Environmental Must-Reads – August 1, 2013


Majority of Californians are against fracking, new PPIC poll finds

People in other states may be chanting “drill, baby, drill” — but not Californians.

A new poll shows that a majority of Golden State residents oppose both new offshore oil drilling and expanding hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, to produce oil and gas. Californians also overwhelmingly support programs to expand renewable energy such as solar and wind power. And more than half say they have seriously considered buying a hybrid or an electric car.

EPA Must Come Clean on Fracking Contamination (Op-Ed)

Recently, NRDC learned that regional staff at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced an internal presentation indicating methane was released during natural gas drilling and “fracking” operations in Dimock, Pa. — resulting in “significant” and possibly long-term damage to the water quality of a drinking-water source for 19 families.

Gag order imposed on two kids in Marcellus fracking case

Two young children are forbidden from speaking about Marcellus Shale or fracking for the rest of their lives. The court action stems from a settlement in a high-profile MarcellusShale lawsuit in western Pennsylvania.

China Fracking Quake-Prone Province Shows Zeal for Gas

China won’t let earthquakes hinder its quest for energy.

Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and China National Petroleum Corp. are starting to drill for gas and oil in shale rock in Sichuan, the nation’s most seismically active province, a process geologists say raises the risk of triggering quakes.

US fracking industry ‘wasting $1bn a year in gas flaring’

New report calculates flaring of gas from North Dakota fracking industry leading to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to putting one million cars on the road

Has the EPA Given Up on Trying to Monitor Fracking?

When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field recently, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.

House panel votes to block Interior’s ‘fracking’ rule

The House Natural Resources Committee voted mostly along party lines Wednesday for GOP legislation that would block Interior Department efforts to expand regulation of oil-and-gas “fracking” on public lands.

Two more arrests at fracking protest

Police at an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe, West Sussex, pushed back demonstrators on Wednesday afternoon to allow the entry of an articulated lorry carrying pipes. It was the first successful delivery of equipment to the site since the protest began last week.

Why methane hydrate could soon become more controversial than fracking

Asia’s seemingly unquenchable thirst for energy — lead by China’s industrial expansion and Japan’s quest to replace nuclear — has scientists constantly rooting around for new sources. Now, the region is zeroing in on methane hydrate, a crystalline form of natural gas buried in Arctic permafrost and at the bottom of the ocean.

Fracking Bill could Take the ‘Public’ Out of Federal Lands

It’s about local control, say members of Congress who want the states, not the federal government, to regulate fracking on federal lands — those public lands that belong to all Americans.

The House Natural Resources Committee is considering a bill that would bar the feds from enforcing any “Federal regulation, guidance, or permit requirement regarding” fracking in states that have their own rules or guidance.

Frack Water Pollutes the Big Sandy River in KY

He came to WKYT to apologize for what he did. A man working for a natural gas company in Eastern Kentucky claims he dumped countless numbers of harmful pollutants into the Big Sandy River. He says his bosses told him to, so he told the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sissonville residents sue over 2012 pipeline blast

NiSource and a subsidiary are being sued by several Sissonville residents over a natural gas pipeline explosion.

The residents filed seven separate lawsuits alleging NiSource, Columbia Gas Transmission and several employees. The lawsuits allege that the defendants failed to “exercise due care” in maintaining the 20-inch pipeline.

Blowout May Tip Focus To Shallow-Water Drilling

Last week’s blowout on a natural gas rig off the Louisiana coast could shift regulators’ focus to shallow-water drilling and make an overhaul of safety equipment regulations more likely.

Shirking Responsibility in the Gulf

IF you don’t live near the Gulf Coast, you may have the impression that the area has fully recovered from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the largest environmental disaster in American history. Sadly, that’s not the case for tens of thousands of gulf residents still trying to put their lives back together.

Halliburton to plead guilty in Gulf oil spill

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing on Sept. 19 for Halliburton Energy Services to plead guilty to destroying evidence after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Scalise questions historic levee authority suit against oil and pipeline firms

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East is getting push back from a Republican Louisiana House member for its lawsuit demanding that 97 oil, gas and pipeline companies restore damages to wetlands that make coastal areas vulnerable to flooding.

Jindal looks for ways to intervene in levee lawsuit

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration is looking for ways to block a lawsuit accusing oil and gas companies of raising the risk of catastrophic flooding in New Orleans by destroying the wetlands in southeast Louisiana.

