Environmental Must-Reads – June 6, 2013


Methane leaks could negate climate benefits of US natural gas boom: report

Reduction in carbon emissions triggered by America’s shift from coal to gas is being offset by a sharp rise in methane

N.C. House panel keeps fracking moratorium

A state House committee soundly rejected an effort to lift the state’s fracking moratorium, signaling a rebuke to the state Senate’s aggressive push to fast-track shale gas exploration in North Carolina.

The legislation had sailed through the Senate three months ago, but in the interim underwent about 30 revisions in closed-door negotiations between lawmakers in the House.

Watchdog group says ‘fracking’ operation in Kalkaska County is forced to buy municipal water

An oil and gas well being “fracked” in Kalkaska County is taking more water than is available on site, forcing the well operators to buy truckloads of water from nearby municipalities, an environmental watchdog group said Wednesday, June 5.

NC House panel OKs more cautious ‘fracking’ bill

North Carolina would take a more cautious approach to allowing oil and gas drilling under legislation that won approval Wednesday in a state House committee.

The amended bill removes many provisions in a Senate measure that would set a date for regulators to begin issuing permits to energy companies drilling for gas through a method known as hydraulic fracturing, which many environmentalists oppose out of concerns for water supplies.

Will Ohio Be Fracking’s Radioactive Dumping Ground?

As hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has boomed in Ohio, Pennsylvania and nearby states in recent years, waste wells in Ohio have absorbed millions of barrels of liquid waste from oil-and-gas drilling operations in the region. Environmentalists and other observers are now calling Ohio a “dumping ground” for the fracking industry. Drillers now want to dump potentially radioactive waste mud, drill cuttings and frack sand from fracking operations in municipal landfills in the state, and environmentalists are up in arms.

Environmental Groups Split on Illinois Fracking Bill

The Illinois legislature has passed a fracking regulatory bill, expected to be signed into law by the governor, hailed by some environmental groups as the “toughest in the country.” But other groups are highly critical, both of the bill and of the way some big environmental groups worked with legislators and industry to pass it into law.

Fracking allies ask top N.Y. court to decide on bans

Proponents of hydraulic fracturing have asked New York’s top court to decide whether local governments can ban gas drilling, but whether the court agrees to take the case is far from certain.Attorneys for Norse Energy and an Otsego County farmer made the filing late Friday, asking the seven-member Court of Appeals to take on the cases of a pair of upstate towns that changed their zoning laws in 2011 to ban hydrofracking and gas drilling.

Worries over Fayette County Frack Waste Injection Well

People living in the area of an injection disposal well operating without a current permit in Fayette County say it may be endangering their water. The waste fluid comes from natural gas fracking.

Fracking Creates Water Scarcity Issues in Michigan

Concerns about the impact to local groundwater by massive water use—on a scale never before seen in Michigan fracking operations—are coming to a head, as the plan for Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to use 8.4 million gallons of water to fracture a single well has been stymied by a lack of water on site.

Toxic Fracking Waste Entering Food Supply?

The practice of dumping toxic oil drilling and fracking waste on farmland is compromising the ability of New Zealand farmers to grow good food,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.

Her comments follow recent media attention that 12 farmers in Taranaki practicing so-called ‘land farming’ are providing milk to Fonterra.

Touring Wall Street Mogul’s Company, Corbett Denies Politics Influences His Visits

While touring the ACF Industries rail car manufacturing plant today in Milton, Northumberland County, Governor Corbett faced questions about whether campaign contributions and political influence factor into decisions about which companies he comes to visit.

He says they don’t.

Rockland County Bans Radioactive Fracking Waste

A coalition of health and environmental groups have joined together to congratulate the Rockland County Board of Legislators for voting unanimously to prohibit the sale, application and disposal of waste products in the county from natural gas drilling operations. The new law bans the sale of all gas drilling waste, its processing at all wastewater treatment plants, and its application on all roads including applications for de-icing and dust control purposes within Rockland County. The groups are urging County Executive Scott Vanderhoef to sign the legislation immediately.

Oil and Gas Drilling Takes Precedence Over Conservation on Public Lands

The integrity of natural lands in the U.S. are in jeopardy. Severe droughts, raging wildfires and other extreme weather events enhanced by climate change are wreaking havoc on America’s most beautiful places. On top of this, many of these lands are being targeted for oil and gas drilling—the very activity that drives climate change.

