Environmental Must-Reads – December 17, 2012


Sinkhole prompts study for alternative route for Louisiana 70 in Assumption Parish

State highway officials say they’ll start a six-month study early next year into the feasibility of an alternative route around an eight-acre sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish.

Geologist details failure factors

The sidewall of a Texas Brine Co. LLC salt cavern inside the Napoleonville Dome was dissolved through the dome’s outer edge, bringing the cavern into contact with surrounding sediment layers outside the dome before the cavern failed, an LSU geologist said Friday.

BP oil spill cleanup at seashore shifting gears

The U.S. Coast Guard is exploring the possibility of scaling back the oil spill cleanup operations in the Gulf Islands National Seashore in the spring, three years after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.

Louisiana looms large in oil spill case

BP has negotiated settlements with thousands of individuals harmed in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and cut a plea bargain on federal criminal charges.

Yet a plaintiff looms that could demand and possibly win civil damage payments that would dwarf the billions BP already has paid or committed: The state of Louisiana.

Ouch! Sharp Lessons From Deepwater Horizon

The science journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) has published a Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Special Feature taking a look back 20 months after the explosion that killed eleven people and upended countless lives along the Gulf Coast. Specifically at what happened, what we learned, and what could be done better the next time around. The introduction is authored by Jane Lubchenco, administrator of NOAA, and Marcia McNutt, director of the USGS, among others.

Keystone XL critics now calling for more in-depth climate change study

With President Obama poised to decide whether to allow construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline — based on a second, more environmentally-sensitive path — critics now appear focused on derailing the project over a climate change study.

Keystone XL Pipeline Decisions Before the Land Board

The Montana Land Board is set to vote today on state land easements for the Keystone XL Pipeline. It’s a vote that Jim Jensen, the Montana Environmental Information Center’s executive director, says is premature because the environmental analysis for the project hasn’t been finalized. And, there’s more.

Brigadier General On Keystone XL Pipeline: ‘All Americans Should Be Outraged’

In an interview with HuffPost Live Thursday, former U.S. Army Brigadier General Steven M. Anderson spoke out against the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, warning that “all Americans should be outraged” about the national security implications of the project.

Keystone Pipeline Land Leased

The Montana Land Board is set to lease state land to Canada. In order to move forward with the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

The state land is being leased to a Canadian company so the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline can cross several rivers in Montana. The board will meet monday to consider selling 50-year easements to Transcanada for more than $700,000.

Grave concerns over oil spill response capability

Increasing transport of oil through Danish waters coupled with an out of date environmental response ships are dangerous mix that leaves Denmark vulnerable to a major disaster

Lawsuit to challenge U.S. plans for selling offshore leases

Environmentalists on Monday are set to file a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s plans to sell offshore drilling leases over the next five years, with a novel argument: that the government overlooked the value of waiting to harvest oil and gas from those coastal waters.

U.S. wants Chevron to justify new pipe

Responding to concerns raised by federal investigators looking into the August fire at Chevron’s Richmond refinery, company officials say replacement pipe being installed at the plant will resist the type of corrosion that led to the blaze.

Medical And Scientific Experts Urge Halting Fracking Rush Until Medical Unknowns Are Better Understood

This week, the group Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE) declared they would submit a petition to the White House signed by 107 experts to urge the administration to slow down and consider the health effects of natural gas fracking before allowing any new permits. They want the government to consider the two ethical principles adhered to by physicians: “do no harm” and that of “informed consent.”

Hollywood tapping into fracking fears

New movie “Promised Land” exploits concerns about gas-drilling technique.

Mark Hume: Say no to fracking in the Sacred Headwaters

Four years after the British Columbia government surprisingly announced a temporary ban on coal bed methane development in the Sacred Headwaters, the stage is set for a dramatic reprise.

On Tuesday the moratorium that has kept Shell Canada from drilling in the 4,000-hectare tenure expires.

Safety concerns raised over natural gas pipelines

A massive natural gas pipeline explosion in West Virginia last week is highlighting safety concerns about pipeline accidents, as new pipelines are laid across the country to service burgeoning shale gas development.

While the West Virginia pipeline accident didn’t cause any injuries or fatalities, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration data show pipeline accidents have caused the deaths of 68 people nationwide in the past five years, 21 of them pipeline workers.

Shale drillers want to move wastewater on barges

The shale gas drilling industry wants to move its wastewater by barge on rivers and lakes across the country. But the U.S. Coast Guard, which regulates the nation’s waterways, must first decide whether it’s safe.

Wyoming lawmakers OK development of energy curriculum for schools

State officials and representatives of the energy industry will be asked to develop a course of study focusing on the energy industry and natural resources to be taught in Wyoming schools under a bill approved Thursday by the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee.

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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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