Environmental Must-Reads – June 17, 2013


Fracking fuels water fights in nation’s dry spots

The latest domestic energy boom is sweeping through some of the nation’s driest pockets, drawing millions of gallons of water to unlock oil and gas reserves from beneath the Earth’s surface.

Fracking Bill Triggers Rift Among Illinois Green Groups

Mainstream environmental groups in Illinois celebrated last month after state lawmakers approved a bill regulating fracking—a bill the environmental groups themselves had helped write in a unique collaboration with the fossil fuel industry and politicians.

Local grassroots groups, however, want fracking in Illinois stopped altogether, not simply regulated with legislation. They are not only protesting the law, but also their one-time allies.

Bradford County Landowners Accuse Chesapeake Of Underpaying Royalties

It’s not easy to find Mary Jane Foelster’s home.

“We wanted the peace and quiet,” she says. “It’s just wonderful out here.”

Her home sits on 50 acres tucked away down a 1.7 mile dirt road in Bradford County. It’s as far north as you can go in Pennsylvania before crossing the border into New York.

Citizen Groups: Landowners, Prep for Possible Drilling Contamination

West Virginia citizen groups say they’re helping landowners prepare for potential air and water contamination from Marcellus natural gas drilling. Doddridge County landowner Christina Woods works with her local watershed association and with West Virginia Host Farms, a group that helps landowners connect with researchers who can test their water and air.

Upstate New York Towns Fight to Retain Fracking Bans

Two towns seeking to keep their local fracking ban on the books are fighting to cement their court victories over the oil and gas industry. The Town of Dryden submitted court papers yesterday arguing that the Court of Appeals—New York’s highest court—should reject the industry’s request for permission to appeal the closely watched case.

Plant erupts in flames while chemical industry booms due to cheap natural gas

Less than two months after the disaster at West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas, another chemical plant erupted in flames Thursday just south of Baton Rouge, La.  The explosion at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar killed at least one person and injured over 73 employees, according to the Washington Post. The cause of the explosion remains too early to determine— and as of Friday the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had yet to visit the site. The  plant produces the  combustible and flammable chemicals ethylene and polymer grade propylene—used to make a range of plastic products– according to Reuters.

Agencies look into plant blast

Federal investigators this weekend began combing through wreckage with hopes of determining exactly what caused the fiery explosion at the Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar on Thursday morning that killed two people and injured scores of others.

Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration arrived Friday night to begin the department’s detailed inspection of work orders, work assignments and any other pertinent factors that could have led to the blast, State Police said.

Residents Deliver Giant Check to ‘Buy Back’ NY Senator’s Support from Fracking Interests

Southern Tier residents delivered a $202,000 giant eight by three foot fake check to Sen. Libous’ (R-NY) Binghamton district office today to “buy their senator back” from pro-fracking business interest and from big oil and gas lobbyist. $202,000 is the same amount of money Sen. Libous took in campaign contributions from fracking oil and gas interests in the last two years, according to the good government group Common Cause. Community residents presented the check and demanded that Sen. Libous put science and the people’s interest above oil and gas interests, that Sen. Libous stop saying “the Southern Tier supports fracking” and that he stops taking contributions from pro-fracking business interests. The bottom line: residents demanded that Sen. Libous represent his constituents, not big oil and gas industry.

Environmental advocates, visitors question removal of BP oil cleaning crews in Gulf

Finding tar balls linked to the BP oil spill isn’t difficult on some Gulf Coast beaches, but the company and the government say it isn’t common enough to keep sending out the crews that patrolled the sand for three years in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

Tourist John Henson of Atlanta disagrees, particularly after going for a walk in the surf last week and coming back with dark, sticky stains on his feet.

Saha: Oil spill in Gulf still affecting locals

British Petroleum’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is still affecting wildlife and seafood businesses.

On April 20, 2010, the BP Horizon Deepwater released 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of three months. It was the largest accidental marine spill in petroleum history. The explosion killed 11 workers and 17 were injured. Other immediate effects included birds and turtles covered in oil and dying sea coral. Two years later, the oil is no longer seen on the surface. However, scientists have found considerable amounts on the ocean floor. Consequently, fishermen are finding mutant seafood in the Gulf proving lasting effects BP’s oil spill has had on the regional ecosystem.

