Environmental Must-Reads – April 3, 2014


Fracking Exports Will Leave U.S. Communities in the Dark

Last month, thirty Senate Democrats — members of the “climate caucus” — stayed Up All Night on the Senate floor to speak out about climate change. This was an important moment to highlight the most critical environmental issue of our time. What was not mentioned however, was the massive threat to our planet posed by exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) extracted through the increasingly controversial process known as “fracking.” Yet legislation authored by one of their own — Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and a House bill by Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO), would tear down barriers to the export of LNG, potentially spurring a massive increase in fracking, exacerbating the problems the senators spoke out against.

Congress members ask EPA to reopen three fracking investigations

A crew of Democratic House members are calling on the EPA to do its damned job — specifically, to investigate potential links between pollution and fracking in three states where groundwater has been mysteriously poisoned.

Rep. Matt Cartwright’s (D-Pa.) letter, sent Tuesday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy with signatures from seven other lawmakers, follows the agency’s disturbing decisions to drop three investigations into possible connections between fracking and water contamination.

Winter Cold Takes Toll on Fracking

The past winter has a lot to answer for. Weak retail sales and poor jobs growth have been blamed on the excessive cold.

A chill has run through oil drillers, too. Frigid temperatures in Wisconsin are leading to a shortage of sand, a crucial ingredient in the fracking process.

US Falling Emissions a Mirage: Offshoring and Fracking

America’s emissions are not falling, as suggested by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). The two main reasons are offshored goods and services and fracked natural gas. The EIA does two things that obscure reality when evaluating emissions. One is that it counts only emissions made in the United States. All those goods and services made in China or other developing nations don’t count against US emissions. The other is the warming potential of other greenhouse gas emissions. The EIA counts only CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Ohio activists rally in Columbus against fracking waste disposal

A coalition of local, statewide and national groups concerned about toxic waste from hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking,” gathered at the Statehouse today for “Don’t Waste Ohio” Legislator Accountability Day. The coalition called for an end to the state being used as a regional dumping ground for oil and gas waste. Participants in the afternoon rally met with their legislators in the morning, advocating for passage of legislation in both the House and Senate that would ban underground injection of fracking waste.

U.K. Said to Consider Easing Trespass Laws for Fracking

The U.K. government is considering changing trespass laws to make it easier for companies to frack for gas and exploit geothermal energy without the agreement of landowners, according to officials familiar with the discussions.

In the U.K., hydraulic fracturing and the associated horizontal drilling are covered by the same laws that deal with oil and gas exploitation, rather than those covering coal mining. As a result, the owner of each property under which the horizontal drilling passes needs to give permission.

Court tosses fracking water lawsuit

A lawsuit that could have stopped the Village of Painted Post from selling large quantities of water to a Shell subsidiary for fracking use has been dismissed.

Now, the residents and environmental groups that brought the lawsuit will have to decide whether to appeal the decision to the state’s top court.

LA City Council Tells Big Oil To Frack Off

On February 28, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to impose a moratorium on fracking and other unconventional “well stimulation,” making it the largest city in the country to aim the slingshot of local governance at the Goliath of Big Oil. The measure instructs the city attorney to draft an ordinance changing local zoning codes to exclude fracking and related procedures until they can be deemed safe. In addition to environmental damage, fracking has been linked to earthquakes—a problem in any environment, but a potential disaster in a high-density, temblor-prone area like Los Angeles.

Is fracking connected to the recent earthquakes in Southern California?

After a series of earthquakes hit Southern California recently, some residents and city officials turned their attention to hydraulic fracturing— or fracking — and possible links between the controversial practice and seismic activity.

In Fracking Fight, a Worry About How Best to Measure Health Threats

There are more than 6,000 active gas wells in Pennsylvania. And every week, those drilling sites generate scores of complaints from the state’s residents, including many about terrible odors and contaminated water.

How the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection handles those complaints has worsened the already raw and angry divide between fearful residents and the state regulators charged with overseeing the burgeoning gas drilling industry.

N.C. companies want new natural gas pipeline from Marcellus Shale

Duke Energy Corp. and Piedmont Natural Gas Company Inc. said Tuesday they want to invest in a new natural gas pipeline into North Carolina that can deliver more of the cheap fuel to customers and especially to new power plants run by the country’s largest electricity company.

Birth Defects and Mothers’ Proximity to Natural Gas Development: Is There a Connection?

More than 15 million Americans are now estimated to live within one mile of a natural gas well drilled since 2000.1 Research has demonstrated that natural gas development results in the emission of pollutants that include suspected developmental toxicants, such as benzene, toluene, and xylenes,2 although few studies have investigated the public health impact of these emissions. In this issue of EHP, researchers report preliminary evidence of an association between two birth defects and a mother’s residential proximity to natural gas wells at the time of birth.

