News Round-Up: September 28, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Water On Fire: When Fracking Goes Wrong

In one of the first cases undeniably linking methane contamination to natural gas drilling, Sherry Vargson’s tap water in northern Pennsylvania comes out so toxic she can light it onfire. The Wall Street Journal is careful to quote companies arguing that flawed drilling, not the specific act of fracking, causes the (admittedly troublesome) methane leaks and “we’re doing everything we can to make it safe.” Tell it to the Vargson family, who’ve had to give up their dairy farm.

Placing Bets on the Utica Shale

It’s official: Eastern Ohio is the place to be. Forget the Marcellus: Natural-gas producers have decided the Utica Shale is The Next Big Thing.

Doctor Wants Study of Drilling’s Impact

The impact of hydraulic fracturing on the public’s health still needs to be studied, said Dr. Alan Ducatman.

Citizens of Granville, PA Can Set Their Tap Water on Fire

Since June of last year, Granville, Pennsylvania’s Sherry Vargson has had to cook using water, not from her tap, but from a five gallon jug.


BP Oil Dispersant Corexit Contained Cancer-Causing Agents

new report on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster of 2010 is providing adequate cause for concern for residents and clean up workers along the Gulf Coast. The report from EarthJustice reveals that Corexit, the oil dispersant used by BP to aid in oil cleanup, is laden with cancer-causing chemicals.

Revenge of the Tarballs

Last Thursday, I took a walk along the Gulf of Mexico in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama. I had walked that same beach during the height of the BP oil spill last summer, and though seventeen months had passed since the Macondo Well exploded, and a year had passed since the same well had been declared capped and the tragedy over, you wouldn’t have known it if you had been with me.

Feds Knew of Gulf Spill Risks in 2000, Document Shows

A decade ago, U.S. government regulators warned that a major deepwater oil spill could start with a fire on a drilling rig, prove hard to stop, and cause extensive damage to fish eggs and wetlands because there were few good ways to capture oil underwater.

Ala. Town Strikes Deal with BP Over Lost Revenue

The city of Orange Beach has reached a settlement with BP PLC over lost revenues stemming from last year’s Gulf oil spill, with the oil giant agreeing to pay $1.27 million for lodging and retail revenues the coastal town didn’t collect because tourists stopped visiting.


Fukushima Desolation Worst Since Nagasaki as Population Flees From Fallout

Beyond the police roadblocks that mark the no-go zone around Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, six-foot tall weeds invade rice paddies and vines gone wild strangle road signs along empty streets.

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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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