Environmental Must-Reads – June 25, 2013


The darkness behind fracking’s silver lining

Climate change may have reached the point of no return last month.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere topped 400 parts per million on May 19, for the first time since the Pleistocene era, over 2.5 million years ago. President Barack Obama’s historic speech on climate change today highlights his growing focus on this issue for his second term.

EPA risks a crisis of confidence in its dedication to protecting drinking water from fracking risks

EPA announced last week that it was dropping an investigation into water contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming–before it was completed. Everyone wants to know why.

Duke Study Finds Higher Gas Levels in Drinking Water Wells Near Marcellus Fracking Sites

Some homeowners living near shale gas wells appear to be at higher risk of drinking water contamination from stray gases, according to a new Duke University-led study, Increased Stray Gas Abundance in a Subset of Drinking Water Wells Near Marcellus Shale Gas Extraction.

Natural gas found in drinking water near fracked wells

Elevated levels of methane and other stray gases have been found in drinking water near natural gas wells in Pennsylvania’s gas-rich Marcellus shale region, according to new research. In the case of methane, concentrations were six times higher in some drinking water found within one kilometer of drilling operations.

Fracking linked to well water methane

Drinking water wells near natural gas “fracking” sites were six times more likely to be contaminated than others, finds a new study of New York and Pennsylvania homes.

Fracking can increase methane in drinking water, study finds

Scientists have found that methane and other gases pose a significant risk of contaminating drinking-water wells near natural gas drilling, raising new questions about possible health and safety risks from the production technique known as fracking.

EPA delays fracking safety study until 2016

We told you last week that the EPA is abandoning an investigation that linked fracking chemicals with groundwater contamination in Wyoming. Amid controversy over that move, news about EPA delaying another fracking study got overlooked by most media.

Fracking, Fracking and More Fracking

It’s virtually impossible these days to read, listen to or watch a news program that doesn’t mention hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Nearly every day, EcoWatch posts at least one article on fracking and last week was no different.

In Frac Sand Land, Residents Have Little Protection Against Silica Dust Exposure

In March, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff Abbas and Robert Nehman of Allamakee County Protectors at the national Frack Attack summit in Dallas, TX. This grassroots group of concerned Iowans is leading the fight against frac sand mining in Iowa.

My organization, Earthworks, has a 25-year history of fighting the destructive impacts of mining and the oil and gas industry. After Abbas and Nehman spoke to me about the damage this relatively new mining industry was wreaking in some parts of the country, I wanted to see the impacts for myself. So earlier this month I spent two days on the road in Wisconsin’s Frac Sand Land.

The war over fracking in California has just begun

With the defeat of hydraulic fracturing legislation in California, environmentalists have hit a dry well in what once had looked like a winning campaign to regulate fracking in the US state with the nation’s largest shale oil reserves.

InsideClimate News, Arkansas Times Launch Campaign to Crowdfund Oil Spill Reporting Project

InsideClimate News this week launched a campaign to raise funds for an innovative national-local reporting collaboration with the Arkansas Times that will investigate the causes and consequences of the Exxon pipeline spill in Mayflower, Ark. on Mar. 29. The campaign is being run on ioby.org, an innovative, non-profit crowdfunding platform.

Houston County Filing For BP Oil Spill Revenue

Houston County is following what the city of Dothan did just a week ago.

The question behind these lawsuits is simple: Did the city and the county lose any money because of the 2010 B.P. oil spill?

There aren’t any answers yet.

Summer business rebounding for Greenville years after Gulf oil spill

Three years ago many people were glued to their TV watching a terrible situation unfold in the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill ended up spewing more than 200 million gallons of crude oil in the Gulf, ignited by an explosion that killed 11 people. The spill cost BP more than 42 billion dollars.

State trying to better educate, prevent and respond to oil spills

Joining the government security agencies who say they are unable to estimate the number of harmful incidents they have prevented from happening is a State of Texas General Land Office (GLO) housed in a nondescript brick building in La Porte.

But just like the lag in coordination at the federal government level for anti-terrorism effectiveness, members of the Land Office staff also admit it took a number of catastrophic environment incidents to get the State up to speed.

44 of 92 buyout offers accepted by residents near giant Louisiana sinkhole

Tim Brown, his wife and their pet Dachshunds have lived along Bayou Corne since 1999 – a lifestyle he’s not comfortable giving up.

“We’re not going anyplace, so we’ll just ride it out and see what happens,” said Brown.

Enbridge says Alberta pipelines still shut after spill

Major Canadian oil pipelines that move almost 1 million barrels per day (bpd) of Alberta oil sands crude remained shut on Monday, after a spill on a smaller line was discovered on the weekend, operator Enbridge Inc said.

In Moving US Oil, ‘Flexible’ Rail Bests Pipelines

Efforts to build more energy pipelines in the United States, which is producing oil and gas at a breakneck speed, remain mired in fractious debates over politics and cost – none of which are likely to change anytime soon.

But given the efficiency of transporting crude by rail, the problems that ensnare pipeline development may not matter in the long run.

Mobile County officials ask for meeting with company wanting oil pipeline near Big Creek Lake

Members of the Mobile County Commission, the Mobile Area Water and Sewer System and other officials are hoping to meet with management with Plains Southcorp, which plans on building a crude-oil pipeline from Ten Mile Terminal in Mobile to the Chevron Oil Refinery in Pascagoula, Miss.

Man Climbs Inside Michigan Oil Pipeline In Protest

A protester has climbed into an oil pipeline at a southern Michigan construction site, and emergency crews are working to get him out.

Nigeria arrests workers at Shell contractors over pipeline fire

Nigerian soldiers have arrested eight people working for companies contracted by Royal Dutch Shell, military authorities said, following a pipeline fire that the company blamed on damage caused by oil thieves.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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