Environmental Must-Reads – March 20, 2013


New Q poll finds ‘clear margin’ against fracking

A new Quinnipiac poll finds statewide opposition to the controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydrofracking growing after a year in which public opinion was basically split. The new poll finds opponents outnumbering supporters of fracking in the survey by 46-39 percent — a new low for fracking proponents and the first time a “clear margin” has opposed it, according to Quinnipiac.

Long-Term Costs Of Fracking Are Staggering

All the hype by the fossil fuel industry about energy independence from fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in tight gas reservoirs like the Barnett Shale has left out the costs in energy, water and other essential natural resources.

Furthermore, a recent report from the Post Carbon Institute finds that projections for an energy boom from non-conventional fossil fuel sources is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Fracking Rule Delays Riles New Yorkers

New York State’s expected rules on hydro-fracking for natural gas are overdue, and leaders in Albany seem poised to slow the rule-making process further. The delays are not going over well with some people who hope to cash in on the gas boom.

3rd NY town wins in court over fracking ban

A third upstate New York town has won a court challenge to its ban on natural gas drilling as two previous cases are about to be argued before a state appeals court.

Gas drilling company Lenape Resources, based in western New York, had sued the Livingston County town of Avon and the state Department of Environmental Conservation over the town’s moratorium on drilling, saying the action threatened to put it out of business after it had operated in the town for decades. Lenape’s owner, John Holko, also sought $50 million in damages. He named the Department of Environmental Conservation because he said the agency had a duty to stop towns from enacting local bans.

Former EPA expert: States can control fracking rules

The Environmental Protection Agency has given Montana a golden opportunity to regulate “fracking,” the technology behind the Bakken oil boom, a former EPA administrator said Tuesday.

Federal officials have sat on the sidelines as fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, has prompted an oil-and-gas boom in the United States, said Winston Porter, a former EPA assistant administrator. Without federal involvement, rules for fracking are likely to be set by the states.

If An Oil And Gas Company Wants To Drill In A Forest, Can We Know Their Name?

If an oil and gas company has proposed to drill on federal lands near you, shouldn’t you be able to find out the name of that company?

Common sense says, “you bet.” But common sense is sometimes a stranger at the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is fighting a legal battle in federal court on behalf of its pals in the oil and gas industry who want that information kept under wraps.

Protestors Arrested Blockading Gas Storage Facility on Seneca Lake, NY

Twelve protestors, residents of the local Seneca Lake area and local college students, were arrested 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 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.

Baltimore City Council Passes Fracking Wastewater Bill

Yesterday, the Baltimore City Council passed legislation to ban the treatment, disposal, discharge and storage of fracking wastewater in Baltimore City. Baltimore has now taken a critical step in protecting citizens from dangers associated with processing wastewater produced by hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Natural-gas liquid is gushing near a Colorado creek, and nobody can figure out how to stop it

An unidentified “liquid natural-gas product” is flowing freely into the shallow ground near a creekside gas processing plant in rural western Colorado. After 11 days of cleanup operations and investigations, the source and precise contents of the toxic spill remain a mystery.

Transocean CEO testifies about safety culture leading to BP oil spill

The head of Transocean Ltd., which leased its Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and supplied its crew to BP to drill the ill-fated Macondo well, testified Tuesday that the rig’s crew members “should have done more” to recognize problem signs pointing to a potential blowout during drilling and ordered the operation shut down. But he said the crew’s failure was caused by following the improper recommendations of BP officials overseeing the operation.

Environmental Impact of the BP Oil Spill

With the BP Oil Spill trial starting, here is a recap of the environmental impact caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill in April 2010.

Due to a delicate ecosystem that exists in the Gulf, of the many different species of flora and fauna interacting perfectly in their natural environment, the disruption of their regimen brought many disruptions to the entire chain of species.

Steven Newman, Transocean President And CEO, To Testify AT Gulf Oil Spill Trial

Transocean employees should have done more to detect signs of trouble before the company’s drilling rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, Transocean’s chief executive testified Tuesday.

But the Swiss-based drilling company’s subsequent investigation didn’t find any mistakes beyond the rig floor, Transocean Ltd. president and CEO Steven Newman said. He testified on the 14th day of a trial designed to determine the causes of BP’s well blowout and to assign fault to the companies involved.

Transocean Chief Admits Crew Shortcomings in Oil Spill

The chief executive of the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig acknowledged in court on Tuesday that his crew should have done more to avert the 2010 oil well blowout that left 11 dead and soiled hundreds of miles of beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil leases up for bid in central Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will be on hand when federal regulators put more than 38 million acres in the central Gulf of Mexico up for bid to offshore energy producers.

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.

#The U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle said Bret Simpson of Ellensburg, Wash., was also sentenced Monday to eight months of home detention. He earlier pleaded guilty to two criminal violations of the Clean Water Act.

Jindal meets with Bayou Corne residents, promises to fight Texas Brine for fair buyouts

Following a meeting with Bayou Corne residents Tuesday, Gov. Bobby Jindal reiterated his dedication to making a Houston-based brine producer pay damages for a massive sinkhole that has forced the evacuation of the small town in Assumption Parish.

Jindal to ensure sinkhole buyouts fair

Gov. Bobby Jindal pledged Tuesday to hold Texas Brine Co. LLC’s “feet to the fire” over buyouts for residents affected by a growing, 13-acre sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish.

Jindal made the commitment Tuesday after he and parish leaders met privately with about two dozen residents for about 25 to 30 minutes in a mobile building at the sinkhole command post site off La. 70 South in Bayou Corne.

Sheriff Ackal says Lake Peigneur Could be Worse than Assumption Sinkhole

“If we have a collapse there, it would be a hell of a catastrophe and it worries me, it has worried me for many years. Seeing it first hand, I know what could happen,” said Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal.

He vividly remembers the Jefferson Island Salt Mine Collapse in 1980 and is now asking Governor Bobby Jindal to stop AGL Resources from expanding its natural gas storage caverns at Lake Peigneur.

Did a Blogger Just Discover an Unreported Arctic Oil Spill on Google Satellite?

Michael Cote is an environmental consultant who runs a popular Tumblr, Climate Adaptation. And he may have just discovered an oil spill in the Arctic. On Google Maps. Before we proceed, bear in mind that there have been no reported oil spills in the Arctic as of late—a Google News search for ‘Conocophillips oil spill 2013’ turns up nothing.

Now, to the images. The one you see above is an overhead shot of the vast, permafrost-streaked expanse of Alaska’s North Slope. The infrastructure you can make out up left belongs to Conoco-Philips. It’s a private airport, an oil well, and a harbor.

Lift ship loads up Kulluk in Dutch Harbor, headed for Singapore

On March 9, the Royal Dutch Shell drillship Noble Discoverer left Seward, bound for Korea on the back of the 708-foot heavy lift ship Xiang Yun Kou. Now, Shell’s other drill rig, the ill-fated Kulluk, is getting ready for a Pacific crossing of its own. On Tuesday, the conical rig was loaded onto the deck of the Xiang Yun Kou’s sister vessel, the Chinese-flagged Xiang Rui Kou, in the waters near Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands.

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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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