News Round-Up: August 4, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


As the federal government prepares to gut key programs to protect water and other natural resources through this week’s debt agreement, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced plans to invest $12.4 million on programs to support shale gas development. Yet new analysis released today by the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch casts additional doubt on the viability of natural gas obtained through hydraulic fracturing.

Groups Petition EPA for Federal Fracking Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should demand that companies disclose the chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing and conduct safety and health tests on the effects of those chemicals, more than 100 advocacy groups say.

Does an Old EPA Fracking Study Provide Proof of Contamination?

Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization engaged in the debate over the safety of fracking, has unearthed a 24-year-old case study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that unequivocally says such contamination has occurred. The New York Times reported on EWG’s year-long research effort and the EPA’s paper Wednesday.

Gas Rush: New York’s Heated Hydrofracking Debate

The state had placed a moratorium on hydrofracking pending a study by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as to its potential risks, after residents in Pennsylvania—where hydrofracking has had the green light for years—say they can light their tap water on fire, that farm animals are losing their hair in clumps, and one woman’s water well blew up on New Year’s Day 2009, allegedly due to nearby fracking operations.


US Agency Approves Shell Arctic Oil Drilling Plan

Royal Dutch Shell’s long-stymied Arctic drilling program inched ahead on Thursday, as the U.S. offshore drilling regulator approved the company’s oil exploration plan for Alaska’s Beaufort Sea.

Ala. AG Looking Forward to BP Oil Spill Trial in February

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange is getting prepared to represent state interests at trial in a New Orleans court against BP over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill this February.

Delegation, Prichard Police Chief, Heads to London to Protest BP Treatment of Minorities

A delegation including the Prichard police chief was in London this week to protest BP PLC, which they accuse of ignoring minorities and poor people who suffered damages during last year’s oil spill.

BP Spill: Gulf Restoration Fund for States Wins Broad Support

Conservation groups working across the Gulf of Mexico are supporting a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would direct to five Gulf states the billions of dollars in fines that may be imposed on BP and other companies found responsible for the last year’s oil spill.


Japan’s Change of Energy Chiefs Is Criticized as Mere Reshuffle

Japan’s decision to remove three officials in charge of energy policy isn’t enough to tackle failures that contributed to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, said a former Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry official.

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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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