Environmental Must-Reads – October 23, 2012


Keystone Pipeline: Transcanada Restarts 2,100-Mile Structure After Possible Safety Issues

Oil resumed flowing Monday afternoon through the Keystone oil pipeline that carries about 590,000 barrels of crude per day from Canada to facilities in the Midwest.

Beetles delay TransCanada pipeline construction in Oklahoma

Pipeline developer TransCanada’s Gulf Coast project has been dogged by protesters in east Texas but its progress in Oklahoma has been slowed by concerns about the American burying beetle.

Company reports most of sinkhole crude collected

Texas Brine Co. officials said Monday that crude oil collection from the company’s damaged salt cavern in northern Assumption Parish was halted over the weekend when indications surfaced that a majority of the crude had been collected.

BP to question official over oil spill amount

BP lawyers will get nearly nine hours to grill a key U.S. official over the accuracy of the government’s conclusion about how much oil spewed from an undersea well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico more than two years ago and led to the worst-ever U.S. offshore oil spill.

State alert: Wednesday drill to test oil-spill-response readiness

The state Ecology Department just sent advance word about a drill planned for this Wednesday, off Blake Island on the other side of Puget Sound from West Seattle’s west-facing shores. While Ecology says it’ll be happening on the west side of the island – which would mean, facing Kitsap County – we’re publishing the alert in case unusual boat/aircraft traffic and other sightings catch your eye while participants are heading to and from the site:

Economic and restoration efforts following Gulf oil spill honored at first Connecting Coastal Alabama Awards

A lumber salesman that helped form the Coastal Alabama Leadership Council, a psychiatrist that helped addressed the mental health and needs of those impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and an advocate for the Gulf Coast seafood industry.

Those were just some of the winners at the first annual Connecting Coastal Alabama Awards, held this morning at the Battle House Hotel in downtown Mobile.

Combination of Gulf oil and dispersant spell potential trouble for gut microbes

A study to be published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology, on Tuesday, October 23, examined whether crude oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the dispersant used on it, or a combination of the two might affect the microbes of the human digestive tract. The researchers found that although high concentrations of oil combined with dispersant are detrimental to these helpful microbial communities, the low to undetectable concentrations typically found in Gulf shellfish had no discernable effect.

Counties balk against governor’s suggestion to appoint some oil spill consortium members

Several of the counties on a consortium that is preparing a plan to spend some oil spill money objected Monday to a request by Gov. Rick Scott to appoint one-fourth of the consortium and its chairman.

Frackers struggle while financiers make millions. Sounds familiar.

The natural gas industry may be eviscerating King Coal, but it’s still having a rough time.

Over the weekend, The New York Times looked at the increasingly small profit margins for natural gas extractors (read: frackers).

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.

Sempra International Unit To Construct Natural Gas Pipeline Network In Northwestern Mexico

Sempra International today announced that its Mexican business unit Sempra Mexico has been awarded two contracts by Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned electric utility, to construct, own and operate an approximately 500-mile (820-kilometers), $1 billion pipeline network connecting the Northwestern states of Sonora and Sinaloa.

Coal-Eating Microbes Might Create Vast Amounts of Natural Gas

Fracking technology has already made it practical to exploit previously inaccessible natural gas and oil in the United States (see “Natural Gas Changes the Energy Map”). Now several companies are demonstrating a way to use microörganisms that eat coal and excrete methane—the main ingredient in natural gas—as a possible means of extracting fuel from coal resources that had been too expensive to mine.

Earth First!ers Lock Down NC DENR Headquarters Protesting the States Continued Path Toward Legalizing Fracking

This morning seven people locked themselves to the front of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina, in protest of the state’s continued path towards the legalization of fracking for natural gas. Environmentalists across the state have organized and campaigned against hydrofracking legislation for more than a year, which resulted in a veto of SB 820 this past summer by Beverly Perdue.  The legislature overrode the veto shortly after during a controversial vote in which a mistaken ballot was cast for legalization, and the voter was refused a recast.

Huge Protest Underway Against Canadian Tar Sands Pipelines

More than 1,500 people from across Canada and all walks of life have gathered in front of the B.C. legislature today to participate in a mass sit-in to defend Canada’s west coast from the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines and tar sands tankers, and to push back against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s gutting of Canada’s environmental legislation. The Harper government is seeking to further weaken federal environmental laws in order to fast-track tar sands mines and pipelines, including changes hidden in last week’s second omnibus budget bill.

Blessing or Curse? Understanding the Risks of Fracking Poland

Today, a wide range of Polish and international non-governmental organizations and academics gathered in Warsaw, Poland, to critically assess the ambition of the Polish government to develop its potential shale gas resources on a large scale.

 Pipelines = Fracking: Stop the Constitution Pipeline

Stop the Pipeline (STP), a grassroots organization of landowners and citizens who are opposed to the 120-mile long Constitution Pipeline which would run through pristine territory, from Susquehanna County, PA to Schoharie County, NY, is holding a street meeting and rally in front of Foothills Performing Art Center—24 Market St., Oneonta, NY 13820—at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, before the scheduled Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) public scoping session at 7 p.m. where people will testify regarding the obligations of FERC to investigate all possible impacts of the proposed pipeline.

Ohioans Speak Out Against Fracking in State Parks

On Sunday, Oct. 21 more than 50 Ohioans converged at Quail Hollow State Park to protest the leasing and fracking of the park through a controversial legal maneuver known as “unitization.” The event, which included a hike and discussion forum, was led by the Buckeye Forest Council, Ohio Environmental Council, Sierra Club of Ohio and Mohican Advocates.

Fracked well planned near FirstEnergy nuclear plant

A natural gas well that will be hydraulically fractured or fracked is planned one mile from FirstEnergy Corp.’s Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in western Pennsylvania, but the Akron-based utility is not concerned.

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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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