Environmental Must-Reads – November 9, 2012


Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon Put Anti-Fracking Message on New York Billboard

Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon and their Artists Against Fracking group have posted a large billboard in New York urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to rush a study on the natural gas extraction method known as hydraulic fracturing to meet a November 29th regulatory deadline. The billboard reads “Governor Cuomo: Imagine There’s No Fracking,” and is situated on the Major Deegan Expressway, a route oven traveled by Cuomo. By missing the November 29th deadline, New York would be forced to draft new regulations, as well as reopen a window for public comment.

Could fracking use less water? CSU wants to find out

It takes up to 5 million gallons of water to hydraulically fracture an oil and gas well one time.

With nearly all of Northern Colorado’s oil and gas wells fracked sometimes more than once, the volume of fresh water the process uses is huge.

American Towns Fight Back Against Fracking

WASHINGTON, DC, November 8, 2012 (ENS) – Roughly $30 million in campaign contributions have flowed from the oil and gas industry to congressional candidates and political action committees in 2012 to stall regulation of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Now many towns have swung into action to pass fracking bans to protect their citizens.

New fracking board raises unforeseen ethics issues

Ray Covington and his family own more than 1,000 acres of timberland in Lee County, considered to be a natural gas-rich pay zone and prime fracking territory.

Six times wildcatters have come knocking with offers of money to lease the family’s “mineral rights” to drill and frack for natural gas. Six times the family refused, confident that they can get a better deal.

Study: Fracking can hurt property values of nearby homes with wells

WASHINGTON — Property owners near shale gas wells are liable to suffer a major loss in value because of worries over water contamination, according to economists from Duke University and the nonprofit research organization Resources for the Future. Their study found Pennsylvania homeowners who use local groundwater for drinking lost up to 24 percent of their property value if they are within a mile and a quarter of a shale gas well.

Scientists to monitor fracking projects in real time, probe link to tremors

Scientists will be “listening in” to hydraulic fracturing as it happens as part of a $1.86-million joint research project at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta.

The three-year project – funded 50 per cent by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and 50 per cent by 10 Canadian industry partners – uses micro-seismic technology to monitor what is going on underground during the fracking process. Sensors called “geophones” are lowered deep into a borehole, so they can then pick up on the vibrations that occur when rock cracks deep below the earth’s surface

Ohio anti-fracking campaigners warn of pollution and earthquakes

The US election is over but the issues are still there. In Ohio, seen as a key swing state during the campaign, the economy has been bolstered by a new kind of oil drilling, fracking. The eastern part of the state is already full of oil wells and this new kind of drilling is worrying many residents.

Report lists injection wells as most immediate concern

A significant increase in out-of-state waste being disposed of in Athens County injection wells is the most immediate impact the county is experiencing from deep shale oil and gas drilling, according to a local advisory group which is making recommendations for protecting the environment and public.

Colorado district wants to hoard drinking water so oil companies can maybe use it

Here’s a good question for the courts: Should a water district be allowed to stockpile water from a river for the use of oil and gas companies instead of letting it flow downstream to provide drinking water? Hm. That’s a tough question! From the Denver Post:

New Report Shows Radioactive Threat to New York if Fracking Approved

A new report issued by Grassroots Environmental Education, a New York-based non-profit organization and authored by a former staff scientist for the National Council on Radiation Protection says that horizontal hydrofracking in the Marcellus Shale region of New York State is likely to produce significantly higher amounts of radioactive waste than previously believed, putting New Yorkers in danger, and that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has not demonstrated the ability to properly analyze the potential impact of radiation exposure or take adequate steps to protect the public.

BP, plaintiffs’ attorneys urge federal judge to accept proposed Gulf oil spill settlement

Attorneys for BP and the private plaintiffs in the massive Gulf oil spill litigation urged a federal judge on Thursday to accept the proposed settlement, which could resolve more than 100,000 claims at a price tag of $7.8 billion or more. The fairness hearing, held in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, gave those objecting to the settlement a chance to have their say, and marked a significant step in resolving the claims stemming from the 2010 oil spill.

BP to pay $255M in Alaska oil spill

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov. 9 (UPI) — BP has been ordered to pay more than $250 million in damages for a 2006 oil spill in Alaska.

An arbitration panel in Alaska ordered a regional subsidiary of BP to pay $255 million in penalties to the state by Dec. 3.

Animal Attraction: Gulf Oil Spill Early Restoration Plan To Focus on Bird and Turtle Habitat

The Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) trustees (Trustees) have released the Deepwater Horizon Phase II Draft Early Restoration Plan & Environmental Review (DERP/ER) for public review and comment. The plan includes two proposed projects totaling about $9 million that focus on restoring nesting habitat for birds and sea turtles. Response efforts resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused injuries to this natural habitat.

25,000 ask to get out of Gulf spill settlement

NEW ORLEANS – About 79,000 Gulf Coast residents have filed damage claims under a proposed settlement with BP over the 2010 oil spill, but 25,000 others want out of the deal, the claims administrator told a federal judge Thursday.

Lawyers Say BP Lawsuit is not Closed

(MOBILE, Ala.)  It is not too late to get involved in a class action settlement with BP over the 2010 Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Attorneys are pushing a federal judge in New Orleans to give final approval to a proposed class-action settlement of economic damage claims spawned by the disaster. A “fairness hearing” was held in New Orleans Thursday, which was an opportunity for some plaintiffs to object to certain parts of the settlement.

Gulf spill: judge won’t dismiss obstruction of justice charge that a former BP engineer faces

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge has refused to throw out one of two obstruction of justice charges an ex-engineer for energy company BP faces after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Major Oil Spills in Arthur Kill Threaten Wildlife and Wetlands

ARTHUR KILL, NJ – At the height of Hurricane Sandy, tank facilities along the Arthur Kill in New Jersey suffered extensive damage leading to three separate oil spills, including a major oil spill at the Motiva facility in the Sewaren section of Woodbridge where a tank failed, resulting in the release of 400,000 gallons of diesel oil.  A secondary containment wall managed to capture some of the oil and just over half of the oil has been recovered.  However, thousands of gallons seeped into the ground, mixing with already contaminated soil and both leaking into the Arthur Kill.

Oil on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation



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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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