Environmental Must-Reads – March 19, 2013


NY fracking foes: will become lobby if necessary

Artists Against Fracking said neither the group nor supporters Yoko Ono or Sean Lennon have been told to register as lobbyists in their campaign against gas drilling in New York, but will if necessary to continue their work.

A good-government advocate and two lobbying experts said the state should review whether Artists Against Fracking and its supporter-celebrities should be registered as lobbyists.

After Fracking Wastewater Spill, Residents and Regulators Believe Water is Safe

An investigation is underway into why a natural gas well in Wyoming County began spewing highly pressurized fracking wastewater for hours last week.

More than a quarter million gallons came out of the well before it was successfully capped.

Activists seek Ohio fracking wastewater review

A coalition of environmental and community groups called on the federal government Monday to consider suspending Ohio’s authority to oversee deep wells used for disposal of chemically laced wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

Ohio is Not the Nation’s Fracking Waste Toilet

Fifty people, including Athens County Commissioner Charlie Adkins and Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl, braved the rain and cold today to gather at the Athens County Courthouse plaza, bedecked for the occasion with a full-sized outhouse, chanting “We are not the nation’s toxic toilet.”

12 Arrested Blockading Controversial Fracking Infrastructure

Sandra Steingraber PhD., biologist, author and Trumansburg, NY resident, was arrested alongside residents of Seneca Lake and local college students to oppose Kansas City, MO based Inergy, natural gas and liquid petroleum gas storage facility, which would lock in natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale region. Protesters have linked arms and deployed a banner reading “Our Future is Unfractured, We Are Greater Than Dirty Inergy” across the entrance to the facility on NY State Route 14.

Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground Beneath Our Feet?

Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic liquid deep into the earth, using broad expanses of the nation’s geology as an invisible dumping ground.

No company would be allowed to pour such dangerous chemicals into the rivers or onto the soil. But until recently, scientists and environmental officials have assumed that deep layers of rock beneath the earth would safely entomb the waste for millennia.

There are growing signs they were mistaken.

Transocean crew had proper training, but BP workers should have recognized warning signs, according to testimony

On Monday, Calvin Barnhill, owner of Northstar Exploration Co. in Lafayette, La., an engineering firm that specializes in oil and gas exploration and production, testified in the BP oil spill civil lawsuit that Transocean crew members on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig “had the training that was necessary to understand” a basic well-control situation and to react to it, according to the Times-Picayune.

Transocean begins defense as BP oil spill trial enters fourth week

Transocean, which leased its Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and supplied its crew to BP to drill the Macondo well, began presenting its defense Monday in the sprawling civil trial to determine liability for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The federal trial has now entered its fourth week.

BP CEO will testify at oil spill trial

A federal judge is set to hear testimony from the chief executive of the company that owned the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

Companies begin defense in Gulf oil spill trial

Workers on the drilling rig that exploded at the outset of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill catastrophe were “trying to get it right” as they monitored BP’s well for signs of trouble before the blast, an expert witness for the company that owned the rig testified Monday.

BP Loses Bid to Dismiss Gross Negligence in Spill Trial

BP Plc (BP/) lost an effort to eliminate the possibility of a finding of gross negligence that might trigger fines as much as $17.6 billion in the trial over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

“I’m not going to grant that motion,” U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans today told a lawyer for the London- based oil company. “I don’t see any point in arguing it.”

BP withheld data from rig crew in Gulf disaster, expert says

The crew of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 was well trained and followed standard procedures before the oil spill disaster, but critical information was withheld from them by British oil giant BP, a Transocean drilling expert testified Monday.

“I think they were trying to get it right,” Calvin Barnhill, a petroleum engineer, said of the crew during the fourth week of a civil trial in federal court in New Orleans over the disaster.

Rig Owner’s CEO to Testify at Gulf Oil Spill Trial

A federal judge is set to hear testimony from the chief executive of the company that owned the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the nation’s worst offshore oil spill.

