Environmental Must-Reads – April 8, 2013


Fracking Coalition Upsets Both Greens and Drillers

Like a marriage the in-laws don’t approve of, a new plan to strengthen standards for fracking is creating unusual divisions among environmentalists and supporters of the oil and gas industry.

At first glance, it’s hard to fathom all the angst over the Pittsburgh-based Center for Sustainable Shale Development. Environmental groups, foundations, and major oil and gas companies came together to support stringent measures to protect air and water from pollution in the Appalachian region, and they invited other groups to join in and help limit pollution from fracking.

Six Reasons Fracking Has Flopped Overseas

Shale gas deposits have been found in Poland, Argentina, China, Great Britain and other countries, but only the United States has fracked its shale gas into a national energy boom.

That’s not for lack of will abroad, according to energy experts gathered Friday at the University of Chicago: it’s because of political and economic circumstances that fostered hydraulic fracturing here while dampening its spread overseas.

Ohio River Barges Open Up A New Can Of Worms For Fracking

While the US pollution-watching world has been tuned into the tar sands oil spill drama unfolding in Arkansas, another potential risk situation related to fossil fuels has been quietly bubbling along under the radar. At least, it was quiet until last week, when our friends over at Reuters caught our attention with a story about a move to ship fracking wastewater from natural gas wells by barge on the Ohio River. The shift to river routes could help relieve some of the stress on inland communities caused by tanker trucks, but it also transfers some of those impacts to port communities and opens up yet another avenue of risk for water contamination.

Colorado: More wrangling over the Roan Plateau, as the BLM takes comments for another environmental impact statement

With comments coming in on a revised BLM study for fossil fuel development on Colorado’s Roan Plateau, it’s clear that there’s little common ground between the energy industry and conservation groups.

Hunters, anglers and environmentalists want the federal agency to set strict protections for natural resources, while oil and gas companies say the government needs to get on with opening the area for drilling as required under federal law.

DEP: Fracking OK to resume at spill site

A Marcellus Shale drilling company was allowed to resume fracking operations Friday at a Wyoming County site where a breach in equipment caused thousands of gallons of fluid to flow from the uncontrolled natural gas well last month.

Carrizo Oil and Gas received permission from the Department of Environmental Protection to resume fracking at the Yarasavage pad in Washington Township after meeting with regulators on Thursday and agreeing to make changes to improve its fracking procedures, the company said in a statement on its website.

Albany court ponders ‘home rule’ fracking ban

While all of New York awaits the outcome of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deliberations on whether to lift the four-year moratorium on the controversial gas drilling method commonly known as hydrofracking, attorneys on both sides of the issue argued before an Albany appellate court last week about the legal validity of two towns’ laws which effectively ban hydrofracking within their municipal limits.

BP to call 1st witness as trial over 2010 Gulf oil spill enters 7th week

BP is scheduled to call its first witness at a trial designed to determine causes and assign blame for its April 2010 well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico.

The BP witnesses are scheduled to start appearing Monday. They follow testimony presented by Halliburton, BP PLC’s cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon drilling project. Halliburton rested its case Thursday at the end of the trial’s sixth week. BP witness testimony is expected to last at least two weeks.

BP bounces back – but can it last?

Oil giant says it has turned the corner after 2010’s disastrous Gulf of Mexico spill, yet a multi-billion civil claim could cost it dearly, reports Tom Bawden

Arkansas residents seek millions after Exxon crude oil spill

Two Arkansas residents filed a class action lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Friday, demanding to be compensated for damages after a crude oil pipeline ruptured the week before in their subdivision outside Little Rock, Ark.

Cameras allowed near Exxon oil spill for first time

For the first time since the Mayflower oil spill in Arkansas, officials allowed the media to see where the rupture occurred.

Activists claim Arkansas oil spill diverted into wetland

Activists with the group Tar Sands Blockade published new videos on Sunday showing oil from the Arkansas pipeline rupture purportedly diverted from a residential neighborhood into a wetland area to keep it out sight and, most importantly, out of the media.

Oil spills from pipelines and tanker trains put risks in spotlight as new projects await approval

There’s never a good time for an oil spill but the spate of accidents involving transported crude oil couldn’t be less timely.

Americans are furrowing their brows at Canada after a six-decade-old ExxonMobil Corp. underground pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas on March 29, spilling at least 12,000 barrels of Canadian heavy crude and water into the town’s back yards.

Former Obama team member pushes White House to reject pipeline

Bill Burton spent the greater part of the past two years working to get President Barack Obama re-elected.

Now he’s in a different job, calling on the president to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project, which Obama’s administration last month said would have no significant effect on the environment.

Is the Keystone XL Pipeline the ‘Stonewall’ of the Climate Movement?

A few weeks ago, Time magazine called the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline that will bring some of the dirtiest energy on the planet from Alberta, Canada, to the U.S. Gulf Coast the “Selma and Stonewall” of the climate movement.

Which, if you think about it, may be both good news and bad news.

The Keystone XL oil pipeline: Some questions and answers

This year President Obama will decide whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. Few environmental issues in recent years have engendered so much passion and debate. The pipeline would facilitate the transportation of a particularly thick type of oil, oil sands crude, from Canada to U.S. ports.

Small Leak Is Reported at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

A small amount of toxic water has leaked from an underground storage pool at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, the plant’s operator said Sunday, two days after it reported a much larger leak from a similar storage pool.

Tepco finds second pit leaking in Fukushima

A second underground storage pool is leaking radioactive water at the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday.

The first pool, No. 2, was found to have leaked 120 tons of highly radioactive water on Friday. The size of the leak at the second pool, No. 3, was confirmed at 3 liters late Sunday. The leaks are likely to force Tepco to review its storage strategy for the toxic water, which has become its biggest enemy.

PHOTO: Cherry blossom road partially open to Fukushima evacuees

Evacuees are trickling back to see the famed “cherry blossoms of Yonomori” that had attracted more than 100,000 annual sightseers before the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Following the meltdowns, the entire town of Tomioka was designated a no-entry zone, residents were evacuated to other municipalities throughout the country, and the annual cherry blossom festival on a 2.5-kilometer road lined with 2,000 trees was suspended.

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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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