Environmental Must-Reads – July 8, 2013


Devoted to fighting fracking

Big energy companies have been trying for five years to tap the riches of the Marcellus Shale in southern New York, promising thousands of new jobs, economic salvation for a depressed region, and a cheap, abundant, clean-burning source of fuel close to power-hungry cities. But for all its political clout and financial prowess, the industry hasn’t been able to get its foot in the door.

One reason: Folks like Sue Rapp and Vera Scroggins are standing in the way.

The Case against Fracking: Forensic Chemist Weighs In

From a scientist’s point of view, the biggest problem we face with fracking is that we don’t know what is exactly being put into the ground and what is coming back out. So why doesn’t the public know? Forensic chemist Gregory Marsh says it is mainly due to lack of regulations and because of corporate proprietary formulations that are trade secrets.

At the heart of anti-fracking movement is network of women devoted to stopping drilling

Big energy companies have been trying for five years to tap the riches of the Marcellus Shale in southern New York, promising thousands of new jobs, economic salvation for a depressed region, and a cheap, abundant, clean-burning source of fuel close to power-hungry cities. But for all its political clout and financial prowess, the industry hasn’t been able to get its foot in the door.

Must-See Gasland Part II on HBO Monday: Natural Gas, Once A Bridge, Now A Gangplank

If you liked the Oscar-nominated fracking exposé “Gasland” by Josh Fox, you’ll love the sequel Gasland, Part II, which is being broadcast on HBO Monday night.

I think it’s a better movie, more entertaining and even more compelling in making a case that we are headed on a bridge to nowhere — a metaphorical gangplank — with our hydraulic fracturing feeding frenzy.

‘Gasland’ Sequal Has More Fracking Horror Stories

The documentary Gasland inspired legions of “fracktivists” to oppose natural gas drilling booms across the country. Now the film has a sequel. Gasland Part II by director Josh Fox begins airing on HBO Monday night.

EPA’s Abandoned Fracking Study One Retreat of Many

When the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly retreated on its multimillion-dollar investigation into water contamination in a central Wyoming natural gas field last month, it shocked environmentalists and energy industry supporters alike.

Methane leaks may burst natural-gas bubble

President Obama’s climate-change plan calls for a closer look at the scope of leaks from gas wells, pipelines and compressor plants. Depending on what is found, new regulations could be imposed.

Teacher outlines defenses on toxins

The best defense against exposure to benzene or other compounds expelled at natural gas drilling well sites is to stay healthy – or try to get away from them, said David McCawley, a department chairman in the West Virginia University School of Public Health.

Texas Company Proposes New Natural Gas Pipeline, Including 44 Miles In Connecticut

In another sign that natural gas is outpacing costlier heating oil, a Texas energy company is proposing to install new pipelines, replace others and build transmission stations in the heavily populated, 200-mile New York-to-Boston corridor.

EPA Pressured to Weaken Oil, Gas Science and Environmental Protections

On the eve of Independence Day, when I’d like to celebrate everything I love about America, I got a powerful reminder of something I don’t like: efforts by a polluting industry–and its friends in government–to squash scientific investigation intending to determine whether people are being harmed by toxic contamination of their drinking water.

Can Beer Force Obama to Clean Up the Clean Water Act?

Beer is 90 percent water. (You might think that’s true only of Coors Light or Miller 64, but in fact even your favorite New Belgium or Goose Island or Allagash brew is almost entirely aqua.) Once you account for the brewing process, it takes around five gallons of water to produce just one gallon of beer.

With that in mind, the Natural Resources Defense Council is taking a stand on water quality with its Brewers for Clean Water campaign. During the George W. Bush era, the Supreme Court made changes to the interpretation of the Clean Water Act, which weakened the law’s power to curb pollution into drinking water sources. If common sense doesn’t force the Obama Administration to reverse these changes, the NRDC has decided to use beer to drive the message home.

The Toxic Legacy of Waste Injection Wells

Early scientific analysis predicted that the risks associated with hazardous waste injection wells would be negligible. Unfortunately, experience has indicated that disposing of hazardous waste deep underground has been linked to water contamination, destroyed ecosystems, toxic leaks and earthquakes.

Fracking Industry’s Faulty Claims Cast Doubt on Shale Investments

America is in the midst of the biggest onshore oil and gas rush in recent history, with excitement spreading across the U.S. Oil and gas companies have cashed in on this frenzied excitement by courting huge investments domestically and abroad.

BP oil spill claims climb ahead of appeal day

The number of claims filed against BP Plc’s (BP.L) (BP.N) oil spill compensation fund has risen by 18 percent over the last six weeks to a total of 195,403, according to the claims website – even though payouts began almost a year ago and the fund will be accepting claims until next April.

BP attacks method used to claim oil spill payouts

BP will on Monday tell judges at the US appeals court in New Orleans that the compensation settlement it agreed last year over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster is being misinterpreted in a way that means businesses are receiving “absurd” payments.

BP asks court to end ‘feeding frenzy’ in Gulf oil spill settlement

BP wants a federal appeals court to do what it its own bean counters couldn’t: restore predictability to how much a class-action settlement the company reached with victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will cost.

The March 2012 deal didn’t require businesses to prove their losses were caused by the disaster; it allowed them to be hundreds of miles from the coast and still be eligible; and it didn’t set a cap on what BP ultimately might have to pay.

BP appealing ruling on gulf oil spill settlement payments

British Petroleum is appealing a judge’s decision to allow businesses and individuals not directly affected by the 2010 gulf oil spill to seek cash settlements.

Appeals Court to Hear Dispute Over BP Settlement

A federal appeals court is wading into a high-stakes dispute over the terms of a multibillion-dollar settlement of claims arising from BP’s massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments Monday by attorneys for the London-based oil giant and for Gulf Coast businesses that say the nation’s worst offshore oil spill cost them money.

