News Round-Up: June 7, 2012

Today’s Essential Reads

FRACKING:

Sierra Club to Offer Baseline Water Testing to Landowners in Southeastern Illinois

High-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas may be coming to Illinois this year.

Residents of Longmont, Colo., Seek Fracking Ban

As she kept a watchful eye on her playful toddler, Lindsay Gahn pulled out a state-issued map of town where subdivisions susceptible to oil and gas drilling were colored in red.

Gas Controversy Fractures Even N.C. State

University students and researches are in the midst of the ongoing hydraulic fracturing debate. Hydraulic fracturing is a method through which natural gas companies can extrude resources from the earth. The method seems promising, but not everyone is excited about its environmental implications.

Fracking Fatalities: Organized Labor Implores Federal Agencies to Stop the Killings

As hydraulic fracturing – also known as “fracking” – has become a more common way to extract natural gas from underneath the United States, employment in the natural gas industry has expanded dramatically. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2003-2008 there was a 62-percent increase in the number of workers employed in the oil and natural gas industries in the United States. During this same period, the number of fatalities in the industries grew by 41 percent.

BP OIL SPILL:

Obama Stonewalling Gulf Oil Spill Disclosure

The Obama administration is desperately trying to avoid coming clean about its role in delaying capping the Gulf Oil Spill.  Billions of dollars in fines are at stake, so BP is fighting in court to force release of correspondence related to handling the Gulf Oil Spill which might indicate that the federal government unnecessarily and substantially delayed the use of technology that was ultimately proven successful.

Dramatic Impacts on Beach Microbial Communities Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Ironically enough, I was at a meeting about oil spills when the Macondo well blew. The “Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) in Arctic waters” workshop brought scientists and industry contacts together to discuss the challenges and consequences of petroleum-related accidents in fragile polar habitats. I remember the BP executives had to step out to deal with a small “issue” one evening. By morning, they had disappeared entirely.

Local Theater Artist Deb Royals’ New Play About the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Playwright and ethnographer Deb Royals was looking for insights from the Deepwater Horizon disaster that weren’t getting out over the Internet and cable news. In Grand Isle, La., she found one: Disaster can be beautiful. At least, when it’s just beginning.

BP Shouldn’t Get White House E-Mails in Spill Case, U.S. Says

BP Plc (BP/) isn’t entitled access to e- mail communications between the White House and other top U.S. officials during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010, a government lawyer told a federal judge.

RADIATION:

Oyster Creek Critics: NRC Lacks Urgency Post Fukushima

Oyster Creek critics expressed a sense of urgency at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s second public meeting on the oversight of the Forked River based nuclear plant.

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