News Round-Up: February 29, 2012

Today’s Essential Reads

FRACKING:

Landmark Hydrofracking Case in Otsego Has Local Ties

A local law firm played a large part in recent developments that may have spelled the end of the road for the horizontal, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, industry in New York state.

California Regulators Turn a Blind Eye to Fracking

Sacramento, Calif. – State regulators have no idea how many oil and gas wells have been fracked in California despite having requested and received $3 million in new funding in 2010 to regulate the practice. Lacking actual data, they insist that drilling companies rarely use the technology in California – a head-in-the-sand stance that has now been contradicted by Environmental Working Group’s research showing that fracking has been used in the state since 1953 and is now widespread.

“Newswatch In-Depth: Fracking Frenzy” Looks At Environmental Downsides And Economic Benefits

The controversial issue of fracking was tackled by WOUB on the February 28 airing of “Newswatch In-Depth: Fracking Frenzy.” The live, 90-minute program allowed viewers to call, email or tweet in questions on one of the region’s more prevalent and divisive issues.

Can the Problems with Fracking Be Fixed?

In the New York Times, Joe Nocera says that natural-gas fracking is inevitable and just needs a few tweaks, like plugging methane leaks from wells. But that’s not as simple as it sounds. Recent research suggests that fracking could be disastrous, climate-wise, if those leaks aren’t fixed.

BP OIL SPILL:

Coast Guard Plans to Patrol Arctic Ocean Off Alaska, Conduct Oil-Spill Test

The U.S. Coast Guard plans to muscle up its Arctic presence this summer, patrolling for the first time in a new marine frontier where the ice is melting and ocean-going ship traffic is on the rise.

Commentary: BP Finds Yet Another Way to Use Spill Fund to its Advantage

A possible deal between BP and business owners and individuals harmed by the Deepwater Horizon disaster would call for BP to close the fund it’s been using to pay claims for the past two years and apply the balance to settle a mammoth legal case awaiting trial in New Orleans.

U.S. Set for BP Oil Spill Trial

Attorney General Eric Holder said his team is ready to proceed with a civil trial next week to determine responsibility for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill from the BP Plc well, despite settlement talks to resolve some of the matters.

Occupy NOLA Holds Funeral for Gulf in Front of BP Headquarters

Occupy NOLA protesters plan to hold a funeral service and procession Wednesday for the Gulf of Mexico. The group said the waterway was murdered by BP, Transocean and other accomplices.

RADIATION:

Japanese Government Softened Tsunami Warning 8 Days Before One Hit Fukushima

At the behest of nuclear power companies, government officials in Japan softened language relating to the threat of earthquake-produced tsunamis only eight days before last year’s disaster.

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