Weekend Environmental Must-Reads – January 19-20, 2013


Anti-Fracking Celebrities Drive Water Jugs to Pennsylvania Town

Josh Fox, director of the anti-fracking film Gasland, led a celebrity bus tour through the town of Dimock, PA on Thursday. Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, and Susan Sarandon were all on board and spoke to the media about their opposition to the gas drilling process.

Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon Lead a Tour Through Fracking Country

Sean Lennon snaps a photo of a bus transporting journalists, Susan Sarandon and his mother, Yoko Ono, as we wound through Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna County. We’re here to witness real-life scenes of fracking, the controversial process in which gas-soaked rocks are blasted apart a mile underground to extract gas, which has come under fire for water contamination, pollution, health risks and economic fallout. Ono and Lennon formed Artists Against Fracking – recruiting more than 200 artists, including Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga – after they heard that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering allowing fracking in the state. (Cuomo must decide by February 27th.) “This is the only industry on the verge of being greenlighted in a global way,” Lennon told Rolling Stone. “If that happens, we will be choosing the dark side of the force. We will be ushering in another generation of fuel dependency, which will tip the earth’s climate into an irrevocable, unlivable temperature and sell out the next generation for some short-term financial benefits. ??This is the great modern struggle of our time.”

Yoko Ono, Fellow Artists Against Fracking Tour Pennsylvania, Warn Of Disaster If New York Is Next

Josh Fox, director of the Oscar-winning documentary Gasland, stood at the front of the bus peering down the aisle, past Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon, and out the back window.

A caravan of cars were trailing the Artists Against Fracking tour bus up a winding dirt road in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Boulder City Council seeks fracking guidance

Boulder needs to have regulations in place — or if not, at least a moratorium — to prevent fracking within city limits and on city open space, Councilwoman Suzanne Jones said.

Jones raised the issue at the City Council’s annual retreat after council members received a letter from a group of environmental activists and Boulder residents asking the city to take a stand against fracking. The letter included a map of existing oil and gas wells in and near the city obtained from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Area fracking wells inch closer to schools

Some local students are getting an up-close and personal lesson on the oil and gas industry.

Western Beaver Junior/Senior High School sits sandwiched between two unconventional wells operated by Chesapeake Energy. One is located 1,000 feet to the east of the school, and another is 3,100 feet to the northwest, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection data shows.

Some Signed Low-Rent Drilling Leases

The land men came one evening in 2006, offering property owners modest riches for a simple act: leasing their land rights to the natural gas industry’s middlemen.

Carl W. Lohr, a farmer in Friendsville, didn’t sign that night. But when the land men from the Lexington, Ky.-based Keeton Group LLC came knocking at his door weeks later, he leased his 156 acres to the company for five years, at $5 per acre, in return for allowing gas wells to be drilled using a controversial practice called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

BLM to issue new draft of fracking rules

The US Department of the Interior is going back to the drawing board on a proposed set of rules to govern hydraulic fracturing on public lands that was supposed to have been finalised last month.

Drilling and fracking have destroyed value of our most significant investment — our homes

As the pace of oil and gas development increases in Colorado the controversy and impacts on our communities and public health have been well documented. However, one impact to Coloradans which not has received as much attention is how drilling and fracking has impacted Colorado’s real estate and the value of Coloradans’ most significant investment and nest egg — our homes.

Journalists Expose Fracking Cover Up

New uncovered documents show that fracking company Range Resources persuaded the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its investigation into water contamination of a Texas home—in spite of the fact that preliminary testing showed that the company could have been responsible for cancer causing benzene and flammable methane in the family’s drinking water. For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers in his well, which he says contains so much methane that the gas in water pouring out of a garden hose can be ignited.

Do You Live in One of the 32 States that Has Been Fracked?

Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a “progress report” on its ongoing study of hydraulic fracturing and the impacts of fracking on drinking water. The progress report contains a lot of interesting information, but one particular map caught my eye. The map shows that fracking has occurred in more states than previously known, including places like Arizona, Nevada and Maryland. All in all, we now know that fracking has occurred in at least 32 states since 2005.

Why a Town of 9/11 Survivors Is Fearful Their Community Will Be a Natural Gas Sacrifice Zone

Minisink, NY may become a high-risk zone for gas explosions and contamination, thanks to a plan to build a major compressor station for a gas pipeline–smack in the center of town.

