Julie Dermansky

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Julie Dermansky is a multimedia reporter and artist based in New Orleans. She is an affiliate scholar at Rutgers University’s Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights. Visit her website at www.jsdart.com.

ALEC-Tainted Legislation Designed To Block Local Control Over Fracking Bans Stalled In Florida

An industry-friendly bill in the Florida statehouse designed to nullify existing fracking bans and sharply curtail local control over oil and gas drilling activity is facing pushback.
 
Floridians are pressuring their state senators to vote against Senate Bill 318, which takes away a community’s right to regulate all well-stimulation techniques, including fracking. The pressure is having an impact, as the bill has been temporarily held back.
 

Arkansas Frackquake Victims Commiserate With Oklahomans As Fracking Wastewater Injection Continues, Risking Deadly Earthquakes

There is a general consensus in Oklahoma that the record-breaking number of earthquakes occurring in the state are caused by the disposal of fracking wastewater in injection wells. But there’s no agreement on what to do to stop them.

We are human guinea pigs in a fracking industry experiment,” Angela Spotts, founder of Stop Fracking Payne County and a Stillwater, Oklahoma homeowner, told DeSmog. “Regulators tell us they can get the earthquakes under control as they tinker with the quantity that wastewater wells are allowed to inject into the ground. But despite their efforts, the quakes have continued.” 

Spotts’ group has called for a moratorium on injection wells that dispose of fracking wastewater. “Shutting the wells down stopped the earthquakes that hit Arkansas. That is what we need to do here too,” Spotts said. 

Fracking Industry-Linked Earthquakes in Oklahoma Crack Political Party Lines

Sara Winsted, a resident of Edmond, Oklahoma, an upscale Oklahoma City suburb, won’t be surprised if her house falls down before state legislators take action to stop the earthquakes. 

Her feeling of hopelessness intensified after she attended two public meetings: a town hall organized by State Rep. Lewis Moore (R-Arcadia) at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) in Edmond, and a public hearing at the state capitol in Oklahoma City led by State Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC).

Though the U.S. Geological Survey has determined the use of fracking wastewater disposal injection wells is the cause of the state’s earthquakes — and predicted a magnitude 5.5 or greater quake is probable — the use of disposal injection wells continues.

Breaking: TransCanada’s Hopes For “Zombie” Keystone XL Pipeline Revived As South Dakota Validates Expired Permit

The South Dakota Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted unanimously to keep TransCanada’s hopes for the Keystone XL pipeline alive by validating its permit certification that expired in 2014.

Chris Nelson, the chair of the commission, concluded TransCanada could still meet all the conditions of its expired permit. The fact TransCanada was denied a needed presidential permit to cross international borders was not a reason to deny certification because the next president could grant it, the PUC chair said. 

He stated that the lawyers representing the Intervenors — indigenous tribes, the grassroots group Dakota Rural Action, and individual landowners — did not make a case proving TransCanada was unable to meet any of the conditions required to build the pipeline, despite a nine-day hearing last summer at which Intervenors presented reams of evidence and allegations to the contrary. 

Record-Breaking 2015 Temperatures Connected To Ongoing Fish Kill on Mississippi Beaches

Julie Dermansky

Cleanup crews were dispatched to beaches in Hancock County, Mississippi, on December 27th to remove over a thousand dead fish and the remains of other animals.

Scientists attributed the fish kill to a “red tide” algae bloom that took hold in early December. It won’t go away until temperatures drop and fresh water from the north spilling out from the Mississippi moves through the area. 

Climate Change Threatens Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles, But Doesn’t Dampen Holiday Cheer

Members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe who live on Isle de Jean Charles in southern Louisiana are destined to become some of the first climate change refugees in the United States.

But that doesn't stop a lifelong resident Chris Burnet from enjoying every day he has left. 

If the Keystone XL Pipeline is Dead, South Dakota Regulators Didn’t Get the Memo

TransCanada pipe yard

TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline is not as dead as some of its adversaries claimed after President Obama denied the presidential permit for the border-crossing section of the tar sands pipeline. 

The company’s plans for the South Dakota part of the pipeline are still in play after the South Dakota Public Utility Commission (PUC) denied a motion to throw out the company’s request to certify its expired permit. 

Holiday Melancholy In Bayou Corne, Louisiana, Home of Giant Sinkhole Caused by An Industrial Accident

Hand-painted standing alligators holding signs that read “Noel” on Tim Brown’s lawn in Bayou Corne, LA, offer holiday cheer in an area where most of his neighbors moved away

Bayou Corne, 77 miles west of New Orleans, has joined the growing list of communities destroyed by industrial accidents.

Once known as a sportsman’s paradise, Bayou Corne is now famous for a giant sinkhole that opened up on August 3, 2012, after a salt dome cavern, owned by Occidental Chemical Corp. and operated by Texas Brine Co. LLC, collapsed.

Anti-Fracking Activists Speak out Against Lifting the Ban on Crude Oil Exports

Americans Against Fracking held an emergency conference call the day after Speaker of the House Paul Ryan revealed the new spending bill would remove the 40-year-old ban on exporting U.S. crude oil, if passed.

About 100 people, many of them affiliated with environmental advocacy groups, joined in on the call, and ideas were shared on what can be done to prevent oil exports from proceeding without restrictions again.

To lift the crude oil export ban flies in the face of climate progress less than a week after the United Nations Paris Agreement,” the group stated. Some felt hoodwinked because when they headed off to Paris, they believed President Obama would veto any bill that included lifting the ban. That no longer seems to be the case. 

Council Votes to Kill Coastal Erosion Lawsuits Against Oil and Gas Industry in Louisiana’s Plaquemine Parish

South Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish Council voted 5 to1 on November 12 to kill the lawsuits it had previously filed for damages done by oil and gas companies to the coast resulting in land loss. The 21 suits cited 68 companies that did not adhere to work permits, or didn’t have them in the first place. 

The crowd that filled the council meeting cheered when the council voted to withdraw from the lawsuits, though pulling out of the litigation could cost the parish millions, potentially billions of dollars the parish stands to win.

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