US judge tosses coastal damage suit against oil companies

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A lawsuit filed in 2013 by a Louisiana flood board that sought damages — potentially in the billions of dollars — from scores of oil, gas and pipeline companies over erosion of the state's fragile coast was thrown out Friday evening by a federal judge.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Jolivette Brown dismissed the suit in a complex 49-page ruling rejecting the board's contention that, under federal laws, the energy companies had a duty to protect the flood board from the effects of coastal erosion.


Montana governor calls for deeper pipelines after oil spills

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana's governor called on the Obama administration Friday to strengthen rules that require oil pipelines to be buried just 4 feet beneath major waterways, after two breaches that spilled a combined 93,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River.

River scouring due to flooding or an ice jam is being investigated as a possible cause of a spill last month that dumped about 30,000 gallons into the Yellowstone upstream of Glendive, temporarily contaminating the city's water supply.

Ship company, engineer reach deal in Alaska pollution case

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A ship company based in Germany and the chief engineer on one of its vessels have agreed to plead guilty to illegally dumping oily water off Alaska.

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that AML Ship Management GMBH and Nicolas Sassin, the chief engineer on the AML-operated ship City of Tokyo, agreed to plead guilty to violating federal clean water law by knowingly dumping 4,500 gallons of oily bilge water south of the Aleutian Islands.


Fracking wastewater has high benzene concentrations

Los Angeles Times

On average the wastewater extracted from fracking wells -– known as flowback fluid -– has levels of benzene up to 700 times higher than permitted under federal standards, according to data gathered over a year by the state in California, which was analyzed by the Los Angeles Times.


Contamination levels dropping from ND saltwater spill

Contamination levels have started to drop along waterways affected by a massive saltwater spill in western North Dakota's oil patch, but they remain high near the site of the pipeline breach, government regulators and company officials said Tuesday.

The leak detected last month spilled nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater brine from a four-inch pipeline north of Williston. The wastewater — a byproduct of intensive oil drilling in the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana — primarily contaminated Blacktail Creek, but also flowed into the Little Muddy River and the Missouri River.

Wells to close to protect groundwater, says California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California has proposed closing by October up to 140 oil-field wells that state regulators had allowed to inject into federally protected drinking water aquifers, state officials said.

The deadline is part of a broad plan the state sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week for bringing state regulation of oil and gas operations back into compliance with federal safe-drinking water requirements. State authorities made the plan public Monday.

California pledges changes in protecting underground water

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California is proposing broad changes in the way it protects underground water sources from oil and gas operations, after finding 2,500 instances in which the state authorized oil and gas operations in protected water aquifers.

State oil and gas regulators on Monday released a plan they sent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week for bringing the state back into compliance with federal safe-drinking water requirements.


Galapagos emergency after ship grounding


Concerned about the fate of the unique flora and fauna on the Galapagos Islands in the event of a spill, Ecuador officials have declared a state of emergency after a cargo ship carrying 13,000 gallons of fuel ran aground there last week, Telesur reports.

California authorizes oilfield dumping into drinking water

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Regulators in California, the country's third-largest oil-producing state, have authorized oil companies to inject production fluids and waste into what are now federally protected aquifers more than 2,500 times, risking contamination of underground water supplies that could be used for drinking water or irrigation, state records show.

While some of the permits go back decades, an Associated Press analysis found that nearly half of those injection wells — 46 percent — were permitted or began injection in the last four years under Gov. Jerry Brown, who has pushed state oil and gas regulators to speed up the permitting process. And it happened despite warnings from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency since 2011 that state regulators were failing to do enough to shield groundwater reserves from the threat of oilfield pollution.


BP urges judges to remove head of oil spill settlement fund

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP was back in court Tuesday, trying to oust the man responsible for doling out billions of dollars in settlement money to businesses claiming they were hampered by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

It's the oil giant's latest legal effort to limit its losses from the nation's worst offshore oil spill. BP says the claims administrator, Patrick Juneau, failed to disclose that he worked on previous oil spill litigation for the state of Louisiana when he was hired to oversee settlement payouts.


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