News Round-Up: August 15, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Fracking in Illinois: Farmers Debate Options When Landmen Come Knocking

Part of the New Albany Shale lies beneath the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. (Photo by Christina Rutz via Creative Commons)

Few Studies Done On Air Safety, Health Effects Near Drilling Sites

John Toerge says he’s like many other people living close to oil and gas development in Colorado — the effects of drilling aren’t just felt in the local economy, they’re felt in his nose, lungs and ears, too.

UT Announces Panel That Will Look Into Fracking Study

A panel of three a prominent businessman, a former university administrator and a scientist will review a University of Texas report on hydraulic fracturing dogged by revelations that a lead author serves on the board of a natural gas exploration company, the university’s provost announced Tuesday.

Martens: NY DEC Will ‘Shortly Determine’ Whether Fracking Allowed

New York Department of Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens is refuting charges his agency has abandoned its scientific integrity when considering allowing gas drilling — including hydraulic fracturing — in the Empire State. “We will shortly determine whether natural gas drilling can proceed while protecting public health and the environmental values New Yorkers embrace,” Martens wrote in a letter to the Albany Times-Union Tuesday.


BP Selling Off Portion of Gulf of Mexico Oilfields

BP plc is looking to command as much as $7.9 billion from the sale of some its offshore oil-producing properties in the Gulf of Mexico, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

Landrieu Presses Coast Guard to Do More to Make Sure BP Cleans Up from Gulf Spill

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is asking the Coast Guard to force BP PLC to clean up oil and equipment used in the response buried in the waters and mud along the coast.

Researchers Study Shellfish to Prepare for Future Disasters

Since the 2010 BP oil spill, fishermen have complained of poor catches and mysterious ailments such as lesions in the creatures they pull from the Gulf.

The Gulf: Frankenstein’s Lab

Earlier this week, a coalition of public health, wildlife, and conservation organizations filed a Clean Water Act lawsuit in an effort to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a rule regarding the use of chemical oil dispersants. In particular, the suit notes EPA’s failure to identify the waters in which dispersants, and other substances, may be used and in what quantities. The suit is an effort to inject science and safety into decisionmaking around oil disasters.


TEPCO Workers in Fukushima Distressed by Abuse After Nuclear Disaster

Hundreds of Tokyo Electric Power Co. employees at the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants suffered psychological distress two to three months after the nuclear disaster last year.

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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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