tagged w/ SPILLS
Will we further our dependence on climate-altering fossil fuels? Will we risk oil spills and the health of communities for a slice of short-term revenue? Or is it time to invest in cleaner, safer energy solutions and green jobs of the future?
Let your voice be heard. Please tell your elected leaders that short-term financial gain cannot make up for what we stand to lose if we don’t protect the natural world that sustains us. Tell them Canada needs a national energy strategy that values the environment.
In addition to sending an email to our leaders using the form here, you can also register your opinions with the National Energy Board Joint Review Committee on the Enbridge Northern Gateway project website. Hearings on the project will continue into 2013, but the deadline for public comment is August 31, 2012.
David Suzuki FoundationWill we further our dependence on climate-altering fossil fuels? Will we risk oil... more
Enbridge, the Canadian oil giant responsible for a massive tar sands oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan not yet two years ago, now wants to pipe tar sands oil—the world’s dirtiest oil—through New England with its Trailbreaker pipeline project.
The Trailbreaker tar sands pipeline project
In August 2011, Enbridge filed a permit application with Canada’s National Energy Board to revive a previous tar sands project, called Trailbreaker. Trailbreaker would transport tar sands oil along an approximately 750-mile route from Ontario and Quebec in Eastern Canada through Vermont, New Hampshire, and terminating in Portland, Maine’s Casco Bay, where the oil would be exported into the international market on super tankers.
The oil industry’s scheme to link the Midwestern pipeline system through eastern Canada and across New England to East Coast ports for export to refineries in the Gulf Coast or overseas was shelved a few years ago and defined as commercially nonviable. The Trailbreaker project would reverse the direction of oil flowing through two major pipelines—Enbridge Line 9 and the Portland/Montreal Pipeline.
Enbridge’s permit application to the Canadian National Energy Board for their Line 9 pipeline reversal is an indication that it’s once again putting the Trailbreaker project back on the table. Although Enbridge has claimed this is a standalone project, the application appears to signal the rebirth of Trailbreaker.
By dividing up the project into two smaller segments, Enbridge could be attempting to shield itself from the type of scrutiny faced by tar sands pipelines like TransCanada’s Keystone XL. Enbridge acknowledged in late 2011 that it was actively pursuing plans to bring tar sands to Ontario, Quebec, and New England.
Tar sands: more toxic than conventional oil
The extraction and processing of tar sands oil is one of the largest industrial operations in the world. Tar sands extraction requires strip mining huge tracts of the pristine Boreal Forest in Alberta, Canada—an area the size of Florida is slated for extraction.
Tar sands oil emits three times more greenhouse gases during production than conventional gasoline and about three barrels of water are polluted and dumped in toxic pools (called tailing ponds) for every barrel of oil produced. These processes use enough energy to make tar sands oil production the fastest-growing contributor to Canada’s carbon pollution and the continent’s biggest carbon bomb.
Tar sands extraction also harms the health and cultural traditions of indigenous communities living downstream from the extraction sites and has been connected to high rates of rare cancers, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism in the area.
Tar sands pipelines: built to spill
Tar sands pipelines have an abysmal safety record, with a spill rate three times the national average for conventional oil in some parts of the US, putting communities at risk of devastating oil spills and pollution to air and drinking water.
Pipeline safety regulators at the Department of Transportation haven’t yet studied the safety of pipelines that carry tar sands crude or set forth specialized regulations for such pipelines, despite safety concerns unique to corrosive tar-sands oil compared to conventional crude oil. These pipelines must operate at higher temperatures and pressures to move the thick tar sands through a pipe and are subject to severe problems with leak detection and safety issues from the unstable mixture. Tar sands crude is particularly dangerous for older pipelines like the Trailbreaker pipelines, which were constructed during World War II.
Enbridge was responsible for a million gallon tar sands oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in June 2010. Two years later, the clean-up costs have surpassed $700 million, residents are still sick from the spill’s toxins, small businesses are still hurting, property values are down, and miles of river remain closed. Now Enbridge wants to pipe tar sands oil through New England with its Trailbreaker project.
