By Michael Wines, February 27, 2014. Source: The New York Times
A blue whale near rigs off Southern California. Experts disagree on the effects of seismic surveys on sea mammals. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
The Interior Department opened the door on Thursday to the first searches in decades for oiland gas off the Atlantic coast, recommending that undersea seismic surveys proceed, though with a host of safeguards to shield marine life from much of their impact.
The recommendation is likely to be adopted after a period of public comment and over objections by environmental activists who say it will be ruinous for the climate and sea life alike.
The American Petroleum Institute called the recommendation a critical step toward bolstering the nation’s energy security, predicting that oil and gas production in the region could create 280,000 new jobs and generate $195 billion in private investment.
Activists were livid. Allowing exploration “could be a death sentence for many marine mammals, and is needlessly turning the Atlantic Ocean into a blast zone,” Jacqueline Savitz, a vice president at the conservation group Oceana, said in a statement on Thursday. Continue reading
By Bruce Finley, February 25, 2014. Source: The Denver Post
The oil and gas boom in Weld County has brought transportation problems and officials are looking to use oil and gas severance taxes to deal with the problems, February, 15, 2013. Photo: RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post
While Gov. John Hickenlooper, industry leaders and environment advocates praised Colorado’s new statewide air-pollution rules for oil and gas operations, local elected officials and community activists are launching campaigns to buttress local control.
The elected officials, 50 from around the state, have sent a letter urging Hickenlooper and state lawmakers to reinforce local land-use power over oil and gas development.
Separately, Local Control Colorado, a coalition of community activists, is preparing to gather signatures for a November ballot measure that would amend the state constitution to allow stricter local limits.
“It is wishful thinking to think that better state air-emission rules are going to solve all the problems,” said Boulder County Commissioner Elise Jones, a leader of the local government coalition who backed the state air rules. “But this does not change the fact that communities across Colorado want a say in whether or not industrial oil and gas activity can happen 501 feet from people’s homes. Local governments need that authority to decide their destiny.” Continue reading
By Katie Valentine, February 24, 2014. Source: Climate Progress
In this aerial photo, river traffic is halted along the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Vacherie, La., due to a barge leaking oil in St. James Parish, La., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. Photo: AP PHOTO/GERALD HERBERT
An oil spill has shut down 65 miles of the Mississippi River in New Orleans, as authorities work to clean up the oil.
The spill occurred on Saturday when a barge carrying oil crashed into a tugboat between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Authorities closed the stretch of river on Sunday and still can’t say exactly how much oil was spilled, though a light sheen of oil is being reported. No injuries were reported from the crash.
In St. Charles Parish, public drinking water intakes along the Mississippi were closed as a precaution, but a news release Sunday assured the public that the water supply “remains safe” in the parish. As of Sunday night, the closure was stalling 16 vessels waiting to go downriver and 10 waiting to go upriver.
This isn’t the first time the Mississippi River has experienced an oil spill due to a barge crash. At the end of last month, a barge carrying 80,000 gallons of oil crashed into a rail bridge, spilling oil and causing a sheen as far as three miles from the crash site. That spill closed the Mississippi River for eight miles in each direction. In February 2012, an oil barge crashed into a construction bridge, spilling less than 10,000 gallons of oil into the river. In 2008, according to the AP, a major spill occurred on the Mississippi, when a barge broke in half after a collision and spilled 283,000 gallons of oil into the river, closing it for six days.
By Robert Gibbons and Elizabeth Dilts, February 13, 2014. Source: Reuters
A derailment near Vandergrift, Pa., was the latest in a string of accidents that have prompted calls for stronger safety rules. Jason Cohn/Reuters
A 120-car Norfolk Southern train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil derailed and spilled in western Pennsylvania on Thursday, adding to a string of recent accidents that have prompted calls for stronger safety standards.
There were no reports of injury or fire after 21 tank cars came off the track and crashed into a nearby industrial building at a bend by the Kiskiminetas River in the town of Vandergrift. Nineteen of the derailed cars were carrying oil, four of which spilled between 3,000 and 4,000 gallons of oil, Norfolk Southern said. The leaks have since been plugged. Two other derailed tank cars held liquefied petroleum gas.
