News Round-Up: August 12, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Frack Panel to Industry: Fix Environmental Problems

Although President Obama’s “fracking” panel offered few specifics today on how to make shale gas drilling safer, it delivered a warning to the shale gas drilling industry: Clean up your act or your business could suffer.

Report for Obama Questions Effectiveness of Gas Drilling Regulations

In sharp contrast with gas industry portrayals, the draft report released yesterday by a federal panel on shale gas drilling explicitly acknowledges that current regulations may be insufficient to protect the environment and public health

Environmentalist Call For Ban On Fracking

The Sierra Club joined other environmental and community groups across the state in a Day of Action on Thursday to urge Gov. Chris Christie to sign legislation banning the use of the controversial natural gas drilling technique hydraulic fracturing or fracking.


US Company Spills Oil In Chinese Waters, State Disclosure Scrutinized

More than two months since the first leak was discovered, U.S. oil giant ConocoPhillips announced Tuesday it was resuming its efforts to clean up the series of oil slicks spilled into China’s Bohai Sea.

Arctic Oil Drilling? Let’s Not Be Hasty

Bad environmental news came last week with the Interior Department’s conditional approval of three or four exploratory oil wells off Alaska’s North Slope. Any good news that might lie in it comes with the department’s delay in approving Shell Oil’s plan for responding to a disastrous oil spill.

Trial Over BP Oil Spill Will Unfold in 3 Phases Next Year

The trial over last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster will unfold in three phases and will start as scheduled on Feb. 27, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier said Friday.

Supreme Court Likely to Rule Oil Company Human Rights Abuse Lawsuits Possible

Everywhere oil is drilled, from Louisiana to Nigeria, human rights violations abound. This fall, the Supreme Court will likely decide whether overseas oil companies can be sued for alleged human rights abuses after Nigerian plaintiffs, victims most similar to Gulf of Mexico region oil survivors, filed a petition with the Supreme Court according to The New York Times Friday.

Water Utility Expert Expresses Concerns About the Risks of Hydraulic Fracturing

The American Water Works Association is an international nonprofit educational association dedicated to being an authoritative resource for knowledge, information, and advocacy for improving water quality and supply. A July 2011 article in Opflow, an AWWA publication, asks the question: “Hydrofracking: Is it Worth the Risk?”  The environmental manager for the Ft. Smith Utility in Arkansas writes about the risks of hydraulic fracturing when it comes to protecting drinking water supplies.


Japan Ignored Own Radiation Forecasts

Japan has a state-of-the-art forecasting system that predicts the trajectory and magnitude of radiation leaked into the air, but Japan didn’t act on its own information, according to the Associated Press.

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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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