News Round-Up: July 20, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Natural Gas Losing its Lustre as Climate Change Transition Fuel

The accelerating dash for natural gas risks a bitter backlash as the environmental cost of exploiting new shale deposits and of transporting it in liquid form spoil its credentials as the greenest fossil fuel.

Part of New York State’s Fracking Regulations Already Trails Industry Practice

With good-sized areas of the New York State now open for fracking, some questions are being raised about the supposedly tough measures being put in place to ensure drinking water isn’t contaminated. Reuters highlights how one piece of the clean water safeguards is actually weaker than existing industry practice in Pennsylvania (not exactly known for being a hostile government towards fracking).

Shale Force

Public sentiment runs high against the procedure, even as local landowners continue to sign leases giving companies the right to drill on their land. Bill Fischer, the bike-riding former cop, comes to us with his simple, fatalistic message. “They’re not gonna stop this industry,” he concedes. “In our area the grass-roots was building up, but the industry was rolling over everybody. There’s just too much money in it.”

NY’s Fracking Ban Unlikely to Extend to Upstate Farmland

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo may have his way since the the state’s moratorium on hydraulic fracturing—the process of pumping pressured water into the earth to access natural gas deposits, and contaminating groundwater in the process—expired on July 1, and the administration is expected to recommend lifting the ban, which has been in effect for nearly a year.


Judge Denies BP Request for White House Oil Emails

A federal magistrate refused Wednesday to order the White House to provide BP PLC with emails by a former top adviser to President Barack Obama about the administration’s response to last summer’s massive Gulf oil spill.

BP Gulf Spill Compensation Fund to be Audited

An independent audit will be performed on the $20 billion fund set up to compensate victims of last year’s BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday.

Louisiana Coastal Authority to Review Status of Restoration and Levee Projects

The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority will be briefed on the status of levee protection and coastal restoration projects at its monthly meeting today at the Homer Hitt Alumni Center at the University of New Orleans.

Tony ‘I Want My Life Back’ Hayward, BP

Two months after the worst oil spill in U.S. history, Congressman Henry Waxman kicked off the grilling by calling out the company at fault, saying that “BP’s corporate complacency is astonishing” and that it “cut corner after corner,” eventually making the Gulf of Mexico pay the price. Although he appeared contrite, Hayward could not avoid the wrath of the House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.


Nuclear Whistleblower: “The Books Are Being Cooked” Fukushima In American Will Happen

A longtime nuclear whistleblower, as well as a new report from the nuclear watchdog agency, have shed light on some startling flaws at The Watts Bar Nuclear plant in Spring City, Tennessee.

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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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