Environmental Must-Reads – October 10, 2014


Fracking Chemicals, Brought to You by Susan G. Komen

Here’s some news that frankly, I initially thought was a spoof: for the second year in a row, breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen for the Cure—which caused massive outrage when it defunded Planned Parenthood in 2012—has partnered with Baker Hughes, a leader in the fracking industry. The Houston-based oilfield services company will donate $100,000 to Komen over the year and sell 1,000 pink-painted drill bits used for fracking.

According to Baker Hughes’ “Doing Our Bit for the Cure” campaign website, “The pink bits serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find the cures for this disease, which claims a life every 60 seconds.”

Will Fracking Fizzle?

For all its enormous impact on global energy markets, the U.S. economy and global geopolitics, its sustainability and wider acceptance of the “shale revolution” – production of gas and tight oil from hydraulic fracturing – fracking remains an open question. Could it fizzle? What is the scenario for the future of shale?

Advocacy group pushes Ohio officials for more disclosure of fracking chemicals

An environmental and consumer advocacy group wants lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich to change state law to require more disclosure of chemicals used in horizontal hydraulic fracturing.

The Ohio Citizen Action Education Fund cited a well fire in Monroe County earlier this year as evidence for increased disclosure, saying emergency responders did not know the types or locations of chemicals in the incident.

Oil companies’ fracking fines go to Visalia-based water center

State authorities have fined two oil companies a total of $476,784 for illegally sending salty fluids and drilling wastes into unlined pits, including fluids from controversial hydraulic fracturing.

Half the penalty — $238,392 — will go to the Community Water Center of Visalia to help provide clean drinking water for disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The center is a nonprofit drinking-water advocate.

Fracking lawsuit dismissed, appeal in the works

A recent injunction order called for the diversion of fresh water used during the hydraulic fracturing process to stop, but was recently dismissed from tribal court.

Phil Bellfy, democratic candidate for the 37th State Senate District and Tim LaCroix, candidate for the Charlevoix County Commissioner District 3, filed the lawsuit on Sept. 23, against Gov. Rick Snyder and Dan Wyant, director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), after reviewing various state and tribal laws, which they believe effectively bans hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” in Michigan.

Denton fracking ban campaign most expensive in city history

Campaign contributions have poured into Denton this election season over the city’s proposition to ban hydraulic fracturing within its borders.

Documents filed with the city secretary show that two political committees have raised a little over $282,000. That’s the biggest total in Denton’s history, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

Fracking Fractures Argentina’s Energy Development

Unconventional oil and gas reserves in Vaca Muerta in southwest Argentina hold out the promise of energy self-sufficiency and development for the country. But the fracking technique used to extract this treasure from underground rocks could be used at a huge cost.

The landscape begins to change when you get about 100 km from Neuquén, the capital of the province of the same name, in southwest Argentina. In this area, dubbed “the Saudi Arabia of Patagonia”, fruit trees are in bloom and vineyards stretch out green towards the horizon, in the early southern hemisphere springtime.

Fracking in Karoo unlikely, says geologist

A hydro-geologist who has been advising communities in the Karoo on the implications of fracking argues that drilling for shale gas in the region does not make economic sense.

“The high cost of gas production in the Karoo makes the huge infrastructure investments, both from public and private sources, viable only at hugely higher energy costs,” Stefan Cramer said at his seminar held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Report: police sharing intelligence on activists with gas industry

According to the Pittsburgh City Paper, state and federal law enforcement have joined in an intelligence-sharing network with the oil and gas industry to follow the activities of environmental activists.

The paper cites documents it obtained showing a state trooper giving a presentation to industry representatives with photographs of several anti-fracking groups.

GOP Railroad Commission candidate suggests water conservation

Oil and gas companies should work together to conserve water in Texas, the Republican candidate for the state Railroad Commission said in a position paper on Wednesday. But he stopped short of suggesting any state action to compel them.

Study show inherent risks of sand mines

“What new information do we have about the mines?” the Eau Claire reporter asked me.

The reporter was referring to two sand mine studies recently released; one by a committee under the charge of the Trempealeau County Board and the other by the Boston Action Research group of the Civil Society Institute.

Gulf Coast chambers split with national parent, urge U.S. Supreme Court to deny BP’s oil spill settlement appeal

The New Orleans Chamber of Commerce told the U.S. Supreme Court this week that its national parent organization has turned its back on thousands of Gulf Coast businesses in choosing to support BP’s effort to overturn a massive oil spill settlement.

In a Monday (Oct. 6) brief filed with the Supreme Court, the New Orleans chamber and seven other Gulf Coast affiliates denounced the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for taking the side of a large, foreign member “at the expense of a very large number” of smaller members.