NO woman pleads in aftermath of BP oil spill

A 36-year-old New Orleans woman has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to applications for financial help after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

$573 million in BP oil spill claims paid in Alabama, but some who qualify haven’t filed, AG says

More than 32,367 individuals and businesses in Alabama have filed claims in a class action lawsuit against BP over its 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, but many who might qualify for settlement funds have yet to file, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and a court-appointed settlement fund administrator said today.

Effort to direct oil spill money fails

Attempts to lock up oil spill penalty money to coastal restoration projects in the Louisiana Constitution have failed again in the state Senate.

Lawmakers in the House unanimously agreed to place the penalties that Louisiana will receive because of the Gulf Coast oil spill into the state coastal fund and protect it in the constitution. But the proposal didn’t even get a hearing in the Senate, where it has languished in the Finance Committee since May 6.

Mineral Oil Spill Update

Clean up of an oil spill is still underway, days after the incident. On Saturday (June 1) a transformer exploded causing thousands of gallons of mineral oil to spew into Massard Creek in Fort Smith. Environmental officials say it’s not toxic, but residents living along the creek are a little skeptical.

New oil spill response system is leaner — even at 50 tons

Since the 2010 Gulf oil spill, the trend in emergency containment equipment designed to rein in runaway wells has been to go big, with hulking masses of valves and chokes that tower over the people operating them.

But now a new mini variety has arrived.

Reports Of A ‘Huge’ Oil Spill In Clifton Area

CONCERNED locals reported a “huge” oil spill in the Clifton area yesterday afternoon, but the source of leak has yet to be discovered.

Gary, an employee of Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, said he was leaving the dock in a boat with a small group of customers at around 2.30pm when he noticed the water was dark and murky with oil.

New Oil Spill Technology A ‘Game Changer,’ Says CIRCAC

A large oil spill in Cook Inlet is the stuff of nightmares for Alaskans who call the area home. One of the organizations dedicated to cleaning up potential spills is CIRCAC, the Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council. CIRCAC has a new tool in its clean-up toolbox that it’s calling a “game changer.”

Bayou Corne Sinkhole Disaster: 15-Acre-Wide Louisiana Sinkhole Swallows Berm Installed By Texas Brine

A huge sinkhole in southern Louisiana that has already forced hundreds of residents out of their homes continues to expand and buck local efforts to prevent it from contaminating other areas. The Bayou Corne sinkhole, a 15-acre-wide hole that opened up last year in rural Assumption Parish, swallowed a berm on Tuesday that was intended to stave off contamination.

Bills regulating salt domes clear La. Legislature

Three bills crafted in response to a 15-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish and an on-going evacuation order for 350 residents are headed to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk.

Bills to tighten rules on salt domes after Assumption Parish sinkhole are headed to Jindal

Three bills to tighten regulations on salt domes won final passage and are headed to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s desk as Louisiana lawmakers respond to a 15-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish that forced 350 residents out of their homes.

Arkansas pipeline spill casts shadow over Keystone XL

A leak in March that spewed 210,000 gallons near a residential area in Mayflower, Ark., is cited by Keystone XL opponents as a fresh reminder of the peril posed by the pipeline project.

Canada’s oil output to more than double by 2030

Canada’s oil production will more than double in the next two decades, rising from 3.2 million barrels per day last year to 6.7 million barrels per day by 2030, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said in its annual forecast Wednesday.

The oilsands, which are located mainly in Alberta, will account for most of that increase — with production from those sources growing from 1.8 million barrels a day in 2012 to 5.2 million barrels a day by 2030.

The Argument Against Oil Drilling in Arctic Seas

The Natural Resources Defense Council has issued a statement concluding that recent events — most notably the grounding of a Shell Oil drilling rig in Alaska — show the oil industry is not ready to safely, cleanly drill offshore in the Arctic.

CNOOC Eyes First Foray Into Offshore Arctic Oil Drilling

China National Offshore Oil Corp., or CNOOC, is partnering with Iceland’s Eykon Energy in an application for a license to explore and produce oil and gas in Arctic waters offshore Iceland, the country’s hydrocarbon licensing manager told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday.

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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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