Environmental Must-Reads – November 25, 2013


Study calls fracking job numbers ‘exaggerated’

A new report claims that the job impact of shale gas drilling is exaggerated by supporters. The analysis finds only one out of every 795 jobs was shale gas related in the six-state area it focused on.

Two Arrested Protesting Fracking Wastewater Injection Well

Two Youngstown, OH community members were arrested today at a nonviolent protest and rally at a fracking wastewater injection well site in Niles, OH. The two protesters were arrested for blocking trucks from entering the well site while holding a “Fracking Hurts Communities” banner. More than 50 people from Ohio and Pennsylvania attended the rally.

Another Victory for the Anti-Fracking Movement in Wyoming!

Wyoming is ahead of the curve when it comes to regulating hydraulic fracturing. Last week, state regulators approved new rules for water testing at drilling sites that are among the strictest in the nation. The rules, which will go into effect in March, will “require oil and gas companies to test wells or springs within a half-mile of their drilling site, both before and after drilling,” according to the New York Times.

Offshore drilling in North Carolina might get renewed push

Gov. Pat McCrory says he will push a comprehensive energy package during the short session that begins in May. Though his office is mum on details, it could include policy related to drilling in federal waters off North Carolina.

Water recycling minimal but growing on Texas oil fields

Standing on a sprawling ranch where drilling rigs, cranes and bobbing stripper wells form a makeshift skyline, Jimmy Davis is not thinking solely about sucking up oil. It is not the only precious liquid that is pumped from under the land that he manages.

“We’re trying to preserve what we have for future generations,” Davis, the operations manager for Fasken Oil and Ranch, said about collecting clean water. Though required in abundance for oil and gas production, it is increasingly hard to find in drought-scorched Texas, where water use by drillers has come under increasing scrutiny.

Exposed: fracking licenses granted in Bushmen’s reserve

Large parts of Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) – home to Africa’s last hunting Bushmen – have been opened up to international companies for the controversial practice of ‘fracking’, according to an investigation for the documentary film ‘The High Cost of Cheap Gas’ and British newspaper The Guardian.

Wyoming Gas Field Explosion Injures 5 Workers At Encana Drill Site In Jonah Field Near Pinedale

An explosion in a western Wyoming gas field has injured five workers, one of them critically.

Encana officials say the cause isn’t known, but contract workers were welding at the time in the Jonah gas field. Five of six gas condensate tanks exploded at the well site around 10:20 a.m. Friday.

FrackFinders Wanted

Do you care about fracking, have a computer, and are at least a little familiar with Google Maps? Then our friends at SkyTruth need your help to map fracking ponds across Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale.

Health, Environmental Groups Urge Air District to Protect Los Angeles From Fracking Pollution

A coalition of health and environmental organizations called on the South Coast Air Quality Management District today to better protect Los Angeles and Orange County residents from air pollution caused by fracking and other dangerous oil and gas extraction methods.

Landscape consequences of natural gas extraction in Armstrong and Indiana Counties, Pennsylvania

Increased demands for cleaner burning energy, coupled with the relatively recent technological advances in accessing unconventional hydrocarbon-rich geologic formations, have led to an intense effort to find and extract natural gas from various underground sources around the country. One of these sources, the Marcellus Shale, located in the Allegheny Plateau, is currently undergoing extensive drilling and production. The technology used to extract gas in the Marcellus Shale is known as hydraulic fracturing and has garnered much attention because of its use of large amounts of fresh water, its use of proprietary fluids for the hydraulic-fracturing process, its potential to release contaminants into the environment, and its potential effect on water resources. Nonetheless, development of natural gas extraction wells in the Marcellus Shale is only part of the overall natural gas story in this area of Pennsylvania. Conventional natural gas wells are commonly located in the same general area as the Marcellus Shale and are frequently developed in clusters across the landscape. The combined effects of these two natural gas extraction methods create potentially serious patterns of disturbance on the landscape.

UK govt, fracking industry ‘feathering each other’s nests’

While activists across the UK are setting protest camps to force their government to ban shale gas drilling, MEP candidate for the UK’s Green party Andy Chyba told RT that London is too intimate with big business to let that happen.

Proposed salt-dome regulations under fire

At least a dozen salt-dome caverns in Louisiana are as close to the edge of their supporting underground formations as the one that collapsed last year and caused the yawning sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Data collected by the state in response to the sinkhole also shows those 12 caverns, along with 15 others, would violate proposed rules mandating a buffer zone of sorts for future caverns to help ensure they are structurally sound.

Oil Spill Judge ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in BP

BP has really irritated Judge Carl Barbier this time. From his courtroom in New Orleans, Barbier presides over the multifaceted litigation concerning the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He has sole discretion over a series of decisions determining whether BP (BP)‘s liability bill from that disaster will total several additional billions of dollars or much, much more.

Federal judge denies BP’s ‘disappointing’ attempt to rewrite oil spill business claims rules

A federal judge overseeing the settlement of private claims stemming from the BP Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill issued a harshly worded opinion late Friday, charging BP with going back on its word by asking him and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to require proof that all business economic losses were caused by the oil spill before claims are paid.

BP’s settlement appeals are ‘hitches’ in quickly moving, complex case, expert says

Edward Sherman, a professor at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, contends that when it comes to the settlement in the BP oil spill litigation, the legal community remains divided on whether BP should pursue its fight over the payment of business economic loss claims.

$8M oil spill deal

The world’s largest oil company is paying the state more than $8 million to cover disputed costs of a state-run cleanup of a former oil terminal on the St. Lawrence River, according to state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Tulsa oil company, Nadel and Gussman Rockies, to pay $1 million fine in Wyoming oil spill

A Tulsa company has agreed to pay a $1 million dollar penalty after an oil spill in Wyoming.

The attorney for Nadel and Gussman Rockies, LLC entered a guilty plea for the company before a U.S. District Judge in Cheyenne.

A Neighborhood Shattered: Families Emptying Out of Oil-Hit Arkansas Town

American property owners battling to stop energy companies from snaking oil pipelines across their lands need only look to Mayflower, Ark., for a window into what can go wrong when pipelines burst in backyards.

Eight months after an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked Canadian oil across an Arkansas subdivision, a cloud of uncertainty looms large over the young families, singles and retirees who chose the affordable, decade-old Northwoods neighborhood to establish roots. Nearly half of them have put their houses up for sale in search of a fresh start they never wanted.

VIDEO – Shattered by Oil: Exxon Arkansas Spill and the People Left Behind, Part 1

On March 29, 2013, an ExxonMobil oil pipeline that runs under a tiny residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Ark. split open and spilled 210,000 gallons of Canadian dilbit across backyards and streets and in waterways.

InsideClimate News spent months reporting the spill on the ground. In Part 1 of “Shattered by Oil”—an ICN co-production with This American Land—Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth McGowan returns to Mayflower, Ark., to explore the fate of residents who are living with the effects of the oil disaster and trying to piece together their lives.

US Court Denies Halt on Pipeline Set to Replace Keystone XL Northern Half

The ever-wise Yogi Berra once quipped “It’s like déjà vu all over again,” a truism applicable to a recent huge decision handed down by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

A story covered only by McClatchy News‘ Michael Doyle, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson shot down Sierra Club and National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) request for an immediate injunction in constructing Enbridge’s Flanagan South tar sands pipeline in a 60-page ruling.

Tar Sands Industry Eyes Great Lakes for Cheap Shipping

As tar sands extraction continues and proposals for expanded pipelines from Canada into the U.S. form a backdrop, the Great Lakes themselves could become the next frontier for moving crude oil to a vast Midwest refinery network.

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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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