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DocWatch
toxic leak
Twitterit?
News stories about "toxic leak," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?toxic+leak
Related Scary Tags:
contamination  ~ oil issues  ~ health impacts  ~ corporate malfeasance  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ climate impacts  ~ fracking  ~ habitat loss  ~ capitalist greed  ~ massive die-off  ~ governmental corruption  



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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Sat, Jul 4, 2015
from The Guardian:
Eleven Thousand Cubic Yards of Radioactive Nuclear Test Debris Leaching into Ocean
Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.... Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States' cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests. Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.... "Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010. "It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium," he said. "Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States." ...


Where is our new Shakespeare, who can so craft / iambic pentameter to scribe anew / the fix'd irony, the fey tragedy / the hubris, the absurdity, and e'en / the farcical satire named Runit Dome?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 4, 2015
from LA Times:
Ruptured pipeline was corroded, federal regulators say
Corrosion had eaten away nearly half of the metal wall of a pipeline that ruptured and spilled up to 101,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara coast last month, federal regulators said Wednesday... The 10.6-mile pipeline had "extensive" external corrosion, and the thickness of the pipe's wall where it broke had degraded to an estimated one-sixteenth of an inch, the pipeline agency said. ...


There seems to be a problem with our infruckedstructure.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, May 20, 2015
from InsideClimate News:
In Heavily Fracked Ohio County, Unsafe Levels of Toxic Pollutants
Emissions generated by fracking operations may be exposing people to some toxic pollutants at levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for long-term exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati... The team found chemicals released during oil and gas extraction that can raise people's risk of cancer and respiratory ailments. ...


Industry, why have you fracksaken me?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Aug 17, 2014
from PhysOrg:
Mexico acid leak leaves orange river, toxic water
Yesenia is one of 20,000 people left without water since a massive sulfuric acid leak last week at the Buenavista copper mine in northwestern Mexico, one of the largest in the world. She waited in the sweltering heat with her mother and two daughters for water brought into the town of Arizpe by a tanker truck, but left empty-handed after the truck ran dry, unable to meet the demand from the seven affected towns.... An estimated 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid, which is used to dissolve copper from ore for processing ,leaked out of a holding tank at the mine, owned by leading Latin American mining company Grupo Mexico. The spill happened on August 6, but the authorities say the company only informed them 24 hours later.... Juan Rebolledo, Grupo Mexico's vice president for international relations, downplayed the impact. "The content of these acids is not toxic in itself," he said on radio network Formula. "There's no problem, nor any serious consequence for the population, as long as we take adequate precautions and the company pours lime into the river, as it is currently doing." The mine has dumped 100 tonnes of lime into the Sonora to neutralize the acidity, according to the state government. ...


We've carefully calibrated our response to ensure that neither overalkalinity or overacidity results. There is no problem.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 7, 2014
from CBC:
Tailings pond breach in BC threatens pristine deepwater lake system, sockeye salmon; state of emergency declared
A local state of emergency has been declared in an area where a B.C. tailings pond wall collapsed, sending millions of cubic metres of mine waste water and metals-laden sand into local waterways.... The breach sent 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of metals-laden sand out into local waterways, scouring away the banks of Hazeltine Creek and sending debris flowing into Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake, which rose 1.5 metres.... A summary of the material dumped into the tailings pond last year was filed with Environment Canada. It said there was 326 tonnes of nickel, over 400,000 kilograms of arsenic, 177,000 kilograms of lead and 18,400 tonnes of copper and its compounds placed in the pond last year. ...


That was last year. Old news. What's done is done, so let's just move forward in trying to reestablish trust.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 15, 2014
from ThinkProgress.org:
Company That Caused Historic West Virginia Chemical Spill Fined $11k
The company responsible for letting 10,000 gallons of a mysterious chemical seep into West Virginia's drinking water supply this past January was fined $11,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor on Monday, just two days before the six-month anniversary of the historic spill. After inspecting the facilities at Freedom Industries' chemical storage site in Charleston, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that, at the time of the spill, Freedom Industries' chemical tanks containing crude MCHM had been surrounded by a wall that was not liquid tight. That violation that warranted a $7,000 fine. OSHA also hit Freedom Industries with an additional $4,000 fine for not having railings on an elevated platform used for loading and storing the chemical in the tanks. Both violations were labeled by OSHA as "serious," warranting monetary penalties.... Wednesday marks the sixth month anniversary of the day when Freedom's tanks spilled 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM -- the licorice-scented chemical mixture used in the coal production process -- into West Virginia's Elk River, tainting the water supply for 300,000 civilians. In the aftermath, nearly 600 people checked themselves into local hospitals with what federal epidemiologists called "mild" illnesses, such as rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. ...


The industry will be "scared straight" by that fine!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, May 31, 2014
from Associated Press:
Cow blamed for causing spill in North Dakota oil patch
A cow is suspected of causing a spill of natural gas liquids near a tributary of the Little Missouri River, prompting North Dakota regulators to warn energy companies to ensure their facilities are bovine-proof. State Environmental Health Chief Dave Glatt said Thursday that a cow might have rubbed against a tank valve two days earlier, spilling about 20 barrels of natural gas condensate near Sully Creek, south of Medora in western North Dakota. ...


Right. Blame it on the cow.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 27, 2014
from Associated Press:
New safety requirements set for Keystone pipeline
Safety regulators have quietly placed two extra conditions on construction of TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline after learning of potentially dangerous construction defects involving the southern leg of the Canada-to-Texas project. The defects -- high rates of bad welds, dented pipe and damaged pipeline coating -- have been fixed... Over 72 percent of welds required repairs during one week. In another week, TransCanada stopped welding work after 205 of 425 welds required repair. ...


Those are some unwieldy welds!

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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Tue, May 6, 2014
from New York Times:
Still Counting Gulf Spill's Dead Birds
After the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out in the Gulf of Mexico some 50 miles from the nearest land, responders were left to cope with a search area of nearly 40,000 square miles, as well as wind and currents that kept evidence of damage away from the more easily searchable coastline. Patrollers recovered fewer than 3,000 dead birds. But some had suspected that many more were unaccounted for. Now a team of scientists has tried to quantify the extent of damage inflicted on the gulf's bird population from the oil spill caused by the explosion. Based on models using publicly available data, the studies estimated that about 800,000 birds died in coastal and offshore waters. ...


If only birds voted.

ApocaDoc
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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, 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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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
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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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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Mon, Mar 10, 2014
from McClatchy:
Duke Energy would charge customers for moving coal ash in N.C.
As public pressure builds to dig up coal ash from waste lagoons in North Carolina, Duke Energy is facing a big cleanup bill that the electric utility has been trying to dodge... Duke chief executive Lynn Good said Friday that Duke would seek to recover the cost through customer rates. Billing Duke's customers for such an extensive cleanup operation would require approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission. Critics of Duke's coal-ash storage practices say that customers should be spared and that instead the cost should be borne by Duke and its investors. ...


Where's the Tea Party when you need 'em?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 4, 2014
from New York Times:
Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged
Last June, state employees in charge of stopping water pollution were given updated marching orders on behalf of North Carolina's new Republican governor and conservative lawmakers... From now on, regulators were told, they must focus on customer service, meaning issuing environmental permits for businesses as quickly as possible. Big changes are coming, the official said, according to three people in the meeting, two of whom took notes. "If you don't like change, you'll be gone." But when the nation's largest utility, Duke Energy, spilled 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in early February, those big changes were suddenly playing out in a different light. ...


How's that customer service working out for ya?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 27, 2014
from Reuters:
Accidents spur U.S. to mandate tests of oil moving by train
U.S. regulators issued an emergency order on Tuesday requiring oil from North Dakota being loaded onto trains to be tested and properly labeled to reflect its volatile nature after a series of explosive train derailments over the past year. ...


It always helps to know what sort of explosion you're dying of.

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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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
from Associated Press:
Toxins leaking from 2nd pipe at NC coal ash dump
North Carolina officials said Tuesday that groundwater containing unsafe levels of arsenic apparently leaching from a Duke Energy coal ash dump is still pouring into the Dan River, which is already contaminated from a massive Feb. 2 spill. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources ordered Duke to stop the flow of contaminated water coming out a pipe that runs under a huge coal ash dump at its Eden power plant. A nearby pipe at the same dump collapsed without warning two weeks ago, coating the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream. State regulators expressed concern five days ago that the second pipe could fail, triggering a new spill. The water coming out of that pipe contains poisonous arsenic at 14 times the level considered safe for human contact, according to test results released by the state on Tuesday. ...


It's like our own little Fukushima!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
from Reuters:
Train carrying Canadian oil derails, leaks in Pennsylvania
A 120-car Norfolk Southern Corp train carrying heavy Canadian crude oil derailed and spilled in western Pennsylvania on Thursday, adding to a string of recent accidents that have prompted calls for stronger safety standards... Nineteen of the derailed cars were carrying oil, four of which spilled between 3,000 and 4,000 gallons of oil, Norfolk Southern said. The leaks have since been plugged. The two other derailed tank cars held liquefied petroleum gas. ...


Why don't we build a leaky pipe instead.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
from Reuters:
Subpoena caps bad week for fossil fuel
Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the massive coal ash spill into North Carolina's Dan River, targeting both the energy company responsible for the ash pond that leaked and the state's environmental regulator. The subpoena of Duke Energy, the company at fault for the North Carolina spill, bookends a bad week for the U.S. fossil fuels industry, including a coal slurry spill in West Virginia and a fire at hydraulic fracturing well in Pennsylvania. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, pumps water and chemicals into the ground to release gas trapped in rock. The coal ash spilled in North Carolina is a byproduct of burning coal to make electricity and contains harmful chemicals, including arsenic. So far, authorities do not believe the spill poses a threat to drinking water, although the ash spiked arsenic levels in the river, turning it into a chalky gray soup. ...


Chalky gray soup is my favorite dish!

ApocaDoc
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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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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
NC authorities say river has elevated arsenic from coal ash spill
North Carolina's environmental agency says it was wrong to declare the arsenic levels in the Dan River safe for people after a massive coal ash spill. An environmental group had said Friday that its tests indicated the water's chemical levels were high. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Sunday a water sample taken two days after the spill was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming... Critics charge that Duke Energy and the state government are too closely aligned, and that helped the company avoid regulation. Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied -- by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ...


In the U.S. the fox often guards the hen house.

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.
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!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 20, 2014
from Washington Post:
W.Va. chemical spill poses a new test for lawmakers
There are more than 80,000 chemicals in the United States catalogued by government regulators, and the health risks of most of them are unknown. This became glaringly obvious when, on Jan. 9, a clear, licorice-smelling chemical leaked from an old storage tank into the Elk River in West Virginia... The 15-page material safety data sheet for the chemical, which is manufactured by Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical, uses the phrase "no data available" 152 times. ...


No common sense available either.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from Associated Press:
Environmentalists, unions seek to fix gas leaks
Unions and environmentalists have found one point of agreement in the bitter debate over the natural gas drilling boom: fixing leaky old pipelines that threaten public health and the environment. It's a huge national effort that could cost $82 billion. The leaks are a problem because methane, the primary component of natural gas, is explosive in high concentrations and is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The Department of Transportation estimates that more than 30,000 miles of decades-old, decaying cast-iron pipe are still being used to deliver gas nationwide. ...


Boy, the cost of duct tape has skyrocketed!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from Muncie Star Press:
Insect killer misuse widespread in Indiana
A civil investigation by the state chemist's office last year revealed that Ecolab Pest Elimination had illegally sprayed insect killer inside dozens of restaurants, motels, nursing homes, a hospital, a resort, convenience stores and other buildings throughout the southern half of Indiana... The product is called Termidor, active ingredient fipronil, which is highly effective in controlling ants, termites, cockroaches and other pests. But the manufacturer, BASF Corp., warns on the label it is a violation of state and federal law to use Termidor indoors, because its use indoors has not been evaluated for human or environmental safety. ...