The cleanup was underway on Thursday as a heavy winter storm intensified. The Federal Railroad Administration said it was sending an investigator to the site.
The train, which was also carrying food products, crashed into a track-side building owned by the MSI Corporation, which makes metal products. Continue reading
February 13, 2014. Source: Earth Justice
A boy pulls salmon from a net. Photo: TULALIP TRIBES
Opposition to Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain proposed pipeline project ramped up today as Coast Salish peoples on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border vowed to oppose the project as intervenors before Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB). Coast Salish intervenors include the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribes, Lummi Nation, and Suquamish Tribe in Washington state, and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in British Columbia. The deadline for application to participate in the NEB process was [Wednesday] night at midnight.
“Over the last 100 years, our most sacred site, the Salish Sea, has been deeply impacted by our pollution-based economy,” said Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby. “Every kind of pollution ends up in the Salish Sea. We have decided no more and we are stepping forward. It is up to this generation and future generations to restore and protect the precious waters of the Salish Sea.”
“Our people are bound together by our deep connection to Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. We are the ‘People of the Inlet’ and we are united in our resolve to protect our land, water and air from this risky project,” said Chief Maureen Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. “We will use all lawful means to oppose it. This is why we have applied to intervene in the NEB hearing process.” Continue reading
By Erin Flegg, February 6, 2014. Source: Vancouver Observer
Chief Phil Lane Jr. (left) participates in the Vancouver signing of the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred From Tar Sands Projects. Photo courtesy of Phil Lane Jr.
In the latest in a series of announcements escalating resistance to oil and gas development in North America, the Oglala Sioux nation and its allies have committed to stopping the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on their territory if Obama approves the project.
In response to the US State Department’s environmental report that says Keystone wouldn’t increase the country’s carbon emissions Oglala Sioux president Bryan Brewer, along with organizations Honour the Earth, Owe Aku and Protect the Sacred, released a statement declaring they will stand with the Lakota people to block the pipeline. The statement, seen by many as a significant step toward approval, sparked solidarity action across the US on Monday.
Moccasins on the Ground is a grassroots direct action training organization, and trainer Debra White Plum of the Lakota Sioux nation said the group has been working toward this moment, giving nations the skills they need to defend their land, for years now.
The training is available to anyone who invites the group onto their land, and it consists of four days of training in areas such as knowing your rights, blockading and self-defence, first aid and social media. White Plume said a large part of the impetus for offering the training is the size of the territory at risk. Tribes can be several hundred kilometres away from each other, often making quick help hard to come by. Continue reading
By Jorge Barrera, January 31, 2014. Source: APTN National News
The proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Image: U.S. State Department
A Native American alliance is forming to block construction of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline which still needs final approval from U.S. President Barack Obama after the State Department released an environmental report indicating the project wouldn’t have a significant impact Alberta tar sands production.
Members from the seven tribes of the Lakota Nation, along with tribal members and tribes in Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Nebraska and Oregon, have been preparing to stop construction of the 1,400 kilometre pipeline which is slated to run, on the U.S. side, from Morgan, Mon., to Steel City, Neb., and pump 830,000 barrels per day from Alberta’s tar sands. The pipeline would originate in Hardisty, Alta.
“It poses a threat to our sacred water and the product is coming from the tar sands and our tribes oppose the tar sands mining,” said Deborah White Plume, of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, which is part of the Lakota Nation in South Dakota. “All of our tribes have taken action to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline.”
The U.S. State Department released its long awaited environmental report on TransCanada’s proposed pipeline Friday. The report found that the pipeline’s operation would not have a major impact on Alberta tar sands production which is also at the mercy of market forces. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Indigenous Peoples, Oil, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Tar Sands, Water
Today Shell announced it was canceling its 2014 drilling in the Alaskan Arctic. This is a guest blog by Faith Gemmill, Executive Director of Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), on the court decision that forced Shell’s hand, and the Indigenous rights context behind it.
