TagTexas

Texas chemical blast shows we’re moving backwards on pollution, safety

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Thanksgiving was cancelled in Port Neches, Texas, this year. Things ever should have gotten to this point. Very early on the days before the holiday, this Gulf Coast community near the Texas-Louisiana border was rocked by one explosion that lit the night sky — then another, hours later. Residents of Port Neches and several surrounding communities, where windows were shattered by the force...

Corpus Christi is America’s newest Flint

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The name of the Texas coastal community called Corpus Christi translates literally as “the body of Christ.” But what’s been happening over the last few days with the water in this oil-and-chemical city and its drinking water has been anything but holy. Instead, Corpus Christi is joining the growing list of American cities whose tap water has been compromised, either from aging...

Kicking the fossil fuels habit

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My recent book — Crude Justice: How I Fought Big Oil and Won, and What You Should Know About the New Environmental Attack on America — is mostly a chronicle of what I’ve learned during a quarter century of taking on the oil giants and their environmental abuse of communities and workers across the American South. In the end, I note that — while it’s been a fulfilling...

The states go to war to save fracking

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The fight over fracking has entered a new and alarming phase. After the initial shock of the boom in unconventional gas drilling, citizens in environmentally ravaged communities have been fighting back and claiming victories. But Big Oil and their colluders — the big money politicians — don’t put up with this sort of thing for very long. I learned this a generation ago, after I...

How much proof do we need on fracking and earthquakes?

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Remember a few weeks ago, when I wrote about earthquakes in Irving, Texas — a stone’s throw from the headquarters of the world’s largest energy company, ExxonMobil? I thought the irony was huge: Texas is just one corner of America where earthquakes had once been rare but are now commonplace — coinciding with the rise of fracking in those regions. Here’s the thing:...

Quakes rattle ExxonMobil “Death Star”: Is fracking to blame?

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One thing has become increasingly clear over the last decade: Earthquakes in America aren’t just for California anymore. Regions that were long considered seismically stable — especially in the prairie regions of the American Southwest, but also far-flung areas such as Ohio — have been rocked by a series of tremors. These new waves of earthquakes can cause structural damage to...

Amid talk of EPA rollback, Texas chemical leak kills 4

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There’s been a lot of news on the environmental front this week, most of it concerning the intersection between our fragile ecology and our broken politics. Word that the Republican Party re-took control of the U.S. Senate and amped up its big majority in the House of Representatives has also led to increased speculation that the GOP’s No. 1 priority will be a crusade against...

Good news and bad news from Tuesday’s election

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I’ve said here repeatedly that the American people are slowly but steadily catching on to the risks of fracking, and they are making their voices heard. Increasingly, citizens are looking at the supposed benefits of gas drilling in their communities — royalty checks for some, perhaps cheaper has prices — and then looking at life with tainted air and dirty tap water, and...

With little fanfare, Texas oil spill is killing dolphins and birds, mucking up beaches

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Are Americans becoming numb to oil spills? You have to wonder sometimes. Over the last couple of years, as domestic fossil fuel production has surged, so have the number of accidents — along pipelines and railroads, on offshore drilling platforms and in barge collisions. And sure, these mishaps and misadventures have received some media coverage — but not all that much. Maybe the...

25 years to the day after Exxon Valdez, oil is still spilling…and killing

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History keep repeating, and not in a good way. Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez accident and massive spill in Alaska, which for years was the standard by which all oil spills were judged…until BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster came along. Ironically, the four-year anniversary of that accident — which killed 11 people and spewed 5 million barrels of oil into the...

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