News Round-Up: December 13, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Hydraulic Fracturing: Whom Should We Believe?

I am struck by the fact that no matter the controversy, those paid to say what they say would think they are more credible than people whose views are not bought and paid for. Yet that is precisely what the executive director of the Maritimes Energy Association (OTANS), which represents the interests of the oil and gas industry, seems to want the public to believe (“Hydraulic fracturing: I’ll see your ‘expert’ and raise you two,” Dec. 9).

Natural Gas Trade Group Spent $200K Lobbying In 3Q

A trade group for natural gas utilities spent $200,000 lobbying Congress in the third quarter on regulation of drilling, support for low income families and promotion of natural gas vehicles, according to a recent disclosure report.

Investors Press Natural-Gas Drillers to Cut Risks From Fracking

Natural-gas producers must do more to reduce environmental harm from hydraulic fracturing and disclose U.S. drilling risks, according to groups representing investors with more than $130 billion in assets.

Sound Science, Safe Water, and the Public Good: Wait On “Fracking”

Revisiting a blog from the past summer on “fracking” and the negative public impact that the practice of sealing settlements can have on what we need to know, provides an opportunity to assess more recent developments.


Poll: Bipartisan Support for Restore Act

BP is expected to pay fines between five and 20 billion dollars for causing the biggest oil disaster in the country’s history. There’s debate in Washington over how that money should be spent. If the fines are used to restore and protect Florida’s coast it could mean hundreds of new jobs. As Whitney Ray tells us, a new poll suggests voters in Florida, both Democrat and Republican, want the money spent here.

Transocean Claims It’s Not Liable For Sub-Surface Leaks In Gulf Spill

Transocean (NYSE: RIG), the world’s largest provider of offshore drilling services, says that it cannot be forced to pay fines related to sub-surface leaks in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill due to an indemnity contract it has with BP (NYSE: BP).

Pensacola Mayor Announces Restore Act Support

The Gulf Coast is still fighting to recover more than year after the devastating BP oil spill, and the Restore Act of 2011 could help it recover even faster.

Chevron Corp. spent $2.13 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and other issues, according to a disclosure report.


Fukushima Disaster Contaminated Ocean with 50 Million Times Normal Radiation

Things are suddenly heating up again with Fukushima. As we reported yesterday, the southern wall of Fukushima reactor #4 apparently collapsed over the past few days, calling into question the structural integrity of the remainder of the containment building.

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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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