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DocWatch
oil issues
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News stories about "oil issues," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?oil+issues
Related Scary Tags:
toxic leak  ~ contamination  ~ capitalist greed  ~ corporate malfeasance  ~ climate impacts  ~ economic myopia  ~ health impacts  ~ carbon emissions  ~ massive die-off  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ anthropogenic change  



Tue, Jan 5, 2016
from E&E Publishing:
Okla. shaking jumped 50 percent in 2015
The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma rose 50 percent last year, easily surpassing the record number that hit the state in 2014. Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) data show that the state was shaken by 881 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater, or an average of 2.4 per day. That's up from 585 in 2014. U.S. Geological Survey data show that California had 128 such quakes in 2015. Scientists and state officials say the increase in earthquakes in Oklahoma likely has been caused by wastewater disposal from oil and gas operations. Oil production methods that yield unusually large volumes of water have combined with favorably aligned faults under the state to cause the unprecedented shaking. ...


I feel the earth move under my feet I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down...

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 5, 2016
from Wisconsin State Journal:
Pipeline company sues county over moot insurance requirement
A Canadian oil pipeline company that is building a tar sands oil pumping station in northeastern Dane County sued the county on Monday over the continued inclusion of permit language requiring it to buy spill insurance, despite a new state law forbidding that requirement.... The state Legislature included language in the state budget, signed by Gov. Scott Walker in July, that prohibits such insurance requirements, but the county zoning committee on Sept. 29 voted to restore the requirement, adding a note that reflects the state law... County Board Chairwoman Sharon Corrigan has said that the board left the insurance requirement in the permit in case a future Legislature changes the law. ...


One can always hope.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 28, 2015
from Inside Climate News:
Basic Water Source for Most Alberta Tar Sands Could Run Dry
"We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record."... Tar sands projects are already threatened by a slump in oil prices, as well as pending global action to address climate change. Tar sands drilling is a prominent target of environmental groups and climate activists because the oil emits an estimated three to four times more carbon dioxide when burned than conventional crude. Its water use only adds to the environmental costs. ...


Brevity is the soul of "OMG, WTF?"

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from Rolling Stone:
What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?
...an alarming number of babies were dying in Vernal -- at least 10 in 2013 alone, what seemed to her a shockingly high infant mortality rate for such a small town... in Vernal, a town literally built by oil, raising questions about the safety of fracking will brand you a traitor and a target... Suspect One: the extraordinary levels of wintertime pollution plaguing the Basin since the vast new undertaking to frack the region's shale filled the air with toxins. ...


Stillborn: my new band name.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 7, 2015
from Bill McKibben, CommonDreams:
How Humankind Blew the Fight Against Climate Change
... As Exxon Mobil's Rex Tillerson -- the highest-paid chief executive of the richest fossil fuel firm on the planet -- gave his talk, the death toll from India's heat wave mounted and pictures circulated on the Internet of Delhi's pavement literally melting. Meanwhile, satellite images showed Antarctica's Larsen B ice shelf on the edge of disintegration. And how did Tillerson react? By downplaying climate change and mocking renewable energy. To be specific, he said that "inclement weather" and sea level rise "may or may not be induced by climate change," but in any event technology could be developed to cope with any trouble. "Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity and those solutions will present themselves as those challenges become clear,", he said. But apparently those solutions don't include, say, the wind and sun. Exxon Mobil wouldn't invest in renewable energy, Tillerson said, because clean technologies don't make enough money and rely on government mandates that were (remarkable choice of words) "not sustainable." He neglected to mention the report a week earlier from the not-very-radical International Monetary Fund detailing $5.3 trillion a year in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.... ...


I'm just glad the status quo has such a well-funded support network!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jan 9, 2015
from Globe & Mail:
Oil sands must remain largely unexploited to meet climate target, study finds
The study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, does not single out the Alberta oil sands for special scrutiny, but rather considers the geographic distribution of the world's total fossil fuel supply, including oil, coal and natural gas reserves, and their potential impact on international efforts to curb global warming.... As previous studies have already shown, roughly two-thirds of fossil fuels that can already be extracted at a competitive price will need to remain unburned before 2050 to achieve this goal. The new analysis shows that in order to optimize costs and benefits, that two-thirds cannot be evenly distributed around the world, but must be skewed toward more carbon-intense fuels situated far from potential markets. The computer model suggests that it will be next to impossible to meet climate targets if those fuels are tapped to a significant degree, even as producers continue to develop these reserves.... The study uses a more conservative estimate of 48 billion barrels as the current reserve and then finds that only 7.5 billion barrels of that, or about 15 per cent, can be used by 2050 as part of the global allotment of fossil-fuel use in a two-degree scenario. The figure assumes that new technologies will make possible a reduction in the carbon intensity of oil sands production. If this does not happen, the authors say, then even less of the oil-sands reserve should be extracted. ...


Tell ya what, oil sands: take your 15 cents on the dollar, and we won't sue you for environmental reparations.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Dec 13, 2014
from The Independent (UK):
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
The collapsing oil price that is reshaping the global economy could derail the green energy revolution by making renewable power sources prohibitively bad value, experts have warned. Oil tumbled below $60 a barrel for the first time in more than five years yesterday - a fall of 44 per cent since June. It is forecast to fall further. A new "era of cheap oil" would be good news for consumers and motorists - but analysts say the consequences for politics, industry and the climate could be even more radical. The ripple effects could help the Conservatives to remain in power at next year's general election by making voters feel richer as bills fall - while hurting Scotland's oil-reliant economy and setting back its campaign for independence. ...


Let's rethink ourselves, and rethink that again.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 10, 2014
from Reuters, via HuffingtonPost:
Abandoned U.S. Oil Wells Still Spewing Methane, Study Finds
Some of the millions of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in the United States are still spewing methane, marking a potentially large source of unrecorded greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released on Monday. Researchers at Princeton University measured emissions from dozens of abandoned wells in Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2014 and found they were emitting an average of 0.27 kg (0.6 lbs) of methane per day, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "These measurements show that methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells can be significant," according to the study. "The research required to quantify these emissions nationally should be undertaken so they can be accurately described and included in greenhouse gas emissions inventories." ...


Should the land, I don't know, scab over or something?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 30, 2014
from Desmog.ca:
Environment Canada Study Reveals Oilsands Tailings Ponds Emit Toxins to Atmosphere Five Times Higher Levels than Reported
There are more than 176 square kilometres of tailings ponds holding waste from oilsands development in the area around Fort McMurray, Alberta. According to new research released from Environment Canada, those tailings ponds are emitting much higher levels of toxic and potentially cancer-causing contaminants into the air than previously reported. As the Canadian Press reports, Environment Canada scientist Elisabeth Galarneau is the first to conduct field studies in the region and her research confirms that previous estimates of chemical release into the air have been massively underestimated. "We found that there actually does appear to be a net flow of these compounds going from water to air," Galarneau told the Canadian Press. "It's just a bit under five times higher from the ponds than what's been reported." ...


Almost five times as much? Let's attribute that to sampling error.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 23, 2014
from New Orleans Advocate:
BP plans to appeal oil spill settlement ruling to the Supreme Court
After a federal appeals court denied a request to rehear its case, international energy company BP will seek relief with the nations highest court. The decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit this week would close the door on BP's attempt to have a court redefine the terms of a settlement agreement that governs the criteria in which claims are paid. For much of the past year, the company has disputed the current standard, arguing that failing to require claimants to show "direct evidence of causation" essentially expands the class of people eligible to receive payments. ...


They selected a president, why not come to the aid of poor BP.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 22, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
U.S. officials cut estimate of recoverable Monterey Shale oil by 96 percent
Federal energy authorities have slashed by 96 percent the estimated amount of recoverable oil buried in California's vast Monterey Shale deposits, deflating its potential as a national "black gold mine" of petroleum. Just 600 million barrels of oil can be extracted with existing technology, far below the 13.7 billion barrels once thought recoverable from the jumbled layers of subterranean rock spread across much of Central California, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. The new estimate, expected to be released publicly next month, is a blow to the nation's oil future and to projections that an oil boom would bring as many as 2.8 million new jobs to California and boost tax revenue by $24.6 billion annually. ...


A minor miscalculation.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 15, 2014
from IEA, via Grist:
End fossil fuel burning, save $71 trillion -- and preserve civilization as we know it
First, here's what might seem to be bad news from the new report: It would cost the world $44 trillion to end our fossil fuel addiction by 2050 and switch to clean energy. Worse, this figure is $8 trillion higher than the IEA's last estimate, published two years ago. Expected costs have risen because we've delayed the process of switching over to climate-friendly energy sources. And now the good news: We can save $115 trillion in fuel costs by 2050 if we move away from dirty energy, making for net savings of $71 trillion. ...


But that would disrupt the existing suicidal economic paradigm of growth at all costs!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 12, 2014
from Associated Press:
Fed govt failed to inspect higher risk oil wells
The government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say. The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands. Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data. ...


All's not well that ends not well.

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Mon, May 5, 2014
from WNDU.com:
Sen. Donnelly supports bipartisan bill approving Keystone XL pipeline
Senate supporters of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline have introduced legislation authorizing its immediate construction and say they expect the measure will come to a vote in the coming days. The legislation was introduced by Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota... Senator Joe Donnelly announced on Thursday his support for the bipartisan legislation, which would approve the pipeline without requiring a permit from President Obama. "I'm supporting this bipartisan bill because it would enable Congress to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, ending the long delay," Sen. Donnelly explained. ...


Say it ain't so, Joe!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 30, 2014
from Environmental News Service:
Russia Ships First Arctic Oil, Fortifies Oil Defenses
Riding on his pride in the first export of Russian Arctic oil earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that allows oil and gas corporations to establish private armed security forces to defend their infrastructure, upping the ante for protestors. On the same day, April 22, Earth Day, Putin also met with the Russian Security Council. There he said, "Oil and gas production facilities, loading terminals and pipelines should be reliably protected from terrorists and other potential threats. Nothing can be treated as trivia here." ...


Don't let anyone tell you we are not at war.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
Environment Second radioactive oil waste site found in North Dakota
North Dakota this week confirmed the discovery of a new radioactive dump of waste from oil drilling. And separately, a company hired to clean up similar waste found in February at another location said it had removed more than double the amount of radioactive material originally estimated to be there. The twin disclosures highlight a growing problem from North Dakota's booming Bakken oil development, and for other oil and gas operations across the country: the illegal disposal of radioactive material from drilling sites. Rocks deep in the earth contain naturally radioactive material, and when those rocks are drilled for oil and gas the drilling equipment and water can become slightly irradiated. As more drilling occurs across the nation, experts warn of a brewing crisis of leftover radioactive materials. ...


Clearly, the rocks are at fault here.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from The Canadian Press, via HuffingtonPost:
Northern Gateway Pipeline Rejected By B.C. First Nation
A group of First Nations with territory covering a quarter of the route for the proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline met with federal representatives Friday to officially reject the project.... "We do not, we will not, allow this pipeline," Peter Erickson, a hereditary chief of the Nak'azdli First Nation, told the six federal bureaucrats. "We're going to send the message today to the federal government and to the company itself: their pipeline is dead. Under no circumstances will that proposal be allowed. "Their pipeline is now a pipe dream."... The bands said the project is now banned from Yinka Dene territories, under their traditional laws. Members young and old of the Nadleh Whut'en, Nak'azdli, Saik'uz, Takla Lake, Tl'azt'en and Wet'suwet'en communities were unanimous. They said the decision by the four clans marks the end of negotiations. ...


Clearly these natives don't understand how "negotiations" are arranged.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Judge suspends Arctic drilling, orders new environmental report
In the ongoing battle over offshore drilling, a federal judge in Alaska told regulators Thursday to redo an environmental impact study that underestimated the amount of recoverable oil and, potentially, the risks to delicate Arctic habitat. The decision by U.S. District Judge Ralph Beistline stopped short of scrapping the $2.6 billion in leases, however. His ruling followed an appeals court decision in January that federal officials had arbitrarily decided drilling companies could extract 1 billion barrels of oil from the shallow waters off the northwest coast of Alaska. That figure led to a misguided environmental study, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. ...


Sounds like an arctivist judge to me.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 22, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Humpback Whale Quietly Removed From 'Threatened' Species List
The North Pacific humpback whale is no longer protected as a "threatened" species after the Canadian government quietly downgraded its classification earlier this month. Despite objections from several groups, the Harper government declared the humpback a "species of special concern" under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The whale population off the B.C. coast has increased "significantly" since it was first listed as threatened in 2005, so it is now at a point where it can be reclassified, according to a federal government notice in the Canadian Gazette. The change is being made as two major pipeline projects are in the middle of regulatory applications. Approval would increase vessel traffic, which collides with humpbacks about three times a year in B.C. waters.... The decision "has absolutely no basis in science and is simply a political move to clear the way to approve the [Enbridge] pipeline," Karen Wristen, executive director of the Living Oceans Society, told CBC News. ...


We call it a pre-emptive strike against future regulatory impediments.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 26, 2014
from NOAA:
Evidence Finds BP Gulf Oil Disaster Causing Widespread Deformities in Fish
Crude oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster causes severe defects in the developing hearts of bluefin and yellowfin tunas, according to a new study by a team of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and academic scientists. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, show how the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history may have affected tunas and other species that spawned in oiled offshore habitats in the northern Gulf of Mexico. ...


It broke our hearts.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 26, 2014
from Chicago Tribune:
BP confirms oil spill into Lake Michigan from Whiting refinery
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. ...


No worries, our waterways are used to these spills by now.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 25, 2014
from Associated Press:
EPA says Ohio oil leak at 20K gallons
Federal environmental officials now estimate more than 20,000 gallons of crude oil -- double the initial estimates -- leaked from a pipeline into a nature preserve in southwest Ohio... The oil leaked into an intermittent stream and acre-sized marshy area in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve just west of Cincinnati. Teams from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio EPA and other federal, state and local agencies responded after Sunoco Logistics reported the leak at about 1 a.m. EDT March 18. Officials say no problems have been found with air quality or local water wells, but some small wildlife has been affected by contamination. ...


Always look on the bright side!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 24, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Barge spills oil near Texas wildlife sanctuary
Oil spilled from a barge in Galveston Bay, blocking the busy Houston ship channel and threatening birds at a nearby wildlife sanctuary, officials and environmentalists said Sunday. U.S. Coast Guard officials said as much as 168,000 gallons may have spilled. The spill was reported Saturday by the captain of a 585-foot Liberian-flagged ship, Summer Wind, which collided with the barge, Coast Guard officials said. The cause was under investigation. Michael Lambert, spokesman for the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, called it a "significant spill," but not based on the amount of oil. "The real issue is that it's in the ship channel, near environmentally sensitive areas. So there's an economic impact and an environmental impact," he said. ...


Kind of muddies the whole idea of a sanctuary.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 21, 2014
from Washington Post:
The biggest lease holder in Canada's oil sands isn't Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It's the Koch brothers.
You might expect the biggest lease owner in Canada's oil sands, or tar sands, to be one of the international oil giants, like Exxon Mobil or Royal Dutch Shell. But that isn't the case. The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David. The Koch Industries subsidiary holds leases on 1.1 million acres -- an area nearly the size of Delaware -- in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, according to an activist group that studied Alberta provincial records. The Post confirmed the group's findings with Alberta Energy, the provincial government's ministry of energy. Separately, industry sources familiar with oil sands leases said Koch's lease holdings could be closer to two million acres. ...


So there is reason behind their madness.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 19, 2014
from Reuters:
Sunoco oil pipeline leaks in Ohio nature preserve
A major oil pipeline owned by Sunoco Logistics Partners LP leaked thousands of gallons of crude oil into a nature preserve in southwest Ohio late on Monday. Between 7,000 and 10,000 gallons (26,000-38,000 liters) of sweet crude leaked into the Oak Glen Nature Preserve about a quarter of a mile from the Great Miami River, according to early estimates from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. ...


Nothing better in the morning than sweet crude.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from Associated Press:
U.S. Train Accidents Stir Worries About Crude Transport
At least 10 times since 2008, freight trains hauling oil across North America have derailed and spilled significant quantities of crude, with most of the accidents touching off fires or catastrophic explosions. The derailments released almost 3 million gallons of oil, nearly twice as much as the largest pipeline spill in the U.S. since at least 1986. And the deadliest wreck killed 47 people in the town of Lac-Megantic, Quebec.... Since 2008, the number of tanker cars hauling oil has increased 40-fold, and federal records show that's been accompanied by a dramatic spike in accidental crude releases from tank cars. Over the next decade, rail-based oil shipments are forecast to increase from 1 million barrels a day to more than 4.5 million barrels a day, according to transportation officials. ...


This whole shebang is going off the rails.

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Wed, Feb 12, 2014
from Huffington Post:
BP Oil Spill: Dolphins Plagued By Death, Disease Years After Rig Explosion
Missing teeth. Lung disease. Extreme hormone levels. Four years after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, gushing some 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the region is rife with death and disease, according to a major U.S. study. The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, is the first of its kind since the devastating spill. "I've never seen such a high prevalence of very sick animals," lead author Lori Schwacke of the Medical University of South Carolina noted.... Researchers captured 32 dolphins from the bay, a 24-km stretch near southeastern Louisiana, and deemed half of them to be seriously ill or dying. Among the cases? Liver disease, crippling pneumonia and even a pregnant female carrying a dead fetus. ...


And that's half of the dolphins who have survived the last four years!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 8, 2014
from Nature Scientific Reports, via SaveOurSeasAndShores:
Anthropogenic noise causes body malformations and delays development in marine larvae
Here we provide the first evidence that noise exposure during larval development produces body malformations in marine invertebrates. Scallop larvae exposed to playbacks of seismic pulses showed significant developmental delays and 46 percent developed body abnormalities. Similar effects were observed in all independent samples exposed to noise while no malformations were found in the control groups (4881 larvae examined). Malformations appeared in the D-veliger larval phase, perhaps due to the cumulative exposure attained by this stage or to a greater vulnerability of D-veliger to sound-mediated physiological or mechanical stress. Such strong impacts suggest that abnormalities and growth delays may also result from lower sound levels or discrete exposures during the D-stage, increasing the potential for routinely-occurring anthropogenic noise sources to affect recruitment of wild scallop larvae in natural stocks. ...


Scallops just need to evolve little hands to put over their little ears.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 3, 2014
from Wall Street Journal:
Oil Boom Increases Barge Operators' Fortunes
The rising tide of North American oil is lifting a lot of barges, as energy companies increasingly turn to rivers and coastal waterways to get U.S. and Canadian crude to refineries. Oil floating on barges from the Midwest down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico coast, for example, is up 13-fold since 2010, as companies find alternate routes where pipelines don't exist or have sufficient capacity. Nearly five million barrels of crude a month is being sent by barge south after companies pump it from North Dakota's Bakken Shale and, increasingly, Canada's oil sands, according to federal data. ...


Stevedores rejoice!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 3, 2014
from Washington Post:
Five takeaways from State Department's review of the Keystone XL pipeline
The State Department has finished its massive environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, down to Steele City, Nebraska, where it would move on to refineries on the Gulf Coast. Bottom line: The report concludes that blocking or approving the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline would not have a "significant" impact on overall greenhouse-gas emissions and future tar-sands expansion. That's because, it argues, most of Alberta's oil will likely find a way to get to the market anyway -- if not by pipeline, then by rail. ...


Human conquest of Mother Earth is now complete.

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Thu, Jan 23, 2014
from McClatchy:
More oil spilled from trains in 2013 than in previous 4 decades
More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows. Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom. ...


Human beings: constantly improving our numbers!

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Tue, Dec 31, 2013
from Al Jazeera:
Researchers find 7,300-sq-mile ring of mercury around tar sands in Canada
Scientists have found a more than 7,300-square-mile ring of land and water contaminated by mercury surrounding the tar sands in Alberta, where energy companies are producing oil and shipping it throughout Canada and the U.S. Government scientists are preparing to publish a report that found levels of mercury are up to 16 times higher around the tar-sand operations -- principally due to the excavation and transportation of bitumen in the sands by oil and gas companies... Kirk and her colleagues' research shows that the development of the tar sands may be responsible for spreading mercury -- which can cause nervous-system damage -- far beyond the areas where drilling and transportation are taking place. ...


I'd be nervous about this if my nervous system functioned properly.

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Tue, Dec 31, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Explosive oil train collision triggers evacuation in North Dakota
A small town in North Dakota was being partially evacuated Monday evening after a train carrying crude oil collided with another train, setting off a large fire and explosions, according to the local sheriff's department. No injuries have been reported, Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff's Office told the Los Angeles Times. ...


No injuries -- except to Mother Earth.

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Wed, Dec 18, 2013
from Terre Haute Tribune-Star:
Drilling for oil at ISU: Derrick debuts on campus
Drilling started on Monday in what many hope will be the first successful oil well downtown in more than 100 years. Pioneer Oil of Lawrenceville, Ill., brought in more than 20 truckloads of drilling equipment over the weekend, despite heavy snow, and was set to begin boring into the ground Monday afternoon, said Steve Miller, chief financial officer for Pioneer... New drilling technology, including "horizontal drilling," has emerged in the last 10 years, making difficult-to-reach subterranean pools of oil economically viable. Technology now also allows drilling operations to capture gases and odors so that even wells in heavily populated areas are feasible... ...


Let's hope the Sycamores don't get sick.

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from Reuters:
Keystone XL pipeline loses support from U.S. customer
Continental Resources, one of the companies that has committed to ship crude on TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, now says the controversial pipeline is no longer needed. Continental has signed on to ship some 35,000 barrels of its own oil from the Bakken field of North Dakota on the 1,179-mile, $5.4-billion Keystone XL line. But construction of the pipeline has been delayed for years as TransCanada has sought regulatory approvals, and Continental has since turned to railroads to get its crude to oil refineries...The largest U.S. railroads will likely transport about 400,000 carloads of crude oil in 2013, versus just 9,500 in 2008, according to estimates from the Association of American Railroads. ...


At our current trajectory we will all end up tramps on those trains.

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Tue, Nov 19, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Russian court bails two of 30 Greenpeace protesters
A Russian medic and a freelance journalist who were among 30 people arrested for a Greenpeace protest against offshore Arctic drilling were granted bail on Monday in a case that has drawn fierce criticism abroad. Colin Russell, an Australian, was denied bail by a separate court earlier on Monday. He was a radio operator on the Arctic Sunrise, the Greenpeace ship used for the September 28 protest. Western leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel have expressed concern to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the case and Western celebrities have voiced support for the Greenpeace campaigners. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney has asked Putin to help secure their release. The 30 arrested over the protest, in which activists tried to scale the offshore Prirazlomnaya oil rig that is crucial to Russia's drive to tap Arctic energy resources, face up to seven years in jail if convicted of hooliganism. ...


Working for Mother Earth is serious business.

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Sat, Nov 9, 2013
from Globe and Mail:
Oil industry successfully lobbied Ottawa to delay climate regulations, e-mails show
In e-mails the Alberta government released under Access to Information, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers warns against the province's proposal that oil-sands companies be forced to gradually cut emissions per barrel by 40 per cent, and pay a $40 levy for every tonne in excess their target. That would add $1 to the cost of producing every barrel.... Greenpeace Canada researcher Keith Stewart questioned CAPP's insistence that a $1-per-barrel carbon tax would seriously undermine the oil sands' competitiveness. He noted that, in the debate over the Keystone XL project, the industry has said approval of the pipeline would not affect investment or production levels in the oil sands because companies would turn to rail to move crude, which would cost $5 more per barrel. "The industry in these documents is clearly saying delay, delay, delay and then do as little as possible," Mr. Stewart said on Friday. "And the federal government seems to be taking that as marching orders." ...


Delaying the inevitable regulatory response to climate catastrophe is an investment in the present.

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Mon, Nov 4, 2013
from Al Jazeera:
Toxicologists 'predicted with certainty' that Gulf of Mexico residents and clean-up workers would become severely ill post-BP.
"After sea kayaking after BP's spill happened, I was sitting at my desk and started coughing up loads of blood," Frizzell, an avid outdoorsman, told Al Jazeera. "My doctor ran a scope down to the top of my lungs and said my bronchi were full of blood." Frizzell's medical records bear out that he was exposed to toxic chemicals, and he is far from alone. Since the spill began in April 2010, Al Jazeera has interviewed hundreds of coastal residents, fishermen, and oil cleanup workers whose medical records, like Frizzell's, document toxic chemical exposure that they blame on BP's oil and the toxic chemical dispersants the oil giant used on the spill.... "BP told the public that Corexit was 'as harmless as Dawn dishwashing liquid'," Dr Susan Shaw, of the State University of New York, told Al Jazeera. "But BP and the EPA clearly knew about the toxicity of the Corexit dispersants long before this spill."... "The combination of crude oil and Corexit is exponentially more toxic than either alone, since they contain many ingredients that target the same organs in the body."... "People across four states expressed concern that these headache-dizziness-nausea-respiratory problems-blood disorders-skin lesions were different than anything they'd experienced before, and far more intense." Ott said that people she is seeing along the roughly 900km impact zone are all consistently describing these same symptoms of exposure to chemicals in the oil and dispersants. ...


We had no choice: Lie, or create public panic. We chose stability.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from New York Times:
Looking for a Way Around Keystone XL, Canadian Oil Hits the Rails
HOUSTON -- Over the past two years, environmentalists have chained themselves to the White House fence and otherwise coalesced around stopping the Keystone XL pipeline as their top priority in the fight against global warming. But even if President Obama rejects the pipeline, it might not matter much. Oil companies are already building rail terminals to deliver oil from western Canada to the United States, and even to Asia. ...


Hell-bent to wreck the earth.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Bloomberg:
North Dakota Oil Spill Spotlights Obama Delay on Rules
Three years after an oil pipeline rupture in Michigan spilled 843,000 gallons of sludge, government regulators still haven't produced promised rules to compel operators to detect leaks. An oil spill in North Dakota last month and the continued debate over construction of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s Keystone XL Pipeline have led to renewed criticism to the government's inaction on safety measures... The issue has entered the contentious debate over TransCanada's proposal to build the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Supporters say pipelines are safer than shipping oil by train, truck or barge, and point to the July explosion of a runaway train carrying oil through Quebec that killed 47 people. Critics point to leaks or ruptures in Michigan, Arkansas and now North Dakota to say the lines aren't nearly as safe as proponents argue. ...


Fossil fuels ... just ain't safe.

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Mon, Oct 28, 2013
from Associated Press:
ND spills went unreported; state testing website
North Dakota, the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show. None was reported to the public, officials said. According to records obtained by The Associated Press, the pipeline spills -- many of them small -- are among some 750 "oil field incidents" that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification.... Dennis Fewless, director of water quality for the state Health Department, said regulators are reviewing the state's policies for when to publicly report such incidents after a massive spill was discovered last month in northwestern North Dakota by a wheat farmer. State and company officials kept it quiet for 11 days -- and only said something after the AP asked about it. ...


God hath given Man the Earth to Shitteth Upon.

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Sun, Oct 27, 2013
from CBC:
New environmental review rules anger oilsands critics
The federal review is intended to look at possible environmental impacts under federal jurisdiction, such as impacts on waterways or greenhouse gas emissions. One concern that environmentalists have with the new rules is they won't require environmental reviews for a growing type of oilsands development. In-situ oilsands developments -- projects where the oil is melted directly out of the ground rather than being mined and then processed later -- were not specifically addressed in the previous list of projects requiring federal environmental assessments, said Keith Stewart, climate and energy campaign coordinator and energy policy analyst for the environmental group Greenpeace. And now, they are not included in the new list of projects requiring them. ...


"Rules?! In a knife fight?!" (Harvey, in Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Why Is Exxon Taking Its Time Restarting Its Ruptured Dilbit Pipeline?
In the six months since an ExxonMobil pipeline unleashed Canadian oil in an Arkansas neighborhood, nearby residents have had much to endure -- the muck and stench of heavy crude, lengthy evacuations, sickness and economic loss... Exxon, meanwhile, is not pressing to restart the line. Even though the lengthy outage is costing the company as much as $450,000 a day in lost revenue -- totaling as much as $90 million so far -- Exxon is proceeding slowly, conducting additional tests and digging down to the pipeline in places to assess its condition. That caution could reflect fears that the Pegasus problems might be systemic and costly to solve. But analysts say Exxon also is mindful that additional leaks could sink its chances of salvaging the line for good and also undermine public support for new pipeline projects such as the controversial Keystone XL. ...


Perhaps they've been smoking that pipe.

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Sun, Oct 20, 2013
from KASA:
Fracking fluid blows out nearby oil well
More than 200 barrels of fracking fluid, oil and water blew out of a traditional oil well on BLM land in the San Juan Basin... On Sept. 30, one of Encana's fractures reached Parko's neighboring vertical well. The pressure was too much for the older well to handle. "Our highest pressure is around 150 pounds," said Parko Oil pumper Johnny Aragon. "The pressure we were experiencing was in excess of 2,000 pounds, which is a lot more than what the wells are designed to hold." Encana's operations were approximately 0.5 miles from the Parko well that had the blowout. "An Encana well, undergoing stimulation operations, may have communicated with the well of a nearby operator," said Encana spokesperson Doug Hock. "That operator's well became over-pressurized resulting in the release of fluid from both the wellhead and a nearby tank." ...


Not to worry. That's just the wells networking.

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Fri, Oct 11, 2013
from Fargo Forum:
ND pipeline spills 20,600 barrels of oil on farmer's land northeast of Tioga
The farmer who discovered a pipeline break that spilled 20,600 barrels of Bakken crude near here said Thursday he hopes the industry learns from the incident and does a better job monitoring for leaks. Steve Jensen said he's been told by Tesoro Logistics it will take at least two to three years to clean up his field where he noticed the oil spill while harvesting wheat Sept. 29. ...


No sense crying over spilt oil!

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Wed, Sep 25, 2013
from Science Daily:
Whale Mass Stranding Attributed to Sonar Mapping for First Time
An independent scientific review panel has concluded that the mass stranding of approximately 100 melon-headed whales in the Loza Lagoon system in northwest Madagascar in 2008 was primarily triggered by acoustic stimuli, more specifically, a multi-beam echosounder system operated by a survey vessel contracted by ExxonMobil Exploration and Production (Northern Madagascar) Limited.... Based on these findings, there is cause for concern over the impact of noise on marine mammals as these high-frequency mapping sonar systems are used by various stakeholders including the hydrocarbon industry, military, and research vessels used by other industries. The report concluded: "The potential for behavioral responses and indirect injury or mortality from the use of similar MBES [multi-beam echosounder systems] should be considered in future environmental assessments, operational planning and regulatory decisions." ...


HEY! WHALES! STOP GOING CRAZY JUST BECAUSE OF OUR INCREDIBLY LOUD SOUNDS! WE NEED THAT CHEAP ENERGY!

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Agence France-Press:
Ecuador's Correa calls for Chevron boycott
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa called Tuesday for a global boycott of Chevron, as part of a campaign to highlight Amazon pollution that Quito has attributed to the US oil giant. Chevron has never worked directly in Ecuador but inherited a pollution lawsuit when it acquired Texaco in 2001, and has yet to pay an associated $19 billion fine. "This is one of the biggest environmental disasters in the world," Correa said as he launched the campaign in the town of Aguarico, in the north Amazonian province of Sucumbios, where Texaco operated between 1964 and 1990. "The tools that we will use to fight Chevron are the truth and a call for solidarity of citizens of the world to not buy Chevron products," he said. ...


We citizens of the world have to get started somewhere.

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Americans Finding Themselves Powerless to Stop Pipeline Companies From Taking Their Land
...Michigan, like almost every other state that is crisscrossed by oil pipelines, does not stipulate how much space should separate pipelines from houses. The state's Public Service Commission asks only that pipelines be "designed and routed in a reasonable manner."... A section of the new line already has been installed about 7 feet from Marty Burke's house in Howell, Mich. -- so close that Enbridge used a special process to make sure his foundation didn't collapse. "At every level of government I contacted, they all said they had no regulations or no authority to do anything," Burke said. ...


Maybe he could hang his laundry on it.

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Tue, Jul 30, 2013
from Grantham Research Institute/Carbon Tracker:
Investing in vapor: financial risks of stranded fossil fuel investments (PDF)
... The modelling used in previous analyses by Carbon Tracker and the IEA showed that the carbon budget for a 2 degree C scenario would be around 565 - 886 billion tonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide (CO2) to 2050.... This budget, however, is only a fraction of the carbon embedded in the world's indicated fossil fuel reserves, which amount to 2,860Gt CO2. A precautionary approach means only 20 percent of total fossil fuel reserves can be burnt to 2050. As a result the global economy already faces the prospect of assets becoming stranded, with the problem only likely to get worse if current investment trends continue - in effect, a carbon bubble. ...


I'm banking on the bubble keeping the balloon afloat!

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from The Hill:
Hoeven predicts efficiency bill will collapse without Keystone pipeline attached
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) predicted Wednesday that bipartisan energy efficiency legislation heading to the Senate floor faces a grim future unless it eventually includes language to advance the Keystone XL oil pipeline. A broad energy efficiency bill sponsored by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) is believed to be coming to the Senate floor in late July. Hoeven, who is weighing offering a Keystone amendment to the bill, said there's not enough Republican support for the legislation on Capitol Hill unless it includes Keystone. ...


Dude, we are all facing a grim future.

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Wed, Jul 17, 2013
from DeSmogBlog:
Keystone XL Conflict of Interest: Obama Attorney's Law Firm Represents TransCanada
A recent DeSmogBlog investigation reveals that Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel and President Obama's personal attorney, works at the corporate law firm Perkins Coie LLP, which does legal work for TransCanada's South Central Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) Project, formerly known as Alaska Gas Pipeline Project. Furthermore, Dan Sullivan, current Commissioner of Alaska's Department of Natural Resources, and former Alaska Attorney General and former Assistant Secretary of State in the Bush Administration, is also a former Perkins attorney. ...


It's as if everybody's in bed together!

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Sat, Jul 13, 2013
from All Alabama:
Renowned whale expert studying Deepwater Horizon's toxic effect on Gulf sperm whales
... By going to the top of the food chain, Payne and the research team aboard the 93-foot research vessel, the Odyssey, hope to discover the long-term impacts of the spill that loosed 4.9 million barrels of oil and more than 1 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit into the Gulf.... "Every step of the food chain you get about a 10 times increase in the concentration of a contaminant, so if you're dealing with an animal at the sixth level of the food chain, you get 10 to the sixth power," Payne said. "That's a million times the concentration, so when you get some of these contaminants, even though they're in fantastically low concentrations in the water, when you concentrate them up a million times, you're creating a real hazard in the animal." ...