Protecting the Environment: An Economic Necessity in Texas

Industries such as commercial fishing, shipping, and gas and oil often come to mind when thinking about the Texas Gulf Coast – but an even larger economic engine for the region is tourism.

PHOTOS: Beaches Blanketed In Crude Oil After Major Spill In The Gulf Of Thailand

Crude oil has blanketed water and beaches at a Thai vacation spot after an offshore pipeline leaked an estimated 13,200 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Thailand Saturday.

Thailand tourists leave as oil spill blackens Koh Samet

A picture postcard beach on one of Thailand’s most popular tourist islands is now the focus of frantic efforts to staunch a tide of oil sweeping ashore.

Where pleasure seekers would normally relax on pristine white sand, sandwiched between two lush green headlands, now white-coated cleanup crew smeared with crude suck oil from the shallow waters.

Thai Offshore Oil Spill Prompts Warning from Environmentalists, Engineers

Environmentalists and engineers say the Thai government needs to improve the safety of the country’s offshore oil industry after a rig in the Gulf of Thailand released tens of thousands of liters of oil that has since washed up on popular beaches. As The spill has triggered wider concerns as foreign and local companies look to step up investments in offshore oil in the region.

Public warned of air pollution caused by Rayong oil spill

TOXIC COMPOUNDS from oil spills can affect humans through contaminated seafood and polluted air, the director of the International Anti-Ageing Centre warned.

Dr Krisada Siramput explained yesterday that there was a high possibility that marine animals in the affected seawaters would absorb toxic compounds such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

Mechanical failures led to Canadian oil spill

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said Wednesday a mechanical failure led to one of the worst oil releases in the country’s history, which is still ongoing.

More than 6,000 barrels of oil has seeped from four sites at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in Alberta province since May.

Kalamazoo Spill Anniversary Raises Concerns About Line 9 Pipeline Integrity

Last week marked the third anniversary of the largest inland oil spill in US history. On July 25th, 2010 a 41-year old Enbridge pipeline in Michigan tore open spewing over three million litres of diluted tar sands bitumen or dilbit from Alberta into the Kalamazoo River and the surrounding area. Three years later the spill from the Enbridge pipeline known as Line 6B is still being cleaned up with the cost nearing one billion US dollars.

Republicans say Obama comments jeopardize Keystone XL pipeline

President Barack Obama’s recent comments on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, downplaying jobs that would be created, jeopardize the project by adding to its uncertainty, Republican lawmakers said in a letter to the president on Wednesday.

Philip Radford On Keystone XL: Greenpeace Director Warns Of Pipeline’s Likely Political Impacts

Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline could spark an “incredibly negative” reaction from voters and President Barack Obama’s big donors, Greenpeace USA Executive Director Philip Radford said Wednesday.

Radford told SiriusXM’s Ari Rabin-Havt, “It would also affect Hilary Clinton if she ran for office, because she was positioned to rubber-stamp the Keystone pipeline.”

Canada Threatens U.S. with Oil Trains if Keystone XL Not Built

On 6 July, a Montreal, Maine & Atlantic train carrying 72 tank cars filled with oil exploded after its brakes apparently failed, sending it rolling into the small Quebec town of Lac-Megantic, where it derailed and then exploded. In the conflagration that followed, an estimated 47 people were killed.

Oil exploration threatens Africa’s billion dollar World Heritage Site

Africa’s oldest national park could be worth US$1.1 billion per year if developed sustainably, rather than being given over to potentially-damaging oil extraction, a report released by WWF today has found.

See What Restoration Looks Like for an Oiled Stream on an Isolated Alaskan Island

Earlier this year, NOAA Oil Spill Coordinator Ian Zelo shared the story of a 2010 diesel spill on Adak Island in the central Aleutian Islands of Alaska: a tanker overfilling an underground storage tank; the fuel entering the salmon stream Helmet Creek and nearby Sweeper Cove; the nightmarish logistics of getting to the remote, sparsely populated island; and assessing environmental injury to both the stream and marine habitats amid blizzards, possible unexploded ammunition, and the dark of night.

Canadian Regulators Investigate Mysterious Tar Sands Spills

Government regulators in Canada are investigating a series of mysterious oil spills around tar sands operations in Alberta. Thick oil is gurgling up unexpectedly from the ground instead of flowing through the wells that were built to collect it.

The spills are raising questions about a technology that’s rapidly expanding to extract fossil fuels that could ultimately end up in the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

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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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