Category Archives: Oil

Canada Now Leads Brazil in Deforestation

Scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch, and the World Resources Institute are tracking global forest decline and have announced that the rate of decline is accelerating.

Canada has now surpassed all other countries including Brazil as being responsible for loss of forest landscapes since 2000.  According to a story in the Ottawa Citizen published last week, the “main drivers are fire, logging, and energy and industrial development.”

Resource exploitation in the boreal forests of Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta are particularly devastating. Satellite imagery shows that the boreal forests in the area of the oil sands between Fort McMurray and Lake Athabasca has been almost totally devastated.

 

Lakes, like these in Northern Ontario dot Canada's boreal forests and contain 25 percent of the world's wetlands.  Photo- Jeff Wells

Lakes, like these in Northern Ontario dot Canada’s boreal forests and contain 25 percent of the world’s wetlands. Photo- Jeff Wells

According to Dr Nigel Sizer, director of the forest program at the World Resources Institute, “if this rate of degradation continues “business as usual will lead to destruction of most remaining intact forests in this century”

Canada leads world in forest decline, report says
By William Marsden, Ottawa Citizen. September 3, 2014.

WASHINGTON – The world’s virgin forests are being lost at an increasing rate and the largest portion of the degradation is in Canada, according to a new report.

No longer is Brazil the main villain in the struggle to stop forest destruction.

“Canada is the number one in the world for the total area of the loss of intact forest landscapes since 2000,” Peter Lee, of Forest Watch Canada, said in an interview.

He said the main drivers are fires, logging and energy and industrial development.

“There is no political will at federal or provincial levels for conserving primary forests,” he said. “Most logging done in Canada is still to this day done in virgin forests.”

Using satellite technology, scientists from the University of Maryland, Greenpeace, Global Forest Watch and the World Resources Institute have tracked changes in the earth’s forest coverage. The scientists discovered that the pace of decline is accelerating with more than 104 million hectares – about 8.1 per cent of global undisturbed forests — lost from 2000 to 2013.

Read the whole article here

 

 

 

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BP will appeal $18 billion fine: That is the corporate message as people who have lost everything continue to suffer

The BP fine over the Macondo Gulf of Mexico disaster was unexpected, at least by BP.  The company had put aside $3.5 billion to pay its way out of the Clean Water Act violations and has fully intended to continue business as usual. However, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier in his 153 page decision ruled that BP is “grossly negligent” and engaged in decisions that were “profit” rather than “safety” driven. The finding of “gross negligence” increases the amount of the fine by up to four times. If the company had been found merely negligent, the fines could be $1,100 per barrel spilled. Gross negligence ups that to $4,300 per barrel.

BP continues to contest the amount spilled and has hired the the best science that money can buy and shady public relations advisors to convince the world that they didn’t really spill all that much oil.  Expect the appeal process to focus on that.  Meanwhile, according to the article below published by the Bellona Foundation, thousands of people affected by the disaster and the clean-up efforts are so sick that they will never work again, and never have normal lives.

 

Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig explodes and burns, April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico-

Deepwater Horizon Drilling Rig explodes and burns, April 21, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico-

 

BP found guilty of ‘gross negligence’ in Deepwater Horizon spill – victims far from rejoicing
By Charles Digges, Bellona Foundation. Sept. 5, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – British oil giant BP’s “gross negligence” and “profit-driven decisions” in the Gulf of Mexico was directly responsible for the worst accidental oil spill in history, Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled in New Orleans Thursday – to a tepid reception from those a possible settlement might benefit.

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which BP leased and operated, exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, killing 11 men and spewing 4.9 million of barrels of oil and plodded through 87 days of hit and miss attempts to plug it until it finally manage to seal it.

Read the whole story here

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Moyers & Company Report Reveals Much about America’s Oil Train Problems

Oil is our focus this first Friday of  September. We are pleased to link you to this Moyers & Company piece published earlier this week. This is one of the most comprehensive pieces on the growing Oil Train issue that we have seen recently. Kudos to multi-media producer and author John Light for bringing this to the growing Moyers & Company audiences!

