Environmental Must-Reads – August 26, 2013


Molotov cocktails, civil disobedience and middle-class furor: Fracking protests hit Europe

Threats to use Molotov cocktails in Poland, a civil disobedience workshop in affluent rural England, and an Irish farmer with a sick child moved to become an eco-campaigner: these are just some of the ways in which Europeans have responded to the expansion of a much-debated oil industry practice.

Liberal Democrats blast environmental damage caused by fracking

Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats have poured scorn on George Osborne’s push for a shale gas revolution in the UK, saying the process of fracking has caused extensive environmental damage and water pollution in the US.

Fracking Health Project Puts Numbers to Debate

A project examining the local health impacts from natural gas drilling is providing some of the first preliminary numbers about people who may be affected, and the results challenge the industry position that no one suffers but also suggest the problems may not be as widespread as some critics claim.

Fracking is Draining Local Communities

Brenda and Richard Jorgenson have farmed in the White Earth Valley of North Dakota for more than 30 years. They built a home in the valley’s sloping hillsides and planted crops around its native prairie grasses. They have weathered the rugged conditions of the Northern Plains because they love working the land, but now their way of life is threatened by a powerful new force: the Bakken oil boom.

President Obama enters fracking debate

As President Barack Obama entered Binghamton University Friday, he drove right into the fracking debate.

“If this was coming out of the water in the taps of the White House, we’d be having a different conversation right now,” said Craig Stevens, a Pennsylvania resident.

Pennsylvania Fracking Study Preliminary Results Released

A project examining the local health impacts from natural gas drilling is providing some of the first preliminary numbers about people who may be affected, and the results challenge the industry position that no one suffers but also suggest the problems may not be as widespread as some critics claim.

Study: High arsenic levels in groundwater near fracking sites

A recently published study by researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington found elevated levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in groundwater near natural gas fracking sites in Texas’ Barnett Shale.

Fracking health project puts numbers to debate, suggests air pollution may be bigger concern

A project examining the local health impacts from natural gas drilling is providing some of the first preliminary numbers about people who may be affected, and the results challenge the industry position that no one suffers but also suggest the problems may not be as widespread as some critics claim.

South Africa Allows Shale Exploration in Beauty Spot

The Karoo semi-desert is a vest region that covers more than 400,000 square kilometres, around 40% of South Africa’s land mass, and has remained virtually undeveloped for hundreds of millions of years. Just recently Kgalema Motlanthe, the Deputy President of South Africa has announced that the government has been advised by scientists to allow companies to begin fracking for shale gas in the region.

PA Residents Worried After Latest MarkWest Flare Excursion

People living near MarkWest’s natural gas processing plant in Chartiers Township are losing patience with the company after another flaring incident at the site on August 22, 2013.

Suzanne Bastien, who lives less than two miles from the MarkWest plant, said she saw black smoke billowing from the flaring tower from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on August 22nd, which she documented with her camera. Bastien said she and her husband have seen flaring there for four or five years, but the last two instances have been particularly bad.

What It’s Like to Have Fracking in Your WV Backyard

Ed Wade’s property straddles the Wetzel and Marshall county lines in rural West Virginia and it has a conventional gas well on it. “You could cover the whole [well] pad with three pickups,” said Wade. And West Virginia has lots of conventional wells — more than 50,000 at last count. West Virginians are so well acquainted with gas drilling that when companies began using high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing in 2006 to access areas of the Marcellus Shale that underlie the state, most residents and regulators were unprepared for the massive footprint of the operations and the impact on their communities.

Pittsburgh gets advice on airport gas drilling

Officials from Consol Energy Inc. and Pittsburgh International Airport went to Texas in May to seek advice on gas drilling deals, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Familiar arguments expected in Alsen landfill hearing

The discussion between two men standing in a conference room looking at maps of a north Baton Rouge industrial area is likely to be echoed by others at a hearing Tuesday about a proposed landfill just northwest of the community of Alsen.

The two men looking at the maps were State Rep. Dalton Honoré and William Dawson, president of NPC Service Inc., which is in charge of the Petro-Processors Inc. Superfund site in East Baton Rouge.

Embassy of the Philippines vows to protect claims of workers hurt in Gulf blast

Officials from the Philippines vowed to protect the rights and claims of workers from the country who were injured and killed in last year’s fatal Gulf platform blast.

“The embassy continues to assist the affected workers and is prepared to take all actions to ensure that their rights are fully protected and their claims properly addressed,” the embassy of the Republic of the Philippines said in a statement.

BP Oil Spill Claims Deadline Likely to Be Extended

The April 2014 deadline for compensation claims against BP over its U.S. oil spill is almost certain to be extended, say both side of the legal settlement that governs payouts, possibly into 2015.

BP, EPA Spar Over Government Contract Suspension

BP, the oil giant whose exploding well dumped more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, has sued the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the government’s temporary ban on BP obtaining new U.S. leases or government contracts.

Thai Officials Play Down Effects of Oil Spill

Two rescue operations were set in motion last month when a burst pipeline sent tons of crude oil gushing into the sea near this idyllic resort island. One was cleaning up the spill. The other was defending the image of Thailand’s tourism industry, crucial to the country’s increasingly fragile economy.

