Is Fukushima already poisoning hundreds of seafood consumers?


The news out of Fukushima just keeps getting worse and worse. It’s been more than two years since a massive earthquake followed by a tsunami triggered a nuclear emergency at the massive seaside power plant, operated by TEPCO. It’s hard to know which is more problematic — the frequent human errors, such as a accidental power failure last week that nearly caused cooling water to...

How BP poisoned 170,000 Gulf cleanup workers


The most misunderstood — and arguably the most tragic — outcome of the 2010 BP oil spill is the very serious risk to an estimated 170,000 citizens who had some role in cleaning up the environmental disaster. A veritable army of civilians — some hired though BP, but many of them volunteers worried about the impact of some 5 million barrels of crude oil on the Gulf and its...

Texas fertilizer plants: An explosive situation


This blog would probably go out of business if governments would simply do their supposed job and regulate big business, with the simple goal of protecting the safety and long-term health of citizens. Just look at the situations I write about most frequently: The BP oil spill, Fukushima, the Louisiana sinkhole, fracking, pipeline accidents. All very different situations, but at the core...

Scientists: BP oil missed by government pollutes sea floor, taints seafood


More than three years out, the pace of independent scientific research into the aftermath of the BP oil spill is increasing. These new reports are exactly the kind of outside analysis that both the oil giant and the federal government worked so hard to discourage in the months immediately after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in April 2010. As many feared, scientists are gathering new evidence...

Victims of last pipeline disaster forgotten as North America races to build new ones


What does it take to get people’s attention these days? How about blowing up a cornfield in rural Illinois and sending bright orange flames shooting 300 feet into the prairie sky? Folks who live for miles around the small town of Erie, Ill., were treated to that unexpected nighttime fireworks show this past Monday night, courtesy of a Texas company with the bland name of Enterprise Products...

Is the Obama administration looking the other way on fracking?


Nearly five years into the Obama administration, we’ve watched with great frustration as Washington so often says the right things on the environment — then goes off and does something else. That was certainly the case after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, as federal regulators seemed much more likely to side with BP in trying to make the issue disappear, rather than undertake a...

Florida beach laced with BP’s toxic oily goop


It was just earlier this month that I told you about tests that Marco Kaltofen — the chemical engineer who has worked with me on analyzing samples from the BP oil spill since the early days after the 2010 accident — conducted on a tar mat that came ashore on a Louisiana barrier island called Isle Grand Terre. He reported that the giant blob — which caused state officials to...

It’s going to take years to fix the Louisiana sinkhole


They had another community meeting about the sinkhole crisis in Bayou Corne last night, and like the swamp itself, passions are boiling over. Residents are frustrated with the loss of their homes for nearly a year now, with the fairly paltry compensation they’ve been getting and with the pace of negotiations with the company responsible for this environmental disaster, Texas Brine Co. Mike...

BP oil still assaulting Gulf beaches, getting more toxic


More than three years after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, BP’s spilled oil is continuing to assault Louisiana’s beaches — and now we have lab tests showing that these giant tar mats are more toxic than ever. There’ve been some reports out of the region regarding three separate episodes in which these tar mats have come on shore on Isle Grand...

Fracking boom already well underway, now Pa. decides to check for lethal radiation


When it comes to fracking — the popular term for the natural-gas drilling technique also known as hydraulic fracturing — the approach has been to shoot first and ask questions later , even if thousands of innocent civilians are caught in the line of fire. Nobody in America outside of a small circle of oil- and gas-men and some engineers had even heard of fracking in the mid-2000s when...

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