Tagair pollution

‘Cancer Alley’ is about to get 30 percent worse, if that’s possible

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Too many times in the past, I’ve taken to this blog to write about the latest pollution outrage in the stretch of Louisiana nicknamed “Cancer Alley.” If you’ve been to my native state or even flown over Louisiana bayou country, you’ve certainly seen it: Large refineries or petrochemical processing plants,  shiny, smoke-shrouded jumbles of steel pipes and massive...

California’s hypocrisy on fossil fuels

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California is a behemoth. America’s largest state is also larger than a number of the world’s nations, and — thanks to powerhouses like Hollywood and Silicon Valley — usually ranked as one of the Top 10 economies on the planet. That means California has its own foreign policy, and that it often grapples with nation-sized issues…like combating climate change. In fact...

ExxonMobil up to its old dirty tricks in New Jersey

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ExxonMobil is arguably the world’s most powerful corporation, with annual revenues greater than many developing nations and a penchant for CIA-grade secrecy. It’s headquartered in a fortress-style building just outside of Dallas that some employees jokingly call “the Death Star.” But if you remember “Star Wars,” you know that even “the Death Star”...

When will fracking’s other shoe drop? Cancer

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The process of fracking is a relatively new one. In fact, sometimes I think we forget just how new it is. It was just mid-2000s that word spread among industry officials about a new technology to affordably free up oil and natural gas trapped in tiny pockets within shale formations — and Congress and the Bush administration enacted favorable energy legislation. In those early years...

How Chevron is taking over a mid-sized California city

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My first big environmental battle was against Chevron. It happened more than two decades ago inside a federal courtroom in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I was representing a machine-shop owner and his employees who’d been poisoned by the radioactive residue inside the pipes they were cleaning for Chevron and other Big Oil clients. Chevron had all the money and resources on its side, but it...

Other than toxic air, earthquakes and explosive oil, what’s so bad about fracking?

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There are reports that the federal government is thinking about allowing the export of American oil again. The U.S. used to be a large oil exporter, decades ago, but that stopped in 1973 as crude production on domestic soil reached a peak and an Arab oil embargo threatened our economy. But then came fracking, which has been a game changer for producing oil and natural gas, from Pennsylvania to...

By land, air and water, fracking is a killer

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One of the big issues surrounding fracking is whether drillers should be required to disclose the chemicals they use to blast through rock formations deep under the earth. Environmental groups and local residents say that information is vital to protecting the public health, while the oil and gas companies insist this is proprietary business information. This week, we got another inkling of the...

Stopping fracking: The air war

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As recently as five years ago, few Americans had even heard of fracking. The controversial process for freeing pockets of trapped natural gas or oil from deep shale deposits — which was not economically viable using conventional drilling — was only well known to industry insiders, who pushed special protection for fracking through Congress back in 2006. When the landmen and the first...

Regulators can’t keep up with the many dangers of fracking

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Over the last five years or so, the average citizen has learned a lot about the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for the shale oil and gas that’s trapped deep under the American soil. Thanks to Josh Fox and his “Gasland” documentaries — and the indelible image of a rural homeowner lighting his kitchen tap on fire — a lot of the focus has been...

Shocking new report links fracking to toxic air pollution

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It used to be, just a year or two ago, that you couldn’t go an entire day without seeing a story somewhere about the negative consequences of fracking. Now, it seems like there’s a new major report every few hours. The other night, for example, there was a story out that Oklahoma — where the boom in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has been underway for several years —...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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