Environmental Must-Reads – August 6, 2013


Exclusive: Censored EPA PA Fracking Water Contamination Presentation Published for First Time

DeSmogBlog has obtained a copy of an Obama Administration Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fracking groundwater contamination PowerPoint presentation describing a then-forthcoming study’s findings in Dimock, Pennsylvania.

New insight on vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination

Key factors have been identified that help determine the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination. A new USGS report describes these factors, providing insight into which contaminants in an aquifer might reach a well and when, how and at what concentration they might arrive.

Investigation Continues Into Fatal Explosion at WV Fracking Site

In the early morning hours of July 7, an explosion at a natural gas drill site in Doddridge County, WV, launched federal and state investigations into what ignited the fire and caused the subsequent explosion.

BLM to Examine Air Pollution Before Approving Oil & Gas Wells in Colorado

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and four conservation groups today announced that the BLM will reexamine the air pollution potential of 34 oil and gas projects involving more than 1,300 wells proposed on Colorado’s Western Slope. The agency will also—for the first time—establish and maintain a publicly-accessible Internet tracking system for federal drilling permits in its Colorado River Valley Field Office.

EPA updates oil, gas storage tank emissions requirements

The US Environmental Protection Agency issued updates to standards it brought out in April covering air emissions from oil and gas storage tanks. The updates will phase in control deadlines, starting with higher-emitting tanks first, and will provide the necessary time to ramp up production and installation, it said.

Drought-Stricken New Mexico Farmers Drain Aquifer To Sell Water For Fracking

The bad news is that the terrible drought in New Mexico has led some farmers to sell their water to the oil and gas industry. The worse news is that many of them are actually pumping the water out of the aquifer to do so.

Uinta Basin gas leakage far worse than most believe

Between 6 percent and 12 percent of the Uinta Basin’s natural gas production could be escaping into the atmosphere, far more than commonly estimated, according to a new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Offshore fracking in California: What could go wrong?

Exciting new update in the chronicles of America’s domestic oil-and-gas boom: Not only is offshore fracking a thing, but it’s been happening off the coast of California for a good 15 years now, in the same sensitive marine environments where new oil leases have been banned since a disastrous 1969 spill.

Fracking the Commons: Why Your Public Lands Are Under Assault by Oil and Gas Drilling

As a Forest Supervisor with the U.S. Forest Service in the 1990s, I put a 15-year moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front. I made this controversial decision because the ecosystems on the Front are irreplaceably rich and diverse, and because I’d witnessed first-hand the cultural connections (in spirit, mind, and body) that countless people both near and far had to this extraordinary place. The towering limestone cliffs, the wealth of wildlife, and the sheer wildness resonate deeply with the human psyche, and have done so for countless generations for over ten thousand years. 

Why No One Trusts Oil Companies On Fracking

When I speak to energy industry groups, I am most frequently asked variations on these two questions: 1) Why does the oil industry have such a bad reputation with the public and 2) What can be done about it?

Oil Companies Are Fracking Off The Coast Of Santa Barbara

Companies prospecting for oil off California’s coast have used hydraulic fracturing on at least a dozen occasions to force open cracks beneath the seabed, and now regulators are investigating whether the practice should require a separate permit and be subject to stricter environmental review.

Obama administration defends fracking safety — again

For years, the most common rap used to discredit hydraulic fracturing — the sharply improved drilling process that uses precisely targeted underground water cannons to free up oil and natural gas reserves a mile or more below ground — is that it triggered environmental nightmares in Pennsylvania. The most incendiary claim is that hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, has been so destructive that in some Pennsylvania communities tap water polluted by local drilling catches fire.

Boulder fracking moratorium moves forward

A five-year moratorium on fracking in Boulder and on Boulder-owned open space got a step closer to the ballot Tuesday night, when the City Council voted unanimously to move it forward.

Fort Collins fracking moratorium supporters submit 8K signatures

Supporters of putting a five-year halt to fracking in Fort Collins are a step closer to getting their proposal in front of city voters.

Representatives of Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins on Monday turned in petitions bearing 8,052 signatures calling for placing the proposed moratorium on the November ballot.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce launches pro-fracking voter education campaign

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has launched a statewide campaign to promote fracking and oppose a potential ballot proposal aimed at banning the practice.

Shale Gas: Why Reality has not Lived Up to the Dream

The development of the shale gas deposits in the United States, led by the drilling and fracking of horizontal wells into the Barnett Shale of Texas at the turn of the century, has opened up a resource that continues to draw visions of American energy independence from a number of commentators. The success of the development in exposing a potential resource that has been found in a number of states around the country continues to underwrite optimism for the short-term energy future of the country. In turn it has led to projected dreams of enhanced domestic supply in some of the countries of Europe, and the rest of the world.