By Faith Gemmill, January 30, 2014. Source: Platform London
Photo: Faith Gemmill/ REDOIL
Last week the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the US government violated the law when it sold offshore oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea off the coast of Alaska. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by a coalition of Alaska Native and conservation groups. Indigenous Plaintiffs included The Native Village of Point Hope, Inupiat Community of the Arctic Slope and Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands (REDOIL), among numerous conservation groups. EarthJustice, a nonprofit environmental law organization, represented our groups.
REDOIL joined this lawsuit because we strongly uphold and promote the subsistence rights of Alaska Natives and offshore development poses a very real threat to those rights in relation to the Chukchi Sea and Inupiat subsistence and that is unacceptable.
This decision is one that we celebrate. Although we’ve had legal victories in court skirmishes on this issue, we’ve been dealt political blows that favored Shell and ignored the rights of the Inupiat and their food security. This is another opportunity for those in decision making positions to realize that offshore drilling in this region is too risky, not only to Inupiat subsistence but to this critical ecosystem.
by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
During Obama’s State of the Union address last night the presence of the star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty might have been the most real part of a very surreal evening.
Of particular note were Obama’s comments on energy and climate change.
While the US Southeast was being hammered by a highly unusual winter storm which stranded thousands in the metro Atlanta area, (no, this does not disprove climate change you nitwits, climate scientists have warned for years that a warming globe means extreme and unpredictable weather) Obama was proclaiming a desire to address climate change so that “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, [we can say] yes we did.”
This sounds wonderful until we consider the “all of the above” energy strategy Obama touted earlier in the speech, which gives a nod to some of the dirtiest, most polluting and destructive energy sources. It includes shale oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota–the gas flares of which can be seen from space. This shale oil is so extremely volatile that in the past year two trains carrying bakken oil have exploded. It means more coal; it means more deep water offshore drilling of the type that caused the BP oil spill disaster. It means more nukes, even in the shadow of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima. And it means more fracking. Obama made a big show of his support for natural gas “if extracted safely,” which it is not.
Obama spent exactly one paragraph on climate change. He declared it a fact. That anyone even needs to do that in this day and age, decades after global warming was identified as a problem, after the Northeast US was smashed by not one but two hurricanes in two consecutive years, after Super-Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, after the record droughts in Australia, Africa and the US Midwest–to name just a few climate-related catastrophes of the past 8 years–is astounding. However, climate change is not only a fact. In my opinion it is the single greatest threat to future generations of humans and most other species. Yet it merited only a passing mention. One paragraph out of a 13 page speech.
Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, Political Repression, Politics, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann
Note: From GJEP Board member Clayton Thomas-Muller about the explosion and the growing resistance to the tar sands:
I am Back home in Capitol City after a trip to Toronto to meet with campaigners from Defenders of the Land and Idle No More and the emerging Energy east Campaign. I wanted to express that we are in a wave of reaction from our foes in the Energy & Extractive Industry Sectors and from the right wing media and Canadian Government. You will see many attempts on both sides of the border to discredit the incredible resiliency of our Indigenous Peoples and our powerful Indigenous Social movement rising with other social movements across the island. They will attempt to use systemic mechanisms built on race, class and gender divisions but make no mistake, we got them on the run. Read the rest of his facebook post here
BY KILEY KROH, JANUARY 26, 2014 Source: ThinkProgress.org
CREDIT: YOUTUBE/ROBERTO GOMEZ
A natural gas pipeline operated by TransCanada Corp. exploded and caught fire in the Canadian province of Manitoba on Saturday, shutting off gas supplies for as many as 4,000 residents in sub-zero temperatures.
“We could see these massive 200- to 300-meter high flames just shooting out of the ground and it literally sounded like a jet plane,” resident Paul Rawluk told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Watch a video of the explosion here:
There were no injuries and the area was evacuated as a precaution, according to the National Energy Board. TransCanada said the fire was extinguished by Saturday afternoon, more than 12 hours after it started, but in order to repair the line, they shut off the natural gas supply to several municipalities.
Temperatures dropped to -20 degrees Celsius overnight.
Niverville Deputy Mayor John Funk said that “service is expected to be lost for minimum of 24 hours to multiple days” in a statement on the town’s website. Funk also said that “Manitoba Hydro is asking residents to turn down thermostats and minimize use of electric heaters.”