Environmental Must-Reads – November 21, 2012


NY Gov: Fracking regs likely delayed into 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A health impact review of shale gas drilling by national experts will make it impossible to meet a looming deadline for new fracking regulations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, pushing a much-delayed decision on the contentious issue into 2013.

No “Fracking” Way Say Those Who’s Drinking Water is Toxic from Controversial Drilling Method of Hydraulic Fracturing

Despite a recent USA Today headline indicating that public support for “Fracking” is growing, those close to the subject, like those who live near the new type of Natural Gas and Oil drilling sites, see things very differently. Their drinking water has become undrinkable, toxic, and even flammable, and in many cases the health of the families has been severely affected.

Methane Is Popping Up All Over Boston

Natural gas has been hailed by some as a crucial bridge fuel to a cleaner energy future. But how much cleaner is burning natural gas than burning oil or coal?

Concern over water contamination from fracking for natural gas aside, some argue that the much-advertised climate advantage of natural gas may be all but offset by the steady release of methane during its long journey from the well to the 65 million American households that depend on natural gas. Molecule per molecule, methane has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

The Hidden Dangers of Fracking; Behind the Scenes with Ken Burns

Five best green stories

Consider rules to protect life before fracking

In all the debate over regulation on fracking, I hear little of the right of life on this planet. I do, however, hear plenty about the right of those who would and do pervasively diminish its ability to thrive.

Villages’ fracking fears

FEARS have been raised that a hugely controversial method of gas drilling could eventually be heading to Chorley.

Fracking has already been responsible for two earthquakes less than 30 miles away.

Methane leaks suggest fracking benefits exaggerated

Have the benefits of “fracking” as a way to extract natural gas been exaggerated? Australia’s biggest such operation is showing larger than expected leaks of methane, reveals research submitted to a government inquiry.

Use of Secret Chemicals Runs Rampant in Fracking Industry, New Analysis Shows

A recent investigation by EnergyWire found that when companies provide information on the chemicals they use to frack wells, most of the time they keep at least one chemical secret. Sixty-five percent of disclosures made by oil and gas companies leave out information about one or more fracking chemicals that the company claims to be confidential, according to the EnergyWire article.

LA Times Covers “Sand Land,” Ecological Hazards of Frac Sand Mining in Wisconsin

On Nov. 19, The Los Angeles Times’ Neela Banerjee, writing from Chippewa County, WI, explained what we covered here in June in our “Sand Land” investigation.

“If you’re going to use river water as your drinking water, you shouldn’t discharge bromide.”

It’s something of a mystery: Levels of chemical compounds called bromides have been rising and falling in the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers and no one knows exactly why.

Wastewater from oil and gas drilling might be implicated, but in any case, further increases could spell trouble for the region’s drinking water

SUNY Buffalo Shuts Down its Frack-Happy Shale Institute

Remember that questionable study put out by the State University at Buffalo earlier this year, the one that claimed Pennsylvania was doing a good job at regulating the fracking industry? This week SUNY Buffalo’s president announced his decision to shutter its publisher, the school’s own Shale Resources and Society Institute (SRSI).

Study Exposes the Folly of Fracking

It’s been said that the human race is the only race where most of the participants can’t afford shoes and just as many don’t even have access to clean drinking water. Unfortunately, that’s not just a clever anecdote, it’s true. More than 20% of the world’s population does not have access to suitable drinking water. That’s over a billion people and ought to be considered a crime against humanity. Theoretically, at least, I’m not quite sure exactly who we can pin it on, though a recent article in Nature sheds some light as to where some questions should be directed.

Pennsylvania farmers blame fracking for illness, rashes

ULSTER, PA — Farmers in both New York and Pennsylvania remain strongly divided on the issue of hydrofracking, a controversial process of drilling for natural gas.

Fracking Pollution Sickens Pennsylvania Families

The McIntyres of Butler County, Pa., no longer drink the water piped into their home. They no longer brush their teeth with it, shower or do laundry with it. McIntyre and her husband, Fred, were among more than 100 people recently surveyed by the Oil and Gas Accountability Project at Earthworks, an environmental and public health advocacy group based in Washington, for a report published on Thursday, which suggests that widespread contamination of air and water by natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania has triggered an array of health problems, including sinus, respiratory and mood problems.

