Weekend Environmental Must-Reads – November 3-4, 2012


Oil industry seeks to intervene in environmental lawsuit over chemical dispersants

WASHINGTON — An oil industry association is seeking to intervene in a federal lawsuit in which environmental groups are pressing for stricter standards for chemical dispersants like those used to help stem the 2010 BP oil spill. In a brief filed with the federal District Court in Washington D.C., the American Petroleum Institute says any new restrictions on dispersants can impact oil spill response plans required as part of the federal permitting process.

BP oil spill recovery: Fear of pollutants make the taste of Louisiana safer

Since the BP oil spill back in April of 2010, seafood from the Gulf of Mexico has gone under the microscope. Although concerns still linger about the heart of Louisiana cuisine, is it a realistic fear?

Official awaits judge’s OK on BP plan

More than $907 million worth of award letters went out between June 4 and Nov. 1 to individuals and businesses affected by the BP spill.

But those payments could come to a halt if a federal judge, following a hearing next week, decides the preliminary settlement agreement between BP and plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit is not fair, reasonable and adequate.

How The U.S. Coast Guard Is Fixing The N.J. Oil Spill Caused By Sandy

Crews will be working for at least one to two weeks to clean up a storm-related diesel fuel spill on the New Jersey coast, according to a Coast Guard official.

The oil came from two 3.15 million gallon-capacity tanks at the Motiva petroleum storage facility, in Sewaren, N.J., damaged during Hurricane Sandy. Each contained 336,000 gallons of oil prior to the storm. The site is located on the Arthur Kill, a 10-mile-long, 600-foot wide tidal strait dividing mainland New Jersey from Staten Island, N.Y.

Tar-sands oil is looking riskier, thanks in part to Keystone protests

According to The Wall Street Journal, tapping into Alberta’s tar sands is starting to look like a much riskier business proposal.

Big Oil reports massive profits during Sandy cleanup

Guys, I have some really, really good news for you. Really positive stuff. Ready?

Oil companies are still making massive profits.

TransCanada’s record presents a strong case for rejecting Keystone XL tar sands pipeline (again)

Canadian pipeline regulators have announced a sweeping audit of TransCanada’s Canadian operations after confirming the account of a whistleblower documenting repeated violations of pipeline safety regulations by the company. This is the latest in a long series of accidents, shutdowns and pipeline safety infractions that have hounded the Canadian pipeline operator TransCanada, the sponsor of the embattled Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Nebraska reviews Keystone XL reroute

LINCOLN, Neb., Nov. 2 (UPI) — Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has rerouted the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline to avoid a sensitive ecosystem in Nebraska, a state regulator said.

Gas flowing from sinkhole

BAYOU CORNE — Texas Brine Co. began burning off natural gas Friday that was trapped in a water aquifer near a sinkhole in northern Assumption Parish, officials said.

Mitt Romney’s Fracking Hit List

If Mitt Romney is elected president, expect drilling for fossil fuels to explode. The Republican challenger has promised to double the number of drilling permits issued for federal lands. And that boom would go unregulated: Romney has blasted the current administration’s “effort to crimp natural gas by federal regulation of the very technology that produces it.”

Fracking board to start making rules next month

The state’s Mining & Energy Commission on Friday rejected a touchy proposal to pray aloud before every public meeting – an idea one commissioner dismissed “a waste of time” – as the energy panel finalized administrative details and prepared to start creating rules to govern natural gas fracking.

Fracking is big election theme in NY’s gas region

ALBANY — In some southern New York communities likely to get shale gas wells if Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifts a moratorium on drilling, “fracking” is a key issue in Tuesday’s election, with both opponents and supporters working to get out the vote and candidates up and down the ballot talking about it.

Indecent Disposal: Contaminated fracking water disposed of deep underground

SAN ANTONIO – We’ve reported how hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas has created jobs and tax revenue for South Texas.  However, fracking has also produced something else: millions of barrels of contaminated water.

Michiganders Fight Fracking on State Land

At 8:00 a.m. on October 24, over 100 protesters gathered outside Michigan’s Lansing Center, preparing to do battle with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). A banner dropped over a roof across the street read, “No Fracking. No Compromise.” Thirty minutes later, two balloons with noisemaking devices floated up to the atrium ceiling, beeping over the staircase and the hall to the auction room, as more banners appeared: “Deep Water Earth First!” and “You Frack and We’ll Be Back!”

