How fracking ruins your health


In the roughly six years I’ve been writing in this spot, one constant has been this” News of what the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for oil and gas does to the health of the planet, and the people who live here, just keep getting worse and worse. In the beginning, public officials insisted the process was 100 percent safe and could not possibly pollute public water...

More proof that radiation and drinking water don’t mix


Radioactive waste and a community’s drinking water don’t mix well together. I learned that 20 years ago, early in my career as an environmental lawyer, when we went after oil companies for their improper and often illegal dumping activities. What some of these energy giants were doing was taking the produced water from the drilling process — which dredged up radioactive material...

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...

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

Follow Us

© Stuart H Smith, LLC