Environmental Must-Reads – February 8, 2013


Yoko Ono Takes Aim at New York Governor’s Fracking Stance in New TV Ad

Yoko Ono has purchased TV ad time to address New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as the deadline nears for his decision about whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in the state. Also known as “fracking,” it is a method way of extracting natural gas from underground rock that opponents say has disastrous environmental effects.

Md. delegate introduces bill calling for fracking moratorium until studies are completed

Fracking opponents have introduced of a bill calling for a state moratorium on the natural gas drilling technique until studies are completed on its impact.

Delegate Heather Mizeur introduced a House bill on Thursday. Mizeur says it calls for an 18-month moratorium to protect against immediate pressure to drill once the first round of studies on the issue is completed.

Frackademics: Shale Institute’s Jacobi hired to do seismic study for DEC

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has chosen Robert Jacobi, a University at Buffalo geologist with ties to the natural gas industry, to study the link between fracking and earthquakes, a DEC spokeswoman told Bloomberg’s Jim Esftathiou, Jr. Jacobi, who is a senior advisor to gas driller EQT Production and who runs a geoscience consultancy, was a co-director of the University at Buffalo’s short-lived Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI), which was closed in November 2012 following a controversy over an industry-friendly study that downplayed fracking’s risks. “Jacobi has a vast range of experience that makes his expertise useful,” the DEC said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg. Jacobi’s experience includes a long career with the fossil fuel industry, to which he still has ties, and recently reviewing the report that led to SRSI’s closure.

Groups Urge EPA to Resume Legal Action in Fracking Water Contamination Case

Conservation and citizen groups from Texas and around the country today sent a letter calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 Administrator Ron Curry to resume legal action against Range Resources for polluting the drinking water of homeowners near its operations in Weatherford, Texas.

Yoko Ono to Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Gimme Some Truth on hydrofracking

Yoko Ono has released a new anti-hydrofracking ad that features a song by her late husband, John Lennon.

Ono, who has tried unsuccessfully to meet with Gov. Andrew Cuomo about hydrofracking, looks into the camera and says, “Since you won’t meet with me about the dangers of fracking, I will show you now on TV.”

Resistant Coloradans Delay Drilling Auction

The Bureau of Land Management has announced it is delaying an auction for drilling leases in Colorado following a public outcry. Leases for more than 20,000 acres in the North Fork Valley were set to go on the block this month. But residents organized a campaign raising environmental concerns, including the impact of hydraulic fracturing on the quality of water and air.

Lawmaker urges Interior to stick with tough drilling rule

A top Senate Democrat on Thursday told federal regulators not to shy away from tough requirements in a rule being drafted to tighten standards for drilling on public lands.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., gave his advice in a letter to top environmental officials in the Obama administration, as it reviews a new drilling proposal. In response to criticism from both the oil industry and environmentalists, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management decided last month to scrap its 2012 proposed rule and write a new one.

Japanese utility to import LNG from Louisiana

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the devastated Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant, plans to buy liquefied natural gas from the LNG terminal in Cameron Parish, raising expectations Japan will tap into the U.S. shale gas boom.

Fractured Land

Caleb Behn is the young, eloquent and enigmatic subject of a new documentary-transmedia project Fractured Land. An experienced hunter trained on the land by his grandfathers, Caleb is a modern Dene warrior, and a law student at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada.

He is a part of a dynamic dialogue on sustainable, equitable energy development in Canada, a country whose antiquated resource extraction practices are systematically decimating a way of life reliant upon the air, water and land.

Environmental Groups Urge Government to Slap BP with Maximum Civil Fine for Gulf Oil Spill

With the federal civil trial against BP scheduled to begin on February 25, Audubon and other environmental groups have mounted a letter campaign to urge the government to fine the company the maximum amount possible for the Gulf Oil Spill. So far more than 100,000 people have sent letters. Audubon, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Environmental Defense Fund will deliver the letters on Wednesday, February 13.

Houston judge allows more claims in BP fraud case

U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison in Houston said this week that a group of investors may add their claims to a multimillion-dollar fraud case against BP Plc alleging the company misled the public about safety measures before and after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BP loses some federal contracts due to spill

BP was ineligible for new contracts worth up to $1.9 billion to provide fuel to the federal government this year because of the suspension imposed over the company’s conduct in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, records show.

Byron Grote to Step Down from BP Board

The Board of BP p.l.c. today announced that Byron Grote has elected to retire from the company and will step down from the Board of Directors following the Annual General Meeting on 11 April 2013.

In Gulf of Mexico shrimp case, federal trade commission gives initial go-ahead

Following Gulf of Mexico shrimp processors petitions, the U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday determined that there is a reasonable indication that the domestic shrimp industry was injured by certain subsidized shrimp imports. While the U.S. Department of Commerce on Jan. 18 officially initiated the investigation, the International Trade Commission is partnering with Commerce to determine whether the domestic shrimp industry has been materially injured, or has been threatened with material injury, due to the subsidized imports.

