Environmental Must-Reads – June 18, 2013


Gov. Quinn signs bill to regulate fracking

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed sweeping legislation to regulate horizontal hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking.” The move, which was expected, adds a bevy of restrictions and protections to an industry that while legal, was largely unregulated.

Illinois Gov. Signs Tough Fracking Regulations Law

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation giving the state the nation’s strictest regulations for high-volume oil and gas drilling.

In a news release, Quinn’s office says the governor signed the bill Monday. Quinn says the law will “unlock the potential” for thousands of jobs in southern Illinois while protecting the environment.

Who Is Fracking With California?

California has become the newest battleground state in the fracking fight that is already being waged in states like Pennsylvania and New York. Why?

The short answer is the Monterey Shale. It’s a massive oil deposit that is trapped in the shale formations underneath Los Angeles and most of California’s Central Coast and Central Valley regions (as well as all of the sources of drinking water for the people living in those regions). It was considered too difficult to reach to be worth it until fracking technology came along.

Anti-fracking groups rally outside NY Capitol

About 2,000 opponents of a natural-gas drilling process that involves blasting chemical-laden water deep into the ground rallied outside New York’s Capitol on Monday as a new statewide poll showed a slight increase among voters who are against it.

UT trustees to take up fracking proposal

The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees in October will take up a plan to lease the natural gas rights on the 8,600-acre Cumberland Forest in Morgan and Scott counties.

The board will hear details of the plan before the university goes to the State Building Commission with a contract with a private company for the gas drilling, UT President Joe DiPietro said in a message Friday to trustees.

This Is Your Town on Fracking

Not long ago I found myself stranded in Williston, North Dakota. You might have heard of it. Despite being the eighth-largest city in the 48th most-populous state, Williston has won some infamy in recent years. It’s at the center of an oil boom that’s likely to make the United States a net exporter of fossil fuels in just a few short years, something that was unthinkable as recently as half a decade ago. North Dakota now produces more oil than any state except Texas, thanks to technical advances that let drillers hydraulically fracture (or frack) the Bakken shale formation two miles beneath the region’s surface.

When Drones Guard the Pipeline: The Militarization of Our Fossil Fuels

Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.

U.S. Fracking Industry Reacts to Water Scarcity Issues

Hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking) has recast the U.S.’s energy future, but it’s also shining a light on fragile water supplies, which could crimp the industry’s growth.

Scientists turn to the streets for help in monitoring waterways

A project that asks hikers, fishermen, birdwatchers, school kids and nature-lovers of all stripes to monitor stream levels is expanding from its home base in Western New York to three new states: Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin.

CrowdHydrology was started in 2011 by Chris Lowry, PhD, a University at Buffalo assistant professor of geology. He came up with the idea after reading about a California researcher who used crowdsourcing to monitor roadkill.

Fracking Puts Squeeze on Drought-Striken Farmers

Colorado farmer: “There is a new player for water, which is oil and gas. And certainly they are in a position to pay a whole lot more than we are.”

New Mexico: about 85 percent of oil and gas sites failed to pass safety inspections

NRDC strongly supports the rights of local governments to protect their citizens from the risks of fracking by managing the siting and operations of oil and gas companies within their borders. Our Community Fracking Defense Project was established to help communities who want to take steps to protect their quality of life.

Contamination of North America’s Groundwater from Fracking (Hydraulic Fracturing) Revealed in a New Case History Catalogue

Alberta-based environmental consultant Jessica Ernst just released the first comprehensive catalogue and summary compendium of facts related to the contamination of North America’s ground water sources resulting from the oil and gas industry’s controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

First risk assessment of shale gas fracking to biodiversity

Fracking, the controversial method of mining shale gas, is widespread across Pennsylvania, covering up to 280,000 km² of the Appalachian Basin. New research in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences explores the threat posed to biodiversity including pollution from toxic chemicals, the building of well pads and pipelines, and changes to wetlands.