Jeez, whales: toughen up!

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Sun, Jun 30, 2013
from The National:
Renewable power to eclipse natural gas within 3 years, says IEA
Clean power is set to eclipse gas-generated electricity by 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast in a report that challenges conventional knowledge about economic hurdles to renewables.... The number of gigawatts generated by hydro, solar, wind and other renewables is set to increase by 40 per cent in the coming five years, making them the fastest-growing segment in the global energy mix. "As their costs continue to fall, renewable power sources are increasingly standing on their own merits versus new fossil-fuel generation," Maria van der Hoeven, the executive director of the IEA, said at a presentation in New York.... “And worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels remain six times higher than economic incentives for renewables.” ...


That's why I say "let's frack this afternoon whatever we can sell to investors this morning." Time's a-wastin'!

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Sat, Jun 29, 2013
from Foreign Policy:
Oh, Canada: How America's friendly northern neighbor became a rogue, reckless petrostate.
For decades, the world has thought of Canada as America's friendly northern neighbor -- a responsible, earnest, if somewhat boring, land of hockey fans and single-payer health care. On the big issues, it has long played the global Boy Scout, reliably providing moral leadership on everything from ozone protection to land-mine eradication to gay rights. The late novelist Douglas Adams once quipped that if the United States often behaved like a belligerent teenage boy, Canada was an intelligent woman in her mid-30s. Basically, Canada has been the United States -- not as it is, but as it should be.... But a dark secret lurks in the northern forests. Over the last decade, Canada has not so quietly become an international mining center and a rogue petrostate. It's no longer America's better half, but a dystopian vision of the continent's energy-soaked future. That's right: The good neighbor has banked its economy on the cursed elixir of political dysfunction -- oil. Flush with visions of becoming a global energy superpower, Canada's government has taken up with pipeline evangelists, petroleum bullies, and climate change skeptics. Turns out the Boy Scout's not just hooked on junk crude -- he's become a pusher. And that's not even the worst of it. ...


Ow, Canada.

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Thu, Jun 13, 2013
from Globe and Mail:
Toxic waste spill in northern Alberta biggest of recent disasters in North America
The substance is the inky black colour of oil, and the treetops are brown. Across a broad expanse of northern Alberta muskeg, the landscape is dead. It has been poisoned by a huge spill of 9.5 million litres of toxic waste from an oil and gas operation in northern Alberta, the third major leak in a region whose residents are now questioning whether enough is being done to maintain aging energy infrastructure. The spill was first spotted on June 1. But not until Wednesday did Houston-based Apache Corp. release estimates of its size, which exceeds all of the major recent spills in North America.... "Every plant and tree died" in the area touched by the spill, said James Ahnassay, chief of the Dene Tha First Nation, whose members run traplines in an area that has seen oil and gas development since the 1950s.... Neither Apache nor Alberta initially disclosed the spill, which was only made public after someone reported it to a TV station late last week.... ...


Just think of all those new jobs, cleaning up Big Energy's messes!

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
The Case of the Disappearing Dilbit: How Much Oil Was Released in 2010 Pipeline Spill?
A key piece of data related to the biggest tar sands oil spill in U.S. history has disappeared from the Environmental Protection Agency's website, adding to confusion about the size of the spill and possibly reducing the fine that the company responsible for the accident would be required to pay. The July 2010 accident on an Enbridge Inc. pipeline dumped thousands of barrels of Canadian dilbit into the Kalamazoo River and surrounding wetlands. But almost three years and two federal investigations later, one of the most important questions about the spill remains unanswered: Exactly how much oil spilled from the pipeline? ...


The Powers That Be are all-powerful.

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Mon, Apr 29, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
State Department Will Make Keystone Public Comments Public After All
A State Department official confirmed that for the first time the department will make public all the public comments received on its draft environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline.... the comments would be posted on Regulations.gov. ...


Now that they've had a chance for correct for grammar, etc.

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Sun, Apr 28, 2013
from CNN:
Empty nets in Louisiana three years after the spill
There used to be two or three people working with him; now he's alone. The catch that's coming in is light, particularly for crabs. "Guys running five or six hundred traps are coming in with two to three boxes, if that," said Stander, 26.... "My fellow fishermen who fish crab and who fish fish, they're feeling the same thing," Barisich said. "You get a spike in production every now and then, but overall, it's off. Everybody's down. Everywhere there was dispersed oil and heavily oiled, the production is down."... "Things's changing, and we don't know what's happening yet," said oysterman Byron Encalade. ...


I didn't know Bob Dylan was an oysterman!

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
EPA criticizes environmental review of Keystone XL pipeline
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday criticized the State Department's environmental impact review of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying there was not enough evidence to back up key conclusions on gas emissions, safety and alternative routes. In a letter to top State Department officials, the agency said it had "environmental objections" to their review, which concluded the pipeline would have minimal impact on the environment. The analysis could complicate efforts to win approval for the controversial $7-billion project. ...


Ooo-boy! Gonna be some fisticuffs at the Fed!

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Tue, Apr 16, 2013
from FuelFix.com:
Report: Seismic research on East Coast could harm 140,000 whales & dolphins
Nearly 140,000 whales and dolphins could be injured if the Obama administration allows energy companies to conduct seismic research aimed at identifying oil and gas along the Atlantic Coast, according to a new report issued Tuesday. The assessment by the conservation group Oceana shines a light on the potential casualties of seismic studies that energy companies use to map the ocean floor and the underground geology of a region. Air guns used in the process send off pulses of sound that penetrate through the ocean and under the seafloor before bouncing back with clues about what lies below. Along the way, Oceana said, the sound waves could devastate marine life, including some of the 500 critically endangered North Atlantic right whales estimated to still exist. Air gun blasts also could cause widespread whale displacement and disrupt loggerhead sea turtles along the Atlantic Coast, Oceana concluded. ...


Nature is that which is in the way of what we are doing.

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Wed, Apr 10, 2013
from Toronto Star:
Comment on changes to Enbridge's Toronto pipeline now requires NEB permission
oronto area residents -- or any others -- who want to comment on plans by Enbridge to revamp its oil pipeline through Greater Toronto must ask permission to write a letter to Canada's pipeline regulator. Permission won't necessarily be granted. And the 10-page application for would-be letter writers has some cryptic hurdles to jump... ...


To Whom It May Concern...

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Greens ask U.S. to delay Keystone decision after Arkansas leak
Environmental groups on Monday asked the Obama administration to extend the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline, using last month's spill of heavy Canadian crude oil in Arkansas as their latest reason to delay the project. The Obama administration is deciding whether to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline, which would link Canada's oil sands, the world's third richest crude oil deposit, to refineries in Texas. The State Department, which issued a draft environmental assessment of the $5.3 billion project on March 1, indicated then that a final decision could come by July or August. ...


Remember the Mayflower!

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Treehugger:
Exxon won't pay into cleanup fund because oil spilled in Arkansas isn't "oil"
Despite spilling tens, if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and chemicals into an Arkansas neighborhood, thanks to a loophole in a law from 1980, ExxonMobil will not be paying into a federal oil spill cleanup fund because the oil they spilled is not the right type of oil. It is a twisted example of the legal technicalities and lax regulations that all too often favor oil companies, but a coalition of environmental groups are working to close the loophole. ...


Nor do I pay for my methane releases charmingly referred to as "farts."

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
At Oil Spill Cleanup in Arkansas, Exxon Running the Show, Not Federal Agencies
...The town of 2,000 people is now suddenly the focus of national attention in the divisive debate over whether President Obama should approve the Keystone XL, a $5 billion pipeline to ship Alberta's heavy crude to U.S. refineries along the Texas coast. The stakes are high and Exxon is running the show here, with federal agencies so far publicly invisible. ...


They'd just get in the way.

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Fri, Mar 29, 2013
from Guardian:
Ecuador auctions off Amazon to Chinese oil firms
Ecuador plans to auction off more than three million hectares of pristine Amazonian rainforest to Chinese oil companies, angering indigenous groups and underlining the global environmental toll of China's insatiable thirst for energy.... On Monday morning a group of Ecuadorean politicians pitched bidding contracts to representatives of Chinese oil companies at a Hilton hotel in central Beijing, on the fourth leg of a roadshow to publicise the bidding process. Previous meetings in Ecuador's capital, Quito, and in Houston and Paris were each confronted with protests by indigenous groups.... According to the California-based NGO Amazon Watch, seven indigenous groups who inhabit the land claim that they have not consented to oil projects, which would devastate the area's environment and threaten their traditional way of life.... In an interview, Ecuador's secretary of hydrocarbons, Andrés Donoso Fabara, accused indigenous leaders of misrepresenting their communities to achieve political goals. "These guys with a political agenda, they are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty," he said. Fabara said the government had decided not to open certain blocks of land to bidding because it lacked support from local communities. "We are entitled by law, if we wanted, to go in by force and do some activities even if they are against them," he said. "But that's not our policy." ...


This is what kleptocracy looks like.

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Thu, Mar 28, 2013
from Guardian:
Peru declares environmental state of emergency in its rainforest
Peru has declared an environmental state of emergency in a remote part of its northern Amazon rainforest, home for decades to one of the country's biggest oil fields, currently operated by the Argentinian company Pluspetrol. Achuar and Kichwa indigenous people living in the Pastaza river basin near Peru's border with Ecuador have complained for decades about the pollution, while successive governments have failed to deal with it. Officials indicate that for years the state lacked the required environmental quality standards.... In declaring the state of emergency, Peru's environment ministry said tests in February and March found high levels of barium, lead, chrome and petroleum-related compounds at different points in the Pastaza valley. Pluspetrol, the biggest oil and natural gas producer in Peru, has operated the oil fields since 2001. It took over from Occidental Petroleum, which began drilling in 1971, and, according to the government, had not cleaned up contamination either. ...


Can we extend the boundaries of that emergency? Like, to "everywhere"?

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Fri, Mar 22, 2013
from Reuters, via Yahoo:
Canadian and U.S. natives vow to block oil pipelines
An alliance of Canadian and U.S. aboriginal groups vowed on Wednesday to block three multibillion-dollar oil pipelines that are planned to transport oil from the Alberta tar sands, saying they are prepared to take physical action to stop them. The Canadian government, faced with falling revenues due to pipeline bottlenecks and a glut that has cut the price for Alberta oil, say the projects are a national priority and will help diversify exports away from the U.S. market.... "Indigenous people are coming together with many, many allies across the United States and Canada, and we will not allow these pipelines to cross our territories," said Phil Lane Jr, a hereditary chief from the Ihanktonwan Dakota in the state of South Dakota. "Along with every single legal thing that can be done, there is direct action going on now to plan how to physically stop the pipelines," he told a news conference in Ottawa. ...


The Natives are restive, thank goodness!

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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Company could nearly double pipeline capacity
Enbridge Inc. is seeking approval from the U.S. State Department to sharply upgrade its oil delivery from Canada's tar sands region to Superior, according to government documents published on Friday. Enbridge potentially could nearly double its capacity, the documents showed, indicating that the Canadian firm has plans to transport more oil through Wisconsin than previously reported.... Enbridge has occasionally struggled with pipeline problems, including a massive spill in 2010 that required the cleanup of 819,000 gallons of oil that entered a creek and then flowed into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. ...


What could go wrong?

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Sat, Mar 16, 2013
from Bloomberg:
Cradle of Mankind Offers Kenyans Three Centuries of Oil
The U.K.'s Tullow Oil Plc (TLW) and Canada's Africa Oil Corp (AOI). found crude at two wells last year and now plan as many as 11 more test wells in 2013. The valley could yield 10 billion barrels, Tullow estimates, enough to supply Kenya for three centuries or the U.S. for about 18 months.... With the continent's oil industry centered on Nigeria in West Africa, East Africa has been largely overlooked. Of the more than 30,000 wells drilled in Africa, fewer than 500 were in East Africa, according to Afren Plc (AFR), an oil explorer active in the region. "There was a giant under-explored hole on the map," Africa Oil Chief Executive Officer Keith Hill said in an interview in Nairobi. "Now the world has woken up to East Africa. I've never seen a basin of this magnitude." ...


Cradle... to grave.

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Tue, Mar 12, 2013
from Grist:
'State Department' Keystone XL Report Actually Written By TransCanada Contractor
The State Department's "don't worry" environmental impact statement for the proposed Keystone XL tarsands pipeline, released late Friday afternoon, was written not by government officials but by a private company in the pay of the pipeline's owner. The "sustainability consultancy" ¯ Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document. The statement estimates, and then dismisses, the pipeline's massive carbon footprint and other environmental impacts, because, it asserts, the mining and burning of the tar sands is unstoppable. ...


This isn't a conflict of interest, it's a confluence of interest.

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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from New York Times:
No to Keystone. Yes to Crazy.
I HOPE the president turns down the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Who wants the U.S. to facilitate the dirtiest extraction of the dirtiest crude from tar sands in Canada's far north?) But I don't think he will. So I hope that Bill McKibben and his 350.org coalition go crazy. I'm talking chain-themselves-to-the-White-House-fence-stop-traffic-at-the-Capitol kind of crazy, because I think if we all make enough noise about this, we might be able to trade a lousy Keystone pipeline for some really good systemic responses to climate change. We don't get such an opportunity often -- namely, a second-term Democratic president who is under heavy pressure to approve a pipeline to create some jobs but who also has a green base that he can't ignore. So cue up the protests, and pay no attention to people counseling rational and mature behavior. ...


We're already crazy in love with Mother Earth!

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Sun, Mar 10, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
BP warns of rising costs from spill settlement
BP is warning investors that the price tag will be "significantly higher" than it initially estimated for its multibillion-dollar settlement with businesses and residents who claim the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico cost them money. The London-based oil giant estimated last year that it would spend roughly $7.8 billion to resolve tens of thousands of claims covered by the settlement agreement. But in a regulatory filing this week, BP PLC said businesses' claims have been paid at much higher average amounts than it had anticipated. The company also said it can't reliably estimate how much it will pay for unresolved business claims following a ruling Tuesday by the federal judge supervising the uncapped settlement. U.S District Judge Carl Barbier rejected BP's interpretation of certain settlement provisions.... BP already had revised its estimate for the total cost of the settlement before Barbier's ruling, saying earlier this year that it expected to pay $8.5 billion instead of the $7.8 billion it estimated when it first cut the deal. ...


A few billion? A trillion? A jillion? Or equal to the price of damaging an ecosystem for a few thousand years?

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Tue, Mar 5, 2013
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Canadian crude oil finds a new pathway through Minnesota
If President Obama rejects the Keystone XL pipeline, large quantities of the Canadian oil it's designed to carry will still roll into the United States -- on railroads with tracks through Minnesota. The proposed pipeline across Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska has provoked opposition from environmental activists who say extraction of crude oil from tar sands increases greenhouse gases that cause global warming. As anti-pipeline groups have pressed the White House to kill the project, the oil and railroad industries have been building oil-loading terminals and buying tank cars to ship Canadian crude oil by rail. ...


The show must go on.

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Tue, Feb 26, 2013
from E&E Publishing:
Senator's move to Chevron sparks ethics uproar
A California senator's decision to quit and jump to Chevron Corp. has sparked questions about whether he should have negotiated for that job while in a position to help the company politically. Former Sen. Michael Rubio (D) resigned Friday to work as manager of California governmental affairs for Chevron (E&ENews PM, Feb. 22). He had been chairman of the state Senate's Environmental Quality Committee when he accepted the oil company position. ...


Too bad we can't capture the energy generated by this revolving door.

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Tue, Feb 26, 2013
from Associated Press:
High-stakes trial begins over 2010 Gulf oil spill
BP put profits ahead of safety and bears most of the blame for the disastrous 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a U.S. Justice Department attorney charged Monday at the opening of a trial that could result in the oil company and its partners being forced to pay tens of billions of dollars more in damages... Justice Department attorney Mike Underhill said the catastrophe resulted from BP's "culture of corporate recklessness." "The evidence will show that BP put profits before people, profits before safety and profits before the environment," Underhill said in opening statements. He added: "Despite BP's attempts to shift the blame to other parties, by far the primary fault for this disaster belongs to BP." ...


Buggered by its quest for Profits.

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Mon, Feb 25, 2013
from Politico:
Sierra Club goes bolder in climate fight
After 121 years of lobbying, letter-writing campaigns and law-abiding protests, the Sierra Club is retooling itself for the flash-mob age -- and showing an increasingly aggressive edge. That edge was on display last week, when the Sierra Club's two top leaders and 46 other climate activists zip-tied themselves to the White House gates to protest the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. The organization called it the first time it had suspended its decades-long policy against club-sanctioned civil disobedience. ...


Mother Earth approves of this kind of disobedience.

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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from Associated Press:
TransCanada: Pipeline would not affect climate
In a shift in strategy, the company that wants to build an oil pipeline from western Canada to Texas said Tuesday that the project will have no measurable effect on global warming. Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president for energy and oil pipelines, said opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have grossly inflated its likely impact on emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. ...


So it was just a nightmare, after all!

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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Indiana Living Green:
Forward on Climate march draws tens of thousands
Tens of thousands of earth inhabitants converged upon the capital of the United State of America for the Forward on Climate march, Sunday, Feb. 17. Organized by the Sierra club, 350.org, and the Hip Hop Caucus, among others, the march had a two-fold purpose, intimately connected. One, to support President Obama's dramatic remarks addressing climate change in his State of the Union address. Two, specifically, to encourage him to prevent the Keystone XL pipeline from coming to fruition. Speakers included 350.org's Bill McKibben, Sierra Club's Michael Brune, Van Jones and Rev. Lennox Yearwood. It was a frigid day, fodder for the climate change deniers farting into their Barcaloungers at home. ...


Better farting into Barcaloungers than flying to Florida and golfing with Tiger!

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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from Nature:
Minor oil spills are often bigger than reported
By analysing satellite images, oceanographers have found that small oil spills in the heavily drilled northern Gulf of Mexico are often much larger than reported. The researchers presented their results last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. ...


Another report from the Department of Duh.

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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
from Reuters:
Crude oil spills into Mississippi River after oil barges crash
Two oil barges pushed by a tugboat slammed into a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Sunday, causing one to leak crude oil into the Mississippi River, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Officials used an "absorbent boom" to contain the undetermined amount of oil that leaked into the river after the collision, which occurred shortly after midnight and damaged both barges, Lieutenant Ryan Gomez said. The barge that is leaking was holding 80,000 gallons of light crude oil, he said....No one was injured in the accident. ...


No one was injured except for Ole Man River!

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Thu, Jan 24, 2013
from Omaha World-Herald:
Heineman approves Keystone XL route; pipeline's fate back in Obama's hands
Gov. Dave Heineman delighted supporters and deflated opponents of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline Tuesday when he approved a new route through Nebraska, saying the project represents a minimal environmental threat while holding substantial economic promise. ...


Such myopia is to be admired.

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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
The Year Ahead in Keystone XL: Climate Worry Introduces Big Unknown
After years of protests and lobbying, the Obama administration is expected to decide within months on the fate of the 1,200-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline. The State Department is finalizing a supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) for the project, which would ship tar sands oil from Canada, through America's heartland, and to the Gulf Coast via other pipelines.... For most of 2012, climate disappeared from the political agenda -- including from the administration's discussions of the Keystone XL -- but the issue unexpectedly gained the national spotlight post-Sandy. It remains unclear how, or whether, global warming will be addressed in the forthcoming SEIS and, more generally, by Obama in his second term. ...


Let's hope for another disaster! Oh, wait...

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from Anchorage Daily News:
Shell drilling rig grounds off Kodiak Island after towlines fail again
Royal Dutch Shell's Kulluk drilling rig, re-secured to two vessels with towlines early Monday, grounded around 9 p.m. in rocky water off the southern coast of Kodiak Island during a pounding Gulf of Alaska winter storm, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel grounded off Sitkalidak Island, at the northern end of Ocean Bay, officials said.... The grounding was the worst development yet in a crisis that began Thursday night when the $290 million, 266-foot-diameter Kulluk first lost a towline after the mechanical failure of a shackle used to connect it to the Aiviq. Crews struggled against worsening weather and a mobile drilling unit that was unmanned with no propulsion capability of its own. ...


Up Shit's Creek, paddlelessly.

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from Anchorage Daily News:
Tow lines reconnected to Shell drilling rig
...An unmanned mobile oil drilling rig owned by Royal Dutch Shell is adrift -- again -- south of Kodiak Island after it lost towlines Sunday afternoon from two vessels trying to hold it in place against what have been pummeling winds and high seas, according to incident management leaders. ...


It's gone rogue!

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Wed, Dec 19, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Keystone Protesters Pay Price for Camping in Texas Trees
Protesters trying to save the world by sitting in trees or blocking equipment used to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline are learning that environmental activism can be a ticket to lengthy jail time in East Texas. Matthew Almonte, Glen Collins and Isabel Brooks landed in jail in Tyler on Dec. 3, charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass, resisting arrest and illegal dumping, following efforts to stop work on the TransCanada Corp. (TRP) pipeline. Each has asked for a reduction in the $65,000 bond that must be posted to get out pending trial, without success.... "Gangs of tree sitters who trespass and defecate on landowners' property don't understand Texas values and culture," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said in an essay posted on his website in October. He called the protesters "a bunch of out-of-state, self-appointed eco-anarchists." ...


Texas values = me making my money.

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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from INFORUM:
North Dakota ranchers say oil harming herd
Jacki Schilke likes to say her black angus cattle live in harmony with the cats and dogs on her rural Williston ranch. But recently, Schilke's ranch has not been in harmony with oil development expanding around her 160 acres. Five cows, one bull, two dogs and as many as two dozen farm cats have died in the past two years, and Schilke worries the dozens of oil wells within three miles of her ranch could be to blame....They had four cattle that lost the ends of their tails before they either died or were shot by her husband to end their suffering. ...


You can complain about cheap energy until the cows' tails fall off.

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Mon, Nov 5, 2012
from Postmedia News:
Federal scientists muzzled on oilsands
Environment Canada scientists have confirmed results published by researchers from the University of Alberta showing contaminants accumulating in the snow near oilsands operations, an internal federal document has revealed. Testing by the Environment Canada scientists also found contaminants in precipitation in the region. But the federal researchers were discouraged from speaking to reporters about their findings, presented at a November 2011 conference in Boston of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, says the document, released to Postmedia News through access to information. ...


Science bites.

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Tue, Oct 30, 2012
from Bloomberg:
First U.S. Oil Sands Mine Proceeds Without Pollution Permit
Utah officials have given a Canadian company the greenlight to begin mining oil sands on a remote plateau in Eastern Utah without first obtaining a pollution permit or monitoring groundwater quality, an action that sets the stage for a possible court battle over the fragile region. The board of the Utah Division of Water Quality sided with Calgary-based U.S. Oil Sands contends that there was little or no water in the area of the company's proposed mine site and affirmed the agency's earlier decision not to require the permits or monitoring.... The board as well as officials of the Water Quality Division wrestled with the question of how much water is to be found in this semi-arid region, which gets an average of 12 inches of precipitation a year.... Dubuc, the lawyer representing Living Rivers, said even small seasonal amounts of water and water on adjoining land need to be protected. ...


Sometimes the laws of supply and demand don't raise the value of a scarce commodity!

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Fri, Oct 12, 2012
from New York Times:
Will Seismic Blasts Upend Atlantic Marine Life?
The tests are to be performed by a vessel that trails evenly spaced hydrophones in its wake as compressed air is blasted downward by the vessel's airgun. The resulting sound waves, as high as 250 decibels, are far greater than the sound emitted by a jet engine upon takeoff, Oceana notes. Once the sound waves hit the ocean floor, the hydrophones register echoes that reflect the densities of materials like gas and oil within the seabed.... The intensity and reach of the noise will not only drive some marine animals away and disrupt their feeding patterns, Oceana argues, but could damage or destroy their hearing. This is particularly worrisome for whales, which do not have sharp eyesight and depend heavily on their hearing. Without it, "they can't navigate, they can't function," Mr. Huelsenbeck said. "They keep contact with others based on their calls." Animals like whales decline slowly once their hearing is gone, making it difficult to link a death directly with the seismic tests, he added. ...


Environmentalist's concerns are falling on deaf ears.

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
From gas to oil: Michigan governor joins protest to block pipeline switch
Michigan's governor is speaking out against a plan by operators of a major natural gas pipeline to use it to move bottlenecked crude oil to the Gulf. Gov. Rick Snyder and others have filed a motion with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to "intervene and protestā€¯ the move by Trunkline Gas Co., arguing that abandoning a natural gas pipeline that supplies nearly a third of Michigan's natural gas would not serve citizens' energy needs as furnaces are firing up for the winter. ...


I trust they'd clean the pipe before switching.

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Mon, Oct 1, 2012
from London Guardian:
US polar bear researcher cleared of scientific misconduct
The Obama administration has wound up its controversial investigation of a government polar bear researcher without finding any evidence of scientific wrongdoing, campaign groups said late Friday... The investigation was launched in March 2010 just as Obama announced he would open up the Arctic to offshore drilling and expand oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. ...


While we fiddled with this, polar bears went up in flames.

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Tue, Sep 25, 2012
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Criminal investigation at Chevron refinery for Detoured Pollutants
Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Chevron after discovering that the company detoured pollutants around monitoring equipment at its Richmond refinery for four years and burned them off into the atmosphere, in possible violation of a federal court order, The Chronicle has learned. Air quality officials say Chevron fashioned a pipe inside its refinery that routed hydrocarbon gases around monitoring equipment and allowed them to be burned off without officials knowing about it. Some of the gases escaped into the air, but because the company didn't record them, investigators have no way of being certain of the level of pollution exposure to thousands of people who live downwind from the plant.... "They were routing gas through that pipe to the flare that they were not monitoring," said Jack Broadbent.... ...


That's the beauty of self-policing!

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Tue, Sep 25, 2012
from Houston Chronicle:
Activists climb trees in Keystone XL's Texas path
A group of environmentalists standing on tree platforms and branches attempted Monday to head off work in northeast Texas for the southern portion of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Stationed as high as 80 feet above the ground on land near Winnsboro, the eight protesters held a banner reading "You Shall Not Pass" as they waited in the path of contractors for TransCanada, which is building the pipeline. ...


Perhaps everyone can get together and watch Avatar.

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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
from University of Rochester:
At Least 200,000 Tons of Oil and Gas from Deepwater Horizon Spill Consumed by Gulf Bacteria
Researchers from the University of Rochester and Texas A&M University have found that, over a period of five months following the disastrous 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, naturally-occurring bacteria that exist in the Gulf of Mexico consumed and removed at least 200,000 tons of oil and natural gas that spewed into the deep Gulf from the ruptured well head. ...


Imagine the indigestion!

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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
from Anchorage Daily News:
Drifting sea ice halts Shell's Arctic drilling
Royal Dutch Shell halted drilling in the Chukchi Sea on Monday -- one day after it began -- because of sea ice moving toward the company's drill ship off Alaska. Shell Alaska spokesman Curtis Smith said drilling was stopped as a precautionary measure in accordance with its ice management plan. Environmental groups say the complication illustrates the dangers of working in the Arctic. The Wilderness Society said Shell, faced with a shortened drilling season, was trying to mark its space in the Arctic whether or not it was ready to drill. ...


I bet this "sea ice" was Greenpeace activists in costume!

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Mon, Sep 10, 2012
from Anchorage Daily News:
Shell begins offshore drilling in Chukchi Sea
After a day of slower-than-expected preparations in the Chukchi Sea, Shell Alaska officially began drilling into the seafloor above its Burger prospect at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the company said. The action marks the first drilling offshore in the Alaska Arctic in two decades and is being closely watched by Alaskans and the oil industry -- and criticized by environmentalists... Shell has invested close to $5 billion in its quest to drill in the Alaska Arctic. A federal government assessment last year estimated the Alaska Arctic offshore region holds nearly 27 billion barrels of "undiscovered technically recoverable" oil. ...


As of today, the planet is sooooooo Chukchied.

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Mon, Sep 3, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Romney To Focus On Fossil Fuels
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wants to significantly boost U.S. fossil-fuel production while ending federal subsidies and loan guarantees for most forms of alternative energy, such as solar and wind power. Romney's energy plan, which the former Massachusetts governor outlined on Aug. 23, sets an ambitious goal for the U.S. of reaching energy independence by 2020 through increased production of oil, natural gas, and coal, accompanied by reduced regulation. The plan does not mention climate change. "Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet," Romney said at a campaign stop in New Mexico. "That's oil and gas and coal." ...


Also underneath our feet... our graves.

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Mon, Sep 3, 2012
from Associated Press:
Arctic becomes cold war zone
Global warming has ignited a rush to exploit Arctic resources -- and Greenpeace is determined to thwart that stampede. Employing the same tactics it has used against nuclear testing or commercial whaling, the environmental group is now set on preventing oil companies from drilling for oil near the Arctic's shrinking ice cap ... Greenpeace officials said 1.6 million people since June have signed the group's online petition urging world leaders to declare the Arctic a global sanctuary, off limits to oil exploration and industrial fishing. Dozens of celebrities, including Robert Redford, Paul McCartney and Penelope Cruz have announced their support, said Greenpeace activist Sarah North. ...


If this works, let's declare the globe a global sanctuary.

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Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from New York Times:
Fires Still Burning in Aftermath of Deadly Venezuela Blast
Scenes of destruction extended for blocks through the working-class neighborhood near the Amuay oil refinery on Sunday, as firefighters struggled to control blazes still burning in the plant's huge fuel storage tanks after an explosion early Saturday that has killed at least 41 people. ...


It's not been a shining year for oil refineries.

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Mon, Aug 27, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Shell seeks more time to drill exploratory well in Chukchi Sea
With its bid to launch offshore drilling in the Arctic Ocean running up against a deadline to protect against sea ice, Shell Alaska has requested an extension in its window for drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Peter E. Slaiby, vice president of the Alaska venture, said Sunday that the company has proposed extending the time allowed for drilling in the Chukchi by slightly less than two weeks beyond the Sept. 24 deadline set by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow time for cleanup of any oil spill before the onset of winter sea ice. Meeting with reporters at an Arctic Imperative Summit here, Slaiby said the company's latest models for forecasting the onset of winter sea ice now show the first freeze-up occurring somewhat later than originally envisioned when federal officials imposed their initial deadline for ending operations in the Chukchi Sea. ...


When it comes to oil, hey we'll letcha slide!

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Sun, Aug 19, 2012
from Globe and Mail:
Pipelines, glut of cheap crude raise doubts over oil sands expansion
Strained pipeline systems and a glut of North American crude will force Canadian oil sands companies to cut back on their ambitious expansion plans over the next several years, a major new report warns. Based on a review of all major producing regions, the CIBC World Markets report says North American crude production should grow annually over the next five years by a stunning 900,000 barrels a day. That scenario would see the United States dramatically cut its dependency on imported crude, forcing Canadian producers to look for markets elsewhere, at the same time that Canadian gas exporters face shrinking U.S. appetite for their supplies due to booming shale gas supplies. Companies will find it increasingly difficult to justify expansion of high-cost oil sands projects, especially when there is a wealth of more profitable, less capital-intensive investment opportunities across the continent, CIBC analysts said in the 276-page report released Friday. "Unfortunately, higher cost oil sands projects seem like the first to get rationalized," said the study of 28 major oil and gas plays in the U.S. and Canada. ...


Does that mean that Canada won't become the next petro-powerhouse?

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Sun, Aug 19, 2012
from LA Times, via InsideClimateNews:
Keystone XL Construction Met with Protests in Texas, Oklahoma
The Canadian pipeline company TransCanada has quietly begun construction of the southern leg of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, installing segments near Livingston, Texas, company officials confirmed Thursday. "Construction started on Aug. 9. So we've now started construction in Texas," TransCanada spokesman Shawn Howard told the Los Angeles Times. The southern section of the pipeline received government approval in July. The first in a series of protests also was launched Thursday as opponents of the pipeline, designed to eventually carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands of northern Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast, unfurled protest banners at two equipment staging yards in Texas and Oklahoma. "We just wanted to demonstrate that although they might be ready to begin, we would be ready to meet them," Ron Seifert, spokesman for Tar Sands Blockade, said in an interview. ...


Surely there's no cause for protest, when the pipeline connects to nothing, right?

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Tue, Aug 7, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Greenland melt spawns iceberg threat in search for offshore oil
Oil companies off Greenland's shores may be basing risk assessments on outdated information as icebergs splinter the island's coastline at an ever faster pace, scientists and environmentalists said. ...


Assassin icebergs!

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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from Anchorage Daily News:
Shell denies witness claim that drilling rig drifted for 2 hours
For two hours before a big Shell drilling ship stopped near shore Saturday afternoon, a Dutch Harbor resident noticed it slowly moving in that direction, an observed time that contradicts with the much shorter period of uncontrolled drifting in Shell's account of the close call. ...


An oil company... lie?

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Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
2010 Oil Spill in Michigan Far Larger Than Official Estimates, Evidence Shows
The 2010 pipeline spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River was far larger than the pipeline operator has reported, according to accumulating evidence and documents recently released by federal investigators. The estimate that Enbridge Inc., the pipeline's Canadian operator, has used since a couple months after the spill is 20,082 barrels, or 843,444 gallons. The estimate used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is larger -- 1 million gallons -- but the documented sources indicate that estimate may also be low, by a significant degree. ...


If they ever get one of these oil spill estimates right it will be by sheer accident!

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Mon, Jun 4, 2012
from Washington Post:
Canadian government overhauling environmental rules to aid oil extraction
For years, Canada has been seen as an environmental leader on the world stage, pushing other nations to tackle acid rain, save the ozone layer and sign global treaties to protect biodiversity. Those were the old days. The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the nation's environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil, minerals and other materials to a global market clamoring for Canada's natural resources. ...


Come on, let's hurry up and make some money!

