Archive for BP

"Only intensive push in next 15 years can stave off climate change disaster"

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tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

The New York Times has an unnerving article about a United Nations report that "only an intensive worldwide push over the next 15 years can stave off" a potential climate change disaster later this century:

The report did find some reasons for cautious optimism. The costs of renewable energy like wind and solar power are now falling so fast that their deployment on a large scale is becoming practical, the report said. In fact, extensive use of renewable energy is already starting in countries such as Denmark and Germany, and to a lesser degree in some American states, including California, Iowa and Texas. [...]

Yet the report found that the emissions problem is still outrunning the will to tackle it, with global emissions rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century than in the last decades of the 20th century.

That was posted today. Yesterday, MSNBC's Alex Witt interviewed  John Fiege, the director and producer of "Above All Else," a documentary about lives affected by the Keystone XL tar sands Pipeline project. Juxtaposing these two reports in one post-- one on impending climate change disaster and the other on a short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting-- should be a wake-up call. But will it be?

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Witt: If completed, the [Keystone XL] pipeline could stretch 2,000 miles from the oil fields of Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast. Deep in the heart of Texas, a group of rural land owners and student activists came together in an unlikely union to protest the construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The property owners claim they were manipulated into signing over their land to TransCanada. The energy company for its part is saying the pipeline is a job creator that will ensure North America's energy independence. What happened next is chronicled in a new documentary titled "Above All Else."...

Fiege: The companies building the pipeline were surprised to see such strong opposition from people who lived there. The thing in east Texas, they don't like a foreign company coming in and taking their property and they know how to fight back so it is an interesting conflict...

The folks who signed, as they learned more about what the Keystone XL pipeline is, and that its whole purpose is to transport tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, they didn't know that when they signed the agreement. They also didn't know that the company did not have the permits it needed to build the pipeline. So they felt like they were manipulated and lied to...

You know, another example of an oil project touted as being "state of the art, cutting edge" was the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf Coast that BP ran that exploded. We've heard this over and over again, where oil companies claim they're using state of the art technology-- they probably are-- but we see this over and over again that this infrastructure is not safe. ...

That's one of the main stories the film tells. If you're an individual, if you're an American and you want to fight back against this and you object to a foreign corporation taking your land and you want to do something about climate change, you are putting yourself at great peril and you're going to be crushed by these enormous corporate powers that have emerged and really taken an outsized, you know, section of power and wealth in our society. I think one thing this film chronicles is really a wake-up call for folks in the middle of the country and the reddest parts of red states who don't think this is a good system to have and feel completely disempowered.

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Oil spills send fish hearts into cardiac arrest

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SickFishw398h239

Who knew fish could have heart troubles? Then again, they're living beings with beating hearts. It's just that it never occurred to me to think about the little (and big) scaly guys in quite those terms. I should have, it's not like I never write about BP, Big Oil, and pollution, right? P.S. At this point, those words are all synonymous.

And they're also lethal.

In my morning Los Angeles Times, I came across a story about fish going into cardiac arrest because of the effects of the BP disaster... a story hidden on page A12. Of course, poisoning our waters is not only a health issue, it's also an economic one, and the two issues merge into one big fat mess.

Take it away, L.A. Times:

In studying the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on bluefin tuna spawning in the Gulf of Mexico, the research team discovered that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, block “signaling pathways” that allow potassium and calcium ions to flow in and out of cardiac cell membranes and sustain normal heart rates. [...]

Their study also suggests that PAH cardiotoxicity was potentially a common form of injury among a broad range of species in the vicinity of the oil spilled into one of the most productive ocean ecosystems in the world.

Previously, cancer was the concern when it came to the toxicity of PAH. Now this. By the way, PAHs are found in coal tar (see how "clean" coal is?), air pollution, urban runoff, and creosote:

Creosote is the portion of chemical products obtained by the distillation of a tar that remains heavier than water, notably useful for its anti-septic and preservative properties.[1] It is produced in some quantities from the burning of wood and coal in blast furnaces and fireplaces; commonly found inside chimney flues when the wood or coal burns incompletely, producing soot and tarry smoke, and is the compound responsible for the preservation and the flavor of meat in the process of smoking. ... The two main types in industrial production are wood-tar creosote and coal-tar creosote. The coal-tar variety, having stronger and more toxic properties..

Study leader Barbara Block is a professor of marine sciences at Stanford. Here's what she had to say:

This raises the possibility that exposure to environmental PAHs in many animals -- including humans -- could lead to cardiac arrhythmias and bradycardia, or slowing of the heart."

Now about that dirty, filthy, disaster-in-waiting, Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline that affects more people than it does fish...

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Gulf Justice?