B.C. Oil Spill Would Overwhelm Resources: Documents

Officials in British Columbia privately warned the province lacks the ability to manage oil spills from existing and future oil traffic, and even a moderate spill would overwhelm their ability to respond, documents show.

Nigeria: JTF Uncovers Oil Spill From Shell Pipeline

The Joint Military Task Force (JTF) code named Operation Pulo Shield yesterday said it has uncovered a huge crude oil leakage from the pipeline owned by the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

Shell says it’s containing oil spill in Nigeria’s Delta

Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian unit is containing an oil spill in the Niger Delta, the company said on Friday, after the military reported liquid “jetting” out of a pipeline.

Exxon Asks Judge to Dismiss Arkansas Oil Spill Lawsuit

Lawyers for ExxonMobil Pipeline Company have asked a judge to dismiss a federal lawsuit about an oil spill in central Arkansas.

Attorneys for the Irving, Texas-based company on Friday filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that state and federal officials filed in June.

Company responsible for massive SW Mich. oil spill denied permit

Enbridge Inc., which was responsible for a massive oil spill three years ago in southwestern Michigan, was denied a dredge pad permit as it continues the cleanup effort.

Canadian Documents Suggest Shift on Pipeline

Ever since President Obama said in June that a litmus test for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada was whether it would “significantly” worsen global warming, Canadian government officials have insisted it would not.

Oil sands pipeline avoids Keystone XL scrutiny

The most valuable piece of farmland in Shelby County this summer isn’t growing soybeans or corn. It’s holding a hardier crop — steel pipe.

On a field just north of this tiny farm town along Missouri Highway 15, about 60 miles of pipe is stacked neatly in four rows that stretch almost as far as the eye can see.

Keystone XL Is Only Part Of The Problem: 3 More Controversial Pipelines

You won’t hear much about the Keystone pipeline in the mainstream press, but you’re here reading CleanTechnica, so you already know that. As our recent post covering the March 29th ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline oil spill also made clear, there are a lot of pipelines in the US that are just as dangerous — if not more so! — than the Keystone XL. Here’s a brief, but spooky, look at some big oil trouble spots you might not know enough about. Here’s some wisdom.

Keystone’s Impact on Venezuela Muted by Waning Imports

It’s an article of faith among supporters of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline: approving the project would allow the U.S. to use more crude from Canada and less from Venezuela and other unfriendly regimes.

The reality, according to analysts and others who watch global energy trends, is more complex. U.S. imports of crude from Venezuela have been falling for decades, though TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed pipeline may hasten the trend.

Greenpeace ship defies Russia, enters Arctic route to protest against oil drilling

Greenpeace has deployed its icebreaker through an Arctic shipping route to protest against oil drilling in the fragile ecosystem, defying Russian authorities, the group said Saturday.

The Russian transportation ministry immediately accused the Dutch-flagged vessel of “crudely” violating Russian and international law.

Dutch back Greenpeace ship’s Arctic oil-drilling protest

The Netherlands on Sunday said Greenpeace’s right to peaceful protest was “indisputable” after the environmental group defied Russian authorities by deploying an icebreaker through an Arctic shipping route without permission.

FAA clears way for use of drones by oil industry off Alaska

Unmanned aircraft soon could be working for the oil industry in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska.

In an action hailed as an aviation milestone, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued “restricted category type certificates” to a pair of unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS. The action “will lead to the first approved commercial UAS operations later this summer,” the FAA said.

Fukushima operator to seek foreign advice on toxic water

Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, said it would invite foreign decommissioning experts to advise it on how to deal with highly radioactive water leaking from the site, and Japan signaled it may dip into a $3.6 billion emergency reserve fund to help pay for the clean-up.

Abe’s Nuclear Imperative Starts at Fukushima

Like the hundreds of tons of radioactive water now streaming daily into the Pacific Ocean off the Japanese coast, the bad news from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (9501) stricken Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant just keeps coming. Stanching the flow and getting the Fukushima cleanup on track are critical not only to health and safety, but also to the future of nuclear energy in Japan and elsewhere, and to the credibility of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.

Fukushima Leaks Prompt Government to ‘Emergency Measures’

Japan’s government will lead “emergency measures” to tackle radioactive water spills at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, wresting control of the disaster recovery from the plant’s heavily criticized operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)

Russia Offers Fukushima Cleanup Help as Tepco Reaches Out

Russia repeated an offer first made two years ago to help Japan clean up its accident-ravaged Fukushima nuclear station, welcoming Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501)’s decision to seek outside help.

Is Fukushima Radiation Contaminating Tuna, Salmon and Herring On the West Coast of North America?

We’ve extensively documented that radioactivity from Fukushima is spreading to North America.

More than a year ago, 15 out of 15 bluefin tuna tested in California waters were contaminated with radioactive cesium from Fukushima.

Fukushima tank reassembly may have led to leak

A huge storage tank from which about 300 tons of highly radioactive water leaked at the crisis-ridden Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant may have deteriorated and become deformed as a result of being moved and reassembled, Kyodo News reported Sunday.

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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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