St. Bernard meets requirements for some Clean Water Act oil spill penalty money

St. Bernard Parish’s new comprehensive plan was approved and certified by the governor’s office as meeting the requirements of the federal Restore Act and thus placing it in line to receive a portion of Clean Water Act penalties from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, parish President Dave Peralta said on Thursday (Oct. 9).

The St. Bernard Parish Planning Commission adopted the comprehensive plan in August. A parish is required to have such a plan to qualify under the Restore Act.

London court blocks Shell from paying ‘peanuts’ to Nigerian community

A High Court in London, Thursday, blocked an agreement between oil giant, Shell, and a UK law firm, CW Law, in relation to over 7,000 claims of Nigerians, which the Marble Arch-based law firm claimed it represented on a dispute over oil spills in Nigeria.

Justice Akenhead, the President of the Technological and Construction Court, blocked the deal and upheld an injunction against CW Law which prevented them, or anyone representing them, from making contact with the people of Bodo in furtherance of the settlement agreement.

‘Poaching’ row in legal battle over Nigerian oil spill

Thousands of Nigerians who are suing Shell over oil spills through a London law firm are being “poached” by rival solicitors, a court has been told.

In the runup to what should be a test case of how multinational firms deal with claims of environmental damage, representatives of the Ogoni people have complained to the high court in London that their legal action is effectively being sabotaged.

What’s the status of the old oil pipeline under Lake Michigan? We need more information to know.

We’ve been working to find an answer to the question, “What’s the status of the aged Enbridge oil pipeline running through Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac?”

It was posed by Justin Cross for our M I Curious project.

One of the first things we discovered was that the company holds all the cards.

Enbridge officials have been willing to talk to us about it – but only up to a point.

Local farmers against proposed pipeline

The Hepler family has made a living for seven generations plowing fields and tending livestock on their farm in Eldred Township. They have overcome many setbacks over that time, but a proposed natural gas pipeline that would cut through that section of Schuylkill County has Jim Hepler and other farmers concerned about their livelihoods.

“When you look over this beautiful valley, all you see are family farms,” Jesse Hepler, Jim’s 37-year-old son, said Thursday. “This is how we make a living. We just feel we can’t take another hit like that.”

Pembina Pipeline Plans Alberta Diluent Terminal

Pembina Pipeline Corp. said Thursday it will invest 350 million Canadian dollars ($315 million) to expand its diluent handling facilities in north central Alberta.

The Calgary pipeline company said it will build a new facility at its Heartland Terminal site near Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, giving it above-ground storage for up to 600,000 barrels of petroleum condensate and multiple inbound and outbound pipeline connections.

Meeting On Proposed Pipeline Brings Out 300+

A crude oil pipeline could soon cut through eastern South Dakota. The 1,100 mile line will start in North Dakota at the Bakken Shale and run through South Dakota, Iowa and then connect to facilities in Illinois. Thursday evening, residents of Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties got their chance to chime in on the proposed pipeline and learn firsthand what it could mean for them.

Dakota Access representatives have made stops in four other South Dakota counties were this proposed pipeline will run through. The meeting in Sioux Falls was their last stop in the Mount Rushmore state, and they sure got an earful as over 300 people showed up.

The People vs. The Pipeline

A David versus Goliath battle is brewing in Augusta County.

The proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline is supposed to bring clean and efficient energy up and down the east coast, however, some “Davids” in the Valley are afraid it’s going to cause Goliath-sized problems.

Enbridge oil cleanup on the Kalamazoo River finished, all sections of the river open for public use

More than four years after an oil leak was discovered July 26, 2010 near Marshall, the Canadian pipeline company Enbridge has completed its cleanup and restoration of the Kalamazoo River.

Enbridge Inc. was required to clean up the mess from a pipeline leak that sent an estimated 843,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek and the river, the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

Enbridge Line 9B pipeline delayed by NEB over major water body concerns

Energy company Enbridge will have to take more safety measures to protect major waterways before it gets permission to start up its Line 9B oil pipeline.

The order from the National Energy Board this week will delay plans to start up the pipeline project by at least three months and possibly longer. It may force the company to do even more work to bring its pipeline up to standards before the oil flows.

NEB delays Enbridge plan to ship oil through reversed Line 9 pipeline

The National Energy Board has slammed the brakes on Enbridge Inc.’s plan to start shipping western oil to Montreal this fall through its reversed Line 9 pipeline, saying the company failed to install shut-off valves around some major waterways.

In a sharply worded letter to Enbridge this week, NEB secretary Sheri Young said the board is not convinced the company has met the safety conditions which the regulator set when it approved the plan to reverse the pipeline’s direction of flow last March, and that Enbridge cannot begin shipping crude until it addresses those concerns.

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