Letting Oil and Gas Companies Run Amuck: Lack of Enforcement Rather than Lack of Regulation


The New York Times natural gas series by Ian Urbina continues to illustrate the lack of government oversight in the “energy extraction” industry, but I take some issue with the implication that there are no laws against the dangerous and irresponsible practices oil and gas companies employ. There’s a difference between lack of regulation and lack of enforcement. In the second...

The Oil and Gas Industry’s 800-Pound Gorilla: RADIATION


An odd sort of perfect storm – involving a high-profile New York Times energy series, a quirky documentary that just missed the Oscar and federal BP-spill recovery plans – may finally address the 800-pound gorilla of our nation’s energy policy: RADIATION. The NYT series launched Sunday (Feb. 27) with detailed accounts of radioactive wastewater, created by a Halliburton-developed extraction...

New Threat to the Gulf: Radioactive Wastewater Dumped Off Louisiana Coast


The New York Times is reporting that a 1990 “confidential study” by the American Petroleum Institute concluded that radium in drilling wastewater dumped off the Louisiana coast posed “potentially significant risks” of cancer for people who regularly eat fish from those waters. The secret industry study focused on the Gulf itself, where the radioactive waste would be much more diluted than in...

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