Category Archives: Oil

Corporate sponsorship of Indigenous groups: A necessity, or selling out?

By Martha Troian, April 15, 2014. Source: VICE

A drum session at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Victoria. Photo via Facebook.

A drum session at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in Victoria. Photo via Facebook.

As the Canadian government slashes the budgets of Indigenous organizations across the nation, many are struggling to stay afloat. Increasingly, Indigenous organizations are accepting lifelines from a controversial source—namely oil & gas or resource extraction companies—sparking a debate over whether taking the badly needed money is ‘building relationships’ or ‘selling out.’

“We’re trying to rebuild our credibility,” says Hayden King, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Governance (CIG) at Ryerson University, an organization dedicated to advancing issues of Indigenous governance. The Centre launched in 2010, with financial help from Hydro One, the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and Vale Inco, a mining company. “The Indigenous community at Ryerson didn’t know this money had been accepted to launch the Centre,” says King.

Although it was the university who accepted these funds, the Indigenous community withdrew their support, effectively shuttering the Centre for about a year in 2011. King came on board after the Centre reopened, but he’s still dealing with the backlash today.”We’re trying to atone for that but maybe there’s no atoning for it,” he says.

Another group under scrutiny is Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation), a national charity that’s helped tens of thousands of Indigenous people attain higher education. Indspire also produces an awards show that honours the achievements of Indigenous peoples. Much of the money has come from Big Oil. Continue reading

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Evidence of acceleration of anthropogenic climate disruption on all fronts

By Dahr Jamail, April 10, 2014. Source: Truthout

Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout

Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout

 

This month’s dispatch comes on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report, and the news is not good.

“No one on this planet will be untouched by climate change,” IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri announced. The report warned that climate impacts are already “severe, pervasive, and irreversible.”

The IPCC report was one of many released in recent weeks, and all of them bring dire predictions of what is coming. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) issued a report warning that “the rate of climate change now may be as fast as any extended warming period over the past 65 million years, and it is projected to accelerate in the coming decades.” The report went on to warn of the risk “of abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes in the Earth’s climate system with massively disruptive impacts,” including the possible “large scale collapse of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, collapse of part of the Gulf Stream, loss of the Amazon rain forest, die-off of coral reefs, and mass extinctions.”
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Oceans, Oil, UNFCCC

US energy consumption, CO2 emissions up in 2013, new analysis shows

Note: More renewable energy.  More fossil fuels.  More CO2 emissions.  In America (sic), we just want more of everything, planet be damned!

-The GJEP Team

April 2, 2014. Source: ScienceDaily

Natural Gas, frackingAmericans used more renewable, fossil and even nuclear energy in 2013, according to the most recent energy flow charts released by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Each year, the Laboratory releases energy flow charts that illustrate the nation’s consumption and use of energy.Overall, Americans used 2.3 quadrillion thermal units more in 2013 than the previous year.

The Laboratory also has released a companion chart illustrating the nation’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Americans’ carbon dioxide emissions increased to 5,390 million metric tons, the first annual increase since 2010.
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Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Hydroelectric dams, Hydrofracking, Nuclear power, Oil

BP doubles initial size estimate of Lake Michigan oil spill

By Steve Horn, March 27, 2014. Source: DeSmog Blog

Using vacuum trucks to pick up oil. Photo: U.S. EPA

Using vacuum trucks to pick up oil. Photo: U.S. EPA

Three days after spilling crude oil into Lake Michigan, BP has doubled its spill estimate to between 470 and 1228 gallons. The leak happened at its refinery in Whiting, Ind.

Although some of the oil has been cleaned up, it’s unclear how much is left in the lake, a drinking water source for about seven million Chicagoans.

