TagFracking

A GOP governor’s surprising stand against fracking

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Despite the growing evidence about problems from tainted wells to earthquakes, it’s taken a while for opposition to fracking to build, especially among our elected officials. Back in the mid-2000s when the boom in unconventional drilling for natural gas and oil was just taking off, many governors and other politicians were sold on the promise of new jobs and that natural gas would be a...

EPA comes out with the truth on fracking and drinking water

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It was just a year and a half ago that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came out with its first draft of a much-anticipated report about the impact that the boom in hydraulic fracking operations, or fracking, around the country was having on our drinking water. Environmentalists had encouraged such a study because the anecdotal evidence — people living near fracking rigs who...

How fracking ruins your health

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In the roughly six years I’ve been writing in this spot, one constant has been this” News of what the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas does to the health of the planet, and the people who live here, just keep getting worse and worse. In the beginning, public officials insisted the process was 100 percent safe and could not possibly pollute public water...

How local protests are saving the planet

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There’s an old saying in politics: Think globally, act locally. But when it comes to the major issues facing our environment, that idea has been largely honored in the breach. The rise of large and well intentioned lobbying groups such as the Sierra Club or the Natural Resources Defense Council led a lot of rank-and-file voters to assume that someone was off in Washington, D.C., or maybe...

Billionaire’s death exposes the hubris of the fracking industry

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Roughly a decade into the fracking boom in America, the unconventional drilling process has pretty much been exposed for all the world to see. To be sure, the advances in drilling technology that allowed Big Oil and Gas to tap the fossil fuels once trapped inside shale formations has helped to lower the cost of energy in America, and created some jobs (although never nearly as many as promised)...

‘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...

Even earthquakes don’t kill the dream of extreme oil

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The last decade — ever since it became clear in the mid-2000s that conventional oil fields around the planet were running low — has been the era of “extreme oil.” Big Oil promised the world that the wonder of new technologies — most notably hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as well as other advances in drilling capabilities — would make it possible to tap rich...

How is fracking ‘safe’ when we don’t know what’s in fracking fluids?

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I’ve long predicted that California will be the place where the rubber hits the road for the fracking boom in America. The rewards in a resource-rich state are too great for Big Oil and Gas to ignore, but the risks — of wasting millions upon millions of gallons of water in a drought-stricken state, of causing earthquakes in a region criss-crossed by fault lines, of polluting the...

“Corporate greed versus the common good”: Oil-bomb trains aren’t going away

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It didn’t get much attention in the American news media, but there was an important anniversary this week. It’s been two years now since the explosion in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, where a series of negligent acts led to a runway crude-oil train that hit the center of town on a busy Friday night, killing an astonishing 47 people, many of them inside a packed discotheque. Not surprisingly...

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