Another Chemical Plant Explodes as Industry Booms Due to Cheap Natural Gas from Fracking

Less than two months after the disaster at West Fertilizer Co. in West, TX, 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 more than 73 employees. It remains too early to determine the cause of the explosion—and as of Friday the Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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.

Firm to pay $35,000 for sprayed fracking fluid

A company whose oil well sprayed out 84,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing flowback water in February has agreed to pay $35,000.

The Greeley Tribune reports the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission could have fined PDC Energy around $9,000, but company officials said it was the “appropriate thing to do” to go beyond that.

June 17 News: Tar Balls Continue To Wash Up On Gulf Coast Beaches

BP is stopping regular cleanup patrols in the Gulf, even though oil continues to wash up on the shores of the region

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.

How The BP Oil Spill Is Affecting Dothan

The BP oil spill took a toll on several business along the gulf shores, effecting the livelihood of millions and Dothan might add to that number.

“Dothan had previously submitted a claim to BP which was denied and you have to submit the claim first to be able to file a lawsuit against them or go into litigation so we’ve joined with cities in this area in Alabama to see if number one some type of negotiation settlement could be received or if necessary to file a suit against them, ” says City Manager Mike West.

Louisiana constitutional limits on Gulf oil spill money fails in Legislature

Attempts to limit Gulf Coast oil spill penalty money to coastal restoration, in the Louisiana Constitution, failed to gain legislative passage for a second year, while disagreements continue over just how tightly the dollars should be restricted.

What Sickens People in Oil Spills, and How Badly, Is Anybody’s Guess

Since 2010, at least three ruptured pipelines have spilled oil into U.S. neighborhoods, forcing officials to decide quickly whether local residents would be harmed if they breathed the foul air. But because there are no clear federal guidelines saying if or when the public should be evacuated during an oil spill, health officials had to use a patchwork of scientific and regulatory data designed for other situations.

Lt. Governor and Mayflower Mayor: Oil Spill Clean-Up A Success, Area Better Than Before

Lt. Governor Mark Darr and Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland toured clean-up efforts undertaken in the aftermath of the March oil spill in Mayflower.

Darr and Holland toured the still-empty neighborhood in the North Woods subdivision of Mayflower, where residents have been told they can come back to their homes but none have elected to do so.

State oil spill public database but can be misleading

If you want to learn about oil and gas spills in your area, your best source of information is the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s website.

There, you can search through the commission’s database, which lists oil and gas spills and releases from wells and tanks, specifying which ones had impacts to groundwater and surface water.

Keystone XL Mapping Project Uncovers Pipeline’s True Impact

While we know the proposed Keystone XL pipeline expansion will travel the entire length of the country, the exact path has been somewhat unclear. Since neither TransCanada Corporation nor the U.S. Department of State has been willing to give Americans an exact map of where the tar sands pipeline will be installed, author and photographer Thomas Bachand decided to tackle it himself.

Keystone XL Pipeline Shuns High-Tech Oil Spill Detectors

TransCanada Corp. (TRP), which says Keystone XL will be the safest pipeline ever built, isn’t planning to use infrared sensors or fiber-optic cables to detect spills along the system’s 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) path to Texas refineries from fields in Alberta.

22 Arrested in Chicago Urging President Obama to Reject Keystone XL

In protest of the Keystone XL pipeline, 22 activists were arrested today when they staged a sit in at the State Department in President Obama’s hometown of Chicago. The activists arrested today included former Obama staffers, donors and volunteers who helped elect the President in 2008 and 2012 and want the President to make good on his commitment to fight climate change. The action was organized by CREDO, Rainforest Action Network and the Other 98%.

Apache Corp Spills Toxic Waste in Canada…what does this mean for Alaska’s belugas?

Here’s a bad omen for Cook Inlet beluga whales.  Apache Corp. – the same company that’s exploring for oil and gas in delicate Cook Inlet, Alaska – spilled an astounding 2.5 million gallons of toxic waste in Alberta, Canada this month.

The Alberta spill was big news last week, although it took the company almost two weeks to report it (and only after a local TV station got wind of the story).  Local residents now say the entire spill area is a dead zone.

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