Might as well just nuke 'em.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from London Guardian:
Arctic oil spill is certain if drilling goes ahead, says top scientist
A serious oil spill in the Arctic is a "dead cert" if drilling goes ahead, with potentially devastating consequences for the pristine region, according to a leading marine scientist who played a key role in analysis of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The warning came as Russia filed court orders this week to have Greenpeace activists and journalists kept in prison for a further three months in prison before their trial over a protest at Arctic oil dirlling. Concerns about the potentially dire consequences of drilling for oil in the region have intensified as the Russian government and others have begun exploration under the Arctic seas. In such a cold region, any spill would be much more troublesome, because the oil would not naturally disperse as it does in warmer waters, and because of the difficulty of mounting a clean-up operation in hostile weather conditions. ...


Imagine... A polar bear covered in oil.

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Texas Gas Pipeline Fire Near Milford Sends Flames Shooting Above Field
A liquid petroleum gas pipeline south of Dallas, Texas caught fire and exploded on Thursday. The fire from the 10-inch line has forced evacuations from the small town of Milford, CBS DFW reported. The explosion occurred at an active drill site after crews punctured the pipeline, according to The Dallas Morning News. The pipeline is owned by Chevron. There may also be a second pipeline at risk of explosion. The Milford fire chief said there are no known injuries, WFAA reported. ...


Pipelines blow so often we can't even keep track!

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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 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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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Al Jazeera:
Gulf ecosystem in crisis after BP spill
Hundreds of kilograms of oily debris on beaches, declining seafood catches, and other troubling signs point towards an ecosystem in crisis in the wake of BP's 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. "It's disturbing what we're seeing," Louisiana Oyster Task Force member Brad Robin told Al Jazeera. "We don't have any more baby crabs, which is a bad sign. We're seeing things we've never seen before." Robin, a commercial oyster fisherman who is also a member of the Louisiana Government Advisory Board, said that of the sea ground where he has harvested oysters in the past, only 30 percent of it is productive now.... Louisiana's Republican Governor Bobby Jindal ... recently said, "Three and a half years later, BP is spending more money - I want you to hear this - they are spending more money on television commercials than they have on actually restoring the natural resources they impacted." ...


That may explain why, when I see oily beach debris, I think of puppies.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Springfield News-Leader:
Malfunction at power plant spews ash over SW Springfield
A malfunction at City Utilities' John Twitty Energy Center earlier today sent a cloud of ash billowing over the surrounding area. CU said in a news release that a piece of equipment at the power plant "experienced a brief malfunction" that "allowed fly-ash that is normally collected to be released into the atmosphere." "City Utilities has resolved the situation at the power plant and as required, the incident was reported to the proper authorities," the release said. CU said the fly-ash that was released "is not hazardous to people, animals, or vegetation and can be rinsed with water from most surfaces. CU recommends that residents who have vehicles that the ash has landed on to have them washed commercially." ...


Just put your head between your legs and close your eyes and everything will be all right.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Watchdog Report Finds Pipeline Regulators Spent More Time With Industry Than On Oil Spills
The Transportation Department office charged with overseeing the 2.6 million miles of pipelines in the United States is spending more time at oil and gas industry conferences than it is addressing spills and other incidents, a watchdog group contends in a new report. Between 2007 and 2012, staff from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration spent 2,807 days at conferences, meetings and other events sponsored by the oil, gas and pipeline industries, according to the report from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). That's nearly three times as many as the 970 days the staffers spent responding to spills, explosions and other significant incidents on the pipelines they regulate. ...


Fiddling while Rome is covered in oil.

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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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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, Oct 2, 2013
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
Sinkhole terrain will challenge pipeline developers
Even as landowners and officials battle the merits of the planned Bluegrass Pipeline, experts say that Kentucky's sinkhole and cavern-riddled geology poses major construction and operational challenges to its developers. One geologist said the potential problems are so significant that they need to be fully evaluated before any dirt gets turned on the plan to run about 150 miles of new 24-inch diameter pipeline through Kentucky. The pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast. ...


Those sinkholes could easily become stinkholes.

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Tue, Sep 3, 2013
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
Fukushima Disaster: Japan To Build Costly Subterranean Ice Wall To Stop Nuclear Reactor Leaks
The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear station after repeated failures by the plant's operator. The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won't be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses between Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics.... The ice wall would freeze the ground to a depth of up to 30 meters (100 feet) through an electrical system of thin pipes carrying a coolant as cold as minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit). That would block contaminated water from escaping the facility's immediate surroundings, as well as keep underground water from entering the reactor and turbine buildings, where much of the radioactive water has collected.... With anti-government demonstrations plaguing Istanbul, Turkey's bid and a recession and high Spanish unemployment hanging over Madrid's candidacy, Tokyo is pushing its bid as the safe choice in uncertain times. ...


It's sad when "a safe choice in uncertain times" means "160 miles from our Acme Sure-Fire Death Ray Protection System."

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Mon, Aug 5, 2013
from Japan Times:
Huge leak of tritium feared in Fukushima
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday that an estimated 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of tritium from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant may have flowed into the Pacific Ocean since May 2011.... Tepco said the size of the release is roughly in the allowed range of 22 trillion becquerels a year but acknowledged it didn't take place in a controlled manner. Tritium has a half-life of about 12 years. Since it doesn't know when the leak began, the utility has assumed the beginning was in May 2011, after it attempted to stop the toxic water from entering the ocean when it was discovered in April 2011. ...


Triple your panic/ triple your freak/ with Tritium, Tritium, Tritium leak!

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Sun, Aug 4, 2013
from Reuters, via Jennifer:
Radioactive Fukushima groundwater rises above barrier - media
Radioactive groundwater at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant has risen to levels above a barrier being built to contain it, highlighting the risk of an increasing amount of contaminated water reaching the sea, Japanese media reported on Saturday. One of Tepco's biggest challenges is trying to contain radioactive water that cools the reactors as it mixes with some 400 tonnes of fresh groundwater pouring into the plant daily. Tepco has been injecting a chemical into the ground to build barriers to contain the groundwater. But the method is only effective in solidifying the ground from 1.8 meters below the surface, whereas data from test wells shows the contaminated water has risen to one metre below the surface, the Asahi said. ...


I bet with enough Superglue, we could seal that sucker tight!

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Fri, Jun 14, 2013
from WTRF:
Gas Line Ruptures Under Ohio River Near Bellaire
A gas line that runs underneath the Ohio River near Bellaire ruptured Thursday morning, spewing gas out of the water. The Neffs Fire Department responded to the call on the riverbank underneath the Bellaire Bridge. The company that owns the line has been notified of the situation. Authorities say the leak is a big hazard because people often camp along the river and start campfires. They say they have made repeated calls to Columbia Gas, but no one has arrived at the scene as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday. ...


It's an anomaly! This is so rare! It almost never happens! Carry on, this is just part of economic development.

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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 27, 2013
from The Detroit News:
Canadian firm's nuclear waste plan near Lake Huron stirs Michigan fears
A Canadian company's plan to store nuclear waste near Lake Huron is alarming environmental groups and some Michigan lawmakers, who fear the project could eventually harm the Great Lakes. For years, Ontario Power Generation has pushed to construct a deep geologic repository -- a massive underground storage facility to handle low- to intermediate-level nuclear wastes -- on the grounds of its Bruce nuclear facility near Kincardine, Ont. The company wants to locate its storage facility 2,230 feet below the ground and three-quarters of a mile from the Lake Huron shore. ...


Makes me want to hur(l) on it.

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from CBCNews:
Enbridge breaks safety rules at pipeline pump stations across Canada
The biggest oil and gas pipeline company in Canada is breaking National Energy Board safety rules at 117 of its 125 pump stations across the country, but Enbridge says it's not to blame. Enbridge was ordered by the Canadian energy regulator to disclose whether or not it had backup power to operate emergency shut-down systems in the facilities that keep oil flowing through its pipes. The company told the NEB only eight of its pump stations complied with the board's backup power system regulation. On top of that, Enbridge disclosed that 83 of its pump stations were missing emergency shut-down buttons. ...


I'm not to blame for anything!

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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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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 Associated Press:
Oil spill leaves sheen on Grand River in Lansing
Cleanup crews were working Tuesday to contain about 300 to 500 gallons of hydraulic fluid that spilled from a Lansing power plant and left a sheen on the Grand River. ...


My cup spilleth over.

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from Associated Press:
Leak near Colo. plant highlights pipeline problems
Authorities are investigating after construction crews discovered a problem with a liquid gas pipeline that allowed a carcinogen to seep into the ground near a large creek that feeds into the Colorado River. The leak near an energy plant in Western Colorado was discovered largely by accident, even though several state and federal agencies are charged with monitoring gas pipelines in the state. "It's possible that we've narrowly dodged a bullet this time," said Michael Saul, with the National Wildlife Federation. The breach, however, should be a "wake-up call" for involved agencies, he said, underscoring concerns over the risk of a larger danger. ...


I think I would prefer remaining asleep.

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Mon, Apr 1, 2013
from Washington Post:
Exxon Mobil pipeline leaks "a few thousand" barrels of crude oil in Arkansas
Exxon Mobil said that one of its pipelines leaked "a few thousand” barrels of Canadian heavy crude oil near Mayflower, Ark., prompting the evacuation of 22 homes and reinforcing concerns many critics have raised about the Keystone XL pipeline that is awaiting State Department approval. The pipeline breach took place late Friday, Exxon said, in the 20-inch diameter, 95,000-barrel-a-day Pegasus pipeline, which originates in Patoka, Ill., and carries crude oil to the Texas Gulf Coast, the country's main refining center. Mayflower is about 25 miles north of Little Rock. ...


What's the problem? It's just Arkansas.

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Associated Press:
Chevron fuel spill in Utah much worse than thought
A Chevron fuel spill near a northern Utah bird refuge is much worse than originally thought as up to 27,000 gallons might have leaked, authorities said. A split in a pipeline that runs from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash., is suspected of releasing diesel fuel into soil and marshes at Willard Bay State Park ... Initial reports pegged the spill at up to 6,000 gallons, and Chevron later revised that to some 8,100 gallons. ...


Just once could we read a story with the headline: Spill much better than thought?

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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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Sun, Mar 3, 2013
from Dave Weigel, in Slate:
"They're the Birthers of Fracking." A Conversation with Josh Fox.
... "I wouldn't blame a person for leasing if he's one mortgage payment away from foreclosure, and the lease can fix that," says Fox. "But these companies are exploitative. The government's not helping by providing a way out. These same people could lease their land for solar, we're one line change away in the solar power laws, to allow this. Instead, they're turning PA into Nigeria as we speak." Meaning: The fracking business is expanding faster than its affects can be studied. "The impacts of fracking go far beyond methane migration," says Fox. "Chemical migration has been confirmed by the industry. That's not surprising -- we're talking about wells up to three miles deep, with one inch of cement keeping the chemicals inside. We've seen industry documents saying 5 percent of wells fail immediately, and 50 percent to 60 percent fail over a 30-year period. And they have known about this problem for decades. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection did the same thing, they had video of cracking cement. they didn't publish for 16 months until Rendell said, you should do something." ...


It's obvious: those so-called "leases" were printed in Kenya!

