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Proposed Federal Legislation Could Weaken Secret Legal Settlements – June 26, 2014

Future fracking cases could be affected

This April, Lisa and Robert Parr of Wise County, Texas won a widely-publicized $3 million verdict in a case alleging they had suffered health problems from pollution related to gas fracking. Last week, a Texas judge upheld that verdict and ordered the defendant, Aruba Petroleum, to pay up.

closeup photo of a woman's face, duct tape covers her mouthPhoto adapted from image by Katie TegtmeyerIt’s not known how many fracking cases have been settled prior to jury verdict, or under what terms, because of the widespread use of non-disclosure agreements.

Although the case was widely labeled as unprecedented,… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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North Sea Gas Well Still Leaking – April 2, 2012

Total’s Elgin Project Reveals the Dangers of Pursuing ‘Extreme Energy’

Photo by Flickr user crawfish headTotal's Elgin drilling platform (not pictured here) is one of over 570 oil and gas rigs in the North Sea. The
North Sea was the scene of the world's worst offshore rig disaster, the Piper Alpha explosion, which
killed 167 people in 1988.

A natural gas leak from one of the world’s most treacherous underwater oil and gas fields continues unabated in the North Sea, raising worries about what would happen if the massive cloud of gas were to ignite and concerns about how the spewing methane can worsen climate change.

The leak of flammable gas was discovered last… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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Oil and Gas Drilling Linked to Smog – March 8, 2012

Findings Could Further Complicate Push for More Drilling

Last month, yet another federal agency weighed in and highlighted new and striking concerns about the impact of oil and gas drilling — this time on air quality.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal agency that focuses on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere, completed a study that measured air emissions, starting just outside Denver, Colorado, that may help explain smog problems across parts of the Western US.

Photo by Aaron GustafsonIn parts of Utah visibility has plunged to levels normally only seen during hot urban summers. At times
it's so bad that flights have to be diverted… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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Top Obama Officials Assigned to Take On Meat Monopolies Quit in Frustration – February 24, 2012

Congress' Continued Backing of Big Ag Stymies Govt Efforts to Support Small Farmers and Ranchers

It went largely unnoticed, but last month Dudley Butler, the Obama administration official whose mission was to combat agricultural monopolies (specifically in the meat industry), quit in frustration.

Photo by Dey AlexanderIn agriculture, monopolies mean small farmers get squeezed. The foods we buy that promise “cage-
free” or “organic” meat may come from huge operations that look nothing like the family farm that the
terms bring to mind.

His departure was the latest and final of several such resignations from the specially-selected cadre of bureaucrats that the White House had convened to take on this problem. Christine Varney, an assistant attorney general who worked closely… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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New Report Indicates Lax Oversight of Drilling on Federal Lands – February 10, 2012

Little or No Fines for Over 2,000 Safety and Drilling Violations by Oil & Gas Outfits In Past Decade

Just two weeks after President Obama called for increased drilling during his State of the Union speech, an important but largely unnoticed report was released from Congress that reveals the federal government has done little to crack down on drilling violations already occurring on federal lands.

Photo by Roy LuckA natural gas drilling operation in Leon County, Texas. Only six percent of violations by oil and gas
companies actually led to a monetary fine.

The report, which was released by Representative Edward Markey and Representative Rush Holt, indicates that for the past decade, oversight of drilling on federal land has been lax, accidents… more

by: Sharon Kelly

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