Environmental Must-Reads – October 18, 2012


BP settlement could remove local control

Gulf Coast lawmakers and environmental officials are cautiously weighing rumors that the federal government may steer money from a BP settlement on oil spill environmental fines away from the Restore Act.

About 565,000 pounds of oiled material from Deepwater Horizon stirred up by Hurricane Isaac

About 565,000 pounds of oiled material from the Deepwater Horizon spill was brought to the surface by Hurricane Isaac, more than had been collected in eight months before the storm, the state’s coastal protection agency said Wednesday. The post-storm figures were announced as members of the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority sharply criticized continuing clean-up efforts by BP and the U.S. Coast Guard and called for more resources to deal with oil that is still below the surface of the gulf, an amount believed to be equal to about 1 million barrels.

Halliburton Says BP’s Deal With Spill Victims Is Unfair

Halliburton Co. (HAL) said BP Plc (BP/)’s proposed settlement with victims of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill unfairly creates a “collusive alliance” against the oil field services company in a scheduled multibillion-dollar trial.

Deepwater Permits in U.S. Gulf Exceed Pre-BP Spill Level

The Obama administration has issued this year the most deep-water oil-drilling permits for the Gulf of Mexico since 2007 as high crude prices revive exploration slowed by the 2010 BP Plc (BP/) spill.

Fluorescence technology to pinpoint oil leaks at sea

Cambridge Consultants has unveiled the first stage of work that’s set to give a much-needed boost to offshore oil leak detection. It has built an oil spill detection technology platform that is capable of detecting the natural fluorescence of even tiny amounts of oil in or on water.

Bioremediation treatment being showcased at oil show

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 brought renewed attention to environmental disasters, especially those caused by oil spills. Oil and gas companies have developed technologies and products over the years to become more responsive to the environment.

Oil Spill Occurs at Trebs Field

About 130 cubic meters of oil spilled over an area of about 1,000 square meters at the Trebs field in the Yamal-Nenets autonomous district, the local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry reported on its website, as cited by Interfax.

23 years later, governments still study damage from Exxon Valdez oil spill

In their latest report filed with U.S. District Court, government attorneys said they anticipate discussing with Exxon Corp its interest in possible resolution of environmental damages stemming from the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Why I’m Standing Up to TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline

On Oct. 4, in rural east Texas, a 78-year-old great-grandmother, Eleanor Fairchild, was arrested for trespassing on her own property … and I was arrested standing beside her, as we held our ground in the path of earth-moving excavators constructing TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.

PSA Urges Americans to Demand an End to Keystone XL

The day after the second presidential debate, where both presidential candidates reiterated their support for TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, the “Defend America, Stop Keystone Tour” released a PSA (Planetary Service Announcement) urging all Americans to sign and deliver an “Open Letter” to Obama and Romney campaign offices nationwide and to support the Keystone XL Tar Sands Blockade.

 Fracking banned in Connecticut — the word, not the deed

A producer at the Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which owns The Stamford Advocate, delivered the bad news that the company has been “forced to block” the word from comments to deter wily readers who might “exploit” it as a euphemism for “its more vulgar cousin.”

California Will Regulate Fracking After All

Despite inaction in the state legislature this year, California will proceed with tighter regulation and oversight of hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as ‘fracking,’ to recover oil deposits throughout the state.

NRDC Condemns Fracking and Natural Gas “Waste”

While President Obama and Mitt Romney were busy extolling the virtues of coal and natural gas during Tuesday’s debate sequence on the high cost of gasoline, they neglected to mention the costs to the environment now and for future generations by relying on gasoline and fossil fuels for energy.

Fracking the forest

A national debate over plans to federally regulate a controversial mineral extraction practice hit home with the recent release of a report by a local environmental watchdog group. Los Padres ForestWatch published a summary of a public records search it conducted that revealed numerous instances of hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, directly adjacent to the Sespe Condor Sanctuary within the Los Padres National Forest.

Fracking water sent through Windsor treatment plant

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

Calls for openness in fracking water disposal

There are calls for more openness in dealing with fracking waste water in Nova Scotia after millions of litres of waste water were put through Windsor’s sewage treatment plant.

Health professionals rally in Syracuse for independent study on effects of fracking

SYRACUSE — Dozens of concerned Central New York medical professionals gathered at the Department of Health office in downtown Syracuse on Wednesday to rally against Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for an internal health review of fracking and in favor of an open and independent study before any decision on the controversial process is made.

Pa. Supreme Court hears drilling, zoning debate

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had an unusual standing-room-only crowd Wednesday, as lawyers debated a new law that regulates the state’s booming natural gas industry.

Wave of Dissent: Supreme Court Hearing on Act 13 Concluded Today

Breaking: Today’s Pennsylvania Supreme Court hearing (press release below) occurs as municipalities across Pennsylvania are fighting for their fundamental, constitutional right to protect their residents from high-impact heavy industrial shale gas drilling in all its phases, from wellhead to pipelines. That right was stripped by Act 13?s pre-emption clause, which was declared unconstitutional and unenforceable by the PA Commonwealth Court. PA Governor Corbett then appealed the Commonwealth Court decision, acting on behalf of the industry. Philadelphia passed a Resolution opposing Act 13?s pre-emption clause and upholding the Commonwealth Court decision, unanimously, on September 27th. Westchester Borough Council (where Protecting Our Waters testified last night along with many Westchester residents) will vote on a Resolution opposing Act 13 this evening, on the same day the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments against this attempted gas industry takeover of municipal rights

West students hear about fracking from Gillespie

One controversial issue took center stage during a presentation this week at West McDowell Junior High.

Rep. Mitch Gillespie spoke with more than 300 eighth-grade science students on Tuesday about fracking, a technique used to release petroleum, natural gas or other substances from rocks deep under ground.

A Bolder Clean Water Act for the Next 40 Years

As game-changing laws go, the 1972 U.S. Clean Water Act ranks high.

With images of rivers like the Cuyahoga burning and fish floating belly up in Lake Erie still fresh in the public’s mind, the Act transformed the nation’s relationship with fresh water.  It forbade cities and industries from using rivers and lakes as waste receptacles.  And it shifted the burden of proof about pollution’s harms from the government to polluters: the Act required dischargers to have a permit, and mandated the adoption of technology-based pollution controls.


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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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