Calarco Prohibits Use of Hydrofracking Brine and Protects Waterways

(Hauppauge, N.Y.)  – Legislator Rob Calarco’s bill (IR1939) prohibiting the use of hydraulic fracturing brine (fracking brine) commonly used to melt ice on roadways, will go up for a vote of the Legislature at the November 20 General Meeting. The measure is expected to pass with bi-partisan support.

Acceptable risks? Old abandoned wells spew geysers, toxic foam, and deadly methane when new shale drilling intersects

Thanks to crackerjack reporting by Laurie Barr of Save Our Streams, along with StateImpact, the explosive (literally) issue of old abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania is becoming better known. That may be just in the nick of time, because the danger posed by old abandoned wells has already produced tragic deaths (see below); exploded homes (two of them recent, in Bradford Township, McKean County, PA); toxic foam coming up out of the ground (see the Smitsky case, including 8 dead goats, skin rashes on the humans, in western PA); 50-foot geysers and destroyed hunting cabins (Tioga County, PA just a few months ago). What the frack is going on? What do all these scary, weird incidents have in common?

Learning lessons from BP oil spill

In an attempt to limit the harm of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, three million liters of dispersant were used to dissipate the oil. “The question is whether that was the best approach,” said Tinka Murk, Professor of Environmental Toxicology at Wageningen University. On the surface the damage seems limited, but the seabed is covered with a thick layer of gunk.

ExxonMobil Says Oil Spill Cleanup off Nigeria Coast Continues

BADAN, Nigeria–Mobil Producing Nigeria, a local unit of Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), said Tuesday it was continuing to clean up an oil spill off the coast of the country’s southeastern Akwa Ibom state and 500 local personnel are involved in the effort.

Oysters available for holiday tables

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tradition will hold tor Cajun chef John Folse this Thanksgiving.

“I’m confident enough that I’ve got a big ol’ pot of oyster dressing going right now,” Folse said, when asked about the availability of Gulf of Mexico oysters more than two years after the BP oil spill — and months after Hurricane Isaac raked the Louisiana coast.

Rig fire investigation ongoing

Six Filipino workers injured or killed in an explosion on an oil platform off the coast of Louisiana last week were working for a Louisiana company accused in a federal lawsuit of human trafficking and extensive labor violations in its treatment of foreign workers.

Cause of deadly rig fire unknown

One Grand Isle Shipyard employee remained missing Monday after U.S. Coast Guard crews recovered the body of another Saturday. The recovered body was that of Ellroy Corporal. The still missing man was identified as Jerome Malagapo.

Black Elk Energy calls off search for missing oil platform worker

Black Elk Energy late Tuesday halted the search for a worker missing since a Friday morning fire aboard the company’s West Delta Block 32 oil platform. The missing crewman, Jerome Malagapo of the Philippines, was employed by Grand Isle Shipyard Inc., which had a contract with Black Elk to refurbish the platform.

Twelve arrested in Texas Keystone XL pipeline blockade

Twelve people were arrested in east Texas today as they blockaded construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The protesters warn that burning the heavy fossil fuel will emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, warming the planet beyond repair.

Keystone XL fight heats up again in East Texas

Yesterday was another intense day of direct environmental action and resulting pepper spray in East Texas.

Hydrogen sulfide gas found in sinkhole-area vent well

Texas Brine Co. has shut down one of its two vent wells burning off methane trapped under the Bayou Corne community in Assumption Parish after a small amount of potentially deadly hydrogen sulfide gas was released to the atmosphere, company officials confirmed Tuesday.

Is it dangerous to live on a salt dome, experts assess risk

BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Louisiana has over 120 salt domes and many different drilling operations on them. The residents of Bayou Corne know the reality of a potential disaster is all too real.

Add comment

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

Follow Us

© Stuart H Smith, LLC
Share This