Category Archives: Oil

BP still in denial about impact of Gulf oil disaster

A new report released this week by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil disaster from April of 2010 left at least 10 million gallons of congealed oil on the floor of the Gulf.

BP disputes the findings saying that “the authors fail to identify the source of the oil.”

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-

Tons of BP Oil Still on the Bottom of the Gulf of Mexico

A new study shows that cleanup barely scratched the surface

Tim McDonnell, Mother Jones. 27 October 2014

We all saw the images of oil-coated birds and shorelines in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill. These were the most visible impacts of the catastrophe, but much of the oil that gushed from the busted Macondo wellhead 5,000 feet underwater never made it to the surface. Of the estimated 5 million barrels that spilled, approximately 2 million stayed trapped in the deep ocean. And up to 31 percent of that oil is now lying on the ocean floor, according to a new study.

Based on an analysis of sea-floor sediment samples collected from the the Gulf of Mexico, geochemists at the University of California-Santa Barbara were able to offer the first clues about the final resting place of hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil. Their results were published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The data, which was gathered as part of the ongoing federal damage assessment, shows “a smokingly clear signal, like a bulls-eye” around the Macondo well, said lead author David Valentine.

In a related story published last week in GRIST, researchers claim that they can now identify the fingerprints from tracking operations in polluted water contaminated by fracking. Maybe the day is not so far off where forensics will link BP to the world’s greatest ecological catastrophe in ways that are undeniable, even in their own minds.

Read more here.

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Filed under Human made disasters, Oceans, Oil, Pollution

Today ends the EPA’s public comment period for new standards on oil refineries

For people living in the shadows of oil refineries, simply breathing can be a major health risk. The EPA’s proposed new standards, aimed to reduce cancer risk, still leave a lot to be desired. According to an article on EarthJustice, more than 275,000 public comments, plus a comment letter from about 100 organizations, are not letting the EPA get away with providing the bare minimum of protection.

The ConocoPhillips oil refinery in Wilmington, California. PHOTO: JESSE MARQUEZ

The ConocoPhillips oil refinery in Wilmington, California. PHOTO: JESSE MARQUEZ

Today, Oct. 28, 2014, marks the end of the public comments period on these new proposals. However well-intended these suggestions are, regulations don’t reverse climate change. They also don’t cure cancer, asthma and death. More than regulations and new standards are needed to create real, sustainable climate change.

COMMUNITIES CALL FOR STRONGER PROTECTION FROM OIL REFINERIES’ AIR POLLUTION; EPA’S PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ENDING
by EarthJustice, 27 October 2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has received more than 275,000 public comments supporting strengthening health and safety standards proposed in May that would reduce hazardous air pollution from oil refineries. In addition, EPA received a comment letter from over 100 community, health, and environmental organizations.

Tomorrow, October 28, the EPA’s public comment period on the proposal ends.

Community comments provide support for finalizing a more robust standard by specifically calling for reducing emissions from not only some parts of a refinery, but also leaks and flaring of cancer-causing air toxics. Comments were generated by Earthjustice, CREDO, Sierra Club and many others.

Get the whole story here.

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Filed under Climate Change, Energy, EPA, Oil, Pollution

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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Filed under Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, BREAKING NEWS, Campaign to STOP GE Trees, Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Coal, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Fracking, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric dams, Industrial agriculture, Keystone XL, Mining, Mountaintop Removal, Oil, Pollution, Tar Sands, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized, Water

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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Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Energy, Events, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Independent Media, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans, Oil, Pollution, Uncategorized

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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Filed under Climate Change, Climate Justice, Oil

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