Trailbreaker: threatening New England’s natural and cultural landscapes
Trailbreaker would cut through New England's most important waters, including Sebago Lake, home to a native species of landlocked Atlantic salmon and the major drinking water resource for greater Portland, Maine’s largest metropolitan area. It also terminates at Casco Bay, a large, rich estuary near Portland, Maine that is home to a variety of coastal natural resources and a thriving marine economy.
Trailbreaker would also put at risk Grand River Basin, Lake Ontario, the Saint Lawrence River, Victory State Forest, and Androscoggin River. A spill along Trailbreaker’s corridor could harm rivers, lakes, and bays that are vital resources for millions of people in Canada and the United States.
More at the linkEnbridge, the Canadian oil giant responsible for a massive tar sands oil spill into... more
Like many Gulf Coast residents, I was highly skeptical when both the media and the Coast Guard told us that the tar balls we were seeing wash up on our shores in the months following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster were not from BP’s oil geyser at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. If they weren’t from the massive leak caused by BP, Halliburton, and TransOcean, then where were these tar balls coming from? While we might not know the clear answer to that question, we do have a new suspect.
According to a lawsuit filed this week by the Waterkeeper Alliance and their Gulf Coast affiliates, there is a smaller oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico off the Louisiana coast that has been flowing nonstop for almost seven and a half years. While nowhere near as large as the oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon disaster – the lawsuit estimates the current leak to be releasing a few hundred gallons of oil per day – the fact that it has been flowing for more than seven years allows plenty of time for hundred of thousands, if not low millions, of gallons of oil to be released into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
However, the energy company responsible for the leak – Taylor Energy – says that only about 14 gallons of oil are leaking per day. The Waterkeeper Alliance is basing their analysis on the size and scope of visible oil sheens, similar to how the flow rate was determined for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The lawsuit alleges that Taylor Energy is responsible for allowing oil to flow into the Gulf, a direct violation of the Clean Water Act. They are seeking civil penalties in the amount of $37,500 per day that the oil has been leaking, the maximum possible penalty for such violations under the Act.
So how has an oil leak managed to go undetected, or at least unreported, for the better part of a decade? That’s one of the questions the lawsuit is hoping to answer.
Aided by satellite imagery and research conducted by SkyTruth and aerial observation by SouthWings, the Waterkeeper Alliance and its local Waterkeeper organizations learned that the spill, located approximately 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana, started after an undersea landslide in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. An offshore platform and 28 wells were damaged, and since then, Taylor has yet to stop the daily flow of oil from the site. Waterkeeper estimates that hundreds of gallons of oil have leaked from the site each day for the last 7 years.
“The plaintiffs filed suit to stop the spill and lift the veil of secrecy surrounding Taylor Oil’s seven-year long response and recovery operation,” explained Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Neither the government nor Taylor will answer basic questions related to the spill response, citing privacy concerns.” The public deserves to know how this spill happened and why it continues. Coastal communities should understand the risks involved in developing off-shore oil resources and what protections are in place to prevent damage from future spills.
Justin Bloom, the eastern regional director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, points out that none of the recommended reforms from the NOAA assessment of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak have been enacted, allowing for a culture that puts the profits of the oil industry ahead of environmental and human health protections.
In addition to the newly-filed lawsuit, the Waterkeeper Alliance has also released a joint report with SkyTruth and SouthWings (under their joint organization of the Gulf Monitoring Consortium) detailing the failings of our current monitoring and reporting systems for oil disasters. From their new report:
In addition to the lack of reporting, chronic underreporting of oil spills makes it impossible for the public and decision makers to understand the true scope of pollution caused by oil and gas exploration and production. The National Reporting Center’s (NRC) reports lacking estimates of the amount of oil spilled are common. Between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011 a total of 2903 oil or refined petroleum (e.g. diesel fuel) spills were reported in the Gulf region. Seventy-seven percent (2221) of those reports did not include an estimate of the quantity of oil spilled. Forty-five percent (1311) identify a suspected responsible party – a strong indicator that those reports were submitted by the actual polluters – and of those, nearly half (620) do not include any spill amount.