Located just across the Illinois-Indiana state border, Whiting is home to the sixth largest refinery in the U.S. The refinery just went through a $4 billion “modernization project,” giving it “the capability of processing up to about 85 percent heavy crude.” That’s up from its original 20 percent, says BP’s website.
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BP confirms tar sands spill into Lake Michigan from Whiting refinery

By Michael Hawthorne, March 25, 2014. Source: Chicago Tribune

Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune

Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune

Less than a year after BP started up a new unit to process Canadian tar sands at its Whiting refinery, the company reported today that a malfunction allowed a slug of crude oil into Lake Michigan a few miles away from the Chicago city limits.

It remains unclear how much oil spilled into the lake or how long the discharge continued. Workers at the refinery reported an oil sheen on the water about 4:30 p.m. Monday, and an official from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the leak was plugged by the time he arrived at 9 p.m.

Mike Beslow, the EPA’s emergency response coordinator, said there appeared to be no negative effects on Lake Michigan, the source of drinking water for 7 million people in Chicago and the suburbs. The 68th Street water intake crib is about eight miles northwest of the spill site, but there were no signs of oil drifting in that direction.

Initial reports suggest that strong winds pushed most of the oil toward a sandy cove on BP’s property between the refinery and an Arcelor Mittal steel mill. A flyover Tuesday afternoon revealed no visible oil beyond booms laid on the water to prevent the oil from spreading, Beslow said.

“There is no known impact to wildlife or human health at this time,” Beslow said.

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Oils spill cleanup impedes major Texas ship channel

March 24, 2014. Source: Associated Press

A barge loaded with heavy oil was partially submerged Saturday, March 22, 2014, in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas after colliding with another ship.  Photo: US News and World Report

A barge loaded with heavy oil was partially submerged Saturday, March 22, 2014, in the Houston Ship Channel in Texas after colliding with another ship. Photo: US News and World Report

TEXAS CITY, Texas (AP) — A barge that once carried some 900,000 gallons of heavy tar-like oil was cleared of its remaining contents Sunday, a day after the vessel collided with a ship in the busy Houston Ship Channel and leaked about a fifth of its cargo into the waterway.

Coast Guard officials said that up to 168,000 gallons were dumped after one of the barge’s tanks ruptured and that oil had been detected 12 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico as of Sunday afternoon.

“This is a significant spill,” Capt. Brian Penoyer, commander of the Coast Guard at Houston-Galveston, said.

But he said the emptying of the barge Sunday, a process known as lightering as contents are transferred to other vessels, was an important step as it had eliminated the risk of additional oil spilling.

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Exxon Valdez: What lessons have we learned from the 1989 oil spill disaster?

By Martin Robards, March 24, 2014. Source: The Guardian

Staining the vista of the Chugach Mountains, the Exxon Valdez lies atop Bligh Reef two days after the grounding on 25 March 1989. Photograph: Natalie B Fobes/NG/Getty Images

Staining the vista of the Chugach Mountains, the Exxon Valdez lies atop Bligh Reef two days after the grounding on 25 March 1989. Photograph: Natalie B Fobes/NG/Getty Images

Even after the recent Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico— a much larger accident in terms of the amount of oil released — the spectre of Exxon Valdez remains fresh in the minds of many Americans old enough to remember the wall-to-wall media coverage of crude-smothered rocks, birds, and marine mammals.

In the quarter century since the Exxon Valdez foundered, changing economic and climatic conditions have led to increased Arctic shipping, including increasing volumes of petroleum products through the Arctic. Sadly, apart from a few areas around oil fields, there is little to no capacity to respond to an accident – leaving the region’s coastal indigenous communities and iconic wildlife at risk of a catastrophe.

Local Alaskans and conservationists like myself – who witnessed the Exxon Valdez impact at close range – will never forget the damage. The wake of oil spread far from Bligh Reef, devastating life in Prince William Sound, killing over a quarter of a million seabirds at the large colonies in neighbouring Cook Inlet, before moving along the coast of Kodiak and to a point on the Alaska Peninsula 460 miles to the south. Continue reading

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Repsol sells oil stake in ‘isolated’ Indigenous People’s territory in Peruvian Amazon

By David Hill, March 13, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

Photo: Rainforest Foundation Norway

Photo: Rainforest Foundation Norway

Oil and gas company Repsol is selling its stake in controversial oil operations in a remote part of the Peruvian Amazon inhabited by indigenous people in ‘voluntary isolation’ (IPVI), just across the border from the ITT oil fields in Ecuador.