Fossil Fuel Industry Launches $5 Million Disinformation Campaign in Australia

With the federal election looming, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) has launched a new $5 million advertising campaign to drum up public and political support to counteract successful pushback in farming communities, cut “green tape” and allow faster expansion of coal seam gas (CSG) extraction projects.

BP presents evidence of fraudulent claims, demands temporary halt of claims payments again

BP on Monday renewed its request for a federal judge to temporarily halt the payment of millions of dollars of economic claims stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, charging it has found new evidence of improper payment of claims by an employee at a Mobile, Ala., claims office and of apparent conflicts of interest involving attorneys handling appeals in the payment process.

BP says found new fraud in Gulf spill payouts

BP Plc said Monday it has discovered new evidence of fraud and conflicts of interest in the program that is paying billions of dollars to businesses and residents who claimed they were harmed by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP’s Oil-Spill Settlement Is Engulfed in Fraud

Look under rocks, and you’re likely to find worms. Dig into a multibillion-dollar legal settlement, and you’ll probably discover financial shenanigans. That’s proving the case with the BP-claims mess in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf oil spill effects endure

The sperm whale population in the Gulf of Mexico may be the most polluted in the world, according to a researcher who has spent the past four years studying the effects of the BP Oil Spill and the dispersants used to clean it.

Kimberly Blair: Whales tell the tale of BP oil spill

You might think the BP oil spill disaster is behind us.

But it’s not, according to scientists for Operation Toxic Gulf.

The scientists are out in the Gulf of Mexico trying to determine the long-term impacts of the 2010 oil spill and the controversial use of dispersants used to break up the oil

Shell Defeats Challenge to Arctic Drilling Oil Spill Plans

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA)’s oil spill plans for drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi seas don’t violate environmental laws, a federal judge in Anchorage ruled in rejecting a challenge by conservation groups.

Dire threat from oil spills to Arctic ecology, warn environmental campaigners

Both Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund are expressing grave concern at the risk of contamination in the Pechora Sea.

The US and Canada Are Officially Preparing for the Inevitable Oil Spills in the Arctic

For the two North American governments that reside in the Arctic, the prospect of an oil spill in the Bering Strait is no longer a possibility, but an inevitability. The US and Canada coast guards just orchestrated the very first joint offshore oil spill response drill in the famed ice-strewn passage—a passage that was, just a few years ago, so ice-strewn as to prove unnavigable.

Battle Creek Enquirer reports on Enbridge’s buying homes near 2010 oil spill

After an oil spill on the Kalamazoo River in 2010, Enbridge Energy offered to buy homes in the area within 200 feet of the river.

Battle Creek Enquirer reporter Jennifer Bowman finds that has worked out well for some homeowners, but there are still some hard feelings.

Ulster engineering company helps to contain Thai oil spill

PRODUCTS made by a Co Antrim company are playing a major role in the clean-up of a devastating oil spill in Thailand.

Honoré: ‘People will not sit by’

Vickie Guilbeau and several other women wept as the mournful lyrics of “Bye-Bye Bayou Corne,” a Cajun lament recorded by local artist Mona B. Dugas, was played at the end of Saturday’s community meeting marking a year since 350 Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou residents were ordered to leave their homes because of a nearby swampland sinkhole.

Bayou Corne-type disaster could happen elsewhere

On August 3, 2013 the community of Bayou Corne located near the Napoleonville Salt Dome, will observed the commemoration of the day they were forced out of their homes by a sinkhole that resulted from the collapse of a salt cavern storing petroleum products

Analysis: TransCanada’s East Coast oil pipeline to change trade dynamics

TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) plan to build one of the world’s longest oil pipelines has reverberations far beyond Canadian shores.

The planned 2,700 mile pipeline, which will bring crude from Canada’s energy capital of Alberta to refineries and ports on the East Coast, has the potential to upturn the dynamics of the North Atlantic oil trade squeezing out some imported crude to North America and revitalizing once-ailing refineries.

TransCanada to Face Hurdles in Quest for Eastern Pipeline

TransCanada Corp., (TRP) facing opposition to its Keystone XL pipeline in the midwestern U.S., is encountering challenges at home from environmental groups and provincial lawmakers over a proposed C$12 billion ($11.6 billion) line to ship oil to the Atlantic Coast.

As Oil Industry Grows, Minnesotans Say Pipeline Operators Have Been Bad Neighbors

Less than a month after the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission gave Enbridge Inc. the nod to increase the capacity of its Minnesota tar sands pipeline, the Canadian company settled a federal lawsuit over 15 permit violations and oil spills in the state.

Enbridge did not admit to the violations but settled the lawsuit, filed in conjunction with the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, for $450,000.

Mayflower residents hope to keep spill suit alive

Mayflower residents pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Exxon Mobil Corp. and a subsidiary want a federal court to let the lawsuit continue.

ExxonMobil filed papers last month asking that the lawsuit be dismissed.

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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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