News Round-Up: March 1, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Many Questions, But No Answers About Fracking

I attended forums on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal hydrofracking of oil wells in Mansfield and Ashland. One would think that both sides of the fracking issue would be given — not so. The only side given was oil barons telling people all is OK.

Environmental Groups Call For Analysis Of LNG Fracking Effects

Multiple environmental organizations have called on the President’s chief environmental advisor to carry out a full environmental analysis of plans to export liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Frack or Fiction?

A debate is welling up in Kansas, pitting the wealth of the economy against the health of the environment. At the center of this argument is a drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

New York Judge Rules Town Can Ban Gas Hydrofracking

In a victory for opponents of the drilling process known as hydrofracking, a New York State judge ruled on Tuesday that the upstate town of Dryden in Tompkins County can ban natural gasdrilling within its boundaries.


More Drilling Won’t Lower Gas Prices

In an introductory economics class, the first thing the teacher sketches out on the blackboard is a strikingly simplistic graph: two curves making a swooping “X” between the two axes—the economic model of supply and demand. The basic underlying principle is simple: The point at which the supply curve and the demand curve meet will determine the price of the commodity. Increasing supply when demand remains constant will cause prices to fall.

While BP Cleans Gulf Spill, Chevron Pouts Over Larger $18 Billion Ecuador Disaster, Says Amazon Defense Coalition

While BP is in settlement talks over the Gulf oil spill disaster, Chevron continues to pout over its $18 billion Ecuador judgment after being found guilty of waging a deliberate multi-decade contamination of the Amazon rainforest.

Gulf Oil Spill Case Court Docket is Busy As Settlement Talks Continue

As settlement negotiations in the Gulf oil spill lawsuit continue between BP and the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, representing private parties who have sued the company for damages, Judge Carl Barbier and magistrates overseeing the larger lawsuit that includes the federal and Gulf Coast state governments continue to churn out rulings that could affect the ultimate outcome.

BP Settlement Talks Hit a Roadblock

Settlement talks between BP and lawyers representing business owners and individuals affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill hit an impasse on Wednesday, people familiar with the negotiations told the Chronicle.


Frontline’s Fukushima “Meltdown” Perpetuates Industry Lie That Tsunami, Not Quake, Started Nuclear Crisis

In all fairness, “Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown,” the Frontline documentary that debuted on US public television stations last night (February 28), sets out to accomplish an almost impossible task: explain what has happened inside and around Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility since a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled reactors and safety systems on March 11, 2011–and do so in 53 minutes. The filmmakers had several challenges, not the least of which is that the Fukushima meltdowns are not a closed case, but an ever-evolving crisis. Add to that the technical nature of the information, the global impact of the disaster, the still-extant dangers in and around the crippled plant, the contentious politics around nuclear issues, and the refusal of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to let its employees talk either to reporters or independent investigative bodies, and it quickly becomes apparent that Frontline had a lot to tackle in order to practice good journalism.

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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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