News Round-Up: September 6, 2011


Today’s Essential Reads


Lawmaker, Environmentalists Back Ohio Gas Drilling Moratorium, Study of Environmental Impact

Ohio is the latest state where opponents are pushing a ban on a form of drilling that injects chemicals into shale to release natural gas.

Anti-Shale Gas Drilling Campaign Steps Up Pressure in Banks Against Cuadrilla

Banks resident Doreen Stopforth who lives by the site being drilled by energy firm Cuadrilla said: “I can’t sleep at night, the noise from the drilling and tankers is awful, and the light pollution at night is terrible.

Method of Finding Oil Raising Concerns in Kansas

A method of prying more oil from rock layers, called hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is fueling controversy in Kansas, with opponents saying it could threaten the water quality of the Ogallala Aquifer and supporters arguing that it has been used for years without any evidence that it pollutes water.

Agreement to Reduce Oil Drilling in LA Is a Win for Public Health

Although the settlement lays out straightforward mitigations the residents deserve, the work is far from over. Implementation will take years of hard work and follow-through, and the community should hold the County and PXP accountable for the commitments they’ve made.


Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup Workers’ Health Claims Drawing Scrutiny from Kenneth Feinberg

As a massive federal study aimed at gauging the human health effects of exposure to oil and chemicals during the cleanup of last year’s Gulf oil spill gets under way, the man in charge of compensating the spill’s victims reports that only 200 people have put in claims saying they were injured or sickened by the disaster. Kenneth Feinberg, who was appointed by BP and President Barack Obama to administer a spill-damage claims fund, has paid more than $5 billion to more than 200,000 victims, and he has received about 1 million claims in all. But only about 0.02 percent of them are health-related — including those from the workers injured or killed on the rig itself. He is skeptical of some of the other claims.

Deepwater Horizon Aftermath: Oil, Anger Mix in ‘Tarball Chronicles’

It will be interesting to see if the Gulf oil spill of 2010 inspires as many books as Hurricane Katrina has. Coming up on the first anniversary of the spill’s official end — Sept. 19 — the early answer would appear to be “No.” This is somewhat puzzling, since the spill was certainly a regional event with broader political and environmental ramifications, just as Katrina was, and tens of thousands of people were negatively impacted across a diverse spectrum.

So Much for Polar Bears: Arctic Drilling to Begin

The good news for wildlife around the Arctic Circle is that BP, renowned despoiler of the Gulf of Mexico, will not be coming. BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred as the Macondo blowout), which surged for three months, has won a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

Halliburton Counter-Sues BP Over Damaged Oil Well

More than one year after the worst oil spill in the United States’ history, the parties held responsible for leaking nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico are still embroiled in a litigious slugfest.


Ex-PM Says Poor Flow of Info Hindered N-plant Accident Response

The ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant should be considered a “man-made disaster,” and poor communication with the plant’s operator hindered the initial government response, former Prime Minister Naoto Kan has told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

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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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