Environmental Must-Reads – November 2, 2012


BP settlement administrator urges those affected by oil spill to file claims

As Thursday’s deadline approached for Gulf Coast residents to opt out of the proposed class-action settlement of BP oil spill claims, the court-appointed supervisor had a message for anyone who may have taken a financial hit in the wake of the 2010 disaster. “When in doubt, file a claim,” said Patrick Juneau, a Lafayette lawyer who took over the claims process in March.

Gulf Oil Spill Settlement: Thousands Opting Out Of BP Deal

NEW ORLEANS — The architects of a proposed class-action settlement of claims spawned by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are confident it won’t be derailed by thousands of businesses and individuals opting out of the deal.

Facing Thursday deadline, attorneys are telling clients to opt out of oil spill settlement

In advance of a Thursday deadline, Lawyers said they were assisting hundreds of seafood workers and coastal property owners to opt out of a federal court settlement involving the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Arthur Kill Oil Spill: Diesel Cleanup Continues, ‘Luckily’ It’s Not Crude

During the peak of superstorm Sandy, a storm surge and full-moon high tide coincided to cause waters to rise an unprecedented 13 feet in some parts of New York Bay.

Among the mounting devastation, hundreds of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel spilled into Arthur Kill, a narrow waterway separating New Jersey and Staten Island.

Feds: Businessman accused of fraud after BP spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A Louisiana businessman faces a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly seeking to get BP PLC to pay him $1.4 million for supplying a helicopter that the oil giant allegedly did not authorize to pay for during its response to the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Northeast Louisiana residents may qualify for compensation from BP oil spill settlement

Northeastern Louisiana residents have until April 2014 to file a claim for possible compensation as part of a class action settlement related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Riverkeeper: Oil spill in Kingston’s Rondout Creek is worse than officials acknowledge

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a petroleum spill has been spotted in the Rondout Creek in Kingston that some believe will have a lasting impact.

Most of the spill has already washed downstream into the Hudson River before it could be cleaned up, witnesses said. Not wanting to wait for officials to clean up the spill, a volunteer crew did their best on Wednesday to remove what still remained of the spill from the creek.

‘Messy’ Oil Spill Complicates Sandy Recovery

A “messy” oil spill discovered in Westport’s Ned Dimes Marina today at Compo Beach added a post-storm recovery complication, according to Westport emergency management.

Toxic Brew of Chemicals Abound in Wake of Superstorm Sandy

In addition to the many lives lost, houses burned, buildings flooded, coastlines ravaged and families displaced, there’s a toxic brew of chemicals polluting local waterways.

DEQ releases pipeline draft evaluation report

YORK – The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) has completed its Draft Evaluation Report for Keystone’s proposed Nebraska Reroute of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

TransCanada to Face Regulator Audit Over Safety of Pipelines

TransCanada Corp. (TRP), facing opposition from campaigners including actress Daryl Hannah to its planned Keystone XL oil pipeline, will be audited by Canadian regulators to check whether it meets safety and management standards.

Parish, Texas Brine continue size dispute

BAYOU CORNE — Assumption Parish officials said a helicopter flight over a sinkhole east of the Bayou Corne community confirmed on Thursday their estimate of how much territory the slurry-filled hole swallowed Tuesday.

Pa. State Rep. Calls on Federal Authorities to Investigate Deceptive Marcellus Shale Water-Quality Testing Practices

A press release dated Nov. 1 from Pennsylvania State Rep. Jesse White (D-Allegheny/Beaver/Washington), stated that White called for state and federal law enforcement agencies to investigate the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for alleged misconduct and fraud revealed by sworn testimony given by a high-ranking DEP official.

New economic study: fracking risks reduce value of properties dependent on groundwater

There is a new National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)* working paper, from researchers at Resources for the Future and Duke University, on the effect that proximity to a shale gas well can have on property values. The researchers looked at more than 19,000 properties sold over a five year period in Washington County, Pennsylvania, and controlled for neighborhood amenities and other factors.

Lawmaker challenges Pa. DEP’s reporting of gas well water safety

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection produces incomplete lab reports and uses them to dismiss complaints that Marcellus Shale gas development operations have contaminated residential water supplies and made people sick, according to court documents.

Nigerian activist calls on South Africans to oppose fracking

After being banished from his homeland for opposing Shell’s mining activities in the Niger Delta, vocal Nigerian environmental activist and writer Barry Wuganaale has called on South Africans to rally against the prospects of fracking for shale gas in the Karoo.

Hurricane Sandy May Have Spared Fracking Operations, But Toxic Concerns Remain

Residents living in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania are breathing a cautious sigh of relief in the wake of superstorm Sandy, but remain concerned that increasingly frequent and severe storms expected with climate change could cause fracking-related problems in the future.

Fracking set within 1 mile of Shippingport

SHIPPINGPORT, Pa. – Despite concerns associated with nearby seismic activity, officials do not foresee any problems with Chesapeake Energy’s plans to frack within 1 mile of the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station.

Japan Misspent Tsunami Rebuilding Money

Cash earmarked for tsunami reconstruction work was diverted to unrelated projects, a Japanese government audit shows, as residents of the devastated northeast vent frustration over the slow pace of rebuilding.

A Hard Look at U.S. Reactor Hardware After Fukushima

Over the objections of the nuclear industry, the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is planning to recommend the adoption of a new rule requiring American reactors similar to the ones at Fukushima Daiichi to install emergency vents with filters on them.

Global Toxic Emergency Created by the Electronics We Buy

The American Public Health Association (APHA) yesterday called on the global electronics’ industry, public health officials and international agencies to step up efforts to protect workers and communities, citing well documented adverse health effects caused by many toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of electronic and electrical products worldwide.

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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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