Environmental Must-Reads – May 2, 2013


Spread of Hydrofracking Could Strain Water Resources in West, Study Finds

The rapid expansion of hydraulic fracturing to retrieve once-inaccessible reservoirs of oil and gas could put pressure on already-stressed water resources from the suburbs of Fort Worth to western Colorado, according to a new report from a nonprofit group that advises investors about companies’ environmental risks.

A new problem for fracking: Drillers are running out of water

Could severe water shortages short-circuit the US shale gas boom? With 64% of the country in drought, water is looming as the next hot-button issue in the debate over hydrofracturing, also known as fracking, which involves injecting chemical-laden water under high pressure to create fissures in subterranean rock formations so gas and oil can be extracted.

Details Withheld on Fracking Methane Study

High levels of methane in Susquehanna County, Pa., cannot be to attributed to fracking, yet claims impossible to verify

Fracking Fluid Cleanup Continues

On Wednesday, crews continued to clean up the 9,000 gallons of fracking fluid spilled from a well site in Wyoming County on Tuesday.

Fracking boom in North Dakota is here to stay

At 7:00 a.m. local time this morning, Lonnie’s Roadhouse Cafe in Williston, N.D., was already bustling, packed to the gills with truckers and roughnecks tanking up on coffee and omelets for another day in that town’s ongoing fracking boom.

“It’s continuous, it doesn’t stop,” says manager Lonnie Iverson. “Busy, busy, busy.”

Three Fracking Moratorium Bills Win Key Vote in California Legislature

Three bills that would halt fracking in California won key votes Monday night, passing the Assembly Natural Resources Committee despite intense pressure from the oil industry. Richard Bloom’s A.B. 1301, Holly Mitchell’s A.B. 1323 and Adrin Nazarian’s A.B. 649 would place a moratorium on fracking while threats posed by the controversial practice to California’s environment and public health are studied.

Could Ohio Ban The Use Of Injection Wells For Fracking Waste?

Two state lawmakers are proposing a ban on Ohio’s oil and natural gas injection wells until safety and health concerns are satisfied.

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice said that in 2012, Ohio accepted nearly 14 million barrels of oil and natural gas drilling waste.

State Dems call for ban on fracking waste

Ohio House Democrats introduced a bill Wednesday that would make it illegal to dispose of oilfield waste in deep underground injection wells. The possibilities of such a ban becoming law seem slim given other ill-fated attempts at legislation that ultimately would raise costs on the oil and gas industry.

Pennsylvania Moratorium: Groups Deliver Over 100,000 Signatures to Gov. Corbett Demanding a Halt on Fracking

Over thirteen groups delivered over 100,000 petitions for a statewide moratorium on shale gas development — fracking and all its  infrastructure, from compressor stations to waste pits — to Governor Corbett in Harrisburg yesterday.  The first press report, “Boxes of petitions delivered to Corbett call for moratorium on natural gas drilling,” by Pennlive.com reporter Jan Murphy, includes a 23-second video from the April 30th press conference and highlights former fracking industry worker Mac Sawyer’s remarks

Cuomo admin: ‘No timetable’ on fracking decision

Months ago, the Cuomo administration promised a decision within weeks on whether to allow hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

Now, one of the key officials says there’s “no timetable” for a decision.

MAYDAY-MAYDAY: Coalition Calls for New York State to Oppose LNG Port

Evoking the international call for maritime distress, 36 groups stood united today in opposition to a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) port proposed to be built off of Jones Beach, NY. The groups, from across New York and New Jersey, call on Gov. Cuomo to oppose the plan.

Video: Sandra Steingraber Shines a Spotlight on the Problems of Fracking

After serving 10 days of her 15-day sentence for trespassing during a protest against fracking, activist Sandra Steingraber was released from the Schuyler County jail last week in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The day before she was imprisoned, she talked with Moyers about her fight to stop fracking and the release of toxins contaminating our air, water and food.

The Clean Railroads Act: The Oil and Gas Industry Exemption You’ve Never Heard Of

The federal Clean Railroads Act of 2008 was meant to close a loophole in the law and increase state and local oversight of polluted rail yards across the country.

But it left open a smaller loophole for the oil and gas industry, according to Mark Szybist, an attorney for the environmental group PennFuture.

