Environmental Must-Reads – August 21, 2013


The War Over Fracking Comes to the English Countryside

Environmentalists have been fighting against fracking in the U.S. for years — with little success. Now the British government is pushing to allow drilling for shale gas in the U.K. Will British greens stop fracking from starting?

California’s oil industry seems to have fracked itself in the foot

The oil industry had seemed on the verge of defeating attempts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in California. But revelations that some oil companies were already using the technology (which involves injecting chemical-laced water under high pressure to break up rock formations containing oil and natural gas) off the coast of southern California have revived a campaign to impose strict controls on it.

Wyoming delegation: Exempt state from fracking rules

Wyoming’s congressional delegation sent Interior Secretary Sally Jewell a letter Monday asking her to exempt the Cowboy State from proposed rules for hydraulic fracturing because Wyoming already regulates the practice.

Grassroots Effort Working To Fight Fracking In Allegheny County Parks

There’s 12,000 acres in nine Allegheny County parks that 11 million people visit each year.

“We escape there to experience nature, to show our kids the gems of our community, to hike and run and bike and recreate, and we cannot put this at risk,” said Erica Stafford, of Penn Environment.

Fire put out on Oklahoma natural gas pipeline after blast

A fire on Tuesday caused by an explosion at a natural gas pipeline owned by Enable Midstream Partners near Kiowa, Oklahoma, has been extinguished, an Enable spokeswoman said.

No future for fracking: Renewable energy a better bet for corporations

Fracking won’t survive, says Jane Thomas, campaigner for Friends of the Earth organization. And the US success in the field can’t be repeated due to smaller territories and lower general capacities, she told RT.

Fracking: American dream, Chinese pipe-dream, global nightmare

Across Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, fracking wells periodically burst out of the green scenery, little man-made islands heaving with activity in the middle of grazing lands. Trucks ferrying fracking equipment are ubiquitous on the back roads, some with Wild West names such as ‘Stallion’ and ‘GoFrack’, others with lazy monikers like ‘Key Energy’ and ‘Basic Energy’.

Five Ways to Stop President Obama’s Plan to Frack America

When President Obama delivered his speech on climate change in June, we all welcomed his renewed focus on this crisis. While the broad narrative of his speech was something to rally around, his actual plan to solve the climate crisis is to drill and frack more aggressively than ever before. It’s said that “the devil is in the details,” and President Obama’s support for fracking threatens to exacerbate climate change to the point of no return, while poisoning our water, air and families in the process. It’s time we as a movement unite to stop President Obama’s plan to frack America. Here’s what we need to do

Fracking leaves property values tapped out

Depending on where you stand and what’s beneath the ground you’re standing on, fracking is either paving the way toward American energy independence or dooming it to methane-addled water and man-made tremors.

The one certainty about fracking, however, is that it doesn’t exactly do wonders for property values.

End Of Public Comment Period Looms As BLM Looks To Change Rules Around Oil And Gas Drilling

The Bureau of Land Management recently proposed new rules for oil and gas drilling on public lands that they argue would grow the industry, but would also eliminate many safeguards already in place.  According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, it is the first time since the 1980s that the Federal oil and gas regulations would be updated.

Fracking frenzy slows as oil and gas assets plummet

You know that domestic oil-and-gas boom that’s been sweeping the country for the past few years, turning places like Williston, N.D., into Sin City? Well, the party’s winding down — or maybe it was never that ragin’ in the first place. Oil and gas shale assets, possibly overvalued to begin with, are plunging in price thanks to an oversaturated market and wells whose production hasn’t always lived up to expectations.

In The Spotlight: The Town That Beat Fracking

The town of Dryden, NY has earned a spot in the national conversation about fracking.

The town’s story of fighting back against the fracking industry—and winning—was spotlighted on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show this weekend.

New Poll: Strong Concerns about Fracking in California

Fracking is already underway in California, with no regulations in place. Yet, recent polls consistently show widespread concern amongst Californians about the impacts on public health and the environment.

Drought-Stricken Texas Fracks Its Way to Water Shortages

The southwestern U.S. has been experiencing escalating heatwaves, crippling drought conditions and large swaths of wildfires this year, all hastened by climate change. In unison, these conditions are exacerbating each other and creating chaos, complete with water shortages and evacuations.

