News Round-Up: February 2, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Texas Railroad Commission Begins Enforcing New Rules That Won’t Do Much Fracking Good

Starting today, companies drilling for natural gas in Texas must disclose the chemical compounds they use for hydraulic fracturing on the website FracFocus.  While this doesn’t apply to existing wells, any companies seeking new drilling permits from the Texas Railroad Commission must comply with the rule.  This is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the real problems associated with fracking.

Mount Morris Places Moratorium On Hydrofracking

Last month, a moratorium on hydrofracking was put in place by Mount Morris, N.Y., giving the town time to weigh the positive and negative consequences of hydraulic fracturing in the region.

EPA Official Defends Pavillion Fracking Study, But Warns of Its Limits

A top Environmental Protection Agency official on Wednesday fended off Republican and industry attacks on the agency’s controversial draft study that found hydraulic fracturing likely caused groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyo.

Ronald Fraser: Gas Industry Money Tilts the Debate On Drilling

Officials in Albany will soon decide whether to authorize horizontal hydraulic fracturing, a controversial gas drilling process. While citizens have written thousands of letters to the governor and the Department of Environmental Conservation protesting the health and environmental risks associated with fracking, the gas industry has been busy writing checks to Albany decision-makers.


Steffy: When BP Keeps Secrets, It’s Time To Worry

When BP seeks secrecy, we should be suspicious. Just last week, a memo surfaced in the federal court case related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster that showed the company sought to keep from the public its estimates of how much oil might gush from the ruptured well. The estimates were far higher than the low-ball estimates it was floating to the public in the face of mounting outrage over what became the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

Transocean CEO Does Not Have To Testify at Oil Spill Trials

A federal magistrate has ruled that Transocean’s CEO does not have to testify at trials stemming from the massive gulf oil spill in 2010.

Tony Hayward is BP’s Legal Headache: Stephanie Grace

When most of us last saw former BP CEO Tony Hayward, he was being shipped off to Siberia — symbolically, anyway. Hayward was actually reassigned to a post in Russia, after his string of callous comments about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion exacerbated the company’s already severe public relations crisis.

Should Taxpayers Foot the Bill for Oil Spills?

Taxpayers have footed oil companies’ cleanup costs for decades. For instance, BP can deduct on its tax returns cleanup costs and settlements for its massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Estimates already show those costs may amount to $32 billion, which could translate into a $10 billion tax write-off for the oil major.

Obama Proposal Could Weaken Key Climate Agency

An Obama administration plan to cut costs by combining several government agencies may make good political sense, coming in the midst of the Republican presidential primary season, with its heated small-government rhetoric. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea from a policy perspective.


CA Nuclear Plant Closed Due To Leak

A small quantity of radioactive gas leaked inside one of the buildings at San Onofre nuclear power plant north of San Diego, according to a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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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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