News Round-Up: April 18, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Boulder County Commissioners Extend Oil and Gas Drilling Moratorium

Boulder County’s temporary moratorium on accepting and processing applications to drill for oil and gas in unincorporated parts of the county will remain in place through Feb. 4, 2013, county commissioners decided Monday.

Human-Made Earthquakes Reported in Central U.S.

The number of earthquakes in the central United States rose “spectacularly” near where oil and gas drillers disposed of wastewater underground, a process that may have caused geologic faults to slip, U.S. government geologists report.

Fracking Fluid Spill Raises Concerns Over Regulation

On April 19, a mechanical problem at a Pennsylvania natural gas well caused thousands of gallons of briny water and fracking fluid of unknown composition to spew out of the well, overwhelm containment facilities and flow across a field and into a pond. The local emergency management agency told seven families to evacuate their homes. It took a response team — Houston-based Boots and Coots13 hours to reach the site. Six days went by before workers were able to seal the leak, replace the wellhead and get the well “under control.”

Studies Shake Up Fracking Industry with Quake Findings

A process that involves injecting powerful blasts of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to release natural gas may be responsible for a major uptick in the number of earthquakes in Canada, according to two new studies.


The Big Spill, Two Years Later

Friday is the second anniversary of the explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and spilled upwards of five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Thanks partly to nature’s resilience, some progress has been made. The gulf is open to fishing, beaches are mostly clean and President Obama has resurrected an ambitious oil exploration plan that he shelved immediately after the spill.

Coalition Calls for Moratorium on Oil Exploration

The St. Lawrence Coalition is calling for a moratorium on oil and gas exploration and exploitation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Congress Get ‘D’ From Oil-Spill Panel for Safety Inaction

In the two years since a BP Plc (BP/) well blowout set off the worst U.S. offshore oil spill, Congress has failed to make drillers more accountable, according to members of the panel that studied the disaster.Lawmakers earned a “D” from members of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill for not enacting safe-drilling legislation, according to a report yesterday. President Barack Obama created the panel after the April 20, 2010, blast that killed 11 workers, sank the rig and spewed 4.9 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP Settlement With Government May Follow Pattern of Allowing Companies to Write Off Costs of Wrongdoing

A new white paper released today by U.S. PIRG examines a persistent pattern of companies that sign settlements with the government for their wrongdoing, then deduct the settlement costs as a normal business expense on their taxes. The white paper comes as the nation anticipates a multi-billion dollar settlement announcement between BP and the federal government for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


Japan Still Divided Over Nuclear Power After Fukushima

The prospect of power shortages in Japan this summer, of stifling city apartments and manufacturing slowdowns, has divided a country still reeling from the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl over whether to restart some of its idled reactors.

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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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