Today’s Essential Reads
When the mayor of Youngstown, Ohio decides to buy earthquake insurance, you know we’ve got a big problem. To what should be the surprise of no one, earthquakes caused by the junkie gas sector’s hydraulic fracturing process, known as fracking, have been cropping up like Freud’s repressed. The latest ominously arrived in Republican-dominated Ohio on New Year’s Eve, quickly prompting Youngstown’s mayor to buy earthquake insurance and lament, “You lose your whole house, that’s your life savings, and if you have no money or no insurance to replace it, then what do you do?”
The public comment period closes Wednesday on a proposal to open upstate New York State to a controversial natural gas drilling practice known as High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing, or “fracking.”
Natural gas companies are trying to sell fracking as the solution to all of the economic ills ailing this country. Supposedly fracking can bring the economy out of its current stagnation by creating uncountable new jobs, without running up government deficits, and even save us from global warming in the process. So how come local residents and environmentalists oppose fracking? The short answer is that fracking does not create local jobs, it lowers property values, and pollutes the water we drink and the air we breathe.
The owner of a central Wyoming gas field where federal regulators suggested a link between a drilling technique and groundwater pollution asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to suspend public comment on the draft report.
BP OIL SPILL:
Most of the oil and gas that flowed into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster never reached the surface, according the first comprehensive report tracking the amount of oil and gas released and where it went.
In terrible news for the Nigerian delta and the Gulf of Mexico, new research from the University of California Davis suggests that oil is even more toxic than previously thought. Researchers at the university’s Bodega Marine Laboratory studied the aftermath of an oil spill in San Francisco Bay in 2007, when the tanker Cusco Busan hit the Bay Bridge and leaked 54,000 gallons of oil into the bay.
Though 2011 was quiet, the South Louisiana Economic Council spent the year dealing with disasters that impacted Houma-Thibodaux in preceding years.
Debate continues over whether the Coast Guard has switched its emphasis too early from oil-spill cleanup to restoration.
New safety regulations proposed for Japan’s nuclear reactors would limit the operation of the plants to 40 years, Japan’s nuclear minister, Goshi Hosono, said. The government also is revising seismic and tsunami safety standards for facilities and emergency preparedness directives for local communities. The government will submit the proposed legislation to Parliament later this month.