Environmental Must-Reads – August 13, 2013


More news on the risks to drinking water from oil and gas development

A new peer reviewed study published in Environmental Science & Technology analyzed the water in 100 private water wells in and near the Barnett Shale of Texas. The study found elevated levels of arsenic, selenium, strontium and total dissolved solids (TDS) that exceeded the EPA’s Drinking Water Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL) in some samples from private water wells located within 3 kilometers of active natural gas wells. The scientists concluded that “elevated constituent levels could be due to a variety of factors including mobilization of natural constituents, hydrogeochemical changes from lowering of the water table, or industrial accidents such as faulty gas well casings.”

Fracking Activists Urge Lawmaker To Withdraw ‘Gutted’ Bill

Environmental activists were set to descend on the offices of a San Fernando Valley lawmaker Monday to demand she support a legislative ban on a controversial drilling process

California Lawmakers Demand Federal Investigation of Offshore Fracking

With fracking operations to extract fossil fuels off the California coast stepping up, lawmakers in that state are demanding to know why the federal government is approving such operations without following legally required environmental reviews.

Fort Collins fracking moratorium headed toward vote

A petition drive aimed at asking Fort Collins voters to impose a five-year moratorium on fracking within city limits has enough signatures to place a question on the November ballot.

Small Texan Communities Dry Up as Fracking Industry Takes Water

What some ranchers may not know when they agree to sell drilling leases to energy companies, granting them permission to drill and frack on their land, is that in some cases they are reaping the seeds of their own destruction.

Fracking could accelerate global warming

The row over fracking for natural gas has hit the UK, with protests over plans in the village of Balcombe. Could they have a point? Studies are suggesting fracking could accelerate climate change, rather than slow it.

‘Acidizing’ oil wells — bigger than fracking?

Anyone following the spread of fracking in California should check out an interesting — and frustrating — report this week from former San Francisco Chronicle journalist Rob Collier.

It’s about “acidizing,” an oil production technique that involves pouring large amounts of hydrofluoric or hydrochloric acid down wells. Collier argues that it could be more effective than hydraulic fracturing as a way to unlock the Monterey Shale, an immense rock formation beneath central California that could hold more than 15 billion barrels of oil.

Fracking Vs. The Drought: They Call It Texas Tea, But You Can’t Drink Oil

How dry is it in Texas? So dry some residents are wishing for a hurricane to replenish the aquifer. So dry that many Texans are now against using water to frack for oil, which is famously called Texas Tea.

Fracking-Harmed Residents to Confront EPA Administrator, Demand Reopening of Investigation of Poisoned Drinking Water with 50,000+ Petitions at EPA Headquarters

Pennsylvania residents personally harmed by gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” traveled from their homes to deliver 50,000 petitions to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and President Obama to demand the reopening of the investigation into drinking water contamination in Dimock, PA. This action comes after a recent story by the Los Angeles Times that indicated that the EPA covered up evidence of contaminated water caused by the controversial drilling method. The residents have conducted press conferences along their trip to DC in Scranton and Philadelphia outside of the Region 3 EPA office. They will deliver about 50,000 petitions calling on the EPA to reopen investigations in Dimock and other locations and provide safe drinking water to residents while these investigations recommence.

Pipeline Fire Lights up Sky in Ill.; No Injuries

A fuel pipeline beneath a western Illinois cornfield has exploded, sending flames 300 feet into the sky and prompting dozens of evacuations, fire officials said.

BP Sues to Get New Contracts After Oil Spill

BP is suing the U.S. government over a decision to bar the oil giant from getting new federal contracts to supply fuel and other services after the company pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Gulf oil spill claims administrator must respond to BP request to halt claims payments

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier on Monday ordered the administrator of the court-supervised settlement of private claims against BP stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster to respond by Aug. 26 to BP’s request for an injunction temporarily halting millions of dollars in claims payments until an investigation into possible wrongdoing in the program is completed.

Sinkhole bypass meeting set Tuesday in Napoleonville

State highway officials will seek public input Tuesday on possible alternatives for future bypass and detour routes around La. 70 near the Assumption Parish sinkhole.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is investigating alternatives in case subsidence around the sinkhole forces the highway to be shut down.

Camera captures images of Bayou Corne sinkhole “burp”

Video shows new activity at the site of a sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Emergency managers captured images August 8 of what they call a “burp” occurring near Bayou Corne. You can see bubbles rising to the sinkhole’s surface.

Petron claims responsibility, apologizes for oil spill

Petron Corp. is taking responsibility for the massive oil spill in Rosario, Cavite last week.

In a statement, Petron president Lubin Nepomuceno yesterday said the company also apologized for the damage caused by the oil leak.

“At this stage, we take responsibility for this unfortunate incident. We sincerely apologize and assure all the communities affected that we will strive to resolve the situation at the soonest possible time,” he said.

TransCanada says no issues with Keystone crude pipeline

TransCanada Corp said on Monday there were no issues with its 590,000-barrel-per-day Keystone pipeline that carries crude from Hardisty, Alberta, to Pakota, Illinois, and Cushing, Oklahoma.

Keystone XL Protest Draws Hundreds To State Department

About 200 environmental activists gathered in front of the State Department Monday morning to protest the proposed expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline through the midwestern United States.

Attorney General Luther Strange joins 20 other AGs in urging approval of Keystone pipeline

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange joined attorneys general from 20 other states in urging the State Department to recommend a permit for expansion of the Keystone Pipeline.

Exxon housing assistance drying up in one month

In 30 days Exxon will stop paying for evacuated Northwoods residents to stay in temporary accommodations, company spokesman Aaron Stryk said Monday.

That deadline applies to the 11 property owners whose homes have been cleared as safe for reentry by the Mayflower oil spill response’s unified command, made up of local and federal government officials.

Mayflower, Arkansas residents face health problems after exposure to tar sands oil, toxic chemicals

When the Exxon Mobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured under the small town of Mayflower, Arkansas, it spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of diluted bitumen — crude, tar sands oil that had been diluted with a chemical cocktail to make it flow through the pipe more easily — and exposed nearby residents to toxic chemicals in the air.

Citing ‘High Risk of Rupture,’ Groups Call for Rejection of Enbridge Pipeline

Evidence submitted last week to the National Energy Board (NEB) regarding Enbridge’s application to reverse its Line 9 oil pipeline through Quebec and Ontario raised new concerns about the safety of the project and the high risk of an oil spill.

Undercover Agents Infiltrate Tar Sands Action Training

After a week of careful planning, environmentalists attending a tar sands resistance action camp in Oklahoma thought they had the element of surprise—but they would soon learn that their moves were being closely watched by law enforcement officials and TransCanada, the very company they were targeting.

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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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