Environmental Must-Reads – June 30, 2014


Fracking resolution deferred by Mandeville City Council

The Mandeville City Council has backed off – temporarily – on a proposed resolution to support a prohibition on fracking in the parish amid concerns that only one side of the emotional issue is being heard. Despite being urged by several audience members to approve the resolution offered by Councilman David Ellis, the council Thursday night (June 26) deferred action to allow more time to study and possibly refine its stance on the controversial drilling procedure.

Protesters walk from Grand Isle to Baton Rouge

Environmental activists are carrying water from the Gulf of Mexico to pour on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s lawn in protest of what they perceive as an imbalance between the state’s industrial and environmental priorities.

The group began its journey in the oilfield of South Lafourche quickly coming upon signs of the area’s close and complicated bond with the energy industry.

Oklahoma looks for answers on earthquakes

Central Oklahoma residents are demanding to know whether earthquake swarms that have shaken their homes and their nerves in recent months are caused by oil and gas drilling operations in the area.

About 500 people attended a meeting with regulators and research geologists Thursday night in Edmond. Many urged the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, to ban or severely restrict the wells that are used to dispose of wastewater from drilling and that some scientists say could be linked to the quakes.

What’s behind Oklahoma’s surge in earthquakes?

Since January, there have been nearly as many earthquakes in Oklahoma than all of last year. With the sudden spike, residents in Oklahoma are questioning whether fracking is behind the change, reports CBS News’ Manuel Bojorquez.

It was clear at a town hall gathering Thursday night in Edmond, Oklahoma, that rattled nerves are starting to fray. Hundreds of people crowded into a church demanding to know why the ground keeps shaking.

“The risk is all taken over the homeowner, it’s our lives, it’s our property,” a resident said.

Residents put pressure on fracking firms as quakes plague region

Oklahoma residents whose homes and nerves have been shaken by an upsurge in earthquakes want to know what’s causing the temblors — and what can be done to stop them.

Hundreds of people are expected to turn out in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Thursday night for a town hall meeting on the issue.

Wyoming Starting to Grapple with Drilling Rigs near Laramie Homes

Oil and gas booms can seem remote — it’s not like they happen in your backyard.

Unless they do.

Take Laramie County, Wyo., where a surge in well permitting threatens to bring drilling closer to a large number of homes. Although Wyoming has a long history with oil and gas, it’s almost always been in rural areas. A boom in Laramie County would change that, though, and some say the state is ill-prepared to deal with the issues that arise when communities bump up against drilling.

Research raises new concerns about climate impact of natural gas

Natural gas fields globally may be leaking enough methane, a potent greenhouse gas, to make the fuel as polluting as coal for the climate over the next few decades, according to a pair of studies published last week.

An even worse finding for the United States in terms of greenhouse gases is that some of its oil and gas fields are emitting more methane than the industry does, on average, in the rest of the world, the research suggests.

High Sierra does right thing by shutting down wastewater injection well near Greeley

High Sierra Water Services did the right thing by agreeing to shut down one of its wastewater injection wells after a second earthquake was recorded northeast of Greeley last week.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission asked High Sierra to temporarily stop using the injection well after a team of University of Colorado seismologists tracked a 2.6-magnitude earthquake to an area near the well. The team began monitoring the region after a 3.4-magnitude earthquake struck the area May 31.

Radioactive Risks From Fracking Waste

Concerns about global warming aside, one reason the U.S. is not so eager to embrace the Keystone XL pipeline is the growth of its own energy production, as Shawn McCarthy mentioned. Fracking is mostly driving the oil and gas boom in America, but that has its own environmental problems, including the natural radioactivity of the rocks that cover the Marcellus shale in the Eastern U.S. And the radioactive debris, or drill cuttings, left behind by fracking can contaminate water unless properly treated. And while New York state has a moratorium on fracking, it does accept plenty of radioactive drilling waste from nearby Pennsylvania, and that has touched off intense debate.

Matt Richmond reports for WSKG and the Allegheny Front, and has the story.

Al Lewis Says We’re Fracking Toward Ruin

We will burn every last drop of oil on this planet or die trying.

Billions of dollars of coastal real estate will be under the sea. Crop yields will plummet. Electricity demand will soar as life becomes increasingly unbearable without air conditioning.

The polar ice caps will become polar slush caps. Many people will continue to insist that global warming is a hoax. And no matter what anybody actually believes, or thinks they can prove, about what’s causing the obvious degradation of the biosphere, humanity will continue spewing carbon into the air.

Study assesses health implications of fracking in Maryland

Public health officials on Saturday unveiled a recently completed study that assesses health implications of hydraulic fracturing as the governor’s office plans to make a decision by the end of the year on the future of the practice in Maryland.

The procedure, known as fracking, involves drilling into the earth with a push of water and chemicals to force the release of natural gas from the ground.

No Limits to Shale Gas Chemicals in Mexico

The new legal framework for Mexico’s oil industry has not placed controls on the use of harmful chemicals in the extraction of unconventional fossil fuels, and environmentalists and experts fear their consumption will increase in an industry that is opening up to private capital.

The energy reform “will exacerbate the use of chemicals. The new laws do not address this problem. We need to know what is used, because otherwise we cannot know the consequences. That’s why we want a ban on ‘fracking’ (hydraulic fracturing),” activist Claudia Campero, of Canada’s Blue Planet Project, told IPS.

