News Round-Up: August 25, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Natural-Gas Data Fuels ‘Fracking’ Battle

New federal estimates of the natural-gas resources beneath Eastern states are quickly touching off fresh battles over the controversial hydraulic fracturing drilling method.

Can Communities Reclaim the Right to Say “No” to Corporations?

Many communities trying to stop fracking, drilling, or big box stores out are finding they don’t have the legal right to say no. So they are trying to change the structure of law.

It’s Official: Human Activity Can Cause Earthquakes

The United States Geological Survey is America’s official expert on earthquakes. It’s the Federal agency charged with monitoring, reporting on, researching and stressing preparedness for earthquakes.

In West Texas, Rural Water Managers Struggle to Track Use for Hydrofracking

Scarce as the water is in West Texas today, the people charged with protecting western counties’ long-term supply can’t say for sure where it’s all going — thanks in part to state law that prevents them from regulating it.


Oil Spills and Meltdowns Highlight the Need for Energy Resilience

After the BP oil spill in the spring of 2010, President Obama ordered a moratorium on off-shore drilling, and millions rallied in support of a cleanup effort. Following the dual disasters in Japan a year later, pundits were seen and heard debating the future of nuclear energy, with some spelling its demise. And with the cross-country heat waves sending most Americans into the shelter of air conditioning, speculation on the health of the electricity grid abounds.

Growing Oil Slick Found at Site of Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Over the course of last week, allegations arose of renewed leaking in the Macondo oil field, the site of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill (Map). New Orleans lawyer Stuart Smith initially reported that as many as 40 Vessels of Opportunity (VoO) boats were hired by BP to lay boom around a growing slick near the site of the Macondo field. Later, two ships that assisted in the mission to kill the leaking oil well were photographed near the site: Helix Producer I, an oil production vessel capable of handling 45,000 barrels of oil per day, and the Helix Express, a subsea construction vessel.

Keystone XL Could Cause a BP Oil Disaster in America’s Heartland

A mother of six and the wife of an oil worker in Rayne, Louisiana, Foytlin walked from New Orleans to Washington D.C. last April to speak at Power Shift and raise awareness about the BP spill. Now, she’s come to the capitol again to warn Americans of the danger the proposed Keystone XL pipeline poses to their land, water, and air.

Justice Dept. Still Probing Dubious BP Oil Leak Estimates

Federal prosecutors are still investigating BP’s underestimated oil-spill numbers that were released during last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster.


Japan Utility Knew of Tsunami Threat: Government

Japan’s nuclear regulator says the operator of a damaged nuclear plant knew it might be hit by a far bigger tsunami than it was designed to withstand.

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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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