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Thu, May 31, 2012
from Globe and Mail:
Pipeline spill sends 22,000 barrels of oil mix into Alberta muskeg
A huge pipeline spill has released 22,000 barrels of oil and water into muskeg in the far northwest of Alberta. The spill ranks among the largest in North America in recent years, a period that has seen a series of high-profile accidents that have undermined the energy industry's safety record.... The most recent spill was discovered May 19 emanating from a pipeline belonging to Pace Oil & Gas Ltd.... The spill has yet to be contained, although "we're very close," Pace chief executive Fred Woods said in an interview Wednesday.... As with many recent pipeline accidents, Calgary-based Pace did not detect a problem, but was informed of the leak by another company after the spill was spotted from an aircraft. ...


Cleaning these things up could threaten the economy!

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Tue, May 29, 2012
from New York Times:
Expert Links Dolphin Deaths to Sonar Testing
Did offshore oil exploration play a role in the recent deaths of nearly 900 dolphins off the northern Peruvian coast? Peru's fisheries minister said last week that government scientists had ruled that out as a possibility and that the dolphins probably died of natural causes. But a marine veterinarian and conservationist who examined many of the corpses contends they were probably harmed by sound waves from seismic tests used to locate oil deposits. ...


(muffled)

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Wed, Apr 18, 2012
from Al Jazeera:
Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists
"The fishermen have never seen anything like this," Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. "And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I've never seen anything like this either."... Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP's 2010 oil disaster. Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp - and interviewees' fingers point towards BP's oil pollution disaster as being the cause.... The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP's disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome. ...


Mutagenics just speed up natural evolution.

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Fri, Apr 13, 2012
from ScienceDaily:
Gulf Coast Residents Say BP Oil Spill Changed Their Environmental Views
About one-fourth of our respondents said that as a result of the spill, their views on other environmental issues such as global warming or protecting wildlife had changed," said Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. "This proportion rose to 35 percent among those most affected economically by the spill. People reporting changed views also expressed greater concern about sea level rise due to climate change, more support for a moratorium on deepwater drilling, and were more likely to favor alternative energy rather than increased oil exploration," Hamilton said. ...


All it takes is a big enough catastrophe to make us believe in reality!

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Sat, Apr 7, 2012
from ArtVoice:
Son of Frackenstein: Even Worse is Planned
Welcome to the post peak oil energy economy. What's online to follow fracking is even scarier. The problem is we're addicted to oil, and like most addicts, we can't take that first step and admit our addiction. For over a century, we mostly glided, enjoying the high that cheap oil gave our economy and consumptive lifestyles, while not facing many consequences -- at least none that we could yet recognize. But, like the meth-head whose body was rotting from the inside out, our addiction was poisoning our atmosphere, our oceans and in places, our land and fresh water. Now we're seeing the results of that five generation-long binge.... As China and India develop as oil hungry consumer cultures, and as hydrocarbon addiction grows amid a growing global population, energy prices will continue to rise, opening the door of economic opportunity to a plethora of fracking-like energy extraction technologies. These are wildly irresponsible, terribly dangerous processes that only an addiction-maddened mind would contemplate, and only a greed-addled sociopath would execute. Think of this as taking fracking to the next level so that we can continue to speed along on our highway to hell--peak oil, and the earth, be damned. ...


The problem is, we're really high-functioning addicts.

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Wed, Apr 4, 2012
from MSNBC:
615 dead dolphins found on Peru beaches; acoustic tests for oil to blame?
Conservationists counted 615 dead dolphins along a 90-mile stretch of beaches in Peru, a wildlife group said Wednesday, and the leading suspect is acoustic testing offshore by oil companies. "If you can count 615 dead dolphins, you can be sure there are a great many more out at sea and the total will reach into the thousands,ā€¯ Hardy Jones, head of the conservation group BlueVoice.org, said in a statement after he and an expert with ORCA Peru walked the beaches. Indeed, the head of a local fishermen's association told Peru21.pe that he estimated more than 3,000 dolphins had died so far this year, based on what he saw in the water and on beaches. ...


Dolphins can be pussies.

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Fri, Mar 30, 2012
from Washington Times:
Churches step up environmental activism
God is going green. With a Bible in one hand and a protest sign in the other, many religious activists are now moving in lockstep with the environmental movement in the fight against oil and gas drilling. Stewardship of the Earth is hardly a new concept in Christian thought -- it's mentioned in Genesis -- but a growing school of theological thought leaders are getting out of the pew, marching on the picket line, and becoming specific-issue activists. ...


Amen!

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from USA Today:
Column: High gas prices? Bring 'em on!
Me, I'm not running for office. I blame feckless politicians from both parties for the lack of a sane energy policy over the past 40 years. And unlike Obama or his Republican challengers, I want higher gas prices. At least for a while. Long enough for us to get the market signals right and to continue to wean ourselves off our fossil fuel addiction. The way I see it, every time we've been confronted by an energy crisis, Americans have done the right thing. Faced with the cold hard economic facts of life when it comes to oil availability and price, we've figured out for ourselves how to be innovative, resilient and sensible. Having plentiful cheap resources can make us wasteful; scarcity and high prices can make us smart.... Change happens when the cost of the status quo is greater than the risk of change. Right now, rising oil prices are driving up the cost of the status quo. That means it's time for all of us to embrace the risk of change. Once again. Because that's what we've done every time in the past when we've been challenged with higher prices and lower availability. It turns out, we're at our best, our most innovative and our most pragmatic when times get a little bit tougher. ...


The cheapest energy of all is fun between people.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 14, 2012
from London Guardian:
Dogs take lead in sniffing out Arctic oil
When it comes to drilling for oil in the harsh and unpredictable Arctic, Shell has gone to the dogs, it seems. A dachshund and two border collies to be specific. The dogs' ability to sniff out oil spills beneath snow and ice has been tested and paid for by Shell -- and other oil companies and government research organisations -- in preparation for the industry's entry into the forbidding Arctic terrain. The company hopes to begin drilling for oil off the north-west coast of Alaska in June. ...


So much for man's best friend.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 13, 2012
from PNAS, via Treehugger:
Tar Sands Industry Claims About Restoring Ecosystems Just Greenwashing, New Report Says
New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has examined the impact of tar sands mining in Canada on boreal forest and peatlands, finding that contrary to industry claims that such landscape can be restored post-mining, full restoration is not possible. Furthermore, due to the fact that currently approved mines will cause the destruction of more than 29,500 hectares (114 square miles) of peatland, an additional 11.4-47.3 million metric tons of carbon emissions will be released by the mining. The destruction of the peat swamps will also remove carbon storage potential of up 7,200 metric tons per year, even after restoration is done. The release of these greenhouse gases has never previously been included in calculations of the life-cycle emissions of fuel produced from tar sands. ...


It's strangely as if we actually can't put Humpty together again.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 7, 2012
from Reuters:
Landslide Near Papua New Guinea Quarry Raises Futher Questions About Exxon
A deadly landslide in the mountains of Papua New Guinea, near where US oil giant Exxon Mobil is building a $15.7 billion gas project, is raising fresh questions about the global energy industry's scramble for ever harder-to-reach resources. The landslide tore through a quarry used by Exxon in January, killing at least 25 people in the poor South Pacific country, but it has stirred little international publicity even though an expert report had questioned the safety of the excavations. The controversy also raises some familiar issues aired by critics of "big oil" in previous disasters: a pressure to deliver results, contractors found to have cut corners and remote operations that limit government oversight. ...


Even the earth itself is mobil when Exxon is around.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from The Tyee:
Spill from Hell: Diluted Bitumen
On a July morning in 2010 in rural Michigan, a 30-inch pipeline owned by Calgary-based Enbridge Energy Partners burst and disgorged an estimated 843,000 gallons of thick crude into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. This was no ordinary crude -- it was the first ever major spill into water of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. The cleanup challenges and health impacts around Kalamazoo were unlike anything the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had ever dealt with, and raise serious questions about the preparedness in British Columbia to respond to such a disaster on the B.C. coast -- or the Vancouver harbour. ...


I am bitter, man, about this spill.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Shell oil rig set for landmark Alaska journey
Amid the tangle of towering steel, heavy cranes and overcast skies of Seattle's busy commercial shipyards, Shell Oil's massive Kulluk drilling rig is preparing to push off for the Arctic Ocean. When it does, America's balance between energy needs and environmental fears will enter a new era. Barring unexpected court or regulatory action, by July the Kulluk will begin drilling exploratory oil wells in the frigid waters off Alaska's northern coast. ...


Apo-Kullukse!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Canadian firm to proceed with southern leg of Keystone pipeline
The Keystone XL battle isn't over. The Canadian company behind the controversial pipeline announced Monday that it would proceed immediately with a shorter version of the project south of Oklahoma -- even as it seeks a new permit for the segment through the northern U.S. Opponents immediately vowed to fight on both fronts.... The southern segment of the pipeline would extend from Cushing, Okla., which already has a glut of crude oil, to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast; those refineries now import much of their oil from abroad. ...


If you build it, they will succumb.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Fuel Fix:
Americans support Keystone XL pipeline, poll says
Americans who have heard about the Keystone XL pipeline overwhelmingly support the proposal to carry Canadian oil across the United States to Gulf Coast refineries, according to a Pew Research poll released Thursday. Among those who knew about the pipeline, 66 percent said the federal government should approve the project. The poll found only 23 percent opposed it. ...


Yeah, but Americans also support rampant consumerism and the right to pollute with impunity.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 14, 2012
from Guardian:
Obama revives green agenda with push to end oil industry tax breaks
Barack Obama knew a budget proposal to end $40bn in tax breaks for the oil and gas industry would get him into an election-year fight with Republicans over his energy agenda. It's at least the fourth time the president has called for rolling back the subsidies. And, predictably, Republicans and the oil industry were spoiling for a fight. The main industry lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, attacked the proposal as "punitive and unfair". Like Obama's earlier proposals to cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, this one is highly unlikely to pass through Congress. What the revival of the proposal demonstrates, however, is that Obama, despite his earlier half-hearted support for action on climate change and other environmental measures, is willing to put up a fight now. He has just chosen to redefine the battle lines, using the budget to highlight clean energy while trimming support for environmental regulation. ...


I'm just glad we still have time for 10-dimensional chess.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 13, 2012
from LA Times, through DesdemonaDespair:
Canada responds to tar-sands-based caribou decline with plan to kill wolves
Woodland caribou herds in Canada are declining, and tar sands development is a big part of the reason why. But Canada's national and provincial governments know what do about that: Kill the wolves. That's the crux of new posts by both Grist and the National Wildlife Federation, which are following this issue. Both are revisiting the environmental costs of tar sands development in Alberta. The federation cites numerous studies released in 2011 that found that oil and gas development in Canada is contributing to the decline of woodland caribou herds. Both the national government and the province of Alberta acknowledge that tar sands development adversely affects the herds. Environment Canada, the country's national environmental agency, announced in fall 2011 that a draft of a nationwide caribou recovery plan - which is not yet in effect - would include plans to cull the wolf population near the three herds that are directly affected by the tar sands development. Environment minister Peter Kent was quoted in numerous stories acknowledging that "thousands" of wolves might need to be killed. Many stories have focused on the use of strychnine poisoning and aerial hunting to kill the wolves. Officials in Alberta, however, want to emphasize that this program has not yet begun and, while wolves are currently controlled in the province, that images of a wholesale wolf slaughter are overblown.... ...


Somehting is bakcwadr with this ygetarts.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 8, 2012
from Bill McKibben, on TomDispatch:
The Great Carbon Bubble
Still, [the energy companies] could theoretically invest all that cash in new clean technology or research and development for the same. As it happens, though, they've got a deeper problem, one that's become clear only in the last few years. Put briefly: their value is largely based on fossil-fuel reserves that won't be burned if we ever take global warming seriously. When I talked about a carbon bubble at the beginning of this essay, this is what I meant. Here are some of the relevant numbers, courtesy of the Capital Institute: we're already seeing widespread climate disruption, but if we want to avoid utter, civilization-shaking disaster, many scientists have pointed to a two-degree rise in global temperatures as the most we could possibly deal with. If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we'll quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons -- five times more than we can ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground. Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms, of course, it would be a disaster, first and foremost for shareholders and executives of companies like ExxonMobil (and people in places like Venezuela). If you run an oil company, this sort of write-off is the disastrous future staring you in the face as soon as climate change is taken as seriously as it should be, and that's far scarier than drought and flood. It's why you'll do anything -- including fund an endless campaigns of lies -- to avoid coming to terms with its reality. ...


That's twenty trillion dollars of economic development!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 7, 2012
from Washington Post:
Dead fish, health problems emerge as Chevron rig off Nigeria continues to burn after accident
The burning inferno of what used to be a Chevron Corp. natural gas rig still stains the night's sky orange more than two weeks after the rig caught fire, and no one can say when it will end as swarms of dead fish surface. The environmental damage is hitting a region whose poor still rely on the delta's muddy waters for survival. A nearby clinic remains overrun with patients who are showing up with skin irritations and gastrointestinal problems. "The community here has no other source of water apart from the river water, which on its own isn't even safe enough to drink, but the pollution has made the water even worse," said Dr. Oladipo Folorunso, the only doctor in the town of Ikebiri. Folorunso attributes the illnesses to the burning rig, as rising temperatures in water can cause bacteria to thrive. A satellite image showed that the fire at a point was at least 1,340 degrees Fahrenheit (nearly 730 degrees Celsius), "hot enough to soften steel," an independent watchdog group called SkyTruth said.... Chevron said last week that it was moving "food and supplies to the communities in the area to recognize the help and support that they have given us." A report by local watchdog Environmental Rights Action said the area -- home to tens of thousands of people -- received 50 bags of rice, 50 bags of cassava flour, one cow, vegetable oil, palm and groundnut oil, cartons of tomatoes and canned drinks.... ...


One cow is the start of a herd!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 26, 2012
from NUVO:
Questions linger on Keystone XL
The day before President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada's request to expand its Keystone pipeline system, a Hoosier engineer received word federal authorities dismissed his claim that he was terminated from the pipeline project for raising safety concerns. The rejections are not deterring either company's or the whistleblower's plans to advance their respective agendas. For TransCanada this means completion of the pipeline. For Michael Klink, a 59-year-old civil engineer from Auburn, Ind., it means that the company will rectify his litany of safety concerns.... Klink discovered foundation problems at the Edinburg station near the Canadian border. He says rebar material was built to the wrong specifications and installed incorrectly, compromising the ability to support a 6,500-horsepower, high-voltage, multi-ton electric motor. Then, without fixing the problem, he said TIC Wyoming, another contractor hired by TransCanada, signed off on the work..."It's not that I'm opposed to pipelines," Klink says. "I'm opposed to this pipeline. They have already built one (Keystone Phase One) and they've proven they can't live up to their own quality standards. They (TransCanada) did the design. They did the specifications and they can't even live up to what they wanted done." ...


Don't you think we should listen to politicians instead of engineers?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 23, 2012
from BBC:
Race to save Ecuador's 'lungs of the world' park
The Yasuni National Park, known as "the lungs of the world" and one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, is under threat from oil drilling. The race is on to find the funds required to develop new sustainable energy programmes that would leave the oil - and the forest - untouched. ...


I breathe. Can I contribute somehow?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 18, 2012
from Washington Post:
Obama administration rejects Keystone pipeline
President Obama, declaring that he would not bow to congressional pressure, announced Wednesday that he was rejecting a Canadian firm's application for a permit to build and operate the Keystone XL pipeline, a massive project that would have stretched from Canada's oil sands to refineries in Texas. Obama said that a Feb. 21 deadline set by Congress as part of the two-month payroll tax cut extension had made it impossible to do an adequate review of the pipeline project proposed by TransCanada. ...


Pipeline procrastinator.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from Columbus Dispatch:
Most 'brine' is from out of state
The industry uses the terms brine or produced waters to describe the salty waste fluid that constantly percolates out of wells drilled to tap oil and natural gas. For decades, the best way for Ohio oil and gas companies to get rid of the stuff was to send it back underground. It's the sole purpose of a network of 177 disposal wells that state regulators have overseen since the 1980s. State records show that nearly 60 percent of the brine that's injected into Ohio disposal wells these days doesn't come from Ohio. It's trucked in from shale gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Though this flood of brine has been linked to a series of earthquakes in Youngstown, state regulators and industry officials say they have no ability to stop it. ...


That brine ain't mine.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 12, 2012
from London Guardian:
Oil lobby's financial pressure on Obama over Keystone XL pipeline revealed
New analysis of oil industry contributions to members of Congress has revealed the level of the oil lobby's financial firepower that Barack Obama can expect to face in the November elections if he refuses to approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Obama has until 21 February to make a decision on whether to approve the pipeline, under a compromise tax measure approved late last year. America's top oil lobbyist warned last week that the president would face "huge political consequences" if he did not sign off on the project to pump tar sands crude across the American heartland to refineries on the Texas coast. ...


If he approves Keystone we'll have to call him Oilbama.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 10, 2012
from Toronto Star:
Titanic clash looms over proposed Northern Gateway pipeline
A biologist, an energy lawyer and an aboriginal geologist will sit down Tuesday in a recreation centre in the wilderness of northern British Columbia to initiate what could be the fiercest environmental standoff ever seen in Canada. Before the hearings in B.C. and Alberta are completed next year, more than 4,000 people are expected to appear before the three-member panel vetting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta through the Rockies to the B.C. coast. Like the now-stalled Keystone XL project in the United States, the planned pipeline to carry tarsands-derived crude oil across the mountains to a new supertanker port in northern B.C. is shaping up as a titanic clash of economic and environmental imperatives. ...


The other pipeline.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
With federal green light, Shell hits the gas on Arctic plans
In a sign that the Obama administration is willing to clear the regulatory decks for oil drilling in Alaska's remote Arctic waters, the Interior Department on Friday gave a conditional green light allowing Royal Dutch Shell PLC to explore for oil this summer in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. More than 20 years after sinking its first exploratory well in the Chukchi, only to later abandon the project, Shell is seeking to reopen drilling in the nation's northern-most federal waters. The campaign has already had a colossal price tag. So far, Shell officials say they have sunk $4 billion in the project, including $350 million to build two of their own ice-breaking ships. If exploration is successful, it will take 10-12 years before Shell can begin producing oil. During that time, the company would have to build a new ice-resistant drilling facility, install 100 miles of subsea pipeline from the pumping rig to the tiny community of Wainwright and construct a 500-mile pipeline from the shoreline to the beginning of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay. ...


It will be worth all the work, if we can indeed destroy the planet!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
40 percent of state drilling regulators have industry ties
...More than 40 percent of officials regulating oil and gas production in the top drilling states, records show, come from the industry they are charged with policing. It is a degree of self-regulation enjoyed by few other industries, if any. And it heightens suspicion among critics of the nation's drilling boom that companies are allowed to damage the environment with impunity. Supporters of the industry, and the regulators themselves, say it simply makes sense to have technical experts deciding technical issues. ...


That's the fox drilling the henhouse.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Vermont Law School's Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2012
Vermont Law School, which has one of the top-ranked environmental law programs in the country, just released its second annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List of issues and developments that should be closely followed in 2012. Top of the list? Republican attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency. According to an innovative online database set up by L.A.'s own Rep. Henry Waxman, there have been 170 anti-environmental votes under the Republican majority in the 112th Congress, and 91 of them attacked the EPA. Other hot topics on the watch list include that same EPA and the White House clashing over ozone standards, the activist effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and landmark settlements under the Endangered Species Act. ...


Actually, top of the list: Republicans' farts; they're way worse than Democrats' farts.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 25, 2011
from Bloomberg News:
Renewable Power Trumps Fossils for First Time as UN Talks Stall
Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks. Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass attracted $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the most recent data. Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal. "The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable," United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. "You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis." The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. ...


Durban be damned; leaders be let go; renewables rule!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 24, 2011
from Associated Press:
Brazil suspends Chevron's drilling permission
Chevron was banned from drilling for oil in Brazil until an investigation into an offshore oil leak at one of the U.S.-based oil company's well sites is completed, regulators said Wednesday. The board of Brazil's National Petroleum Agency met and "ordered the suspension of drilling activities" until it can identify the causes and who is responsible for the leak of more than 110,000 gallons of oil into the Atlantic ocean off the nation's southeastern coast. "This resolution suspends all drilling activity for Chevron Brasil Ltda. in national territory," the statement read. It was not clear how long the suspension would last. Chevron said in an emailed statement that it would "follow all the rules and regulations of the Government of Brazil and its agencies." ...


Chevron, you've been a bad, bad oil boy.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 20, 2011
from The Market Oracle:
The Electric Car Paradox: Can We Switch To Electric Cars ? Not now and... not nearly
The simple answer is no - and the complicated answer is also no.... What we find is a reality wall for EVs so high that "The Switch" (to a fully motorised all electric car future) is such pure fantasy it is avoided - even by its most blustering shills. These, like Renault's Carlos Ghosn talk loudly about attaining production rates of 1 million EVs per year "by about 2016". The quantum leap they would need to match the world's current output of OVs, about 75 million per year, and then replace the existing stock of around 950 - 975 million OVs, growing at about 55 million a year (after the scrapping of about 20 million a year), is so far beyond their admittedly world class ability to lie, boast and brag - that only fantasy will suffice. As we know from the first table, for every ton of global oil production, we produce 5 kilograms of aluminium, less than 2 kgs of copper, a half kilo of lead, and so on down the scale - to lithium. Like we also know, lithium is the Holy Grail for EV boomers, who can present this light metal as relatively "eco friendly', or relatively non-toxic, but this does nothing to change its rarity. To be sure, it is fun to know the world's oceans contain an estimated 230 billion tons of lithium - dissolved in about 1450 billion cubic kilometres of water - which means there is about 140 kgs of lithium in every cubic kilometre of seawater ! More seriously, we need to know the world's mineable and extractible reserves of lithium. These are mainly located in Bolivia, Argentina, Portugal and Russia and their exact extent is most certainly a controversial subject, but the US Geological Survey in 2007 estimated these may be as little as 13.75 million tons. The most optimistic estimates, assuming a large increase in lithium prices, extend this to about 29 Mt. ...


But surely, the invisible hand of the marketplace will become visible under duress, right?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 11, 2011
from New York Times:
U.S. Delays Decision on Pipeline Until After Election
The Obama administration, under sharp pressure from officials in Nebraska and restive environmental activists, announced Thursday that it would review the route of the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline, effectively delaying any decision about its fate until after the 2012 election. The State Department said in a statement that it was ordering a review of alternate routes to avoid the environmentally sensitive Sand Hills region of Nebraska, which would have been put at risk by a rupture of the 1,700-mile pipeline carrying a heavy form of crude extracted from oil sands formations in Alberta to refineries in Oklahoma and the Gulf Coast. ...


In this case, delay is progress.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Earth Policy Institute:
U.S. Carbon Emissions Down 7 Percent in Four Years: Even Bigger Drops Coming
Between 2007 and 2011, carbon emissions from coal use in the United States dropped 10 percent. During the same period, emissions from oil use dropped 11 percent. In contrast, carbon emissions from natural gas use increased by 6 percent. The net effect of these trends was that U.S. carbon emissions dropped 7 percent in four years. And this is only the beginning. The initial fall in coal and oil use was triggered by the economic downturn, but now powerful new forces are reducing the use of both... In August, the American Economic Review -- the country's most prestigious economics journal -- published an article that can only be described as an epitaph for the coal industry. The authors conclude that the economic damage caused by air pollutants from coal burning exceeds the value of the electricity produced by coal-fired power plants. Coal fails the cost-benefit analysis even before the costs of climate change are tallied. ...


RIP ... Rest In Pollution

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from Mobile Press-Register:
4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event'
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama -- A dolphin carcass, bloated and violet in the morning sun, was found on Fort Morgan early Saturday, bringing the number lost since the BP oil spill to more than 400. Three other dolphins have washed up in Alabama in the past week, including a pregnant female on Dauphin Island and a mother and calf pair on Hollingers Island in Mobile Bay. "We should be seeing one (death) a month at this time of year," said Ruth Carmichael, a Dauphin Island Sea Lab scientist tasked with responding to reports of dead dolphins. "We're getting one or more a week. It's just never slowed down." An examination of the Gulfwide death toll, broken down by month, reveals that dolphins continue to die at rates four to 10 times higher than normal. ...


Are those darn dolphins eating cantaloupe again?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from London Independent:
Exclusive: BP to risk worst ever oil spill in Shetlands drilling
BP is making contingency plans to fight the largest oil spill in history, as it prepares to drill more than 4,000 feet down in the Atlantic in wildlife-rich British waters off the Shetland Islands. Internal company documents seen by The Independent show that the worst-case scenario for a spill from its North Uist exploratory well, to be sunk next year, would involve a leak of 75,000 barrels a day for 140 days -- a total of 10.5 million barrels of oil, comfortably the world's biggest pollution disaster. ...


How refreshing to have a clear sense of what could go wrong!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 7, 2011
from Stuart Smith:
Coming up Empty: Shrimp Catches Are Down 99 Percent in Areas Hard Hit by Gulf Oil Spill
This year's white shrimp season off the coast of Louisiana looks like a bust, despite the fact that state fishery experts had predicted a bumper crop. But that was before the BP oil spill hit last April - just as the white shrimp were beginning to spawn. The timing couldn't have been worse. Today, the reality out on the water, according to Louisiana Shrimp Association President Clint Guidry, is that catches are down some 80 percent across the board. Areas hardest hit by last year's 200-million-gallon spill are yielding next to nothing. Many shrimpers, who have trawled the waters off Grand Isle for many years, are now being forced to move to more fertile grounds.... The low harvest is impacting businesses farther inland, too, such as Doran Seafood, a shrimp processing plant in Independence. "We have done zero this year," said Randy Pearce, the plant's owner-operator. "We have not peeled one Louisiana white shrimp." ...


But I bet the 1 percent are as fat and happy as Wall Street bankers!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 7, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Disaster in the Gulf Continues
In the Gulf, new information is confirming fears that fish and wildlife -- and millions of people on the Coast -- are being seriously impacted by the 4.9 million barrels of BP oil spewed from the ocean deep last year. A new report from the Waterkeeper Alliance shows the BP disaster is still unfolding. The report points to ongoing public health problems, long-term damages to the environment, and a growing need for environmental monitoring and restoration programs to fight decades of petroleum industry assaults and the growing impacts of climate change.... Scientists are finding disturbing evidence that the fragile Gulf ecosystem has been dealt a serious blow by the millions of gallons of oil that leeched into fertile wildlife breeding grounds and wetland areas critical to coastal fisheries. As Times-Picayune outdoors writer Bob Marshall reported recently, scientists are concerned that low levels of toxic compounds could be damaging fish species like the marsh-dwelling killifish, a key species of the gulf ecosystem.... "We're talking about a diverse group of chemicals, polcyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), that interact with each other," said Dr. Patricia Williams. "They are powerful carcinogens and powerful reproductive toxins.... I've interviewed tar ball workers and what we're finding is that any problem we're seeing in wildlife, we're seeing in humans, with reproductive and neurological problems. ...


PAHnic in PAHradise.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from InsideClimate News:
Koch Subsidiary Told Regulators It Has 'Direct and Substantial Interest' in Keystone XL
A document filed with Canada's Energy Board appears to cast doubt on claims by Koch Industries that it has no interest in the controversial pipeline. In recent months Koch Industries Inc., the business conglomerate run by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, has repeatedly told a U.S. Congressional committee and the news media that the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline has "nothing to do with any of our businesses." But the company has told Canadian energy regulators a different story. In 2009, Flint Hills Resources Canada LP, an Alberta-based subsidiary of Koch Industries, applied for -- and won -- "intervenor status" in the National Energy Board hearings that led to Canada's 2010 approval of its 327-mile portion of the pipeline. The controversial project would carry heavy crude 1,700 miles from Alberta to the Texas Gulf Coast. ...


It seems the Koch brothers are giving apoca-lip service on this issue.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from London Guardian:
Shell oil paid Nigerian military to put down protests, court documents show
Shell has never denied that its oil operations have polluted large areas of the Niger Delta -- land and air. But it had resisted charges of complicity in human rights abuses. Court documents now reveal that in the 1990s Shell routinely worked with Nigeria's military and mobile police to suppress resistance to its oil activities, often from activists in Ogoniland, in the delta region. Confidential memos, faxes, witness statements and other documents, released in 2009, show the company regularly paid the military to stop the peaceful protest movement against the pollution, even helping to plan raids on villages suspected of opposing the company. According to Ogoni activists, several thousand people were killed in the 1990s and many more fled that wave of terror that took place in the 1990s. ...


I love my car toooooo much to believe this is possible.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 4, 2011
from New York Times:
TransCanada Pipeline Foes See U.S. Bias in E-Mails
With the Obama administration about to decide whether to green-light a controversial pipeline to take crude oil from Canada's oil sands to the Gulf Coast, e-mails released Monday paint a picture of a sometimes warm and collaborative relationship between lobbyists for the company building the billion-dollar pipeline and officials in the State Department, the agency that has final say over the pipeline... The e-mails, the second batch to be released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the environmental group Friends of the Earth, show a senior State Department official at the United States Embassy in Ottawa procuring invitations to Fourth of July parties for TransCanada officials, sharing information with the company about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's meetings and cheering on TransCanada in its quest to gain approval of the giant pipeline, which could carry 700,000 barrels a day. ...


We're all just one big happy family burning down our house!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 27, 2011
from Washington Post:
Keystone pipeline opponents pin hopes on Nebraska
Environmentalists hoping to block a proposed underground oil pipeline that would snake 1,700 miles from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico have pinned their hopes on an unlikely ally -- the conservative state of Nebraska. Few states are as red as Nebraska, which hasn't supported a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964. But opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline has risen steadily since the project was proposed three years ago... Many in the public are hostile to the idea, too. When a pipeline company logo was displayed on a stadium screen during a recent Nebraska Cornhuskers game, boos rained down from the crowd of 85,000. ...


Soon this pipeline will be nothing but a pipedream.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Sep 22, 2011
from Mongabay:
Indigenous Peruvians blockade river against 'murderous' oil company
Over the weekend more than 100 Shuar indigenous people, also known as Wampis, blockaded the Morona River in Peru in an effort to stop exploratory oil drilling by Canadian-owned Talisman Energy. The blockade in meant to prevent oil drilling in an area of the Peruvian Amazon known as Block 64, home to four indigenous tribes in total and the Pastaza River Wetland Complex, a Ramsar wetland site. "We do not consider the oil company as a creator of jobs but instead as murderous, criminal and abusive. We do not want Talisman in the Wampis territory," a statement from the Shuar reads pointing to Talisman Energy's track record in Peru as well as alleged human rights abuses in Sudan during the nation's civil war. The company sold off its Sudan holdings in 2003 after international criticism, while a lawsuit in the US against Talisman was thrown out due to sufficient admissible evidence. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case. ...


Just build 'em condos, feed 'em HoHos, and they'll shut up.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 21, 2011
from New York Times:
For Obama, Peer Pressure from Nobel Laureates
With his approval rating among American voters at an all-time low, President Obama could use a little support from his peers. But this month nine fellow recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and the Dalai Lama, sent the president a letter urging him to veto the construction of a huge pipeline that would bring bring crude oil to the United States from Canada. On Monday, the letter was published as an advertisement in The Washington Post. It reads in part: "The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership -- and working together -- the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal. You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge." ...


Obama may be tarred and feathered by these otherwise peaceful souls.

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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
from The Denver Post:
Four oil and gas companies responsible for 350 spills named "outstanding operators" by regulators
As gas and oil drilling accelerates along Colorado's heavily-populated Front Range, state regulators named four companies to be "Outstanding Operators" and lauded them for environmental excellence. But the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulators' records show that those companies are responsible for more than 350 spills since January 2010. One of them, Andarko subsidiary Kerr-McGee, released cancer-causing benzene and other chemicals three times last month in Weld County -- contaminating land and water. The awards given by the COGCC exemplified a collaborative regulatory approach that Colorado relies on to protect its environment with a record-high 45,793 wells and companies drilling about eight more a day. A Denver Post analysis in progress has found that spills are happening at the rate of seven a week - releasing more than 2 million gallons this year of diesel, oil, drilling wastewater and chemicals. ...


If these are the "outstanding operators" I'd hate to run into the "offending operators."

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Sun, Sep 11, 2011
from New York Times:
Pipeline Spills Put Safeguards Under Scrutiny
This summer, an Exxon Mobil pipeline carrying oil across Montana burst suddenly, soiling the swollen Yellowstone River with an estimated 42,000 gallons of crude just weeks after a company inspection and federal review had found nothing seriously wrong. And in the Midwest, a 35-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, Mich., once teeming with swimmers and boaters, remains closed nearly 14 months after an Enbridge Energy pipeline hemorrhaged 843,000 gallons of oil that will cost more than $500 million to clean up. While investigators have yet to determine the cause of either accident, the spills have drawn attention to oversight of the 167,000-mile system of hazardous liquid pipelines crisscrossing the nation.... Meanwhile, budget limits and attrition have left the agency with 118 inspectors -- 17 shy of what federal law authorizes. Pipeline operators, critics argue, have too much autonomy over their lines, and too much wiggle room when it comes to carrying out important safeguards, like whether to install costly but crucial automated shut-off valves. ...


That's one inspector per 100,000+ miles of pipeline. I'm guessing: Time-and-a-half overtime!

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Thu, Sep 1, 2011
from New York Times:
Exxon Reaches Arctic Oil Deal With Russians
MOSCOW -- Exxon Mobil won a coveted prize in the global petroleum industry Tuesday with an agreement to explore for oil in a Russian portion of the Arctic Ocean that is being opened for drilling even as Alaskan waters remain mostly off limits. The agreement seemed to supersede a similar but failed deal that Russia's state oil company, Rosneft, reached with the British oil giant BP this year -- with a few striking differences. Where BP had planned to swap stock, Exxon, which is based in Texas, agreed to give Rosneft assets elsewhere in the world, including some that Exxon owns in the deepwater zones of the Gulf of Mexico and on land in Texas. ...


Folks, these are your Oil Overlords.

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Tue, Aug 30, 2011
from Desmogblog:
Infographic Shows how Keystone Pipelines are 'Built to Spill'
Since commencing operation in June of 2010, the Keystone I pipeline has suffered more spills than any other 1st year pipeline in U.S. history. In addition to a nasty spill record, the proposed Keystone XL will cross one of the largest aquifers in the world - the Ogallala - which supplies drinking water to millions and provides 30 percent of the nation's groundwater used for irrigation. Pipeline construction will also disrupt 20,782 acres, including 11,485 acres of native and modified grassland, rangeland and pastureland, and pipeline construction will threaten sensitive wildlife and aquatic species habitats. According to the EPA, carbon emissions from tar sands crude are approximately 82 percent higher than the average crude refined in the U.S. Given the extremely toxic nature of tar sands bitumen and the fact that Keystone is TransCanada's first wholly owned pipeline in the U.S., it seems reasonable to look to TransCanada's performance with Keystone I for clues on how it would manage Keystone XL. And the clues are telling. ...


