Environmental Must-Reads – October 21, 2013


Calif. finds more instances of offshore fracking

The oil production technique known as fracking is more widespread and frequently used in the offshore platforms and man-made islands near some of California’s most populous and famous coastal communities than state officials believed.

Will Fracking Suck California Dry?

In California, every drop of water counts, and every drop is contested.

The state’s fishers and farmers have been at war over water for decades, battling over how to divide the water between river beds and farm fields. And Northern Californians—whose water supplies are more plentiful—live in fear of the desert neighbors to the south marching on the San Francisco Bay Delta with pipelines and straws. And then there are municipalities, which are all jockeying to secure supplies for California’s nearly 40 million residents.

But now, they’ll all have a new contender to jostle with: the fracking boom.

Fracking Off California’s Coast ‘Far More Common Than Anyone Realized’

Fracking, the controversial oil production technique that uses a high-pressure stream of water, sand and chemicals to tap underground natural gas and petroleum reserves, happens more frequently in California than state officials previously believed.

Fracking fluid blows out nearby well

More than 200 barrels of fracking fluid, oil and water blew out of a traditional oil well on BLM land in the San Juan Basin in late September raising questions about who is responsible for the spill.

State regulators say the blowout on a Parko Oil well happened because of pressure from nearby fracking operations run by Encana Oil.

‘We say no to shale gas’: World unites against fracking

Activists from 26 countries participated in around 250 protests on Saturday to demonstrate against fracking technologies, which they say contaminate groundwater and hasten climate change.

Cities in Colo. to vote on fracking moratorium

It’s been a tough year for the oil-and-gas industry in Colorado: First its operations were clobbered in last month’s historic floods, and now they’re fighting four anti-fracking measures on local ballots.

Anti-Fracking Protesters Stake Out Wine And Food Festival, But Cuomo Never Shows

Anti-fracking protestors staked out the New York City Wine and Food Festival Saturday, but the person they were angry at, Governor Andrew Cuomo, never showed.

Cuomo was scheduled to make an appearance at the annual event but apparently backed out at the last minute.

‘Fracking risks ending of life on ?arth as we know it’

The benefits of hydraulic fracturing in terms of job creation and meeting energy demands have been drastically exaggerated, while the consequences of the controversial practice could prove cataclysmic, geopolitical commentator Ian Crane told RT.

Battleground Dimock property sold, deed bars owners from building home there

No one will ever live at 1101 Carter Road in Dimock again.

The 3.6-acre property is one of 18 in the Susquehanna County village where state environmental regulators in 2009 traced methane contamination in the water supplies back to faulty natural gas wells drilled by Cabot Oil and Gas Corp.

Oklahoma is next destination for shale revolution: Kemp

Oklahoma is emerging as the next big shale oil play, with production growing faster than in any other U.S. state apart from Texas and North Dakota.

Thanks in big part to shale, the state’s oil output in May, June and July hit the highest level since January 1990.

Oceanography professor uncovers BP data discrepancies after 2010 Gulf oil spill

Dr. Ian MacDonald has spent his life studying the ocean. Whether aboard a ship analyzing natural oil seeps or in a lab combing through remote sensing data, the Florida State University oceanography professor concentrates on the depths of the sea where oil emerges from natural fractures.

Trial Wraps up Over Estimates of BP Oil Spill

Two weeks of courtroom debate over how much oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico after BP PLC’s 2010 rig disaster came to an end Friday — marking the end of the second phase of a trial over the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers.

Gulf ecosystem in crisis after BP spill

Hundreds of kilograms of oily debris on beaches, declining seafood catches, and other troubling signs point towards an ecosystem in crisis in the wake of BP’s 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It’s disturbing what we’re seeing,” Louisiana Oyster Task Force member Brad Robin told Al Jazeera. “We don’t have any more baby crabs, which is a bad sign. We’re seeing things we’ve never seen before.”

Citizens clean up: researchers protect birds after BP oil spill

Port Sulfur is one of many small towns lining the southern coast of Louisiana. Only two hours away from New Orleans, the town is mostly centered around one highway, which paves its way down the tip of Louisiana from New Orleans to Venice. Boasting a population of about 1,700 individuals, the majority of families in Port Sulfur still live in FEMA houses – the small, cinder-block supported, ready-to-go, remnants of Louisiana’s ongoing recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The storm may have hit the region eight years ago, but not much has changed ever since. And the Deep Water Horizon disaster made everyone’s life even more difficult.

Maersk Drilling prepares first ultradeep-water drillship for Gulf (video)

Maersk Drilling has named its first ultradeep-water drillship and is preparing the landmark vessel to begin work on an Exxon Mobil project in the Gulf of Mexico early next year.

Maersk Viking is the first of four ultradeep-water drillships, worth a total $2.6 billion, slated to join the offshore services company’s fleet through 2014.  The vessel was named during a ceremony at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in South Korea on Oct. 10. and has been contracted to Exxon Mobil under a three-year, $610 million agreement.

