Environmental Must-Reads – July 23, 2013


U.S. rules on fracking on public lands seen costing drillers dearly

Oil and gas companies in the U.S. West would face at least $345 million a year in extra costs if rules on hydraulic fracturing on public lands proposed by the Obama administration are finalized, industry groups said on Monday.

Gas storage controversy continues to simmer

It’s something few people think about, but all that natural gas –and other fossil fuels — produced by hydrofracking has to be stored somewhere before it gets to the consumer. Often used for the job: underground salt caverns like the ones near Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes. Now an out-of-state company wants to expand storage there, a plan some local residents call risky.

About 100 environmental activists welcomed three of their own with singing that sounded like it was straight out of the civil rights movement last April, after they spent a week in jail.

USA Sues Exxon Fracker in Pennsylvania

The United States sued Exxon subsidiary XTO Energy, claiming its hydraulic fracking has polluted public drinking waters in Pennsylvania with toxic wastes.

ExxonMobil Fined for Fracking Wastewater Spill into Pennsylvania River

The Obama administration has fined an ExxonMobil subsidiary $100,000 and ordered the company to spend $20 million to improve its hydraulic fracturing wastewater management system in the wake of a 2010 leak that contaminated a tributary of the Susquehanna River.

How Fracking Decreases Property Value

A Duke University and Resources for the Future study found that the most significant factor in the impact of oil and gas development near residential property is whether water is piped in or sourced on-site from a well.

Based in Washington County, PA, the study found that property with on-site wells lost 13 percent of their value.

2 Minn. agencies seek input as they begin crafting rules on silica sand mining for fracking

Two Minnesota government agencies are in the early stages of developing new environmental rules governing the silica sand mining vital to hydraulic fracturing.

House approves ‘fracking,’ offshore drilling changes

The state House has approved a bill that would both direct the governor to pursue an offshore drilling compact with other states and make changes to the state’s gas drilling laws.

Senators are scheduled to give final legislative approval to the bill Tuesday.

Fracking controls ‘removed in dash for unconventional energy resources’

Local communities are set to lose control over key environmental decisions affecting whether fracking can go ahead within their midst, it is claimed.

Campaigners opposing the industrial-scale exploitation of shale gas reserves in the British countryside said the Government has removed key democratic controls in its dash to bring unconventional energy resources on stream.

Deep wells inappropriate for NC fracking

The General Assembly recently considered lifting the ban on deep-well injection of waste fluids, but wastewater from shale oil and gas operations in North Carolina must not be disposed of in underground injection wells.

Recent experiences around the country have proved that the treatment and recycling of wastewater is more economical and friendlier to the environment.

Kansas regulators considering new fracking rules

Kansas utility regulators are considering new rules to require oil and natural gas companies to disclose some information about the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, but representatives of an environmental group said Monday that the regulations wouldn’t go far enough.

Proposed regs call for limited disclosure of ‘fracking’ chemicals

KCC regulations would require well drillers to list their chemicals, but allow them to decide which to withhold as ‘trade secrets’

Gas fields, not cities, are America’s land of opportunity

Want to give your kids a chance at a better life in this flagging economy? Well then get thee to the oil and gas fields, America.

That’s certainly how I read this piece in the New York Times this week, “In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters,” based on new research [PDF] from Harvard and the University of California Berkeley — the best income mobility study in the U.S., they say.

Judge Rejects BP’s Attempts to Halt 2010 Oil Spill Payments

BP has made accusations that the system that deals with processing claims of compensation and paying out the damages to people and businesses affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is being mistreated and corrupted. Their attempts to suspend all payments whilst an investigator looks into the claims, has been denied by a federal judge.

No one knows how to stop these tar-sands oil spills

Thousands of barrels of tar-sands oil have been burbling up into forest areas for at least six weeks in Cold Lake, Alberta, and it seems that nobody knows how to staunch the flow.

Arkansas Oil Spill Relief: Rep. Tim Griffin Proposes Tax Breaks For Affected Residents

An Arkansas congressman is proposing tax relief for people affected by the Exxon Mobil Corp. oil spill in Mayflower this year.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin said Monday that people affected the oil spill deserve to be compensated, and he says they shouldn’t have to pay more taxes because of that compensation.

Equipment failure causes Colorado oil spill

The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission said in an incident report that on 17 July a plunger lubricator cap failed, allowing a wind-blown mist of gas and oil to “lightly cover” agricultural land about 850 feet to the north-east of the wellhead.

Oil On The Tracks: The Crude-by-Rail Boom By the Numbers

The tragic oil train explosion earlier this month in Lac-Megantic, Quebec has focused a spotlight on the growing role of rail in the transportation of North American crude. But even after that tragedy, the extent of rail’s expansion in transporting oil is still little understood by the typical driver at the pump.

Quebec crash puts spotlight on rail oil transport

Gilles Orichefski says he always knew that the oil-laden trains chugging along the rail track behind his house were a disaster waiting to happen.

From the porch of their hillside house on Laval Street in this picturesque town of 6,000 near the border with the US state of Maine, Orichefski and his wife Jacqueline Roy can see what remains of Lac-Megantic’s downtown after a runaway tanker-train exploded and snuffed out the lives of 47 people on July 6.

SW Washington residents protest oil train plan

Dozens showed up in Vancouver Monday night to pay tribute to the victims of a fuel train that exploded in Quebec weeks ago.

This comes after oil refinery Tesoro broached plans to bring fuel trains just like the one that exploded in Canada into downtown Vancouver.

Unlike Keystone XL, new tar sands pipeline gets expedited review thanks to State Dept. bypass

While the Keystone XL pipeline remains mired in controversy between oil interests and environmental advocacy groups, another tar sands pipeline that will run for hundreds of miles through the American midwest looks to be on the fast track for approval.

Authorities: 12 arrested in Ingham County after oil pipeline protest

Authorities say they’ve arrested 12 people protesting a Michigan oil pipeline project.

The Lansing State Journal reports the arrests Monday came during a Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands protest in rural Ingham County.

Keystone XL May Actually Raise American Gas Prices

Let’s get real for a second.

I’m so sick of politicians, industry lackeys and uninformed citizens who tell me that opposing the Keystone XL is tantamount to sabotaging the American economy.

These pro-fossil-fuel parrots go on and on about how they would drill for oil in their own front yards it if meant cheaper gas at the pump. These people act as though cheap gas were some sort of unalienable right or the sole factor in determining America’s success or failure.

Nebraska Lawsuit Could Postpone Keystone Pipeline Decision

Three Nebraska landowners who are challenging the state’s use of eminent domain to build the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on their land against their wishes, will finally get the chance to plead their case in court on September 27.

Until the court case is resolved, the State Department should put its broader review of the pipeline route on hold, say the plaintiffs and their lawyers.

Energy regulator visits Canadian arctic

A Canadian energy regulator said it was organizing a visit to arctic regions to get a better look at what may be affected by oil and natural gas development.

The Canadian National Energy Board said Chairman Gaetan Caron started a five-day trip Tuesday to the shores of the Beaufort Sea. The NEB said he would observe first-hand the connection aboriginal communities have to the arctic environment.

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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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