Escalation of Oil Spills, Why They’re Getting Worse in the US: Speeches Don’t Matter, Actions Do

Scientists at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii have confirmed that the heat-trapping greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have reached unprecedented levels, unseen for more than 3 million years. New data released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) have passed the ominous milestone of 400 parts per million (ppm).

Honoré: Feds need to get more involved in sinkhole emergency

Russel Honoré, the Army general who stepped in during the early, chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August 2005, now is a civilian trying to raise the profile of the Bayou Corne sinkhole disaster that began nearly a year ago.

More debris released  by sinkhole

Personnel monitoring the Bayou Corne sinkhole in Assumption Parish detected a small disturbance, or burp, Saturday afternoon that released debris and hydrocarbons in the center of the 22-acre sinkhole.

After researcher Stephen Horton noticed increased activity in the sinkhole about 1:30 p.m., he alerted officials the incident had taken place, said John Boudreaux, director of the Assumption Parish Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Preparedness.

Deadly Quebec Oil Train Disaster and Athabasca River Spill On Same Day as Tar Sands Healing Walk

Today, as hundreds of people joined First Nations leaders to walk 14 kilometers through the tar sands in Fort McMurray on the Tar Sands Healing Walk, news of several new oil disasters spread through the crowd and over social media networks.

Details are sparse so far on an oil spill reported in the Athabasca River near the Poplar Grove First Nation. Members of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation oil spill response team report seeing a 5 kilometer-wide oil slick spanning the width of the river. Stay tuned for details.

Train derailment spills oil in Quebec. Will it affect Maine?

Maine environmental officials are monitoring the runaway train derailment in eastern Quebec but do not expect the oil spill and fires to affect the state’s air or water.

The 73-car derailment Saturday caused multiple explosions in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, about 10 miles west of Maine. About 30 buildings were destroyed after tanker cars laden with oil caught fire, and several cars continued to burn Sunday. The death toll reached five and was expected to rise.

Runaway oil train explodes in Canadian town, 5 dead, 40 missing (VIDEOS)

A 73-car train transporting crude oil derailed and exploded Saturday, killing at least four people and destroying some 30 buildings in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. Sadly, with some 40 people still missing officials warn that the death toll is expected to rise significantly. After visiting the site of the disaster Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the historic district of the small Canadian town where the explosions occurred looks like a war zone.

Canada train crash fire finally put out

Lac Megantic – Officials in Canada said on Sunday they have located five bodies so far in their grim search for victims from the catastrophic derailment of an oil-laden cargo train, and expect to find as many as 40 more.

Lower Mainland not prepared for train oil spill

A train explosion and subsequent oil leak in Quebec beg the questions. Could a similar accident happen here in the Lower Mainland and are we prepared it?

Ben West with ForestEthics says that while a spill near a residential neighbourhood would be terrible, the proximity of rail shipments near the Fraser River create just as big of a hazard.

Griffin: Mayflower Oil Spill Remains a Top Priority

Congressman Tim Griffin says the months-old controversy surrounding the Mayflower oil spill continues to be a top priority for his office staff.

He has had conversations with ExxonMobil officials about handling the after-effects of the Pegasus pipeline rupture and the company’s dealings with area constituents.

Underground pipeline spills an estimated 25,000 of gasoline on Crow Reservation in Montana

A Phillips 66 pipeline with a record of prior accidents spilled an estimated 25,000 gallons of gasoline in a remote area outside a small town on Montana’s Crow Indian Reservation, but no public health problems were anticipated, federal officials said Friday.

AZ State Senator Stands Against Risky Keystone XL Pipeline Project

Arizona Democratic Sen. Jack Jackson Jr., Navajo, is resigning his post to work as a tribal liaison on environmental issues for the federal government.

The billionaire fighting to stop Keystone XL

Reuters takes a  look at “a hedge fund billionaire turned eco-activist” who after making his money in oil and gas in the 1980s has turned 180 degrees and is now on a mission to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

North Sea leaks ‘reality check’ for British oil industry, says Greenpeace

Britain’s offshore rigs and platforms have leaked oil or other chemicals into the North Sea on 55 occasions over the past month alone, challenging claims by the industry that it has a strong safety and environmental record.

Among the fields to have reported pollution discharges is Piper Alpha, the scene of the world’s worst offshore accident in terms of fatalities when it blew up, killing 167 workers, 25 years ago.

Japan set to get reactors back online for first time since Fukushima crisis

Japan is moving a step closer to restarting nuclear reactors as utilities are set to ask for safety inspections at their idled reactors, the clearest sign of Japan’s return to nuclear energy nearly two and a half years after the Fukushima disaster.

With all but two of its 50 reactors off line since the crisis, Japan has been without nuclear energy that once supplied about a third of its power.

Toxic radiation detected in groundwater at Fukushima nuclear plant

Toxic radioactive substances have once again been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, its Japanese operator said on Sunday, the latest in a series of incidents at the tsunami-battered complex.

Records underestimate radiation exposure in Fukushima workers

The test records of 479 workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant contained false documentation on the amount of internal radiation they were exposed to, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said July 5.

Tritium soaring in water at No. 1 plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday that 600,000 becquerels per liter of tritium has been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

It’s the first time such a high level of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, has been measured in the plant’s groundwater, Tepco said.

British woman trying to save Japan’s nuclear power industry says: ‘Radiation is scary’

Lady Barbara Judge, the British expert hired to help Japan’s Tepco rebuild its reputation after the Fukushima disaster, has admitted that most people are worried by nuclear power.

Add comment

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