Is It Safe to Go in the Gulf Coast’s Water?

Now that oil and tar balls from the massive Gulf oil spill have begun washing up on the beaches of four states, many are wondering: What, if any, are the health risks to beachgoers and residents of the region?

Oil, gas industry survived legislative session, leaders say

Close observers of the Louisiana Legislature agree that oil and gas interests were well represented in the session that ended last weekend. But oh, what might have been.

“Anytime you have a fiscal session and you have bills to raise taxes on oil and gas and you get out without raised taxes, it’s a success,” State Rep. Stuart Bishop, R-Lafayette, said.

Sinkhole bills signed into law

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law Friday three bills filed in response to an Assumption Parish sinkhole.

“These laws will ensure that companies are acting in good faith and upholding public safety,” Jindal said in a prepared statement.

Gas found beneath more homes near giant Louisiana sinkhole

Gas has been found underneath two more homes in the Bayou Corne area, near the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Justice Dept., Arkansas Take on ExxonMobil over Pegasus Pipeline Spill

The U.S. Department of Justice, along with Arkansas, filed a joint lawsuit that could give ExxonMobil a slight slap on the wrist for the March pipeline spill of about 5,000 barrels of heavy Canadian crude oil in the Mayflower residential neighborhood.

Ecuador: Million litre oil spill crosses borders

A 1.6 million litre crude oil spill from Ecuador’s main oil company, Petroecuador, in the country’s Amazonian region, has polluted water supplies and threatens to leak into Brazilian territory.

A landslide on June 1 destroyed a 100 metre section of the Trans-Ecuador pipeline which transports around 500,000 barrels of oil daily into refineries in the U.S. and China.

Alberta oil company with checkered history responds to new spill site

The company at the centre of two major Alberta oil pipeline ruptures in recent years is cleaning up this weekend after a new 950-barrel spill of a very light oil called condensate, which is used to thin down heavy oil sands bitumen so it can be transported via pipeline.

Pipeline spills oil waste over more than 100 acres of Alberta

A major spill of toxic oil waste has wiped out trees and vegetation across a 104-acre swath of Alberta, Canada. The apparent cause of the spill: The rupture of a five-year-old pipeline that was designed to last at least 30 years.

Al Gore says Obama must veto ‘atrocity’ of Keystone XL tar sands pipeline

Al Gore has called on Barack Obama to veto the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, describing it as “an atrocity”.

The former vice-president said in an interview on Friday that he hoped Obama would follow the example of British Columbia, which last week rejected a similar pipeline project, and shut down the Keystone XL.

House passes GOP bill to speed approval of Keystone pipeline

House Republicans pushed through a bill Wednesday to bypass the president to speed approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to Texas. Democrats criticized the legislation as a blatant attempt to allow a foreign company to avoid environmental review.

How Much Did Seven House Votes Pushing Keystone XL Cost Taxpayers?

News broke recently that the 37 House votes to repeal Obamacare cost taxpayers $55 million. The House has voted for Keystone XL eight times, and Oil Change International says the House members who voted for it took six times as much money from the oil industry as their colleagues who voted against. Those votes cost Big Oil $36 million. How much did they cost us, the taxpayers?

While We Focus on Keystone XL, Big Oil Is Busy With Other Pipelines

The battle over TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline continues to rage as both sides dig into their strategic playbooks for the Hail Mary pass that might tip the contest in their favor. The stakes, of course, are high. The multi-billion dollar project would see hundreds of thousands of barrels of diluted bitumen piped every day from Alberta across the border into the United States and to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

Oslo to okay Arctic oil drilling near sea ice, despite risks

Norway is set to permit offshore oil and gas exploration in Arctic waters vulnerable to sea ice, angering some opposition politicians and environmentalists who say ice sharply raises risks of accidents.

40 North Sea oil spills in a year

Over 40 oil spills from North Sea-located Norwegian Continental Shelf platforms have occurred during the past year, Norwegian Coastal Administration figures show.

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