Fish kill in eastern Ohio might be linked to fire at fracking well

The state is investigating a fish kill in an eastern Ohio creek near where a fire occurred at a shale-well fracking site on Saturday.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources learned yesterday of the fish kill in Possum Creek in Monroe County, said Jason Fallon, an agency spokesman. Fallon said he did not have details about the extent of the kill. “I can’t confirm if it’s related to the gas-well fire,” he said.

Ex-BP executive can be charged with obstructing Congress: U.S. court

A U.S. federal appeals court has reinstated a criminal charge of obstruction of Congress against a former BP Plc executive accused of downplaying the severity of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans on Friday said a lower court judge misinterpreted the obstruction statute in dismissing the charge against David Rainey, a former BP exploration vice president.

BP fights for spill compensation repayment

BP has launched legal action against “a vast number” of businesses that it claims were wrongly awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation for its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In a filing to the US District Court in New Orleans, BP called on the judge to issue an order compelling some of the businesses that received compensation to repay it, with interest, on the grounds that they were “unjustly enriched”.

Rep. Grijalva presses BP to reinstate Gulf spill claims process

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) is pressing BP to reinstate its internal claims program after the oil giant shut it down one week ago.

BP ended the claims program for those impacted by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, taking away the sole avenue for over 10,000 claimants who opted out of the company’s settlement agreement.

BP seeks repayment on ‘inflated’ oil spill payouts

BP urged a federal judge Friday (June 27) to order the repayment — plus interest — of hundreds of millions of dollars the company says were overpaid to claimants as a result of “erroneous implementation” of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement.

The British oil giant argues that repayment is necessary after the court in May approved a revised policy for calculating losses under the settlement.

Video: Water quality advocates ‘Flood Into Baton Rouge’

Marchers finishing an eight-day, 155-mile walk from Grand Isle to the Governor’s Mansion entered the city at dusk Friday, and gathered at the Mansion on Saturday morning for ‘Flood Into Baton Rouge,’ a noon event focused on water quality issues across the state.

A group of six marchers crossed the Mississippi River via the Plaquemine Ferry on Friday afternoon, carrying water taken from the Gulf of Mexico from near Grand Isle, an area affected by coastal erosion and water quality issues. The water was carried up La. 1, joining other ‘troubled waters’ brought by residents from other parts of Louisiana for the rally. Marchers and attendees shared their individual experiences and viewpoints, regarding the threat they say that the oil and gas industry poses to all.

Protesters walk 150 miles carrying ‘troubled waters’ to Governor’s Mansion

Environmental activists are carrying water from the Gulf of Mexico to pour on Gov. Bobby Jindal’s lawn in protest of what they perceive as an imbalance between the state’s industrial and environmental priorities.

The group began its journey in the oilfield of South Lafourche quickly coming upon signs of the area’s close and complicated bond with the energy industry.

Exxon Mobil Reports Fire, Oil Spill at Nigeria’s Terminal

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) said thunderstorms caused a tank fire June 27 and an oil spill today at the Mobil Producing Nigeria Qua Iboe Terminal it operates in Akwa Ibom state.

Offshore production and loading of oil continue, the Irving, Texas-based company said today in a e-mailed statement. No fatalities or injuries were reported. The amount of oil lost to the fire and spill hasn’t been calculated, the company said.

AG Schuette, state environmental director announce oil and gas pipeline task force

Multiple state departments are coming together to keep an eye on oil and gas pipelines across Michigan.

Attorney General Bill Schuette and Dan Wyant, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, will head up the new Great Lakes Petroleum Pipeline Task Force, their offices announced in a joint statement Thursday.

Gauging the risk versus the financial reward with Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project

The proposed Northern Gateway project has become a flashpoint for the growing debate about the safety of oil pipelines. Yet despite the arguments put forward by its proponents and opponents, many Canadians lack a broader perspective from which to measure the risks and rewards of what would be a vital oil-export conduit.

Disappointing day for Arctic oil

As test wells continue to come back dry and firms begin to reassess their prirorities, an Arctic oil strike is looking as far off as ever.

In the most recent setback, Statoil announced today that “no hydrocarbons were found” during exploratory drilling operations at a well located in Faroese waters. It is the second time in a week that Statoil has had to plug after failing to identify traces of gas or oil.

Few Iowa emergency responders ready for crude oil train derailment

As Iowa emergency responders wait to learn how much crude oil is coming through their counties, most say they don’t have enough supplies to fight a fire from even one tank car — much less a unit train carrying 35 cars of extra-flammable crude.

Winneshiek County Emergency Manager Bruce Goetsch has this advice for an Iowa community facing a crash of this magnitude: “Make sure your tennis shoes are on and start running,” he said.

Oil trains: South Sound first responders try to get grip on what new data mean for safety

Two or three trains loaded with Bakken crude oil rumble every day through towns in south Thurston County and suburban Pierce County, and the growing number of 100-tanker trains is bringing risks that emergency responders are starting to scrutinize.

Concerns over the oil’s movement have grown steadily after several derailments in the U.S. and Canada, including the disastrous July 2013 explosions in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, that killed 47 people.

Canada town ravaged by oil train fire still in turmoil

One year after an oil-laden train derailed, exploded and killed 47 people in a town in Canada’s Quebec province, trains are rolling again but locals are hardly thrilled.

The picturesque lakeside town of Lac-Megantic was transformed by the inferno — Canada’s worst rail catastrophe in 15 years.

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