Science and Environment

Environment
8:47 am
Mon August 5, 2013

UPDATE: Clean-up of Train Derailment Underway

About 100 homes remain evacuated as officials work to clean up the site of a 26-car train derailment near the small community of Lawtell, about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge.

State police say crews are working Monday to clear U.S. 190 which is blocked by the accident. The Union Pacific train went off the tracks Sunday afternoon.

A company spokeswoman says one of the railcars was leaking sodium hydroxide, which can cause injuries or even death if it's inhaled or touches the skin. The other was leaking lube oil. But state police say the leaks were contained.

Environment
8:57 pm
Sun August 4, 2013

Train Derailment Prompts Precautionary Evacuation

The St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office says about 50 homes have been evacuated because of a railroad derailment.

The homes are within a mile of the spot where state police say at least 26 cars derailed about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, closing U.S. 190 east of Lawtell.

Master Trooper Daniel "Scott" Moreau says authorities have not reported any injuries, and the evacuation is a precaution.

He says some cars hold corrosive and flammable materials, including at least one flammable liquid.

Environment
4:27 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Legal Battles Over Land Rights, Pipelines Are On The Rise

The Crosstex NGL Pipeline is just one such project in the country that has forced long, unwanted legal battles between oil companies and landowners.
Mose Buchele KUT

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 8:01 pm

At Margaret O'Keefe's farm in East Texas, they grow high-quality Bermuda grass. The fields are flat and vibrant green, surrounded by woods of a darker, richer green. The family loves this land. O'Keefe inherited it from her mother, who divided it among eight children.

"She used to call it 'enchanted valley,' " O'Keefe says.

But her "enchanted valley" also lies in the path of the Crosstex NGL Pipeline.

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Environment
9:08 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Gas Leak Capped On Blown-Out Offshore Rig

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:31 am

Natural gas is no longer escaping from a blown-out oil rig off the Louisiana coast. Only a small flame is burning off residual gas in the pipeline.

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Environment
6:26 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Halliburton Will Plead Guilty To Destroying Evidence In BP Gulf Spill

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned on April 21, 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 6:59 pm

Halliburton Energy Services Inc. will plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection to the Deepwater Horizon explosion in April 2010 that left 11 dead and resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

Justice said in a press release:

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Environment
2:38 am
Thu July 25, 2013

La. Flood Board Sues Oil Industry Over Wetlands

Canals created for navigation and oil and gas pipelines cut through the marsh off the coast of Louisiana, seen in 2010.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 10:49 am

Since the 1930s, Louisiana has lost roughly as much land as makes up the state of Delaware.

"If you put the state of Delaware between New Orleans and the ocean, we wouldn't need any levees at all," says John Barry, vice president of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. "There is this large buffer of land that has disappeared, and that buffer makes New Orleans much more vulnerable to hurricanes."

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Environment
4:18 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Why The Latest Gulf Leak Is No BP Disaster

Fire boats battle a fire at the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon in April 2010.
U.S. Coast Guard Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 5:06 pm

Teams of workers are mobilizing in the Gulf of Mexico to try to stem a natural gas leak at an offshore drilling rig that exploded and caught fire Tuesday. The rig off the Louisiana coast has been partially destroyed by the out of control blaze, and firefighting boats are on the scene.

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Environment
7:18 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Gas Well On Fire After Blowout In Gulf Of Mexico

Before a blaze broke out, a cloud of gas could be seen rising Tuesday from the Hercules 265 drilling rig off the coast of Louisiana.
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:57 am

A natural gas well off the coast of Louisiana was on fire Wednesday, one day after a blowout forced 44 workers to evacuate. There were no injuries reported.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement says the mishap at Well A-3 below a "Hercules 265 jack-up rig," about 55 miles off the Louisiana coast, was first reported around 9:45 a.m. ET Tuesday.

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BP Oil Spill Impacts
5:30 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Why Finding Oil in Fish Organs Isn't as Bad as it Looks

Menhaden are measured and weighed before the dissection, to establish a catalog of weights and sizes.
Kelly Connelly, WRKF

Environmental remediation scientists at LSU’s School of the Coast and Environment have found remnants of crude oil in the hearts of pogy that live off Grand Isle.

Pogy, a baitfish more officially called menhaden, make up the second largest commercial catch in the United States. They’re not only resold as baitfish, but they’re also processed into fish oil and fish meal, making their way into vitamins, cosmetics and livestock feeds.

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Environment
1:26 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

5 Stars: A Mosquito's Idea Of A Delicious Human

Many criteria — from blood type to body temperature — can play a role in affecting who attracts mosquitoes.
abadonian iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 1:48 pm

If mosquitoes used Yelp, they might look for their next meal by searching nearby for a heavy-breathing human with Type O blood, sporting a red shirt and more than a smattering of skin bacteria. Preferably either pregnant or holding a beer.

That's some of what we take away from a post today on the Surprising Science blog from the Smithsonian.

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