Environmental Must-Reads – August 9, 2013


Calif Lawmakers Ask for Offshore Fracking Probe

A group of state lawmakers has asked the federal government to investigate hydraulic fracturing off the California coast where new oil leases have been banned since a disastrous oil spill in 1969.

Colorado Fracking Stresses Regulators as Permit Bids Soar

New rules governing oil and gas extraction in Colorado may increase the review period for permits and add to a backlog of well applications as energy exploration proceeds at a pace to eclipse last year’s record.

High Levels of Arsenic Found 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.

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.

Yukon, Canada First Nation votes against fracking

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in the community of Old Crow in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory is giving its leaders a clear and unequivocal message on hydraulic fracturing, a method used in oil and gas exploration and extraction.

New York City Fights to Help Ban Fracking

Clare Donohue, founder of an anti-fracking group called Sane Energy Project, said that out of the eight million people living in New York City, “You can walk up to anyone on the street and they haven’t heard about fracking yet.” But if New Yorkers knew more about what fracking could do to their city, she believes it would blow their minds, literally.

BP Must Pay $130 Million by Monday

BP has until Monday to pay $130 million from its oil spill claims program despite its complaints of the program’s “poor productivity and excessive costs,” a magistrate judge ruled.

BP CEO Says He’s Done Paying For The Deepwater Horizon Disaster

BP CEO Robert Dudley told Businessweek in an interview Thursday that continuing to send millions of dollars to people who claim they were hurt by the 2010 disaster is “not good for America.” While BP is trying to halt its payments and reduce the amount owed to victims, Dudley claimed the company has been the wronged party

New Orleans woman sentenced for bogus BP oil spill claim

A 29-year-old New Orleans woman has been sentenced to four years of probation for filing a bogus claim for relief after the 2010 BP oil spill. Alicia Wells also has been ordered to pay restitution for defrauding the Gulf Coast Claims facility.

Slidell woman sentenced for oil spill fraud

A 36-year-old Slidell woman has been sentenced to a year’s probation for wire fraud relating to an application for aid she filed after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

10 accused of BP oil spill fund fraud indicted

State officials say 10 people accused of filing fraudulent BP oil spill compensation claims have been indicted.

Attorney General Luther Strange said Thursday that the defendants are accused of creating and submitting fraudulent documents claiming that they lost income because of the oil spill.

Enbridge asks for Kalamazoo River oil spill cleanup extension in letter to EPA

Enbridge, Inc. has asked the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency for an extension to complete dredging of the Kalamazoo River due to continued opposition of two chosen dredge pad sites surrounding Morrow Lake.

Life at Louisiana’s Toxic Sinkhole: An Eco-Disaster Continues With No End in Sight

The view from Mike Schaff’s small airplane is startling. Bayous snake through pastures and swamp forest of Assumption Parish in rural Louisiana. Small residential neighborhoods and gangly networks of petrochemical pipelines, storage tanks and wastewater impounds dot the landscape. In the middle of it all is what looks like a small lake that has spilled into the swamp forest and left patches of cypress trees dead and gray. But the body of dark liquid is not a lake, and it’s not supposed to be there.

New activity noticed at site of Bayou Corne sinkhole

People monitoring a sinkhole in Assumption Parish say they’re noticing some changes around Bayou Corne.

Ark. Spill Victims on ‘Wrong’ Side of Fence Left to Fend for Themselves

People who live close to the ruptured Pegasus pipeline say they weren’t told of health risks and have been ignored by Exxon and government officials.

Persisting Impact of Ark. Oil Spill Tears Community and Family Fabric

“There was a real good sense of community in Mayflower before all this happened,” said one resident. “And now it’s like everybody picked a side.”

Mississippi River: Untreated Wastewater Discharged Due to Bissell Point Power Outage

Once again, millions of gallons of untreated wastewater have entered the Mississippi River due to a malfunction at a St. Louis treatment plant.

Dead fish after huge oil spill in Manila Bay

A huge oil spill shut down parts of the Philippine capital’s vital fishing industry Friday, jeopardizing the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people living along Manila Bay’s diesel-coated coast.

Enhanced oil recovery research lab targets stranded reserves

Tens of billions of barrels of oil remain stranded in aging fields in Wyoming’s Big Horn, Wind River and Powder River basins, according to David Mohrbacher, director of the University of Wyoming’s Enhanced Oil Recovery Institute (EORI). A portion of this stranded oil, between 1 billion and 3 billion barrels, can be recovered at today’s oil prices using enhanced oil recovery techniques.

Pipeline dreams: Why fossil-fuel divestment is easier said than done

I admit to being relatively ignorant about the fossil fuel divestment campaign until several months ago, when some of my peers at Northwestern University proposed a resolution establishing Northwestern as a leader in environmental sustainability, a move that pissed off our president and even inspired its own hashtag, #divestNU. For a while after that, I was excited to see college students rallying around something larger than a 40-second keg stand (admittedly impressive). Hey — at least we know what a smart investment in the future looks like, even if we can’t always make one ourselves. But then I educated myself further and I got angry. Here’s why.

The Next Keystone XL?

The Keystone XL might be stalled for now. But that’s not getting in the way of the TransCanada Corporation’s plans to build an even bigger pipeline to transport tar sands—one of the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuels on the planet.

The Keystone XL pipeline is ACTUALLY a bunch of solar panels! Who knew?!?!

People from across the spectrum have been working for years against the Keystone XL pipeline because we thought it would lock us into decades more of climate-changing dirty energy.  But it turns out, according to the TransCanada Facebook ad that’s been popping up in many of our feeds lately, we got it all backwards

Investigation Reveals Scientific Misconduct, Abuse of Whistleblowers in Review of Pipeline

Yet another scandal surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline surfaced today: Media are reporting that an investigation by the Interior Department’s inspector general has found that agency scientists were improperly retaliated against after blowing the whistle on flaws with a map of American burying beetle habitat along the pipeline’s southern route.

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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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