News Round-Up: August 22, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Little Comfort in Coal Seam Gas Pledge

Wollongong’s northern suburbs will not be subject to hydraulic fracturing if a company wins the right to drill new wells for coal seam gas, a community forum at Thirroul has heard.

The Politics of Rules Over Toxins

The oil and natural gas industry’s drilling practice of hydraulic fracturing of substrate shale formations to free oil and gas deposits is not new. But the method, commonly referred to as fracking, has become intensely controversial as toxic, carcinogenic and radioactive chemicals used under pressure in new gas industry wells have been found increasingly in adjacent aquifers and watersheds that provide drinking water for millions of people from Pennsylvania and New York to Texas.

Gas-Drilling Leases in W. Pa. Cemeteries Raising Concern

Pennsylvania groups opposed to Marcellus Shale drilling have been spreading the word about a particular set of leases: those signed with cemeteries.

South Africa Extends Moratorium on Fracking

The South African Minister for Mining Susan Shabangu announced on Thursday that no decision was to be made on the shale gas prospecting issue until next year. The existing moratorium had been extended by the government for an additional six months. The government needs more time to investigate the controversial hydraulic fracturing process, known in the industry as “fracking”.


Gulf of Mexico Oil Crew Ignored Warnings: Probe

The crew of an oil rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico last year causing one of the worst oil spills in US history ignored warning signs a disaster was imminent, an investigator said Friday.

Oil Spill Investigation Begins As Shell Plugs North Sea Leak

The oil sheen on the surface of the North Sea that followed the UK’s worst oil spill for a decade has finally disappeared, according to Shell, after the company managed to plug its leaking pipeline on Friday. Government officials are now launching an investigation into the leak as part of an effort to discover how the spill came about and how to prevent such damage recurring.

Department Of Justice Investigates BP For Faulty Oil Spill Estimates (VIDEO)

On April 25, 2010, BP assured the Gulf Coast that a disaster wasn’t unfolding. Five days earlier, the Deepwater Horizon, a BP-leased rig in the Gulf of Mexico, had suffered a massive blowout, killing 11 men and seriously injuring 17 others. The floating platform burned for two days, then sank in 5,000 feet of water. Less than 48 hours later, BP discovered a leak from its deep-sea well.


Is Oil Still Leaking From BP’s Gulf Disaster Site?

There is growing concern on the Gulf Coast that oil is rising again from BP’s Macondo well, site of last year’s catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill, with reports of oil sightings in the area confirmed last week during aerial surveillance by a team from Louisiana’s Gulf Restoration Network.


Nuclear experts face drill call

International Atomic Energy Agency experts are likely to be invited to monitor a nuclear safety drill to be held early next year, Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong said.

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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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