Environmental Must-Reads – July 26, 2013


Halliburton says it also is part of U.S. fracking antitrust probe

Halliburton Co, the largest provider of pressure pumping services used in hydraulic fracturing, said on Thursday it had also been contacted by the U.S. government regarding potential antitrust issues in the pressure pumping market.

Antitrust Probe Targets Halliburton’s Fracking Business

A federal antitrust probe into the $36 billion hydraulic fracturing market is increasing pressure on oilfield-service companies already reeling as skyrocketing competition cuts into their profit margins.

A Tale of Two Cities: Oil Drilling and Fracking in Northern Colorado

Hydraulic Fracturing is a topic that will likely surpass all other controversial topics in Colorado politics in importance and heat generated. It is already one of the biggest issues in our state and is only going to get more contentious in the months and years ahead.

Special Investigation: Fracking in the Ocean Off the California Coast

The Pacific Ocean may be the next frontier for fracking technology.

A Truthout investigation has confirmed that federal regulators approved at least two hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” operations on oil rigs in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California since 2009 without an updated environmental review that critics say may be required by federal law.

Wyden floats fracking regs framework

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) floated a proposal Thursday to let states regulate fracking underground while permitting the federal government to set reporting and disclosure requirements.

Jared Polis sues to stop fracking next to his Weld County property

For U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the battle over fracking just turned personal.

Polis, a Boulder Democrat who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, was shocked to see a fracking operation start up last week on land just across the street from a rural getaway he owns in Weld County near Berthoud.

Effort to speed up fracking derailed in NC House

A last-minute legislative effort to speed up the state’s fracking timeline was derailed late Thursday after lawmakers couldn’t round up enough support for it in the House.

Throughout the day Thursday, the House kept on putting off a vote on the bill, eventually shelving the legislation when it became obvious it was too divisive. Rep. Mike Hager, a Rutherfordton Republican who shepherds energy bills in the House, said Senate Bill 127 was too controversial to push through in the waning days of the legislative session.

Anti-fracking protesters halt Sussex shale gas operation

Anti-fracking campaigners claimed a surprise victory on Thursday against attempts to extract oil in the home counties.

Dozens of protesters blockaded a drill site outside the West Sussex village of Balcombe. The drill was operated by Cuadrilla, the energy company headed by former BP chief Lord Browne.

Craddick: Texas oil doesn’t need EPA rules

Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, in testimony Thursday before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources’ subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, said that efforts to impose “cumbersome federal regulations” on hydraulic fracturing in Texas by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would be detrimental to Texas energy production and job creation.

Bill proposes new rules on oil field ‘acidization’

The fuss over hydraulic fracturing may have been only the beginning.

Legislation pending in Sacramento targets another widely used oil field technique — acidization, or “acid jobs” — that some consider to be just as useful as fracking, possibly more so.

Anti-fracking groups call for Colorado oil and gas director to resign

A coalition of nearly 50 groups opposed to the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Colorado has called for the resignation of Matt Lepore, the director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, because of remarks Lepore made at an energy forum in Loveland in mid-July.

EPA’s Fracking ‘Witch Hunt’ Decried by GOP

Republicans bashed the Environmental Protection Agency’s three-year investigation of the effects hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water, calling the agency’s efforts a “witch hunt” focused on demonizing a job-creating system of developing cheap, natural gas.

At What Costs Will the New Jersey LNG Port Be Built?

Our demand for a longer public comment period on the proposed deepwater liquified natural gas (LNG) port was successful—the Maritime Administration is allowing the public another 30 days (until August 22rd) to submit comments on this ill-conceived and dangerous project.

Legislation Introduced to Eliminate Fracking Industry Loophole

Fracking is now responsible for 90 percent of domestic oil and gas production, with thousands of wells popping up across the nation. The number of wells is expected to skyrocket during the next two decades.

Critic Of Offshore Drilling Safety Regulation Helps Run Company That Owns Failed Natural Gas Rig

The executive VP of a company that owns an offshore natural gas rig that suffered a blowout Tuesday is an active critic of stronger offshore drilling regulations. Though federal officials confirmed the gas flow had stopped on Thursday morning, the accident raises serious concerns about the safety improvements taken since the disaster caused by a blowout three years ago aboard the Deepwater Horizon.

Lawmakers grill EPA over approach to fracking research

Scientific advisers, including a Pittsburgh academic, were on the hot seat Wednesday during a congressional hearing to examine the Environmental Protection Agency’s approach to research on health and safety implications of hydraulic fracturing.