More at the linkLike many Gulf Coast residents, I was highly skeptical when both the media and the... more
This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to virtually protest in solidarity with those risking arrest in Washington DC who are sitting in to stand up for our climate, our water, our land and our energy future. Please help us support these good people. If you are in agreement type NO in the comments section, or add any type of encouragement to share the spirit of the people being heard for climate justice.
The Keystone XL pipeline must go!
Tarsands is the sign that desperation has hit the fossil fuel industry as our addiction has become dangerous for the continued sustainability of our planet. Tarsands is the wake up call regarding a moral imperative we are losing.
Consider the actions involved in extracting the bitumen tar from the sand and the process of separation that involves usage of huge amounts of water and toxic agents in making the finished product suitable for gas tanks. Consider the environmental degradation of pristine ecosystems, rivers, species and cultures. Consider the health effects and cancers related to the toxification of land, water and air that have taken lives. Consider the climate timebomb being released by the burning of this dirty toxic crude all to satisfy the greed of those who care nothing for the damage this is doing to the world you and yours will live in. This is not progress, this is insanity.
However, the fault is not just with those who process this destruction. The fault also lies with us. Those who continue to consume it in order to satiate a need that has led our environment to the breaking point. And now, Transcanada and those who seek to benefit from this destruction here wish to do so by constructing another pipeline through the heartland of this country directly threatening our water supply, our agriculture and our environment.
Starting tomorrow and going to Sept 3, people will be risking arrest in acts of peaceful civil disobedience outside the White House to tell President Obama NO regarding approving the Keystone XL pipeline.
(Caps for emphasis because this is important)
THIS IS NOW THE TIME THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA MUST HEAR YOU. THE WORLD WE ARE MAKING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS DEPENDS ON OUR ACTIONS TODAY.
So even if all you can do is send an e-mail to the White House, you need to do it. Call, write, tweet, blog. But please, don't allow another ecocide to take place. We do have power in great numbers. We do have other energy choices. We CAN change things for the better (as the end of this video illustrates.)
But that won't happen unless we make noise by whatever means we have.
Kudos to those willing to be arrested for this important cause. I thank you, my child thanks you, I stand with you and I will do all in my power to be heard with you.
NO TO KEYSTONE XL.!This thread is just one of many that I will be starting in the next two weeks to... more
Ain’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08 buttons, and that’s what I’ve been doing. If you look closely, you might see them this weekend on the lapels of some of the global warming protesters holding a sit-in outside the White House.
Already, more than a thousand people have signed up to be arrested over two weeks beginning Aug. 20 — the biggest display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle back before Sept. 11. (Among the first 500 to sign up, the biggest cohort was born in the Truman administration, followed closely by FDR babies and Eisenhower kids. These seniors contradict the stereotype of greedy geezers who care only about their own future.)
The issue is simple: We want the president to block construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry oil from the tar sands of northern Alberta down to the Gulf of Mexico. We have, not surprisingly, concerns about potential spills and environmental degradation from construction of the pipeline. But those tar sands are also the second-largest pool of carbon in the atmosphere, behind only the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. If we tap into them in a big way, NASA climatologist James Hansen explained in a paper issued this summer, the emissions would mean it’s “essentially game over” for the climate. That’s why the executive directors of many environmental groups and 20 of the country’s leading climate scientists wrote letters asking people to head to Washington for the demonstrations. In scientific terms, it’s as close to a no-brainer as you can get.
But in political terms it may turn out to be a defining moment of the Obama years.