I'm confident they'll self-regulate!

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Fri, Aug 26, 2011
from Washington Post:
State Department review to find pipeline impact "limited," sources say
The State Department will remove a major roadblock to construction of a massive oil pipeline stretching from Canada to Texas when it releases its final environmental assessment of the project as soon as Friday, according to sources briefed on the process. The move is critical because it will affirm the agency's earlier finding that the project will have "limited adverse environmental impacts" during construction and operation, according to sources familiar with the assessment who asked not to be identified because the decision has not been made public. ...


Limited environmental impact; unlimited profits for the oil industry.

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Thu, Aug 25, 2011
from Reuters:
Polar bear death at BP oil field under investigation
Federal authorities are investigating the fatal shooting of a polar bear at an Alaska oil field operated by BP, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the oil company said on Thursday. The female bear was shot in early August by a security guard working for a BP contractor and died of its wounds about 11 days later, the agency and BP officials said. BP said the guard had been trying to ward off the bear rather than kill it and believed he was firing nonlethal ammunition....Polar bears, considered to be at risk because the Arctic sea ice they depend upon is dwindling, are listed as threatened with extinction under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. They are also managed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which generally forbids hunting of the animals. ...


BP can either wait for global warming to kill them or take matters into their own hands.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from New York Times:
Tar Sands and the Carbon Numbers
This page opposes the building of a 1,700-mile pipeline called the Keystone XL, which would carry diluted bitumen -- an acidic crude oil -- from Canada's Alberta tar sands to the Texas Gulf Coast. We have two main concerns: the risk of oil spills along the pipeline, which would traverse highly sensitive terrain, and the fact that the extraction of petroleum from the tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does. The Canadian government insists that it has found ways to reduce those emissions. But a new report from Canada's environmental ministry shows how great the impact of the tar sands will be in the coming years, even with cleaner production methods. It projects that Canada will double its current tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day. That rate will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest -- a natural carbon reservoir. Extracting oil from tar sands is also much more complicated than pumping conventional crude oil out of the ground. It requires steam-heating the sands to produce a petroleum slurry, then further dilution. One result of this process, the ministry says, is that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector as a whole will rise by nearly one-third from 2005 to 2020... ...


Sometimes it seems as if we want to destroy our world.

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Dozens arrested outside White House during oil sands protest
A Canadian woman was among as many as 50 environmental activists handcuffed and taken to jail Sunday on the second day of peaceful White House protests against TransCanada Corp.'s controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Fifty protesters are already in a downtown D.C. jail following their arrests outside the White House on Saturday, the opening day of a two-week civil disobedience campaign.... President Barack Obama will decide by the end of the year whether to allow Calgary-based TransCanada to build the controversial, $7-billion (U.S.) pipeline. It would transport millions of barrels of Alberta oil sands crude a week through the American heartland and to Gulf Coast refineries. Opponents say Keystone is an environmental disaster waiting to happen, pointing to a number of recent spills along pipelines. They also oppose Alberta's oil sands due to their high greenhouse gas emissions. Advocates, meantime, say the pipeline will create thousands of American jobs amid a lingering recession, and will also help end U.S. dependence on Middle Eastern oil. ...


Someday soon, we'll all have jobs dying of the heat.

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Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from EcoHearth:
Millions of Abandoned, Leaking Oil Wells and Natural-Gas Wells Destined to Foul Our Future
Other instances of leaking oil from just the past 30 odd years (millions of gallons noted in parentheses) have occurred in Kuwait during the Gulf War (240-336); Bay of Campeche, Mexico (140); Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies (88.3); Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan (87.7); Nowruz Oil Field, Persian Gulf (80); Angolan coast (80); Saldanha Bay, South Africa (78.5); off Brittany, France (68.7); off Nova Scotia, Canada (43); Genoa, Italy (42); Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska (11); and BP's Deepwater Horizon platform leak in the Gulf of Mexico (205). This in-depth EcoHearth report indicates these are but a prelude more numerous catastrophes to come.... Each day hundreds of thousands of abandoned leaking oil wells and natural-gas wells spew toxic pollutants into the environment--and tens of millions more will soon join them--thanks to fatally flawed gas and oil-well capping and lax or nonexistent industry and government oversight. A three-month EcoHearth.com investigation has revealed this developing environmental calamity that almost no one is paying attention to and that gravely threatens ecosystems worldwide. There are at minimum 2.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells--none permanently capped--littering the US, and an estimated 20-30 million globally. There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many--likely hundreds of thousands--are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now--or will be. ...


I'm confident that the technology of the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s is both dependable and safe, in perpetuity. How about you?

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Shell silent on North Sea oil pipeline leak
Royal Dutch Shell Plc was silent yesterday on the status of an oil leak of unspecified size in the North Sea and authorities said they had no information on whether the leak had been stemmed, provoking anger from environmentalists. The Anglo Dutch oil major said on Friday that it had discovered the leak from a flow line at its Gannet Alpha Platform and said then it was working to stem the flow. The company declined to comment yesterday. ...


Playing a little shell game, eh?

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Sat, Aug 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
Federal judge throws out Obama drilling rules
A judge on Friday threw out Obama administration rules that sought to slow down expedited environmental review of oil and gas drilling on federal land. U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal ruled in favor of a petroleum industry group, the Western Energy Alliance, in its lawsuit against the federal government, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The ruling reinstates Bush-era expedited oil and gas drilling under provisions called categorical exclusions on federal lands nationwide, Freudenthal said... "Western Energy has demonstrated through its members recognizable injury," she said. "Those injuries are supported by the administrative record." ...


Poor poor put-upon oil and gas companies!

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Thu, Aug 4, 2011
from Technology Review:
New Process Could Make Canadian Oil Cheaper, Cleaner
New technology for extracting oil from oil sands could more than double the amount of oil that can be extracted from these abundant deposits. It could also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the process by up to 85 percent. The technology was developed by N-Solv, an Alberta-based consortium that recently received $10 million from the Canadian government to develop the technology.... The idea of using solvents to get at oil sands was proposed in the 1970s, but early experiments showed that the process couldn't produce oil quickly enough. Two things changed that, according to N-Solv. First, horizontal drilling technologies now make it possible to run a solvent injection well along the length of an oil sands deposit, increasing the area in contact with the solvent, thus increasing production. Second, N-Solv determined that even small amounts of methane--a by-product of using a solvent--could contaminate the propane and degrade its performance. So N-Solv introduced purification equipment to separate methane from the propane before it is reused. The separated methane can also be used to heat the propane, further reducing energy costs. N-Solv's process requires less energy because it uses a solvent rather than steam to free the oil, says Murray Smith, a member of N-Solv's board of directors. The solvent, such as propane, is heated to a relatively low temperature (about 50 deg C) and injected into a bitumen deposit. The solvent breaks down the bitumen, allowing it to be pumped out along with the propane, which can be reused. The solvent approach requires less energy than heating, pumping, and recycling water for steam. And because the heaviest components of the bitumen remain underground, the oil that results from the solvent process needs to be refined less before it can be transported in a pipeline. ...


Is cognitive dissonance is the sound of three hands clapping?

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Yellowstone Oil Spill Reveals Gaps In Pipeline Oversight
The spill into the Montana river amid historic flooding this month drew attention to what had long been an overlooked part of the nation's energy infrastructure: the presence of pipelines underneath rivers coursing throughout the country. The spill raised concern that other underwater pipelines may have been exposed to debris by high and fast-moving waters that swept much of the U.S. in recent months.... As regulators scramble to gauge what other lines might be at risk, lawmakers from both parties are raising alarms that another spill could be imminent unless the government steps up oversight of the largely self-regulated pipeline industry.... Pipeline safety officials on Wednesday gave The Associated Press a preliminary estimate of 35,000 river, stream and lake crossings within the country's half-million-mile network of natural gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines.... Federal regulations require that pipelines crossing rivers be buried at least four feet underneath most riverbeds. They can be placed at shallower depths if the soil is rocky. There is no requirement for companies to periodically re-evaluate the original depth. ...


Michael: Everything was normal when we put those pipelines in!
Jim: Who could have predicted that normal wasn't forever?

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Reuters:
Ohio leads list of top 20 states with toxic air
People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are most at risk in the United States from toxic emissions spewing from coal and oil-fired power plants, two leading American enviromental groups said in a report on Wednesday. Electricity generation and chemical processing were the top culprits for dangerous emissions, which can lead to or worsen ailments such as asthma and cancer, according to the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility... "Power plants are the biggest industrial toxic air polluters in our country, putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe," said Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council...The findings underline the need for strong action by the Environmental Protection Agency to spur industry to clean up the emissions, Lashof said. ...


Or, we can just consider this outrage as acceptable casualties.

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from Reuters:
BP pipeline leaks oily mixture onto Alaskan tundra
BP reported yet another pipeline leak at its Alaskan oilfields, frustrating the oil giant's attempts to rebuild its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP said on Monday that a pipeline at its 30,000 barrel per day Lisburne field, which is currently closed for maintenance, ruptured during testing and spilled a mixture of methanol and oily water onto the tundra. The London-based company has a long history of oil spills at its Alaskan pipelines - accidents which have hurt its public image in the U.S., where around 40 percent of its assets are based. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said the spill occurred on Saturday and amounted to 2,100 to 4,200 gallons. ...


Aw hell, no worries, we're used to it, now!

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Wed, Jul 13, 2011
from LA Times:
WikiLeaks behind-the-scenes politics of oil pipeline from Canada
But a 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa suggests the scale may have already been tipped. The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks, describes the State Department's then-energy envoy, David Goldwyn, as having "alleviated" Canadian officials' concerns about getting their crude into the U.S. It also said he had instructed them in improving "oil sands messaging," including "increasing visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories." Goldwyn now works on Canadian oil sands issues at Sutherland, a Washington lobbying firm, and recently testified before Congress in favor of building the 36-inch underground pipeline, Keystone XL. Environmentalists and industry experts say the cable is among several examples from unguarded moments and public documents that signal the administration's willingness to push ahead with the controversial pipeline, even as its agencies conduct environmental and economic reviews.... Keystone XL would thread through the vast Ogallala aquifer, the main drinking water source for the U.S. Midwest. The Keystone I system has had a dozen leaks in the last year, stoking fears of a spill in the aquifer from the new pipeline. More environmental concerns arose this month after an ExxonMobil pipeline leaked up to 42,000 gallons into the Yellowstone River in Montana, under which Keystone XL would also run. Keystone XL's backers dismiss the environmental claims as overblown and contend that the oil industry is working hard in Alberta on land reclamation and reducing emissions. TransCanada has said that the Keystone I spills were small and easily cleaned up. Environmentalists remain skeptical. ...


Don't worry, partner. We'll put the "eh" in "right of w'eh" for ya.

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Thu, Jul 7, 2011
from Guardian:
Chinese oil spill half the size of London went unreported for a month
Watching the 840 square km oil slick now polluting China's Bohai Sea and listening to the excuses of the companies and officials involved, it is hard to avoid a sense of deja-vu. It has taken a month for news to emerge about the leak from a well in the Penglai 19-3 field operated by the US energy company ConocoPhillips in partnership with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and . The companies detected the problem on 4 June, but it only came to light on 21 June thanks to a microblog leak rather than an official release. After initially downplaying the accident, the authorities finally revealed this week that it covers an area half the size of Greater London.... The deja-vu is global. Industrial accidents and cover-ups happen all over the world. As my colleagues reported this week, there were more than 100 unpublicised oil and gas spills from European and American wells in the North Sea between 2009 and 2010.... China also has a dark history in this regard. I am particularly reminded of the botched cover up of the 2005 benzene spill into the Songhua river by the China National Petroleum Corporation. Company executives and local government officials insisted at the time that water supplies were contaminated. As the toxic slick flowed towards Harbin, millions of residents were initially told their water supplies needed to be cut for several days for "routine pipe maintainance". ...


They just thought outrage was more toxic than oil. At least, to their interests.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from Guardian:
Oil and gas spills in North Sea every week, papers reveal
Serious spills of oil and gas from North Sea platforms are occurring at the rate of one a week, undermining oil companies' claims to be doing everything possible to improve the safety of rigs. Shell has emerged as one of the top offenders despite promising to clean up its act five years ago after a large accident in which two oil workers died. Documents obtained by the Guardian record leaks voluntarily declared by the oil companies to the safety regulator, the Health and Safety Executive(HSE), in a database set up after the Piper Alpha disaster of 6 July 1988 which killed 167 workers. They reveal for the first time the names of companies that have caused more than 100 potentially lethal and largely unpublicised oil and gas spills in the North Sea in 2009 and 2010. They also deal a significant blow to the government's credibility in supporting the oil industry's fervent desire to drill in the Arctic. Charles Hendry, the energy minister, has said operations to drill in deep Arctic waters by companies such as Cairn Energy off Greenland are "entirely legitimate" as long as they adhere to Britain's "robust" safety regulation. Shell has been at the forefront of plans to drill in the Arctic waters of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. ...


At least they're consistent.

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Sun, Jul 3, 2011
from New York Times:
Ruptured Pipeline Spills Oil Into Yellowstone River
An ExxonMobil pipeline running under the Yellowstone River in south central Montana ruptured late Friday, spilling crude oil into the river and forcing evacuations. The pipeline burst about 10 miles west of Billings, coating parts of the Yellowstone River that run past Laurel -- a town of about 6,500 people downstream from the rupture -- with shiny patches of oil. Precisely how much oil leaked into the river was still unclear. But throughout the day Saturday, cleanup crews in Laurel worked to lessen the impact of the spill, laying down absorbent sheets along the banks of the river to mop up some of the escaped oil, and measuring fumes to determine the health threat.... While the cause of the rupture was not immediately known, Brent Peters, the fire chief for Laurel, told The A.P. that it may have been caused by high waters eroding parts of the river bed and exposing the pipeline to debris.... ...


Who could have anticipated that a Montana riverbed might change in response to extreme weather?

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Thu, Jun 23, 2011
from Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, David Suzuki, Wendell Barry, and others, in CommonDreams:
Environmental Leaders Call for Civil Disobedience to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline
The short version is we want you to consider doing something hard: coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will likely get you arrested.... These corporations want to build the so-called 'Keystone XL Pipeline' from Canada's tar sands to Texas refineries. To call this project a horror is serious understatement.... But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous. How much carbon lies in the recoverable tar sands of Alberta? A recent calculation from some of our foremost scientists puts the figure at about 200 parts per million. Even with the new pipeline they won't be able to burn that much overnight--but each development like this makes it easier to get more oil out. As the climatologist Jim Hansen (one of the signatories to this letter) explained, if we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate "the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground." In other words, he added, "if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over." ...


Let us lay waste to civilization, or we won't let you get re-elected.

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Tue, Jun 7, 2011
from Associated Press:
Greenhouse gas emissions hitting record highs
Despite 20 years of effort, greenhouse gas emissions are going up instead of down, hitting record highs as climate negotiators gather to debate a new global warming accord. The new report by the International Energy Agency showing high emissions from fossil fuels is one of several pieces of bad news facing delegates from about 180 countries heading to Bonn, Germany, for two weeks of talks beginning Monday...The figures are "a serious setback" to hopes of limiting the rise in the Earth's average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 F) above preindustrial levels, he said. Any rise beyond that, scientists believe, could lead to catastrophic climate shifts affecting water supplies and global agriculture, setting off more frequent and fierce storms and causing a rise in sea levels that would endanger coastlines. ...


Sounds eerily like what's happening now.

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Mon, Jun 6, 2011
from Christian Science Monitor:
US: Canadian oil pipeline hazardous to the environment
A controversial oil-sands pipeline operated by a Canadian oil company was ordered shut down Friday by the US Department of Transportation on charges that its continued operation "would be hazardous to lives, property, and the environment." TransCanada, a leading North American pipeline operator, started operation of Keystone I, a 36-inch pipeline system, in June 2010, making it possible to deliver Canadian oil to markets across Midwest farmland in several states, from the Dakotas through Illinois. ...


I hope this squirmish doesn't turn into a war!

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Mon, May 30, 2011
from Ottowa Citizen:
Tories left oilsands data out of UN report
The [Canadian] federal government has acknowledged it deliberately excluded data indicating a 20 per cent increase in annual pollution from Canada's oilsands industry in 2009 from a recent 567-page report on climate change that it was required to submit to the United Nations. The numbers, uncovered by Postmedia News, were left out of the report, a national inventory on Canada's greenhouse gas pollution. It revealed a six per cent drop in annual emissions for the entire economy from 2008 to 2009, but does not directly show the extent of pollution from the oilsands production, which is greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars driven on Canadian roads. The data also indicated that emissions per barrel of oil produced by the sector is increasing, despite claims made by the industry in an advertising campaign. "The oilsands remain Canada's fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas pollution, and they're the subject of a huge amount of attention and scrutiny in Canada and internationally," said Clare Demerse, director of climate change at the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental research group. "So it's very disappointing to see Environment Canada publish a 500-page report that leaves out these critical numbers -- especially when last year's edition included them." ...


They were simply reporting their dreams. Is that so wrong?

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Thu, May 12, 2011
from Science News:
Idling jets pollute more than thought
Airports can pose a far bigger threat to local air than previously recognized, thanks to the transformative power of sunlight. In the first on-tarmac measurements of their kind, researchers have shown that oil droplets spewed by idling jet engines can turn into particles tiny enough to readily penetrate the lungs and brain. Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his team collected the pollution spewed from a plane powered by one of the most common types of commercial jet engines as it operated at different loads... Sunlight's oxidation of the exhaust emitted at idling can generate 35 times more particles than the engine originally emitted and 10 times what computer models have typically predicted, the researchers report online May 5 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Robinson says he found these new data "unbelievable. It sort of blew our minds." ...


Apparently, it blows one's mind AND one's brain (and lungs).

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Mon, Apr 25, 2011
from Edinburgh Scotsman:
Greenpeace activists hijack Scots oil rig bound for Greenland
GREENPEACE activists climbed aboard an oil rig off Turkey yesterday to prevent it leaving for Greenland to begin deep-water drilling in the Arctic. Eleven activists used speedboats to intercept and then climb on to the Leiv Eiriksson after it had left a port in Istanbul. They climbed the rig's derrick, unfurling a banner that read: "Stop Arctic destruction" and "Go Beyond Oil, Choose Clean Energy." The platform, bound for Greenland's Baffin Bay, did not stop and stayed on course, heading towards the Dardanelles strait with the activists on board, Deniz Sozudogru, a Greenpeace spokeswoman said. ...


This has all the makings of an ongoing drama.

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Thu, Apr 21, 2011
from Scientific American:
Seafood At Risk: Dispersed Oil Poses a Long-Term Threat
After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded on April 20, 2010, more than 200 million gallons of oil flowed out of the Macondo well and into the Gulf of Mexico before the leak was finally plugged. Add to that the nearly 2 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit subsequently applied to the spill and it's no wonder that the government, scientists and the public alike are wondering what sort of effects this chemical cocktail will have on the Gulf ecosystem, and especially seafood. While the mainstream media has widely covered the debate over seafood safety, these stories do not delve into the science behind the issue, nor do they highlight the dangers that chemically dispersed oil poses to the marine food web. Not only is there concern about the current safety of Gulf seafood, but there are concerns about the long-term effects dispersed oil may have on fish populations, further jeopardizing Gulf fisheries in the future.... The current FDA risk assessment protocol is based on a 176-pound man eating four shrimp a week. That doesn't account for women or children, whose body weights are lower, let alone local seafood consumption along the Gulf coast. "Nobody in the Gulf really eats four shrimp a week, so it's unrealistic the way they are assessing risk of consumption," says Shaw.... Solomon reports that many people she talked to on the Gulf coast told her, "Four shrimp?! That's not even one po' boy!" ...


Long-term threats are tomorrow's problem.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from Associated Press:
AP Enterprise: BP is looking strong a year later
It's hard to tell that just a year ago BP was reeling from financial havoc and an American public out for blood. The oil giant at the center of one of the world's biggest environmental crises is making strong profits again, its stock has largely rebounded, and it is paying dividends to shareholders once more. It is also pursuing new ventures from the Arctic to India. It is even angling to explore again in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it holds more leases than any competitor. ...


Oil is thicker than blood.

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Mon, Apr 18, 2011
from BBC:
BP oil spill: Fishermen woes persist, one year on
He has brought me out on his boat, a couple kilometres from the Gulf of Mexico, to show me why. He winches up a basket full of oysters and sifts through each one, shaking his head. "This one's dead. This one's dead. All of them empty shells. All of them, beautiful oysters, and they're dead. And all because of BP's oil spill one year ago," he says. Everything he has caught, he has to throw back. "It's heartbreaking," he says. "This is the biggest oyster kill in Louisiana history, probably in the Gulf coast's history. "I wish I wasn't part of it. I wish I wasn't here. It's heartbreaking."... Back at the headquarters of Collins Oyster Company, Nick's father Wilbert stands in the driveway, taking a long drag on a cigarette. At 73 years old, he is the head of the family business. "We used to have some of the best oysters in the country," he says. "They used to line up here for three hours at a time to get a bag full."... Now there are no cars lining up. Without any oysters, Wilbert has put up a sign on his front lawn. It reads: "Collins Oyster Company - Out of Business After 90 Years Due to BP Oil Spill." ...


But the oysters that do survive will be that much stronger!

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Fri, Apr 15, 2011
from Guardian:
Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill
BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged. Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year.... Other documents obtained by Greenpeace suggest that the politics of oil spill science was not confined to BP. The White House clashed with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last summer when drafting the administration's account of what has happened to the spilled oil.... Another email, written by Karen Ragoonanan-Jalim, a BP environmental officer based in Trinidad, contains minutes of a meeting in Houma, Louisiana, in which officials discussed what kind of studies might best serve the oil company's interests.... Under agenda item two, she writes: "Discussions around GRI and whether or not BP can influence this long-term research programme ($500m) to undertake the studies we believe will be useful in terms of understanding the fate and effects of the oil on the environment, eg can we steer the research in support of restoration ecology?" ...


What'd'you expect? BP pays the piper, BP calls the tune!

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Fri, Apr 1, 2011
from Reuters, via WHNT, from DesdemonaDespair:
Government tightens lid on dolphin death probe
The U.S. government is keeping a tight lid on its probe into scores of unexplained dolphin deaths along the Gulf Coast, possibly connected to last year's BP oil spill, causing tension with some independent marine scientists. Wildlife biologists contracted by the National Marine Fisheries Service to document spikes in dolphin mortality and to collect specimens and tissue samples for the agency were quietly ordered late last month to keep their findings confidential. The gag order was contained in an agency letter informing outside scientists that its review of the dolphin die-off, classified as an "unusual mortality event (UME)," had been folded into a federal criminal investigation launched last summer into the oil spill. "Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented or discussed outside the UME investigative team without prior approval," the letter, obtained by Reuters, stated. A number of scientists said they have been personally rebuked by federal officials for "speaking out of turn" to the media about efforts to determine the cause of some 200 dolphin deaths this year, and about 90 others last year, in the Gulf. ...


When they try to gag scientists, it's usually because bad news is coming back up.

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Wed, Mar 30, 2011
from Life Science News, via EurekAlert:
Whale and dolphin death toll during Deepwater disaster may have been greatly underestimated
The team focused their research on 14 species of cetacean, an order of mammals including whales and dolphins. While the number of recovered carcasses has been assumed to equal the number of deaths, the team argues that marine conditions and the fact that many deaths will have occurred far from shore mean recovered carcasses will only account for a small proportion of deaths.... The team's analysis suggests that only 2 percent of cetacean carcasses were ever historically recovered after their [natural] deaths in this region, meaning that the true death toll from the Deepwater Horizon disaster could be 50 times higher than the number of deaths currently estimated.... "While we did not conduct a study to estimate the actual number of deaths from the oil spill, our research reveals that the accepted figures are a grave underestimation," concluded Dr. Williams. "We now urge methodological development to develop appropriate multipliers so that we discover the true cost of this tragedy." ...


If you'll forgive the expression.

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Shipwreck threatens island penguins
A wrecked ship is threatening to cause an environmental disaster on an island which is home to endangered penguins, conservationists warned today. The vessel has grounded on Nightingale Island, part of the Tristan da Cunha UK overseas territory in the South Atlantic, causing an oil slick around the island which is home to nearly half the world's population of northern rockhopper penguins. ...


Sticky Feet

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from GOOD:
Chart: Why Four-Dollar-Per-Gallon Gas Is Damn Cheap
Inspired by Cord's thought-provoking post on the per gallon prices of various liquids, and by Sarah Palin's ill-informed Facebook rant on the "$4-Per-Gallon President," I decided to take a closer look at gasoline prices around the world. Mrs. Palin might be interested to learn, that the world already has quite a few $4-Per-Gallon Presidents. In fact, the world already has $6-Per-Gallon Parliaments, $7-Per-Gallon Prime Ministers, and $8-Per-Gallon Presidents!... An odd trend seems to be that the most of countries that have gas prices under our own, are those same countries that so many politicians routinely cite as "evil" or "undemocratic." Does Sarah Palin want our oil economy to be more like Iran and Venezuela? From this recent chart in the Economist, you can see that the bulk of the premium costs in most European nations is due to higher taxes and duties on crude and gasoline. Many nations recognize oil as a finite resource, and are utilizing gasoline taxes to reduce oil imports, create a more efficient transportation system, and better prepare for longer-term oil price volatility. ...


Yeah, but the quality of life in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany sucks. I heard that somewhere.

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Fri, Mar 18, 2011
from Greenwire:
Christian Coalition Visits Hill for Energy Discussion
The Christian Coalition of America came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, not to proselytize or discuss issues like abortion or gay marriage, but to talk about the United States' energy policy and the need to end the country's dependence on foreign oil....Announcing the event, the coalition said in a statement, "We believe that there needs to be a conservative discussion on a national energy policy that speaks to the values of energy independence, national security, prosperity, family and stewardship. That is why we are sponsoring this discussion."... Other speakers who addressed the group were C. Boyden Gray...Gray said, "The United States is drowning in substitutes for oil." He said the country must become more reliant on natural gas, which is plentiful in the United States, to become less dependent on oil. ...


That frucker Gray apparently hasn't been reading how frucked fracking is on the environment.

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Thu, Mar 10, 2011
from CBC:
Monitoring of oilsands impact inadequate: panel
The province must do a better job of monitoring the impact of oilsands mining on water quality in northeastern Alberta, concludes a scientific panel. Environment Minister Rob Renner appointed the six-member panel in September 2010 after a University of Alberta study concluded industry was responsible for increased levels of toxins in the Athabasca River, a claim contradicted by government scientists.... It found industry and government monitoring is inadequate in determining the amount of toxins entering the environment.... "It's not just that we have to have more monitoring, but we have to have a more coordinated system for monitoring." NDP critic Rachel Notley said Renner has known for years that the current system was lacking but did nothing about it. "The minister can try to rewrite history, but the record shows that while the Tories barged ahead on development, their commitment to environmental protection was in spin only," said Notley. ...


So get 'em some more flatscreens! Jeez, problem solved!

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from The Independent:
US judge halts damages claim over pollution in Amazon
An American judge has extended his temporary ban on the collection of $18bn in damages from Chevron, saying the US oil giant would be irreparably harmed if it had to pay compensation - ordered by a court in Ecuador - for pollution in parts of the Amazon rainforest.... But Karen Hinton, a spokeswoman for the Ecuadoreans, said Judge Kaplan's failure to consider key evidence or schedule a hearing to learn more facts was a "trampling of due process" and "an inappropriate exercise of judicial power".... The US oil firm Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, stands accused of dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into unlined pits and Amazon rivers between 1972 and 1992. Campaigners allege that crops were damaged, farm animals died and local cancer rates increased. But Chevron claims that Texaco spent $40m cleaning up the area in the 1990s and signed an agreement with Ecuador in 1998 absolving it of any further responsibility. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said there was evidence that lawyers for 30,000 Ecuadorean plaintiffs would move swiftly to pursue multiple enforcement actions and asset seizures around the globe, including in areas where Chevron would not be immediately able to challenge the lawsuits. He said his decision was justified because without it Chevron would be at significant risk of "missing critical deliveries". ...


Ain't justice grand?

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Mon, Mar 7, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
Depression, anxiety, despair flow in wake of BP Gulf oil spill: Study finds widespread trauma
According to Scott Coffey, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Mississippi, Jackson, there is a clear upswing in stress. "The oil spill occurred in a population that was already struggling with the effects of Katrina. They were severely impacted. Add to that the negative economy that is stressing everyone, the national issues, the global issues, and these folks are getting hit hard."... Very little of the money that BP is said to have paid out to help people affected by the spill is actually reaching those who really need it. Or so it seems to the people whose claims have been denied.... "They make it such a maze that it gets to be an impossible task to follow through. We serve some people who maybe have filed a claim or they want to file a claim, but they're being told they have to do additional paper work and it has to be filed online and they don't have a computer. So they go to the library, where there's only 1 computer. Or the librarian has to show them how to fill out the forms." ...


Poor people's misery is only about three-fifths as important as mine.

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Sat, Mar 5, 2011
from DemocracyNow:
Leaked EPA Documents Expose Decades-Old Effort to Hide Dangers of Natural Gas Extraction
Efforts by lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to better police the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," have been thwarted for the past 25 years, according to an expose in the New York Times. Studies by scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on fracking have been repeatedly narrowed in scope by superiors, and important findings have been removed under pressure from the industry. The news comes as the EPA is conducting a broad study of the risks of natural gas drilling with preliminary results scheduled to be delivered next year. Joining us is Walter Hang, president of Toxics Targeting, a firm that tracks environmental spills and releases across the country, based in Ithaca, New York, where fracking is currently taking place.... And if we want to make this an honest process, if we want to make sure that this extraction mining is properly regulated, there's no better time than right now. We've never seen these documents before. I've been doing this work for 34 years. All of those internal communications, as you know, are excluded from Freedom of Information, so this is really a cornucopia of documents revealing how the EPA thinks. And that's how come, for the first time, we know what they wanted to do, to their credit, to protect the environment. And in fact, there's even one document that said that the authorities didn't want EPA to write down what their best hopes were, because if it ever came to light, the public could hold their feet to the fire to implement it. So this is a tremendous opportunity to regulate an industry that's really never been regulated before. ...


Why would we want to regulate things as if our lives depended on it?

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Wed, Mar 2, 2011
from The Independent:
Oil spill link suspected as dead dolphins wash ashore
The dead dolphins began appearing in mid-January along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the United States. Although none of the carcasses appeared to show outward signs of oil contamination, all were being examined as possible casualties of the petrochemicals that fouled the sea water and sea bed after BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded last April.... nearly five billion barrels of crude oil before it was capped in July.... The remains of 77 animals - nearly all bottlenose dolphins - have been discovered on islands, in marshes and on beaches along 200 miles of coastline. This figure is more than 10 times the number normally found washed up around this time of year, which is calving season for some 2,000 to 5,000 dolphins in the region.... One of the more disturbing aspects of the deaths is that nearly half - 36 animals so far - have been newborn or stillborn dolphin calves. In January 2009 and 2010, there were no reports of stranded calves, and because this is the first calving season since the BP disaster, scientists are concerned that the spill may be a cause. ...


Maybe it's everything Mom ate.

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Sat, Feb 26, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Scientists scrutinize rise in baby dolphin deaths
Scientists are trying to figure out what killed 53 bottlenose dolphins - many of them babies - so far this year in the Gulf of Mexico, as five more of their carcasses washed up Thursday in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. It's likely to be months before they get back lab work showing what caused the spontaneous abortions, premature births, deaths shortly after birth and adult deaths said Blair Mase, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's stranding coordinator for the Gulf Coast. "It's not like CSI where the very next day they have the results in. It doesn't work that way, unfortunately," she said.... Solangi said he'd never seen anything like the calf deaths, or found word of anything like it in 30 years of records from his area - Alabama, Mississippi and east Louisiana.... "We've collected tissues and sent them off to various laboratories for pathology and toxicology," he said. "All we can tell is some of them may have been premature, some of them were stillborn and others may have just survived for a day or two and died." Dolphins usually calve in March and April, he said. ...


I can't see what toxic Gulf of Mexico event could possibly be causing so many premature births. The spill ended months ago.

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Sat, Feb 26, 2011
from ProPublica:
Hydrofracked? One Man's Mystery Leads to a Backlash Against Natural Gas Drilling
But in the spring of 2005, Meeks' water had turned fetid. His tap ran cloudy, and the water shimmered with rainbow swirls across a filmy top. The scent was sharp, like gasoline... In that process, called hydraulic fracturing, a brew of chemicals is injected deep into the earth to lubricate the fracturing and work its way into the rock. How far it goes and where it ends up, no one really knows. Meeks wondered if that wasn't what ruined his well. Meeks couldn't have foreseen it when he began raising questions about his water, but hydraulic fracturing was about to revolutionize the global energy industry and herald one of the biggest expansions in U.S. energy exploration in a century.... As a result, drilling was about to happen in states not typically known for oil and gas exploration, including Michigan, New York and even Maryland. It would go from rural, sparsely populated outposts like Pavillion to urban areas outside Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh. Along the way, a string of calamitous accidents and suspicious environmental problems would eventually make hydraulic fracturing so controversial that it would monopolize congressional hearings, draw hundreds in protests and inspire an Academy-Award-nominated documentary produced for Hollywood. Louis Meeks, unintentionally, would be a part of that fight from the very beginning. His personal fight began with something simple: the energy industry's insistence that fracturing couldn't contaminate water. ...


That well-water smells just fine to me.