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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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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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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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Tue, Dec 4, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
First Study of Its Kind Detects 44 Hazardous Air Pollutants at Gas Drilling Sites
For years, the controversy over natural gas drilling has focused on the water and air quality problems linked to hydraulic fracturing, the process where chemicals are blasted deep underground to release tightly bound natural gas deposits. But a new study reports that a set of chemicals called non-methane hydrocarbons, or NMHCs, is found in the air near drilling sites even when fracking isn't in progress. According to a peer-reviewed study in the journal Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, more than 50 NMHCs were found near gas wells in rural Colorado, including 35 that affect the brain and nervous system. Some were detected at levels high enough to potentially harm children who are exposed to them before birth. ...


I've always thought fracking might make me want to frart.

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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 16, 2012
from EcoWatch:
New Report Confirms Fracking is Reckless
A new report1 on shale resources and hydraulic fracturing from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress -- concludes that fracking poses serious risks to health and the environment. The report, which reviewed studies from state agencies overseeing fracking as well as scientific reports, found that the extent of the risks has not yet been fully quantified and that there are many unanswered questions and a lack of scientific data. Major reports and studies were also released in Europe the past two months, all of which came to the conclusion that fracking poses serious risks to water, public health, and the environment, and that additional scientific study is necessary. Meanwhile, in NY hundreds of doctors, scientists, and medical organizations have renewed calls for an independent, comprehensive health impact assessment and additional scientific research. ...


This is getting quite fractious!

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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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Wed, Aug 15, 2012
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Chevron fire ignited by idling rig?
The Richmond refinery fire that sent more than 9,000 people to emergency rooms could have been touched off when a cloud of flammable vapor reached an idling and abandoned Chevron fire truck, investigators said Tuesday. A company surveillance videotape that captured the two minutes before the blast showed that a dense vapor cloud fueled by the leak expanded to more than 200 feet wide and 200 feet high at the refinery's Crude Unit No. 4, surrounding as many as a dozen workers, who fled just in time. ...


An idling truck is a devil's workshop.

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Thu, Aug 9, 2012
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Refinery damage may take months to repair
The damage caused by a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond will take months to repair and will hobble one of the West Coast's biggest sources of fuel, industry experts said Wednesday. And while panic buying appears to have prompted a jump in wholesale gasoline prices after Monday night's fire, analysts say, the longer-term effect on California drivers may not be as dire as initially feared. ...


Thank goodness drivers will be spared!

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Tue, Aug 7, 2012
from San Jose Mercury News:
Massive fire at Chevron refinery in Richmond fully contained; shelter in place lifted
Officials have fully contained a huge fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond that sent thick black smoke wafting across the Bay Area, raising health concerns and prompting shelter-in-place warnings for thousands of residents.... The plume from the fire was an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 feet above ground level, officials said at a news conference late Monday. "The plume is still high above and not touching down into the community," said Trisha Asunción, a hazardous materials specialist with the county. ...


The sunsets will be sooooo beautiful.

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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, May 28, 2012
from CBC Canada:
Chemicals in tsunami debris could pose coastal threat
The spill and spread of industrial chemicals across the coastline of British Columbia is a possibility as slower-moving tsunami debris from Japan approaches the west coast, according to experts observing its movements. The risk of chemical contamination is sizable, especially considering that many of the tsunami-affected areas on the Japanese coast were industrial and used many different types of toxic chemicals in manufacturing operations. ...


...and they called the tsunami... Pangea...

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Thu, Apr 19, 2012
from EcoWatch:
BP Covered Up Blow-out Two Years Prior to Deadly Deepwater Horizon Spill
Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.... The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP's Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers "could have had a chance" of survival. But BP's insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate. One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases: the use of a money-saving technique--plugging holes with "quick-dry" cement. By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexico--causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.... [This is an astonishing story. I was in Baku several times in the mid-90s, and it was a police state then, as it is now. The only industry bringing money into Azerbaijan is oil, and drastic measures like "disappearing" threats of any kind has become normalized, and the citizenry cowed.] ...


Our job is to enhance shareholder value by pinching everything else's pennies. Ain't that capitalism?

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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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Tue, Apr 17, 2012
from National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR):
Fukushima and radiation modeling
After an earthquake and tsunami damaged the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan, on March 11, 2011, an unknown quantity of radioactive material was released into the surrounding air and sea. NCAR scientists and their Japanese colleagues are working to get a better picture of radioactive fallout from the event. By assessing the fuel rods that melted during the event, scientists and engineers are approaching a consensus on the total amount of radioactive material released from Daiichi. What remains unclear, however, is how much ended up on land and how much in the sea. The complexity of the disaster--which included multiple explosions and continuous release, along with rainfall during the incident--complicates any estimates.... One of the main conclusions from the workshop is there is currently no operational system anywhere in the world that can assess the rate of release of the radioactive material should a similar incident occur again. ...


More than a year later, and they don't know anything. That must mean there's nothing to know!

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Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from Windsor Star:
New chemicals piling up in environment
New flame retardants meant to replace their toxic predecessors are showing up in the air around the Great Lakes in increasing concentrations and travelling as far north as the Arctic. These new findings raise a red flag that these chemicals need to be more closely examined to see if they accumulate in the environment and animals, according to Hayley Hung, a research scientist at Environment Canada, who found concentrations of tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and tetrabromophthalate (TBPH) in both Canada's High Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau. "It's not just a localized problem," Hung said. "(They) could become a global pollutant." ...


We are not very bright at making retardants.

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Associated Press:
Japan reactor has fatally high radiation, no water
One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant's stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity. The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades. ...


Some nightmares just never seem to end.

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Reuters:
Total: "may be months" to stop North Sea gas cloud
A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling up from the North Sea out of a leak at Total's evacuated Elgin platform forced another shutdown off the Scottish coast on Tuesday as the French firm warned it could take six months to halt the flow... Total, which said the rupture of an unused reservoir above the main production source seemed to have been caused by its own engineers, is now looking at two main options to cut off the shimmering plume of gas rising above the sea: either drilling a relief well nearby, which could take six months, or - faster but possibly riskier - sending in engineers to "kill" the leak. ...


This has "Apocalypse" written all over it!

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from Politico:
Greens see politics in EPA rule delays
The Environmental Protection Agency's silence on a slew of pending rulemakings is worrying some supporters, who fear the regulations will remain trapped in the White House when an election-year window for new announcements slams shut. Administrators have repeatedly assured interest groups and lawmakers that the EPA is preparing to release numerous proposed and final rules for greenhouse gases, coal ash, sulfur in gasoline and particulate matter. But in reality, few are moving, and announced deadlines are passing. And as the presidential election season hits full tilt, gasoline prices rise and the summer driving season approaches, it becomes less politically advantageous for the Obama administration to move on many regulations -- especially with the race focusing increasingly on energy. ...


Environmental Procrastination Agency

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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.

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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!

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Elevated mercury found in fish in Poplar Creek, Clinch River
East Fork Poplar Creek has been posted as a hazard for decades because of mercury discharges from the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, where the creek originates.... Sampling by Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists and environmental staff has documented the elevated presence of mercury in fish in Poplar Creek -- downstream of the point where East Fork enters it -- and into the Clinch River and the upper part of Watts Bar Reservoir. ...


Beware of floating mercury bombs!

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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!

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Mon, Feb 6, 2012
from Center for Public Integrity:
Landmark diesel exhaust study stalled amid industry and congressional objections
Publication of a landmark government study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in miners -- already 20 years in the making -- has been delayed by industry and congressional insistence on seeing study data and documents before the public does. A federal judge has affirmed the right of an industry group and a House committee to review the materials and has held the Department of Health and Human Services in contempt for not producing all of them. ...


This study is stalled... hopefully with the engine turned off!

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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?

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Wed, Jan 4, 2012
from Canadian Press:
Keystone 'whistleblower' alleges shoddy materials along original pipeline
A former inspector for a company that did work on TransCanada's original Keystone pipeline is accusing the Calgary-based company of a cavalier disregard for the environment. Mike Klink was an engineer for construction company Bechtel Corp., a contractor that worked on the first portion of the Keystone pipeline that carries Alberta oilsands crude to refineries in the American Midwest. It was completed in 2010; the controversial Keystone XL would extend that pipeline to Gulf Coast refineries... Klink says he raised a series of concerns about alleged sub-standard materials and poor craftsmanship along the Keystone pipeline.... TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha disputed Klink's assertions, saying he "appears to have made a number of allegations against his previous employer and others, none of which have been proven." The Indiana man says he was fired by Bechtel as a result... ...


In opposition to Klink, TransCanada is tantamount to Sergeant Schultz crying "I know nothing... NOTHING!"

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil from 2007 spill surprisingly toxic to fish, scientists report
Thick, tarry fuel oil disgorged into San Francisco Bay from a damaged cargo ship in 2007 was surprisingly toxic to fish embryos, devastating the herring population that feeds seabirds, whales and the bay's last commercial fishery, scientists reported Monday. Although the bay's herring spawning grounds are now free of toxic oil, studies have found that the moderate-size spill of 54,000 gallons had an unexpectedly large and lethal effect. ...


What's not to like about disgorged, thick, tarry fuel?

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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.

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Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
PG&E pipe ruptures, causing I-280 landslide
A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. natural gas pipeline ruptured Sunday afternoon during a high-pressure water test that ripped a hole in a Peninsula hillside, sending a deluge of mud and rocks onto Interstate 280 and partially closing the freeway for four hours. The pipeline is the same one that exploded in San Bruno last year, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. ...


Thank goodness the Keystone XL Pipeline will be indestructible!

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from Nature News:
Fallout forensics hike radiation toll
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study1 that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant. The study also suggests that, contrary to government claims, pools used to store spent nuclear fuel played a significant part in the release of the long-lived environmental contaminant caesium-137, which could have been prevented by prompt action. ...


Only in America... I mean Russia! Wait, I mean Japan!

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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?

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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!

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Tue, Oct 11, 2011
from St. Petersburg Times:
Gov. Scott's wildlife appointee has history of environmental infractions
Gov. Rick Scott faced a choice. He had to fill a seat on the state's wildlife commission, and 20 people had applied. Two had previously served on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A third was president of an influential sportsman's group. Among the rest were a vice president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, the operator of an animal-rescue group and a former Humane Society investigator. Scott passed over those applicants to pick Charles W. "Chuck" Roberts III, a Panhandle paving contractor whose company has on several occasions run afoul of state environmental regulations. ...


Every henhouse should be watched by a fox.

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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!

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from Washington Post:
No regs are good regs: Single senator blocks pipeline safety bill on principle
A senator who opposes federal regulation on philosophical grounds is single-handedly blocking legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines, a bill that even the pipeline industry and companies in his own state support. Republican Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to the bill hasn't wavered even after a gas pipeline rupture last week shook people awake in three counties in his home state of Kentucky. Paul, a tea party ally who shares with his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a desire to shrink the role of the federal government, won't discuss his role in stymieing the bill. But industry lobbyists, safety advocates and Senate aides said he is the only senator who is refusing to agree to procedures that would permit swift passage of the measure. ...


This is appaulling!

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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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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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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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Wed, Aug 10, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Colorado Officials Investigating Hydrogen Sulfide Reports At Oil And Gas Drilling Sites
When it comes to oil and gas news, it's hard to beat 'fracking' for a more buzz-worthy topic. Add 'hydrogen sulfide gas' to the headline, though, and and expect eyebrows to rise. A Sunday report in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent presented evidence the toxic gas, which can cause severe respiratory distress and death, has been documented in various concentrations at oil and gas drilling sites in Colorado. Exposure to the gas at low concentrations can cause headache, dizziness, and upset stomach. At higher concentrations, gas inhalation triggers unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis. A 2006 study titled 'Hydrogen Sulfide, Oil and Gas, and People's Health,' notes hydrogen sulfide develops naturally in conjunction with crude oil and natural gas, with 15 to 25 percent of U.S. gas wells likely 'soured.'... A report published in July tested nine of the samples and found 22 toxic chemicals, including four carcinogens at levels ranging from 3 to 3,000 times higher than established safety limits. A sample by the Bucket Brigade contained hydrogen sulfide gas at levels 185 times higher than a threshold set by the EPA as posing long-term health risks to humans. ...