Fracking Public Lands Impacts Ohio’s Tourism Economy

My heart breaks when I think of the growing assaults on our commons—on our air, our water and our public lands. In southeast Ohio, Wayne National Forest, Ohio’s only national forest, has been abused for decades. Extensive logging takes place under false pretenses as “ecological management.” The area has been assaulted by “prescribed” burns, which are not even appropriate in eastern forests. ATV trails increasingly riddle the land. Non-native species invade wherever there is a disturbance.

Fracking ‘a threat to dolphins’

Coast presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff has warned that fracking could endanger Britain’s dolphin population.

The marine scientist, 40, is championing the bottlenose dolphin in this week’s episode of Britain’s Big Wildlife Revival on BBC1.

Study: Oil from BP spill still lingers off Florida’s coast

The thick globs of BP oil that washed ashore on beaches along Florida’s Panhandle in 2010 never reached Tampa Bay, to the relief of hotel owners, restaurateurs, anglers, beachgoers and local officials.

But oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, floating beneath the surface after being sprayed with dispersant, settled on a shelf 80 miles from the Tampa Bay region within a year of the spill’s end, according to a scientific study published this week.

USF scientist: Oil from BP spill found on Florida shelf

When it comes to marine science, USF professor Dr. John Paul is one of the nation’s most noted experts, and his findings of the effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, to coin a phrase, are making waves.

Seafood safety testing continues three years after oil spill

Since the BP oil spill three years ago, the Department of Marine Resources has tested 622 seafood samples. And all of those samples have been shown “safe” to eat. The Commission on Marine Resources heard an update on the seafood safety program at Tuesday’s monthly meeting.

Gulf fisheries may have been more contaminated than was thought

Federal agencies may have been too quick to judge the Gulf of Mexico safe for fishing, according to a retest of water, sediment and seafood samples taken before and after the 2010 oil spill. Paul W. Sammarco of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium told the New York Times that earlier contamination studies may have been affected by oil dispersants. The instances where he found greater contamination, he said, “called into question the timing of decisions by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to reopen gulf fisheries after the spill.”

New BP ads say people without losses seeking money for 2010 oil spill

BP is back with new newspaper ads, this time aimed at what are billed as unscrupulous trial lawyers seeking a big pay day gaining compensation for people who didn’t suffer any losses from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Brownies Oil Co. Explosion Kills One Worker, Causes Fuel Spill In Mercer County, Pennsylvania

A 10,000-gallon fuel oil tank exploded at an industrial park on Monday and went flying across a road, killing a worker who was welding nearby.

The tank spilled 7,500 gallons of fuel and flooded a dike encircling the area, but the spill was contained, firefighters said.

1 injury reported in explosion at La. Plant

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office says a trucker’s leg was slightly burned in an explosion at an industrial site near New Orleans

Burst Pipeline’s Spill Plan Is None of Your Business, Suggests Regulator

Federal regulators have released ExxonMobil’s 2013 emergency response plan for the pipeline that ruptured in an Arkansas residential neighborhood on March 29, but the document is so heavily redacted that it offers little information about Exxon’s preparations for such an accident

Exxon Pipeline Rupture: Amount of Oil Spilled Is Still Guesswork

Homeowners whose lives are still in limbo after thousands of gallons of oil streamed into their neighborhood from a ruptured pipeline on March 29 might never know precisely how much of the sticky black goo oil actually spilled.

The working estimate is that 5,000 barrels—210,000 gallons—of Canadian heavy crude oil poured from a 22-foot break in ExxonMobil’s Pegasus pipeline on that Good Friday afternoon.

Restarting ruptured Ark. pipeline to take time

The former administrator of the pipeline safety administration says it will take time to restart a crude oil pipeline that ruptured in Mayflower earlier this year.

The Aftermath Of Oil Spills In Michigan And Arkansas

In March of this year, an Exxon Mobil pipeline in Arkansas burst, spilling about 200,000 gallons of thick Canadian crude oil. Three years ago in Michigan, an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured. More than 840,000 gallons of oil spewed into the Kalamazoo River. Communities in both states are still dealing with the aftermath. The fear of a major oil spill is one of the reasons many environmentalists are fighting the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Industry experts argue pipeline technology has improved greatly in recent years. They say Keystone will be safe and will help the U.S. economy. Diane and her guests discuss the latest news on the oil spills and the safety of shipping oil through pipelines.

Is Canada Muzzling Debate on Oil Sands?