That’s because, for once, the president will get to make an important call all by himself. He has to sign a certificate of national interest before the border-crossing pipeline can be built. Under the relevant statutes, Congress is not involved, so he doesn’t need to stand up to the global-warming deniers calling the shots in the House.
But the president does need to stand up to the fossil fuel industry, which has done its best to influence the decision. Since the State Department plays a role in recommending a decision, the main pipeline company helpfully hired the former national deputy director of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign as its lead lobbyist. WikiLeaks documents emerged recently showing U.S. envoys conspiring with the oil industry to win favorable media coverage for tar sands oil. If you were a cynic, you’d say the fix was in.
Still, the final call rests with Barack Obama, who said the night that he clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008 that his ascension would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Now he gets a chance to prove that he meant it. In basketball terms, he’s alone at the top of the key — will he take the 20-foot jumper or pass the ball? It’s a rare, character-defining moment. Obama can’t escape it simply by saying that someone else will burn the oil if we don’t. Alberta is remote, and its only other possible pipeline route — to the Pacific and hence Asia — is tangled in litigation. That’s why the province’s energy minister told Canada’s Globe and Mail last month that without the Keystone pipeline Alberta would be “landlocked in bitumen,” the technical name for the heavy, gooey tar that is its chief export. Critics may argue otherwise, but Obama’s call is key; without it, that oil will stay in the ground for at least a while longer. Long enough, perhaps, that the planet will come fully to its senses about climate change.
It’s hard to predict what will happen. Earlier this summer Al Gore tossed up his hands in despair: “President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,” Gore said. “He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks.” Yet it’s hard to give up on the image of the skinny senator from Illinois and the young people who were his most fervent supporters — young people who, according to pollsters, wanted a climate bill by a 5-to-1 margin. That didn’t happen, of course; for now, the Keystone pipeline is the best proxy we have for real presidential commitment to the global warming fight.
More at the linkAin’t eBay grand? For $10 you can buy a sack of 50 assorted Obama ’08... more
Congress took a first step on Wednesday to fast-track a controversial Alberta tar sands pipeline, ordering Barack Obama to reach a decision on the project by 1 November.
The bill, voted through a panel of the house energy and power subcommittee, would compel Obama to over-rule demands for a further review of the project from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and disregard local opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline from landowners along its 1,700-mile route.
Republicans in Congress are planning further action to push ahead on the pipeline next week, environmentalists said.
Senator James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who is the main force among climate change sceptic in Congress, is working on a bill that would repeal a 2007 provision restricing the federal government's use of high-carbon fuels, such as those from the Alberta tar sands.
Between them, the actions are aimed at cutting off growing opposition to the pipeline – before it sinks the project.
The pipeline is intended to pass through Montana, South Dakota, and Nebraska before reaching the refineries on the Gulf coast of Texas.
But a series of pipeline accidents - including the shutdown of the Keystone itself for several days this month because of a leak - have amplified fears about transporting highly corrosive thick crude across the American heartland to the refineries of Texas.
Democrats said the accidents were a powerful reason not to rush to approval. "I don't think it makes any sense to set some kind of arbitrary deadline," said Henry Waxman, the ranking Democrat.
But Republicans said the pipeline was already three years in the planning, and that its construction would end America's reliance on Middle Eastern oil. "It makes perfect sense," said Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
More than 100,000 people wrote to the State Department this month to express their views on the project. Nebraska state legislaters and members of Congress have also written letters of concern.
Meanwhile the EPA issued a letter last week criticising the State Department for failing to fully take into account the risks of a pipeline accident, or of the increase in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the import of more fossil fuels.
Supporters of the project have been active as well, pushed in part by a new report suggesting the pipeline was running out of time.
cont.Congress took a first step on Wednesday to fast-track a controversial Alberta tar... more
Another consequence of deregulation has apparently just boiled over in Bradford County, Pa.
video-(Bradford County PA, 90 miles west of the Delaware River Basin, shows us the face of shale gas drilling's industrialization in ruined air and drinking water. Photographed by Jane Prettyman (with apologies for soviet camera), host of 'Public Comment' (pubcomm.blogspot.com). Music: "Wheels" by Jason Shaw (Creative Commons) and "Sacrifice" by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke.