Justice Department, BP defend $4 billion Deepwater Horizon criminal plea agreement

BP and the U.S. Justice Department filed a joint statement in federal court this week defending the plea deal reached to settle criminal charges stemming from the disastrous 2010 Gulf oil spill, saying the penalties amount to “severe corporate punishment” that will “deter BP and other deepwater drillers from permitting such a catastrophe in the future.”

Ala. school system to file claim over BP spill

An Alabama school system on the Gulf Coast says it’s filing a claim seeking compensation for lost revenues blamed on the BP oil spill in 2009.

How would Alaskans respond to oil rig grounding if spill had occurred?

It is interesting to watch the fallout from the Shell drill rig’s grounding on Kodiak Island. On the one hand, the grounding has caught the attention of millions and given those who were already concerned about drilling in the Arctic new fuel for their fire. On the other hand, the fact that the rig did not spill any oil and did not, it appears, cause any significant environmental damage tempers the response of those on the fence.

Salvagers tight-lipped on recovery of Kulluk drilling rig that ran aground

The united command overseeing the salvage of Royal Dutch Shell PLC drill barge that ran aground on a remote Alaska island will release minimal information on the vessel until an assessment is completed, a spokeswoman said

Universities working on project to separate oil, water

With the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig April 20, 2010 came one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history.

As the rig sank to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf. Additionally, millions of gallons of dispersant were used in the clean-up process. That same year, Michigan experienced a similar disaster, which unleashed 843,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

My 1,700-mile hike across the XL Pipeline

I’d felt strangely drawn to the Keystone XL.

In the fall of 2011, when I fantasized about walking the length of the 1,700-mile proposed pipeline — that, if approved, will carry oil from the Tar Sands of Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas — I was a lowly dishwasher at an oilman’s camp in Deadhorse, Alaska.

Rain reveals gas bubbles

High water from recent heavy rains revealed small sources of natural gas venting in the Bayou Corne community, a swampland settlement that has been evacuated for more than five months since the formation nearby of a large sinkhole, residents and officials said.

Sudden Seismic Activity in Louisiana Bayou: Sinkhole Burps, Pad Cracks, Police Copter Arrives UPDATED

BACKGROUND: Last Spring Louisiana’s Corne and Grand Bayou residents noticed strange bubblings in the bayou for many weeks, and they reported smelling burnt diesel fuel and sulfur. Then suddenly a sinkhole the size of three football fields appeared on Aug. 3, swallowing scores of 100-foot tall cypress trees. The sinkhole resulted from the failure of an abandoned underground brine cavern. The Department of Natural Resources issued a Declaration of Emergency on Aug. 6, and 150 families were evacuated.

Sinkhole seismic event studied

Scientists believe the restless, 8.5-acre sinkhole in Assumption Parish swampland is undergoing a “growth event” after they noticed an upswing in seismic activity in the past few days within a brine-mining cavern carved into the massive Napoleonville Dome, parish officials said Saturday.

Governor Jindal Continues to Ignore Growing Sinkhole

Over five months since the Texas Brine sinkhole first appeared over the Napoleonville Salt Dome, residents of Bayou Corne, Louisiana continue to struggle to be heard — particularly by Governor Bobby Jindal.

As the 8.5 acre sinkhole continues to expand, a handful of evacuees recently attempted to remedy that situation by displaying signs along the governor’s route to a nearby press conference. Unfortunately that request, like previous emails, phone calls and appointment appeals, went unanswered.

As Shell looks to future, critics point to timing, risks

When Shell started buying leases to drill in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in 2005, the company was betting on Americans’ thirst for any oil locked under those Arctic waters, which could replace declining crude production from Alaska’s North Slope and other onshore resources.

Shell’s plans in Arctic at risk as Obama advisers call for halt to oil exploration

After several equipment failures and safety and environmental lapses, Shell’s drilling plans now under review

On Our Radar: A Call to Halt Arctic Drilling

John Podesta, a former chief of staff in the Clinton administration, and Carol Browner, President Obama’s former climate change adviser, call on the president to block Shell’s drilling plans in the Arctic. “Following a series of mishaps and errors, as well as overwhelming weather conditions, it has become clear that there is no safe and responsible way to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean,” they write.

Add comment

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
Share This