News Round-Up: March 2, 2012

Today’s Essential Reads:

FRACKING:

Oil Exploration Along Rocky Mountain Front Has Residents Curious and Concerned

Curiosity about the rush of oil prospecting along the Rocky Mountain Front drew more than 200 people for a gusher of information on Thursday.

Eagle Ford Shale Consortium Conference Discusses Economic Impact of Oil, Gas Boom

For all its opportunities and challenges, Eagle Ford Shale will continue to transform the state, national and global landscape for decades, industry insiders say.

Stopping Fracking at the Local Level?

A new industry-sponsored advertisement says that the hydraulic fracturing process to get oil and gas has caused no groundwater contamination in Colorado – but critics and some cities say the ad is misleading and “fracking” needs to slow down.

Federal Scientists Warn NY of Fracking Risks

The U.S. Geological Survey has warned New York state regulators that their plan to allow drilling and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale could endanger private water wells, municipal aquifers and New York City’s drinking water supply.

BP OIL SPILL:

BP Gulf of Mexico Drilling Rig Disaster, Spill and Litigation: Timeline

The trial that will determine the extent of any liability U.K.-based energy company BP Plc (BP/) and its partners face for the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is scheduled to begin next week in New Orleans federal court.

Browne’s BP Cost-Cutting Led to Gulf Spill, Book Says

The public image of oil giant BP Plc has taken some huge hits since the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill but a new book purporting to look inside BP may open up a whole new set of thorny questions about the company.

Hits Against BP Just Keep on Coming

Nineteen more boat owners have joined the thousands of Gulf Coast residents who’ve sued BP, claiming it owes them money for chartering their boats in its Vessels of Opportunity oil-spill cleanup. Fifteen new plaintiffs sued BP this week Mobile County Court, Ala., and four others filed complaints in New Orleans Federal Court. The boat owners who let BP hire their ships for its Vessels of Opportunity program call the program a corrupt conspiracy that left “thousands of participants … holding the bag for millions of dollars of unpaid services, equipment, materials, repairs and decontaminations.” And they say BP intended it that way.

BP Spill Trial Starts Amid Settlement Pressure

BP Plc (BP/), Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. (HAL), with billions of dollars on the line, are set to find out from a federal judge who among them is to blame for the April 20, 2010, explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

RADIATION:

German Vessel Sets Out to Explore Quake-Struck Seafloor Off Japan

One year after the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Japanese oceanographers and geologists are teaming up with German scientists to uncover any traces that the the magnitude-9 quake might have left on the sea floor. The scientists will search for geomorphological evidence of what exactly happened on 11 March last year during the two-and-a-half-minute rupture that released massive amounts of seismic energy and triggered a deadly tsunami off the northeastern coast of Honshu.

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