Good jobs! The economy! Shareholder value! Charlie Sheen! Pay no attention to the corporation behind the screen.

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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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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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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from GreenBiz:
How Shareholder Activism Moved the Needle on Sustainability in 2011
From fracking by companies such as Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Ultra Petroleum to greater use of recyclable cups by McDonald's and Starbucks, a host of CSR issues captured shareholders' attention and support this year, according to reports on the 2011 proxy season from As You Sow and Ceres. A record number of shareholder resolutions calling for companies to be more responsible in handling corporate sustainability challenges were filed, according to Ceres' report.... "The number of shareholders that actually realize they have power has been increasing and, overall, the number of votes have been increasing," Behar told GreenBiz.com. On matters such as natural gas fracking, the votes on resolutions clearly show that "shareholders are looking at issues and saying, 'This is really risky and the company has to do something about it,' " Behar said. ...


The new protest tactic is a good investment!

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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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Wed, Jun 8, 2011
from Associated Press:
China Acid Spill Knocks Out Water to Half Million
A toxic chemical spilled into a river that supplies drinking water to the scenic city of Hangzhou in eastern China, knocking out supplies to more than half a million people and creating a run on bottled water. A tanker truck carrying 20 tons of carbolic acid overturned late Saturday night. The chemical, also known as phenol, was washed by rain into the Xin'an River about 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Hangzhou, the city said in a report on its website. ...


Think if the tanker had run into a truck full of chickens, too!

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Sat, May 28, 2011
from Reuters:
Big oil companies face growing concern on fracking
Large blocks of investors in the two biggest U.S. oil companies on Wednesday demanded more disclosure about the environmental risks of extracting oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing. Exxon Mobil Corp defended the practice at its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, even as investors peppered Chief Executive Rex Tillerson with concerns and questions about it. A proposal requiring more disclosure by Exxon on the impact of "fracking" received about 30 percent of the votes by shareholders in the world's largest publicly traded oil company. At rival Chevron Corp, which became heavily involved in fracking through a recent acquisition, 41 percent of shareholders backed a similar resolution. "Breaking 40 percent on a first year resolution has only happened a few times in the last few decades, so it shows how seriously the company's shareholders are taking this issue," said Michael Passoff, who focuses on fracking at San Francisco-based corporate responsibility group As You Sow.... However, Passoff said even regulators acknowledge that the current regulation by states is inadequate. ...


It's as if stockholders recognized a potential liability from pumping toxics willy-nilly into shattered subterranean layers. Can it be so?

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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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Wed, May 4, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
China pays price for world's rare earths addiction
Peasant farmer Wang Tao used to grow corn, potatoes and wheat within a stone's throw of a dumping ground for rare earths waste until toxic chemicals leaked into the water supply and poisoned his land. Farmers living near the 10-square-kilometre expanse in northern China say they have lost teeth and their hair has turned white while tests show the soil and water contain high levels of cancer-causing radioactive materials. "We are victims. The tailings dam has contaminated us," Wang, 60, told AFP at his home near Baotou city in Inner Mongolia, home to the world's largest deposits of rare earths, which are vital in making many high-tech products... China produces more than 95 percent of the world's rare earths -- 17 elements used in the manufacture of products ranging from iPods to flat-screen televisions and electric cars. ...


iPoisoned

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Drilling fluid gushes from northern Pa. gas well
A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water Wednesday, contaminating a stream and leading officials to ask seven families who live nearby to evacuate as crews struggled to stop the gusher. Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost control of the well site near Canton, in Bradford County, around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water flowed from the site all day Wednesday, though by the mid-afternoon, workers had managed to divert the extremely salty water away from the stream. ...


Sounds like that gas well... had gas.

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Japanese Declare Crisis at Level of Chernobyl
The Japanese government raised its assessment of the monthlong crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to the highest severity level by international standards -- a rating only conferred so far upon the Chernobyl accident. Japan's nuclear regulators said the plant has likely released so much radiation into the environment that it must boost the accident's severity rating on the International Nuclear Event scale to a 7 from 5 currently. That is the same level reached by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union, which struck almost exactly 25 years ago, on April 26, 1986. ...


To commemorate this horrid milestone, Fukushima's name will be changed to Fukushimad.

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Backyards disguise toxic dumps
TONNES of hazardous waste have been secretly buried on private properties, hidden by layers of spray-on grass in Wollondilly, an important Sydney water-catchment area. Residents have revealed that organised illegal dumping has been big business in the area for years, with some property owners filling unwanted gullies and dams with waste and being paid about $100 a truckload to take it. The residents also said the dumps were often quickly disguised with a layer of top soil and spray-on lawn. ...


NIMTBY: Not in MY Toxic Backyard!

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Fri, Apr 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice
It is well known that air pollution from cars and trucks on Southern California freeways -- a combination of soot, pavement dust and other toxic substances -- can cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer and premature death. Now, exposure to pollution particles roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair has been linked to brain damage in mice, including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease, according to a USC study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. ...


What are mice doing driving on our highways!

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Thu, Mar 31, 2011
from NRDC:
Disease Clusters Spotlight the Need to Protect People from Toxic Chemicals
An unusually large number of people sickened by a disease in a certain place and time is known as a 'disease cluster'. Clusters of cancer, birth defects, and other chronic illnesses have sometimes been linked to chemicals or other toxic pollutants in local communities, although these links can be controversial. There is a need for better documentation and investigation of disease clusters to identify and address possible causes. Meanwhile, toxic chemicals should be identified and controlled through reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), so these chemicals don't pollute communities and sicken people. Due to a lack of resources, the limited statistical power in doing investigations of small communities or rare diseases, and a lack of knowledge about exposures, it has been difficult for state and federal agencies to shed light on most disease clusters and their causes. There is a need for better documentation and investigation of disease clusters and their causes.... Thirteen states -- Texas, California, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, Tennessee, Missouri, and Arkansas -- were chosen for analysis based on the occurrence of known clusters in the state, geographic diversity, or community concerns about a disease cluster in their area. ...


I just trust industry self-regulation, since they have more lawyers than I do.

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Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Ohio poised to take center stage in natural gas drilling debate as it considers tapping park lands
...geologists, energy experts and gas well drillers fully believe Ohio might be sitting atop a gold mine of natural gas embedded in the long-known, but only recently accessible shale deposit. They also are hopeful that those riches will soon be more available now that Ohio Gov. John Kasich favors and the legislature is considering allowing drilling companies on state park land to reach those deposits... The drilling and fracking questions are particularly acute in Ohio right now because of the state's financial woes and the promise that leasing of land for drilling could net untold millions of dollars, some of which could help cover a $500 million backlog in maintenance and repairs in the parks themselves. ...


I prefer we frack the wealthiest two percent instead.

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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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Wed, Mar 23, 2011
from New York Times:
Japan Extended Reactor's Life, Despite Warning
Just a month before a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant at the center of Japan's nuclear crisis, government regulators approved a 10-year extension for the oldest of the six reactors at the power station despite warnings about its safety. ...


What a relief! I thought this kind of stupidity only happened in the US.

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Sun, Mar 20, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
A new clue in the case of the toxic strawberries
It was disappointing, if not downright strange, when California's Department of Pesticide Regulation decided in December to approve methyl iodide for use on the state's strawberry crops despite more than 50,000 letters of opposition -- the most DPR has ever gotten on any proposed rule. Was DPR head, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, in the pocket of the chemical industry? There's no smoking gun, but Warmerdam had been subject to aggressive lobbying by Arysta LifeScience, the largest privately held chemical manufacturer in the world and the maker of the profitable methyl iodide. Earlier this week, Warmerdam resigned her post, announcing she would be taking a job at chemical maker Clorox. (Clorox does not manufacture methyl iodide.) DPR's approval raised eyebrows because methyl iodide is known to cause cancer, nerve damage and late-term miscarriage.... "Due to the potent toxicity of methyl iodide, its transport in and ultimate fate in the environment, adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible."... California produces almost 90 percent of all strawberries grown in the U.S. ...


If I can pronounce a chemical's name, it can't be that bad, right?

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from TEDX:
What you need to know about natural gas exploration
An astonishing 48 minutes of Dr. Theo Colborn, on the mechanics, engineering, resource use, health impacts, and environmental impacts of fracking and the natural-gas process. Wordy, nerdy, factual, but utterly straightforward. A natural-gas version of "An Inconvenient Truth." Scarier, in many ways, than GasLand, the Oscar-nominated documentary. ...


Toxic from top to bottom, side to side, inside and out. What's left?

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Sun, Mar 13, 2011
from Japan Times:
Basic nuclear policy questioned
OSAKA -- Severe damage to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant had the central government and local authorities in neighboring towns racing Saturday to evacuate residents and implement previously agreed upon emergency response measures. But the unprecedented scale of Friday's earthquake and tsunami left questions about not only the adequacy of the measures but the basic policy of pursuing nuclear power in a country as earthquake-prone as Japan....antinuclear activists say there is a glaring flaw to the nuclear emergency response system. "In this seismically active country, the government refuses to draw up emergency plans taking into account nuclear accidents due to earthquakes. There is no emergency plan to protect the public when there is both an earthquake and a nuclear accident," said Green Action head Aileen Mioko Smith. ...


No matter what category of enviro-devastation, survivors of our climate apocollapse will be asking: What were they thinking?

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from ProPublica:
PA Dep't of Environment Protection Gets the Axe - Environmental Permitting To Be Streamlined
A budget proposal [1] released today by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett emphasizes jobs creation and looks to cuts in environmental protection and permitting as one way to save money.... But a quick glance shows that the Department of Environmental Protection will face reduced funding across the board, including in its water safety and water treatment programs. The state has been under pressure recently to reign in environmental damage from its fast-growing natural gas drilling industry, and has faced criticism--including in a 2009 ProPublica investigation [2]---for its inability to handle and safely treat wastewater produced from the drilling process. In response, the DEP has added staff, implemented stricter drilling rules, and begun permitting and building new and improved water treatment plants. That momentum could now change.... "Regulatory Reform:... In addition, the DCED secretary is empowered to expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted." ...


What a great job that would be!

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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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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from New York Times:
Regulation Lax as Gas Wells' Tainted Water Hits Rivers
The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century's gold rush -- for natural gas.... energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.... thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood. ...


Seems we've been bio-fooled again.

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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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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Donga:
Schools nervous over burial sites for culled animals
A tomb-like object was seen Friday afternoon behind Yangshin Elementary School at the village of Buncheon-ri in Yesan County, South Chungcheong Province. It turned out to be a burial site for livestock culled due to foot-and-mouth disease. Spotted around the burial site was fluid that appeared to be leachate from the site, measuring around 10 meters wide by 10 meters long. Gas emission pipes were erected atop the burial site, which was protruding and covered with vinyl. It was only about 70 meters from the school's fence. On the school grounds was a piped well for pumping underground water. Since tap water is not supplied to this school, underground water was used as drinking water. The underground water well and the burial site were only 150 meters apart. ...


Sounds like a great science project for the kids!