Oil companies aren’t happy that the government is making them fix defective offshore rig parts

The U.S. government has asked Chevron, Shell, and our old friends at Transocean to halt drilling on wells in the Gulf of Mexico. Why? Because the systems connecting the rigs to the ocean floor contain defective parts.

Temple Inland pleads guilty to environmental law violations, admits killing more than 500,000 fish in Pearl River

Temple Inland, a subsidiary of International Paper, pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to polluting the Pearl River in August 2011 with illegal discharges from its Bogalusa paper manufacturing plant, and killing more than 500,000 fish, including more than 1,000 in the Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge. The company could be fined up to $200,000 for violating the Clean Water Act, and up to $10,000 for each “taking” of wildlife in the refuge.

Keystone XL: pressure on Kerry ahead of meeting with Canada counterpart

Secretary of state’s meeting with Canadian foreign minister will almost certainly touch on the controversial pipeline project

Oil-spill plan can’t cope with supertankers

The Harper government’s disaster planning has not kept pace with proposals to greatly expand oilsands exports from B.C. ports using supertankers, Canada’s environment commissioner said Tuesday.

Scott Vaughan said in a report that the number of tanker trips from the West Coast will increase to 2,400 a year from 600 in 2010 because of increased exports of natural gas and oilsands crude via proposed pipelines to B.C. from Alberta. And the tankers needed to ship that petroleum will have “significantly greater” capacity than the vessels that dock in B.C. ports today.

Arctic Council To Finalize Oil Spill Preparedness Agreement

This coming May, the Arctic Council will meet in Sweden to finalize an international agreement on oil spill preparedness. In the meantime, questions are multiplying about the adequacy of existing oil spill response technology to deal with arctic conditions. And one of the primary tools, dispersants, are coming under attack from the marine conservation organization, Oceana, in a scientific report that was released this week in Anchorage at the Alaska Forum on the Environment.

Environment expert agrees with oil spill critique

An environmental studies professor said she agrees with a federal report which says the C-NLOPB would be hard pressed to deal with a major oil spill on the Grand Banks.

Gail Fraser, an associate professor in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, said government, regulators, and oil companies would have great difficulty dealing with an oil spill similar to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Fukushima survivors to sue Japan govt

People whose homes or farms were hit by radiation from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant will file class-action lawsuits next month to seek damages from the Japanese government, lawyers say.

Fukushima residents to sue Japanese government over damages

Residents whose houses or farms have been hit by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant will file a class-action lawsuit against the Japanese government.

Japanese lawyers said on Friday that at least 350 residents were to file a case with Fukushima District Court on March 11, the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, to seek damages from the government.

TEPCO misled Diet panel, averted quake-damage inspection at Fukushima plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. misled a Diet investigation panel and cited “dreadfully high” radiation levels to effectively block an inspection for possible quake damage at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

“(TEPCO’s explanation) was absolutely false and seriously obstructed the investigation,” Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a former member of the now-disbanded Diet commission, said in a statement submitted to the chiefs of the two Diet chambers on Feb. 7.

TEPCO accident causes new problem at Fukushima

The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has admitted dislodging broken equipment weighing 1.5 tons and sending it falling further into a pool where fragile nuclear fuel rods lie.

The debris is part of a heavy-duty hoist formerly used to move fuel assemblies within the No. 3 reactor building. The hoist collapsed into the pool after a hydrogen explosion in March 2011.

Lyman Letter Urges NRC to Pursue Post-Fukushima Safety Upgrades

Ed Lyman sent a letter today to NRC Chair Allison Macfarlane  urging the NRC to reject recent requests by legislators to weaken critical post-Fukushima safety reforms and slow down their implementation. His letter is responding to recent letters sent to the NRC by Senate and House Republicans complaining that the agency is moving too quickly with costly post-Fukushima safety upgrade requirements.

PROMETHEUS TRAP (6): SDF poised for dangerous mission into Fukushima

Editor’s note: This is the sixth part of a series that has run in the past under the overall title of The Prometheus Trap. This series deals with the different responses between Japan and the United States in dealing with the Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011 following the Great East Japan Earthquake.

The Round Table Initiative to classify cell phone radiation

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its advice for the governments around the world, relies on the evaluation of the scientific evidence performed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).

In the case of cancer, it also depends on the reviews prepared by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Should pregnant women hang up their cell phones?

Like most expectant mothers, Nichole Ward tries to avoid anything that might harm her unborn daughter.

“Well you definitely hear of alcohol all the time … the smoking,” Ward said.

But she is also focused on limiting her cell phone use. She became aware of new research that indicates too much exposure could lead to a hyperactive child.

1 comment

  • Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve take into accout your stuff prior to and you’re just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have obtained here, really like what you’re stating and the way by which you are saying it. You’re making it enjoyable and you still take care of to stay it smart. I can’t wait to read far more from you. That is really a great web site.

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

Follow Us

© Stuart H Smith, LLC
Share This