Today’s Essential Reads
The oil and gas drilling practice called hydraulic fracturing has – for the first time – been implicated in the pollution of groundwater supplies in the United States. New findings from the US Environmental Protection Agency suggest “fracking” could cause contamination, even though the drilling usually takes place thousands of feet below the water table. Regulators in Colorado have just voted to approve new rules requiring oil and gas companies to disclose most of the chemicals they use in the fracking process
Undoubtedly the biggest continuing story over break was the accelerating rush by oil-and-gas operators to lease up land in Athens County for possible drilling. This leasing boom, which started in New York and Pennsylvania, spread to the eastern counties of Ohio in late 2010, and got to Athens County this past fall.
The 4.0 Ohio earthquake this weekend was a reminder that activities related to hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ can cause seismic faults to shift if not carried out carefully.
Youngstown, Ohio ushered in the new year with a 4.0 magnitude earthquake, after which officials ordered five wells shut down that were receiving wastewater from natural gas fracking.
BP OIL SPILL:
BP Plc (BP/) seeks to have Halliburton Co. (HAL), its cement contractor for the Macondo well project whose blowout set off the 2010Gulf of Mexico oil spill, pay all of the oil company’s related costs and damages.
With less than two months to go to the start of a huge civil law action in the United States over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP lawyers are trying to reach a settlement out of court. Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s environment analyst, says that BP could face a criminal case if they are found guilty of serious wrongdoing by the State Department.
The sense of camaraderie — as well as the tension — has been intensified for all Gulf oil workers since 11 died in the explosion of the oil rig controlled by BP in April of 2010. That disaster led to the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.
BP is reiterating claims first made last April that it is entitled to payment from contractor Halliburton Energy Services for expenses and lost profits resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon offshore oil well disaster.
Japan’s response to the crisis at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant was flawed by poor communication and delays in releasing data on dangerous radiation leaks at the facility, a government-appointed investigative committee has found.