barrels of oil were flowing from its Macondo well in May 2010 resulted in the use of at least one method to attempt to stem the flow that was doomed to fail, says a motion filed in federal court Friday by attorneys for Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. In its motion, Transocean argues it should not be subject to damages for as much as 60 days of the 87-day spill because of BP’s falsifications.

As BP battles in court over Deepwater Horizon, oil spills are happening all over the place

BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill was notable because of the huge number of barrels leaked, the economic and environmental devastation wrought, and the number of people directly affected. But oil spills are not an aberration. Spills are a constant and poisonous cost of the world’s dependence upon fossil fuels.

Little attention is paid to this steady stream of spills. That’s in part because company and government officials often labor to convince us that each single spill is minor, unimportant, and environmentally benign.

EPA Accused of Violating the Clean Water Act

In the wake of the ongoing civil trial with high stakes for BP over the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the OSEI Corporation Chairman puts a new slant on preventable devastation outlining how the oil giant could have saved billions in damages and Clean Water Act fines if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had not stood in the way of science and spill response advancements.

Rig owner cites BP’s low flow estimates

The owner of the oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 says BP hampered efforts to stop the resulting gusher of oil by misleading government officials about how many barrels of oil were flowing each day from the damaged well on the Gulf floor.

The Transocean corporation’s assertions were filed Friday in federal court in New Orleans, where a civil began last week to determine percentages of blame and how much BP, Transocean and others will pay for the April 2010 catastrophe that killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf for 87 days.

Non-jury trial may favor BP in Gulf oil spill case

In the biggest environmental case in U.S. history, BP and its partners on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig caught a break by not having to defend themselves before a Louisiana jury, according to legal experts.

The British oil company is facing civil charges for its role in the April 20, 2010, catastrophe, which killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf.

Tell Attorney General Holder: No Tax Write-Offs for BP for Spilling Oil

BP may get a gift from the government for spilling oil in the Gulf of Mexico and we need your help to cut the deal off at the pass.

BP is finally in court with the federal government and a number of affected states in order to determine the fines and penalties they will have to pay as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Great news, right?

Enbridge declines to pay for new studies on oil spill damage

The pipeline company responsible for the 2010 tar sands oil spill that fouled almost 40 miles of the Kalamazoo River is refusing to pay $800,000 to complete two new studies to assess the spill’s damage.

Trustees of the National Resource Damage Assessment, an effort to assess the damage caused by oil spills and other hazards, wants Enbridge to participate in the studies, which involve vegetation and recreational use in the area affected by the spill.

Alabama Seafood Summit aims to boost industry’s post-oil spill profile, profitability

Increasing regional, national and international demand for Alabama gulf seafood is on the menu March 4-5 at the inaugural Alabama Seafood Summit in downtown Mobile.

Shell: Nigeria Pipeline Spills Caused by Thieves

Royal Dutch Shell PLC says a major pipeline it has in Nigeria has come under repeated attack by thieves wanting to steal the crude oil it transports.

In a statement Monday, Shell says its Nigerian subsidiary lost some 150,000 barrels of oil a day over several days in late February after safety systems shut down its Nembe Creek Trunkline. Shell said the shutdowns came after thieves cut into the line.

North Sea Crude Oil Pipeline Shut Down

The Brent pipeline system has been shut down for the second time this year, following the discovery of a leak at one of its platforms. The platform, called Cormorant Alpha, was shut down in January in a similar incident.

Environmentalists Step Up Opposition to Keystone Pipeline

Opponents of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline say they intend to make President Barack Obama hear their concerns after a March 1 report helped clear a way for White House approval of the project.

The pipeline drew a fresh wave of objections from groups including the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and 350.org, when the U.S. State Department’s draft assessment said it won’t have a significant impact on global warming. Members of 350.org will confront Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry at all future public events, said Daniel Kessler, a spokesman.

Report May Ease Path for New Pipeline

The State Department issued a revised environmental impact statement for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline on Friday that makes no recommendation about whether the project should be built but presents no conclusive environmental reason it should not be.

Van Jones: Keystone XL would be ‘the Obama Pipeline’

Activist and former White House adviser Van Jones came out swinging against the Keystone XL pipeline Friday night on CNN, warning that if it’s approved it would be a big black mark on President Obama’s legacy. His comments came a few hours after the State Department released a draft environmental impact statement finding that the proposed pipeline wouldn’t have excessive environmental or climate effects.

State Department admits Keystone environmental impact but says there’s no better way

Construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline would create “numerous” and “substantial” impacts on the environment, the State Department said Friday in a draft environmental impact statement. But the project is a better bet than any of the alternatives, it said in essentially clearing the project to go ahead.

After Keystone Review, Environmentalists Vow To Continue Fight

Environmentalists have a hope.

If they can block the Keystone XL pipeline, they can keep Canada from developing more of its dirty tar sands oil. It takes a lot of energy to get it out of the ground and turn it into gasoline, so it has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional oil.

BREAKING: State Department Releases Environmental Assessment on the Proposed Keystone XL Pipeline

Today, the U.S. Department of State released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in response to TransCanada’s May 2012 application for the Keystone XL pipeline that would run from Canada to Nebraska, according to a State Department spokesperson.

Keystone XL: A Choice Between Big Oil or a Sustainable Planet

Last week Time Magazine declared that Keystone XL had become the Stonewall and the Selma of the climate movement—and today we got a reminder of just how tough those fights were, and how tough this one will be.

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