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Thu, Feb 17, 2011
from FreeSpeechAtRisk, via BoingBoing:
Using lawsuits to squelch free speech about environmental destruction
In spring of 2008, multinationals Barrick Gold and Banro Corporation filed lawsuits against authors Alain Deneault, Delphine Abadie, and William Sacher, as well as against their Montreal-based publishing house Ecosociete over the book Noir Canada. Pillage, corruption et criminalité en Afrique (Black Canada. Pillage, corruption and criminality in Africa). The multinationals allege that the book contains false statements about their activities that amount to libel. Despite the well-sourced nature of the material, including reports from the UN, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International, they have accused those involved of publishing defamatory statements and are pursuing them for a combined sum of $11 million ($5 million to Banro in an Ontario-based suit, and $6 million to Barrick, filed in Montreal). Our Academic Petition contains further details on the case, as well as the signatures of academic professors from around the world who are pledging their support for the authors and publishing house. Then in February of 2010 Barrick Gold issued a threat of legal action against Vancouver-based publishing house Talonbooks, author Alain Deneault, and the book's translators over their notice of intent to publish a book entitled Imperial Canada Inc. Legal Haven of Choice for the World's Mining Industries. With access to nothing beyond a short description of the material available on the Talonbooks website-with no mention of Barrick-the multinational has threatened further legal action if the book is published and has demanded access to the material prior to its publication. ...


You think you can get away with the truth?

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Politico:
Greens sour on natural gas
Whatever happened to the romance between the environmental lobby and natural gas? After years of basking in a green glow as the cleanest fossil fuel and a favorite short-term choice to replace cheap-but-dirty coal, gas now finds itself under attack from environmentalists, filmmakers and congressional Democrats -- and even from some scientists who raise doubts about whether its total emissions are as climate-friendly as commonly believed. Case in point: the Sierra Club, whose former executive director, Carl Pope, has spoken warmly in recent years about gas as an alternative to coal in power plants. Now, the group is considering calling for natural gas to be phased out by 2050 -- about 20 years after it wants coal eliminated. ...


No coal... no natural gas... How will we fuel our lifestyle, with farts?

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Mon, Feb 14, 2011
from The Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio EPA tries to limit brine dumps in rivers
Fast-growing interest in natural-gas drilling could create a flood of cash for Ohio cities eager to treat wastewater used to coax the gas from deep inside Utica and Marcellus shale. But what's good for the cities might be bad for the state. The process could pollute Ohio streams and rivers, environmental officials say.... With the new drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," drillers shoot millions of gallons of water laced with industrial chemicals down the wells to break the shale and release the gas. About 15 percent of the water shot down the well comes back up, tainted with salt and hazardous metals that can include barium, cadmium and chromium. After the initial surge of "flow back" water, wells continue to produce brine that contains even higher concentrations of salt, metals and minerals. ...


Brine sounds like a goldmine.

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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 9, 2011
from Reuters:
Buffalo, NY bans hydraulic fracturing
The city of Buffalo, New York, banned the natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing on Tuesday, a largely symbolic vote that demonstrates concern about potential harm to groundwater from mining an abundant energy source. The city council voted 9-0 to prohibit natural gas extraction including the process known as "fracking" in which chemicals, sand and water are blasted deep into the earth to fracture shale formations and allow gas to escape. The ordinance also bans storing, transferring, treating or disposing of fracking waste within the city. ...


Frack you, natural gas industry!

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Fish develop red spot fungus after floods
Fish in Brisbane waterways are starting to develop a red spot fungus from flood contamination, while authorities are rushing to fix a treatment plant to stop a sewage leak.... "But that's still likely to be six weeks before they have got disinfection processes in place to remove the sewage contamination."... He said there was evidence some fish had developed the fungus "red spot" from the flood pollution. "It shows up on fish that are in distress," he said. ...


I'm feeling a little spotty myself.

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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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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from Nature:
Newsmaker of the year: In the eye of the storm
She set out to revolutionize US ocean management -- but first she faced the oil spill. Jane Lubchenco is Nature's Newsmaker of the Year. ...


We await our turn.

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from Edmunton Journal:
Mystery under our feet troubling
...one of Shell Canada's open pit mines in the oilsands...has sprung a leak at the bottom -- but instead of water running out, it's running in. Ever since October, brackish water from an underground source has been pouring into the bottom of the open mine like water filling a bathtub up through the drain hole. Shell initially dumped dirt into the leak as a sort of stopper but the water kept coming. And it's still coming, gradually filling up the pit that at its mouth is 400 metres by 400 metres. Shell officials have built a higher earthen wall around the pit and expect that in the coming months the water pressure will equalize and the leak will stop before it overflows...what's troubling here -- and why you should care about a watery mine pit in a remote part of northeastern Alberta -- is that experts don't know where the water came from, how much has flowed into the pit or how they can stop it.That's troubling because it demonstrates how little we know about the water under our feet. We don't know much about underground sources of drinking water and we know even less about the vast underground aquifers of salt water where we hope one day to dump vast amounts of carbon dioxide via carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). ...


Why, this sounds like a cute little BP blowout!

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
EPA announces Fla. water pollution rules
The federal Environmental Protection Agency for the first time Monday in Florida set numeric water pollution standards for a state although 13 others already have adopted such rules on their own. The federal standards are required by the settlement of a lawsuit last year. They replace Florida's vague descriptive regulations for determining when rivers, lakes and other inland waters are polluted with such contaminants as fertilizer and animal and human waste. Those pollutants are blamed for toxic algae blooms that have clogged Florida's waterways. "The EPA has stepped in to rescue Florida from a powerful gang of polluters who for decades have used campaign contributions and intimidation to stop state government in Tallahassee from taking this action," said Frank Jackalone, Florida staff director for the Sierra Club. His is one of five environmental groups that sued EPA for failing to enforce the Clean Water Act of 1972, charging Florida was allowed to get away without adopting numeric standards. ...


This is especially important in a state that will have so much more water once sea levels rise.

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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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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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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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Wed, Oct 13, 2010
from Washington Post:
U.S. lifts ban on deep-water drilling
Under pressure from Gulf Coast lawmakers warning of job losses, the Obama administration Tuesday lifted the moratorium on deep-water drilling for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico weeks ahead of schedule, pledging closer oversight in the wake of the worst spill in U.S. history. "We are open for business," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told reporters in a phone call Tuesday afternoon, adding, "We have made, and continue to make, significant progress in reducing the risks associated with deep-water drilling." ...


And so another moment of reckoning has passed.

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Tue, Oct 12, 2010
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Philly academy study finds gas drilling threatens streams
A preliminary study by Academy of Natural Sciences researchers suggests that even without spills or other accidents, drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania's rich Marcellus Shale formation could degrade nearby streams. The researchers compared watersheds where there was no or little drilling to watersheds where there was a high density of drilling, and found significant changes. Water conductivity, an indicator of contamination by salts that are a component of drilling wastewater, was almost twice as high in streams with high-density drilling. Populations of salamanders and aquatic insects, animals sensitive to pollution, were 25 percent lower in streams with the most drilling activity. ...


Streams are nothing but wannabe rivers.

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Tue, Oct 12, 2010
from Associated Press:
A toxic legacy: Eastern Europe dotted with disasters in waiting
Abandoned mines in Romania leach waters contaminated by heavy metals into rivers. A Hungarian chemical plant produces more than 100,000 tons of toxic substances a year. Soil in eastern Slovakia is contaminated with cancer-producing PCBs. The flood of toxic sludge in Hungary is but one of the ecological horrors that lurk in Eastern Europe 20 years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain, serving as a reminder that the region is dotted with disasters waiting to happen. ...


Sounds JUST like my body.

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Sat, Oct 9, 2010
from Washington Post:
Hungary sludge reservoir at risk of collapse
The cracking wall of an industrial plant reservoir could collapse at any moment and send a new wave of caustic red sludge into towns devastated by a deluge this week, Hungary's prime minister said Saturday. A crack in the concrete wall widened by 2.76 inches (7 centimeters) overnight, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told reporters gathered at a fire station near the alumina plant that dumped up to 184 million gallons (700,000 cubic meters) of highly polluted water and mud onto three villages in about an hour Monday, burning people and animals. At least seven people were killed and hundreds injured. ...


Another slow motion ecological disaster ... for your viewing pleasure.

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Thu, Oct 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
Hungary: Toxic red sludge has reached the Danube
The toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian factory's reservoir reached the mighty Danube on Thursday after wreaking havoc on smaller rivers and creeks, and downstream nations rushed to test their waters. The European Union and environmental officials fear an environmental catastrophe affecting half a dozen nations if the red sludge, a waste product of making aluminum, contaminates the Danube, Europe's second-longest river. ...


I just lost my appetite.

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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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Sun, Sep 26, 2010
from New Haven Register:
Zombie Dump: 'Tire Pond' land fill rising from the dead on Hamden-North Haven line
Only a few pieces of rubber poke out of the ground at the 27-acre expanse that once was a pond choked with millions of old tires. The tires are now buried underneath about 1.4 million cubic yards of soil and sedimentation that since 2002 have been poured into the 140-foot deep clay pit on the Hamden-North Haven line known as the tire pond.... "We are slowly closing in on the final prize, which is the complete closure of the site," said William J. Sigmund III, an environmental analyst with the state Department of Environmental Protection.... But the state-controlled tire pond is far from dormant. Trucks recently began rumbling through the gates, full of waste that has nowhere else to go. Tons of contaminated waste from the Newhall clean-up project in Hamden are arriving daily at the tire pond. Nearby residents in Hamden and North Haven who had hoped the tire pond was dead and buried are nervous it's rising up again, like a toxic zombie ready to leak contaminants into the groundwater and soil. ...


On Golden Tire Pond, with Zombies.

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Mon, Sep 13, 2010
from Guardian:
Solar panels you can install with a clear conscience
Toxic pollution and links to the arms trade - not all solar panel suppliers are ethically sound. Simon Birch offers some consumer guidance. With the government offering to pay you - and some companies even offering to fit them for free - you may be considering installing solar photovoltaic panels on your roof. But if you are, would you really want to buy one from a company that's been responsible for one of the biggest recent environmental cock-ups on the planet or one that's up to its neck in the arms trade? No of course you wouldn't. To help shoppers navigate this particular ethical-minefield in its latest buyers' guide, Ethical Consumer magazine has identified those solar-power panels that you can stick on your roof with a clean conscience and those that you may just want to leave on the shelf. The best buys are GB-Sol, Solarcentury, SolarWorld and Yingli Solar. ...


I just go with whatever's cheapest.

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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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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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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from New Dehli NDTV:
Oil leak off Mumbai coast has stopped: Coast Guard sources
In a big relief, two days after two ships collided off the coast of Mumbai, Coast Guard authorities have said the oil leak from the MSC Chitra has now been plugged. But the oil already in the sea along the Mumbai coast line will take a month to clear, according to environmental authorities and is still a serious worry... in a double whammy, there is an oil slick that is spreading fast with about three to four tones of oil spilling every hour and drums filled with pesticide have detached from the MSC Chitra - one of the ships that collided and is tilting precariously - and are now floating dangerously in the sea, also becoming a navigation hazard. ...


Oil leak... pesticides...what a delicious elixir!

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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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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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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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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 risk” 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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Mon, Jul 12, 2010
from Washington Post:
Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists
For environmentalists, the BP oil spill may be disproving the maxim that great tragedies produce great change. Traditionally, American environmentalism wins its biggest victories after some important piece of American environment is poisoned, exterminated or set on fire. An oil spill and a burning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws in the 1970s. The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law. But this year, the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- and, before that, the worst coal-mining disaster in 40 years -- haven't put the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy. The Senate is still gridlocked. Opinion polls haven't budged much. Gasoline demand is going up, not down. ...


Too bad we can't turn selfishness and apathy into a renewal energy source.

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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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Fri, Jun 18, 2010
from Associated Press:
Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns
It is an overlooked danger in the oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem. The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill. That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives. "This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said. ...


In other words this is the most massive fart ever!

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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!