Health Defects Found in Fish Exposed to Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Three Years Later

Crude oil toxicity continued to sicken a sentinel Gulf Coast fish species for at least more than a year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to new findings from a research team that includes a University of California, Davis, scientist.

Exposure to BP oil-contaminated sediment causes defects in killifish, study says

Exposure of embryos of a tiny Gulf of Mexico fish to sediment from Louisiana wetlands contaminated with oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill causes defects to the growing fish’s heart and cardiovascular system, delays hatching, and reduces overall hatching success, according to a new study co-authored by two Louisiana State University scientists.

Gov. Robert Bentley announces $85 million in oil spill restoration funds to be used at Gulf State Park

Gov. Robert Bentley announced today that Alabama will receive nearly $100 million for three proposed coastal restoration projects as part of the early restoration process following the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

City of Headland seeks $1.6 million from BP

The city of Headland is far from the beaches of Alabama’s coast where an oil spill covered beaches during the BP oil spill, but the city is seeking more than a million dollars in damages.

Exxon Confirms Oil Spill in Missouri

Exxon Mobil confirmed on Wednesday that an oil spill occurred Tuesday on its Pegasus crude pipeline in Ripley County, Missouri, the same line that ruptured thousands of barrels of oil into an Arkansas neighborhood at the end of March.

Missouri Oil Spill: Exxon Pegasus Pipeline Leaks Again, One Month After Mayflower, Arkansas Rupture

Exxon Mobil Corp’s near 70-year-old Pegasus oil pipeline spilled a small amount of crude on Tuesday into a residential yard in Ripley County, Missouri, a month after the same pipe spewed thousands of barrels of crude in Arkansas.

Fresh ExxonMobil pipeline spill hits Missouri

While questions over the severity of ExxonMobil’s March 29 oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas still remain, the same pipeline has now ruptured, this time to the north, in Missouri.

The 70-year-old Pegasus pipeline, which released thousands of barrels of tar sands oil in Arkansas, has now caused another, albeit far smaller incident in Ripley County, Missouri, 200 miles north of Mayflower, Arkansas.

Questions still unanswered following Exxon oil spill

It has been more than a month since the Exxon Mobil tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas and residents and investigators are still waiting for answers to basic questions about the disaster. Katherine Bagley at InsideClimate News lists the unanswered questions

Sinkhole commission tells crowd it needs more data

Members of the Blue Ribbon Commission charged with investigating the long-term stability and safety of the area around the Assumption Parish sinkhole need more data before any recommendations will be forthcoming, officials said Wednesday.

Panel backs salt-dome restriction

A Louisiana House committee approved legislation Wednesday that would keep industry from creating additional natural gas storage at salt domes that have had man-made structural failures.

Bill curbing salt dome storage caverns near manmade disasters clears Senate panel

A bill addressing Louisiana’s sinkholes cleared a Senate panel Wednesday after being whittled down to prohibit issuing permits for hydrocarbon storage, such as natural gas, in state-owned bodies of water near manmade disasters.

More tests for UT pipeline that leaked diesel fuel

A pipeline that leaked 20,000 gallons of diesel fuel near northern Utah’s Willard Bay has failed a federally mandated pressure test required to make it fully operational again.

The pipeline owned by Chevron Corp. extends from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Angers Enviros With Keystone XL Pipeline Ads

Mark Zuckerberg has clicked “Like” on the Keystone XL Pipeline — and now his timeline is going to be chock-full of angry.

The Facebook founder and CEO recently started a political advocacy group called FWD.us — and the group is running a series of television ads in support of the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Facebook Rejects Ad Highlighting Zuckerberg Group’s Support For Keystone XL

When a subsidiary of Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group started airing ads for expanded oil drilling and the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, CREDO Action decided to post an ad of their own calling Zuckerberg out — on Facebook.

Keystone critic was engineer at pipeline company TransCanada

Speaker number 37 was the insider.

Evan Vokes joined about 200 people who testified last month in Grand Island at the State Department’s public hearing on the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Wearing a dark suit and speaking quickly, he was the only former employee of TransCanada Corp. to testify. The company wants to build the underground pipeline through Nebraska and five other states.

Judge halts Chevron-Ecuador enforcement action in Canada

A Toronto judge halted on Wednesday an effort to enforce a $19 billion Ecuadorean judgment against U.S. oil company Chevron Corp in Canada, finding that his Ontario provincial court was the wrong place for the case.

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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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