News Round-Up: April 2, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


New Drilling Law Deepens Discord

When gas companies began developing Pennsylvania with wells that use horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in shale, the state Legislature found it had to play catch-up.

State Officials Ask Energy Firms to Disclose ‘Fracking’ Sites

The Brown administration is scrambling to convince an increasingly wary public that state regulators are getting a handle on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial oil extraction method that can pose a hazard to drinking water.

Colorado Farms Planning for Dry Spell Losing Auction Bids for Water to Fracking Projects

Front Range farmers bidding for water to grow crops through the coming hot summer and possible drought face new competition from oil and gas drillers.

Wilma Subra: State Lawmakers Let Shale Gas Industry Call the Shots on Fracking

All signs are pointing to Gov. Andrew Cuomo giving the natural gas industry a green light by this summer to proceed with the use of hydraulic fracturing to drill for natural gas in New York. After the Cuomo administration gives the industry a thumbs-up, lawsuits from citizen and environmental groups may delay when the state Department of Environmental Conservation reviews the first drilling permit application. But most observers believe Cuomo and the rest of the political elite in New York have no intention of banning high-volume hydraulic fracturing in the state.


BP attorneys have filed new court papers accusing the United States of withholding more than 10,000 documents concerning flow estimates of the broken Macondo well during the 2010 oil spill.

A study of dolphins living near the site of the Deepwater Horizon rig shows that marine mammals have serious health problems from the oil spill, and a second study links the disaster to the death of once-vibrant Gulf coral reefs.

Asian-American Boat Owners Accuse BP of ‘Despicable’ Racism

BP “specifically demanded” that the companies overseeing its Vessels of Opportunity oil spill clean-up program not hire Vietnamese- and Cambodian-Americans, a class estimated at 4,000 professional fishermen claims in Federal Court.

Rushing to Block Oil, Dauphin Island Opened Itself to Split

Coastal scientists say that actions taken by city leaders and property owners here during the BP oil spill may have unwittingly ensured that the next major hurricane breaks the island in half, right at the center of a heavily populated section.


Radioactive Materials May HAve Sunk 30 cm Into Ground

Radioactive materials released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the atmosphere were found 5 centimeters beneath the ground three months after the breakout of the nuclear crisis last March, but are now believed to have sunk 10 to 30 cm deep, a study by a research institution showed Wednesday.

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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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