US Sues Exxon Fracker in Pennsylvania Over Polluted Drinking Water

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

The federal lawsuit was filed almost simultaneously with reports from  ABC , CBS and The Associated Press that claimed a “landmark federal study” showed “no evidence that chemicals from the natural gas drilling process moved up to contaminate drinking water aquifers at a western Pennsylvania drilling site.”

Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence After Gulf Spill

Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destruction of critical evidence after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, the Justice Department announced on Thursday.

The oil services company said it would pay the maximum allowable fine of $200,000 and will be subject to three years of probation. It will also continue its cooperation in the government’s criminal investigation. Separately, Halliburton made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Halliburton to plead guilty to destroying Gulf evidence

US company Halliburton will plead guilty to destroying evidence relating to the 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill.

The plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, means Halliburton will have to pay the maximum possible fine.

Halliburton to plead guilty to destroying evidence in BP spill

The oil services giant Halliburton agreed Thursday to plead guilty to destroying evidence during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in 2010, admitting to one count of criminal conduct and agreeing to pay the $200,000 maximum statutory fine, according to the Justice Department.

BP pushes back against oil spill claims in new ad campaign

BP is upping the ante in its public campaign to try and block payments to some business claiming harm from the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The British company launched full page ads in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal today, portraying itself as the target of trial lawyers seeking to exploit BP’s efforts to restore the Gulf Coast.

BP Seeks Victim Status in Gulf Oil Spill

A full-page advert from BP ran in both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. The ad is one part of a multi-front effort by the oil giant to push back against the mountain of compensation claims it is facing from Gulf Coast residents and businesses over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. On one hand, it has fought through the courts, challenging fraudulent claims and appealing against the process that awards compensation to victims.

Jindal demands East Bank levee authority drop lawsuit against oil, gas, pipelines

Saying it had overstepped its authority, Gov. Bobby Jindal is demanding that the East Bank levee authority drop a lawsuit filed Wednesday that would require oil, gas and pipeline companies restore damaged wetlands and pay damages for the effects of the lost wetlands on levees

Not Strong Enough: Oil Spill Disaster Preventers

Flames engulfing a drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico decreased to a small fire yesterday, as officials worked around the clock to bring the well under control. The rig, called Hercules, is stationed 55 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

Sunoco set to take land for pipeline

West Newton resident William Mossor shows where an existing pipeline has caused erosion and where a proposed pipeline may soon cross his land on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Mossor is one of many who have been notified that a pipeline company is following through on threats to use eminent domain to build its export pipeline through Washington and Westmoreland counties.

Local landowners remain opposed to Canadian oil pipeline

Builders of a proposed pipeline that could carry Canadian crude oil to Flanagan and on to a facility in Patoka have asked the state for permission to exercise eminent domain on portions of 148 land tracts it claims it needs for the project.

Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flat Out Fails President’s Common-sense Climate Test

In laying out his progressive vision for national action on climate change, President Obama set a clear standard for the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

It won’t be approved, he vowed last month, unless it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”

Keystone Critics’ Report Finds Significant Carbon Rise

Carbon-dioxide emissions caused by the Keystone XL pipeline could be more than four times higher than a draft U.S. analysis found, according to a Natural Resources Defense Council report released today.

The NRDC, a New York-based environmental group that opposes the $5.3 billion project to link Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast, says Keystone would add as much as 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution to the atmosphere over 50 years. That’s a much higher rate than estimated in a State Department draft environmental analysis.

Keystone XL protest planned in Nebraska

Keystone XL pipeline opponent Bold Nebraska called for demonstrations Saturday in the state capital for what’s billed as a rally in support of green issues.

Here’s What Obama Can Expect If He Fails Us On Keystone XL

By the end of 2013, the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be moving toward conclusion. After two and a half years of ferocious organizing by environmental organizations, grassroots activists and indigenous communities, the Obama administration is rapidly approaching a decision on whether or not to grant a presidential approval for the pipeline’s construction. If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would carry some 800,000 barrels of unrefined tar sands bitumen from Alberta, Canada through the heartland to refineries along the Gulf Coast, every day.

Police raid Canada office of railway company involved in fatal Quebec oil train derailment

Police raided the Canadian office of a U.S. railway company to collect evidence in a criminal investigation related to an oil train derailment this month that devastated a Quebec town and killed 47 people.

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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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