EJToday: Top Headlines
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A 2008 natural gas explosion that killed a man in Sacramento "was one example of what many experts and studies say is weak oversight of gas pipelines in the United States, a problem that has contributed to hundreds of pipeline episodes that have killed 60 people and injured 230 others in the last five years. Those figures do not include the final toll of the explosion of another Pacific Gas and Electric pipeline this month in San Bruno, Calif., that left seven people dead and more than 50 injured."
For years, mine safety experts urged the Mine Safety and Health Administration to require coal-dust monitors in mines. Mining companies and MSHA resisted. Now Massey Energy Co. is using the lack of such monitors as an argument to deny charges that it did not do enough to control the buildup of explosive coal dust at its Upper Big Branch Mine, where 29 workers died in a massive blast on April 5.
"Six Massey Energy management personnel -- including the company's corporate safety director -- have filed suit challenging subpoenas that would force them to answer questions about the April 5 explosion that killed 29 workers at Massey's Upper Big Branch Mine."
"The world could be on the brink of a major new food crisis caused by environmental disasters and rampant market speculators, the UN will be warned today at an emergency meeting on food price inflation."
"The oil giant nears an agreement to dispense $500 million through an alliance overseen by gulf state governors. Critics fear expertise elsewhere will be overlooked."
"Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu today vowed to block the Senate's confirmation of a top White House nominee until the Obama administration takes action on its deepwater drilling moratorium."
"The Obama administration's bid to strengthen federal pipeline oversight is raising questions from environmental groups as well as industry, suggesting that safety reforms could fail to reach a legislative fast track despite three recent high-profile ruptures along the 2.3 million miles of U.S. oil and gas lines."
"Citing a 'grave danger' to the nation's coal miners, the Obama administration said Tuesday that mine operators must take additional steps to control the buildup of highly explosive coal dust underground."
"A Valdez-based citizen watchdog group told legislators Tuesday that the state's arsenal of oil-response equipment lags behind modern technology and the state division that enforces the rules for preventing and cleaning up spills has an 'ever-worsening funding shortage.'"
The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, September 22, will hold a hearing on the National Flood Insurance Program, which is teetering under some $19 billion in debt. The NFIP is set to expire Sept. 30, just as the hurricane season reaches its height. Congress has allowed the NFIP to expire four times already this year.
"America's warning system for the series of giant ocean waves known as a tsunami is better than it was before the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, but not good enough to meet risks posed by tsunamis generated near land that leave little time for warning, says a new congressionally requested report from the National Research Council."
"The top federal regulator of oil and gas pipelines is facing withering criticism for her ties to industry and her agency's floundering response to recent oil-pipeline spills in the Midwest and last week's deadly gas pipeline explosion in California."
"SUKKUR, Pakistan — Suhani Bunglani fans flies away from her two baby girls as one sleeps motionless while the other stares without blinking at the roof of their tent, her empty belly bulging beneath a green flowered shirt. Their newborn sister already died on the ground inside this steamy shelter at just 4 days old, after the family's escape from violent floods that drowned a huge swath of Pakistan. Now the girls, ages 1 and 2, are slowly starving, with shriveled arms and legs as fragile as twigs."