News Round-Up: May 18, 2011


Today’s essential reads


Susquehanna River Named Most Endangered in US Due to Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has led to the naming of the Susquehanna River as America’s most endangered river in an annual report listing the top ten rivers in the country at environmental risk from factors such as coal, uranium and sewage.

Gas Drilling Turning Quiet Tourist Destination into Industrial Town

‘While we’re drilling wells there are going to be a whole lot of trucks going past your house. And you’re not going to like that,’ says an industry insider.

Why Voluntary Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing is Insufficient

There’s a new website called FracFocus. FracFocus is a  a joint project of the Ground Water Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. Oil and natural gas producers can voluntarily upload data onto the FracFocus website for wells that are hydraulically fractured. Information provided by operators may include the hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) date, location, the name of the service company that supplied the fracking product, a list of the ingredients in the frack fluid, and the maximum ingredient concentration.

Is Fracking Posing a Threat to Our Food Supply? Media Buffet

Former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl is serving as Gilt Taste’s editorial adviser. Former Gourmet contributor Francis Lam is the site’s features editor, and for its launch he assigned Barry Estabrook, another of the old Gourmet’s more substantive writers, a story about “fracking.” The word is short for hydraulic fracturing, a controversial process of drilling for natural gas that is thought to be contaminating water supplies and could be threatening the purity of food supplies as well.


Senate Blocks GOP Bid to Speed Offshore Drilling

A GOP bid to expand and hasten offshore oil drilling in the face of $4-a-gallon gasoline prices suffered an overwhelming defeat in the Senate today, four days after President Barack Obama directed his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production.

Consensus on Gas Policy in Congress Remains Unlikely

Both major political parties in Congress can agree on at least one thing: The price of gasoline in America — at $4 a gallon — is a bad thing. Agreeing on what, if anything, should be done about that reality isn’t as easy.

More Gulf Seafood Testing Needed: A New Study Critically Reviews Seafood Safety Policies and Protocols Following the BP Oil Spill

According to a new study, additional and improved testing of Gulf seafood is needed to track contamination and ensure public health protections following the BP Oil Spill disaster.  This study provides solid evidence to support community concerns that the testing of seafood, particularly in coastal waters, is woefully inadequate and that a comprehensive long-term monitoring plan is needed.  However, it disappointingly falls short of its claim to provide a more “conservative” assessment of the safe level of oil-spill related contaminants in seafood and continues to underestimate risks to vulnerable populations.


Radioactive Substances Found in Breast Milk of 5 Japanese Women

Small amounts of radioactive substances have been detected in the breast milk of five women in Japan, online newspaper Japan Today reported Thursday, citing a study by a citizen’s group.

Japan Tsunami 2011: TEPCO Releases Dramatic Photos Of Wave Striking Fukushima Nuclear Plant

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has released a dramatic series of photos that show the March 11 tsunami battering the now-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

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