TagSusquehanna County

Jindal leaves the polluted waters of Louisiana to test the political waters in Iowa


It’s been a pretty stressful month down here in Louisiana. Folks in communities like Braithwaite over in Plaquemines Parish are still trying to dry out from Hurricane Isaac, which was the worst storm to batter these parts in the last four years, flooding about 13,000 homes, causing an estimated $1.5 billion in storm damage, and stirring up a ton of BP oil that’s still out there in the...

The people know the truth: Fracking just isn’t safe


This past week, the natural gas industry — the people who’ve brought fracking to a community near you — held a major convention in Philadelphia, not far from the Marcellus Shale region where some of the most frenetic drilling is taking place. Inside a gleaming convention center, the multi-millionaire CEOs of Big Gas and their political hand-puppets like the Republican governor...

“We’re drilling all over the place”: Why Americans have to protest fracking in the streets

Remember when the election of Barack Obama was supposed to change everything on environmental policy? Some days that seems like it was a long time ago, doesn’t it? To be sure, no administration could have been worse that George W. Bush’s crew, which was filled with oil men who couldn’t sign off fast enough on drilling from sea to shining sea — and on a lot of federal lands...

Blinding us with pseudo-science: Tainted studies distort real fracking story


When it comes to science, the big money folks behind Big Oil and Gas — and their ideological buddies on the Far Right — have two very different strategies. When confronted with the many, many studies showing that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas has tainted groundwater, polluted the air, led to improper disposal of wastewater and possibly even caused earthquakes, the...

Reason No. 317 to be alarmed about fracking: It’s hot outside!


It was Bob Dylan who famously said that you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. In the summer of 2012, you don’t need a weatherman to know it’s hot out there. Heck, just open your front door. As someone who’s lived in New Orleans my entire life, I’ve seen some of the worst that summer has to offer — August nights when the streets of the...

“The Sky Is Pink,” and how big oil and gas companies get to drill first, answer questions later


I read a lot of environmental headlines every day, but this one really caught my eye. It said, “After six decades of fracking, regulation considered.” The story was out of California, but its essence captured what’s going on from New York to Oklahoma and beyond. From coast to coast, government officials are allowing the big oil and gas companies to drill first, while asking...

“The poison beneath us”: Big Oil’s toxic legacy grows to unthinkable proportions


I became an environmental lawyer because of the reckless way that Big Oil has been treating the American landscape for decades. My first big case was launched more than 20 years ago, after we learned that companies like Chevron were dumping tons of radioactive pipe and wastewater across rural Mississippi — used, even, to construct school playgrounds. I brought cases in small towns in rural...

Mineral royalties fraud: A new legal frontier


This week I saw a story out of New York State, where officials are in the process of debating whether to allow hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas in some areas whether thousands of acres have already been leased by the big gas companies. It turns out that thousands of property owners in upstate New York had leased their mineral rights to one of the nation’s biggest gas...

New York’s Gov. Cuomo needs to learn that you can’t frack your way out of the economic crisis


Your heart has to go out to the dairy farmers of upstate New York. They work long hours to bring staples of the American diet to your table every morning — and yet it’s just getting harder and harder for dairy farmers to make ends meet. While Wall Street may be booming, just a few hours to its northwest the economy remains in a shambles. Many residents of upstate New York’s...

Fracking for dollars: Articles about big paydays for mineral rights overlook environmental nightmares down the road


Sometimes the most important part of a story is what it doesn’t say. I was thinking that this week when I sat down to read another major story in the New York Times about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. It was headlined, “New Value for Land In Rural Ohio,” and the story struck me as more than a little naive about “the energy boom” that was coming...

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