News Round-Up: May 14, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


New Rules Proposed for Drilling on Federal Lands

The Obama administration submitted for public comment this week sweeping new rules that would require additional disclosure of hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands, a move that would affect most energy companies operating in Montana.

Sand Mining Coming To A Town Near You

The state of Wisconsin is no longer a hot bed for metallic sulfide mining, having its Legislature kill a bill in March that would have streamlined mining permit process in favor of mining companies. But it is one of the hotbeds for another type of mining, sand mining, a billion-dollar business.

Forty Acres and a Rule: Draft Federal Fracking Regulations Cover Only a Sliver of Land

Last week’s media coverage of the Obama administration’s newly-proposed fracking rules focused so heavily on how drilling companies would have to disclose the chemicals they use that it largely overlooked the toughest provisions: Drillers would be required to test the physical integrity of their wells, and more water would be protected from drilling. Since many wells fail because the cement and casings crack, the new tests could prevent dangerous leakages.

A technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has kicked off an energy boom in the United States. Fracking lets drillers unlock vast reservoirs of natural gas that were previously inaccessible. Over the past decade, about 200,000 gas wells have been drilled across the country.


First Criminal Charge in BP Oil Disaster Underwhelms

Many of the impacts from the BP oil disaster will go unseen. Typically, this is in reference to the hidden ecological impacts, deep underwater, from spewing millions of gallons of crude oil into the ocean. However, it has now come to light that a BP engineer has been charged with intentionally destroying records relating to the Macondo well blowout. Now it seems that not only will ecological impacts go unseen, evidence in a criminal case may also be plunged into the abyss.

BP Rolls Out Spill Containment Kits To Mitigate Deepwater Exposure

Oil major BP announced that it had now developed a 500 ton spill containment system that could be installed at any deepwater spill in its facilities around the world in a matter of 10 days. The system is designed to operate in a field over 10,000 feet deep and can direct escaping oil and gas from deepwater wells into pipelines that lead to the surface.

Oil Spill: Where Are We Now?

Two years ago it was hard to escape the images emerging along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil Sheen Near Orange Beach Not From BP Oil Spill

Test results say an oil sheen found in the Perdido Pass near Orange Beach is not from the BP oil spill.


Japan Assembly Agrees to Restart Reactors, Hurdles Remain

The assembly in a western Japanese town that hosts a nuclear plant agreed on Monday it was necessary to restart two off-line reactors, its chairman said, the first such nod since all the country’s stations were halted after the Fukushima crisis.

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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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