Michael Drillings: The fracking spiral

On Oct. 17, Bill Holman wrote an excellent Point of View piece “Four decades of clean water.” However, fracking will make sure our water will be unfit to drink. How? North Carolina’s major shale formation runs under Lee, Moore, Chatham, Wake and Durham counties. Test wells indicate shale gas in Lee. Lee County shale actually lies within the aquifer and comes to the surface. The remaining shale lies about 500 meters below the aquifer, less than the 600 meters needed to preclude extra long fractures from piercing the aquifer.

Towns Fight Back Against Fracking Gold Rush

A growing boom in natural gas drilling near homes and schools prompted the city of Longmont, Colorado to vote last July to bar new oil and gas permits in residential neighborhoods.

Sandy, Fukushima, and the Nuclear Industry

When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, it forced three nuclear reactors to shut down, including the Indian Point 3 plant along the banks of the Hudson, about twenty-five miles north of New York City. Three more reduced their output as a precaution. At the nation’s oldest nuclear plant, the Oyster Creek facility, about thirty-three miles north of Atlantic City, operators faced an unusual event: wind, a rising tide, and the storm surge sent more water than normal into the plant’s water-intake system. At the same time, the plant, which was already down for maintenance, lost its electrical power from the grid. Operators called an “alert” that escalated the plant a step up from the lowest emergency level, and they turned to backup generators to keep cooling the reactor.

4 on Japan nuclear plant safety team received utility and industry money

TOKYO — Four members of a Japanese government team that sets atomic reactor safety standards received funding from utility companies or nuclear manufacturers, raising questions about their neutrality in the wake of last year’s tsunami-triggered disaster.

The 10 Scariest Chemicals Used In Hydraulic Fracking

A 2011 congressional report on the chemicals used in hydraulic fracking, states that the 14 leading hydraulic fracturing companies in the U.S. injected 10.2 million gallons of more than 650 products that contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants.

Pennsylvania Report Left Out Poisons In Drinking Water Near Fracking Site

Pennsylvania officials didn’t report toxic metals found in drinking water from a private well near a natural gas drilling site, according to legal documents and reported by Jon Hurdle of The New York Times reports.

Pipeline Paths A Mystery; Not Being Tracked By State Regulators

WHEELING – Thousands of miles of natural gas and oil pipelines are being placed throughout the local region, and neither West Virginia nor Ohio have regulations in place to map exactly where the pipelines are going.

Environmentalists blasted for ‘underreporting’ water toxins near fracking site

Environmental officials in Pennsylvania have come under fire for their tests on drinking water from a well near a natural gas drilling site. The site’s owners have been taken to court for allegedly poisoning residents.

The documents were released this week, as part of a lawsuit that 7 plaintiffs who live near a hydraulic fracturing or fracking site, are serving on the gas industry.

Pipelines in the Bakken: Expansion critical, but landowners grow weary

WILLISTON — Williams County farmer Blaine Jorgenson doesn’t need pipeline markers to show him where the oil and gas gathering lines are below his property.

Jorgenson can see trenches where pipelines have settled as he scans his fields, and he knows to use caution when driving over them with certain equipment.

Pipeline Paths A Mystery; Not Being Tracked By State Regulators

WHEELING – Thousands of miles of natural gas and oil pipelines are being placed throughout the local region, and neither West Virginia nor Ohio have regulations in place to map exactly where the pipelines are going.

Hurricane Sandy Shows Us Why We Can’t Afford Dirty Energy Projects Like the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline

As we clean up from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, it behooves us to listen carefully to climate scientists who predict climate change will bring us more frequent and destructive storms like Sandy. Climate change is arguably the most pressing challenge we will face as a nation in the years ahead and we cannot let deliberate campaigns to undermine climate science — as exposed last week by Frontline — to derail what is a national and international imperative to confront the reality of our changing climate.

Japan nuclear safety team took utility money

TOKYO – Members of a Japanese government team assigned to set reactor safety measures received funding from utility companies or atomic industry manufacturers, raising questions about the experts’ neutrality in the wake of last year’s tsunami-triggered nuclear disaster.

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

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