Environmental Must-Reads – October 17, 2013


Colorado Oil and Gas Association spends $604,583 to defend fracking

Groups opposing four anti-fracking measures have campaign contributions of $606,205, 99.7 percent of which came from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, reports filed by Tuesday show.

The sum is nearly 40 times more than the $15,725.36 raised by groups attempting to limit drilling in Fort Collins, Boulder, Lafayette and Broomfield.

Australians ‘Lock the Gate’ to fracking

It has been blamed for everything from contaminating drinking water to disrupting eco-systems. Because of its potential to pollute aquifers, some of Australia’s most productive agricultural land is said to be at risk. Among farmers and many urban dwellers coal seam gas has earned a bad reputation.

Romanian villagers and priests occupy Chevron fracking site in protest

Romanian police clashed with villagers on Wednesday as they tried in vain to force them off a field they have occupied for a third day to prevent U.S. energy giant Chevron from drilling for shale gas.

Hundreds of protesters blocked access to the site at Silistea in eastern Romania where Chevron plans to drill an exploration well, lying down in the mud and holding hands to form a human chain.

New State Laws on Fracking and Toxics: A Mixed Bag for Environmentalists

Here at KQED, like a lot of news outfits, we tend to cover bills before they pass, during the often fiery debates over whether they deserve the Governor’s signature. On Sunday, those debates (at least some of them) came to an end with the winding down of the legislative season.

New York’s proposed liquefied natural gas stations prompt health, hydrofracking concerns

As early as next year, New York could be home to newly built fuel stations along the state’s Thruway to supply liquefied natural gas to fleets of commercial trucks.

New York is the only state in the nation that bans new construction of these fueling stations. It’s a prohibition supporters say has grown more onerous as commercial haulers transition from diesel-run trucks to natural-gas-powered engines. In the end, they say, the trucks run on a cheaper fuel with fewer exhaust emissions.

Spencer Black: Close loopholes that allow pollution from fracking

Fracking is a nasty sounding word and deservedly so. Fracking is shorthand for high-pressure high-volume horizontal fracturing, a process that injects pressurized fluids, gases, and chemicals into bedrock in order to extract natural gas and oil.

While fracking has increased gas and oil production, it comes with a severe cost since it has contaminated drinking water, polluted the air, and caused earthquakes. According to a new report from Environment America, fracking in the last eight years has produced 280 billion gallons of waste water, much of that toxic, and disturbed 360,000 acres of land.

Measuring the Social Cost of Fracking

Using data from public records, Food & Water Watch finds that in rural Pennsylvania’s most heavily “fracked” counties, there were increases in heavy-truck accidents, disorderly conduct and sexually transmitted diseases. These “social costs” need to be part of the policy discussion around fracking, they say.

Chevron Convoy Turned Away by Romanian Villagers Opposed To Fracking

On Monday, nearly 400 protesters in northeastern Romania called on Chevron to “go home” as they blocked the U.S. energy giant’s convoy from reaching a field where test drilling for natural gas was scheduled to begin.

According to the AFP, the protesters from the impoverished village of Pungesti, near the Romania-Moldova border, included many women and children, some of whom arrived in horse-drawn carts.

BP witnesses support company’s smaller Gulf oil spill estimate in federal trial

BP witnesses on Wednesday continued to buttress the company’s arguments in federal court that a significantly smaller amount of oil flowed from its Macondo well than the 5 million barrels suggested by U.S. Justice Department witnesses.

More oil from BP spill found on Louisiana coastline in mid-2013 than year before

Oil collection on the Louisiana coastline from the Deepwater Horizon spill continues to increase three years after the disaster, a governor’s office representative told the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority at the board’s monthly meeting in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.

The combined efforts of the U.S Coast Guard, state authorities and BP resulted in the discovery of 2.9 million more pounds of oily matter between March and August this year than in the same period in 2012, said Drue Winters, an attorney with Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office.

BP’s silent disaster

Most people believe only those who have experienced war can know post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But those living in the impact zone of BP’s 2010 oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico know differently.

