News Round-Up: January 17, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Bulgaria Govt Cancels Chevron Shale Gas Permit

The Bulgarian government, preparing a full ban on shale gas drilling due to environmental concerns, on Tuesday cancelled a exploration permit for the unconventional energy source that it granted to U.S. energy major Chevron in June.

Regulators Say Hydraulic Fracturing May Have Caused Oil Spill On Farm Near Innisfail

Hydraulic fracturing of an oil well in southern Alberta could have caused an oil well blowout a kilometre away, according to provincial regulators.

New York State Not Prepared to Cope with Fracking Risks

The Environmental Working Group warned New York officials that the state currently lacks the resources and knowledge to adequately protect residents and public water supplies from the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. EWG submitted comments to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on the agency’s draft environmental impact assessment of fracking and commented separately on its proposed regulations of natural gas drilling.

EPA Sees Risks to Water, Workers In New York Fracking Rules

New York’s emerging plan to regulate natural gas drilling in the gas-rich Marcellus Shale needs to go further to safeguard drinking water, environmentally sensitive areas and gas industry workers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has informed state officials. The EPA’s comments, in a series of letters [1] this week to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, are significant because they suggest the agency will be watching closely as states in the Northeast and Midwest embrace new drilling technologies to tap vast reserves of shale gas.


Has BP Made It Right? Company Still Has Work Remaining to Right Wrongs of Oil Spill

Even while oil was spilling into the Gulf of Mexico from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, British Petroleum, which was ultimately responsible for the rig that exploded, bought TV ads that claimed it would “make it right” for the people and the environment of the Gulf Coast.

Obama Courting Oil-spill Disaster in Arctic

Think the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been tough to clean up? Well, wait till it happens in the Arctic. For much of the year, the Arctic seas are covered with ice and impassable for oil-spill response ships — oil could gush unabated for up to eight months. The nearest Coast Guard facilities are 1,000 miles away, and any attempted cleanup would be hampered by ice, cold, hurricane-strength storms and blinding fogs.

Coastal Restoration Money Bills May Fall Victim to Partisan Squabbling

Two bills pending in Congress would free billions of dollars for Louisiana’s coastal restoration efforts. But as a bitterly divided Congress returns this week after a three-week holiday recess, prospects that either bill, or other significant legislation, can make it through the process in an election year are uncertain.

Gulf of Mexico Topography Played Key Role In Bacterial Consumption of Deepwater Horizon Spill

When scientist David Valentine and colleagues published results of a study in early 2011 reporting that bacterial blooms had consumed almost all the deepwater methane plumes after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill, some were skeptical. How, they asked the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) geochemist, could almost all the gas emitted disappear?


Fukushima’s Owner Adds Insult to Injury – Claims Radioactive Fallout Isn’t Theirs

In the amoral milieu of the corporate bottom line, you can’t blame Tokyo Electric Power Co. for trying. Tepco owns the six-reactor Fukushima complex that was wrecked by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and smashed by the resulting tsunami. It faces more than $350 billion in compensation and clean-up costs, as well as likely prosecution for withholding crucial information that may have prevented some radiation exposures and for operating the giant station after being warned about the inadequacy of its protections against disasters.

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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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