The NRC’s appalling flip-flop on nuke plants, kids, and radiation


Like most federal regulatory agencies, especially in fields such as energy and the environment, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, tends to be a toothless tiger. It’s quick to side with the interests of large corporations and against those of the public that it is supposed to serve. But even by the NRC’s historically weak standards, the agency is moving down a very disturbing...

Once again, oil spill causes citizens to do government’s job


The oil spill story in and around Santa Barbara just keeps getting worse. Indeed, this weekend officials had to close a number of beaches as far south as Orange County, south of Los Angeles, because of a wave of sticky, gooey tar balls, ranging from baseball-sized to football-sized, that keep coming ashore. Officials haven’t yet confirmed that the tar balls are the result of the pipeline...

Score 1 for Planet Earth: NY bans fracking


I’ve noted several times over the last year that the tide is turning against fracking for oil and natural gas. The general public has increasingly decided that the often overhyped claims from Big Oil and Gas about job creation aren’t worth the costs to the environment in terms of foul air and polluted water — not to mention an increased risk of earthquakes. This November, even...

For Gulf fishermen, BP continues to add insult to injury


At this stage, some 54 months after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, BP must been thinking that this would all go away. Surely, in their posh boardroom somewhere in the glass skyscrapers over London, overpaid executives imagined that by 2014 the beaches that BP wrecked with its crude oil would be free of tar balls, that the damaged marshes would spring back to life, and that visitors to the...

How much more evidence do we need that fracking is harmful?


They held a Democratic primary election in New York State this Tuesday, and an upstart candidate for governor with the unlikely name of Zephyr Teachout — who was outspent about 50-to-1 by the incumbent Andrew Cuomo — did surprisingly well given the obstacles. She got about 34 percent of the vote overall, but she actually defeated the powerful, well-known Cuomo in about 20 counties in...

BP steps up its war against the citizens on the Gulf Coast


Throughout 2014, BP has shown us its true colors, again and again. The “friendly, community-oriented company” that the British oil giant spent hundreds of millions of dollars depicting in its slick television ads — its effort to clean up its image even as gooey tar balls continue to assault the beaches of the Gulf Coast — is all but gone. In its place is a Grinch that is...

Clear-eyed look at fracking shows how ugly it is


One point that I’ve strived to make about fracking from Day One is quite simply this: There was a rush without judgment — a race by Big Oil and Gas to get as many holes in the ground before the public, and the officials they elect, had any sense at all of the real impact. In Pennsylvania, for example, at the epicenter of the Marcellus Shale drilling boom, landmen raced to sign leases...

Republican ex-Pa. health chief on fracking risks: “Don’t BS the public”


The fracking health scandal in the state of Pennsylvania just keeps getting worse. It was just last month that I told you that former mid-level workers in the Pennsylvania state Health Department had admitted to a reporter that they started getting unusual directives on fracking not long after the state’s pro-Big-Oil Republican governor, Tom Corbett, took office in 2011. They received a...

BP’s Gulf Coast Legacy: More Sick Children than We’ve Ever Seen Before


Children on the Gulf Coast are falling ill in record numbers. Children who never had health problems before the BP oil spill are suffering from an array of debilitating ailments from chronic bronchitis to staph infections to acute sinusitis to mysterious “stomach viruses.” The ranks of the sick continue to climb, overwhelming doctors and clinics up and down the Gulf Coast. And to make...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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