Weekend Environmental Must-Reads – October 6-7, 2012


State, fed agencies hold oil-spill response drill

The threat of an oil spill in Alaska waters looms constant. The number of agencies that came to Ketchikan recently to conduct an emergency oil spill response exercise served as a testament to the gravity of such a situation.

Green group buys up Wyoming oil leases to stop drilling

When Tim DeChristopher won a 2008 Bureau of Land Management auction for oil and gas leases, there was one catch: He didn’t have the money to pay for what he won. For that little bit of civil disobedience, DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in jail.

Federal officials interrupt Enbridge’s greenwash of Kalamazoo River tar sands spill

Federal officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have pulled the curtain behind Enbridge’s effort to greenwash its tar sands pipeline spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. On the same day that Enbridge told its investors that its tar sands spill and cleanup had made the Kalamazoo River cleaner, EPA ordered the Canadian tar sands pipeline company to resume its cleanup of the Kalamazoo River after finding that submerged oil “exists throughout approximately 38 miles of the Kalamazoo.” EPA’s findings, based on technical analysis from prominent scientists from the international oil spill response and recovery community, stand in stark contrast with the alternate reality that Enbridge is selling to investors and the public. Enbridge’s legacy in Kalamazoo was outlined by federal investigators as a company whose poor safety practices and failures to learn from past mistakes which resulted in the most expensive onshore pipeline disaster in U.S. history. The Canadian tar sands company’s recent attempt to gloss over this reality with a public relations campaign reveals the company has yet to learn this basic truth – simply saying something doesn’t make it so.

Mississippi River oil spill costs being battled in court four years later

Four years after a massive oil spill coated the Mississippi River in New Orleans in a thick, black sludge, the owner of the crashed barge continues to battle the barge operator in court over who is ultimately responsible for paying millions in clean-up costs and fines.

Exxon hit with second lawsuit from Montana landowners hurt by Yellowstone River oil spill

More than a dozen eastern Montana landowners filed a lawsuit Friday against Exxon Mobil Corp. claiming the company ignored warnings before a pipeline break that spilled an estimated 1,500 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.

BP continues expanding far beyond Gulf, touting new Uruguay deepwater contracts

BP today confirmed that it has signed production sharing contracts for three deepwater exploration blocks just offshore of Uruguay.

With gas firms entering central California, vineyard owners unsure of fracking effects on land

Paula Getzelman and her neighbors in the Southern Monterey County Rural Coalition have three tasks on their agenda:

1. Combat the aggressive yellow star-thistle weed that is invading vineyards.

2. Add a bike lane to the gravel road that leads to their homes.

3. Learn more about the secretive fracking operations going on over the hill.

Longmont a month away from voting on fracking ban

Few words in Longmont hold more contention than “fracking.” The word has crowded council chambers and heated up arguments. It’s inspired petitions, presentations, even protest songs. It’s starting to inspire rallies and ad campaigns, for and against an absolute ban of the drilling practice.

More evidence that fracking waste is poorly regulated

A class action lawsuit filed in Arkansas this week has uncovered some very frightening information about the enormous amounts of potentially very toxic waste being generated by the oil and gas industry and how poorly it is regulated. According to a recent investigative report by ProPublica, oil and gas producers have injected 10 trillion gallons of liquid waste underground into more than 150,000 waste disposal wells in 33 states. According to ProPublica, this is often happening even when the operators know the waste disposal wells are out of compliance and could leak.

Shaky ground for fracking: More scientific evidence for those trying to protect the Talladega forest

Those who want the Talladega National Forest labeled off-limits to drilling have ample reasons why their concerns are valid. Now they can add two more. Their cause is strengthening.

Dems propose moratorium on treating fracking wastes

Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature are proposing legislation to temporarily ban the county from treating fracking wastes.

Wyoming Range’s Upper Hoback Basin Gains Permanent Protection from Fracking

A deal announced today between the Trust for Public Lands and Plains Exploration and Petroleum Company (PXP) will permanently protect over 20,000 acres of public lands in the Wyoming Range that provide critical habitat for wildlife as well as outstanding recreation opportunities. As a result of the buy-out, PXP’s leases will be permanently retired as authorized under the 2009 Wyoming Range Legacy Act, granting long-lasting protection to the wildlife-rich Upper Hoback basin from drilling.

Gas trapped near sinkhole

An as-yet undetermined amount of natural gas is trapped in the aquifer underneath the Bayou Corne community, state and parish officials have said.

Delaware residents near nuclear plants urged to take tablets

In the next few days, residents who live within a ten mile radius of the Salem/Hope Creek Nuclear Generating Stations will have access to some pills that are usually given out during a radiation emergency.

San Marino parents raise radiation worries

Worried that cellphone towers on school grounds could expose children to harmful levels of radiation, a group of parents is fighting to have the two towers dismantled. A tower designed to look like a tall pine tree was installed between Valentine Elementary and Huntington Middle schools in 2006. Another went up behind San Marino High School shortly thereafter.

Limerick nuclear plant pollutes, depletes water supply

I’m worried. We shouldn’t have to live with radiation and other toxics poisoning our water and bombarding our children because of Limerick Nuclear Plant operations. We shouldn’t be faced with a depleting water supply because of Limerick’s cooling towers or risk having no water if Limerick has an accident or meltdown. Exelon could get five-year permits without limits for Limerick’s discharges carrying radiation into the river and approval for Limerick to take all our water, even if millions are left with no water. Our drinking water could dry up or become so radioactive we can’t use it.

Idaho nuclear lab fined after workers exposed to radiation

The U.S. Department of Energy fined a nuclear research lab in Idaho more than $400,000 on Thursday for multiple safety violations stemming from two mishaps last year that caused workers to be contaminated with radiation.

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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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