Weekend Environmental Must-Reads – October 13-14, 2012


FOSC for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in New Orleans approved a joint plan from BP and Transocean

The Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in New Orleans approved a joint plan from BP and Transocean Thursday.

BP Workers’ Refusal to Talk Warrants Penalty, U.S. Says

Three BP Plc (BP/) executives’ refusal to testify about the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster should be held against the company at a multibillion-dollar trial over liability for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, prosecutors said.

Is ExxonMobil trying to pipe tar-sands oil through New England?

A group of environmental advocates believe they have evidence that oil giant ExxonMobil — and perhaps even [Maine] Gov. Paul LePage [R] — are backing a plan to push controversial tar sands oil through an aging pipeline across Maine. …

BP Amnesia: Life and Death After the Spill

As weathered oil and dead marine life continue to wash up on Gulf shores, environmentalists worry that America has failed to heed the lessons of the summer of 2010, when an ocean of oil gushed from a broken pipe, and mesmerized a nation.

Texas Brine LLC fingered as culprit of gas seepage near sinkhole

A press release issued Thursday by the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources says based on samples taken from the sinkhole, Bayou Corne, and near the failed Napoleonville Salt Dome indicate Texas Brine’s failed cavern is the likely source of the natural gas and crude oil that has been seeping into the area’s water supply.

Louisiana sinkhole, bubbling gas linked to Texas company

A collapsed wall of an abandoned underground salt cavern where a Texas company had operated is being blamed with causing a sinkhole and contaminating an aquifer in a sparsely populated area of swampland west of New Orleans.

Mixed report on natural gas fracking

Shale gas and oil drilling pose environmental and public health risks, but the extent of those risks is unknown, the Congressional Government Accountability Office says in a new study.

Occupy the Pipeline battles fracking threat in New York

I saw an odd sight on a quiet, West Village street in New York City on Saturday 6 October. A group of about 30 young women and men – all naked or topless – were dancing about, with their flesh painted green.

Patrick Robbins, a 26-year-old native of Brooklyn who works on sustainable development at Cooper Union, is the spokesperson for the group, Occupy the Pipeline. He explained the purpose of the protest-art show hybrid:

Thousands of acres in Michigan could be opened for fracking

Nearly two-hundred thousand acres of land in Michigan could be used for fracking. The Department of Natural Resources will offer state-owned gas and oil rights for sale on October 24th.

PA GOP to allow fracking on college campuses

Just when you think the activities of the Big Energy business, and their GOP allies, can’t get any creepier, this happens.

Panelists talk about fracking industry in Ohio

About 60 students, concerned citizens and economic professionals gathered at Ohio Northern University on Friday evening to discuss the economics and background of hydraulic fracturing in Ohio, popularly known as fracking.

Radioactive-fracking consent sought

Shell Todd Oil Services is planning to use radioactive material in fracking operations at Kapuni.

An application for resource consent for its new drilling campaign says the company plans to use radioactive tracers as part of the process. The application says radioactive tracers have been used in the industry for the past 30 years.

Natural Gas Extraction Is Destroying Forests in Pennsylvania

A new analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) of two counties in Pennsylvania found that natural gas extraction creates “potentially serious patterns of disturbance on the landscape.” Wellpads, roads, pipelines and waste pits are clearcuts in forests. Cumulatively they are very destructive to the natural ecosystem.

Qatar to export U.S. domestic fracked gas from Texas terminal

Oh snap! There goes more of our domestic–national energy security–fracked natural gas. State-run Qatar Petroleum International owns 70% of Golden Pass, a company the Energy Department just granted a permit to liquify U.S. domestic fracked gas for export from their terminal in Texas. The other 30% is owned by Exxon Mobil.

Zero-risk oil pipeline not possible, Enbridge says

There will always be some risk that an earthquake or another hazard along the proposed Northern Gateway route could rupture the pipeline, the company’s experts have conceded under questioning from the Haisla Nation at hearings weighing the future of the project.

The Washington Post Greens Fracking

The Washington Post editorial page (10/5/12)  weighed in on the contentious environmental issue of fracking. No surprise–they’re all for it.

Feds up the ante in oil-spill lawsuit

The federal government has raised the stakes in civil litigation over the 2010 Gulf oil spill, joining other plaintiffs in asking a judge to rule that workers’ refusal to testify amounted to unfavorable evidence against companies involved in the accident.

Otter rescued from 1989 oil spill dies at Shedd

Kenai the sea otter was only a pup in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez tanker leaked 11 million gallons of oil into the Prince William Sound in Alaska.

Cuomo’s fracking dilemma poses political risk beyond New York

Fracking poses a challenging political problem for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Displaced residents question area safety

Although the Louisiana Office of Conservation last week accused Texas Brine Co. of Houston of causing a 4.2-acre sinkhole near the Napoleonville Dome in northern Assumption Parish, some area residents said Saturday they have bigger concerns than who’s to blame.

Brine firm to comply with test orders

The Houston company that owns a failed salt cavern the Louisiana Office of Conservation blames for causing a sinkhole in Assumption Parish said it will comply with new orders calling for tests, monitoring and removal of natural gas trapped underground.

BP, Obama administration near spill deal but gulf lawmakers wary

BP and the Obama administration have made progress toward a criminal and civil settlement over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill –narrowing their differences to $6 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported — but Gulf Coast lawmakers from both parties are worried the terms will send most of the money to the federal government instead of the affected states.

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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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