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from Globe and Mail (Canada):
How safe are North America's pipelines?
Now, after months of cleanup work, most of the crude has been scoured from the river and its banks. A U.S. government-mandated repair program, which saw Enbridge use 65 crews to fix 400 locations over the span of several months, is nearly complete. And Enbridge chief executive officer Pat Daniel has in recent weeks promised that things are nearly back to normal. But the spill has raised new questions about the age of the Enbridge pipeline network - the single most important link between Alberta's oil and buyers in the U.S. and Eastern Canada - and about the broader infrastructure of North America's massive system of oil transportation. Much of that system is decades old and built using protective coatings that have been shown to break down over time. Its future performance has important implications for both Canada's energy industry and the economy of the broader country, for which energy is now the single most important export.... "What we're learning is some of that old pipeline doesn't have a 100-year life, even though maybe they hoped it did," he said. "I don't know what the life is. But for sure these old lines are going to have to eventually get replaced. And I think what Enbridge is seeing is just the front end of that." ...


Relax. Hope has gotten us through so far!

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Sun, Feb 20, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Scientist finds Gulf bottom still oily, dead
Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor. That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012. At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't. "There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington. Her research and those of her colleagues contrasts with other studies that show a more optimistic outlook about the health of the gulf, saying microbes did great work munching the oil. "Magic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know," Joye said, later adding: "there's a lot of it out there." ...


Samantha is such a kill-Joye.

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Fri, Feb 18, 2011
from Huffington Post:
House Votes To Block EPA From Regulating Greenhouse Gases
The Republican-controlled House has voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases that scientists say cause global warming. The 249-177 vote added the regulation ban to a sweeping spending bill that would fund the government through Sept. 30. The restriction is opposed by the Obama administration, which is using its regulatory powers to curb greenhouse gases after global warming legislation collapsed last year. The administration also says the ban would cost thousands of construction jobs. EPA has already taken steps to regulate global warming pollution from vehicles and the largest factories and industrial plants. It is expected to soon roll out rules that target refineries and power plants. Texas Republican Ted Poe pressed the anti-EPA measure. His Texas district is home to many oil refineries. ...


The Republican™ brand just got hotter.

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Tue, Feb 15, 2011
from Mongabay:
Chevron found guilty, ordered to pay $8.2 billion in epic oil contamination fight
It was the environmental legal battle that some believed would never end (and they may still be right). But today in Lago Agrio, Ecuador, after 18 years of an often-dramatic court case, Chevron was found guilty of environmental harm and ordered to pay $8.2 billion in damages, however the oil giant says it will appeal the ruling. The lawsuit was filed by indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon who argue that poor environmental safeguards from Texaco in the 1970s and 80s led to widespread oil contamination and high rates of diseases, including cancer, among the populace. In 2001 Chevron purchased Texaco and inherited the legal fight. For its part, Chevron has dubbed the ruling "illegitimate" and with an appeal will drag the case on longer.... "Today's ruling in Ecuador against Chevron proves overwhelmingly that the oil giant is responsible for billions gallons of highly toxic waste sludge deliberately dumped into local streams and rivers, which thousands depend on for drinking, bathing, and fishing," two organizations Rainforest Action Network and Amazon Watch said in a joint release. ...


Once again those indigenes are hurting the economy.

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Mon, Feb 14, 2011
from University of Georgia, via EurekAlert:
Study finds massive flux of gas, in addition to liquid oil, at BP well blowout in Gulf
A new University of Georgia study that is the first to examine comprehensively the magnitude of hydrocarbon gases released during the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil discharge has found that up to 500,000 tons of gaseous hydrocarbons were emitted into the deep ocean. The authors conclude that such a large gas discharge--which generated concentrations 75,000 times the norm--could result in small-scale zones of "extensive and persistent depletion of oxygen" as microbial processes degrade the gaseous hydrocarbons.... The researchers explained that the 1,480-meter depth of the blowout (nearly one mile) is highly significant because deep sea processes (high pressure, low temperature) entrapped the released gaseous hydrocarbons in a deep (1,000-1,300m) layer of the water column. In the supplementary online materials, the researchers provide high-definition photographic evidence of the oil and ice-like gas hydrate flakes in the plume waters.... "We're not talking about extensive hypoxic areas offshore in the Gulf of Mexico," Joye explained. "But the microbial oxidation of the methane and other alkanes will remove oxygen from the system for quite a while because the time-scale for the replenishment of oxygen at that depth is many decades." ...


I'd rather just deal with stuff on the surface!

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Fri, Feb 11, 2011
from ecohearth:
Abandoned Oil Wells: The Coming Environmental Disaster of Epic Proportions
Failed gas and oil well capping technology and lax oversight make tens of millions of abandoned oil and gas wells ecological landmines. A three-month EcoHearth.com investigation has revealed this developing environmental catastrophe that almost no one is paying attention to and which gravely threatens ecosystems worldwide. There are at minimum 2.5 million abandoned oil and gas wells, none permanently capped, littering the US, and an estimated 20-30 million globally. There is no known technology for securely sealing these tens of millions of abandoned wells. Many--likely hundreds of thousands--are already hemorrhaging oil, brine and greenhouse gases into the environment. Habitats are being fundamentally altered. Aquifers are being destroyed. Some of these abandoned wells are explosive, capable of building-leveling, toxin-spreading detonations. And thanks to primitive capping technologies, virtually all are leaking now--or will be. Largely ignored by both industry and governments, this problem has been growing for 150 years--since the first oil wells were drilled. Each abandoned well is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. The triggers include accidents, earthquakes, natural erosion, re-pressurization (either spontaneous or precipitated by fracking) and, simply, time. ...


I'm sure the oil companies are on it.

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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from Associated Press:
New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US
new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude. Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day -- more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.... Environmentalists fear that fluids or wastewater from the process, called hydraulic fracturing, could pollute drinking water supplies. ...


Whew! We can remain addicted to oil after all!

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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Chevron files RICO suit in Ecuador case
Using a law written to prosecute the Mafia, Chevron Corp. on Tuesday filed a racketeering lawsuit against a team of lawyers who have been fighting the company over oil field pollution in Ecuador. Chevron accused the lawyers - as well as their clients and their spokeswoman - of conspiring to extort up to $113 billion from the oil company, based in San Ramon.... As a verdict in the marathon lawsuit nears, Chevron has tried to prove corruption among the lawyers and Ecuadoran officials involved in the case. Last year, Chevron persuaded judges in the United States to grant the company access to many of the lawyers' private documents, arguing that they could provide evidence of fraud. Chevron also won access to outtakes from a documentary film about the lawsuit, despite the objections of the filmmaker and many media companies (including Hearst Corp., which owns The Chronicle). ...


In a case like this it's hard to tell who's Mafia and who's not.

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Wed, Jan 19, 2011
from Telegraph.co.uk:
The silver lining to Arctic global warming
In the Arctic Ocean as elsewhere, the full, destructive power of global warming appears unmistakable. Regional sea ice is retreating fast, threatening to raise global sea levels, destroy traditional habitats and ways of life, and accelerate the rate at which the planet as a whole is warming up. Yet there is one silver lining to this depressing and disturbing picture. For when last week representatives of the Russian oil company Rosneft signed a "historic" new deal with BP, it was an indication that, in the years ahead, climate change will present a more complex picture than the darker image that is often drawn.... The mere threat of resource shortages should prompt us to exploit the remaining reserves to the full, not to fight over them. ...


The sooner we use up those resources forever, the sooner we can get on with the business of resource wars.

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from WWF, via EurekAlert:
Oil giant plans new platform near feeding ground of critically endangered whale
Sakhalin Energy Investment Company - part owned by Shell - has announced plans to build a major oil platform near crucial feeding habitat of the Western North Pacific gray whale population. Only around 130 whales of the critically endangered Western population exist today, and their primary feeding habitat - off Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East - is already besieged by multiple oil and gas exploration and development projects. The construction and operation of an additional off-shore platform could have numerous negative impacts on the whales, potentially disrupting feeding behaviours and increasing the chance of fatal ship strikes. Also, a third platform heightens the risk of an environmentally catastrophic oil spill in this sensitive habitat. "Just around 30 female western gray whales of breeding age remain - the population is already on the brink of disappearing forever," said Aleksey Knizhnikov, Oil & Gas Environmental Policy Officer for WWF-Russia. "The loss of even a few breeding females could mean the end for the population." ...


Why can't those whales find a new restaurant?

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Fri, Jan 14, 2011
from HuyffingtonPost:
Sylvia Earle Talks Gulf Oil Spill Effects In Exclusive Interview
It's hard to get a straight answer on the effects of the Gulf oil spill amid all of the headlines, hearsay, and word of mouth tidbits from a friend of a friend of a friend. But we managed to track down an expert who gave us not just one answer, but four detailed, honest responses to questions that we have all been wondering for nearly nine months now.... Q. Have the cleanup efforts been adequate, and if not, who should be considered responsible -- BP or the government? A. There is no way to "adequately clean up" the consequences of the blowout any more than you can uncook an egg. Most of the efforts succeeded in magnifying, not diminishing the impacts. In some ways, we are all responsible for this catastrophe. Our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels and the corporate mandate to maximize shareholder value encourages drilling without taking into account the costs to the ocean, even without major spills. Nonetheless, the thousands of individuals who have done their best to protect areas that escaped oiling and have attempted to clean up areas damaged by the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon well deserve recognition. However, we need to hold accountable those who authorized massive applications of toxic dispersants, especially at 5,000 ft depth, as well as those who allowed beaches to be upended, scraped, bulldozed and otherwise altered to give the appearance that the oil magically disappeared. Deployment of hundreds of miles of booms did little to contain the oil but did succeed in creating hundreds of miles of oily trash now contaminating landfills. ...


Does that mean we can't uncook our goose, either?

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Fri, Jan 14, 2011
from Reuters:
Filmmaker must surrender Chevron footage: court
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court's order that a filmmaker must hand over to Chevron Corp raw footage from a documentary as part of a legal fight over oil pollution in Ecuador's Amazon rainforest. At stake in the 17-year-old case are $27 billion in damages and clean-up costs the Ecuadorian government is claiming from Chevron. Indigenous communities accuse the oil company Texaco -- taken over by Chevron in 2001 -- of damaging their health and environment by polluting rivers. Filmmaker Joe Berlinger had argued that raw footage from his documentary "Crude" was a form of journalism and was therefore protected by press privileges. ...


Chevron is some kind of monster!

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Sat, Dec 18, 2010
from IRIN:
Nigeria: Corruption-fed unrest in Delta keeps communities in turmoil
According to the military's Joint Task Force (JTF), the 1 December attack by its troops on the village of Ayakoromor, 50km south of Warri, was a planned operation, targeting suspected criminals. But the Red Cross says thousands of people fled, many taking refuge in swamps, then heading to nearby villages.... Civil society and human rights activists say as long as the Nigerian authorities do not achieve a long-term solution to unrest and criminality in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, local communities will continue to suffer the fallout. They say a 2009 government amnesty programme, while a potentially positive step, will not resolve the longstanding causes of the Niger Delta conflict. The vast wetlands region sits atop more than 30 billion barrels of top-grade oil and substantial gas deposits, but it is one of the most impoverished regions in Nigeria, according to the UN Development Programme. "Unless the government addresses the political and financial corruption - at both the state and federal level - that has robbed the people of their right to health, education and the development of their region, the anger that drives militancy and criminality will continue," Eric Guttschuss, Human Rights Watch's Nigeria researcher, told IRIN. ...


It's hard to say what could be worse / than blessed with petroleum, thus doubly cursed.

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Thu, Dec 16, 2010
from Greenpeace:
Free 'print 'n' play' game: Big Oil Vs Greenpeace to save the Arctic
It's a free print & play board game called Deepsea Desperation. It's all about Greenpeace against Big Oil, with one player struggling to establish marine reserves in the very territory the other player wants to exploit. Through a mix of strategic lobbying, oil exploration, direct action and reserve creation, one of you will triumph. But beware: If you choose to be oil and get too many blowouts you'll have a deepwater slaughter on your hands, a mock twitter account handling your PR, pictures of dead animals in the paper, billions in damages and all those things that are so bad for your bottom line. And if a species falls extinct, you both lose.... Of course this isn't just a game. The world's oil companies really are trying to drill in some of the riskiest and most environmentally sensitive areas in the world. Marine reserves - think national parks at sea - really are the answer. World Park Antarctica is closed to industry because you helped us win the campaign to protect it. There's no reason we can't do the same in the Arctic, where oil companies are licking their lips as, without a trace of irony, they welcome the shrinking of the ice caps due to climate change. See, retreating ice frees up more places they can drill for oil. Unfortunately that will lead to more climate change. You see the problem here. We like to call this humanity's "Stupid Test." ...


Maybe the sides ought to be "future civilization" and "carbon producers."

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Wed, Dec 15, 2010
from Associated Press:
Environmentalists sue ExxonMobil over air laws
The largest oil refinery in the United States released more than 8 million pounds of illegal pollution in the past five years, violating the federal Clean Air Act thousands of times, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by environmental groups in Texas. The lawsuit against ExxonMobil is the latest by Sierra Club and Environment Texas as part of their campaign to rein in what they call "illegal emissions" by dozens of refineries and chemical plants that operate in the Texas Gulf Coast. In recent months, the groups have reached multimillion-dollar, out-of-court settlements with Shell and Chevron Phillips after filing similar suits. ExxonMobil denied the allegations and said it would fight the lawsuit... Texas has more oil refineries, chemical plants and coal-fired power plants that any other state and is the nation's leader in greenhouse gases. The state produces more than 20 percent of the nation's oil and one-third of the country's gas is refined along the Texas Gulf Coast. ...


Oil is the lifeblood of Uhmerica and it's the heart of Texas that pumps it.

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Thu, Dec 9, 2010
from The ApocaDocs:
2010 Year in Review from the ApocaDocs
The shocking truth ripped from the headlines! An appalling sense of humor in full display! The TOP 100 STORIES selected from the 1600+ news items archived and bequipped by the ApocaDocs in 2010, our The Year in Review displays not just the most holy shit, death-spiral-ish stories of the year, but also many of our favorite quips ("holy shit" stories tend to bring out the quipsters in both of us). All displayed in staggering CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER to help recap the year. You'll find yourself asking "What, all this, and it's only June!?!" Groans, grimaces, and guffaws abound in this rollercoaster reprise of a most eventful year. ...


How could you keep it to only a hundred?

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Wed, Dec 8, 2010
from Bloomberg:
BP, Contractors at Gulf Well 'Breathtakingly Inept' -- but should self-regulate
BP Plc, Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. were "breathtakingly inept" and made mistakes that were "largely preventable" at the doomed Macondo well, a leader of a panel investigating the disaster said. The U.S. shares blame for the April blowout and spill because it lacks the ability to maintain adequate oversight of the oil industry, William K. Reilly said today in remarks prepared for an industry conference in New Orleans. Oil companies should set up a self-regulating body to work with the U.S. on increasing deep-water drilling safety, he said.... "There is virtual consensus among all the sophisticated observers of this debacle that three of the leading players in the industry made a series of missteps, miscalculations and miscommunications that were breathtakingly inept and largely preventable," Reilly said in his remarks. ...


Please, BP, Halliburton, Exxon, Chevron -- self-regulate yourself. Gosh, we'd appreciate it ever so much.

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010
from New York Times:
Britain Aims for Radical Power Market Reform in Push for Low-Carbon Energy
The U.K. power market is about to face the most radical reform in decades as it becomes increasingly clear that progress toward decarbonizing its energy system in the face of climate change is moving at a snail's pace when it really needs to move like the wind, experts say. Next week, the government will produce a consultation paper on what needs to be done to bring forward the new low-carbon power plants the country urgently needs as many old ones face closure and with emission reduction targets that ministers say, with increasing signs of desperation, are seriously challenging. Today, the Committee on Climate Change -- set up under the 2008 Climate Change Act to monitor government progress toward the 80 percent carbon emission cut from 1990 levels by 2050 stipulated in the legislation -- issued its most urgent call for action to date.... Fuel poverty is defined as a household's having to spend 10 percent or more of its income on power. The government is known to favor a full system of feed-in tariffs for low-carbon energy, extending the current household scheme that came in nine months ago to cover utilities, as well, offering an attractive price for producing electricity to the grid, but at the same time pushing up prices for consumption. There is no ducking the dilemma. ...


Here in the States, we're champeen dilemma-duckers.

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Mon, Dec 6, 2010
from CBC:
Oil industry condemns Greenpeace satire
The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says Greenpeace has gone too far in its latest attack on the oilsands industry. In an online contest posted on Facebook, Greenpeace is encouraging people to take aim at a CAPP ad campaign launched earlier this year that shows oilsands workers talking about land reclamation and environmental cleanup in the industry. Greenpeace is encouraging people to create mash-ups or remixes, using videos from CAPP's campaign. One spoof video posted to the group's Facebook page depicts a biologist saying she will probably die of cancer and her family will be paid money to keep quiet. CAPP spokesperson Janet Annesley said the ads go too far. "We're certainly open to have our ideas or the point of the ads challenged," she said. "If the activists don't believe our claims around environmental performance, let's talk about that ... in our view, that just makes it personal, and it distracts from what, in fact, we should be talking about, which is solutions." ...


I didn't know oil corporations had such a keen sense of humor!

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Wed, Dec 1, 2010
from Associated Press:
Citing BP, Obama rejects East Coast oil drilling
Pointing to the BP blowout and risks of a new environmental disaster, the Obama administration reversed itself Wednesday and promised not to pursue offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or anywhere else along the nation's East Coast. The decision was hailed in Florida, which depends on tourists drawn by the state's white beaches, but criticized by the oil industry, which said the administration was stifling crucial U.S. energy production and costing recession-battered jobseekers golden opportunities for new work. ...


Chill, baby, chill!

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Sat, Nov 13, 2010
from CBC:
Arctic waters vulnerable to oil spill: 'so hard to clean up' offshore development should stop
An oil spill in the Arctic Ocean would be so hard to clean up that offshore development there should be put on hold, a U.S. environmental group said Friday. Because of the difficulties, "all proposed oil and gas leasing, exploration and development in the U.S. Arctic should be delayed" until energy companies can ensure they can respond to spills, said Marilyn Heiman, the director of the Pew Charitable Trust's U.S. Arctic program.... The Gulf spill would have been even worse in the Arctic, said Trevor Taylor of Oceans North Canada, a Pew-led conservation campaign. Comparing the response of BP in the Gulf and the capacity that's available in the Arctic, "it is extremely scary," he said. The report says it would be hard to deploy boats and skimmers to remove the oil, and containment booms could be torn in the tough Arctic weather. ...


But once those Arctic waters are tropical, go for it.

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Thu, Nov 11, 2010
from London Guardian:
Arctic oil spill clean-up plans are 'thoroughly inadequate', industry warned
The next big offshore oil disaster could take place in the remote Arctic seas where hurricane-force winds, 30ft seas, sub-zero temperatures and winter darkness would overwhelm any clean-up attempts, a new report warns. With the ban on offshore drilling lifted in the Gulf of Mexico, big oil companies such as Royal Dutch Shell are pressing hard for the Obama administration to grant final approval to Arctic drilling. Shell has invested more than $2bn to drill off Alaska's north coast, and is campaigning to begin next summer. But the report, Oil spill prevention and response in the US Arctic Ocean, by the Pew Environment Group, warns that oil companies are not ready to deal with a spill, despite the lessons of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. ...


Why don't we just wait to worry about this?

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Wed, Nov 10, 2010
from Al Jazeera:
BP blamed for symptoms of toxic overload in Gulf denizens
Increasing numbers of people across the Gulf Coast are suffering from symptoms that doctors and toxicologists are linking to chemicals from the BP oil disaster that began last summer when the blowout of the Macondo well gushed at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. BP responded by using at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic dispersant to sink the oil.... Just speaking of air exposure, and there are scientific papers on this, if you release one molecule of toluene, at three metres above the ground, into a six kilometre wind, that molecule, uninterrupted, will travel 34 kilometres." Charter plane pilots who have conducted Gulf over-flights have reported having to wipe an oily, orange film from their plane afterwards. Following this, the skin on their hands peeled off. "The oil and dispersants are in the air and in the rain and are making people sick," Ott said. "These Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are there, and at dangerous levels." Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin and eye contact. Health impacts include headaches, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system (CNS) depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. The chemicals are also teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic. ...


OMG, the invisible hand of the marketplace stands revealed!!

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Sat, Nov 6, 2010
from CBC:
Coral damage related to BP oil spill: scientists
U.S. scientists have found damage to deep sea coral and other marine life on the ocean floor several kilometres from the blown-out BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. The discovery made by a government-funded expedition is a strong indication that damage from the spill could be significantly greater than officials had previously acknowledged. Tests are needed to verify that the coral died from oil that spewed into the Gulf after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in April, but the chief scientist who led the expedition said Friday he was convinced it was related.... "There is an abundance of circumstantial data that suggests that what happened is related to the recent oil spill."... Fisher described the soft and hard coral they found 11 kilometres southwest of the well as an underwater graveyard. He said oil probably passed over the coral and killed it. The coral has "been dying for months," he said. "What we are looking at is a combination of dead gooey tissues and sediment. Gunk is a good word for what it is." Eric Cordes, a Temple University marine scientist on the expedition, said his colleagues have identified about 25 other sites in the vicinity of the well where similar damage may have occurred. An expedition is planned for next month to explore those sites. ...


The coral is being dispersed to the spirit world.

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Fri, Nov 5, 2010
from ProPublica, via DesdemonaDespair:
At least 148 BP oil pipelines in Alaska 'on the verge of collapse'
All eyes remain on BP's actions in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of this year's oil disaster. But a new report suggests the oil giant might be contending with another catastrophe soon enough, as its network of Alaska pipelines appears to be on the brink of failure. According to ProPublica's Abrahm Lustgarten, a 4-week-old internal maintenance report obtained by the investigative news service reveals that at least 148 BP pipelines on Alaska's North Slope received an "F" grade on the company's own system of upkeep grading. Pipes receive an F when inspectors determine that at least 80 percent of their walls are corroded and at risk of rupture. These pipelines, in Lustgarten's telling, "carry toxic or flammable substances," and "many of the metal walls of the F-ranked pipes are worn to within a few thousandths of an inch of bursting," increasing the likelihood of future spills and/or explosions. BP inspectors have concluded that "the company's fire and gas-warning systems are unreliable, that the giant turbines that pump oil and gas through the system are aging, and that some oil and waste holding tanks are on the verge of collapse," Lustgarten reports. ...


BP better bring someone in who knows what they're doing. Like Haliburton.

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Thu, Nov 4, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Wind farms could be forced out by oil rigs and 'obscure law.'
Plans to build massive wind farms off the coast of Britain are in doubt due to an obscure piece of legislation that means oil companies can force turbines to be moved if fossil fuels are discovered in the area. The Government want to build up to 7,000 turbines offshore over the next decade. However the rules laid down for leasing the sea bed currently state that wind turbines have to be moved if a licence to drill for oil is given in the area. Environmentalists fear the little-known clause will deter energy companies from building turbines in case oil is discovered and are lobbying the Government to change the law. There are already tensions between the powerful fossil fuel lobby and the growing green industry over the future of the seas around Britain. Oil companies are complaining that wind farms disrupt mobile drilling rigs and helicopter flights and there are fears they may be ready to bring legal action. ...


No more manifested metaphors!!!

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Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from USGS:
USGS Oil and Gas Resource Estimates for the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska (NPRA): Decreased 90 percent
The U.S. Geological Survey estimates 896 million barrels of conventional, undiscovered oil and 53 trillion cubic feet of conventional, undiscovered non-associated gas within NPRA and adjacent state waters. The estimated volume of undiscovered oil is significantly lower than in 2002, when the USGS estimated there was 10.6 billion barrels of oil. The new result, roughly 10 percent of the 2002 estimate, is due primarily to recent exploration drilling indicating gas occurrence rather than oil in much of NPRA. Recent activity in NPRA, including 3-D seismic surveys, Federal lease sales administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and drilling of more than 30 exploration wells in the area, provides geologic indicators that are more indicative of gas than oil. Many of the newly drilled wells show an abrupt transition from oil to gas just 15 to 20 miles west of the giant Alpine field, located just outside the northeastern boundary of NPRA. "These new findings underscore the challenge of predicting whether oil or gas will be found in frontier areas and the importance of analyzing the geologic characteristics and history of an area in order to understand the oil and gas resources," explains USGS Director, Dr. Marcia McNutt. "As new data become available, it is important to re-evaluate the petroleum potential of an area in light of the new information." ...


What's 10 percent of "Drill, baby, drill!"? Roughly, "Dr!"

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Mon, Oct 25, 2010
from USA Today:
Research teams find oil on bottom of Gulf
Scientists who were aboard two research vessels studying the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's impact on sea life have found substantial amounts of oil on the seafloor, contradicting statements by federal officials that the oil had largely disappeared. Scientists on the research ship Cape Hatteras found oil in samples dug up from the seafloor in a 140-mile radius around the site of the Macondo well, said Kevin Yeager, a University of Southern Mississippi assistant professor of marine sciences. He was the chief scientist on the research trip, which ended last week. Oil found in samples ranged from light degraded oil to thick raw crude, Yeager said. ...


Out of sight out of mind.

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Sat, Oct 23, 2010
from NOLA.com:
Massive stretches of weathered oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico
Just three days after the U.S. Coast Guard admiral in charge of the BP oil spill cleanup declared little recoverable surface oil remained in the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana fishers Friday found miles-long strings of weathered oil floating toward fragile marshes on the Mississippi River delta.... The captains said most of their sightings have occurred during stretches of calm weather, similar to what the area has experienced most of this week. On Friday reports included accounts of strips of the heavily weathered orange oil that became a signature image of the spill during the summer. One captain said some strips were as much as 400 feet wide and a mile long.... "If this was tar balls floating around, that would be one thing, but these reports are of mats of weathered oil, and that can cause serious problems if it gets into the marsh," he said The reports are a great concern to wildlife officials. The Mississippi delta is a primary wintering ground for hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese, some of which already have begun arriving. ...


It's the undigestible parts, floating.

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Wed, Oct 20, 2010
from Mongabay:
Already Critically Endangered, bluefin tuna hit hard by BP oil disaster
Using satellite data from the European Space Agency, researchers estimate that over 20 percent of juvenile Atlantic bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico were killed by the BP oil spill. Although that percentage may not seem catastrophic, the losses are on top of an 82 percent decline in the overall population over the past three decades due to overfishing. The population plunge has pushed the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to categorize the fish as Critically Endangered, its highest rating before extinction. Given the perilous state of bluefin tuna worldwide, the US National Marine Fisheries Service announced in September, following the BP oil spill, that it would consider listing the species under the Endangered Species Act. ... "The federal government could have predicted the effects of the spill during spawning season prior to the disaster; listing Atlantic bluefin tuna as endangered will prevent such an oversight from ever occurring again." A report by WWF has warned that if fishing continues the bluefin tuna will likely be functionally extinct by 2012. ...


There's always more fish in the sea.

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Tue, Oct 19, 2010
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
Oil spill 6 months on: a 'concussion' not death blow
... The spill wasn't the near-death blow initially feared. Nor is it the glancing strike that some relieved experts and officials said it was in midsummer. "It is like a concussion," said Larry McKinney, who heads the Gulf of Mexico research center at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. "We got hit hard and we certainly are seeing some symptoms of it."... [T]he Georgia scientists say the samples smelled like an auto repair shop. They took 78 cores of sediment and only five had live worms in them. Usually they would all have life, said University of Georgia scientist Samantha Joye. She called it a "graveyard for the macrofauna."... "I think populations are going to be affected for years to come," said Diane Blake, a Tulane University biochemist. "This is going to cause selective (evolutionary) pressure that's going to change the Gulf in ways we don't even know yet."... After 1989's much smaller Exxon Valdez spill, it took awhile for the effects on Alaska's herring to be noticed, but the once prolific species crashed to extremely low levels. While other species in Prince William Sound recovered, the herring population has yet to bounce back. And Gulf researchers are wondering if that sort of thing will happen again. ...


Seems to me more like a stroke than a concussion.

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Mon, Oct 18, 2010
from AP:
Canada-US pipeline on hold amid oil's recent woes
The steel is staged, and crews are waiting to lay the last and most expensive leg of TransCanada Corp.'s multibillion-dollar pipeline network that would carry Canadian oil to refineries along the Gulf Coast. Yet final U.S. government approval for the massive project, once assumed to be on a fast track, is now delayed indefinitely, with little official explanation. The company had hoped to begin laying pipe by the end of the year, but those prospects have dimmed.... The massive pipeline network - about five times the length of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline - is designed to move 1.5 million barrels of Canadian oil daily to U.S. refineries.... Opponents of the Keystone XL project describe the 1,980-mile pipeline as an ecological disaster waiting to happen, and land owners are angry that TransCanada has threatened to use eminent domain to obtain the easements it needs for the project. ...


"Eminent domain"!? That pipeline carries the blood of a tyrant.

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Sun, Oct 17, 2010
from The Walrus:
The Last Great Water Fight
Sixteen hundred kilometres downstream from Fort Chip, the Mackenzie River empties a watershed nearly the size of Western Europe into the Arctic Ocean. Draining half of Alberta and most of the Northwest Territories, as well as parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon, the Mackenzie is one of the world's great water arteries.... At their deepest level, the [river development] negotiations feature two starkly different views of humanity's prerogatives. One has framed four centuries of North American development under Euro-colonial management. It puts man first, fashioning nature primarily as a resource for the fulfillment of human desires. The other sees our species as one -- but only one -- of nature's creations, as dependent on a healthy habitat as any moose or beaver.... A 2009 effort by the Ottawa-based Canadian Boreal Initiative to put a value on "non-market" services provided by the Mackenzie ecosystem tallied the total at $570.6 billion a year -- ten times the market price of all the gold, diamonds, and oil clawed from its soil annually. ...


This is, sadly, a watershed decade.

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Tue, Oct 5, 2010
from Associated Press:
Oil industry has yet to adopt lessons of BP spill
Oil industry and government officials could get caught flat-footed again by another deep-water blowout in the coming months because they have yet to incorporate many of the lessons learned during the BP disaster, experts inside and outside the business tell The Associated Press. For one thing, it could be another year before a bigger, better cap-and-siphon containment system is developed to choke off leaks many thousands of feet below the surface. Also, existing skimmers still don't have the capacity to quickly suck up millions of gallons of oil flowing at once.... And despite an overhaul of the federal agency that regulates the industry, there are lingering doubts about whether the government can effectively police Big Oil at the same time it relies on the industry for revenue. ...


Why should they learn their lessons... people are still driving their cars around like there's no tomorrow!

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Sat, Sep 25, 2010
from National Geographic:
Whale Sharks Killed, Displaced by Gulf Oil?
The Gulf oil spill fouled a vital stretch of feeding habitat for whale sharks, possibly killing some of the world's largest fish, new research suggests. An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil (one barrel equals 42 gallons, or 159 liters) flowed into an area south of the Mississippi River Delta, where of one-third of all northern Gulf of Mexico (map) whale shark sightings have occurred in recent years, scientists say.... Sightings confirmed that the animals were unable to avoid the slick at the surface, where the giant fish may feed for seven to eight hours a day. The oil may have clogged the fish's gills, suffocating them, or it might have contaminated their prey--though no dead whale sharks have been found, Hoffmayer noted.... "At the end of the day, if these animals were feeding in an area where there was surface oil, and if they ingested oil, there is a good possibility that they died and sank to the bottom. At this point we have no idea how many animals have been impacted." ...


At what point do man-made species murders become genocides?

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Fri, Sep 17, 2010
from CBC:
Oilsands deforming, poisoning fish, say scientists, fishermen
Fish with tumours, deformities and signs of disease or infection were collected from the lower Athabasca River, Athabasca Delta and Lake Athabasca, downstream from the oilsands. University of Alberta ecologist David Schindler says the National Pollutant Release Inventory, Canada's legislated, publicly accessible record of pollutant releases and transfers, is proof of the harm caused by oilsands' toxins going into the water. "Embryos of fish exposed to oilsands' water and sediment have very high rates of mortality, and among the survivors, there are very high rates of deformities," Schindler said. "I think most of you will agree they aren't things you'd like to find on your plate when you go to a restaurant."... First Nations fishermen from Fort Chipewyan and Fort MacKay say deformed fish are becoming more and more common. ...


What you call "deformed," I call "ready-2-eat!"

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Thu, Sep 16, 2010
from BBC:
Massive Louisiana fish deaths raise oil spill questions
Officials in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish have called for an investigation after finding hundreds of thousands of dead fish near the Mississippi River. The Plaquemines Parish Inland Waterways Strike Force claims oil was spotted in pictures of the dead fish. The group is now attempting to find if the BP oil spill was connected to the incident, known as a "fish kill". The cause of the fish kill has not been determined, but such events typically happen due to depleted oxygen levels.... "We can't continue to see these fish kills. We need some additional tests to find out why these fish are dying in large numbers. If it is low oxygen, we need to identify the cause," said Mr Nungesser.... The Plaquemines Parish area was heavily affected by the [BP] spill. ...


Let's not jump to conclusions. Massive fish die-offs like this happen naturally every.... um... sometimes!

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Tue, Sep 14, 2010
from Forbes:
Bracing For Peak Oil Production By Decade's End
The use of petroleum in the world is now up to about 30 billion barrels per year. The rate at which we have found new supplies of petroleum over the last 10 years has fallen to an average, of only about 10 billion barrels per year. We're obviously in an unsustainable situation. We are now using up a greater number of barrels than we have found in the recent past and that we have reserved in the ground. We are now beginning to use it up relatively quickly--with scary consequences for the future.... A bind is clearly coming. We think that the peak in production will actually occur in the period 2015 to 2020. And if I had to pick a particular year, I might use 2017 or 2018. That would suggest that around 2015, we will hit a near-plateau of production around the world, and we will hold it for maybe four or five years. On the other side of that plateau, production will begin slowly moving down. By 2020, we should be headed in a downward direction for oil output in the world each year instead of an upward direction, as we are today. ...


We plan to peak that oil where the sun don't shine.

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Mon, Sep 13, 2010
from ABC News, via DesdemonaDespair:
Oil From the BP Spill Blanketing Bottom of Gulf
Professor Samantha Joye of the Department of Marine Sciences at the University of Georgia, who is conducting a study on a research vessel just two miles from the spill zone, said the oil has not disappeared, but is on the sea floor in a layer of scum. "We're finding it everywhere that we've looked. The oil is not gone," Joye said. "It's in places where nobody has looked for it." All 13 of the core samples Joye and her UGA team have collected from the bottom of the gulf are showing oil from the spill, she said.... "If we're seeing two and half inches of oil 16 miles away, God knows what we'll see close in -- I really can't even guess other than to say it's going to be a whole lot more than two and a half inches," Joye said. This oil remaining underwater has large implications for the state of sea life at the bottom of the gulf.... "There is nothing living in these cores other than bacteria," she said. "I've yet to see a living shrimp, a living worm, nothing." ...


