Environmental Must-Reads – September 19, 2013


Colorado flooding may unleash fracking fluids

Not only have the Colorado floods claimed lives and thousands of homes, they have also hit oil equipment, sparking fears that fuel, heavy metals and hydraulic fracturing fluids may be seeping into the local water supply.

SkyTruth Launches Map to Track Oil & Gas Pollution from Colorado Floods

In response to catastrophic floods in Colorado’s Front Range, SkyTruth is launching an online mapping tool to collect reports of damaged oil and gas infrastructure. As the floodwaters recede, dozens of photos are emerging of flood-damaged wells and storage tanks. Due to the environmental and public health hazards posed by chemicals used in drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), public health officials and environmentalists are concerned about the contaminants faced by residents returning to flooded homes and communities.

Yes, It Can Get Worse: Colorado Floodwaters May Have Left Behind Toxic Sludge

The historic floods that ran roughshod over Colorado late last week killed eight people, displaced thousands more, uprooted countless roads, destroyed 1,500 homes, and generally laid waste to 4,500 square miles of the Centennial state.

British anti-fracking occupation will continue

British opponents of fracking will continue to occupy the side of a road in a village 35 miles south of London — and they won’t have to fear being arrested for trespassing. A court ruled that a local council’s eviction notice was flawed.

New report confirms methane emissions from fracking are high, more needed to understand scale

A report out yesterday from the University of Texas (funded by the Environmental Defense Fund and members of the oil and gas industry) provides the results from a study of methane emissions (a potent global warming pollution) at 190 onshore natural gas sites in the U.S.

One Downside of Oil Drilling? Wasted Gas

As the fracking drilling boom continues in Texas and other states, a shift has taken place. While the beginning of the surge saw a rush for natural gas, in recent years the focus has moved to oil. And in the process, a lot of natural gas is being wasted. Billions of dollars worth, enough to power an entire nation.

Pennsylvania State Senator Announces Fracking Moratorium Legislation

At a press event today, State Senator Jim Ferlo (D-Pittsburgh) announced the introduction of the Natural Gas Drilling Moratorium Act, Senate Bill 1100, that would place a moratorium on issuing new permits for fracking in Pennsylvania. He was joined by PennEnvironment, Food & Water Watch, other community and environmental advocacy groups, and concerned citizens.

Highland Park becomes first town in N.J. to ban fracking

There won’t be any fracking in Highland Park.

The above statement was true way before Tuesday night: Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, is a vanishingly remote possibility in the densely populated Central New Jersey borough that is far from any major natural gas deposit.

The Giant Big Oil Lawsuit That Bobby Jindal Wants to Make Disappear

In late July, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority–East, an independent board created by the state legislature in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to shore up the state’s levee system, filed a lawsuit against the oil companies. All of them. The committee targeted nearly 100 petroleum producers with operations on the Gulf Coast—including titans such as BP America, Exxon-Mobil, and Chevron—for what it termed a “mercilessly efficient, continuously expanding system of ecological destruction.”

Judge to review Halliburton’s plea deal for destroying evidence after 2010 Gulf oil spill

A federal judge was set to decide Thursday whether to approve a plea agreement that calls for Halliburton Energy Services to pay a $200,000 fine for destroying evidence after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Halliburton set to plead guilty to criminal charge in Gulf oil spill case

Judgement day has arrived for oil field services firm Halliburton.

Nearly three-and-a-half years after a deadly rig explosion and massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company that supplied the cement for the well that blew out will plead guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor criminal charge in the case.

Judge asked to dismiss BP rig supervisors’ charges

Lawyers for two BP rig supervisors charged in the deaths of 11 workers in the Deepwater Horizon disaster asked a federal judge on Wednesday to dismiss the manslaughter charges against their clients.

Spill Victims Claim BP Wants Settlement Approval Reversed

Victims appealing BP Plc’s $9.6 billion settlement of most economic-damage claims from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill said the company also wants approval of the agreement reversed.

5,250 gallons of oil spills into South Platte River

Industry crews have placed absorbent booms in the South Platte River south of Milliken where at least 5,250 gallons of crude oil has spilled from two tank batteries into the flood-swollen river.

Bayonne oil spill deemed by DEP to have had minimal impact

After a weekend of cleaning and monitoring oil that drifted to Bayonne waters from Staten Island, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said the spill caused minimal impact in the area.

Southern Leg of Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks Climate Test Too

I had a chance to read FAIL: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test, a recent report issued by the Sierra Club and Oil Change International and endorsed by a dozen other environmental organizations. The 17-page report makes a rock solid case that “constructing Keystone XL will lead to tar sands industry expansion, and tar sands industry expansion will significantly exacerbate climate pollution.

Bill McKibben: Obama Can Salvage His Climate Legacy by Rejecting Keystone XL Oil Pipeline

Bill McKibben, co-founder and director of 350.org, joins us to discuss “Draw the Line,” a national day of action this Saturday to protest the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Already this week on Monday, 13 people were arrested during a protest in Houston in front of the offices of TransCanada, the company behind the controversial project. McKibben has just come out with the new book, “Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist.” McKibben argues that Obama’s pending decision on whether to approve or reject the Keystone XL’s construction is a historic opportunity.

As Exxon Prepares to Get Sued Over Mayflower Spill, Pennsylvania Accuses It of Illegal Dumping

Next time you’re in Irving, be sure to stop at ExxonMobil’s headquarters and tell the front desk you’re there to give a hug to whoever needs it, because Fort Worth-based Exxon is having a rough couple of weeks. I mean, aside from the $7 billion quarterly earnings.

Warning shots fired as Russia detains Greenpeace activists at Arctic oil rig

Russian coastguards fired warning shots to prevent Greenpeace activists from climbing an oil platform in the Barents Sea and to stop the environmental organization’s Arctic Sunrise vessel, which entered the Northern Sea Route without permission.

Japan’s Abe orders surviving Fukushima reactors scrapped, pledges safe Olympics

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the scrapping of two Fukushima nuclear reactors that survived the 2011 tsunami, a write-off that threatens to complicate a turnaround plan the operator has presented to creditors.

Japan’s Shinzo Abe calls on TEPCO to decommission 2 Fukushima reactors

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday that he has asked Tokyo Electric Power Co. to decommission two more reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Japan’s Prime Minister Inspects Leaks at Fukushima Nuclear Plant

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has inspected the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to reassure the public over leaks of contaminated water.  Critics have lashed out at Abe for saying the situation is under control but the prime minister has stood by his words.

Fukushima: PM Shinzo Abe visits plant amid leak concerns

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, amid public concern over radioactive water leaks.

He ordered the plant operator to stem all the leaks within six months and gave instructions for decommissioning of two reactors.

Japan balked at steps to control Fukushima water in 2011: memo

Japanese authorities, now struggling to contain leaks of radioactive groundwater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, were urged two years ago by U.S. experts to take immediate steps to prevent groundwater contamination but decided not to act on the advice.

Japan nuke watchdog marks first anniversary, vows safety at Fukushima

Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Shunichi Tanaka vowed Thursday to ensure that the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is made safe as the regulatory body marked the first anniversary of its launch.

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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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