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A bird covered in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill struggles to climb on to a boom in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: theguardian.com

A bird covered in oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon spill struggles to climb on to a boom in Barataria Bay in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: theguardian.com

Well, maybe there will be some justice for this poor bird and all the other people damaged by flat-out negligence from BP.  Take a look at this story:

From Daily Kos:

The U.S. Department of Justice claims Robert Kaluza's and Donald Vidrine's negligence caused the 11 rig worker deaths in the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which sent nearly 5 million barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. The 23 count indictment accuses them of mishandling a crucial safety test and failing to report abnormally high pressure readings that attorneys say were signs of an impending disaster.

Here's the original story:

Now I'd like to know why it took so long.  I certainly hope these people get locked away for a long, long time but they'll probably just get tax-deductible fines.

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Thursday Links

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Photo: theguardian.com

Photo: theguardian.com

Pete Seeger Testimony Before HUAC - the House Unamerican Activities Committee - on August 18, 1955

Atlanta: Snow, Ice, Sand Send South's Flagship City Reeling (AP)

Excellent news!
BP Deepwater Supervisors Must Face Manslaughter Rep!

Terror Suspect Challenges NSA Surveillance Program

This is very serious:
Egypt to Put 20 Al-Jazeera Journalists on Trial

When 100,000 people sign a petition for you to be deported (from the US - petitioning the White House), don't you rethink your behavior? Apparently Justin Bieber doesn't: he just got arrested in Canada for assaulting a limo driver.
Justin Bieber Charged with Assault

US deep South snow storm maroons motorists

Movement Seen in Talks Over Syria, Despite Gap

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"Natural gas fire continues to burn after well blowout." But, hey, no worries: "So far" no "immediate danger."

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gas explosion blowout gulf maddow show

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Yesterday I posted Here we go again: Natural gas spews “uncontrolled” into Gulf after blowout. I am grateful to Rachel Maddow for being the only news source I happened to see that covered that catastrophe. Please watch the video above for the entire story.

The Los Angeles Times had more coverage, and theirs is titled "Natural gas fire continues to burn after well blowout." After these disasters, the (ir)responsible parties (along with government agencies) rush in to reassure everyone how everything is under control, no worries, there's very little, if any, damage, and yippee! nobody was killed! Like this:

"There is no immediate danger to humans or wildlife" related to the incident, said staff at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Along with the Coast Guard, it is the lead agency responding.

Let's examine how accurate claims like those are in this case:

Blackmon said it was not clear how long it would take to drill a relief well but it would likely take days. [...]

The U.S. Coast Guard restricted vessel traffic within 500 meters of the rig, recommending vessels stay five miles away, said Lt. j.g. Tanner Stiehl. They were also enforcing Federal Aviation Administration temporary restrictions on air travel up to 2,000 feet above the area, he said.

But there's no immediate danger, see. Key word: "Immediate." Because, they say, so far nobody has seen signs of environmental damage. Key words: "So far."

And because there's no immediate danger, vessels and air travelers... keep your distance!

The workers "experienced a loss of control" of the well at 8:45 a.m. Central Time on Tuesday, according to the BSEE. Soon after, inspectors reported a cloud of natural gas above the rig and a light sheen on the water spanning one-half mile by 50 feet.

Blackmon said the environmental impact of the leak had been minimal at this point because what was leaking was "dry natural gas" that evaporated instead of contaminating the air and water.

Well then, so long as it's "dry" gas. Is that anything like, "Hey, at least it's not humid. Dry heat is so much easier to take!"

There are environmental groups that are concerned about potential contamination from condensate, or liquid released with the gas, because condensate contains the carcinogen benzene and other toxic chemicals. Feel reassured now?

Wilma Subra, a chemist from New Iberia, Louisiana and advisor to the non-profit Louisiana Environmental Action Network, was concerned with "how quickly things can go bad in the Gulf." Ya think?

Dave Valentine, a UC Santa Barbara professor of microbial geochemistry who studied the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf, said, "It's not oil. It's not floating to the surface and causing toxicity issues. But there may be this other level of impact and we just haven't been able to study it effectively."

Marine life and "the seafloor community" could be hurt. Again.

The worry stems from the many unknowns. But rest assured, it's all under control.

UPDATE:

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VIDEO- What they don't want you to know about the oil disaster: "People were basically treated as collateral damage by BP."

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BP lies newsweek
corexit dispersant 2
About a week ago, I posted BP still hasn’t paid billions of dollars in fines, other payments to Gulf Coast, environmental groups. As you well know, BP destroyed lives, businesses, the environment, plant life, sea life, and wildlife. They accepted criminal liability in the 2010 oil disaster and were supposed to pay a $4-billion fine.

Additionally, tests confirmed, and Hurricane Isaac exposed, that globs of oil found on Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac came from the 2010 BP spill. The area is still suffering the consequences of BP’s negligence and they should be falling all over themselves to rectify that.

