News Round-Up: November 21, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Environmental Groups and Communities Criticize Proposed Ohio Gas Drilling Standards

Proponents and industry groups say proposed new regulations on gas and oil drilling in the state would be some of the toughest in the nation if adopted, but environmentalists and local officials complain they don’t go far enough, especially in protecting public health.

Water. Coal. Fracking. Texas. Sanity. One of These Words Does Not Belong

In case anyone missed it, Texas had a big drought last summer — the worst one year drought in the state’s history [see “Worst Texas Drought in Centuries].  Lakes dried, animals were slaughtered, cities imposed lawn watering restrictions, the governor prayed for rain. About the only part of the state unaffected were the wind turbines of West Texas, spinning merrily along and oblivious to near-apocalyptic conditions.

Political Fractures Over Fracking

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC)—a five-member committee that governs the water resources around the Delaware River—was supposed to meet today to decide on whether hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, should be allowed in the river’s watershed. There’s currently a ban on drilling for natural gas within the 13,539 sq. mi Delaware Basin, which includes land bordering the river in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, each of which gets one vote on the DRBC.

Gas Drilling Opponents Rally in Trenton

Environmentalists poured into Trenton today to oppose new regulations that would open up the Delaware River watershed to hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting natural gas that could increase pollution as a side effect.


Brazil Official: Chevron Unprepared for Leak

U.S.-based Chevron Corp. was not prepared for the offshore oil leak at one of its wells, the head of environmental affairs for Brazil’s federal police said Saturday.

Chevron Fined $28 Million, Faces Backlash for Brazil Spill

Brazil’s government slapped Chevron with a $28 million fine on Monday for causing an oil spill off the country’s coast, a penalty that could rise as the U.S. company faces a political backlash over the accident.

Louisiana and Alabama Can Pursue Punitive Damages

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier has ruled that the states of Louisiana and Alabama can seek punitive damages against BP and its partners in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Steven Chu Drilled (for Nothing) for Longer than Tony Hayward for BP Oil Spill

I was holding out on writing yet another Solyndra story, but looks like I’m giving in. Steven Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy and a Nobel Prize winner in physics, was hounded by Republican Congressmen for 5 and a half hours, twice as long as BP’s Tony Hayward was grilled in the midst of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill!


Around the Fukushima Plant, a World Left Behind

Eight months ago, people left this place in haste. Families raced from their homes without closing the front doors. They left half-finished wine bottles on their kitchen tables and sneakers in their foyers. They jumped in their cars without taking pets and left cows hitched to milking stanchions.

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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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