News Round-Up: July 18, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Fracking in New York: The Real Cost

The United States’ desperation for domestically produced energy continues to lead to destructive decisions that decimate ecosystems and human lives. Mountaintop removal coal mining tears apart the West Virginia mountains; a recent study has connected mountaintop removal with a rise in birth defects.

Protest Filed to Save California Watersheds From Dangerous Fracking

The Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club and Los Padres ForestWatch filed a formal protest today to stop the Bureau of Land Management from leasing out 2,600 acres of environmentally sensitive land in Monterey and Fresno counties for oil and gas development. The leasing of this federal mining-estate land comes without a thorough examination of the effects drilling will have on California’s landscapes, wildlife and watersheds.

Natural Gas Co. Dumps ‘Friendly Fracosaurus’ Coloring Book After Widespread Criticism

Talisman Energy announced they’ll no longer be distributing “Talisman Terry’s Energy Adventure,” a children’s coloring book featuring a “friendly Fracosaurus” giving a sugarcoated explanation of the natural gas drilling and production process, the Associated Press reported late last week.

New York Natgas Drilling Rules: More Bark Than Bite?

New York has touted its new rules on natural gas drilling as tough measures meant to keep its drinking water pure, but one cornerstone of its proposed regulation may fall short of existing industry practice.


Spillionaires Revisited: Gov’t Official’s Associates Got Big Contracts After the BP Oil Spill

Last month, Craig Taffaro Jr., the president of Louisiana’s St. Bernard Parish, lambasted a ProPublica story while testifying before a congressional committee.

Russia’s TNK-BP Agrees to Buy Into Amazon Fields

Russian oil producer TNK-BP has agreed to buy a 45 percent stake in Amazon oil exploration blocks from Brazil’s Petra Energia, continuing its expansion into foreign markets.

Wildlife Impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Matthew Hinton / The Times Picayune Hal Ledet President’s Print Photography Award for Press Club of New Orleans. These images show wildlife impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico in Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes in Southeast Louisiana. A heavily oiled bird that resembled a heron but was difficult to identify because of the coloring of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill gets stuck on oil boom near Cat Island, Barataria Bay, Louisiana Saturday June 26, 2010.

I’ll Have the Boiled Crabs, Please

Specifically, Stuart contends in the story, the government has focused on ensuring the seafood is free of the cancer-causing components in crude oil while overlooking other harmful elements. “And they say that their own testing — examining fewer samples but more comprehensively — shows high levels of hydrocarbons from the BP spill that are associated with liver damage,” MSNBC’s story says.


Nuclear Fission Confirmed as Source of More than Half of Earth’s Heat

Nuclear fission powers the movement of Earth’s continents and crust, a consortium of physicists and other scientists is now reporting, confirming long-standing thinking on this topic. Using neutrino detectors in Japan and Italy—the Kamioka Liquid-Scintillator Antineutrino Detector (KamLAND) and the Borexino Detector—the scientists arrived at their conclusion by measuring the flow of the antithesis of these neutral particles as they emanate from our planet. Their results are detailed July 17 in Nature Geoscience. (Scientific American is part of the Nature Publishing Group.)

SF Tries Again With Cell Phone Radiation Law

Almost three months after it shelved a controversial cell phone radiation law, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is keeping the issue alive, but adopting a different strategy for doing so.

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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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