July 16, 2013. tankers lined up at the Port of Albany, Albany New York. Photo-AP/Mike Groll

July 16, 2013. tankers lined up at the Port of Albany, Albany New York. Photo-AP/Mike Groll

 America’s Exploding Oil Train Problem
By John Light, Moyers & Company. September 2, 2014

If you reside in the US, there’s around an eight percent chance that you live in an oil train’s blast zone. And there’s a fight going on at the state and federal levels, between monied interests and regulatory agencies, over efforts to ensure that these trains — which have shown a tendency to burst into flames — will be relatively safe.

The increased use of hydraulic fracturing — fracking — has made oil that was previously inaccessible available to drillers. The crude then has to make its way to refineries, and while the boom in pipeline projects has received quite a bit of attention, roughly 60 percent of it travels by rail.

Read the whole story here

 

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Oil, Politics, Pollution, Tar Sands, Uncategorized, Water

Three great stories: Protests of an oil train terminal and coal baron, and a judge’s ruling

20140904_090251-1024x768I couldn’t choose just one story for this post: There were three great ones and since they are all related to the fight against extreme energy, here they are.

First, a US judged ruled yesterday that BP was reckless, making “profit-driven decisions” with a “disregard for known risks.” This opens BP up to billions in penalties, particularly civil fines based on the Clean Water Act. Moreover, couldn’t all other extreme energy endeavors be called reckless using similar criteria? The following protests are exactly about other examples.

Next, protesters in Richmond, CA chained themselves to the fence of the Kinder Morgan rail terminal to protest new work taken on there transporting crude oil from trains to trucks.

Finally, check out this story about another protest, this time a banner drop, by Mountain Justice, Rising Tide North America and Radical Action for Mountain’s and Peoples’ Survival (RAMPS) in Roanoke, VA calling out “coal baron” Jim Justice, for “poisoning water, exposing communities to devastating mountaintop removal coal mining operations and leaving central Appalachia a public health disaster.”

As always, looks like the protesters got bail costs or fines associated with their nonviolent protest. Please follow the links to donate!

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Mountaintop Removal, Oil

Exxon hates America (and your children)

From the creative minds that brought us “Exxon Hates Your Children,” comes the next segment in this clever and creative advertising campaign — “Exxon Hates America.”

According to an article on HuffPost Green, green organizations Oil Change International, The Other 98% and Environmental Action developed this companion to the 2013 debut ad campaign, “Exxon Hates Your Children.”

Originally set to air during the 2013 U.S. State of the Union Address by Barak Obama, Exxon whipped out its legal big guns and had the video pulled at the last moment.

These videos are comical, for sure, but they speak the truth. By allowing big oil to receive governmental tax breaks and funds, we are, in essence, buying the death of our planet.

‘Exxon Hates America’ Ad Is Logical Follow-Up To ‘Exxon Hates Your Children’

By James Gerken, Huff Post Green, July 1, 2014

[...]

“Exxon and Big Oil & Gas have a vision for America that is a nightmare for our communities and our climate,” Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, said in a statement Tuesday. “Adding insult to that injury, they’re being paid with billions of our taxpayer dollars, while the climate continues to spiral out of control.”

Last month was the warmest May on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Data also show that June will mark the third month in a row with atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations above 400 parts per million, a level not seen in at least 800,000 years.

Read more at Huff Post Green.

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Seattle Activists Block Oil Train for Eight Hours

RisingTideSeaSeptYesterday, residents of the Seattle area worked with Rising Tide Seattle to block train tracks right in front of an oil train, stalling it for 8 hours.

Rising Tide did an excellent summary of the dramatic events, also captured on their Twitter feed. Their summary, though, also puts this event into the context of the Northwest fossil fuel industry and the summer of oil train protests.

