News Round-Up: January 2, 2012

Today’s Essential Reads

FRACKING:

Ohio Earthquakes Generate Fracking Concerns

Several minor earthquakes reported in Ohio in the past year — including one on Saturday — have taken place near an injection well where wastewater from gas drilling is pumped underground.

Official: 4 Ohio Fluid-Injection Wells Cannot Open In Wake of Quake

State leaders have ordered that four fluid-injection wells in eastern Ohio will be “indefinitely” prohibited from opening in the aftermath of heightened seismic activity in the area, an official said.

NYT: Disposal Halted at Well After New Quake in Ohio

An official in Ohio said on Sunday that the underground disposal of wastewater from natural-gas drilling operations would remain halted in the Youngstown area until scientists could analyze data from the most recent of a string of earthquakes there.

NY Gas Drilling Opponents Aim For Local Bans

As state environmental regulators wrap up their review of shale gas drilling in New York, opponents of a drilling method called hydraulic fracturing are taking a local approach, enacting zoning and planning laws that ban the practice.

BP OIL SPILL:

RESTORE Act Is Unfinished Business For The Gulf Coast

In the category of Unfinished Business of 2011, one matter stands out among the rest: Congress has yet to give final approval to the RESTORE Act, which would direct 80 percent of the BP fines under the Clean Water Act to the Gulf Coast.

Accusations Fly As Oil Slick Hits Nigeria Coast

Shell denies that any of the oil is from its 200,000 barrel per day (bpd) Bonga facility, 120 km offshore and accounting for 10 percent of monthly oil flows, which was shut down by the spill on Dec. 20.

Has BP $30 Million Splurge Been Well-Spent?

The Associate Press reports that Florida Panhandle officials made a series of eyebrow-raising purchases with $30 million BP gave them earlier this year to help tourism recover from 2010?s disastrous Gulf oil spill.

A Gulf Chorus Fights BP’s PR War

BP’s newest PR salvo touting its Gulf cleanup hit a nerve with many residents still struggling to get their lives back (one ad captured this BP beach protest in the background). The oil behemoth’s slickly produced pleas for Americans to “come on down” to the Gulf where the weather is warm, the food is sublime and the beaches are sparkling clean–at least in the commercials–has long stuck in the craw of people whose shrimp boxes are bare and whose beaches and bayous are sometimes littered with sticky tar balls and bloated dolphins.

RADIATION:

Japan’s Emperor Delivers New Year Speech

Japanese Emperor Akihito has expressed his hope for Japan’s recovery from disasters that devastated the island nation last year.

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