News Round-Up: February 1, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Hinchey: Arrest of Filmmaker is Shameful

“It is beyond unacceptable that acclaimed documentary director Josh Fox was arrested for trying to film a public hearing on groundwater contamination caused by hydraulic fracturing in Pavilion, Wyoming. This was a public hearing, there was plenty of room for cameras, and a credentialed camera crew was told they would be denied access because they were working for a documentary filmmaker. This is blatant censorship and a shameful stain on this Congress. I stand by Josh’s right to record this hearing. His arrest was a huge mistake.”

Is the Tide Turning for Home Rule in Pennsylvania? Nine GOP Senators Oppose Law Seeking to Stop Local Power to Zone Gas Drilling

Just a few short months ago, the prognosis for the longstanding right of Pennsylvania municipalities to protect the health and property of their residents from fracking activities, or indeed any oil or gas drilling, looked pretty grim.  That’s because two bills – House Bill 1950 and Senate Bill 1100 – each passed through their respective house of the PA legislature last November.

Drillers Must Now Disclose Fracking Chemicals

A new Texas Railroad Commission rule requiring oil and natural gas operators to publicly disclose the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing of natural gas and oil wells takes effect today.


Spill Cleanup? Just a Cost of Doing Business?

Here’s a new item to add to the long list of expenses that are putting our country into deficit spending: cleaning up oil spills. While we keep hearing that companies like BP are on the hook for the costs of cleanup, in truth, much of the cleanup will be paid for by the U.S. Treasury itself.

Locals Comment On Oil-Spill Rehab

Residents, parish officials, and coastal advocates aired their thoughts Tuesday on the first projects that will kick off $1 billion in early environmental-restoration work BP will pay for to correct damage caused by the Gulf oil spill.

Halliburton Wins Ruling vs BP Over Gulf Oil Spill

A federal judge on Tuesday said Halliburton Co is not liable for some pollution claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, setting back BP Plc’s effort to hold other companies responsible for part of the $42 billion cleanup.

Views Collide At Meeting On Louisiana’s Coastal Plan

A New Orleans open house held by Louisiana’s coastal restoration authority last week on a draft of the state’s 2012 Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast drew mixed, earnest and sometimes vehement comments. Those living near the Gulf, where homes and entire communities have washed away, worried that the plan doesn’t kick in fast enough. Fisheries proponents warned that diverting Mississippi River water and sediment to build marsh will kill oysters, shrimp and trout. But for their part, national organizations concerned about the coast tend to favor the plan as a step in the right direction and one that will procure funds.


Atomic Agency Backs Safety Tests for Japan’s Reactors

A United Nations fact-finding mission on Tuesday tentatively supported new stress tests devised to determine whether Japan’s nuclear plants can withstand another emergency, throwing its weight behind a government push to restart reactors idled in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after an earthquake and tsunami in March.

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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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