ND Wants Answers on Ruptured Pipeline Inspections

North Dakota officials are trying to determine if Tesoro Corp. knew about potential problems — including one deemed “serious” in documents obtained by The Associated Press — with a pipeline that leaked more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil in a wheat field in the northwestern part of the state.

N.D. officials eye better communication after 20,000-barrel oil spill

North Dakota officials say they are eyeing policy changes after it took 11 days for residents to learn of one of the largest oil spills in the state’s history.

A Sept. 29 break in a pipeline spilled 20,600 barrels of oil onto a wheat field in Tioga, the Bismarck Tribune reported Tuesday.

Experts question estimates of size of Tioga oil spill, one calling it ‘at best, a guess’

Scientists who helped calculate oil spilled from a broken BP well into the Gulf of Mexico are questioning the methodology used to estimate the amount of crude that recently leaked from a ruptured pipeline into a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota.

The North Dakota Oil Spill You Didn’t Hear About

Over 20,600 barrels of oil fracked from the Bakken Shale has spilled from aTesoro Logistics pipeline in Tioga, North Dakota in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history.

Though the spill occurred on September 29, the U.S. National Response Center- tasked with responding to chemical and oil spills – did not make the report available until October 8 due to the ongoing government shutdown.

Maine Voices: Visit to spill site offers look at what it’s like to live the tar sands nightmare

On March 29, an ExxonMobil pipeline experienced a 22-foot rupture, spilling more than 200,000 gallons of tar sands oil and inundating Mayflower, Ark., with noxious fumes and a calamitous recovery problem. The continuing misery perpetrated on the tiny town of 2,200 provides a powerful, immediate incentive for Mainers to learn from this experience.

RPT-Continental would be open to Keystone XL shipping more US oil

The company leading the U.S. oil boom in the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota said it would be open to talks with the Keystone XL pipeline project on it carrying a greater amount of domestic U.S. oil instead of Canadian crude.

Genscape Detects Keystone Gulf Coast Pipeline Construction Speeds Up Considerably During Most Recent Flyovers

Construction of the Keystone Gulf Coast Pipeline (KGCP) has advanced considerably, according to Genscape’s most recent flyovers on September 29th and October 6th. Genscape uses proprietary monitoring technology and aerial photography to monitor market moving pipeline flow disruptions and infrastructure projects to offer market participants a real-time look at the factors driving the U.S. and Canadian oil markets.

Plan to reverse Line 9 oil flow a risk to First Nations: lawyer

An Enbridge proposal to reverse the flow of a pipeline that runs between southern Ontario and Montreal puts First Nations communities at risk, threatens water supplies and could endanger vulnerable species in ecologically sensitive areas, a National Energy Board panel heard Wednesday.

Canada to let Quebec crash railroad keep operating through end January

Canada will allow the railroad whose tanker train exploded in the center of a small Quebec town this summer to keep operating for another three months, but noted the company was moving fewer goods and had halted oil transportation completely.

UK aims to become hub for Arctic oil exploration

The government wants the UK to be a global centre of expertise in opening up the Arctic to exploration by oil and gas companies, promoting London as a hub of business services for the burgeoning exploitation of the polar regions, according to a Foreign Office strategy published on Thursday.

UK Greenpeace activist denied bail in Russia over protest against Arctic oil drilling

A second British member of the Greenpeace crew arrested by the Russian authorities during a protest against drilling in the Arctic has been denied bail.

Frank Hewetson was seized with 29 others on the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise on 19 September.

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Archive Project Complete, Now Online

The State of Alaska has completed a two-year project archiving documents from the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and its legal aftermath.

In the end, according to state senior archivist Larry Hibpshman, the project staff waded through 3,500 standard file boxes located in Juneau and Anchorage and whittled them down to 918 that will go in to permanent storage at the state archives.

JIP Updates Efforts on Arctic Oil Spill Research

Dispersants are effective in cleaning up Arctic oil spills and can be more efficient in treating oil spills when ice is present versus open water, according to a recent report by the Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Program (JIP).

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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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