Why Is Exxon Taking Its Time Restarting Its Ruptured Dilbit Pipeline?

In the six months since an ExxonMobil pipeline unleashed Canadian oil in an Arkansas neighborhood, nearby residents have had much to endure—the muck and stench of heavy crude, lengthy evacuations, sickness and economic loss.

Study: Koch Brothers Could Make $100 Billion if Keystone XL Pipeline Approved

A new study released today concludes that Koch Industries and its subsidiaries stand to make as much as $100 billion in profits if the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is granted a presidential permit from U.S. President Barack Obama.

Petroleum Coke: the Pollution Doesn’t Stop at the Refinery

Watching the petcoke mountains spring up along the Calumet River in Chicago, I find myself marveling at the polluting reach of the tar sands industry.

Increased production of the most carbon-intensive petroleum on the planet is having profound impacts on natural landscapes and the people who are deeply connected to them, as well as the refining sector. Wilderness habitat in Canada and the U.S. is being torn apart by extraction and transport of tar sands. Refineries must undergo massive expansions to process this heavier, dirtier crude – enabling refining processes that require more energy and produce more air and water pollution than refining lighter crudes.

Fire rages after another train derails in Canada

Emergency crews battled a massive fire Saturday after a Canadian National tanker train carrying oil and gas derailed west of Edmonton, Alberta, overnight. No injuries have been reported so far.

Canadian National spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin said 13 cars — four carrying petroleum crude oil and nine loaded with liquified petroleum gas — came off the tracks around 1 a.m. local time in the hamlet of Gainford, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Edmonton. The entire community of roughly 100 people was evacuated.

Quebec Train Fire Prompts New Oil Railway-Shipping Costs

New rules will boost costs to transport crude by rail in North America as trains are forecast to carry as much as 2 million barrels a day, about equal to daily output from Norway.

“You’re going to see a massive flood of spending to get ahead of these government regulations,” Jerry Swank, managing partner at Dallas-based Swank Capital, said yesterday during the Bloomberg Link Oil & Gas Conference in Houston.

Canada fuel train explodes, no injuries

A train carrying crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas derailed and caught fire in Western Canada, in an accident that brought back memories of a deadly crash in Quebec e arlier this year.

Greenpeace director John Sauven ‘Russia has sent us a clear signal over the Arctic. We need a more creative way to get our story across’

More than a month after Russian coastguards seized 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists in Arctic waters following their attempt to board a Russian oil rig, it is  no wonder John Sauven is looking exhausted.

The organisation’s UK executive director has worked every weekend since the incident in the Pechora Sea while leading efforts to secure their release, but is still finding it difficult to sleep.

Japan’s Fukushima in toxic water leak after heavy rain

Highly radioactive water has leaked from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan after unexpectedly heavy rain on Sunday, its operator said.

Radioactive water leaks at Fukushima as operator underestimates rainfall

Highly radioactive water overflowed barriers into Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, its operating utility said on Monday, after it underestimated how much rain would fall at the plant and failed to pump it out quickly enough.

Fukushima fishermen watch recovery slip away

For much of his life, Koichi Matsumoto, 58, happily slipped out of bed in the dead of night to work on a fishing trawler.

But these days, his catch is tree branches, tires and other rubble still adrift since the massive earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan more than two years ago.

“It feels as if we’re right back where we were after the disaster,” which struck March 11, 2011, said Matsumoto, a third-generation fisherman and head of the trawl boat unit at the 1,000-member Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative.

Fukushima 2020: Will Japan be able to keep the nuclear situation under control?

Thirty seconds into what may ultimately be regarded as one of the defining speeches of his career, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slowly raised his hands chest high, then spread them out sideways in a gesture of confidence.

“Let me assure you,” he said, addressing members of the International Olympic Committee on Sept. 7. “The situation is under control.”

Abe tries to dispel rumors about Fukushima seafood

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the port of Soma in Fukushima Prefecture on Saturday and pledged efforts to dispel rumors about the safety of local fishery produce.

Fukushima proved turn-off point for nuclear power

Nuclear power generation fell last year by its steepest annual level since the industry began because of the continuing impact of the Fukushima accident in Japan. Despite going out of favour in some countries, 66 new reactors are under construction, most in China.

Japanese Firm Launches Anti-Radiation Underwear to Swim Near Fukushima

A Japanese company has launched a special underwear and swimwear to repel radiation while swimming in the waters near the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The swimwear company, Yamamoto Corporation, has come up with the product to protect workers engaged in cleaning up in the region from being affected by the contaminated water.

Britain to build Europe’s first nuclear plant since Fukushima

Britain is set to sign a deal with France’s EDF for the first nuclear plant to start construction in Europe since Japan’s Fukushima disaster raised safety concerns worldwide, at a cost estimated at around $23 billion.

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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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