Environmental Must-Reads – November 13, 2012


Allegan fracking causes locals concern

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) – The flap over fracking has reached Allegan County.

Controversy about the mining process increased after the Michigan Department of Natural Resources leased the oil and mineral rights of more public land to oil and gas companies at two auctions this year. It affects tens of thousands of acres and is big money for the state.

More scientific research of ‘fracking’ urged in Pennsylvania

Mercyhurst University public health scholar David Dausey, Ph.D., says Pennsylvania has opened its doors to fracking without doing the scientific research necessary to ensure the public’s safety.

Lack of mineral rights puts some homebuyers in legal limbo

Decades ago, when few had heard of shale gas or fracking, major timber companies sold off enormous swaths of land in North Carolina. With a minor adjustment to the property deed, these companies retained the legal right to mine and drill hundreds of feet below the surface of the land they sold.

Organization slams gas fracking

A national citizens organization has raised concerns about shale gas drilling after a recent provincial government report.

The Council of Canadians is also calling for a ban on the practice, known as fracking, citing environmental and public health concerns.

Loosing the Yellow Monster: Fracking and Radioactivity

Fracking for gas not only uses toxic chemicals that can contaminate drinking and groundwater—it also releases substantial quantities of radioactive poison from the ground that will remain hot and deadly for thousands of years.

Only fools trade our water for oil

My family often discussed politics at the dinner table. When we got too rowdy, my grandmother would just say, “Whatchya gonna do when the well runs dry?”

That always brought us back down to earth. Because, conservative or liberal, clean water is our most precious resource. Not oil. Not natural gas. Water.

Hydraulic-Fracturing Natural Gas Truck Staging Area To Open Off Route 414

Pennsylvania General Energy (PGE) is currently constructing a “truck staging area” in a farm field just off Route 44 and adjacent to the Pine Creek Rail Trail, between the villages of Jersey Mills and Cammal. According to an informed source, it is scheduled for completion by December 1st, at which time the current staging area in the parking lot of the Venture Inn (just south of the Whitetail Recreational Parking Access and a couple miles above Jersey Shore and Route 220) will cease operations.

Gas pipeline leak leads to power outages in Summit

It’s still unclear what caused the natural gas pipeline leak that forced utility company Xcel Energy to cut power to some Summit County customers Monday morning as temperatures dipped to the lowest point so far this season.

Davidson landowner upset over trees felled for pipeline project

When Jimmy McKnight returned from a business trip to Virginia in late October, dozens of towering trees were gone from his land.

A contractor cleared the trees as part of a project to run a natural gas line beneath the East Rocky River in Cabarrus and northern Mecklenburg counties.

Pipeline inspected after explosion

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There is still no official word on what caused the explosion Saturday night in the Richmond Hill subdivision on the city’s south side, but natural gas is suspected of playing a role. However, evidence is mounting against a ruptured underground pipeline being the likely source.

Pollution persists in Allegheny River in W. Pa.

PITTSBURGH — High levels of an ultra-salty compound that could be linked to oil and gas drilling persist in the Allegheny River’s Pittsburgh-area watershed, while the levels declined in the nearby Monongahela River, recent research shows.

Bill McKibben: Obama needs to face climate change, reject Keystone pipeline

It will be painfully easy to tell if President Barack Obama is going to take a serious stab at doing something about climate change in his second term: The purest, starkest test he faces will be the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Opting out has its risks in BP case

With the statute of limitations running out for some 25,000 Gulf Coast residents with potential spill claims against BP, it is still not clear how many of them will be allowed to opt out of an already negotiated settlement.

It’s not too late to file oil spill damage claim

If you or your business were harmed by BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill, you may be eligible for payments and other benefits from two separate legal settlements.

Exxon Mobil Cleaning Up Oil Spill on Nigerian Coast

Exxon Mobil Corp. (CVX)’s Nigerian unit said it began cleaning up part of the nation’s southeast coast after a pipeline from an offshore facility spilled at least 200 barrels of crude at the end of last week.

Oil loving membranes for oil spill clean-ups

Researchers in China have made a new type of membrane that can separate oil from water and could potentially be used in oil spills, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico. The membrane works by interacting differently with the substances as it is both superhydrophobic and superoleophilic, so that it repels water but attracts oil. This means that the oil is absorbed through the membrane, but the water can’t penetrate.

Louisiana Bills Texas Company $3.5M for Sinkhole Costs

The state of Louisiana sent a $3.5 million bill to the Texas company it blames for a massive sinkhole that has swallowed more than 5 acres of land in Assumption Parish and contaminated an aquifer.

Steps ordered to hold down risk near giant sinkhole

Louisiana officials have ordered new steps to minimize the risk of exposure to natural gas under property where a large sinkhole formed in August.

State orders Texas Brine to take safety steps

The Louisiana Office of Conservation on Monday issued a new round of directives to Texas Brine Co. LLC aimed at minimizing risks from the public’s potential exposure to natural gas lingering under property in the Bayou Corne community of Assumption Parish where a large sinkhole has formed.

With pipelines delayed, tar-sands oil shifts onto trains

Protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have made tar-sands oil projects look more risky and less feasible. But oil companies aren’t going to let a little pipeline-capacity problem stand in their way. “[O]ne oilsands producer has found a way around the bottleneck,” reports the Calgary Herald.

Chevron to poor California town: ‘Thanks, but we’d rather pollute’

That was an Aug. 6 fire at a 110-year-old Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif. Those outrageous, toxic plumes sent more than 15,000 people to area hospitals complaining of eye and respiratory issues. In the aftermath, it was revealed that Chevron hadn’t installed air monitoring stations it had agreed to set up in 2010 and that it was bypassing existing monitoring equipment.

Blackstone, LLOG agree on $1.2 billion Gulf of Mexico oil deal

Blackstone Group LP (BX) started a partnership with LLOG Exploration Co., an unlisted oil company, to invest more than $1.2 billion in offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

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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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