There's a dead fly in a dead frog in a dead log in the oil at the bottom of the sea....

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Wed, Sep 8, 2010
from Canadian Press:
Birds dying in oilsands at 30 times the rate reported, says study
A new study says birds are likely dying in oilsands tailings ponds at least 30 times the rate suggested by industry and government. The results add weight to arguments that depending on industry to monitor its own environmental impact isn't working, said study author Kevin Timoney, an ecologist whose paper was published Tuesday in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology. "We need to have credible scientific monitoring," Timoney said. Bird deaths are currently tracked through industry employees reporting carcasses. The eight-year annual average of such reports, from 2000 to 2007, is 65.... The 14-year median, including raptors, songbirds, shorebirds and gulls, is 1,973 deaths every year. ...


I'll just bet the idea of industry monitoring itself ... came from industry.

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Tue, Sep 7, 2010
from New Scientist:
Why wartime wrecks are slicking time bombs
Thousands of ships sunk in the second world war are seeping oil - and with their rusty tanks disintegrating, "peak leak" is only a few years away... The second world war saw the greatest-ever loss of shipping: more than three-quarters of the oil-containing wrecks around the globe date from the six years of this war. Sunken merchant ships are scattered around trade routes, the victims of attack by U-boats and other craft aiming to disrupt enemy nations' supply lines. Then there are the naval ships sunk during great engagements such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the battle of Chuuk Lagoon, the Japanese base in the Pacific where the US sank over 50 Japanese ships. In some locations these hulks are already leaking oil, threatening pristine shorelines, popular beaches and breeding grounds for fish. This year, for example, oil has begun to leak from the Darkdale, a British naval tanker that sank in 1941 near the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean. It was carrying more than 4000 tonnes of oil when it went down. ...


War is (sometimes delayed) hell.

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Mon, Sep 6, 2010
from via ScienceDaily:
Global Warming's Silver Lining? Northern Countries Will Thrive and Grow, Researcher Predicts
...As worldwide population increases by 40 percent over the next 40 years, sparsely populated Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States will become formidable economic powers and migration magnets, Laurence C. Smith writes in "The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future" (Dutton Books), scheduled for publication Sept. 23....these resources will pour from northern rim countries -- or NORCs, as Smith calls them -- precisely at a time when natural resources elsewhere are becoming critically depleted, making them all the more valuable... Other tantalizing predictions: * New shipping lanes will open during the summer in the Arctic, allowing Europe to realize its 500-year-old dream of direct trade between the Atlantic and the Far East, and resulting in new access to and economic development in the north. * Oil resources in Canada will be second only to those in Saudi Arabia, and the country's population will swell by more than 30 percent, a growth rate rivaling India's and six times faster than China's.... ...


Gee, this sounds soooo sweet, I can't wait!

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Sun, Sep 5, 2010
from New Orleans Times-Picayune:
5 key human errors, colossal mechanical failure led to fatal Gulf oil rig blowout
A string of mistakes, first by people, then by a supposedly fail-safe machine, sealed the fates of 11 rig workers and led to the fouling of the Gulf of Mexico and hundreds of miles of its coastline. More than 100 hours of testimony before a federal investigative panel, two dozen congressional hearings and several internal company reports have brought the genesis of the spill into sharp focus. The record shows there was no single fatal mistake or cut corner. Rather, five key human errors and a colossal mechanical failure combined to form a recipe for unprecedented disaster. The rig's malfunctioning blowout preventer ultimately failed, but it was needed only because of human errors. Those errors originated with a team of BP engineers in Houston who knew they had an especially tough well, one rig workers called "the well from hell." ...


The "well from hell" turned out to be the "rig you don't dig."

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Sat, Sep 4, 2010
from New York Times:
Mariner Rig Accident Undercuts Efforts to End Drilling Moratorium
Despite the favorable outcome, the accident's timing could not have been worse for the offshore oil and gas industry and its supporters, who in recent weeks have stepped up an already aggressive campaign against the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Just one day before the fire erupted on the rig, executives from Mariner Energy were taking part in a rally against the moratorium, which was struck down by a succession of federal judges but continues to affect the region's deepwater drillers. The rally took place in Houston and was sponsored by the American Petroleum Industry. "This administration is trying to break us," Barbara Dianne Hagood, a Mariner executive who attended the rally, told The Financial Times. "The moratorium they imposed is going to be a financial disaster for the Gulf Coast, Gulf Coast employees and Gulf Coast residents."... Jim Noe, an attorney with Hercules Offshore, a major driller in the Gulf of Mexico, called the fire a "drag," and "another challenge" for the industry, in an interview with Bloomberg News. "It's another issue that we have to explain," he said. ...


I'm so sorry random circumstance became meaningful prescience.

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Thu, Sep 2, 2010
from desmogblog:
Wetlands Front Group Funded By Big Oil Wants To Ensure Taxpayers Foot The Bill For BP's Gulf Destruction
A group of oil companies including BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Citgo, Chevron and other polluters are using a front group called "America's WETLAND Foundation" and a Louisiana women's group called Women of the Storm to spread the message that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the damage caused by BP to Gulf Coast wetlands, and that the reckless offshore oil industry should continue drilling for the "wholesale sustainability" of the region. Using the age-old PR trick of featuring celebrity messengers to attract public attention, America's Wetland Foundation is spreading a petition accompanied by a video starring Sandra Bullock, Dave Matthews, Lenny Kravitz, Emeril Lagassi, John Goodman, Harry Shearer, Peyton and Eli Manning, Drew Brees and others. ...


This Shell game is the Am-way.

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Wed, Sep 1, 2010
from CBC:
Oilsands water toxins natural, monitor says
Pollutants in Alberta's Athabasca River system are natural, the joint oilsands industry-government group responsible for monitoring the region's water maintains. "We do find elevated levels of things in [our] study area," said Fred Kuzmic on behalf of the Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program (RAMP), a joint industry-government group. "Those are generally associated with naturally occurring compounds." Kuzmic, who heads a research and reclamation team for Shell Albian Sands, was responding to a study [that] linked high levels of toxins to oilsands mining. Concentrations of pollutants like mercury and cadmium were higher downstream from oilsands mining than upstream, the researchers found. They did not find the same difference between water upstream and downstream of undeveloped oilsands deposits. ...


Sure, we found elevated levels of... carnage in the chicken coop. But blood and poultry intestines are associated with naturally occurring compounds.

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Tue, Aug 24, 2010
from Alabama Press-Register, via DesdemonaDespair:
Mysterious material washing ashore in Alabama not oil, scientists say
Scientists are intrigued by the heavy sheen and persistent clouds of dingy brown water washing up in pockets from Perdido Pass to Petit Bois Island since July.... The residue is not oil, according to chemical analysis. But it probably used to be.... "It's the weirdest thing I've ever seen. It's got some hydrocarbons in it, but it does not match the oil from the Deepwater Horizon," Overton said, adding that he has received samples collected by federal officials in other places that appear similar. "I have to think it is biological in origin."... "At some level, somebody better define oil. This three letter word is starting to get pretty complicated," Graham said. "Are we looking at the remnants of oil, of oil that has been worked over by the microbial community? The microbes take what they can, then just leave the parts they can't eat. That's likely happening out there on a microscopic level. I'd speculate that's what we are seeing." ...


What comes out of you when there's something you can't digest?

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Fri, Aug 20, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Scientists map and confirm BP origin of large, underwater hydrocarbon plume in Gulf
Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a residue of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In the study, which appears in the Aug. 19 issue of the journal Science, the researchers measured distinguishing petroleum hydrocarbons in the plume and, using them as an investigative tool, determined that the source of the plume could not have been natural oil seeps but had to have come from the blown out well. Moreover, they reported that deep-sea microbes were degrading the plume relatively slowly, and that it was possible that the 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume had and will persist for some time.... The levels and distributions of the petroleum hydrocarbons show that "the plume is not caused by natural [oil] seeps" in the Gulf of Mexico, Camilli added.... The plume has shown that the oil already "is persisting for longer periods than we would have expected," Camilli said. "Many people speculated that subsurface oil droplets were being easily biodegraded. "Well, we didn't find that. We found it was still there."... Reddy said the WHOI team members know the chemical makeup of some of the plume, but not all of it. Gas chromatographic analysis of plume samples confirm the existence of benzene, toluene, ethybenzene, and total xylenes—together, called BTEX at concentrations in excess of 50 micrograms per liter. “The plume is not pure oil,” Camilli said. “But there are oil compounds in there.” ...


A "plume" is too pretty. How about we call it a "massive man-made storm of ocean toxicity"?

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Tue, Aug 17, 2010
from CNN:
Scientists: Toxic organisms, oil found on Gulf floor
John Paul says, at first, he couldn't believe his own scientific data showing toxic microscopic marine organisms in the Gulf of Mexico. He repeated the field test. A colleague did his own test. All the results came back the same: toxic. It was the first time Paul and other University of South Florida scientists had made such a finding since they started investigating the environmental damage from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The preliminary results, the scientists believe, show that oil that has settled on the floor is contaminating small sea organisms.... The researchers found micro-droplets of oil scattered across the ocean floor and they also found those droplets moving up through a part of the Gulf called the DeSoto Canyon, a channel which funnels water and nutrients into the popular commercial and recreational waters along the Florida Gulf Coast. The scientists say even though it's getting harder to see the oil the Gulf is still not safe. "This whole concept of submerged oil and the application of dispersants in the subsurface and what are the impacts that it could have, have changed the paradigm of what an oil spill is from a 2-dimensional surface disaster to a 3-dimensional catastrophe," said David Hollander, a chemical oceanographer and one of the lead scientists on the recent USF mission. ...


How can you be making conceptual poetry at a time like this?

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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Oil spill plugged, but more oiled birds than ever are being found
More than three weeks after BP capped its gushing oil well, skimming operations have all but stopped and federal scientists say just a quarter of the oil remains in the Gulf of Mexico. But wildlife officials are rounding up more oiled birds than ever as fledgling birds get stuck in the residual goo and rescuers make initial visits to rookeries they had avoided disturbing during nesting season. 19 0 997Share Before BP plugged the well with a temporary cap on July 15, an average of 37 oiled birds were being collected dead or alive each day. Since then, the figure has nearly doubled to 71 per day, according to a Times-Picayune review of daily wildlife rescue reports. ...


Apparently, the birds aren't keeping up with all the good news!

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Sun, Aug 8, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Ruptured Mich. oil pipeline shows lengthwise rip
Officials say a ruptured section of pipeline that spewed oil into a southern Michigan river had a lengthwise rip that likely is less than five feet long. The Environmental Protection Agency and pipeline company Enbridge Inc. said Saturday the section was removed a day earlier in Calhoun County and will be shipped to a National Transportation Safety Board lab in Washington, D.C. Enbridge Executive Vice President Steve Wuori (WUHR'-ee) says officials on the scene can't tell from looking at the pipeline what led to the failure. Enbridge reported the spill July 26. The EPA says more than 1 million gallons of oil have flowed into the Kalamazoo River and other waterways. The company estimates the total at 820,000 gallons. ...


I bet it was Uncle Buster using his mini-backhoe.

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Wed, Aug 4, 2010
from New Scientist:
Oil spill dispersant could damage coral populations
Coral populations in the Gulf of Mexico could fall because of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster - from contact not with oil but with the dispersant that's supposed to get rid of it. Laboratory tests suggest that Corexit 9500A, the dispersant used by BP to tackle the largest offshore oil spill in US history, stops coral larvae latching onto the surfaces where they usually mature. The larvae, often the size of a pinhead, float in the sea before latching onto surfaces such as rocks on the sea floor, cliff faces or old oil rigs. It takes hundreds of years for a mature colony to develop.... Preliminary and as yet unpublished results show [coral] larvae in the oil-water mix are able to latch onto the discs, whereas those in beakers containing the dispersant remained suspended in the water.... "You should test each [coral species] individually, but of course we can't usually do that," says Steve Ross, a zoologist and deep-sea coral specialist at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. "I think we can assume that if there's a negative impact on one type of coral... there will be a negative impact on another." ...


But thank God there's no oil on the surface!

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Tue, Aug 3, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg:
La. fishermen wrinkle their noses at 'smell tests'
Even the people who make their living off the seafood-rich waters of Louisiana's St. Bernard Parish have a hard time swallowing the government's assurances that fish harvested in the shallow, muddy waters just offshore must be safe to eat because they don't smell too bad.... "If I put fish in a barrel of water and poured oil and Dove detergent over that, and mixed it up, would you eat that fish?" asked Graybill, a 28-year-old commercial oyster, blue crab and shrimp angler who grew up fishing the marshes of St. Bernard. "I wouldn't feed it to you or my family. I'm afraid someone's going to get sick."... "They capped the well, they stopped the oil, so now they're trying to hurry up and get us back working to where they can say everything's fine when it's not," he said. "It's not fine."... "It's nothing but a PR move," she said. "It's going to take years to know what damage they've done. It's just killed us all." ...


Something is rotten in the state of Louisiana.

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Sun, Aug 1, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Scientists Find Evidence That Oil And Dispersant Mix Is Making Its Way Into The Foodchain
Marine biologists started finding orange blobs under the translucent shells of crab larvae in May, and have continued to find them "in almost all" of the larvae they collect, all the way from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to Pensacola, Fla. -- more than 300 miles of coastline -- said Harriet Perry, a biologist with the University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. And now, a team of researchers from Tulane University using infrared spectrometry to determine the chemical makeup of the blobs has detected the signature for Corexit, the dispersant BP used so widely in the Deepwater Horizon "It does appear that there is a Corexit sort of fingerprint in the blob samples that we ran," Erin Gray, a Tulane biologist, told the Huffington Post Thursday. Two independent tests are being run to confirm those findings, "so don't say that we're 100 percent sure yet," Gray said.... "There are so many animals that eat those little larvae," said Robert J. Diaz, a marine scientist at the College of William and Mary.... ...


... oh me oh my oh / son of a gun, there ain't no fun / on the bayou.

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Sat, Jul 31, 2010
from Technology Review:
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Dwarf Support for Renewables
A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance says altogether governments spent between $43 and $46 billion on renewable energy and biofuels last year, not including indirect support, such as subsidies to corn farmers that help ethanol production. Direct subsidies of fossil fuels came to $557 billion, the report says. This disparity raises the question--if the report is right and fossil fuels require so much backing, can they compete with renewables without government support? After all, some renewables--such as sugarcane based biofuels and some wind farms--can already compete with fossil fuels. Without the huge government subsidies for fossil fuels, wouldn't they be eclipsed by renewables? The answer, for now, is no. So far renewables just can't provide enough fuel and power to displace fossil fuels. ...


Quit subsidizing the most profitable industry on earth? But who knows what chaos might ensue?

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Sat, Jul 31, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Cleanup of Mich. river oil spill will take months
Officials investigating the cause of a huge oil spill along a major river in southern Michigan say it will take months to clean up the mess, and damage to wetlands and wildlife may last considerably longer.... EPA chief Lisa Jackson said she was "very confident" the oil would not reach Lake Michigan, where the river empties about 80 miles from where the spill has been contained.... Federal and company officials said they were close to reaching the 40-foot section of pipe containing the break, which has been inaccessible because it's in a marshy, oil-covered area. Only when the pipe is reached will it be certain that the leak has stopped, said Ralph Dollhopf, EPA's on-scene coordinator.... The bigger problems for fish may come within a week or so, if the oil spill results in decreased water oxygen levels. Wesley said insects, algae, frogs and turtles along the river have been killed in high numbers - which could hurt the fish food supply. "The effects are probably going to be more long-term," Wesley said. "We probably won't know the full effects for weeks or months or years." ...


I think we call that difficulty a "Collapse-22."

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Fri, Jul 30, 2010
from New York Times:
Oil Dispersants Shifting Ecosystem Impacts in Gulf, Scientists Warn
"This is a management decision, to use dispersants," College of William and Mary marine science professor Robert Diaz said yesterday. "It doesn't make the oil go away, it just puts it from one part of the ecosystem to another." That dispersed oil now hovers, diluted in the water column, posing a challenge for scientists to track and measure the subsea plumes. Mapping the long-term effects of the nearly 2 million gallons of dispersant used by BP PLC may well be equally difficult, given the array of unanswered questions that surround the products' rapid breakdown of oil droplets and their chronic toxicity. In other words, while dispersants may have helped spare the Gulf's birds, the chemicals are likely shifting dangers to other species lower in the food chain. The National Research Council described dispersant use in 2005 as "a conscious decision" to direct hydrocarbons to one part of the marine ecosystem, "decreasing the risk to water surface and shoreline habitats while increasing the potential risk to organisms in the water column and on the seafloor."... ...


BP wouldn't want to just make it seem gone. C'mon, they're a member of the planet too!

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Fri, Jul 30, 2010
from Huffington Post:
China Oil Spill Far Bigger Than Stated, U.S. Expert Says
But Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska marine conservation specialist, estimated 60,000 tons (18.47 million gallons) to 90,000 tons (27.70 million gallons) of oil actually spilled into the Yellow Sea. "It's enormous. That's at least as large as the official estimate of the Exxon Valdez disaster" in Alaska, he told The Associated Press. The size of the offshore area affected by the spill is likely more than 400 square miles (1,000 square kilometers), he added.... The estimates, though rough, could complicate China's efforts to move on from its latest environmental disaster: Dalian's mayor already declared a "decisive victory" in the oil spill cleanup, state media reported this week.... Steiner, who worked on the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, announced the China estimates after touring the oil spill area as a consultant for the environmental group Greenpeace China. "It's habitual for governments to understate oil spills," Steiner told a news conference. "But the severity of the discrepancy is unusual here." An official with Dalian's propaganda department told The Associated Press he was not aware of Steiner's estimates and had no comment. ...


When the propaganda department is speechless, it's serious!

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from The Detroit News:
Crews rush to contain massive oil spill in Kalamazoo River
At least 16 miles of the Kalamazoo River system have been touched by crude oil in what could rank as the Midwest's worst spill. An unexplained rupture of an underground pipe south of Marshall has released more than 800,000 gallons of oil that has made its way to the river via Talmadge Creek. Gov. Jennifer Granholm activated the Michigan's Emergency Operations Center in Lansing to help coordinate state resources. ...


When it rains... it pours... oil.

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Sun, Jul 25, 2010
from Washington Post:
As federal panel probes oil spill, picture emerges of a series of iffy decisions
After months of oil-spill misery and endless recriminations about what happened and why, it is increasingly clear that the complex operation of drilling an exploratory well in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico failed in a complex way. No single decision or misstep in isolation could have caused the blowout, but any number of decisions might have prevented it had they gone the other way. The calamity, the evidence now suggests, was not an accident in the sense of a single unlucky or freak event, but rather an engineered catastrophe -- one that followed naturally from decisions of BP managers and other oil company workers on the now-sunken rig. ...


"...a series of iffy decisions" pretty much describes all of human history.

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Fri, Jul 23, 2010
from Washington Post:
In China, an oil spill and a low-tech cleanup
Hundreds of firefighters and civilian volunteers used bare hands, chopsticks and plastic garbage bags Thursday to wage a low-tech battle against a giant oil slick spreading off China's northeastern coast. The slick, near the oil port of Dalian, in Liaoning province, was caused when two pipelines exploded last Friday as crude was being unloaded from a Libyan tanker. Government officials said the accident released about 1,500 tons -- or 400,000 gallons -- of oil into the Yellow Sea, where the slick now covers up to 170 square miles, according to news reports, making it China's largest recorded spill. ...


Ya gotta love the can-do spirit of using chopsticks to clean up an oil spill.

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Thu, Jul 22, 2010
from McClatchy, via DesdemonaDespair:
BP's oil spill caused by Fed's 'dangerous culture of permissiveness'
The Bush administration focused from its earliest days on ramping up domestic oil and gas production, charged House Democrats, but at the same time allowed the industry a "dangerous culture of permissiveness" that culminated in the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico.... The House panel interrogated former Interior Department secretaries who implemented the 2001 recommendations of former Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force, which in turn resulted in an executive order requiring federal agencies to expedite offshore drilling and other domestic energy production. ...


Aren't these the same guys who rail about permissive parents?

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Wed, Jul 21, 2010
from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, via EurekAlert:
Researchers: EPA should recognize environmental impact of protecting foreign oil
U.S. military operations to protect oil imports coming from the Middle East are creating larger amounts of greenhouse gas emissions than once thought, new research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln shows. Regulators do not currently attribute these emissions to U.S. gasoline use - but they should, the authors say. UNL researchers Adam Liska and Richard Perrin estimate that emissions of heat-trapping gases resulting from military protection of supertankers in the Persian Gulf amount to 34.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent a year. In addition, the war in Iraq releases another 43.3 million metric tons of CO2 annually.... "Our conservative estimate of emissions from military security alone raises the greenhouse gas intensity of gasoline derived from imported Middle Eastern oil by 8 to 18 percent," said Liska, UNL assistant professor of biological systems engineering, and coordinator of the Energy Sciences minor. ...


Can't we just designate those CO2 emissions as "off budget"?

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Tue, Jul 20, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
Fresh Water Aimed at Oil Kills Oysters
Oysters are dying in their beds in the brackish marshes of southern Louisiana, but the culprit isn't oil spilling from the Gulf. It is, at least in part, fresh water. In April, soon after the oil spill started, Louisiana officials started opening gates along the levees of the Mississippi River, letting massive amounts of river water pour through man-made channels and into coastal marshes. It was a gambit--similar to opening a fire hose--to keep the encroaching oil at bay. By most accounts, the strategy succeeded in minimizing the amount of oil that entered the fertile and lucrative estuaries. But oyster farmers and scientists say it appears to have had one major side effect: the deaths of large numbers of oysters, water-filterers whose simplicity and sensitivity makes them early indicators of environmental influences that ultimately could hit other marsh dwellers too. ...


I know we're trying our best but some days it seems we can't we do ANYTHING right.

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Mon, Jul 19, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Gulf oil spill: Fouling air as well as water?
Questions about air pollution related to the BP oil spill may get some clearer answers this coming week, as university researchers and a Louisiana environmental group release initial findings of their independent analysis of the Gulf region's air quality. Last week, the EPA said that residents of two hard hit coastal communities in Louisiana -- Grand Isle and Venice -- face a "moderate health riskā€¯ due to hydrocarbon fumes. In Terrebonne Parish, residents of the town of Cocodrie and the surrounding area are also reporting strong odors of petroleum. For months since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well blew, residents along the Gulf Coast, including many in New Orleans and other metro regions miles away from the shore, have said they smell fumes from the oil spill. Some have reported symptoms ranging from red eyes and runny noses to sinus infections and flu-like symptoms. ...


Water and air...somehow interconnected?Inexplicable!

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Fri, Jul 16, 2010
from Ocala:
Is Gulf oil spill really worst disaster ever?
...The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, killing 11 workers and sending poisonous crude gushing unabated into the Gulf for 2 1/2 months. But is it the worst disaster? Some television analysts say yes, while some experts say it's too soon to tell - that there have been far worse things to befall the earth, far worse things that people have done to the earth and each other. ...


For example, you should steer clear when I toot.

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Thu, Jul 15, 2010
from Associated Press:
BP chokes off the oil leak; now begins the wait
BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday -- 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded -- then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped-off well would hold or blow a new leak. To the relief of millions of people along the Gulf Coast, the big, billowing brown cloud of crude at the bottom of the sea disappeared from the underwater video feed for the first time since the disaster began in April, as BP closed the last of three openings in the 75-ton cap lowered onto the well earlier this week...Now begins a waiting period during which engineers will monitor pressure gauges and watch for signs of leaks elsewhere in the well. The biggest risk: Pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse, causing oil to spill from other spots on the sea floor. ...


I am not normally a prayin' man, but....

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Thu, Jul 15, 2010
from New York Times:
Animal Autopsies in Gulf Yield a Mystery
The Kemp's ridley sea turtle lay belly-up on the metal autopsy table, as pallid as split-pea soup but for the bright orange X spray-painted on its shell, proof that it had been counted as part of the Gulf of Mexico's continuing "unusual mortality event."... Despite an obvious suspect, oil, the answer is far from clear. The vast majority of the dead animals that have been found -- 1,866 birds, 463 turtles, 59 dolphins and one sperm whale -- show no visible signs of oil contamination. Much of the evidence in the turtle cases points, in fact, to shrimping or other commercial fishing, but other suspects include oil fumes, oiled food, the dispersants used to break up the oil or even disease. ...


Perhaps they are dying of sadness.

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Wed, Jul 14, 2010
from New York Times:
Hydrocarbons in Cereal Stoke New Debate Over Food Safety
When Kellogg Co. pulled about 28 million cereal boxes from store shelves last month, the company said only that an "off-flavor and smell" coming from the packaging could cause nausea and diarrhea. But the culprit behind the recall is a class of chemicals now making news in the Gulf of Mexico: hydrocarbons, a byproduct of oil. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported yesterday that the hydrocarbon methylnaphthalene, which the government has yet to evaluate for human carcinogenicity, was behind the recall. For EWG and other public-health advocacy groups, the appearance of a chemical missing consistent risk data in popular products such as Apple Jacks strengthens the case for food safety reform -- an issue that remains stalled in the Senate. ...


"Methylnaphthalene Loops" or "Methylnaphthalene Jacks" just doesn't sound very appetizing to me.

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Sun, Jul 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
BP claims progress on new cap as oil spews freely
Oil was spewing freely into the Gulf of Mexico as BP crews claimed progress Sunday in the first stages of replacing a leaky cap with a new containment system they hope will finally catch all the crude from the busted well. There's no guarantee for such a delicate operation nearly a mile below the water's surface, officials said, and the permanent fix of plugging the well from the bottom remains slated for mid-August. "It's not just going to be, you put the cap on, it's done. It's not like putting a cap on a tube of toothpaste," Coast Guard spokesman Capt. James McPherson said. ...


Hell, I can't even get my kids to do that at home.

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Wed, Jul 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Gulf awash in 27,000 abandoned wells
More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing. The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells -- those characterized in federal government records as "temporarily abandoned." ...


We have perforated the earth with our neglect.

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Tue, Jul 6, 2010
from CNN, via DailyKos:
'Whale' oil barge sucks up whopping 32 gallons per minute
CHERNOFF (voice-over): That so-called product, crude oil floating in the sea, hasn't been concentrated enough according to BP for "A Whale" to skim effectively, even though it appears the ship has been surrounded by pools of oil just a few miles from the gusher. WILCOX: We've got oil coming up from over a mile below the surface. And it doesn't always come up in one spot. CHERNOFF: "A Whale" may still prove itself, but the vessel will have to do so before BP officially hires it to join the cleanup fleet. And if that's to happen, the sea will need to cooperate. HANK GARCIA (BP): When you've got seas, six foot, eight-foot seas, it's not going to lend itself to a good capture of the oil. CHERNOFF: As crude continues gushing into the gulf, skimming has been scant. Only 1,100 barrels of oil were skimmed in a 24-hour period, from Sunday to Monday, less than the amount pouring out of the blown-out well in an hour using the most conservative estimate. ...


The conditions weren't ideal.

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Tue, Jul 6, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
More bad news for BP as arsenic levels rise around Gulf of Mexico
British scientists warned that the oil spill is increasing the level of arsenic in the ocean, and could further add to the devastating impact on the already sensitive environment. BP's Deepwater Horizon rig has been spilling between 3,681,500 litres and 911,454,000 litres of oil into the sea per day since it exploded on April 22. The spill is already being labeled as America's worst environmental disaster and has turned into a economic and PR nightmare for the British company. Seventy-five days into the spill, the oil has fouled some 715km of shoreline in four southeastern US states, killed wildlife and put a massive dent in the region's multi-billion-dollar fishing industry. ...


Poor BP... How dare we blame the victim so!

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Sun, Jul 4, 2010
from New York Times:
As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Billions From Subsidies
an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry. And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by various credits. These companies' returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before. ...


Seems we are both addicts AND enablers.

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Sat, Jul 3, 2010
from McClatchy:
Oil found in Gulf crabs raises new food chain fears
University scientists have spotted the first indications oil is entering the Gulf seafood chain -- in crab larvae -- and one expert warns the effect on fisheries could last "years, probably not a matter of months" and affect many species. Scientists with the University of Southern Mississippi and Tulane University in New Orleans have found droplets of oil in the larvae of blue crabs and fiddler crabs sampled from Louisiana to Pensacola, Fla. "I think we will see this enter the food chain in a lot of ways -- for plankton feeders, like menhaden, they are going to just actively take it in," said Harriet Perry, director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. "Fish are going to feed on (crab larvae). We have also just started seeing it on the fins of small, larval fish -- their fins were encased in oil. That limits their mobility, so that makes them easy prey for other species. The oil's going to get into the food chain in a lot of ways."... "I had a sort of breakdown last week," Perry said. "I've driven down the same road on East Beach in Ocean Springs for 42 years. As I was going to work, I saw the shrimp fleet going out, all going to try to work on the oil, and I realized the utter futility of that, and I just lost it for a minute and had to gather myself." ...


I guess we'll soon find out who's the weakest link!

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Fri, Jul 2, 2010
from Imperial College, via EurekAlert:
Oil spills raise arsenic levels in the ocean, says new research
Oil spills can increase levels of toxic arsenic in the ocean, creating an additional long-term threat to the marine ecosystem, according to research published today in the journal Water Research. Arsenic is a poisonous chemical element found in minerals and it is present in oil. High levels of arsenic in seawater can enable the toxin to enter the food chain. It can disrupt the photosynthesis process in marine plants and increase the chances of genetic alterations that can cause birth defects and behavioural changes in aquatic life. It can also kill animals such as birds that feed on sea creatures affected by arsenic.... However, the real danger lies in arsenic's ability to accumulate, which means that each subsequent spill raises the levels of this pollutant in seawater. Our study is a timely reminder that oil spills could create a toxic ticking time bomb, which could threaten the fabric of the marine ecosystem in the future." ...


That "threatened fabric" might be called Arsenic 'n' Oil Lace?

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Wed, Jun 30, 2010
from CBC:
Greenland defends offshore drilling
The premier of Greenland says Inuit in the circumpolar world should respect his government's decision to drill for oil and gas in Davis Strait.... Kliest responded to public concerns about his government's recent approval of Cairn Energy's plans to start drilling next month on two exploratory wells off Greenland's west coast, in the Davis Strait between Greenland and Baffin Island in Nunavut. "The exploitation of our enormous riches in oil and mineral resources is indisputably the most promising and real potential for a greater degree of economic self-sufficiency," Kliest said, speaking in Greenlandic, an Inuit language.... "Let me assure you of my government's and my own personal refusal to compromise the environment for quick cash," he said.... "When big industry comes, they come. Many times they don't go away, especially if they see a resource that's exploitable," said William Barbour, the Nunatsiavut government's natural resources minister. ...


That's what BP said, last night.

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Sun, Jun 27, 2010
from WJHG, Florida:
Oil Leak Creating Massive Social Impacts On Small Towns
The small coastal town of Apalachicola is bustling with people. The water is still clear and the seafood is still delicious. But the people living here know all that could change just as quickly as the currents. And the thought of toxic goo destroying their slice of paradise and way of life is almost too much to bear. "These are lives and people's kids that have been raised doing this. And there's nothing else that they know to do. So it's heart wrenching. It makes you want to cry." Walter Ward, a shrimper, says business was just starting to really pick up, but now with oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico the seafood industry is at stake.... "Here we don't know when the end is. And that creates a high level and I think that fear rolls into the possibilities of drug addiction, alcoholism, depression, and it can even go so far as suicide." But right now folks like Ward are trying to stay positive and are thankful they haven't seen the black sludge yet. "We've been really fortunate that we haven't seen lots of oil, but I'm sure we're bound to see it." ...


Don't get depressed. Get active!

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Thu, Jun 24, 2010
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Methane in Gulf of Mexico 'astonishingly high' - Nearly a million times above background levels
Texas A&M University oceanography professor John Kessler, just back from a 10-day research expedition near the BP Plc oil spill in the gulf, says methane gas levels in some areas are "astonishingly high." Kessler's crew took measurements of both surface and deep water within a 5-mile (8 kilometer) radius of BP's broken wellhead. "There is an incredible amount of methane in there," Kessler told reporters in a telephone briefing. In some areas, the crew of 12 scientists found concentrations that were 100,000 times higher than normal. "We saw them approach a million times above background concentrations" in some areas, Kessler said. The scientists were looking for signs that the methane gas had depleted levels of oxygen dissolved in the water needed to sustain marine life. "At some locations, we saw depletions of up to 30 percent of oxygen based on its natural concentration in the waters. At other places, we saw no depletion of oxygen in the waters. We need to determine why that is," he told the briefing. ...


If only our astonishment derived from how effectively a corporate entity could react to an unexpected crisis.

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Wed, Jun 23, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Oil Spill Forces Animals To Flee To Shallow Water Off Coast, Scientists Warn Of 'Mass Die-Off'
Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again. Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange phenomena. Fish and other wildlife seem to be fleeing the oil out in the Gulf and clustering in cleaner waters along the coast in a trend that some researchers see as a potentially troubling sign. The animals' presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily be devoured by predators.... Researchers say there are several reasons for the relatively small death toll: The vast nature of the spill means scientists are able to locate only a small fraction of the dead animals.... "Their ability to avoid it may be limited in the long term, especially if in near-shore refuges they're crowding in close to shore, and oil continues to come in. At some point they'll get trapped," said Crowder, expert in marine ecology and fisheries. "It could lead to die-offs." ...


It's as if they think there's some sort of Ark waiting to take them out of the deluge.

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Mon, Jun 21, 2010
from via DesdemonaDespair:
You should totally apologize to BP
I'm sorry that slavery was abolished. You could definitely use the free labor right now... I'm sorry, BP, that I don't have a car, because if I did, I could buy your gas, increase your profits and do my part in helping you pay for this most unfortunate natural disaster that has struck... Dadgummit! I'm just so sorry BP. We should be thanking you since you've made getting oil so much more convenient. ...


