Environmental Must-Reads – October 16, 2012


Trial opens in case of oil spill that blackened French, Spanish coasts

Nearly a decade after what many consider Spain’s worst environmental disaster, a trial began Tuesday over the massive oil spill in November 2002 that blackened hundreds of miles of coastline along Spain and France.

Most eligible parties to accept spill deal, claims head says

BP’s multibillion dollar settlement with individuals and businesses affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy, as more than 90 percent of those eligible are expected to accept the deal, the claims administrator said Monday.

Gulf Oil Spill Surveys

Residents along Alabama’s Gulf Coast are being asked to participate in a survey designed to gauge long-term effects of the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Plan to pump more oil across Straits of Mackinac prompts environmental worries

A National Wildlife Federation study due out this week raises concerns over a proposal to pump more oil through a pipeline that crosses Great Lakes water near Michigan’s Mackinac Bridge.

Shell’s arctic spill barge gets approval

Energy company Shell announced it received certification from the U.S. Coast Guard for its oil-spill containment vessel for use offshore Alaska.

Seafood testing program to end next year

The Department of Agriculture will ask lawmakers to approve the use of the final $1.5 million from BP to continue a seafood testing program through October of next year.

Giant Louisiana sinkhole grows to 4 acres

Issues continue to pile on crews working on the growing sinkhole in Assumption Parish. Texas Brine, the company that owns a failed salt cavern blamed for the sinkhole says it will comply with new orders.

Wall Street Journal hypes ‘little-known’ decision limiting oil drilling that it reported in August

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today blasting the Obama administration for banning drilling in just shy of half of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

‘Fracking’ supporters demonstrate in Albany

Supporters of using hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas staged a rally and march in Albany on Monday.

Fracking’s Dark Side Gets Darker: The Problem of Methane Waste

Fracking for oil in North Dakota is so lucrative that when natural gas bubbles up alongside the oil, most oil companies simply view it as waste. It’s cheaper, in the short term, to burn the gas than it is to build the infrastructure to pipe and sell it–so they burn it. Across the North Dakota prairie, natural gas flares light up the night sky like huge torches. Every day, they burn off enough gas to heat half a million homes.

Amid protests, report finds no harm from fracking

A new report on hydraulic fracking at the Inglewood Oil Field found that the controversial oil extraction method used at two wells did not have significant effects on the environment or on the health of those living near the 1,200-acre site.

Governor Cuomo Must Not Rush The Fracking Health Study

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon issued this statement today on behalf of the over 180 members of Artists Against Fracking, including Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Mark Ruffalo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Robert DeNiro, Gwyneth Paltrow and many others (For a full list: www.artistsagainstfracking.com).

No Indian Point + No Fracking = More Coal Burning?

The science writer John Horgan (who’s also a friend and Hudson Valley neighbor) has written a piece for Scientific American laying out the tradeoffs that face New York State, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, if campaigners succeed in shutting the Indian Point nuclear plant and preventing gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Marcellus rights draw Pennsylvania top court in fight

A property deed fight over Marcellus Shale natural-gas rights comes before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a case that might threaten the status of thousands of drilling leases in the state.

Even Without Exemption from the Halliburton Loophole, It’s Still Not Regulated

SkyTruth has concluded that diesel fuels continue to be used in hydraulic fracturing despite known health hazards and in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Analyzing a database of voluntary industry disclosures, we found that kerosene and diesel fuels #1 and #2 were used on 448 separate occasions in 12 states between January 2011 and August 2012.

Pennsylvania distributes $200M in fracking fees

Pennsylvania state agencies and local governments in places where drilling for natural gas is occurring learned Monday how much money they will get out from a fund that has already collected more than $200 million in “impact fees” from drillers.

Straight through the Rockaways and Flatbush Ave, Oversight of New Pipelines is Split

A plan to construct a new chain of natural gas pipelines from the Atlantic Ocean off the Rockaways through Jamaica Bay to the city is fueling anxiety from residents and some lawmakers because of its complexity and its potential impact on the surrounding community and coastal habitat.

The problem with fracking: Belonging in a “response-able” future

If you imagine the future, what does it look like?  Is the future you see dependent on oil?  Some say that we’ve lived for millennia without it, surely we can live without again

New Report Confirms Fracking is Reckless

A new report1 on shale resources and hydraulic fracturing from the Government Accountability Office (GAO)—an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress—concludes that fracking poses serious risks to health and the environment. The report, which reviewed studies from state agencies overseeing fracking as well as scientific reports, found that the extent of the risks has not yet been fully quantified and that there are many unanswered questions and a lack of scientific data.

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

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