Climate change and extinction: “We’ve never been here as a species”


Dahr Jamail, a top investigative journalist currently with al-Jazeera, has just published an an eye-opening piece at The Nation with one goal: Waking people up about the seriousness of climate change. He said he was inspired to write the article after a recent mountain climbing trek to Washington State’s Mt. Rainier, where the glacier that he’d walked across two decades earlier had...

The “bridge” that fracking is built upon is collapsing


Thanksgiving is never a week to release important news — but I want to make sure that people see this story, because it is important indeed. There’s a major new report out that undercuts some other recent research on a critical topic: Whether leaking methane gas from the fracking process for natural gas is becoming a greenhouse-gas disaster. If significant amounts of methane are...

America’s fracking wars are coming to a head


America’s fracking wars are coming to a head. Increasingly, everyday people are seeing the risks of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of shale-rock formations to get the oil and natural gas that’s trapped beneath – and they’re deciding they don’t want any part of it. As a result, lawmakers in Washington are taking unprecedented steps to keep angry citizens and aggressive state regulators from...

More much-needed global attention for Bayou Corne


It’s funny — it was just about this time last year that I was writing multiple blog posts about the remarkable situation in Bayou Corne, the little town tucked inside the swamplands 70 miles west of New Orleans, and wondering why no one else was paying attention. After all, it’s not every day that a small town shakes and rumbles, dangerous methane gas bubbles up from under...

Pa. is getting tired of being the fracking capital of the world


There hadn’t been a ton of oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania for more than a century — not since the days of John D. Rockefeller — but that started to change about seven or eight years ago. That’s when companies like Halliburton had advanced the technology known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to remove large quantities of natural gas trapped in geologic...

Is the Obama administration looking the other way on fracking?


Nearly five years into the Obama administration, we’ve watched with great frustration as Washington so often says the right things on the environment — then goes off and does something else. That was certainly the case after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, as federal regulators seemed much more likely to side with BP in trying to make the issue disappear, rather than undertake a...

Ex-Mobil VP reveals the truth about fracking


If you’ve followed the entire debate on fracking, you probably know the drill (no pun intended) by now. Industry experts insist that their methods for hydraulically fracturing the shale beds below the earth and extracting natural gas is technologically sound and completely safe — and that the naysayers are granola-eating Luddites who oppose anything new and would prefer to live in a...

It’s going to take years to fix the Louisiana sinkhole


They had another community meeting about the sinkhole crisis in Bayou Corne last night, and like the swamp itself, passions are boiling over. Residents are frustrated with the loss of their homes for nearly a year now, with the fairly paltry compensation they’ve been getting and with the pace of negotiations with the company responsible for this environmental disaster, Texas Brine Co. Mike...

Bayou sinkhole: “This could go on for years”


After exactly 200 days out of their homes, the beleaguered residents of Bayou Corne finally got a hearing in Baton Rouge this week. They were also told of growing uncertainty about when the crisis in Assumption Parish — where the massive sinkhole created by a collapsing salt cavern continues to grow — will ever be resolved. Many of them want out. Can you blame them at this point? On...

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