News Round-Up: February 9, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Fox Finds Irony In His Bust

There are a couple of different videos circulating on the Internet showing the arrest of filmmaker Josh Fox. He took a camera crew to a hearing of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Environment on February 1. The hearing concerned a draft report, issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), regarding hydraulic fracturing.

Pennsylvania General Assembly Votes to Impose Fees on Natural Gas Companies

The Pennsylvania Legislature, after a full day’s debate, narrowly approved Wednesday a bill that would levy annual fees against natural gas companies for each natural gas well they drill in the Marcellus Shale.

Fracking Viewpoints Collide at Dansville Meeting

Pro and anti ‘frackers’ butted heads Dansville as that town explores natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing.

Comparing Two Carbon Bombs: Liquid Natural Gas Plants vs. Enbridge Pipeline

With the spotlight on the federal government’s aggressive push to export tar sands bitumen via the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline to Kitimat, and from there by tanker on to China, the B.C. government reclaimed some attention on the energy file when it released its Natural Gas Strategy last week.


House Democrats Cite Lax Oversight of Oil, Natural Gas Drilling On Public Land

Federal policing of oil and natural gas drilling on public lands is lax and inconsistent, with only 6 percent of violations resulting in monetary fines over 13 years, House Democrats said in a report Wednesday.

BP Could Face Up to $17.6 Billion in Fines for Largest Offshore Oil Spill in U.S. History

London-based oil giant BP is negotiating with U.S. officials to settle pollution claims over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that may leave the company liable for as much as $17.6 billion in fines, a person familiar with the talks said.

Internal BP corporate memos dating back to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout show that the company was concerned about a spill rate much higher than what it publicly estimated at the time. The memos were released as part of federal court proceedings.

Arctic Oil Drilling Threatens Polar Bear Birthing Grounds

Up in the frozen arctic, where polar bear rule over a biogem world, massive oil drilling plans threaten the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Shell, the oil behemoth that made $4.8 billion in profits last quarter, intends to boost those numbers by drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off Alaska. And the Obama Administration appears eager to help them.


Emails Show Panic Within US Nuke Agency in Wake of Fukushima Disaster

Emails posted on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) website show an agency that was ill-informed about the state of the crisis taking place at the failing Fukushima nuclear plant last year in Japan. The emails reveal some of the mitigation plans advisors to the NRC were contemplating, show an agency reluctant to share its own research on spent fuel pools, and unwilling to articulate worst-case scenarios, including a nuclear fallout plan for Alaska.

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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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