News Round-Up: December 19, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Environmental Groups Sue to Prevent Fracking in CA

The Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club are suing the Bureau of Land Management to prevent gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal lands. The lawsuit contends that the bureau leased more than 2,500 acres in Monterey and Fresno counties to oil company representatives without doing a thorough analysis of the potential environmental impacts of fracking.

Potential Harm From Drilling Gas Outweighs Any Benefits

Carrying a large banner that reads “HYDROFRACKING = TERRORISM” is a level of hyperbole that I usually try to avoid. But the more I learn about the risks and detrimental effects of gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing in other parts of Pennsylvania and the nation, the more I wanted to take part in last month’s “Don’t drill the Delaware” rally at the Trenton War Memorial. So I joined some new friends in raising that banner.

Fracking Contamination ‘Will Get Worse’: Alberta Expert

A well-known industry expert in tracking leaking methane from oil and gas wells says a groundbreaking U.S. federal study on hydraulic fracturing highlights not only an old and growing problem, but the need for tighter regulations in the shale gas industry.

The Fracking Industry Has Bought Off Congress: Here Are the Worst Offender

Environmentalists and other well-adjusted citizens of Earth, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that, thanks to illuminating documentaries like Josh Fox’s Gasland and determined pressure from activists in and out of the mainstream, the toxic ravages of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, are no longer the shale gas sector’s dirty secret.


Obama Administration Rubber Stamps Shell’s Drilling Plans for the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea

In the latest in a series of reckless decisions about America’s Arctic Ocean, the Obama administration today gave Royal Dutch Shell the green light to drill in the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea beginning next summer – despite the fact that there is no proven way to clean up an oil spill in the Arctic’s extreme conditions and there is significant dearth of scientific information, making it impossible to understand the impacts of Shell’s activities.


Oil Spill Restoration Projects Promise Both Environmental And Economic Impacts

The central Gulf Coast got some good news last week as state and federal officials took another step in the oil spill recovery process. On Wednesday, the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resources Damage Assessment trustees announced four restoration projects — two in Alabama and two in Mississippi — worth an estimated $24 million.

Let’s Get Started On Restoration

The federal government took an important step last week in what is sure to be a long journey. The public-comment period on the first phase of spending on oil-spill restoration projects has begun, and the work itself is expected to begin within a few months. That is good news for so many people who depend on the Gulf of Mexico for their livelihoods and the many more who use it for recreation.


Rig Count Off La. Rises to Highest Since BP Oil Spill

The weekly count of oil rigs operating in federal waters off Louisiana’s coast has reached its highest point since last year’s BP oil spill, state officials say. But the current 35 rigs is still lower than the average weekly count of 42 that was recorded over the three months before the spill and resulting six-month deepwater-drilling ban enacted by the Obama administration. Scott Angelle, Louisiana’s Natural Resources secretary, released the figures late Friday.


Japan Declares Fukushima Plant Stable, But Is It?

Japan Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Friday Dec 16 that the government and TEPCO had regained control of the damaged reactors at Fukushima located about 150 miles north of Tokyo.  In a televised speech to the nation, Noda said, “Today,we have reached a great milestone.”

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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