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Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from CanWest News Service:
Arctic bird poop loaded with environmental poisons, biologists say
High Arctic seabirds carry a "cocktail" of contaminants, confirms new research, which analyzed the excrement of Arctic terns and eiders nesting on a small island north of Resolute Bay. The seabirds' cocktail is not a particularly healthy mix for the birds or the land they nest on, a team of biologists from the Canadian Wildlife Service and Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., determined. That's because, in addition to pesticides, the seabirds are loaded with heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, which they pick up from the foods they eat. ...


The sky (crap) is falling!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from Associated Press:
Pa. halts drilling by company after gas accident
Pennsylvania regulators halted work Monday at dozens of unfinished natural gas wells being drilled by the company whose out-of-control well spewed out explosive gas and polluted water for 16 hours last week. The order against Houston-based EOG Resources Inc. will remain in place until the Department of Environmental Protection can finish its investigation and until after the company makes whatever changes may be needed, Gov. Ed Rendell said. he order stops EOG from drilling and hydraulically fracturing wells. It affects about 70 unfinished EOG wells into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation. ...


Let's just stop drilling, period -- especially at the dentist!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Thu, Jun 3, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Gulf oil spill as a lesson on humans in nature
Some eco-disasters are so huge they force humans to rethink how to better coexist with nature on a delicate planet. The mass killing of birds by the pesticide DDT, for instance, helped trigger the 1960s environmental movement. Now the Gulf oil spill may be one of those moments for mass reflection. Millions of barrels of crude oil have entered the aquatic food chain since BP's rig collapsed April 20. The spill itself is bad enough, but every day people from Florida to Texas are being forced to make difficult choices that pit the interests of humans against those of wildlife. ...


All I see in that reflection is how big my butt looks in this hat.

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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.

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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!!

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Mon, May 31, 2010
from Canadian Press, via CBC:
Sewage, jet fuel spilled in Arctic
Millions of litres of harmful contaminants -- including sewage and jet fuel -- have been spilled across great swaths of Canada's pristine Arctic in recent years, an analysis by The Canadian Press has found. A classified government database reveals the alarming extent to which Canada's North has been an accidental dumping ground for dangerous liquids. This never-before released information comes to light as the Harper government reviews its Arctic environmental-protection rules in the wake of a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.... The analysis found 260 spills in the North over five years. There were 137 spills in the Northwest Territories, 82 in Nunavut and 41 in the Yukon. Some spills took weeks or even months to clean up, while others were dealt with in a day or less. In one case, an unspecified amount of diesel seeped from a container in the Yukon for 2,013 days -- more than five years -- before someone finally plugged the leak. "It begs the question of whether we've got a chronic problem of oversight related to toxic spills in the North," said Craig Stewart, director of the World Wildlife Fund's Arctic program. "If there are so many repeat occurrences, what are the cumulative effects of these spills and why haven't we heard more about them up until now?" ...


Is that all? Good thing nothing lives up there!

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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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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 Wildlife Federation:
Hold Big Oil Accountable to Paying Full Price
The snowy plover is one of the most at-risk species from the BP oil spill. In addition to coming in direct contact to the oil, the snowy plover is at-risk of being poisoned by eating smaller invertebrates that have been tainted with oil. Rather than assuming full responsibility for the costs of their recklessness on wildlife like the snowy plover, BP is trying to push the price tag off on the American taxpayer. Currently, outdated legislation puts BP off the hook for damages above $75 million, even though this is less than one day's profit for BP! Edit and send the message below, urging Congress to hold Big Oil polluters accountable to paying the full cost of their negligence. ...


Sign, baby, sign!

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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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

ApocaDoc
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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.

ApocaDoc
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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?

ApocaDoc
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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!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 6, 2010
from Associated Press:
Deep beneath the Gulf, oil may already be wreaking havoc on sea life, contaminating food chain
The oil you can't see could be as bad as the oil you can. While people anxiously wait for the slick in the Gulf of Mexico to wash up along the coast, globules of oil are already falling to the bottom of the sea, where they threaten virtually every link in the ocean food chain, from plankton to fish that are on dinner tables everywhere... Oil has been gushing into the Gulf of Mexico at a rate of at least 200,000 gallons a day since an offshore drilling rig exploded last month and killed 11 people. On Wednesday, workers loaded a 100-ton, concrete-and-steel box the size of a four-story building onto a boat and hope to lower it to the bottom of the sea by week's end to capture some of the oil. Scientists say bacteria, plankton and other tiny, bottom-feeding creatures will consume oil, and will then be eaten by small fish, crabs and shrimp. They, in turn, will be eaten by bigger fish, such as red snapper, and marine mammals like sea turtles. ...


That food chain sure is a slippery slope.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, May 2, 2010
from The ApocaDocs:
From the ApocaDesk: The 'Docs are in
We've been hearing from you. You're calling, you're emailing (ApocadocsATgmail.com), you're hurting. This oil of river pouring from the wound in the Gulf of Mexico is just beginning.

Your hearts are breaking, and so are ours, but we are Doctors of the Apocalypse and we are here to help with some advice.

First: Keep an eye on it. Take breaks, but stay with the horror. Look it square in the face.

Second: Realize that, despite how terrible this seems, it is happening, more or less, all over the planet. Just read our site -- Biology Breach is a clarifying scenario for this. Climate Chaos, too. People everywhere are already in the grips of habitat collapse, whether due to toxins like oil or ewaste or plastic -- or by climate change itself. Ask the Inuits, the Indians, the Australians, the Tanzanians.

Third: Do something, today. Commit to some change in your consumer or energy-use behavior. Stop driving your car. One day a week. Then make it two. Stop using plastic, whether in packaging or, worst of all, water bottles. Let this be the beginning of your stewardship of the earth.

Fourth: Speaking of stewardship, start something. Go to our Recovery scenario, then read the amazing feats that humans can do. Just yesterday, we found the story of an 82 year old woman who convinced her town of Concord, Massachusetts, to outlaw plastic water bottles.

Fifth: Hold the criminals accountable, whether they are politicians who do nothing to address climate change, or CEOs who don't change their corporate cultures to care for the planet. The rights of nature MUST BECOME transcendent.

Sixth: Download our book. This is not self-promotion. The book is free. You can read it in one afternoon (if you have the stomach). We want you to see what we are learning, what we are witnessing.

Let the horror of what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico be the awakening we need.

...




ApocaDoc
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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.

ApocaDoc
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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.

ApocaDoc
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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!!!

ApocaDoc
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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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Thu, Apr 15, 2010
from BBC:
China ship 'seriously damaged' Great Barrier Reef
The Australian authorities have said a Chinese bulk carrier which ran aground off Queensland has caused widespread damage to the famed Great Barrier Reef. The cleanup is likely to be the biggest operation ever undertaken there...The authorities are particularly worried about toxic paint that has been scraped off the hull - because it has immediately started killing off corals in the vicinity. ...


More reef grief.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 9, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Great Barrier Reef at Risk as Coal-Ship Traffic May Jump 67 percent
The corals, whales and giant clams of Australia's Great Barrier Reef are in the path of a "coal highway" to China that may see shipments jump 67 percent by 2016, increasing the threat of an ecological disaster after a coal carrier ran aground last week. Trade at Gladstone port in Queensland may rise to about 140 million tons, mostly coal, in six years from 84 million tons in the year ending in June, Gladstone Ports Corp. Chief Executive Officer Leo Zussino said in an interview. The port was the loading point for the Shen Neng 1, which hit a sand bank on April 3 at full speed carrying 68,000 metric tons of coal and 975 tons of fuel oil. "It's only a matter of time before a serious oil spill occurs unless we have a better system for regulating the traffic," said Peter Harrison, a professor at Southern Cross University in New South Wales who has studied the impact of oil pollution on coral reefs for three decades. "It's a difficult place to navigate." ...


Perhaps a name change is in order: the Great Passageway Reef.

ApocaDoc
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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.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Great Barrier Reef rammed by Chinese coal ship
Australians on Sunday scrambled to ensure that a Chinese-owned bulk coal carrier that rammed into the Great Barrier Reef would not break apart and seriously damage the planet's largest coral reef. Peter Garrett, the nation's environment protection minister, told reporters that the federal government is concerned about the impact an oil spill could have on the environmentally sensitive reef, which was selected as a World Heritage site in 1981. Environmentalists said they were "horrified" at the possible damage the mishap might cause to the ecosystem, which is 1,800 miles long and comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs, cays and islands -- providing a habitat for countless sea species. Video taken late Sunday showed the 755-foot vessel stranded about nine miles outside the shipping lane, leaking what seemed to be a streak of oil into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Great Keppel Island off the west coast of Queensland state.... The Shen Neng 1, hauling more than 65,000 tons of coal, hit the reef at full speed late Saturday in a restricted zone of the marine park. The impact ruptured the vessel's fuel tanks, prompting Australian officials to activate a national oil spill response plan. ...


Whoops! Sorry officer, I must've taken a wrong turn back there!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Mar 7, 2010
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA delays action on mountaintop removal plan
The Obama administration has delayed action on a set of broad-ranging and specific measures to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal, after details of the plan were leaked to coal-state mining regulators...Agency officials are pushing for more stringent water pollution standards, tougher permit requirements and more extensive monitoring downstream from mining operations. Among the initiatives are initial steps toward tighter mining discharge limits on the toxic pollutant selenium and on electrical conductivity, which serves as a measure of harmful salts and metals and has been identified by scientists as an indicator of coal-mining water damage. An announcement had been planned for Wednesday, but has been delayed for at least several weeks. ...


If you've been to the mountaintop, then you know there is no more time to waste.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Industrial solvent linked to increased risk of Parkinson's disease
Exposure to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene increases a person's risk of developing Parkinson's disease nearly sixfold, California researchers said Sunday. Animal studies had suggested a potential problem with the solvent, but the new study by Dr. Samuel Goldman of the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale is the first to quantify the risk. Parkinson's disease, caused by the death of cells in the brain that secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine, is characterized by severe tremors, rigidity in the limbs and other symptoms. It strikes an estimated 100,000 Americans each year and is ultimately fatal. Genetics play a role in susceptibility to Parkinson's, but it has also been linked to head trauma, pesticides and illicit drugs. Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a solvent that was once widely used in dry cleaning and to clean grease off metal parts, and it was once used as an anesthetic, especially during childbirth. ...


Used "during childbirth"? So the newborns would be spankin' clean?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Associated Press:
Even if you're careful, drugs can end up in water
The federal government advises throwing most unused or expired medications into the trash instead of down the drain, but they can end up in the water anyway, a study from Maine suggests. Tiny amounts of discarded drugs have been found in water at three landfills in the state, confirming suspicions that pharmaceuticals thrown into household trash are ending up in water that drains through waste, according to a survey by the state's environmental agency that's one of only a handful to have looked at the presence of drugs in landfills. That landfill water - known as leachate - eventually ends up in rivers. Most of Maine doesn't draw its drinking water from rivers where the leachate ends up, but in other states that do, water supplies that come from rivers could potentially be contaminated. The results of the survey are being made known as lawmakers in Maine consider a bill, among the first of its kind in the nation, that would require drug manufacturers to develop and pay for a program to collect unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs from residents and dispose of them. ...


Seems the only right course is to consume the unused or expired meds and store them — permanently — in your fatty tissues.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 28, 2010
from New York Times:
Radiation Levels Cloud Vermont Reactor's Fate
Levels of radioactive tritium have risen rapidly in recent weeks in the groundwater surrounding Vermont's sole nuclear power plant, leading both longtime supporters and foes of the reactor to question whether it will be allowed to keep operating... the rising radiation levels, an indication that reactor water is leaking into the soil, have stirred deep concern about the plant's safety and the credibility of its operators. So far no tritium has been found in any drinking water wells, nor have raised concentrations of radioactive material been found in the river, the source of the plant's cooling water. ...


