Environmental Must-Reads – October 17, 2012


 Robot Submarine Seeks Oil Sheen Source Near Deepwater Horizon Site

A submarine robot is seeking the source of a surface oil sheen that matched oil from the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday.

Congress applies pressure to BP over Gulf oil sheen

Lawmakers in Washington are applying more pressure to BP and its chief executive to give them answers about last month’s discovery of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico that has been traced to oil from the company’s blown-out Macondo well.

Letter to BP’s CEO from Representatives Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.)

More than 400 damage claims filed in HollyFrontier oil spill

West Bountiful • In the weeks since the roof of a storage tank burst at HollyFrontier and sprayed oil as far as 2½ miles away, the refinery has been sending crews out to clean cars and patio furniture, tear up grass and replace it with new sod, and repair other damage, an official said Tuesday.

BP Faulted for Oil-spill Preparedness in Curtis Bay

The Gulf of Mexico, where the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill spoiled habitats and livelihoods, is not the only place where BP Products North America, Inc., has been faulted for its cavalier approach to business. Now, Baltimore’s own Curtis Bay is also part of BP’s legacy of industrial haphazardness—and a catalyst for forcing the company to do better.

Oil in cavern and sinkhole being moved

Texas Brine Co. of Houston began on Tuesday removing crude oil trapped in a failed company salt cavern inside the Napoleonville Dome in northern Assumption Parish, company and government officials said.

Keystone blockaders get their hands dirty in biggest protest yet

Blockaders intent on shutting down construction of the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline ramped up their efforts Monday with their biggest protest yet.

Oil spill response questioned at Northern Gateway hearings

The B.C. government is pressing Enbridge on how the company plans to respond to an oil spill on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

More woes spill over from fracking

On our small summertime farm, about eight miles south of the New York state line, my wife and I are smack-dab in the middle of hydraulic fracturing country. The fracking news from just north of us catches our attention every day. So do the trucks, noise and disruption it brings.

Environmental Groups Sue State Over Fracking

California’s once little-known and little-regulated fracking industry is once again coming under fire from environmentalists.

Industry Issues Guidance on Methane Migration

By now, videos of residents lighting their taps on fire are a familiar image. Those flames are caused by methane that migrated into a subsurface water supply and is known as methane migration, or “stray gas.” Perhaps the most famous incident of stray gas happened in Dimock, Susquehanna County. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection blamed Cabot Oil and Gas. Cabot says its drilling operations did not create the stray gas problem in Dimock. Rather, the company says the problem existed long before it arrived to start drilling.

USGS releases three new studies relevant to natural gas extraction in the Northeast

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently released three publications that are relevant to natural gas extraction in the northeastern United States. Each study contributes important information to our understanding of the actual and potential environmental impacts of natural gas production.

Radioactive waste to sit on farms for billions of years?

‘Climate Justice Taranaki say the regional council have known about radioactivity concerns associated with the drilling industry since at least 1997 and that their response to questions around radioactivity concerns is not good enough. New evidence has scary suggestions of radioactive waste being stored in “welded containers” and having to sit on farmland for billions of years until safe.’

Pa. Supreme Court hears Marcellus Shale case

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a natural gas case that could create chaos for major energy companies and thousands of leaseholders. But the questions from the justices suggested they may be reluctant to cause such disruptions by significantly modifying existing law.

Committee Members Call for Balance and Transparency in Review of EPA Fracking Study

Washington, D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-TX) and Committee Members Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concerns about transparency and balance in regards to an upcoming review of the Agency’s study on hydraulic fracturing.  The letter requests detailed information related to EPA’s selection of scientific experts to serve on a Science Advisory Board (SAB) panel to review the Agency’s study, titled, Progress Report: Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources, due out later this year.

Ohio Village Adopts State’s First “Community Bill of Rights” to Prevent Shale Development

Recently, the Yellow Springs Village Council voted to adopt a “Community Bill of Rights” ordinance banning shale gas drilling and related activities in the village. The Bill of Rights declares the fundamental rights of residents to clean air and water, and to protect the rights of nature.

Fracking’s big picture

Three earthquakes near a Dallas suburb are linked to disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale bedrock to produce oil and natural gas. Ohio officials should glean what they can from a federal investigation of the Texas quakes.

Fracking water sent through Windsor treament plant

Questions are being raised about the disposal of fracking waste water in Windsor, after millions of litres of the water was put through the town’s sewage treatment plant.

Rogue ‘geoengineer’ dumps iron into the Pacific to create massive algal bloom

Five years ago, Grist wrote about a man named Russ George, the head of an organization called Planktos. Planktos’ big idea for combatting global warming: You dump some iron into the ocean, it creates a massive algae (phytoplankton) bloom, then the algae absorbs carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis.

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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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