Environmental Must-Reads – July 2, 2013


Gas drilling royalty owners oppose new Pa. bill

Oil and gas royalty owners and an environmental group in Pennsylvania said Monday that legislation awaiting Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature seriously weakens negotiating rights for some landowners.

NM farmers selling water to oil and gas developers

With a scant agriculture water supply due to the prolonged drought, some farmers in Eddy County with supplemental wells are keeping bill collectors at bay by selling their water to the booming oil and gas industry.

The industry needs the water for hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, the drilling technique that has been used for decades to blast huge volumes of water, fine sands and chemicals into the ground to crack open valuable shale formations.

Geisinger $23.7M Shy of Funds for Fracking Study

A key study on possible health impacts of natural gas drilling by Geisinger Health System, which has captured the attention of some of the nation’s top environmental advocates, is short on funding with Geisinger only raising $1.3 million for the first phase of the study, which is estimated to cost $25 million.

130 Groups Call for More Time to Comment on Proposed New Jersey LNG Port

Today, 130 environmental and public advocacy groups sent a letter to the Maritime Administration asking that the public be given more time to consider and comment on a propose liquefied natural gas (LNG) port that would be constructed in the waters off Long Island and the Jersey Shore. After the application was announced on June 14, the project sponsor subsequently released 1,500 pages of a 4,000+ page application that federal agencies have found to be still incomplete in more than 150 specific areas. Despite the length, technical complexity and incomplete nature of the material, the public is required to read, analyze and meaningfully comment on the application by July 23.

Josh Fox and Tim DeChristopher talk climate change, fracking and activism on national TV (VIDEOS)

In what was an exceptionally busy news week last week, it was nice to see a few programs give significant time to dissecting President Obama’s new climate change plan.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that both Josh Fox and Tim DeChristopher made numerous appearances on national TV programs to speak about climate change and the ways President Obama’s plan doesn’t go far enough in adequately addressing this global crisis.

RiverQuest program sells fracking to four year olds using chocolate chip cookies

Extracting natural gas — methane, ethane, propane, all of it — from dense rock a mile or more below the surface of the earth is just like extracting yummy chocolate chips from chocolate chip cookies, it turns out.

That’s what a group of young children learned in June of 2013 at a RiverQuest program in western Pennsylvania, at a public library.

Fracking water haulers pay $11.7 million in financial settlement to critically injured victims

When I first started tuning in on fracking issue, road damage and truck traffic were the last things I thought we needed to worry about. Traffic issues didn’t grab my attention like toxic exposure through air, water contamination, land use and land contamination. Then I started getting run of the road frequently. In one year, I had to buy six new tires. I had several near wrecks because trucks would drive off muddy drill sites and leave giant chunks of caliche mud in the road, or because of ruts and potholes. Experience was my teacher.

Birmingham man must repay $46,150 in false BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill claim

A Birmingham man today was sentenced to three years  probation for mail fraud related to false claims submitted about income he lost as a bartender on the Gulf Coast after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Singapore Starts Cleanup of Oil Spill After Ships Collide

Singapore deployed anti-pollution craft and patrol vessels to clean up an oil spill after two bulk carriers collided.

About 100 metric tons of fuel oil leaked after a bunker tank on the South Korean-registered Oriental Pioneer was damaged in the collision with the Bahamas-registered Atlantic Hero, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said in a statement. The accident occurred about 6.6 kilometers (4 miles) south-west of Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, the MPA said today.

Keystone XL Pipeline: Arkansas oil spill exposes dangers

Despite the financial and ecological ramifications of the Mayflower oil spill Exxon might be able to avoid paying into a government oil cleanup fund, leaving American taxpayers stuck with the bill.

New work reported in Mayflower oil spill area

A Facebook page dedicated to the spill of Canadian tar sands oil from the ExxonMobil pipeline break in Mayflower has posted several photos taken Saturday of new excavation work in the Northwood subdivision where the rupture occurred.

Two Major Lawsuits Filed Against ExxonMobil for Arkansas Tar Sands Spill

Two major lawsuits were recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas against ExxonMobil, the “private empire” behind the March 2013 Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 1.1 million gallons of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) into the neighborhoods and waterways of Mayflower, AR, located in Faulkner County.

Exxon seeking ‘trade secret exemption’ for Pegasus pipeline rupture

Some residents in Mayflower, Ark., are returning to their homes, three months after an Exxon Mobil Corp. pipeline ruptured in the neighborhood.

Obama’s Climate Pledge: The Keystone XL Fracking Double Standard

President Obama, during his climate speech last week, surprised many observers by his unexpected remarks about the Keystone XL pipeline.   The President, for the first time, placed a clear condition on the pipeline’s approval – its impact on the climate.

Citizens ask Exxon to pay its $1.7 million fine for Yellowstone oil spill

A group of more than 50 Billings area residents gathered on the north bank of the Yellowstone River at Coulson Park on Monday, chanting, waving signs and making a simple demand.

Holding signs that said “Pay Your Fine” and “Take Responsibility,” the group asked ExxonMobil Corp. to pay in full $1.7 million in penalties proposed by the federal government in relation a July 2011 spill that dumped 63,000 gallons of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.

Kalamazoo River dredging after 2010 oil spill prompts concerns residents, Bell’s Brewery owner

A dredging plan to help clean up the Kalamazoo River after a 2010 southwestern Michigan oil spill is prompting concerns from area residents and the owner of Bell’s Brewery.

REALITY CHECK: Why Local Leaders Didn’t Know an Oil Pipeline was Approved Near Mobile’s Drinking Water Supply

The Alabama Public Service Commission has approved a crude oil pipeline to go through Mobile County. With the pipeline running through the water shed and right next to Mobile’s main water supply, MAWSS and county officials are afraid any accident could threaten Mobile’s water.

Another Maine Town Passes Resolution Opposing Tar Sands Pipeline

Otisfield residents voted overwhelmingly at a town meeting Saturday to pass a municipal resolution stating opposition to sending tar sands oil through ExxonMobil’s Portland-Montreal Pipeline, making it the seventh Maine town to publicly and officially oppose the proposal. The 63-year-old pipeline, which stretches 236 miles from Montreal to South Portland, is being considered for the transport of tar sands, a form of toxic, thick oil that is associated with higher incidence of pipeline spills and can be nearly impossible to clean up. The pipeline stretches six miles through Otisfield near Pleasant Lake and both Saturday and Moose Ponds.

Activists Challenge TD Bank on Keystone XL Investments

On Saturday activists from Climate First! entered, in succession and without incident, two TD Bank branches in Washington, DC, attempting to initiate discussions with the bank about its investments in the Keystone XL pipeline.

Congress considers opening Bristol Bay to offshore leasing

A bill making progress through the legislative ladder of the U.S. Congress is garnering some nervous attention in Alaska this month. House Bill 2231 could potentially open up the previously protected waters of Bristol Bay, along with many other areas in the U.S., to offshore drilling.

Save the Arctic from Shell and its Russian friends

The Arctic is once again under attack from oil companies.

Over the past year we’ve seen just how reckless Arctic drilling is. Shell, one of the world’s biggest and most powerful corporations, has been leading the charge but a catalogue of screw-ups forced it to pause its drilling program in Alaska.

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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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