Just the soil? Whew! Not like we use THAT for anything.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 27, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Remembering the White River fishkill
On Dec. 13, 1999, a white wall of foam came pouring out of the Anderson, Indiana, Wastewater Treatment Plant. A few days later, dead fish began to be discovered downriver, and by Christmas some 100,000 fish were estimated to be dead. Eventually, it was understood that aquatic life for 57 miles along the White River had been profoundly harmed, either completely killed or partially killed, including the death of 4.6 million fish. The source of the toxins: a discharge from Anderson-based Guide Corp., a factory that made automobile headlights.... Money was dispensed, remediation practices were put in place, and the White River was, ostensibly, restored. But it wasn't. I know because the White River is in my backyard. ...


This is my story, and you can read it.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 17, 2010
from The Tennessean:
NASA public relations flap follows official to TVA
TVA's new spokesman -- brought in to help rehab its credibility after the coal ash disaster -- was enmeshed at his previous job at NASA in a Bush administration controversy in which climate change scientists said they were censored. David Mould's name is sprinkled throughout a National Aeronautics and Space Administration inspector general's 2008 investigation report that says the agency's public affairs headquarters "managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science." ...


Spokespeople who dissemble are a type of toxic waste.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 5, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
U.S. car ownership shifts into reverse
Americans' infatuation with their cars has endured through booms and busts, but last year something rare happened in the United States: The number of automobiles actually fell. The size of the U.S. car fleet dropped by a hefty four million vehicles to 246 million, the only large decline since the U.S. Department of Transportation began modern recordkeeping in 1960. Americans bought only 10 million cars -- and sent 14 million to the scrapyard.... And the overall drop in car ownership has prompted speculation that the long American love affair with the car is fading. Analysts cite such diverse factors as high gas prices, the expansion of many municipal transit systems, and the popularity of networking websites among teenagers replacing cars as a way of socializing. ...


Meet me in the backseat of my tweet.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 5, 2010
from Agence France-Presse:
China river oil spill pollution 'serious': govt
Two tributaries of China's Yellow River have been "seriously polluted" by an oil spill, further contaminating badly tainted drinking water resources, the government said Tuesday. Up to 150,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of diesel spilled into the Chishui and Wei rivers on Wednesday last week after a pipeline operated by China's largest oil producer, China National Petroleum Corp., ruptured, state media said... The two rivers flow into the Yellow River, one of China's longest rivers and the source of drinking water for millions of people, including residents of eight cities that lie downstream from the oil spill, Xinhua news agency said. ...


New name for the Yellow River: Rainbow River.

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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Wed, Dec 9, 2009
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Report: Spill released huge load of heavy metals
Last year's Kingston fly ash spill dumped more heavy metals into the Emory River than all the power plants discharged into all the nation's waters the year before, an environmental group said in a report issued Tuesday. The Environmental Integrity Project report states the spill - at 5.4 million cubic yards - released roughly 4 1/2 times more lead and 2 1/2 times more arsenic than the entire power industry released in 2007. The project based its conclusions on data that industry supplied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In all, the report states the Kingston spill discharged 2.66 million pounds worth of 10 heavy metals that are present in coal ash. In 2007, the power industry discharged 2.04 million pounds nationwide....The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already has announced it would propose new standards this month for coal ash, possibly classifying it as hazardous waste. ...


Or... we could classify it as "sweet soup that spilleth out of its bowl."

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 18, 2009
from New York Times:
Lead Poisoning of Children in China Leads to Disturbance
The police clashed with residents of two villages near a smelting plant in northern China that is blamed for the lead poisoning of nearly all the children in the villages, reports said Monday. It was another sign of growing anger over China's rampant industrial pollution. Several hundred villagers tore down fences and blocked traffic outside the Dongling Lead and Zinc Smelting Company in Shaanxi Province after news of the poisoning emerged last week, state news media and villagers said. Fighting between angry parents and scores of police officers broke out Sunday, and trucks delivering coal to the plant were stoned.... At least 615 out of 731 children in the two villages have tested positive for lead poisoning, which can damage the nervous and reproductive systems and cause high blood pressure, anemia and memory loss. Lead levels in the children were more than 10 times the level China considers safe. Air quality tests near the smelting plant found unusually high lead levels, according to the official Xinhua News Agency, although officials say groundwater, surface water, soil and company waste discharge all meet national standards.... Local officials plan to relocate all 581 households living within 1,600 feet of the factory in the next two years, according to Xinhua. It was unclear whether the plant had been closed. ...


Even if we won't stand up for ourselves, we'll fight for our children.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jul 25, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
Murky past of company accused of shipping toxic waste emerges
Doubts about Britain's recycling industry were growing last night as it emerged that a company suspected of shipping hazardous waste to Brazil was supplied with recyclable plastics by a business with previous convictions for pollution.... Worldwide Biorecyclables benefited from a loophole in the Environment Protection Act 1990 which allows waste management companies to avoid Environment Agency scrutiny by registering their businesses as "low-risk" operations. The company was granted a "simple exemption" from seeking an environmental work permit when treating waste for the purpose of recovery and storing waste in a secure place.... Up to 7,000 sites, including supermarkets and department stores, handle low-risk waste, according to the Environment Agency. The watchdog admits it lacks the resources to ensure they are all adhering to the exemptions rules. It acts on tip-offs from the public and other sources. ...


Self-definitions work great in a self-police state.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 16, 2009
from Columbia State:
Ammonia cloud kills woman, injures 7
The leak at Tanner Industries is believed to be the worst chemical accident in South Carolina since a chlorine spill killed nine in 2005 near Graniteville. The accident rocked the small town of Swansea, causing some of its 1,000 residents to say they were lucky no more people were hurt. Many residents who lived near the plant fled the area after seeing the ammonia cloud or receiving telephoned warnings from friends and neighbors who heard early news reports or saw the cloud. There is no official early warning system around the chemical plant. ...


"Swansea" is nearly an anagram of "nausea."

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2009
from Durango Herald (Colorado):
Expert questions gas-drilling chemicals
The toxic chemicals used to extract natural gas from deep underground and process it are among substances creating a dizzying list of embryonic -- and subsequent -- developmental aberrations in animals, including humans, an environmental health analyst is set to say tonight.... "I'll be talking about what we know about the chemicals used in drilling for and production of natural gas," Colborn said by telephone from Paonia. "I won't talk about exposure, but I'll explain what we know about the health effects from the chemicals." A Durango nurse was sickened in July 2008 after she treated a gas-field employee who had cleaned a chemical spill near Bayfield. Bayfield is in the San Juan Basin, which includes much of the southern part of La Plata County, and is one of the largest gas fields in the country.... "The problem is non-disclosure on the part of the industry. They're not telling us everything," Colborn said. "We have limited information." ...


Hey, it seems fine to me!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 30, 2009
from Shreveport Times:
'Frac' fluid kills 19 cattle
An unidentified substance that apparently flowed from a natural gas drilling site into a pasture is being eyed as a potential cause of the deaths of 19 head of cattle Tuesday evening, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.... Authorities believe the cows ingested the [milky white] liquid before dying. Tracks went to and from the puddles, a Caddo sheriff's office spokeswoman said. ...


Thank goodness that stuff would never get into groundwater! (Halliburton said so!)

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Apr 26, 2009
from The East African:
International firms stand accused of fish piracy
Lawlessness off the Somalia coast involving overfishing and toxic-waste dumping is being ignored amidst the uproar over attacks on international shipping, some analysts are charging. For years, Somalis had complained to the United Nations and the European Union "when the marine resources of Somalia were pillaged, when the waters were poisoned, when the fish was stolen, creating poverty in the whole country," Kenyan writer Mohamed Abshir Waldo, told a national radio audience in the United States last week. "They were totally ignored." Beth Tuckey, an activist with the African Faith and Justice Network in Washington, wrote in a recent commentary that focusing solely on one kind of piracy – “holding ships and people for ransom” – distorts the actual situation of Somalis living on the coast. "Having over-fished in their own oceans, many European, Middle Eastern and Asian fishing companies perceived the 1991 state collapse in Somalia as an opening to begin business in foreign waters," Ms Tuckey said. "Large trawlers appeared off the coast, scraping up $300 million worth of seafood every year, depriving coastal Somalis of their livelihood and subsistence. Foreign corporations also saw it as a great location to discreetly dump barrels of toxic waste, thereby causing death and disease among the Somali population." ...


Whattaya expect? Piracy on the open sea is so much more photogenic!

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Fri, Mar 13, 2009
from Vietnamnet, via Desdemona Despair:
Hanoi: massive fish die-off
A woman who lives on the bank of the Nhue River, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Sen, on Thanh Binh Street, Ha Dong city, said she had never seen so many dead fish as she has this year. Previously, there was dead river fish on Nhue River, but not this strong species of fish. Fish also die in abundance in many lakes in Hanoi, such as Linh Dam, Dinh Cong and Me Tri. Local residents are very worried about the phenomenon. In Ha Dong, the Nhue River's water has turned black with scum. "Perhaps this is oil scum discharged from factories located in the riverhead," Sen guessed.... "We are working together with local authorities to quickly solve the problem," Binh said. ...


I'm sure the dead fish will appreciate the swift response.

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Wed, Mar 11, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Fears for ocean life as tanker loses toxic load
A ship carrying 60 containers of ammonium nitrate, used for making fertiliser and explosives, has lost an estimated 31 containers overboard and is leaking fuel in rough seas off Australia's northeast coast. Marine experts fear if the missing containers leak, the spill could create algae blooms which would choke marine life in Moreton Bay near the city of Brisbane... Three tonnes of ammonium nitrate spilt on the ship's deck when the containers broke loose.... "The risk of the impact (of the ammonium nitrate) is nitrification, which is algae blooms," Mr Smith told local media. "Ammonium nitrate is very soluble, so once it gets wet, it will dissolve fairly quickly." ...


Algae is so pretty when it blooms.

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Sun, Mar 1, 2009
from PressTV (Iran):
Persian Gulf faces possible environmental crisis
The Persian Gulf has been polluted by more than 5,000 cubic meters of toxic industrial waste including heavy metals. The waste material from Mobin Petrochemical Company, located in Assaluyeh in southern Iran, has been discharged into the Persian Gulf without being treated, Iran's Environmental News Agency reported. The news report added that the petrochemical company's waste materials are toxic and replete with hazardous industrial materials.... According to the latest studies, the level of the pollution in The Persian Gulf as a semi-closed sea is 47 times more than the open seas and the water in eastern coast of the area contains more pollutants. ...


Surely the petrochemical companies have inadvertently been releasing those petrochemicals.

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Thu, Feb 19, 2009
from San Jose Mercury News:
At least 500,000 gallons spewed in Sausalito sewage spill
A broken pipe gushed at least 500,000 gallons of partially treated sewage into San Francisco Bay by Wednesday afternoon as Sausalito sanitary plant officials worked to get the spill capped more than 24 hours after it was spotted.... Workers in wetsuits placed a metal "saddle" around the 24-inch-wide pressure pipeline resting along the shore below the Fort Baker treatment plant to redirect wastewater back into the plant.... After several hours of unsuccessful attempts to plug the 2 1/2-inch hole before being submerged, the leak was allowed to continue overnight until work continued Wednesday morning.... [The Councilman] blamed the problem on "an incredibly leaky, neglected collection system" and "small banana-republic sewer districts" afraid to do anything because of rate increases. ...


The Banana Republic of Marin County?

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Wed, Feb 18, 2009
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Giant oil slick heading for British shores
The slick, which covers nearly nine square miles, is thought to have been leaked into the Celtic Sea when a Russian warship was refuelling. Environmentalists said it is the biggest oil spill in waters around the British Isles since the Sea Empress ran aground off Milford Haven in 1996, causing widespread damage to the Pembrokeshire coast. They warned that damage to marine life, including breeding birds, seals and dolphins, is likely to be devastating when the slick begins washing up on Welsh and Irish coasts within two weeks. ...