We're sorry, BP, that we aren't able to crowdsource away that pesky oil plume.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 20, 2010
from New York Times:
BP Chief Draws Outrage for Watching Yacht Race
BP officials on Saturday scrambled yet again to respond to another public relations challenge when their embattled chief executive, Tony Hayward, spent the day off the coast of England watching his yacht compete in one of the world's largest races.... On Friday, the chairman of the board of BP, Carl-Henric Svanberg, told the British TV network Sky News that Mr. Hayward would be "now handing over" the daily operations in the gulf to Robert Dudley, an American who joined BP as part of its acquisition of Amoco a decade ago. On Saturday, BP tried to clarify what Mr. Svanberg had said about the transition of leadership in the gulf. "What he meant by 'now,'" Ms. Williams said, was that "there would be a transition over to Bob over a period of time." ...


Kinda like how the Gulf will be put back to rights "over a period of" maybe a couple centuries.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 17, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Death by fire in the gulf
...When the weather is calm and the sea is placid, ships trailing fireproof booms corral the black oil, the coated seaweed and whatever may be caught in it, and torch it into hundred-foot flames, sending plumes of smoke skyward in ebony mushrooms. This patch of unmarked ocean gets designated over the radio as "the burn box." Wildlife researchers operating here, in the regions closest to the spill, are witnesses to a disquieting choice: Protecting shorebirds, delicate marshes and prime tourist beaches along the coast by stopping the oil before it moves ashore has meant the largely unseen sacrifice of some wildlife out at sea, poisoned with chemical dispersants and sometimes boiled by the burning of spilled oil on the water's surface. "It reflects the conventional wisdom of oil spills: If they just keep the oil out at sea, the harm will be minimal. And I disagree with that completely," said Blair Witherington, a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who has been part of the sea turtle rescue mission. ...


But the fires are so dramatic and pretty!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Oil spill could be Gulf's biggest ever, new flow estimate suggests
BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout is spewing between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day, with up to 18,000 barrels currently being captured, according to a fresh estimate released this afternoon by the National Incident Command's flow-rate technical group. The new number is a revision -- and a significant increase -- of the estimate released last week, which pegged the flow rate at 20,000 to 40,000 barrels (840,000 to 1.68 million gallons) a day...By these new figures, the Deepwater Horizon blowout might have pumped as much as 2.7 million barrels into the Gulf. ...


There's probably some algorithm for taking these under-estimates and turning them into truth.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
Alaska state official objects to polar bear plan
The federal plan for designating more than 187,000 square miles as polar bear critical habitat is too large and will lead to huge, unnecessary costs for Alaska's petroleum industry, opponents of the proposal told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tuesday night. Critical habitat by definition is the area that contains features essential to the conservation of the species, said Doug Vincent-Lang, endangered species coordinator for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game... The Endangered Species Act requires protections to be balanced against their costs, Vincent-Lang said. The additional protection for bears was minimal but the costs for people were huge, he said. ...


Easy for YOU to say, human.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 15, 2010
from Politico:
Henry Waxman puts Big Oil on trial
Henry Waxman's war on Big Oil has begun. The California Democrat, along with Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), will force top oil executives to defend or condemn industry practices and profits, according to series of pre-hearing questions obtained by POLITICO, foreshadowing an intense, made-for-TV hearing Tuesday that could create an iconic Washington moment for the petroleum industry... BP may be first in the line of fire, but experts said the whole industry will be on trial Tuesday. Executives from BP, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell and Chevron are scheduled to testify. ...


The Waxman Cometh!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 15, 2010
from New York Times:
Efforts to Repel Gulf Oil Spill Are Described as Chaotic
...For much of the last two months, the focus of the response to the Deepwater Horizon explosion has been a mile underwater, 50 miles from shore, where successive efforts involving containment domes, "top kills" and "junk shots" have failed, and a "spillcam" shows tens of thousands of barrels of oil hemorrhaging into the gulf each day. Closer to shore, the efforts to keep the oil away from land have not fared much better, despite a response effort involving thousands of boats, tens of thousands of workers and millions of feet of containment boom. From the beginning, the effort has been bedeviled by a lack of preparation, organization, urgency and clear lines of authority among federal, state and local officials, as well as BP. As a result, officials and experts say, the damage to the coastline and wildlife has been worse than it might have been if the response had been faster and orchestrated more effectively. ...


Somehow I think our response to the Apocalypse will be similarly disorganized.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 14, 2010
from Science:
What the Gulf Disaster Could Tell Us About Sudden Global Warming
Oceanographer John Kessler of Texas A&M University, College Station, and his colleagues have been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation for a research cruise on the R/V Cape Hatteras, to measure concentrations of methane gas. Methane makes up about 40 percent by mass of what's spewing out of the well, according to measurements by BP.... But the burst well has also become an unlikely scientific windfall for Kessler, who studies natural methane seeps and their link to rapid climate change.... "Knowing if it's 1 percent or 90 percent that makes it out to the atmosphere will be a very big discovery for us," says Kessler. If the methane stays dissolved, it could trigger a feeding frenzy among microbes, he says. Their consumption of oxygen could create hypoxic zones and have "a serious influence on biodiversity at those times as well,"... Given the disaster unfolding in the gulf, says Kessler, "if we can make a little lemonade out of the lemons we've been given, then at least maybe some good will come of this." ...


I'm not sure I'd call methane plumes "lemonade."

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 13, 2010
from Scientific American:
The Full Price of Oil
While it is the worst oil spill in U.S. history--it's just a piece of the devastation around the globe. Nigeria, for example, experiences more than 300 such oil spills every year. At least 450 million gallons of oil have fouled the Nigerian Delta over the last 50 years. There are other similar recent disasters from Australia to Venezuela. The environmental impact is only one cost of our oil addiction. Like all addictions, the greatest toll is on human health . Whether that be the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the more than 70 cleaners sickened by the aftermath, or the thousands of Nigerians killed directly or indirectly by our unquenchable thirst for petroleum. And don't forget coal and natural gas. They also pollute, sicken and kill. Cleaning up our energy habits is indeed the moral equivalent of war. ...


C'mon, if it didn't happen in the US, with CNN and FOX coverage, it's just imaginary.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 12, 2010
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
Canada Won't Seek Delay in Greenland 'Iceberg Alley' Drilling
Canada will ask Greenland for information about safety plans for drilling in arctic waters, without seeking a request to delay exploration following the Gulf of Mexico spill, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said.... The drilling program "is a challenging one in that we are speaking about drilling activity in the Baffin Basin; it's known as iceberg alley."... Those waters, including some shared with Canada, may hold 17 billion barrels of oil, 148 trillion cubic feet of gas and 9.3 billion barrels of gas liquids, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates. ...


Iceberg Alley has enormous bowling balls.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 11, 2010
from New York Times:
Oil Could Reach Atlantic Coasts
For weeks there have been discussions about the potential for the spreading Gulf of Mexico oil slick to slip around Florida and flow up the East Coast. Now a suite of simulations, run by an international team of ocean and climate scientists, shows this is a likely outcome should the flow remain unabated this summer. The researchers stress there are caveats and uncertainties, most notably related to the state of the gulf's highly variable loop current in coming weeks. (The Department of Energy put out its own fact sheet stressing that the simulations are highly uncertain.) But nearly all of the simulations end up with oil flowing east and north. There's even a small chance some of the oil could cross the Atlantic Ocean and reach Europe, although Martin Visbeck, a German oceanographer involved with the work, noted that it would most likely be extremely diluted and degraded by then. ...


I want my life back.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 9, 2010
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: BP spill response plans severely flawed
VENICE, La. -- Professor Peter Lutz is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005. Under the heading "sensitive biological resources," the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf. The names and phone numbers of several Texas A&M University marine life specialists are wrong. So are the numbers for marine mammal stranding network offices in Louisiana and Florida, which are no longer in service. BP PLC's 582-page regional spill plan for the Gulf, and its 52-page, site-specific plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig are riddled with omissions and glaring errors, according to an Associated Press analysis that details how BP officials have pretty much been making it up as they go along. ...


You'd think oil companies would be better planners.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from ABC News:
BP Buys 'Oil' Search Terms to Redirect Users to Official Company Website
Be careful where you click, especially if you're looking for news on the BP oil spill. BP, the very company responsible for the oil spill that is already the worst in U.S. history, has purchased several phrases on search engines such as Google and Yahoo so that the first result that shows up directs information seekers to the company's official website. A simple Google search of "oil spill" turns up several thousand news results, but the first link, highlighted at the very top of the page, is from BP. "Learn more about how BP is helping," the link's tagline reads. ...


Did they buy up "Satan" and "asshole" too?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from The Onion:
Massive Flow Of Bullshit Continues To Gush From BP Headquarters
LONDON - As the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico entered its eighth week Wednesday, fears continued to grow that the massive flow of bullshit still gushing from the headquarters of oil giant BP could prove catastrophic if nothing is done to contain it. The toxic bullshit, which began to spew from the mouths of BP executives shortly after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in April, has completely devastated the Gulf region, delaying cleanup efforts, affecting thousands of jobs, and endangering the lives of all nearby wildlife. "Everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact of this will be very, very modest," said BP CEO Tony Hayward, letting loose a colossal stream of undiluted bullshit. "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean, and the volume of oil we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total volume of water." ...


How dare The Onion make fun of this!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jun 6, 2010
from BBC:
BP cap captures '10,000 barrels' a day in US Gulf
A containment cap on a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is now funnelling off 10,000 barrels of oil a day, BP's chief executive Tony Hayward says. The amount has risen since Saturday, and implies more than half the estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking each day is now being captured. The spill has been described as the biggest environmental disaster in US history. Mr Hayward told the BBC that BP would restore the Gulf to its original state. ...


Clearly, BP has secret time machine technology.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 4, 2010
from Greenwire:
Federal Funding Cuts Leave Oceanographers, Spill Responders in Dark
...For more than a decade, scientists have called for federal funding of a network of radar, buoys and other sensors that would provide the equivalent of a weather forecast system for the Gulf of Mexico. Yet despite what seemed like promising support in Washington, funding for these programs has dropped by half or more in recent years, leaving oceanographers to use satellite snapshots and imperfect models to guess where the oil will travel, dragged by unwatched currents. ...


But think of the money we temporarily saved!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 4, 2010
from Boulder Daily Camera:
Oil from Gulf spill likely to reach Atlantic, travel up coast
The oil that has been gushing out of a broken well in the Gulf of Mexico for more than a month will likely reach the Atlantic Ocean and then travel up the coast to North Carolina with the Gulf Stream, according to a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder....The model focused on the Loop Current, which connects the Gulf to the Atlantic. ...


It's only right everyone's in the Loop.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 2, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
BP Oil Leak May Last Until Christmas in Worst Case Scenario
..."The worst-case scenario is Christmas time," Dan Pickering, the head of research at energy investor Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston, said... Ending the year with a still-gushing well would mean about 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, based on the government's current estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking a day. That would wipe out marine life deep at sea near the leak and elsewhere in the Gulf, and along hundreds of miles of coastline, said Harry Roberts, a professor of Coastal Studies at Louisiana State University. So much crude pouring into the ocean may alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results, said Mak Saito, an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. ...


Instead of coal, Santa will be pouring oil into our Christmas stockings.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 2, 2010
from New York Times:
Evidence of More Undersea Oil Plumes
Tony Hayward, the chief executive of BP, claimed recently that his company's testing has shown "no evidence" that any of the oil in the Gulf of Mexico is lurking beneath the ocean surface. Oil is lighter than water, Mr. Hayward explained, and will rise to the top. Apparently Mr. Hayward is not familiar with the results of a test conducted in Norway, in which his company took part, that suggested exactly the opposite would happen when oil was released in very deep water. A demand has come from Congress that Mr. Hayward explain himself. In the meantime, university researchers keep adding to the preliminary body of evidence suggesting that some of the oil -- no one knows what proportion -- is dissolving into the water and forming huge plumes of dispersed oil droplets beneath the surface. This is worrisome because it raises the possibility that sea life, including commercially important species of fish, could be exposed to a greater load of toxins than conventional models of oil spills would suggest. At least three groups of researchers have now reported evidence for these undersea plumes of oil droplets. And the government, with little fanfare, posted a map this week showing the location of one plume, based on sampling done by a research ship operating under contract to BP. ...


That BP CEO is such a kidder!!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 31, 2010
from University of Georgia Department of Marine Sciences:
Trust Your Senses: Deep Underwater Plumes
May 30th, 18:00. One of the strangest things about these deepwater plumes we've been tracking is that we see a strong CDOM signal but there's been no visible oil in the deepwater. That changed today: we saw oil in the deepwater.... we saw the most intense CDOM signals that we've seen so far. The Pelican cruise sampled near here three weeks ago but the CDOM signals we are seeing now are much stronger.... We triggered sample collection bottles 300m below the plume, from two depths within the plume, and from 300m above the plume. When the water collected from within the plume was transferred into collection bottles, we noticed an oil sheen. You could see it. Everybody saw it. Everybody got excited. Seeing is believing. Even more, the bottles from the plume layers smelled strongly of petroleum. The bottles from above and below the plume did not.... Then, Adam filtered 10L of water collected from within the core of the CDOM plume, from 1140m water depth. The plume filter was visibly oily and the water smelled strongly of petroleum. This filter has a brown sheen of oil on it after filtration (see photo). ...


A kilometer down? How can we be sure it wasn't always there? Hunh?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, May 30, 2010
from Palm Beach Post:
Scientists: Subsurface oil from Gulf gusher may be heading toward Florida coast
University of South Florida researchers have discovered a huge plume of subsurface oil they say is heading from the Deepwater Horizon spill toward an underwater canyon whose currents would ferry it straight to Florida's West Coast. The plume - 22 miles long and more than 6 miles wide - is invisible, and can only be detected with special equipment and chemical tests. But if it enters the DeSoto Canyon, it might spread droplets of oil throughout the ecosystem of West Florida's waters, potentially washing the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals. The plume, discovered by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel, may be a result of BP's unprecedented - and controversial - use of chemical dispersants to break up oil directly at the site of the leak. It is the second such plume found so far, though the other was headed out to sea. ...


If I can't see it, how can it be toxic?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 27, 2010
from Associated Press:
Gulf spill surpasses Valdez; plug try going well
An untested procedure to plug the blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico seemed to be working, officials said Thursday, but new estimates showed the spill has already surpassed the Exxon Valdez as the worst in U.S. history. A team of scientists trying to determine how much oil has been flowing since the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and sank two days later found the rate was more than twice and possibly up to five times as high as previously thought. The fallout from the spill has stretched all the way to Washington, where the head of the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling resigned Thursday and President Barack Obama insisted his administration, not BP, was calling the shots. ...


Clean out of ideas, BP tries out the butt plug approach.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 26, 2010
from National Geographic:
Gulf Coast Pipelines Face Damage as Oil Kills Marshes
A vast network of pipes and platforms is woven into these wetlands, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill could literally expose them to potential ruptures and wreckage, experts say. If oil kills off marsh plants, wetlands will turn to open water, putting the shallowly buried coastal pipelines at risk of ships strikes, storms, and corrosive salt water. Each rip means more leaking oil, costly repairs and replacements, and in some cases, new wetland-restoration projects.... About 26,420 miles (42,520 kilometers) of onshore oil and natural gas pipelines snake through coastal counties between Mobile Bay (map), Alabama, and Galveston (map), Texas, according to Virginia Burkett, chief scientist for global change research at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center in Lafayette, Louisiana.... What's more, the Gulf coastline has been literally sinking as fossil fuels are pumped out of the earth, according to the Gulf research institute. And as the coast sinks, sea level rises--submerging and killing off marshes, according to the USGS.... Add the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and you've got a "perfect storm of wetlands loss," Harte Research Institute director Larry McKinney said in an email. ...


Glad the oil companies saved us all that money finding the cheapest way to feed our addiction.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 26, 2010
from PBS:
PBS's Oil-Volume-O-Matic.
...


I can't help but slide it up to the "experts' worst case."

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 25, 2010
from New York Times:
Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead
In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records. The records also indicate that since the April 20 explosion on the rig, federal regulators have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf drilling projects and at least 17 drilling permits, most of which were for types of work like that on the Deepwater Horizon shortly before it exploded, pouring a ceaseless current of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. ...


It's not so much a moratorium as it is a lessatorium.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 25, 2010
from Washington Post:
Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP
...the Nature Conservancy lists BP as one of its business partners. The Conservancy also has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years... The Conservancy, already scrambling to shield oyster beds from the spill, now faces a different problem: a potential backlash as its supporters learn that the giant oil company and the world's largest environmental organization long ago forged a relationship that has lent BP an Earth-friendly image and helped the Conservancy pursue causes it holds dear. ...


Beware the strange fellows with whom you bed.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, May 22, 2010
from New York Times:
Expert Head-Scratching on the Plumes
The discovery that the oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout may be spreading beneath the sea in plumes of fine droplets came as dismal news early this week. If that observation holds up to further scientific scrutiny, it would mean that the true dimensions of the problem are still invisible, and sea life is being exposed to a heavy load of toxins. But the discovery, bad as it could prove to be for the ocean, has also created a fascinating problem for big brains of a certain kind. People who spend their time thinking about subjects like fluid dynamics, and turbulent plumes, and supercritical fluids, have gone into overdrive trying to figure out what might be going on a mile beneath the surface of the ocean. The usual expectation is that oil of any kind floats on water. But anybody who has ever shaken a vinegar-and-oil salad dressing knows it is not quite so simple. In the right conditions, oil droplets can get suspended in water. What's happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now might turn out to be the mother of all salad dressings. ...


"BP Salad Dressing" may have some brand issues.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 21, 2010
from Mother Jones:
Breaking: Oil Makes Landfall, Cops Blocking Beaches, MoJo on the Scene
This morning she headed down to the area where, according to online maps, oil from the BP fiasco was headed. Wherever she turned, she found sheriff's deputies blocking the beach access roads--until she hit a beach at Grand Isle, and literally stepped into the mess. Here's what unfolded in her tweetstream: Has oil made landfall in port fourchon, LA? Can't look, bc cops turned us around at bridge to beach. about 3 hours ago Oil just hit land in grand isle. Blobs completely covering this shore. about 2 hours ago Governor's helicopters are flying overhead. about 1 hour ago These vacationers say there was no oil earlier today; this shit all just started washing up, and it's already everywhere. about 1 hour ago 5 sheriff's cars have arrived. No pics allowed, no more access to elmer's island. 27 minutes ago ...


I thought we'd stamped out on-the-ground reporting.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 21, 2010
from AL.com:
Birmingham tourism business takes hit from Gulf oil spill
A decline in tourism on the Gulf Coast because of the catastrophic oil spill has rippled all the way to Birmingham, where canceled vacations are taking a bite out of revenue for everyone from condo owners to dive shops. At Southern Skin Divers' Supply, which bills itself as the nation's oldest scuba school, business is off 75 percent even though the diving off the Alabama coast is still good. "The perception is what's affected us the most," said Forrest Phillips, company president.... Others just don't want to schedule a trip in advance because of the uncertainty surrounding the spill, caused by the April 20 explosion and sinking of an oil rig about 50 miles off the Louisiana coast. "What I'm telling people is if you want to dive, go dive now. Everything is great now," Phillips said. "But we don't know what it will be like in a few weeks."... But it could prove to be too little, too late for some businesses. At the Southern Skin Divers shop, Phillips said he's investigating alternatives such as dive trips to the East Coast. Without some improvement, he said, the Gulf spill ultimately will mean the shop will have to close its doors. "We're gonna keep 'em open for a while," he said. "But I don't know of any small business that could deal with this." ...


Time for a little forward-thinking disaster capitalism: Ghost Reef Dives!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 20, 2010
from AP, via DesdemonaDespair:
Whale shark, world's biggest fish, very vulnerable to oil spill
The world's biggest fish may be highly vulnerable to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and one of its favorite feeding grounds is in the area of the spill. Whale sharks feed on the surface, sucking plankton, fish eggs and small fish into their mouths. Surface oil could clog the cartilage filter pads that direct food to the back of their throat, and could coat their gills while they feed, said Eric Hoffmayer, a researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi who has been studying whale sharks in the northern Gulf since 2002. "If it did get their gills coated, I can only imagine they would suffocate relatively quickly," he said. More than one-third of all whale shark sightings in the northern Gulf since 2002 have been off the mouth of the Mississippi River, Hoffmayer said. "The mouth of the river is the primary area where these things show up. Year after year after year," he said. "This is a prime feeding area for them." ...


Just one more nomenclature confusion removed from our lexicon!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 19, 2010
from CBS:
CBS Reporters Forbidden by BP and Coast Guard fromOil-soaked Louisiana Marshes
It may be the most disturbing site yet: the first heavy sludge now oozing into the marshes of Louisiana as the slick continues to grow in size out in the gulf. CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports it's an ominous sight. The oil is thick and black and stretches about a quarter mile down a beach. It goes beyond the booms into the sensitive marsh lands which are home to migratory birds.... When CBS News tried to reach the beach, covered in oil, a boat of BP contractors with two Coast Guard officers on board told us to turn around under threat of arrest. Coast Guard officials said they are looking into the incident. ...


Well done, Coast Guard! A shining example of corporate government.

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Tue, May 18, 2010
from ProPublica:
Whistleblower Sues to Stop Another BP Rig From Operating
A whistleblower filed a lawsuit today to force the federal government to halt operations at another massive BP oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, alleging that BP never reviewed critical engineering designs for the operation and is therefore risking another catastrophic accident that could "dwarf" the company's Deepwater Horizon spill... The whistleblower is Kenneth Abbott, a former project control supervisor contracted by BP who also gave an interview to "60 Minutes" on Sunday night. In a conversation last week with ProPublica, Abbott alleged that BP failed to review thousands of final design documents for systems and equipment on the Atlantis platform -- meaning BP management never confirmed the systems were built as they were intended - and didn't properly file the documentation that functions as an instruction manual for rig workers to shut down operations in the case of a blowout or other emergency. ...


Butt Plug

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Tue, May 18, 2010
from WTSP:
Tar balls reported on Key West shores
About 20 tar balls have washed ashore in Key West, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday night. They ranged in size from about three inches to about 8 inches. They were found on beaches of the Fort Zachary Taylor and the adjacent Navy beach at Truman Annex. The Coast Guard said they were recovered at a rate of about three tar balls an hour throughout the day. The heaviest concentration was found at high tide, shortly after noon. Samples were collected and will be shipped to a lab for analysis to determine their exact source, the Coast Guard said. ...


Better Pray.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 17, 2010
from HuffingtonPost:
Deep sea oil plumes, dispersants endanger reefs
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has already spewed plumes over ecologically sensitive reefs, part of a stalled marine sanctuary proposal that would have restrict drilling in a large swath of the northern part of the vital waterway. Marine scientists fear that two powerful Gulf currents will carry the oil to other reefs. The eastward flowing loop current could spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas. The depth of the gushing leaks and the use of more than 560,000 gallons of chemicals to disperse the oil, including unprecedented injections deep in the sea, have helped keep the crude beneath the sea surface. Marine scientists say diffusing and sinking the oil helps protect the surface species and the Gulf Coast shoreline but increases the chance of harming deep-sea reefs, which are seen as bellwethers for sea health.... These plumes are being eaten by microbes thousands of feet deep, which removes oxygen from the water.... Studies published in a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report show that oil mixed with dispersants damaged certain corals' reproduction and deformed their larvae. The study concluded the federal government needed to study more before using massive amounts of dispersants. ...


Guess we'll get to "study" it in the field.

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Sun, May 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
Huge oil plumes found under Gulf as BP struggles
Oil from a blown-out well is forming huge underwater plumes as much as 10 miles long below the visible slick in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists said as BP wrestled for a third day Sunday with its latest contraption for slowing the nearly month-old gusher. BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the U.S., has been unable to thread a tube into the leak to siphon the crude to a tanker, its third approach to stopping or reducing the spill on the ocean floor. Engineers remotely steering robot submersibles were trying again Sunday to fit the tube into a breach nearly a mile below the surface, BP said. ...


I no like it when stuff is going on beneath the surface.

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Sat, May 15, 2010
from Nola.com:
Tiniest victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill may turn out to be most important
But scientists who know these estuaries best are more concerned about a less photogenic community. The grass, microscopic algae and critters living in the wafer-thin top layer of marsh mud - called the benthic community - are the fuel that drives the whole system. If it's covered with oil, everything above, including birds, fish and cute, furry critters, will be in trouble. And so will the humans who rely on the marsh for storm protection and seafood production. "The top two millimeters of that marsh muck is where the action is in a coastal estuary," said Kevin Carman, dean of the College of Basic Sciences at LSU. "That's the base, the food that fuels the whole system... fish, shrimp, oysters, all the species that rely on the estuary." Half of the all the life created in the one of the world's most productive estuaries takes place in this slimy zone just seven-hundredths of an inch thick. It's a world too small for the human eye to detect and involves creatures few people have ever heard of, but one that looms huge for the larger critters in the system.... But if the oil is thick enough to coat the soil as well as the leaves and stems and seeps into the soil to affect the roots, the impact could be far longer, and much more serious. "In that case it might be five or six years before the oil is degraded enough, because the soil would have no oxygen and no light and the organisms that can degrade the oil would not be there," he said. "We seen examples at inland spills when the soil was soaked, and nothing really grew there for four years." ...


And here I thought the oil would work like moisturizer!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 14, 2010
from New York Times:
Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say
But scientists and environmental groups are raising sharp questions about that estimate, declaring that the leak must be far larger. They also criticize BP for refusing to use well-known scientific techniques that would give a more precise figure. The criticism escalated on Thursday, a day after the release of a video that showed a huge black plume of oil gushing from the broken well at a seemingly high rate. BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the plume would be impossible. The figure of 5,000 barrels a day was hastily produced by government scientists in Seattle. It appears to have been calculated using a method that is specifically not recommended for major oil spills.... BP has repeatedly said that its highest priority is stopping the leak, not measuring it. "There's just no way to measure it," Kent Wells, a BP senior vice president, said in a recent briefing.... "If we are systematically underestimating the rate that's being spilled, and we design a response capability based on that underestimate, then the next time we have an event of this magnitude, we are doomed to fail again," said John Amos, the president of SkyTruth. "So it's really important to get this number right." ...


Whyever would BP want to hide their gushing blunder?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 13, 2010
from Financial Times:
BP's Hayward in 'battle' for hearts and minds
One man sits in a room surrounded by eight empty bottles of water as if he has not moved in hours. On a table in another room, name cards from Halliburton, Oceaneering and others who have offered assistance are scattered across a table spread with papers.... Yet, Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, appears to be taking it all in his stride. He began at 6am on Wednesday in discussions with the US secretaries of energy and the interior, Steven Chu and Ken Salazar, as well as top scientists and engineers on BP's efforts to cap and contain the leak. That ended close to noon, when he had a conference call with BP's board - something he has been doing every week to 10 days to update them on progress.... "We will only win this if we can win the hearts and minds of the local community," he said. "It's a big challenge."... "Apollo 13 did not stop the space programme. The Air France airplane that fell out of the sky off of Brazil did not stop the aviation industry,'' he said.... "I've actually got some good friends through this," he said, noting he had been dealing with people he would not ordinarily. "We are fighting a battle." ...


My heart is black with toxic oil. My mind reels. This is not a war.

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Wed, May 12, 2010
from HousingWatch:
Gulf Coast Real Estate Threatened by Oil Spill
Five years after the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, real estate players are predicting that BP's oil spill has the potential to hinder the Gulf Coast more severely than that epic storm. "This will be 100 times worse," says Christine Weber, a real estate agent near Biloxi, Miss., who says she can already smell the fumes from her house five miles from the shoreline. "It is not something that can be cleaned up like a hurricane where you can replace a roof. You can't remove oil from the sand or the water."... "We won't have anything around here," she adds. "It will be desolate."... It is still not possible to really know for sure just how costly this debacle will prove to be to both the region's and nation's economy: It is a tragedy that is still very much unfolding--or, in this case, flowing. Often, initial guesstimates of economic damage from natural (or man made) disasters prove to be wildly overstated. But why do I have a feeling that, in this case, the initial estimates will prove to be largely understated? ...


On the bright side, it saves the hassle of dealing with sea level rise.

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Mon, May 10, 2010
from London Times:
BP to try golf long shot to stop Gulf of Mexico oil leak
BP was last night considering a new plan of attack in its attempts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico - blocking the ruptured well with golf balls and rubber tyres. Forced back to the drawing board following the failure of a salvage effort on Saturday - when a 120-tonne steel box was lowered to the seabed to cover the leak, only to become blocked by icy sludge - it was looking into changing tack with an operation that its chief executive, Doug Suttles, likened to "stopping up a toilet." Thad Allen, commandant of the US Coast Guard, explained: "The next tactic is going to be something they call a 'junk shot'. They're actually going to take a bunch of debris - shredded up tyres, golf balls and things like that - and under very high pressure shoot it in...and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak." ...


Gosh, if that doesn't work, how about a giant piece of bubblegum?

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Sat, May 8, 2010
from ThinkProgress:
Gulf Coast Wildlife: 'All Bets Are Off'
As Nancy Rabalais, a scientist who heads the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, said, "The magnitude and the potential for ecological damage is probably more great than anything we've ever seen in the Gulf of Mexico."... ThinkProgress' Brad Johnson was blogging from the Gulf Coast and spoke with Gulf Coast marine scientists who all agreed that the "unfolding oil disaster could mean devastation beyond human comprehension" and "all bets are off."... "I can't imagine we're not going to have some mass casualties" among birds in the Gulf region, predicted Michael Parr of the American Bird Conservancy.... At least 38 endangered sea turtles "have washed up dead on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico,"... Comyns told Johnson that he found blue fin tuna larvae "right in the vicinity" of the oil rig's discharge. Even the dispersant BP is using -- Corexit 9500 -- has a "toxicity to early life stages of fish, crustaceans and mollusks" four times greater than petroleum.... Officials shut down additional fishing grounds, effectively putting out of work hundreds more in an industry that is the lifeblood of the region, as well as the Breton National Wildlife Sanctuary. Out in the gulf, birds dove into oily water, dolphins coughed and sharks swam in weird patterns, said marine specialists who have been out on the water tracking the disaster." ...


Thank you, BP, for using the lowest bidder and thereby saving each of us a trillionth of a cent.

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Fri, May 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
Maker of film 'Crude' ordered to turn over footage
A federal judge ordered a documentary filmmaker Thursday to turn over about 600 hours of raw footage from a film about a court fight over whether Chevron Corp. owes billions of dollars in damages for oil contamination in Ecuador. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan said filmmaker Joseph Berlinger must turn over the outtakes from the film "Crude," which was released last year, to lawyers for Chevron. Kaplan said Berlinger could not use the First Amendment to shield himself from Chevron's effort to get the raw footage because Berlinger had not demonstrated he was entitled to a journalist's privilege of confidentiality... Maura Wogan, a lawyer for Berlinger, said Berlinger will ask Kaplan to delay the effect of his order so he has time to appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan. The ruling threatens "great harm to documentary filmmakers and investigative reporters everywhere," she said. ...


This means Metallica gets to ask for their spare footage!

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Wed, May 5, 2010
from Freakanomics author Dubner, in the NYT:
Will the Gulf Oil Spill Be This Generation's Three Mile Island?
Does anyone have the sense that the recent BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may come to be seen as a Three Mile Island moment, at least for the prospects of U.S. offshore drilling? President Obama has called the spill a "potentially unprecedented environmental disaster" -- just weeks after he endorsed an increase in offshore drilling, to the deep chagrin of a broad swath of his supporters and environmentalists.... That said, could the Gulf disaster be just the kind of tragic, visible, easy-to-comprehend event that crystallizes the already-growing rush to de-petroleum our economy? As with TMI, it won't do much to change the facts on the ground about how energy is made. But as we've seen before, public sentiment can generate an awful lot of energy on its own, for better or worse. ...


I'm afraid TMI will be that generation's "proto-Deepwater Horizon event."

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Tue, May 4, 2010
from 'Doc Michael, at DailyKos:
Gulf Gusher -- How Bad Can It Be?
The news media, unsurprisingly, generally tell the news, not the implications. They don't want to get hyperventilating -- that's not what journalists do, after all -- they just report. Consequently, the signs of "worse than expected," "faster than expected," or "unbelievably bad" are often sort of after-thoughted, usually down near the end of a story. A few of these are indicators, to me, of how astonishingly bad the Gulf Gusher is likely to turn out to be.... We are complicit in this Chernobyl. We feed the beast of greed with our profligacy; our unwillingness to imagine that "the American Way of Life" -- which is fundamentally unsustainable -- could change in response to the new realities must be called into question. The paradigm is shifting -- and we need to shift it in directions that create a life we are proud of, not one of convenience, at the cost of the rest of the world. ...


I can't wait 'til we try geoengineering!

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Tue, May 4, 2010
from NOAA, via DesdemonaDespair:
Graph of the Day: Projected Gulf Loop Current, Today + 144 Hours
This is a map of the magnitude of the horizontal velocity of the seawater at the indicated depth. Units are meters per second. RTOFS (Atlantic) is a basin-scale ocean forecast system based on the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). RTOFS (Atlantic) is described in the following paper (PDF): "A Real Time Ocean Forecast System for the North Atlantic Ocean" by Mehra and Riven, Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., Vol. 21, No. 1, 211-228, February 2010 The model is run once a day, completing at about 1400Z. Each run starts with a 24 hour assimiliation hindcast and produces ocean surface forecasts every hour and full volume forecasts every 24 hours from the 0000Z nowcast out to 120 hours. ...


Is there any way to "hindcast" the Gulf oil back into its bottle?

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Sun, May 2, 2010
from Mobile Press-Register:
Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010: The worst-case scenario
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons per day. If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels -- or more than 6 million gallons per day -- based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons total. The Gulf spill could end up dumping the equivalent of 4 Exxon Valdez spills per week. ...


If you like shrimp, eat your last today.

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Sat, May 1, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
Gulf oil slick is a disaster for world climate deal
Could the greatest casualty of the giant oil slick surging through the Gulf of Mexico turn out to be not Louisiana's magnificent wildlife, or the biggest US fishery outside Alaska, but the last remaining chance of an international agreement to combat climate change? It seems counter-intuitive. Surely an economic and ecological disaster, caused by exploiting the fossil fuels that emit all that carbon dioxide, should make the world keener to tackle global warming by moving to cleaner sources of energy? But that would be in a rational universe - one where agreement did not depend on two increasingly dysfunctional institutions: the UN climate treaty negotiations and the US Congress. In the real world, there is no possibility of a new treaty unless Congress first passes legislation to reduce emissions from the United States. And, until the oil started gushing from the well beneath BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, the best chance of getting this through was for Capitol Hill, and the whole of the United States, to stop worrying about slicks and learn to love offshore oil drilling. ...


