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Re-Reading Silent Spring – June 22, 2012

Fifty Years after its Publication, Rachel Carson’s Book Remains All-Too-Relevant

Fifty years ago this week, The New Yorker began publishing Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. A series of three articles — excerpts from the book that would be published that September — appeared on June 16, 23, and 30, 1962 under the banner of “A Reporter at Large.” Carson’s account of environmental peril resulting from the overabundant use of petrochemical-based pesticides unfolded between cartoons and genteel ads for airlines, tasteful upscale merchandise, hotels, and restaurants. It’s impossible for anyone who was not then an adult to imagine what it would have been like to read these pieces in 1962, a time when such chemicals were generally regarded as a modern miracle for… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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“Welcome to Shale Country” – December 14, 2010

Is the debate over the merits of shale gas being bought?

On December 11, New York Governor David Paterson issued an executive order that prohibits hydraulic fracturing, the drilling method being used to extract natural gas from the state's Marcellus shale, until at least July 1, 2011. Hydraulic fracturing – hydrofracking as it's called for short – pumps water and chemicals at high pressure to crack rock and release natural gas from deep underground shale formations. The environmental impacts of hydrofracking, especially to groundwater, have raised serious concerns and prompted opposition in communities where this drilling is underway or contemplated. They've also prompted the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ongoing review of the drilling method. Among the concerns is that gas… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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Where’s the Deepwater Horizon Oil? – August 25, 2010

Microbes are busy, and oil is dispersed but far from gone

The BP/Deepwater Horizon well is now capped but it will be sometime before we understand where the nearly 5 million barrels of oil that gushed from the ruptured well have gone. On August 2nd, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its "BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget," the agency's assessment of what's happened to the oil. But the report came under stiff questioning last week at the August 17th House Energy and Commerce, Energy and the Environment Subcommittee Hearing on "The BP Oil SPill: Accounting for the Spilled Oil and ensuring the Safety of Seafood From the Gulf." Since then two scientific studies of the underwater… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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Oil Spill Kills Gulf Coast Shrimp Season; A Culture Hangs in the Balance – June 21, 2010

"This is the one thing that could destroy our culture and I don't want to see it happen," says Grand Isle, Louisiana resident Karen Hopkins, wiping at tears she's clearly fighting. Hopkins, a Louisiana native and long-time resident of Grand Isle, runs the office at Dean Blanchard Seafood. Blanchard typically buys 13 to 15 million pounds of Gulf Coast shrimp annually. Hopkins' house sits across from what should be a busy loading area for Dean Blanchard Seafood and no more than ten yards from a pier where boats that should be gearing up for a night out shrimping are coming in from a day skimming oil and changing oil-soaked boom.

It's… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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Gulf Workers Admitted to Hospital Amid BP Claims of Public Safety – June 1, 2010

This story appears courtesy of The Pump Handle.

As of Saturday afternoon, May 29th, ten oil spill clean-up workers had been admitted to West Jefferson Medical Center (WJMC) in Marrero, Louisiana. All but two have been hospitalized suffering from chest pains, dizziness, headaches, and nausea. One crewmember admitted on the 29th had fallen and hit his head on a stair after a wave mixed with oil had washed onto a deck, hospital spokesperson Taslin Alonzo told me. The other, who was working on what Alonzo called "an oil rig," was suffering from hypertension. All crewmembers hospitalized have long experience working on the water, according to Alonzo.

The two crewmembers hospitalized on May 28th had been working on the… more

by: Elizabeth Grossman

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