Environmental Must-Reads – October 26, 2012


Abandoned gas wells dot Southern Tier, activist says

Steuben County is home to 619 unplugged and abandoned gas, oil and other wells that are a threat to public health and safety, according to the head of an Ithaca-based environmental database firm.

GAO: The extent of risks of shale gas development is unknown at this time, and more

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued two comprehensive reports:Oil and Gas: Information on Shale Resources, Development, and Environmental and Public Health Risks (GAO-12-732); and Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements (GAO-12-874). They total about 300 pages but the reading is well worth it due the thorough analysis and important findings.

Spending passes $500,000 to fight fracking ban

The money given to fight a Longmont anti-fracking measure has passed the half-million dollar mark.

Opponents of Ballot Question 300 have reported $507,500 in contributions. That includes the $447,500 initially raised by Longmont Taxpayers for Common Sense and $60,000 collected in the last week by the group’s new incarnation, Main Street Longmont.

Fracking the law

Natural gas drilling has come to the South. However, states have been slow to respond with environmental and health regulations. North Carolina’s contentious moratorium on drilling runs until 2014, when the legislature will vote on as-yet-unwritten rules. In West Virginia — with just 17 state inspectors for 60,000 gas wells — municipalities are calling for a similar state-wide moratorium until safeguards and monitoring criteria are set.

Court rules Clatsop County can reverse itself, ban LNG natural-gas pipeline

PORTLAND — Clatsop County can change its mind and block a pipeline that could carry natural gas to an LNG terminal at the mouth of the Columbia River, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled.

Fracking The Pilliga

Alarm bells are sounding over further coal seam gas drilling in northern NSW’s vast Pilliga State Forest: dead animals and a toxic chain of ponds, along with the release this week of a damning ecological report.

BP caps dome believed to be source of oil sheen

BP PLC said Thursday it has capped and plugged an abandoned piece of equipment that is believed to be the source of a sheen spotted near the site of its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Feds offer details on western Gulf lease sale

The Obama administration today rolled out more details on its Nov. 28 auction of drilling rights in the western Gulf of Mexico, when oil and gas companies will have a chance to snap up more than 20 million acres.

Tremors reported at giant Louisiana sinkhole

A sharp tremor was recorded by USGS monitors just after 9 p.m. Wednesday at the site of the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish.

Oil companies going unpunished for thousands of North Sea spills

Oil companies operating in the North Sea have been fined for oil spills on just seven occasions since 2000, even though 4,123 separate spills were recorded over the same period, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has confirmed.

Kalamazoo County Commissioner sues Enbridge Energy for Kalamazoo River oil spill

Kalamazoo County Commissioner Jeff Heppler is suing Enbridge Energy for damages he says the 2010 oil spill into the Kalamazoo River inflicted on his property.

Louisiana requests trial to decide $1 billion spill claim against BP

The state of Louisiana has asked a federal judge to declare a jury trial to decide on its claim for more than $1 billion from BP Plc to compensate the state for economic losses resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Shippers ‘guilty’ in New Zealand oil spill

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Oct. 26 (UPI) — The owners of a grounded cargo vessel that triggered an oil spill last year entered a guilty plea in a New Zealand court, a government agency said.

NASA Radar Penetrates Thick, Thin of Gulf Oil Spill

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have developed a method to use a specialized NASA 3-D imaging radar to characterize the oil in oil spills, such as the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The research can be used to improve response operations during future marine oil spills.

Arctic experts cautious as oil giants move north

Drilling for oil offshore is risky anywhere, but conditions in the Arctic make this kind of work particularly complicated. John Farrell is a marine geologist and the director of the US Arctic Research Commission. In an interview with DW, he explained that drilling or spill cleanup in the Arctic is complicated by extreme cold, strong winds, breakaway ice blocks and, in the winter, limited daylight.

Pacific fish from Japan to Oregon still radioactive from Fukushima fallout

More than 18 months later, the full scope of the decidedly human-made Fukushima nuclear meltdown is still rippling through the natural world. Like the butterflies before them, Fukushima fish are showing dangerously elevated radioactivity and may still for a decade to come.

Where to put Fukushima’s radioactive water?

Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant is struggling to find space to store tens of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water used to cool the broken reactors, the manager of the water treatment team said.

Fukushima fish still contaminated from nuclear accident

Levels of radioactive contamination in fish caught off the east coast of Japan remain raised, official data shows.

Telecom radiation: Is there a killer in the air?

Nine years ago when a cluster of cell phone towers were also installed in Pramod Kasliwasl’s neighborhood, he couldn’t have imagined what was in store for his family. As a result of lacking guidelines and regulations, there were towers which were only 10 yards from his bedroom. Today he suffers from brain cancer. Three more members in the family suffer the same fate.

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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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