Environmental Must-Reads – October 19, 2012


TransCanada temporarily shuts Keystone pipeline

TransCanada Corp. has temporarily shut down its existing 2,100-mile Keystone pipeline after tests showed possible safety issues, a federal agency said Thursday.

Great Lakes at Risk of Major Oil Spill, Report Warns

Two aging oil and natural gas pipelines running under the sparkling waters of the Straits of Mackinac in northern Michigan are time bombs that could devastate the upper Great Lakes if they rupture, according to a report issued today by the National Wildlife Federation.

BP: Source of Gulf oil sheen came from equipment, not sealed well that caused massive spill

A sheen on the Gulf of Mexico likely came from oil seeping out of a piece of discarded equipment that failed to contain BP PLC’s massive 2010 oil spill, the company and the Coast Guard said Thursday.

MPA conducts oil spill response exercise

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) tested its ability to response to major oil spills at sea, with a multi-agency exercise code-named “JOSE 2012”.

Later, much later, still no criminal charges in oil spill

The Clean Water Act turns 40 years old Thursday. It’s a little soon for it to be losing its teeth.

Oil pollution accord an expansion of Arctic Council powers

At the last Arctic Council meeting in Nuuk, Greenland in May 2011, the eight member states decided to form a task force to write an agreement on Arctic marine oil pollution preparedness and response. This past week in Reykjavik, Iceland, delegates from the eight Arctic Council member states met again for a fifth round of talks about the legal instrument.

The Great Lakes are one Enbridge pipeline failure away from disaster

Zoom out. It’s an unassuming bit of water that plays a key role, separating Lake Michigan, at left, from Lake Huron, at right. Water from Lake Huron then flows into Lake Erie, then to Lake Ontario, then out the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic. The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 30 million people in the U.S. and Canada; the four lakes mentioned have over 8,000 miles of shoreline combined.

Pennsylvania communities to share $204 million in Marcellus Shale impact fees

Nearly 1,500 towns across Pennsylvania and each county government will share $204 million in the coming days as a result of the new fee that shale gas drillers paid on their wells, state officials announced this morning.

Pipeline concerns Sussex residents

Environmental activists from around the region convened in Newton on Tuesday to warn concerned residents about the problems and perils that may result should the Tennessee Gas Pipeline company complete the “Northeast Upgrade,” a pipeline project intended to transport millions of cubic feet of gas to major U.S. ports.

Fracking Your Future

In Pennsylvania – a state that sits in the heart of the Marcellus Shale basin – the concept of “frackademia” and “frackademics” has taken on an entirely new meaning.

Fracking Pollution Sickens Pennsylvania Families, Environmental Group Says

The McIntyres of Butler County, Pa., no longer drink the water piped into their home. They no longer brush their teeth with it, shower or do laundry with it.

“We use water for nothing other than flushing the commode,” said Janet McIntyre, after describing her family’s wide-ranging health problems — from projectile vomiting to skin rashes — that she attributed to the water.

Fracking could contaminate city water: Addabbo

State Sens. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) and Tony Avella (D-Bayside) blasted the controversial drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing last Thursday, voicing their opposition to allowing the practice in the state because they say it would pose a threat to the city’s drinking water.

Local politicians applaud Cuomo’s fracking reversal

Activists and politicians in the greater Morningside area agree that hydraulic fracturing, a controversial practice to harvest natural gas, is bad for the environment. But Governor Andrew Cuomo’s move to require additional governmental review of the practice has divided them, with politicians supporting the decision and activists calling for an independent study.

Residents urge fracking ban

Residents as well as members of Sustainable Warwick and Community 2000 have asked the Town Board to exercise home rule and ban hydraulic fracturing in Warwick.

How close is too close for a natural-gas well?

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission released draft language for statewide setbacks and groundwater sampling regulations this week, but the new standards may not do much to change how many energy companies in La Plata County operate.

New Research Links Health Problems with Oil and Natural Gas Development

The largest health survey to-date of Marcellus Shale residents living near oil and gas development shows a clear pattern of negative health impacts associated with living near gas facilities, according to a new report released by Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project today.  Titled Gas Patch Roulette: How Shale Gas Development Risks Public Health in Pennsylvania, the project surveyed 108 residents in 14 Pennsylvania counties, and conducted air and water tests at more than half of the households were surveys were completed.

PA Supreme Court Hears Act 13 Oral Argument as State Withholds Funds from Four Towns Challenging Act

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday on the constitutionality of provisions of Act 13, a recently enacted state law that would virtually eliminate all local zoning authority to control the location of fracking activities—even in traditionally protected areas such as residential neighborhoods, prime agricultural land, or school zones.  The case comes as an appeal by Pennsylvania state agencies and officials of a decision by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court declaring those provisions unconstitutional and preventing them from taking effect.  (To read the amicus or “friend of the court” brief NRDC filed in this case on behalf of Pennsylvania municipalities, see here).

Study: Fluorescent Light Bulbs Emit High Levels Of UV Radiation

A new study finds fluorescent light bulbs, although eco- and budget-friendly, could pose a health risk.

Mobiles can give you a tumour, court rules

Italian businessman Innocente Marcolini, 60, fell ill after using a handset at work for up to six hours every day for 12 years. Now Italy’s Supreme Court in Rome has blamed his phone. Experts have predicted a flood of legal actions from victims.

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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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