Also see TV news report on Bradford County gas well blowout in same area where this film was made, causing a massive spill of chemical-laced frack flowback waste water contaminating Towanda Creek that feeds into Suqsuehanna River more videos below)-figgdimension
Operators have lost control of a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania, leading to a spill of fluids used in the drilling process.
Bradford County emergency officials say thousands of gallons of tainted water have spilled from a Chesapeake Energy Corp. well site near Canton since early Wednesday.
As of 1:50 pm., the spill was still out of control, spilling "thousands and thousands" of likely contaminated water over fields and into at least one stream, per the reports, prompting the evacuation of seven families, thus far. Updated reports indicate the water started pouring out at 11:45 pm last night.
The "stream" is apparently the Towanda Creek, which feeds into the Susquehanna River, which in turn feeds into the Chesapeake Bay.
Reuters describes the spill as "uncontrollable" as of 3:52 pm. The local news reports describe attempts to control the spill as a "Large scale operation" with a "widespread impact." There appear to be no reports providing the actual amount of fluids spilled at this time.
Pennsylvania has already been under the watch of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and concerns that the practice of this fracking has caused a risk to human life as well as the environment and has required regulators to maintain regular sampling of local water supplies. Pennsylvania is also the only state which has allowed this wastewater to be partially treated and returned to local rivers and community drinking water.
My Dad and I used to fish in the Susquehanna for bass when I was a kid. We've hunted in Bradford County. Now the "shale boom" has turned the area and others in PA. upside down with newly minted millionaires selling their age-old wooded tracts of property to the highest bidder, pretty much heedless of the environmental impact.
Chesapeake Energy Corp (you have to love the irony) has this to say about their unregulated mishap:
Chesapeake said a piece of equipment failed late Tuesday while the well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked. In the fracking process, millions of gallons of water, along with chemical additives and sand, are injected at high pressure down the well bore to break up the shale and release the gas.
But not to worry, trumpets the Business Insider.
The event has had no impact on Chesapeake energy shares, which are up more than the broader market, 2.75%, and natural gas prices are higher.
With remarkable synchronicity, known energy magnate and self-promoting blowhard Boone Pickens picked a poor day to criticize President Obama's recent statements of concern about hydraulic fracturing:
TULSA, Okla. - Billionaire energy magnate T. Boone Pickens on Wednesday defended a controversial natural gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, a day after President Barack Obama expressed concern that the process could pollute groundwater.
"That's the first time I ever heard him saying anything about fracking," Pickens said of the drilling method that uses water, sand and other additives to free natural gas underground. "The president, I'm sure, knows very little about fracking.
And Boone knows so much about it. I'm sure he thought the anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster was just exquisite timing for his paean to the virtues of gas drilling.
Pickens, who spoke Wednesday at the 2011 Sustainable Enterprise Conference in Tulsa, said out of the 800,000 wells that have been fracked in the Southwest, he didn't know of a single lawsuit or complaint that arose from the process.
"I've fracked over 3,000 wells myself; they fracked on my ranch yesterday,"
I won't hold my breath waiting for Pickens to comment on this spill. One thing seems clear: these "concerned billionaires" and corporations have no compunction whatsoever about fracking us all.
Update: news report from the local TV station, it was still not under control as of Wednesday night.
The news report is also instructive in its depiction of local resident reaction as "cautiously optimistic." No detractors of Chesapeake are put on camera.
Further Update: As of 3 pm Thursday it appears the well is still not under control, although they are routing the poisonous water into containment vessels. Chesapeake is considering a "top kill" technique to plug the well. They have halted the fracking procedure in seven wells, temporarily.
Originally posted to Dartagnan on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 03:04
Another consequence of deregulation has apparently just... more