News Round-Up: May 7, 2012


Today’s Essential Reads


Obama Proposes Fracking Companies Disclose Chemicals

As oil and gas drilling explodes nationwide, the Obama administration today proposed rules requiring the disclosure of chemicals used to extract natural gas deposits on public and Indian lands. Environmentalists say the rules don’t go far enough, but an industry group says they may be unnecessary “red tape.”

DeGette Calls Federal Fracking Rule ‘A Good First Step,’ But Warns Of ‘A Devil’s Bargain’

In a concession to the oil and gas industry, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar proposed a rule Friday that wouldn’t require the disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids until after the drilling of a well is completed.

Critics: Fracking Proposals Fall Short

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency should call on energy companies to ban the use of diesel in so-called fracking fluid for natural gas, critics say.

Fracking and “Energy Independence”: Full-On Propaganda Push

Media have over the past week and change been full of voices plugging hydro-fracking as the key to finally achieving US “energy independence.” 


Asian-American Fishermen Sue BP over Racial Discrimination in Oil Spill Cleanup

A large group of Asian-American fishermen have sued BP in federal court claiming the oil company discriminated against them when it hired locals to help with the 2010 oil spill.

BP Oil Spill Settlement Grants Will Pay for Health, Mental Health Services On Gulf Coast

Health care services in southeastern Louisiana will get a major share of the $104 million in grant money included in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement, according to papers filed in federal court on Thursday. The grants, expected to cover five years of services, include $50 million for a Primary Care Capacity Project to expand and improve access to health care in underserved coastal communities, $36 million for behavioral and mental health needs, and $4 million to train community health workers. Another $15 million will be used to expand environmental health expertise and literacy.

Previously Unreleased Photographs Show Impact of BP Oil On Endangered Sea Turtles

Previously unreleased photographs from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico show boxes and bags full of oil-covered and dead endangered sea turtles and a group of sperm whales swimming through an oil sheen.

Gulf Coast Residents Remain Worse Off Emotionally Post-Spill

Residents of Gulf Coast-facing counties continue to suffer from lower overall emotional health, as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Emotional Health Index, in the two years since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Those living in non-Gulf states and inland counties in the same Gulf Coast-facing states have shown no such drops in Emotional Health Index scores in the aftermath of the oil spill.


Japan Nuclear Ops (Zero Reactors Online Out of Total 50)

Hokkaido Electric Power Co shut down a nuclear reactor for routine maintenance on May 5, the last of Japan’s 50 reactors to cease operations, marking the first time since 1970 that the nation has been nuclear power-free.

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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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