News Round-Up: February 20, 2012

Today’s Essential Reads

FRACKING:

Assembly Bill Passage Victory for Public Health

The state Assembly last week passed legislation that closes a loophole in New York state law that had allowed wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to avoid classification as hazardous waste, even if it met the criteria to be treated as such. Bill A7013, known as the Hazardous Waste Bill, will ensure that if the wastewater from fracking meets the criteria of hazardous material, it be labeled as such. This means it will be subject to more careful reporting, transporting and proper disposal regulations.

Alliance Between Natural Gas Industry, Environmental Groups Fractures

Just four years ago, shale gas king Aubrey K. McClendon told shareholders of Chesapeake Energy that “finally, we made some new friends this year.”

Tighter Regulation Needed for Fracking, Says Report

Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations, or fracking, to extract natural gas doesn’t cause groundwater contamination, a new report has found. However, while the fracking itself may not be responsible for such claimed effects as flammable drinking water and exploding houses, related processes are, including poor cement jobs and above-ground spills.

Residents Looking to Ban Fracking

Beaver Township residents concerned about fracture drilling and injection wells in Ohio have enlisted the aid of a Pennsylvania-based organization to ban the activities in the area.

BP OIL SPILL:

NYT: BP Partner in Blown-Out Well Agrees to Pay $90 Million

A minority partner in BP’s blown-out Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico agreed on Friday to pay $90 million in a settlement with the federal government and gulf states over the disastrous 2010 oil spill.

BP Hauls in $7.7 Billion in Profits, Gulf Fishermen Haul in Shrimp with No Eyes

Oil giant BP, the company behind the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reported profits of $7.7 billion for the last quarter of 2011. Company executives and industry analysts sounded bullish about the company’s future in a recent New York Times article, saying they had set aside enough money to compensate victims of the Gulf spill and had plans to expand drilling operations in the Gulf.

Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Partial Settlement Would Give Louisiana $13.5 Million

MOEX Offshore 2007 LLC has agreed to settle its liability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with the federal government in a settlement valued at $90 million, the Justice Department, U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency announced today. Included is $13.5 million in fines and money for environmental projects that will be spent in Louisiana.

House Passes Oil Spill Restoration Act

The House on Thursday endorsed a bipartisan effort to steer billions of dollars in fines from the BP oil spill to Gulf Coast communities still recovering from the April 2010 disaster.

BP Oil Spill’s Effects Need Watching

The BP oil spill may have faded from the front pages, but its impact should be monitored for years. That’s the lesson from a recent government-funded survey of the Gulf of Mexico that found more sick fish in the area of the 2010 spill than anywhere else. Marine scientists with the University of South Florida and other institutions need to continue their essential research. A minority partner in the BP well agreed Friday to pay a $90 million settlement, but the federal government and the gulf states need to keep holding BP accountable.

BP’s McKay to Be First Witness at Gulf Oil Spill Trial

BP (BP/) America Inc.’s chairman and president, Lamar McKay, will be the first witness at the February trial to determine liability for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, plaintiffs’ lawyers said.

RADIATION:

New Earthquake Could Hit Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant: Study

The Japanese government must strengthen the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, as there is great risk of it being hit by an earthquake again, a new study has warned.

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