SEATTLE ACTIVISTS MOUNT TRIPOD – STOP EXPLODING OIL TRAINS
By Rising Tide North America, September 2, 2014.

Five residents of Seattle and Everett, WA, working with Rising Tide Seattle, have stopped work at a Burlington Northern Santa-Fe Rail Yard in Everett by erecting a tripod-structure on the outbound railroad tracks, directly in front of a mile-long oil train.

Seattle resident Abby Brockway – a small business owner, and mother – is suspended from the structure 18 feet above the tracks while four other residents are locked to the legs the tripod. The group is demanding an immediate halt to all shipments of fossil fuels through the Northwest and calling on Governor Inslee to reject permits for all new fossil fuel projects in Washington, including proposed coal and oil terminals.

Click here to read more and find out where to donate to support those involved.

Click here for the Twitter feed.

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White House Council on Environmental Quality buries its head in sand on climate change ruling – DeSmog Blog

Over the past weekend Steve Horn published an important analysis of the recent federal decisions by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) to not offer guidance to the federal agencies that it coordinates regarding energy policy and climate change. Industry pushback is given as a primary reason that the CEQ has dropped the ball.

Maybe organizers and participants at the September 17-24  Week of Action surrounding the People’s Climate March in New York can find a way to fit an objection into their busy “demands” list!

Photo from FOEI

Photo from FOEI

 Legal Case: White House Argues Against Considering Climate Change on Energy Projects
By Steve Horn, DeSmog Blog. August 31, 2014.

Just over a month before the United Nations convenes on September 23 in New York City to discuss climate change and activists gather for a week of action, the Obama White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) argued it does not have to offer guidance to federal agencies it coordinates with to consider climate change impacts for energy decisions.

It came just a few weeks before a leaked draft copy of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest assessment said climate disruption could cause “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.”

 

Read the whole article here

Demand System Change!

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Find Your Community on U.S. Oil Train Blast Zones Map

A new website has published an interactive map of the U.S and Canadian Rail system that is being used to transport millions of gallons of potentially dangerous crude oil.  The lines run through cities and towns and rural areas across the land.  We know from the Lac-Megantic, Quebec disaster of July 2013 that destroyed the town and killed 47 people, that safety is hardly assured.  Oil transportation by rail has increased 4000% in the last six years. Are safety strategies keeping up with this increase?

 

Police helicopter photo of Lac-Megantic of the derailment.

Police helicopter photo of Lac-Megantic of the derailment.

Do you want to know if these trains are running through your community? The organization that created the website, ForestEthics.org has published the map and has a petition for you to sign.

 Petition- To: US President Obama and Congress

It seems each month another town is facing a terrifying oil train derailment, poisoned drinking water, or a deadly explosion. Our rail system takes these trains through population centers by schools and homes. Safety standards are weak and our emergency responders are not equipped for accidents.

We are not prepared for this threat:

Oil trains are more than a mile-long with 100+ cars, concentrating the risk of an accident that could ignite the three million gallons of crude on a single train.
Oil train traffic has increased more than 4,000 percent in the last five years.
Rail routes run right through major urban areas and cross water supplies. The US rail system was not designed to transport dangerous crude oil.
Dangerous DOT-111 cars, which make up the majority of US oil tanker trains, have serious flaws that make them highly prone to puncture during a derailment.
We have the solution:

The first step: Ban unsafe oil tanker cars.
We must prepare and equip emergency responders and reroute trains around population centers and away from water supplies.
New rail safety rules must be strong and must give citizens the information they need to protect themselves and the power to say no.
We do not need the extreme oil transported by these trains. The crude oil carried by train is more explosive and more toxic than conventional crude oil; it is also more carbon intensive. At a time when our oil use is decreasing and the threat of climate disruption is growing, the risk from oil trains is unacceptable.

View the Map and Sign the Petition Here

Learn More about Oil Trains Here

 

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