Whoops -- that Russian aircraft carrier just made a boo-boo. We call that "collateral damage."

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Sun, Jan 11, 2009
from Associated Press:
Nation's largest utility grapples with 2 spills
STEVENSON, Ala. (AP) — Standing on a porch near the Widows Creek power plant Saturday, Charlie Cookston took a drag off a cigarette and ticked off the reasons he distrusts the Tennessee Valley Authority. Dead mussels in the mighty, meandering Tennessee River. Dwindling numbers of fish. Big, black piles of coal ash that seem to get larger every day. As nearby residents await lab tests on the safety of drinking water, tempers are unsettled. Electric rates at the nation's largest utility have soared. A dike burst in Tennessee destroyed several homes, and on Friday, as much as 10,000 gallons of waste spilled into Widows Creek in northwestern Alabama. The nation's largest utility, once was viewed as a savior to the region, bringing lights, thousands of jobs and progress since its creation as a New Deal program in 1933, has had a rocky few months. ...


When it rains it pours, and when it spills it floods!

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Fri, Jan 9, 2009
from The Tennessean:
Second TVA spill reported in Alabama
TVA is investigating a leak from a gypsum pond at its Widows Creek coal-burning power plant in northeastern Alabama, a spokesman said at about 10:45 a.m. Central Time. The leak, discovered before 6 a.m. has been stopped, according to John Moulton, with the Tennessee Valley Authority. "Some materials flowed into Widows Creek, although most of the leakage remained in the settling pond," he said. ...


Don't bad things tend to come in threes?

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Sun, Jan 4, 2009
from Associated Press:
Lead for car batteries poisons an African town
THIAROYE SUR MER, Senegal -- First, it took the animals. Goats fell silent and refused to stand up. Chickens died in handfuls, then en masse. Street dogs disappeared. Then it took the children. Toddlers stopped talking and their legs gave out. Women birthed stillborns. Infants withered and died. Some said the houses were cursed. Others said the families were cursed. The mysterious illness killed 18 children in this town on the fringes of Dakar, Senegal's capital, before anyone in the outside world noticed. When they did - when the TV news aired parents' angry pleas for an investigation, when the doctors ordered more tests, when the West sent health experts - they did not find malaria, or polio or AIDS, or any of the diseases that kill the poor of Africa. They found lead. The dirt here is laced with lead left over from years of extracting it from old car batteries. So when the price of lead quadrupled over five years, residents started digging up the earth to get at it. ...


Another heart-breaking symptom of our global illness of over-consumption.

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Sun, Jan 4, 2009
from Huffington Post:
Tennessee's Toxic Nightmare: Arsenic Levels 35 to 300 Times EPA Standard for Drinking Water
Just-released independent water sampling data from the Tennessee coal ash disaster has shown alarmingly high levels of arsenic and seven other heavy metals, including cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and thallium. "I've never seen levels this high," said Dr. Shea Tuberty, Assistant Professor of Biology at the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Lab at Appalachian State University. "These levels would knock out fish reproduction ... the ecosystems around Kingston and Harriman are going to be in trouble ... maybe for generations." ...


This is the Exxon Valdez of 2008. But who's the drunken sailor?

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Sun, Jan 4, 2009
from Joplin Independent:
Tyson Foods is undisputed winner of OCWF award
The Golden Litter Award for 2008 goes to Tyson Foods, Inc. in recognition of attempts to cloud a U.S. Federal District Court lawsuit accusing Tyson and other poultry companies of water pollution. The award is presented by the Oklahoma Clean Water Forum (OCWF), a blog about water quality, the Illinois River and Tenkiller Lake. In addition to the Golden Litter Award, Silver Squat Awards will go to Oklahoma television stations for non-coverage of Oklahoma's poultry lawsuit and poultry waste pollution of the Illinois River watershed. A newspaper and a public utility also are receiving Silver Squat Awards. "With only a few exceptions, TV stations did dismal "diddly squat: in coverage of Oklahoma’s clean water lawsuit and poultry waste pollution of the Illinois River and Tenkiller Lake," said OCWF editors. "Because they did squat while raking in millions of poultry industry advertising dollars, they deserve squat." ...


Ignorance is advertising bliss -- how about a "Blind Acquiescence" award for media?

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Sun, Nov 16, 2008
from Fredericton Times and Transcript:
Hazardous chemical spill forces residents, nearby businesses not to use water for anything but flushing toilet
An estimated 2,700 litres of chromium trioxide acid spilled from a location occupied by Custom Machine and Hardchrome Inc. on Melissa Street in the industrial park just outside Fredericton's city limits. The well on site has been contaminated with high levels of chromium. One of four monitoring wells drilled around the contaminated well has also shown higher levels of chromium, but consultants believe contaminated groundwater is being carried away from homes in the area.... Officials have said the incident was caused by human error. ...


ummm... well, yeah, "human error".

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Sun, Jul 13, 2008
from The Independent (UK):
Sewage threatens to turn flamingo breeding site into cesspool
In one of the world's great wildlife spectacles, tens of thousands of lesser flamingos gather at a South African wetland –- but it is a spectacle now gravely threatened by pollution.... The dam is being used to dump raw sewage from a malfunctioning treatment plant owned by the Sol Plaatje Municipality. "Without urgent action, the dam will become a polluted cesspool devoid of birdlife," said Duncan Pritchard, of BirdLife South Africa. ...


We're so tired of this.
Now it's flamingos in the coal mine.

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Tue, Jul 1, 2008
from ABS CBN News Online (Philippines):
Toxic chemical leak will have int'l repercussions: expert
One cargo in the sunken M/V Princess of the Stars off Romblon can very well be a ticking time-bomb.... Quijano rejects claims endosulfan in its raw form poses no immediate threat of contamination. "The technical grade 92 percent (in the sunken ferry) endosulfan is a highly-concentrated form of the pesticide, so it doesn't need activation before it can be toxic. It is toxic by itself, and as soon as it gets out of the compartment, animals and humans are exposed to immediate and long-term danger of toxicity even in very small amounts," he said. "The level toxic to fish is .03 parts per billion. Assuming the container broke and all 10 tons spread, there can be sufficient concentration to kill fish within a 100 kilometer radius, even humans exposed to acute toxicity." ...


That's about a 60 mile radius of death,
for the metric-impaired.

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Wed, Jun 4, 2008
from Stabroek News (Guyana):
Quartz Hill mining highlights environment threat
Breaches of the mining regulations were evident during a recent visit to Quartz Hill and nearby areas, resulting in pollution and fouling of waterways even as the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) strives to enforce the rules and advocate self-regulation.... Meanwhile, unsafe use of mercury, breached tailings ponds and mining activities close to water courses were some of the infringements.... As a result of the breached tailings ponds, a section of the Omai Creek was heavily discoloured with a yellow sludge, which made its way to the Essequibo River. ...


We've noticed that when the profit motive is involved, self-regulation is appealing only to the profiteers.

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Fri, May 30, 2008
from BlueRidgeNow (Times-News):
Unknown toxin kills fish in Davidson River
PISGAH FOREST - State officials on Thursday were investigating the cause of a mile-long fish kill on the lower Davidson River, while Transylvania County officials urged residents to avoid contact with the water in the Davidson and downstream on the French Broad River.... a preliminary report with the DWQ office in Black Mountain listed as a possible source a 22,000 gallon tank of "black liquor," a concentration of organic byproducts of the paper-making process.... The Davidson is famous for its trout fishing, both along the private section downstream of U.S. 64/276 and through Pisgah National Forest upstream. ...


"Black liquor" even sounds toxic.

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Thu, May 8, 2008
from Environmental Expert (UK):
British company fined for polluting National Trust beauty spot
Thames Water was ordered to pay more than Ł40,000 after admitting destroying the ecology of a high-quality stream and lake after a burst pipe churned raw sewage out onto National Trust land. Thousands of fish, including notable species of brook lamprey, brown trout, bullhead, and native crayfish were left dead as the sewage caused oxygen levels to plummet and ammonia to rocket... "When I first arrived at the Penwood Stream I was struck by the smell of raw sewage. The water had turned a cloudy orange colour and the stream bed was covered in slimy sewage fungus; thousands of fish, including some important and rare species, where dead or in distress, gasping at the surface of the water..." In February 2007 Environment Agency officers were called out after Thames Water reported the same pipe had burst again, just 15 metres from the previous incident. ...


Gosh, forty thousand pounds -- that's about eighty thousand US dollars. Talk about punitive fines. I'm sure that'll make them think once.

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Fri, Apr 4, 2008
from Kenniwick Tri-City Herald:
Hanford workers position 'umbrella' over contamination
"Hanford workers have finished installing a 70,000-square-foot "umbrella" over soil contaminated by what may have been the largest leak of radioactive waste from Hanford's underground tanks. The cap is a temporary measure to keep rain and snow melt from driving contamination deeper into the ground. But eventually, as leak-prone tanks are emptied of radioactive waste, the Department of Energy is expected to identify a way to clean up or otherwise permanently protect the public and environment from the remains of the spill. ...


I'm SINGING in the toxic rain, I'm singing in the toxic RAIN, what a poisonous FEEling, groundwater fouled aGAIN....

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Tue, Mar 25, 2008
from Palm Beach Post:
Suit over limbless boy, 3, settled
"MIAMI — The Florida produce company Ag-Mart has settled a civil suit with two former tomato pickers who claimed their son was born without arms and legs because of the misuse of dangerous pesticides in farm fields by the agricultural firm. The child, Carlos Candelario Herrera, known as "Carlitos," was born Dec. 17, 2004. His mother, Francisca Herrera, then 19, originally from Mexico, had worked in Ag-Mart fields in both South Florida and North Carolina during her pregnancy. She said in a deposition that on repeated occasions pesticides sprayed in adjacent Ag-Mart fields had drifted and reached her. She also said she was forced to work in freshly sprayed fields, that her hands absorbed the wet chemicals and that she had suffered sore throat, burning eyes and headaches. Other former employees backed her claims. ...


Johnny got his gun, Carlos got his pesticides.

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Tue, Mar 11, 2008
from The Washington Post (US):
Solar Energy Firms Leave Waste Behind in China
With the prices of oil and coal soaring, policymakers around the world are looking at massive solar farms to heat water and generate electricity. For the past four years, however, the world has been suffering from a shortage of polysilicon -- the key component of sunlight-capturing wafers -- driving up prices of solar energy technology and creating a barrier to its adoption. With the price of polysilicon soaring from $20 per kilogram to $300 per kilogram in the past five years, Chinese companies are eager to fill the gap.... But Chinese companies' methods for dealing with waste haven't been perfected.... the byproduct of polysilicon production -- silicon tetrachloride -- is a highly toxic substance that poses environmental hazards.... For each ton of polysilicon produced, the process generates at least four tons of silicon tetrachloride liquid waste.... ...


Actually, the companies' methods have been perfected:
"Stopping between the cornfields and the primary school playground, the workers dumped buckets of bubbling white liquid onto the ground. Then they turned around and drove right back through the gates of their compound without a word."

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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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Tue, Jan 8, 2008
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Naples rubbish threatens environment disaster
"Five thousands tonnes of stinking rubbish have piled up as a result of closed incineration plants and misused public funds. Incompetent management, crooked politicians and above all, the Neapolitan mafia, have been blamed for the crisis. But the result is not in doubt. The southern region's 6m people are now threatened by rising levels of the poisons, which experts warn could remain in the food chain for decades." ...


Who'da thunk that the Mafia couldn't "take out the trash"....

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