Repsol’s move follows an investigation by the Council on Ethics within Norway’s Finance Ministry which, according to Norwegian sources, recommended the Ministry divest from the company because of its operations in this region.

The decision by Repsol to sell its stake was revealed in a report by Peru’s state oil and gas licensing agency, Perupetro, which stated that a Repsol Peru subsidiary is selling 50% of Lot 39, as the oil concession is called, to Perenco.

Repsol spokesperson Gonzalo Velasco Perez confirms the sale, saying, ‘In November Repsol started the process of ceding the 50% of the rights in Lot 39 in Peru to Perenco. The process hasn’t finished yet and will take a few more months.’

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Nunavut community opposes offshore oil and gas exploration

By Warren Bernauer, March 4, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Photo: Intercontinental Cry

Photo: Intercontinental Cry

The Inuit community of Clyde River has restated its opposition to a proposal by the oil industry to conduct offshore seismic surveys near the community’s hunting grounds. The proposal is currently being assessed by the National Energy Board (NEB), and Nunavut communities are waiting for the board to finish analyzing submissions and make a decision on the file.

Residents of several communities on Baffin Island have repeatedly opposed this proposal since it was first brought forward in 2011. Nunavut’s Inuit organizations have recommended the proposal not be approved until a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is conducted on the broader question of oil and gas development in the area. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has initiated an SEA, and preliminary meetings were held in Baffin communities in February 2014.

However, the NEB has indicated that the SEA process will not alter its assessment of the proposed seismic survey. The consortium proposing the survey has begun advertising job openings for the proposed project in local media, with an expected start date of August 2014. Continue reading

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Chevron’s U.S. win in Ecuador case looms over cases elsewhere

By Mica Rosenberg, March 7, 2014. Source: Reuters

A waste pit filled with crude oil left by Texaco drilling operations years earlier lies in a jungle clearing near the Amazonian town of Sacha, Ecuador, October 21, 2003, on the day of the start of a landmark trial where Ecuadoran Indians are seeking to force ChevronTexaco to clean up the environmental contamination left behind from Texaco's operations.  Photo: REUTERS/LOU DEMATTEIS

A waste pit filled with crude oil left by Texaco drilling operations years earlier lies in a jungle clearing near the Amazonian town of Sacha, Ecuador, October 21, 2003, on the day of the start of a landmark trial where Ecuadoran Indians are seeking to force ChevronTexaco to clean up the environmental contamination left behind from Texaco’s operations. Photo: REUTERS/LOU DEMATTEIS

Ecuadorean villagers who are trying to get billions of dollars from Chevron Corp for pollution in the Amazon jungle are ready to refocus their fight on pending suits in other countries after a setback in the United States.

A scathing judgment issued by a U.S. judge this week against their lawyer will cast a long shadow over cases filed in Canada, Brazil and Argentina, where the plaintiffs are seeking Chevron assets as payment because the oil giant no longer has a presence in Ecuador.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan handed down a 500-page decision that found American lawyer Stephen Donziger used “corrupt means” to help villagers from the Lago Agrio region win the historic $18 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in 2011. The damage award was later revised down to $9.5 billion. While Kaplan’s decision bars Donziger and the villagers from enforcing the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States, it is not binding in pending cases elsewhere.

Of the three cases, the Canadian one seems to have progressed the farthest, with an appeals court there ruling in December that the province of Ontario was a proper jurisdiction for the plaintiffs to press the company to pay up. Chevron has asked for an appeal of that ruling to be heard by Canada’s Supreme Court. Continue reading

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