For years I've covered their atrocities (BP has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and environmental crimes), including their use of Corexit, a chemical dispersant that breaks up the oily mess and makes it appear as if it has diminished or even disappeared. Actually, the tiny globs are still around, lingering and endangering lives and the health of anyone who comes in contact with it.

Dispersants accelerate the absorption by the skin of toxic chemicals, and they continue to damage the gulf because they are also easily absorbed into the food chain. Blood tests have shown that oil and dispersant chemicals are “causing big health problems.”

I’ve ranted endlessly about the toxic and lasting effects that chemical dispersant has had on Gulf residents, sea life and wildlife, and complained about how little press coverage the topic has gotten.

Thankfully, a film called "The Big Fix" exposed this, the biggest environmental coverup ever... and Rachel Maddow is right there with them:

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Rachel Maddow:

BP admitted in court that while they were saying publicly and saying to Congress even, that their gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico was only leaking 5,000 barrels a day, that was it, merely a flesh wound. while they said that publicly, not only was that wrong, but they knew it was wrong.

BP as a company internally was having all sort of discussions about how it wasn't 5,000 barrels a day. It was more like 60,000 barrels or maybe even 140,000 barrels a day. But publicly, they kept assuring everybody that it was no big deal, only five.

The important part was not just that BP was wrong or that they didn't know the answer and they were guessing. The important part in their culpability, of course-- the reason they ended up paying the largest corporate fine in history of corporate fines was not because they got it wrong-- it is because they did know the truth and they lied about it. They lied about it publicly, they lied about it to Congress.

"Newsweek" published some remarkable new reporting on the question that ... was expressed to me the most by people who live on the gulf coast and make their living on the water there, three years ago in the middle of that spill, this is what folks worry about more than anything. And now, 3 years later, we are starting to get some answers  about it.

Mark Hertsgaard, Newsweek:

These people were basically treated as collateral damage by BP. As part of BP's coverup, they were willing to sacrifice the health of these workers, hundreds and possibly thousands of them, and also coastal residents, a little 3-year-old boy we write about in this story who was fine until he started breathing this stuff in. And now he got terribly sick.

And let's not forget the gulf eco system where 33%, one-third of the seafood we Americans eat comes out of that gulf. That too was terribly damaged by this use of Corexit. Which is an Orwellian term if I've ever heard one, Corexit as a name for a dispersant. Once you put that with oil it is 52 times more  toxic.

dispersant 2Here's what Nalco has on its Corexit web page:

Prompt deployment of Nalco COREXIT® oil spill dispersants is one very effective and proven method of minimizing the impact of a spill on the environment. When the COREXIT dispersants are deployed on the spilled oil, the oil is broken up into tiny bio-degradable droplets that immediately sink below the surface where they continue to disperse and bio-degrade.  This quickly removes the spilled oil from surface drift…reducing direct exposure to birds, fish and sea animals in the spill environment.  By keeping the oil from adhering to wildlife COREXIT dispersants effectively protect the environment.

BP we care

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BP still hasn't paid billions of dollars in fines, other payments to Gulf Coast, environmental groups

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suck it bp

If you have an ounce of logic in you, then you know that the longer we wait to repair what BP destroyed, the more difficult it will be to fix their mess. BP accepted criminal liability in the 2010 gulf oil disaster and was supposed to pay a $4-billion fine.

And tests confirmed, and Hurricane Isaac exposed, that globs of oil found on Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac came from the 2010 BP spill. The area is still suffering the consequences of BP's negligence and they should be falling all over themselves to rectify that.

BP has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and environmental crimes, because:

BP we care

USA Today:

Saturday marks the third anniversary of the spill in 2010, but only a small fraction of the billions in fines and other money owed by BP has trickled in for use on restoration projects, environmental groups say.

Local, state and environmental groups are banking on money from several sources

However, BP is proud to use their money to pay people to go on the Tee Vee Machine and say reassuring things like this:

bp adbp ad smaller

And they lavish us with ads like this repeatedly force ads like this down our throats:

Here's what's really going on:

Gulf Coast groups say the region is still struggling.

Environmental groups say an unusually high number of sick dolphins are washing up on shore. They're also finding tar balls on beaches, particularly after big storms.

USA Today has all the gory details.

If you really want to get your blood boiling, read this via the Government Accountability Project:

On April 19, 2013, GAP released Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf: Are Public Health and Environmental Tragedies the New Norm for Oil Spill Cleanups? The report details the devastating long-term effects on human health and the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem stemming from BP and the federal government's widespread use of the dispersant Corexit, in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. [...]

Conclusions from the report strongly suggest that the dispersant Corexit was widely applied in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion because it caused the false impression that the oil disappeared. In reality, the oil/Corexit mixture became less visible, yet much more toxic than the oil alone. Nonetheless, indications are that both BP and the government were pleased with what Corexit accomplished. The report is available here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three

"We will clean this up. We will make this right."

We won't hold our breath.

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