Professor sheds light on BP cover up

Dr. Ian MacDonald is a professor at Florida State University, teaching Biological Oceanography. He is an expert concerning Geographic Information System techniques, and has played a large role in discovering the magnitude of the BP Oil Spill. Most recently, his expertise has been published and televised nationwide in relation to Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

These Photos Of The 2010 BP Oil Spill Are Weirdly Mesmerizing

In late April 2010, the BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig suffered an explosion that engulfed the platform. The resulting oil leak become the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the oil industry.

Shortly after the explosion, Greenpeace asked conservation photographer Daniel Beltra to head to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. Beltra contracted a plane to see the real effects of the oil spill.

Lake surveyor wants BP data from Lake Michigan oil spill

The Lake County surveyor is writing BP for a full account of last week’s crude oil spill into Lake Michigan.

Bill Emerson Jr., whose office oversees stormwater drainage in the county, said Wednesday he has sent the energy giant a letter, requiring it to forward “the amount and type of oil that was discharged into Lake Michigan last week along with the physical and chemical properties of the oil discharged and the source data and calculations used to determine the amount discharged.

Galveston Oil Spill Washes Ashore on Padre Island

Oil from the spill in Galveston Bay has drifted down to Padre Island.

Tar balls and oiled vegetation are washing ashore, and Mark Spier at the Padre Island National Seashore says wildlife is getting caught up in it.

Canadian Natural Resources Pipeline Spills 70,000 Litres Of Oil, Water

A pipeline owned by Canadian Natural Resources Limited has spilled 70,000 litres of oil and processed water northwest of Slave Lake, Alta.

The Alberta Energy Regulator says the breach happened on Monday and was reported by CNRL (TSX:CNQ) the same day.

Animals contaminated by Ohio oil spill are moved

Dozens of small animals contaminated after oil leaked into an Ohio nature preserve have been cleaned, with some taken to a Dayton science museum for extra care.

The Great Parks of Hamilton County reports about 60 salamanders, frogs and crayfish have been collected. Of those, 21 salamanders have been taken to the Boonshoft Museum.

Louisiana Sinkhole Expands Again

The sinkhole near Bayou Corne in Louisiana sucked down another patch of earth as Texas Brine Co. released pressure again from its failed salt dome cavern near the 29-acre swampland sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Officials say the edge collapse, or slough-in, came five days after six trees in the same area were pulled down into the hole’s watery depths. Texas Brine was releasing pressure from the cavern around the same time.

Mills defending Peigneur

Two of the bills state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, filed are aimed at halting the expansion of natural gas storage caverns beneath Lake Peigneur.

The bills, which were filed on the final day legislators could submit them for the regular session, propose putting a moratorium on creating new caverns in the Jefferson Island salt dome.

Canada Regulator Plans Public Hearings on Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion

Canada’s main energy regulator said Wednesday it will hold public hearings into Kinder Morgan Energy Partners KMP +0.79% L.P.’s planned expansion of a pipeline that carries crude from the Alberta oil sands to Canada’s Pacific Coast.

The regulator plans to issue a recommendation on the project’s future no later than early July 2015.

Tabor Tomato Farmers Settle With Oil Company Building Pipeline Through Their Land

We have an update to a story on a oilfield pipeline coming through our area we first told you about last week.

Gendron Homegrown Tomato Farm in Tabor had been fighting a lawsuit filed by BridgeTex Pipeline Company which is building a 20 inch crude oil pipeline from Colorado City to the Gulf Coast.

Oil production in North America is booming. And the spills are multiplying

Oil spills happen wherever oil is drilled or transported: pipelines, rail cars, drilling platforms, ships, barges — everywhere. Some are big, most are small.

But when they’re big, they’re really, really big.

Exactly 25 years to the day after the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24 of this year an oil barge off the Texas coast was hit by another ship and spilled as much as 168,000 gallons of bunker fuel into Galveston Bay. In the same week, an oil pipeline leaked into a nature reserve in Ohio and a BP refinery spilled hundreds of gallons of crude into Lake Michigan.

Oil industry, U.S. regulators mulling new testing standards

U.S. transportation officials and leaders of the oil industry are mulling whether standards for testing crude must be updated in light of several oil-by-rail mishaps.

The American Petroleum Institute, the leading voice for the sector, has convened industry experts to develop new testing standards in a move that could help regulators, a senior Department of Transportation official said on Wednesday.

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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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