News Round-Up: June 19, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


A Tough Break for Fracturing Companies

Hydraulic fracturing companies are reeling as prices for their services slide, leading to crew layoffs and idle equipment in once booming shale gas fields.

Activists Chain Themselves to Fracking Site with Bike Locks

Protestors chained themselves to a site in Chesterfield in the early hours of the morning in protest against the controversial hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ process used to extract shale gas.

Underground Carbon Dioxide Storage Likely Would Cause Earthquakes

The notion of mitigating harmful carbon dioxide emissions by storing the gas underground is not practical because the process is likely to cause earthquakes that would release the gas anyway, according to a commentary published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the scientists do not expect that the approach would cause any large and dangerous seismic activity, they say it is likely that the earthquakes would be severe enough to jeopardize the ability to store the gas underground over the long term.

Say No To Fracking In Forest

The Bureau of Land Management may sell oil and gas drilling leases for 43,000 acres of Talladega National Forest. There may not even be enough gas under the forest to warrant drilling, but, if there is, it might be accessed with hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Drinking Water Contamination and Environmental Damages Due to Hydraulic Fracking

Terry W. Roberson, a Texas energy lawyer, announces the release of the article, “Environmental Concerns of Hydraulically Fracturing a Natural Gas Well” published in Volume 32, Page 1, 67 of the Utah Environmental Law Review (2012). The article explores whether the natural gas drilling process of hydraulic fracking in shale gas formations damages the environment. The environmental concerns and the oil and gas industry’s response to such concerns include: groundwater and underground drinking water contamination through migration, casing or cement issues, and surface spills; hydraulic fracking wastewater disposal; human and animal health; air quality and pollution; and disclosure of chemicals in hydraulic fracking fluids.


Groups Challenge Decision to Ignore Risks to Wildlife, Environment in Gulf Oil Drilling Expansion

Conservation groups today filed a lawsuit in Washington, D.C., that challenges the Obama administration’s plans to increase offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico without fully addressing the risks to wildlife and the environment. According to the suit, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management dismissed the lessons learned during the Deepwater Horizon disaster and failed to obtain essential information about the status of species and resources still suffering from the 2010 oil spill.

EPA Won’t Curb Greenhouse Gases From Ships, Off-Road Trucks

The Environmental Protection Agency turned down a demand from U.S. environmental groups that it curb greenhouse-gas emissions from aircraft, ships or off-highway vehicles such as trucks used in mining operations.

Universities Join to Offer Local Mental Health Services With BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds

A $14.4 million share of the BP oil spill settlement will bring mental health counselors to coastal Louisiana areas affected by the 2010 disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

A new computer model developed in Switzerland shows that the pH of the ocean waters off the west coast of the US will fall over the next four decades faster than previously thought.  The region studied is on the eastern boundary of an upwelling zone, and is important for commercial fishing and for its diversity in marine life.


Designed for Disaster: San Onofre Nuclear Plant Could Become California’s Fukushima

A nuclear nightmare on par with the Fukushima disaster could have unfolded at a power plant outside of Los Angeles, California, federal regulators reveal to the Associated Press in a just-published report.

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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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