Texas Lawmaker: What’s in All that Fracking Fluid?


As we watch in horror as Japan struggles to deal with its widening nuclear crisis, we’ll pause to note a U.S. energy regulation milestone: A Texas lawmaker (and a conservative one at that) has introduced a bill to force U.S. energy companies to disclose exactly what’s in the fracking fluid drilling companies are pumping into the ground. It’s the latest action on the red-hot...

API Parades Workers Through Capitol to Tamp Down Outrage Over Radioactive Waste


In D.C. they call it a “fly-in.” You recruit a handful of like-minded allies and give them a trip to Washington – and all they have to do is say the right things to some very important people. But somehow, when the oil and gas industry’s strong-arm lobbying crew, the American Petroleum Institute (API), parades 18 workers through the Capitol, it seems not only desperate but disgusting to...

Wheels Coming Off: Former EPA Official Blows Whistle on Regulatory Exemption for Fracking


When a high-ranking George W. Bush-era EPA official starts blowing the whistle on the triumph of politics over the environment – confirming that a business-friendly “fracking exemption” went way too far – you begin to sense that the wheels are coming off the wagon for the energy-extraction industry. We’re seeing cracks in the armor as a groundswell of support for real regulation rolls...

Damage Control: Oil and Gas Industry Reeling from Bad Press


You can tell that Ian Urbina’s New York Times series on natural-gas drilling is hitting an industry nerve when the third-party “damage control” machine roars to life. It looks to me like an expensive “crisis management” program this time around, so we can expect to hear more along the lines of a recent Forbes blog post by Michael Economides, identified as a professor of...

The “Radiation Issue” Continues to Haunt Oil and Gas Industry


After years of being an issue “too large to address,” both mainstream media and government regulators are finally acknowledging that radioactive wastewater is a huge problem for energy production – not only for oil drilling, of course, but for natural gas fields as well. The “radiation problem” has been a fact of life for the oil and gas industry for decades. But the day of reckoning...

Asleep at the Wheel: EPA Looks the Other Way as Oil and Gas Companies Dump Radioactive Wastewater


Guess who turns up as a double-talking, industry-coddling government bureaucrat in the latest installment of the New York Times “natural gas pollution” series? That’s right, our friend Carol M. Browner, the White House energy advisor of “the vast majority of oil is gone” fame, who has avoided getting fired by cleverly announcing her resignation – and then simply not leaving. In New...

Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse: Are Oil and Gas Companies Causing Earthquakes?


The BP spill certainly illustrates just how little forethought went into a handling a deep-water drilling disaster, with a pathetic level of planning and not even so much as a test for the 2 million gallons of toxic dispersant BP and the Coast Guard pumped into the water. Now we are discovering that reckless attitude is not exclusive to deep-water drilling but extends through other energy...

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