Canada is unconstitutionally restricting public participation in hearings on oil sands and pipeline expansion projects, the Forest Ethics Advocacy Association claims in Federal Court.

The association and author Donna Sinclair sued the National Energy Board and Canada’s Attorney General in Toronto Federal Court.

Seeping Alberta Oil Sands Spill Covers 40 Hectares, Still Leaking

As debate rages south of the 49th Parallel over developments such as the Keystone XL pipeline, bitumen from four underground oil spills is quietly seeping into wetlands and soils in the oil sands in northern Alberta—and has been for at least three months, if not longer.

Interior Department says Keystone XL pipeline impact report is inaccurate

The US Department of the Interior has criticised as “inaccurate” the State Department’s draft conclusions that the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on wildlife would be temporary, and has warned instead that it could have long-term, adversarial effects.

Jindal Lambastes ‘Radical Left’ For Keystone XL Pipeline Delays

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled to the Canadian Rockies to blame “blind leftwing ideologues” for the impasse over building the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

US Department of Interior criticises State over Keystone XL impact report

The US Department of the Interior has criticised as “inaccurate” the State Department’s draft conclusions that the impact of the Keystone XL pipeline on wildlife would be temporary, and has warned instead that it could have long-term, adversarial effects.

These Endangered Animals Could be Besieged by Keystone XL

In its deliberations over the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department is taking flak not just from picket-sign-wielding environmentalists, but also from within the ranks of the Obama administration. This spring the EPA slammed an environmental review as “insufficient” and called for major revisions. And yesterday, ThinkProgress uncovered a letter from the Interior Department, dated from April, that outlines the many and varied ways in which the pipeline could wreak havoc to plants and animals (not to mention dinosaurs) along its proposed route.

Yakima fuel distributor violated oil spill prevention and response safety rules

Wondrack Distributing, Inc. violated federal oil spill prevention and response rules at its Yakima, Washington fuel distribution facility, according to a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA found multiple violations of Clean Water Act spill prevention rules and spill response requirements at the facility.

Tangled web of liability trails deadly oil-train disaster

Quebec’s government last week added rail giant Canadian Pacific Railway Corp. to its list of companies deemed responsible for cleanup costs following last month’s deadly oil train derailment.

Russia refuses Greenpeace ship entry into oil-rich Arctic

Russian officials are refusing to allow a Greenpeace icebreaker into that country’s oil-rich Arctic seas as multinational energy companies begin opening those waters to development.

Oil majors eye oil, gas off Arctic Jan Mayen island

An additional eight oil firms, including majors BP and ConocoPhillips, are interested in the potential oil resources off Jan Mayen island in the Arctic, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate said on Wednesday.

Japan’s nuclear crisis deepens, China expresses ‘shock’

Japan’s nuclear crisis escalated to its worst level since a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima plant more than two years ago, with the country’s nuclear watchdog saying it feared more storage tanks were leaking contaminated water.

Japan nuclear agency upgrades Fukushima alert level

Japan’s nuclear agency has upgraded the severity level of a radioactive water leak at the Fukushima plant from one to three on an international scale.

Japanese fishermen face new setback with latest Fukushima leak

There’s been another leak at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. Operators said Tuesday that 80,000 gallons of highly radioactive water escaped from a storage tank. That’s on top of a massive leak that was discovered last month. All of this has devastated Japan’s fishing industry.

Tepco Says Contaminated Water Leaked From Fukushima Tank

About 300 metric tons, or 79,000 gallons, of highly radioactive water has leaked from a storage tank at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. 9501.TO -9.12% said Tuesday, the worst such spill since the plant suffered a triple meltdown two years ago.

Worst Radioactive Leak Yet at Japan’s Fukushima

Some 300 tonnes of radioactive water is believed to have leaked from a tank at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, the worst such leak since the crisis began, the operator said Tuesday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said the leak was believed to be continuing Tuesday at Fukushima and it had not yet pinpointed the source of it.

Radioactive water leak from Fukushima considered ‘level 1’ incident

Highly radioactive water has leaking from a storage tank at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant is the worst since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, says Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator.

Uranium miners face new hurdles as Fukushima disaster worsens

Revelations of more toxic leaks from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will raise second-thoughts about Japan’s nuclear future, but won’t halt the long-term global expansion of the industry, the head of a uranium mining company said

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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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