Environmental Must-Reads – October 30, 2012


Big storms and fracking: what’s at stake?

Here in Washington, D.C. the winds are fast, furious, and loud as we await the brunt of Hurricane Sandy. Winds have been clocked up to 90 mph as the storm hits land with the lowest pressure ever recorded in the northeast. Images of a crane dangling off a Manhattan skyscraper are as scary as the reports that flooding will occur as far north as Vermont and New Hampshire.

West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and eastern Ohio are all expected to be hit by the storm. What could it mean for fracking sites in the Marcellus shale?

Redford fights ‘fracking’ in New York

Robert Redford is jumping into environmental politics in upstate New York.

The actor/director, and founder of Utah’s Sundance Institute, has recorded a series of radio ads aimed at pressuring New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the issue of “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking,” according to the news website Politics on the Hudson.

Liz Fisher: Fracking — ‘Health, safety and welfare are not negotiable items’

Erie recently approved 200-foot setbacks for oil and gas wells at soon-to-be-annexed Summerfield. (“Plans for massive Summerfield housing development get a second life in Erie,” Oct. 19)

This concession to the developer undermines an important condition of the town’s agreements with two operators who drill and frack locally: to maximize setback distances near populated areas.

Tennessee Voices: Fracking rules usurp property rights

Imagine going away on vacation and coming home to find a leveled, three-acre clear-cut with a gas well every 600 feet on your property.

One of them is 200 feet from your house and the well from which you draw your drinking water. Another is 100 feet from the creek in your backyard. Over in the pasture, there is a huge pit full of a strange, black liquid that wasn’t there before. You say to yourself, “I never gave permission for this!”

Gulf hypoxia, fracking on Nov. 8 water conference agenda

The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico and fracking are on the agenda for the Nov. 8 “Water: The Choices: Water Law and Policy Conference” being held at the C.A. Vine Arkansas 4-H Center in Ferndale.

Towns Fight Back Against Fracking

$30 million in campaign contributions have flowed from the oil and gas industry to congressional candidates and PACS in 2012 to stall regulation of hydraulic fracturing. Now many towns have swung into action to pass fracking bans to protect their citizens.

THE BIG READ: The true face of fracking

I stared deep into the photograph of a man who refused to be beaten by industry. The face I was looking at was Fred McIntyre, a water driller from northern Pennsylvania. His eyes cut right through me; green, calm and alive with fury. His expression was bland but each one of the thousand wrinkles flowing towards pursed lips told a story of a man who would not be undermined.

A gruff voice behind me interrupted my journey into the thoughts of the subject.

“Yep, that’s me.”

I turned around quickly and, for a brief moment, was stunned by the sensation of having the same man stare at me from both sides.

Fred and his wife, Janet, are one of the many families whose lives are being turned upside down by shale gas fracturing in the Marcellus shale reserve of Pennsylvania, US. His face, and their story, are on exhibition at the Pittsburgh Centre for the Arts as part of a project to showcase the consequences of gas fracking.

It’s Time for the Green Cloak to Come Off of Natural Gas.

For decades, natural gas (methane) has been touted as a greener energy alternative to coal, when, according to a new Cornell University study, in considering its whole lifecycle, natural gas appears to be worse for climate change than the coal industry and is more toxic to the environment and human health.

BP says U.S. deal over oil spill fines no guarantee

British oil giant BP said in its third-quarter earnings report that the company is uncertain whether it will reach a settlement with the U.S. government for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the company added its quarterly profit rose more than 5 percent despite a drop in revenue due in part to lower production of oil and gas.

Pipeline splits landowners’ opinions in East Texas

WINNSBORO – Amid the elm and pine trees on his family’s East Texas land, between leaves turning pink and orange and tracks left by hogs and raccoons, Gabe Cordova has gotten used to the sight of nothing.

That is what was left after yellow machines with claws and saws ran their course, cutting away a dense preserve of dogwood, cedar and sweet gums en route southward.

Coast Guard releases undersea video from Gulf spill site

The U.S. Coast Guard has released recently shot undersea video from the site where a BP well blew out two years ago in the Gulf of Mexico.

Several video feeds taken at the site a mile below the surface on Oct. 15 verify what BP and the Coast Guard have said in recent weeks: Oil is not leaking from the Macondo well.

TransCanada keeps pressure on protesters

TransCanada security workers have been putting the pressure on tree sitters to come down from their leafy perches in East Texas, but two holdouts remain.

Fishermen confront BP spill deadline

GRAND BAYOU, La. – Most decisions about the details of a huge class-action settlement of damage claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will come from stately offices and a federal courtroom in New Orleans.

Earthquake shakes faith in pipeline project

The weekend’s frightening offshore earthquake came at the worst possible time for the proposed Enbridge pipeline — or the best, depending on your point of view.

Oil slick contaminates Nile

There has been an oil spill on the Nile in between Aswan and Luxor province. The Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs issued a statement reporting that the oil spill was around six kilometres in diameter at its widest point. However, late on Monday Al-Ahram reported that the size of the spill was reduced to a miniscule size by the time it reached Esna, south of Luxor city.

Assumption Parish sinkhole costs DNR $2M so far

BATON ROUGE, La. — A massive sinkhole that has swallowed more than 5 acres of land in Assumption Parish and contaminated an aquifer has cost the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources more than $2 million for response efforts.

Tremor near sinkhole causes no damage

BAYOU CORNE — A nighttime tremor last week did not have “any discernible effect” on pressure inside a failed Texas Brine Co. salt cavern or natural gas bubble sites in and around a sinkhole believed to have been caused by the damaged cavern, Assumption Parish officials reported.

Here are all of the ways that coal is bad for your health

The study of international evidence showed increased rates of cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease, as well as birth defects, in communities near coal mines and coal-fired power stations.

The researchers analysed 50 studies from 10 countries, including the US, the UK and China.

Sandy Shuts Down Nuclear Plants

Two US nuclear power plants were shut down early Tuesday in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, but the plant operators stressed there were no risks to the public. New Jersey’s main power company PSEG Nuclear shut down its Salem 1 unit on the Delaware river, saying most of its water circulation pumps had been rendered unusable “due to weather impacts.”

Nuclear plants shut down units as storm hits coast

WASHINGTON — Parts of two nuclear power plants were shut down late Monday and early Tuesday, while another plant — the nation’s oldest — was put on alert after waters from Superstorm Sandy rose 6 feet above sea level.

Japan-style nuclear safety errors abound, regulator warns

Japan’s nuclear safety failures that led to last year’s disaster at Fukushima are being repeated in other countries that operate atomic reactors, according to France’s top regulator.

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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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