Don't you want to just take the US, spank 'em, and send 'em to bed without their energy.

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Fri, Apr 30, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Oil disaster as metaphor
Some are calling it a "river of oil" now, instead of an oil spill. "Spill" makes it sound like the oil rig exploded, then "spilled" some oil, which is now creeping toward the coast. Instead, the broken rig is pouring 210,000 gallons of oil into the sea each day, and might continue, according to estimates, for two months or more. I could weep, I could scream, I could wax holy as I did not use petroleum products to get to work today. Except for all I know the asphalt I rode my bicycle on -- as well as parts of the bicycle itself (and my helmet), were made of petroleum. Or the keyboard I type on. But I don't want to go there. I want to see this event as larger, as a metaphor. Think of it this way. We humans are the initial explosion. ...




ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 30, 2010
from CBC:
Massive oil spill reaches Louisiana shore
A massive and growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the coast of Louisiana, which is in a state of emergency to help prevent catastrophic environmental damage. Faint fingers of oil sheen began lapping at the state's shoreline on Thursday night while thicker oil hovered about eight kilometres offshore. Oil is expected to wash ashore in Mississippi on Saturday before reaching Alabama on Sunday and Florida on Monday.... "I am frightened," said David Kennedy, the acting assistant administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service. "This is a very, very big thing," Kennedy said. "And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."... About 34,000 birds have been counted in the national refuges most at risk, McKenzie said. Gulls, pelicans, roseate spoonbills, egrets, shore birds, terns and blue herons are in the path of the spill. ...


We can't even learn Blue-heronese fast enough, much less Spoonbillese, to tell them to RUN!!!

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Thu, Apr 29, 2010
from BBC:
Gulf of Mexico oil slick said to be five times bigger
The US Coast Guard says five times as much oil as previously thought could be leaking from a well beneath where a rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico last week. Rear Admiral Mary Landry said 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day were now thought to be gushing into the sea 50 miles (80km) off Louisiana's coast. A third leak had also been discovered at the site, Adm Landry said. One fire-fighting expert told the BBC the disaster might become the "biggest oil spill in the world". "The Exxon Valdez [tanker disaster off Alaska in 1989] is going to pale [into insignificance] in comparison to this as it goes on." If US Coast Guard estimates are correct, the slick could match the 11m gallons spilt from the Exxon Valdez within less than two months.... With the spill moving towards Louisiana's coast, which contains some 40 percent of the nation's wetlands and spawning grounds for countless fish and birds, she said a "controlled burn" of oil contained by special booms could limit the impact. Environmental experts say animals nearby might be affected by toxic fumes, but perhaps not as much as if they were coated in oil. ...


This British Petroleum-based catastrophe is Becoming a Possible Bottomless Pit of Bad Planning.

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Tue, Apr 27, 2010
from NASA:
Satellite image: Huge Oil Slick from Damaged Well in Gulf of Mexico
An estimated 42,000 gallons of oil per day were leaking from an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico in late April, following an explosion at an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010. The rig eventually capsized and sank.... The oil slick may be particularly obvious because it is occurring in the sunglint area, where the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water gives the Gulf of Mexico a washed-out look. The close-up view shows waves on the water surface as well as ships, presumably involved in the clean up and control activities.... The slick may contain dispersant or other chemicals that emergency responders are using to control the spread of the oil, and it is unknown how much of the 700,000 gallons of fuel that were on the oil rig burned in the fire and how much may have spilled into the water when the platform sank. ...


Luckily, there are two wildlife refuges nearby to absorb it.

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Mon, Apr 26, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
BP struggles to cap leak as US oil slick spreads
British oil giant BP used robotic underwater vehicles Sunday to try to cap a leaking well and prevent a growing oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico from developing into an environmental disaster. Satellite images showed the slick had spread by 50 percent in a day to cover an area of 600 square miles (1,550 square kilometers), although officials said some 97 percent of the pollution was just a thin veneer on the sea's surface. BP has dispatched skimming vessels to mop up the oil leaking from the debris of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which sank on Thursday, still blazing almost two days after a massive explosion that left 11 workers missing presumed dead. ...


Use of fossil fuels is ALREADY an environmental disaster.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 23, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Flaming oil rig sinks in Gulf of Mexico
As the odds of survival for 11 missing workers diminished Thursday, officials warned that the dramatic explosion and fire that sank an oil rig off the Louisiana coast may pose a serious environmental threat if oil is leaking thousands of feet below the surface. "It certainly has the potential to be a major spill," said Dave Rainey, vice president of Gulf of Mexico exploration for the oil company BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon, the $600-million mobile offshore rig that vanished underwater Thursday morning. ...


Spill, baby, spill!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 21, 2010
from Associated Press:
Oil rig explodes off Louisiana coast; 11 missing
Rescuers in helicopters and boats searched the Gulf of Mexico for 11 missing workers Wednesday after a thunderous explosion rocked a huge oil drilling platform and lit up the night sky with a pillar of flame. Seventeen people were injured, four critically. The blast Tuesday night aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast could prove to be one of the nation's deadliest offshore drilling accidents of the past half-century...The rig was tilting as much as 10 degrees after the blast, but earlier fears that it might topple over appeared unfounded. Coast Guard environmental teams were on standby, though officials said the damage to the environment appeared minimal so far. ...


Apparently, the air itself isn't part of the environment.

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Wed, Apr 7, 2010
from London Guardian:
Salvage experts work to stabilise Chinese ship aground on Great Barrier Reef
Salvage workers and tugboats were today attempting to stabilise a coal-carrying ship that ran aground on Australia's Great Barrier Reef in order to prevent it breaking up and further damaging the world's largest coral structure. The Chinese-registered Shen Neng 1 was off course and travelling at full speed when it hit the Douglas Shoals - an area in which shipping is restricted - late on Saturday. Environmentalists warned that the effects could be devastating if the vessel broke up. "We would potentially be looking at an environmental disaster," Gilly Llewellyn, the director of conservation for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Australia, told Reuters. "It would be an extremely large spill." Around two of the 950 tonnes of fuel on board the ship have leaked, creating a slick stretching for two miles (3km). ...


This stranded ship, my friends, is starting to sound more and more like a metaphor for the whole planet.

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Wed, Mar 31, 2010
from New York Times:
Obama to Open Offshore Areas to Oil Drilling for First Time
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday. The proposal -- a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations -- would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean. ...


Drill Obaby drill!

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Mon, Feb 15, 2010
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Oil and gas drilling's threat to our drinking water is local, national debate
GRANGER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Sandy Mangan draws a small glass of water from her kitchen faucet. It stinks and small bubbles slip up the side of the cup. She looks almost as if she is about to gulp down a nasty soft drink. But the Mangans don't drink their tainted tap water anymore. They haven't since Sept. 29, 2008 -- the day a Mahoning County company was drilling a gas well in a park near their State Road home. They say their well went temporarily dry, then returned at lower pressure five days later -- murky, salty, bubbly and smelly. ...


Sounds like their water's been fracked!

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Mon, Jan 18, 2010
from London Guardian:
Shell faces shareholder revolt over Canadian tar sands project
Shell chief executive Peter Voser will be forced to defend the company's controversial investment in Canada's tar sands at his first annual general meeting, after calls from shareholders that the project be put under further scrutiny. A coalition of institutional investors has forced a resolution onto the agenda calling for the Anglo-Dutch group's audit committee to undertake a special review of the risks attached to the carbon-heavy oil production at Athabasca in Alberta. Co-operative Asset Management and 141 other institutional and individual shareholders raise "concerns for the long-term success of the company arising from the risks associated with oil sands." ...


Sounds like these shareholders are goin' rogue!

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Sun, Jan 10, 2010
from London Independent:
Who will pay for Amazon's 'Chernobyl'?
A film released this week in Britain recounts the 16-year battle by Ecuadorians for damages against Chevron for oil pollution... the people of Lago Agrio and its surrounding area have been fighting back. Sixteen years ago, 30,000 Ecuadorians began legal action against the US oil company -- now owned by Chevron -- they hold responsible. Early this year, from the town's tiny courtroom, a lone judge will deliver a verdict on their class-action case. If the judge rules in favour of the Ecuadorians, Chevron could face damages of $27.3bn (Ā£17bn), making it the biggest environmental lawsuit in history. This week, while both sides await the verdict, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the case goes on release in Britain. Called Crude, it is directed by Joe Berlinger, whose movie Metallica: Some Kind of Monster charted the band's travails. ...


Now you 'mericans don't need worry your pretty little heads 'bout this.

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Thu, Dec 31, 2009
from London Guardian:
Shell must face Friends of the Earth Nigeria claim in Netherlands
A judge in the Netherlands has opened the door to a potential avalanche of legal cases against Shell over environmental degradation said to be caused by its oil operations in the Niger Delta. The oil group expressed "disappointment" tonight that a court in The Hague had agreed to allow Friends of the Earth Netherlands and four local Nigerian farmers to bring a compensation case in its backyard for the first time... Friends of the Earth claims the oil spills are not accidents but represent a pattern of systematic pollution and contempt for the rights of the local population that had been going on for decades, something denied by the oil group. Up until now compensation claims have been brought in Nigeria, but many have become bogged down in a congested court system. ...


Stay tuned... for the next couple of decades to see how this turns out.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 9, 2009
from Anchorage Daily News:
Spill is among worst ever on North Slope
Officials have found a 24-inch jagged rupture in a pipeline that began pouring oil and water Nov. 29, creating one of the biggest North Slope crude oil spills ever. The on-scene coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Tom DeRuyter, said Tuesday that the breach on the bottom of the pipe was the biggest he had ever seen and indicative of the incredible pressure the pipeline was under when it split... Officials say massive ice plugs had formed inside the pipe, which caused BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. to stop operating it a few weeks ago. Pressure then built up until the pipeline ruptured, according to BP. ...


Arguably, Sarah Palin might be considered an even bigger spill.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 17, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Chevron sues former lawyer in Ecuador case
Chevron Corp. has sued a lawyer who used to represent the plaintiffs in a $27 billion pollution lawsuit against the oil company in Ecuador, hoping to cast doubt on the case. Chevron on Friday filed a complaint for malicious prosecution against Cristobal Bonifaz, who worked on both incarnations of the long-running lawsuit up until 2006. The oil company, the nation's second largest, is seeking more than $4 million. Bonifaz was lead attorney for the original lawsuit, filed in New York in 1993, in which residents of Ecuador's oil-producing region claimed soil and water contamination ruined their environment and made them sick. Bonifaz also worked on the lawsuit's current version - filed in Ecuador - which could see a judgment next year. ...


Four million is well along the way to recouping that 27 billion, Chevron!

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Mon, Nov 16, 2009
from POLITICO:
Chevron's lobbying campaign backfires
Facing the possibility of a $27 billion pollution judgment against it in an Ecuadorean court, Chevron launched an aggressive lobbying and public relations campaign to try to prevent the judgment as well as reverse a deeply damaging story line. Chevron's tactics -- ranging from quietly trying to wield U.S. trade policy to compel Ecuador's government to squelch the case, to producing a pseudo-news report casting the company as the victim of a corrupt Ecuadorean political system -- were designed to win powerful allies in Congress and the Obama administration as well as to shape public opinion and calm shareholders. But many of the company's moves have backfired, drawing fire from environmentalists, media ethicists, state pension funds, New York's attorney general, members of Congress and even Barack Obama when he was a senator. ...


How slick of Chevron.

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Tue, Nov 10, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
World energy body 'exaggerated oil stocks under pressure from US'
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has been underplaying the rate of decline at existing oil fields and overestimating the potential of new reserves to avoid panic buying, a senior official alleged. The agency last year claimed that oil production could be raised from its current rate of 83 million barrels a day to 105 million.... "Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90 million to 95 million barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further," the newspaper quoted the whistle-blower as saying. ...


Change we wanted to believe in.

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Tue, Nov 3, 2009
from The Hindu:
As fire dies down, environmental crisis looks large
The fire raging at the Indian Oil Corporation depot at the Sitapura Industrial Area near here since last Thursday has led to an environmental crisis in the capital city. The thick black plumes of smoke have spread to dozens of villages and residential colonies, hampering visibility and creating panic. Hundreds of people are visiting hospitals with the complaints of breathing problem, sore throat, irritation in the eye, allergy and itching. In addition to the mobile medical teams that are making rounds in the villages, all primary health centres in the rural terrain have been asked to remain open round-the-clock. Environmental experts here fear that the smoke, apart from affecting the health of the people in and around the city, would also hit agriculture in the surrounding villages which supply vegetables and food grain to Jaipur. ...


Another one of those "true cost of oil" moments.

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Mon, Nov 2, 2009
from Sydney Morning Herald:
'Disaster movie': fire breaks out on leaking oil rig
Environmental groups say the oil leak spilling into the Timor Sea should be declared a national emergency, with one expert likening it to a "disaster movie." The situation has worsened in the last 24 hours with a fire breaking out on the deck of the West Atlas rig and Montara well head platform, when the company responsible for its operation began to plug the rig's leak below the sea bed with mud. ...


I so hope Bruce Willis is available.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 26, 2009
from Mongabay:
Amazonian natives say they will defend tribal lands from Hunt Oil with "their lives"
Indigenous natives in the Amazon are headed to the town of Salvacion in Peru with a plan to forcibly remove the Texas-based Hunt Oil company from their land as early as today. Peruvian police forces, numbering in the hundreds, are said to be waiting in the town... representatives of indigenous groups released a statement that said "the entry of Hunt Oil and Respol into the interior of the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve to execute seismic projects is not accepted..." The crisis has risen over an area known as Lot 76, or the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve. The 400,000 hectare reserve was created in 2002 to protect the flora and fauna of the area, as well as to safeguard watersheds of particular importance to indigenous groups in the region. ...


We Docs dig the indigenous.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 2, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Chevron's shifty shifting of venue
When Chevron was in a New York courtroom battling a lawsuit by thousands of indigenous Ecuadoreans, it argued that the case rightly belonged in their country. But now that the company is poised to lose in the Andean nation and could be assessed as much as $27 billion in damages, it says Ecuador isn't the right place either. Last week, the oil giant shopped the case to yet another court, filing a claim at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. Chevron has long maintained that it would appeal an adverse decision, which is entirely understandable. But this action is different. By going to The Hague before a verdict is issued in Ecuador, the company shuts out the private citizens who brought the suit and who have no standing there. ...


Me, I read that headline as "Chevron's SHITTY shifting..."

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 11, 2009
from CBC:
Acid rain falling on Saskatchewan from Alberta oilsands, says lobby
The Saskatchewan Environmental Society issued a news release Monday to say that data, obtained by the society from the Saskatchewan environment ministry, reveals that rain falling in the La Loche area of the province's far north has a pH level that falls under the definition for acid rain. The generally accepted threshold for normal rain is a pH of 5.6. Environment Canada has determined any value less than five may be termed acid rain. Ann Coxworth, a spokeswoman for the environmental society, said data from the Saskatchewan government shows the average pH level for rain and snow in the La Loche area is 4.96. "We have now a combination of that region being the most sensitive forest soil in Canada, most sensitive to damage by acid precipitation and an increase in the acidity of the precipitation," Coxworth told CBC News on Monday. "So it seems to us that is a situation that really needs to be attended to." ...


In Canada, such politeness might get results!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jun 17, 2009
from Associated Press:
Ocean current experts warn of risks if eastern Gulf is opened to drilling
While Congress considers opening the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil-and-gas drilling, experts on ocean currents warn of a potential environmental nightmare that could reach the coast of South Florida. If a rig in the eastern Gulf springs a leak, the spill could turn into an oil slick that gets caught in a fast-moving current that runs south to the Florida Keys. The current turns into the Gulf Stream, which could drag the polluted mess through the Florida Straits and carry it north to the beaches of southeast Florida. ...


Ocean currents experts...let me introduce you to a tsunami of oil greed!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 26, 2009
from Washington Post:
In Ecuador, an Unusual Carbon-Credit Plan to Leave Oil Untapped
QUITO, Ecuador -- Beneath the tropical jungles of northeastern Ecuador lies a vast pool of oil, representing one-fifth of the small Andean country's petroleum reserves and potentially billions of dollars in revenue. Directly above that pool, the Yasuni National Park is home to a diversity of wildlife that is among the richest on the planet, Ecuadoran and U.S. biologists say. Faced with these two treasures, Ecuador is pursuing an unusual plan to reap the oil profits without actually drilling for oil. The idea envisions wealthy countries effectively paying Ecuador to leave its oil -- and the carbon dioxide that would result from using it -- in the ground. Environmentalists hail the proposal as a potentially precedent-setting approach to conservation in developing countries. ...


Don't drill, baby, don't drill!

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Tue, May 26, 2009
from Denver KUSA-TV:
Contamination concerns rise out of gas wells
..."We're starting to see complaints by people that live in the area," said Geoffrey Thyne, a professor at Colorado School of Mines. For years, Thyne has been studying the technique often used to remove gas from the ground. It's called hydraulic fracturing, or fracing (pronounced "fracking"), and it involves injecting chemical-filled fluid thousands of feet below the surface, which expands existing fractures in the rock and allows gas to rise. Allegations are now popping up across the country that fracing is contaminating groundwater and causing illnesses and environmental problems. But Thyne says no one can prove a link because no one outside the oil and gas companies knows what chemicals are going into the ground. "Without that knowledge, then there's always going to be some ambiguity or lack of positive assignment of responsibility," Thyne said. The oil and gas industry won the right to keep their chemical mixture secret in 2005, when the government exempted fracing from the Safe Drinking Water Act. ...


What's really freaky about fracing is the freakin' fibbing going on!

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Tue, May 19, 2009
from London Guardian:
Peru army moves into Amazon after tribes blockade rivers and roads
Peru's army is poised to deploy in the Amazon rainforest to lift blockades across rivers and roads by indigenous people opposed to oil, gas, logging and mining projects. The government has authorised the military to move into remote provinces where a state of emergency has been declared in the wake of a month-long stand-off between indigenous people and police... Indigenous groups, backed by environmentalists and Catholic bishops, have protested that the developments will devastate the area's ecology and their culture. About 65 tribes have mobilised 30,000 people to disrupt roads, waterways and pipelines, leading to skirmishes with police. Up to 41 vessels serving energy companies are stuck along jungle rivers, paralysed by the protests, one private sector source told Reuters. ...


If this was a movie, the rainforest animals would join forces with the environmentalists.

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Sun, May 17, 2009
from Newark Star-Ledger:
With no other ship in sight, a common crime spoils sea
...the amount of oil illegally dumped by oceangoing ships has a far greater impact on the environment than accidental spills. Some estimates... put shipboard waste-dumping at more than 88 million gallons a year -- some eight times the amount of crude oil spilled when the Exxon Valdez hit a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound 20 years ago. Sludge filtered out from the low-grade fuel burned by many ships is particularly bad for the environment. It is supposed to be incinerated or off-loaded in port... One study has estimated 300,000 seabirds are killed annually along Canada's Atlantic coast from the type of routine discharge of oily waste, federal officials said. A chemical "oil fingerprint" analysis conducted by the Coast Guard found the bilge waste from one ship charged with environmental crimes was consistent with oil found on nearby beaches. ...


Perhaps we should just go take a leak on their shoes!

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Wed, Apr 8, 2009
from New York Times:
Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama's Green Lead
The Obama administration wants to reduce oil consumption, increase renewable energy supplies and cut carbon dioxide emissions in the most ambitious transformation of energy policy in a generation. But the world's oil giants are not convinced that it will work. Even as Washington goes into a frenzy over energy, many of the oil companies are staying on the sidelines, balking at investing in new technologies favored by the president, or even straying from commitments they had already made. ...


Obama might have to pull a "wagoner" on these oil companies, eh?

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Mon, Mar 16, 2009
from Queen's University, via EurekAlert:
Cleaning up oil spills can kill more fish than spills themselves
A new Queen's University study shows that detergents used to clean up spills of diesel oil actually increase its toxicity to fish, making it more harmful. "The detergents may be the best way to treat spills in the long term because the dispersed oil is diluted and degraded," says Biology professor Peter Hodson. "But in the short term, they increase the bioavailability and toxicity of the fuel to rainbow trout by 100-fold." ... [The dispersion] increases the transfer of hydrocarbons from oil to water, Dr. Hodson explains. The hydrocarbons pass easily from water into tissues and are deadly to fish in the early stages of life. "This could seriously impair the health of fish populations, resulting in long-term reductions in economic returns to fisheries," he says. ...


Jeez, you mean adding more shit won't fix the stew?

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Tue, Mar 10, 2009
from Scitizen.com:
Jeffrey Brown and the Net Oil Exports Crisis
The genesis of his rather radical views--radical, that is, for a Texas oilman--are a simple question he asked himself several years ago: What happens to oil exports in a world with constrained oil supplies? ... His pondering led to the creation of the the Export Land Model. It goes something like this: A hypothetical oil exporter--let's call it Export Land--has reached its peak in oil production. Assume domestic users consume half of all the oil produced in Export Land at the moment; assume a 5 percent annual decline rate for production; and assume a 2½ percent annual increase in domestic consumption. The result is that Export Land reaches zero exports in an astonishingly short nine years. ...


The ExportLand Emirates will be so sad to lose their buddies in ImportLand.

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Tue, Dec 30, 2008
from Bloomberg News:
Texaco Toxic Past Haunts Chevron as $27 Billion Judgment Looms
Bolivar Cevallos walks around the farm where his family once lived amid the oil fields of Ecuador's Amazon rain forest. His boots sink ankle deep in tar. Everywhere he steps, oily muck seeps from the ground. A gasolinelike smell hangs in the sweltering jungle air. The mess is a remnant of oil drilling in a 120-mile-long swath of the tropical jungle in northeastern Ecuador where Texaco Inc. and Ecuador's state-run oil company, PetroEcuador, have pumped billions of barrels of crude from the ground during the past 40 years. The ruined land around Cevallos's home is part of one of the worst environmental and human health disasters in the Amazon basin, which stretches across nine countries and, at 1.9 billion acres (800 million hectares), is about the size of Australia. And depending on how an Ecuadorean judge rules in a lawsuit over the pollution, it may become the costliest corporate ecological catastrophe in world history. If the judge follows the recommendation of a court-appointed panel of experts, he could order Chevron Corp., which now owns Texaco, to pay as much as $27 billion in damages. ...


When it comes to oil, this is the Mother of All Craps.

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Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Drillers eye oil reserves off California coast
The federal government is taking steps that may open California's fabled coast to oil drilling in as few as three years, an action that could place dozens of platforms off the Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt coasts, and raises the specter of spills, air pollution and increased ship traffic into San Francisco Bay. Millions of acres of oil deposits, mapped in the 1980s when then-Interior Secretary James Watt and Energy Secretary Donald Hodel pushed for California exploration, lie a few miles from the forested North Coast and near the mouth of the Russian River, as well as off Malibu, Santa Monica and La Jolla in Southern California. "These are the targets," said Richard Charter, a lobbyist for the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund who worked for three decades to win congressional bans on offshore drilling. "You couldn't design a better formula to create adverse impacts on California's coastal-dependent economy." ...


I'm sure Bush will come up with something!

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Fri, Dec 26, 2008
from Washington Post:
Report: Alberta Mines Imperil Birds
About half of America's migratory birds fly from destinations as far-flung as Chile to nest in Canada's boreal forest. In Alberta, that forest lies above tar sands that contain oil reserves second only to Saudi Arabia's. The excavation of the tar sands -- projected to pump $2.4 trillion into Canada's economy between 2010 and 2030 -- could reduce the region's migratory-bird population by almost half, according to a peer-reviewed study released Dec. 2 by U.S. and Canadian environmental groups.... The study estimates that over 30 to 50 years, tar sands excavation will reduce bird populations by anywhere from 6 million to 166 million, including several endangered and threatened species. ...


Haven't these birds ever heard of a detour?

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Mon, Dec 15, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Global oil supply will peak in 2020, says energy agency
Global oil production will peak much earlier than expected amid a collapse in petroleum investment due to the credit crunch, one of the world's foremost experts has revealed. Fatih Birol, chief economist to the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian that conventional crude output could plateau in 2020, a development that was "not good news" for a world still heavily dependent on petroleum. The prediction came as oil companies from Saudi Arabia to Canada cut their capital expenditure on new projects in response to a fall in oil prices, moves that will further reduce supply in future. ...


My Hummer says the gas tank is full!

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Mon, Dec 8, 2008
from New Scientist:
Canadian tar plan threatens millions of birds
A new report saying that millions of migratory birds are at risk adds to a mass of criticism of the damage caused by exploiting the oil sands. The thick tarry deposit in northern Alberta is the world's second-largest oil reserve after Saudi Arabia, but separating the useable oil from the gunk takes three times as much energy as pumping conventional oil. This alone makes it some of the "dirtiest" oil on the planet. This week, a report by the US Natural Resources Defense Council says that continued development of the area could kill 100 million migratory birds over the next 50 years, mainly by destroying their habitat. ...


Those birds ought to be able to vote.

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Sun, Nov 16, 2008
from New York Times:
At Exxon, Making the Case for Oil
While other oil companies try to paint themselves greener, Exxon's executives believe their venerable model has been battle-tested. The company's mantra is unwavering: brutal honesty about the need for oil and gas to power economies for decades to come. "Over the years, there have been many predictions that our industry was in its twilight years, only to be proven wrong," says Mr. Tillerson. "As Mark Twain said, the news of our demise has been greatly exaggerated." ...


Dammit!

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Tue, Oct 7, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
End use of fossil fuels in 20 years, UK warned
Britain must abandon using almost all fossil fuels to produce power in 20 years' time, the government's climate change watchdog will warn today. The independent Climate Change Committee will publish its advice to the government that the UK should set a 2050 target of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent -- including the emissions from aviation and transport, which were previously excluded.... "We have to almost totally decarbonise the power sector by 2030, well before 2050," he said. ...


Leave the coals in Newcastle.

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Thu, Sep 11, 2008
from Mother Jones:
Sarah Palin: A Big Boon for Big Oil
...in Alaska, as it turns out, the future means more of the past: More fossil fuels extracted under the frozen tundra and ocean; more industrial development of pristine wilderness and more destruction of Native lands; and perhaps even another Cold War with Russia over who will control the Arctic's crucial energy supplies. Poised to help propel Alaska into this future is its governor and now the Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. ...


She's another Dick Cheney... though easier on the eyes!

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Sat, Sep 6, 2008
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Oil refineries underestimate release of emissions, study says
A study by the Alberta Research Council that investigated the plume of contaminants emanating from a Canadian oil refinery using high-tech sniffing equipment found the facility dramatically underestimated its releases of dangerous air pollutants... Based on the study, funded by the federal, Alberta and Ontario governments, it is likely that all refineries in Canada and the United States are seriously undercounting emissions because they follow an estimating protocol developed by the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Under the protocol, refineries don't calculate their actual emissions, but try to reach approximate figures using technical assumptions and mathematical equations. ...


You've heard of "fuzzy math"? Well, this is "Cheney math"!

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Tue, Sep 2, 2008
from Public Campaign Action Fund:
Oil, Coal Industries Already Have Spent $427 Million On Politics, Policy, and Marketing in 2008
Today Public Campaign Action Fund, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving America’s campaign finance laws, released a new analysis finding that the oil and coal industries spent $427.2 million so far this year of the year to shift public opinion and to capture the eyes, ears, and support of Congress on critical energy issues.... "With spending like this, it’s clear that these polluting industries see much at stake in Congress," continued Nyhart. ...


You mean this isn't the voice of the people?

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Sun, Aug 17, 2008
from London Observer:
Democrats waver over offshore drilling ban
"Under fire from Republicans, top Democratic politicians in the United States are considering lifting a ban on new offshore oil drilling... Democrats have hitherto said new drilling would do little to relieve consumer pain at the pump, accusing Republicans of misleading the public and being a pawn of big oil companies. Yet signs are emerging that they are easing their opposition to the comprehensive ban." ...


Apparently, it's so much fun to be a pawn of big oil companies -- now the Democrats want to join!

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Sat, Aug 9, 2008
from London Daily Telegraph:
Amazonian Chernobyl -- Ecuador's oil environment disaster
"Once it was pristine rainforest. Now it has been described as an Amazonian Chernobyl. Millions of gallons of crude oil and toxic waste -- the legacy of an oil extraction programme -- has blighted 1,700 hectares of land and poisoned the rivers and streams in Sucumbios in the north-east corner of Ecuador... Indigenous Indian people blame the pollution on the US oil giant Chevron -- formerly Texaco -- and say it has caused a catalogue of health problems including severe birth defects, spontaneous miscarriages and cancers." ...


It takes the power of human energy to so completely ruin a planet.

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Thu, Jul 17, 2008
from New York Times:
Interior Dept. Opens 2.6 Million Alaskan Acres for Oil Exploration
"The Interior Department on Wednesday made 2.6 million acres of potentially oil-rich territory in northern Alaska available for energy exploration... The decision will open up for drilling much of the northeast section of the Northeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, holding an estimated 3.7 billion barrels of oil, Tom Lonnie, Alaska state director for the Bureau of Land Management, said in a conference call with reporters." ...


This, my friends, is a caribou-boo.

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Mon, Jun 23, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Put Oil Firm Chiefs on Trial, says leading climate change scientist James Hansen
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer. Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress - in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable. ...


SAY it, Jimmy, PREACH it to us, YES we say YES ohgod YES it is TIME!

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Sat, May 31, 2008
from MIT newsoffice:
MIT develops a 'paper towel' for oil spills
The scientists say they have created a membrane that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil, and can be recycled many times for future use. The oil itself can also be recovered. Some 200,000 tons of oil have already been spilled at sea since the start of the decade. "What we found is that we can make 'paper' from an interwoven mesh of nanowires that is able to selectively absorb hydrophobic liquids--oil-like liquids--from water," said Francesco Stellacci, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and leader of the work. ...


If only the Exxon Valdez had had a few rolls of those towels in their cupboard.

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Thu, May 22, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Shell 'selling suicide' by preferring tar sands to wind
Shell was accused yesterday of "selling suicide on the forecourt" by pressing ahead with tar sands operations in Canada and continuing to flare off excess gas in Nigeria while pulling out of renewable schemes such as the London Array - the world's largest offshore wind scheme. The accusation that Shell was irresponsibly adding to climate change was made by an unnamed shareholder at its annual meeting in The Hague after Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer insisted the company was doing all it could to meet rising demands for energy while reducing CO2 emissions. Shell would listen to all stakeholders but he warned "ultimately it will not be possible to meet fully everyone's expectations". ...


The price of suicide may closely track the price of oil.

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Wed, May 21, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Oil hits record near $130 as supply fears grow
Crude oil prices scaled a new peak near $130 a barrel on Tuesday amid deepening worries over tight global stockpiles and signals from OPEC that no additional supplies are forthcoming to ease the crunch. Billionaire investor T. Boone Pickens said Tuesday he expected oil to hit $150 a barrel this year. The prediction came on the same day two investment banks raised their 2008 crude price forecasts and two weeks after Goldman Sachs said a barrel could fetch $200 by 2010. "There's a feeling that some of these forecasts of $150 oil might be right," said Peter Beutel, president of Cameron Hanover. "So why not buy it now, rather than later?" ...


There's a feeling that some of these forecasts are telling us something.

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Mon, May 12, 2008
from Forbes (US):
Oil over USD 126, new peak for 5th straight day
Oil prices leapt to a new peak of more than $126 a barrel on Friday, hitting a record for the fifth straight session, in a market given an additional spur by tight supplies of diesel. U.S. crude for June delivery rose $1.87 to $125.56 by 1335 GMT, off a record high of $126.20 a barrel. London Brent crude rose $2.81 to $125.65 per barrel. "I'm not particularly surprised by the speed of the rise in crude. There are many market bulls hoping for prices to rise heading into the summer," said Tetsu Emori, fund manager at Astmax Co Ltd in Tokyo. ...


EX-cellent!
I'm thrilled the market wants to suck more money, from me to Big Petro, while continuing to encourage me to consume. Glad to help the oil speculators!

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Sun, Feb 24, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
Exxon Oil Spill Case May Get Closure
"When a federal jury in Alaska in 1994 ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion to thousands of people who had their lives disrupted by the massive Exxon Valdez oil spill, an appeal of the nation's largest punitive damages award was inevitable. But almost no one could have predicted the incredible round of legal ping-pong that only this month lands at the Supreme Court." ...


At the Supreme Court, the Justices can play bad minton with the case.

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Wed, Feb 20, 2008
from Associated Press:
Oil jumps above $100 on refinery outage
"NEW YORK - Oil futures shot higher Tuesday, closing above $100 for the first time as investors bet that crude prices will keep climbing despite evidence of plentiful supplies and falling demand. At the pump, gas prices rose further above $3 a gallon. There was no single driver behind oil's sharp price jump; investors seized on an explosion at a 67,000 barrel per day refinery in Texas, the falling dollar, the possibility that OPEC may cut production next month, the threat of new violence in Nigeria and continuing tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela. The fact that there was no overriding reason for such a price spike could be a bad omen for consumers already bearing the burdens of high heating costs and falling real estate values." ...


PostApocHaiku:
a perfect shitstorm
for the consumer idling
in traffic's gridlock

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Sun, Jan 13, 2008
from Durango Herald (US):
Oil shale rises again in Western Colorado
Chevron officials look at the size of tomorrow's market. Six billion people live on Earth, and there might be 9 billion by the middle of the century. "We're probably going to need every molecule of energy going forward that we can get to meet the needs of that growing population," Johnson said. That's what brings Chevron back to Colorado's notoriously difficult oil-shale deposits. "The easy oil, we pretty much have used up," he said. ...


Now we're looking at getting oil from rocks. Might take a wee bit of energy to make that happen. Kind of like what we see in Alberta's tar sands, where it uses almost as much natural gas energy as it gets out as oil. Which is kind of like the marginal energy value of corn-based ethanol, when the energy cost of agriculture is included. Which is kind of like.... what we always seem to do:
borrow from Peter to pay Paul.

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