News Round-Up: January 5, 2012



Solar Panels Compete With Cheap Natural Gas

Renewable energy is growing rapidly in the U.S., with wind and solar industries enjoying double-digit growth each year. Part of that growth comes from more homeowners choosing to install solar panels.

Man-Made Quakes? Blame Fracking And Drilling

Small earthquakes in Ohio and Arkansas associated with hydraulic fracturing for gas have taken many people by surprise. Gas industry executives say there’s no hard evidence that their activities are causing these quakes. But some scientists say it’s certainly possible; in fact, people have been causing quakes for years.

Public Health Effects of Fracking Need Study, CDC Scientist Says

The U.S. should study whether hydraulic fracturing used to free natural gas from wells is a hazard to people or food sources, a top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Chinese Oil Firm Gets $2.2 Billion Stake In Controversial U.S. Shale Oil Fracking Industry

Chinese oil company Sinopec has invested $2.2 billion in a deal with Devon Energy to get access to shale oil deposits in the United States through the controversial process known as fracking.


BP Ordered to Boost Safety After Norway Probe

BP Plc (BP/) was ordered to improve safety after being accused of “serious non-conformities” by Norway’s Petroleum Safety Agency following an investigation into a fire last July at the North Sea Valhall platform.

Beads & Boos: Victims of the Gulf Oil Spill Take It On the Chin — Again

BOOS: To BP Plc, for temporarily freezing a fund set up to compensate victims of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the nation’s worst.

BP Oil Spill Payments to Resume After Fee Wrinkle

Payments to those damaged by BP’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resumed Wednesday, a day after administrators of the $20 billion fund stopped the flow of money, saying they were unclear on how to assess a 6 percent fee for lawyers handling claims.

Gulf Restoration Public Meetings Begin Next Week

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees have proposed eight projects to be funded from a $1 billion agreement with BP reached in April 2011, and the first two of a dozen public meetings to discuss these Early Restoration projects will take place in Florida on Jan. 11 and Jan. 12. Public input is extremely important, said Cooper Shattuck, chair of the Trustee Council Executive Committee, when this initial project list was released for comment Dec. 14, 2011.


Nuclear Awakening: Mothers First To Shed Food-Safety Complacency

“The disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant and the threat of radioactive fallout changed the lives of many people, including Mizuho Nakayama and other mothers of young children whose primary goal suddenly became that of keeping their kids out of harm’s way.”

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

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