News Round-Up: May 21, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Fracking Production “Outstrips Scientific Knowledge”

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, the process of extracting natural gas from a narrow layer of shale lying 1.5 to 2.5 km below the surface by drilling down and then horizontally inside the shale layer, is a highly controversial procedure. It has been associated in the public mind with degradation of drinking water and illnesses, although causal relationships have been difficult to establish and are denied by the energy industry.

Halt Gas Plans for Risk Test

Protesters have called for a halt to be put on plans to drill for gas under the Lancashire countryside.

Wayne Forest Has Good Reasons Not to Allow Oil-Gas Leasing

Community members in contact with Wayne National Forest officials regarding their review process of deep-shale high-volume horizontal drilling and fracturing (HVHF) have been alarmed to hear them defending plans to resubmit parcels to the BLM. This would be unconscionable.

Fracking in North Carolina Could Carry Extra Risks

North Carolina’s flirtation with fracking is increasingly looking like the real thing, with Republican lawmakers poised to pass sweeping legislation this summer that would lead to drilling for natural gas. The state may have just a fraction of the enormous natural gas reserves found in Texas and Pennsylvania. But fracking here will likely entail greater risks to drinking water supplies and may require special measures not used in other states.


Robertsdale Approves Final BP Oil Spill Settlement

The city will receive about twice the expected amount of settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill following a final agreement, officials said Friday.

Feds Should Prosecute, Jail Some BP Execs

The criminal charges brought against former BP engineer Kurt Mix for allegedly deleting text messages detailing how much oil was gushing from BP’s Macondo oil well should, I believe, be just the beginning of a host of far more serious charges brought against those in the most senior positions of authority at BP.

A Political Debate Plays Out Among Louisiana Oil Rigs

President Obama takes credit for a rebound in drilling jobs, while Mitt Romney criticizes the president’s policies as outdated. In a community that vividly recalls the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the issue is personal.

Testing CNOOC’s Deepwater Credentials

China National Offshore Oil Corp has kept its head down since last June’s oil spill but it made a rare high-profile debut this May with the country’s first homemade deepwater drilling rig, underscoring that it is gearing up for further deepwater exploration in the South China Sea.


Fukushima Daiichi’s Unit 4 Spent-Fuel Pool: Safe or Not?

Questions have been bubbling recently over how safe Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant—in particular the pool atop Unit 4, where some 1,535 fuel rods are stored—would be if another big earthquake hit.

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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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