NOAA proposes plan to address environmental injuries from 2005 Gulf oil spill

NOAA today released a draft damage assessment and restoration plan addressing environmental injuries from the 2005 Tank Barge DBL 152 oil spill in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The draft plan describes the steps NOAA has taken to see if natural resources, such as marine habitats, were injured by the nearly two million gallon spill, as well as the extent of those injuries. The spill began on November 11, 2005 when the Tank Barge DBL 152 struck submerged remains of a pipeline service platform that collapsed during Hurricane Rita approximately 50 miles southeast of Sabine Pass, Texas.

Prison sentence in $22M Columbia oil spill case

The owner of a derelict barge that required a $22 million cleanup after oil spilled into the Columbia River in southwest Washington has been sentenced to four months in prison.

Louisiana pipeline fire, now extinguished, sickened residents

Air pollution from a huge pipeline and tug boat fire, which raged 30 miles south of New Orleans from Tuesday until it was extinguished on Friday, sickened nearby residents with respiratory ailments and other conditions.

Texas Brine to start buyout talks

Texas Brine officials told legislators Monday that Assumption Parish residents will start receiving phone calls this week to begin a buyout process.

“The first step is to make contact,” said Bruce Martin, vice president of operations for Texas Brine.

Lawmakers meet on sinkhole; edge collapses

Louisiana lawmakers are meeting with state Department of Natural Resources officials, Texas Brine officials and others Monday, a day after another burp and edge collapse at the gradually growing sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish.

The burp and slough-in followed a period of increased seismic activity last week, parish officials said in a blog post.

As odds grow long, opponents move to stop Keystone pipeline

With a sense of grim determination, a group of unlikely allies has begun gathering at kitchen tables, in churches and along fence rows here to plot what could be the final battle in the four-year conflict over the Keystone XL pipeline.

Enviros threaten Stephen Lynch on Keystone pipeline

A group of climate-minded activists and a philanthropist have sent a letter to Massachusetts Senate hopeful Stephen Lynch, warning the Democratic congressman that they’ll form a super PAC to target him unless he opposes the Keystone pipeline.

The move takes place amid an anti-super PAC pledge signed by both Lynch and the favorite in the Democratic primary, Rep. Ed Markey, to discourage outside groups from airing ads and sending out direct mail.

Power cut strikes Fukushima nuclear plant

Engineers at Fukushima partially succeeded in restarting cooling systems after a power cut struck the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant in central Japan.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said on Tuesday that four fuel storage pools at the plant had been without fresh cooling water for more than 15 hours because of the power outage.

Fukushima loses cooling power

Four fuel storage pools at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant have been without fresh cooling water for more than 15 hours due to a power outage. The plant’s operator has said it is trying to repair or replace a broken switchboard that might be the problem.

Power cut at Fukushima nuclear plant leaves storage pools without fresh water

Four fuel storage pools at Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear plant have been without fresh cooling water for nearly 20 hours due to a power outage, the plant’s operator said today, raising concerns about the fragility of a facility that still runs on makeshift equipment.

More U.S. military join lawsuit over Fukushima exposure

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) faces mounting damages from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster as more U.S. servicemembers joined a lawsuit accusing the Japanese national utility of lying about the risks involved in an aid effort to the stricken area in 2011.

Beware of your cell phone, it may kill you

According to the ministry of telecommunications and the department of telecommunications (DoT), there are 90 mobile phone base transmitting (BTS) stations in Mumbai which exceed the electromagnetic radiation limit set by the Indian government in September 2012.

Scientists Find Evidence of Possible Link Between Mobile Phone Usage and Thyroid Cancer

In a new article reporting the first ever link between radiation from cell phones and thyroid cancer, scientists from Tel-Aviv University believe they may have pinpointed a cause for concern for all mobile device users. Babak Larian, MD, FACS, director of the CENTER for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery in Beverly Hills, believes that the study’s findings are extremely critical in understanding how thyroid cancer can be prevented.

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

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