News Round-Up: September 1, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Natural Gas, “Fracking”, Water and $500 Billion

There is a parallel, shifted in time by 5 years, debate raging in the United States and Australia. This debate involves natural gas production, the only way to actually do it through hydraulic fracturing and the purported environmental risks to the land and to drinking water aquifers.

Small Karoo Group Battles Gas Giants

No major industrialists are funding Treasure the Karoo Action Group, says its head Jonathan Deal as the advocacy organisation battles to keep hydraulic fracturing out of the ecologically sensitive area.

Exxon Exports Fracking to Russia…and Opens Gulf of Mexico to Russians

No shortage of potential controversy and trouble surrounds Exxon Mobil’s latest international oil venture involving a Russian state-run company.

The Oil and Gas Industry Says It’s Safe (PR)

The oil and gas industry claims that hydraulic fracturing has never contaminated drinking water wells. EWG’s recent study,Cracks in the Façade, uncovered documents showing that in 1987, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that fracking could — and did — contaminate a water well used by a West Virginia family.


Oil Spill Expert Riki Ott Outlines Dangers of Exposure to Oil, Compares Kalamazoo River Spill to Gulf of Mexico, Exxon Valdez Disasters

A marine toxicologist who has studied oil spills across the country said Wednesday that last summer’s Kalamazoo River spill can be as harmful to the health of people exposed to the oil as the larger, more notorious Gulf of Mexico an Exxon Valdez spills.

Cocodrie Researchers Get Oil-Spill Grant

Cocodrie researchers got an $11.7 million grant that they will use to study the Gulf oil spill’s impacts on the local environment.

The Return of the BP Disaster?

Oil is resurfacing again not far from the location of the BP Macondo Well off the Gulf of Mexico, 15 months on.

New Leak Near Deepwater Horizon Site Quickly Becoming a Massive Oil Slick

Over the past two weeks, I have been closely following reports of renewed leaking in the Macondo oil field, the site of last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster (Map). First, New Orleans Lawyer Stuart Smith reported that nearly 40 ships were hired by BP to conduct a boom-laying mission over the August 13th weekend. Next, nonprofit organizations On Wings of Care and Gulf Restoration Network conducted a joint flyover of the spill site, bringing back photographic evidence of fresh oil near the site of the Macondo well.


Japan’s Jobless Rate Climbs to 4.7%

The government said Tuesday that Japan’s jobless rate climbed to 4.7 percent in July, up 0.1 percent from a month earlier, while household spending fell a real 2.1 percent to 280,046 yen ($3,649).

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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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