Archive for tar sands

Maine town to Big Oil: We don't want to bathe in bottled water

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tar sands maple leaf oil Maine

Portland-Montreal Pipe Line (PMPL) is owned by a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Suncor Energy Inc., "both heavily involved in extracting petroleum from oil sands," per a report by the Los Angeles Times. And now PMPL wants to start exporting toxic tar sands crude goo from Canada through South Portland, Maine. You all know what tar sands is, right? If not, please scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of tar sands pipelines.

You'd think by now that impending climate change disaster and that other infamous, short-sighted, corporate disaster-in waiting would be a wake-up call. But no-o-o. Pollution be damned. Fresh air and water? Pfft! The health and well-being of anyone who gets in their way? Meh.

But there is a town in Maine that's not afraid to put up its dukes. The L.A. Times has the story:

On Monday night, the South Portland City Council, including Blake, is expected to pass an ordinance that would prevent the export of crude oil from the waterfront. The product of a relentless 18-month campaign by residents and Maine environmental groups, the measure is a response to plans by Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, or PMPL, to reverse the flow of its import pipeline in order to export oil sands crude from Canada, the same petroleum that would run through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in the Great Plains.

"This isn't an anti-Portland pipeline company measure," Blake said. "It's anti-dirty oil." [...]

Communities along the pipeline route, from Vermont to Maine, also grew alarmed by spills of oil sands crude into Michigan's Kalamazoo River in 2010 and then in a subdivision in Mayflower, Ark., in 2013... The Portland-Montreal pipeline six times crosses the watershed for a major tributary into Sebago Lake, the drinking water source for the greater Portland area.

That can't end well.

One resident's take says it all: "All you need is one break, not even a huge break, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to be drinking and bathing in bottled water."

Bingo.

Please read the entire article at the link.

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TransCanada to small town: Here's $28K. Now shut up about tar sands pipeline project.

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tar sands maple leaf oil

TransCanada is buying an Ottawa town's silence, and it will only cost them a few thousand dollars. TransCanada has aggressively pursued a rather unique "no comment" policy about their gigantic tar sands pipeline proposal. Why? It has to be because TransCanada knows that the project, which is bigger than our own Keystone XL project, is a disaster waiting to happen. Scroll through my many, many posts here to learn about the very real dangers of a tar sands pipeline.

By paying off an entire town, TransCanada can sidestep some of the challenges to the pipeline’s approval. Well, for five years, anyway.

TransCanda's new PR slogan should be, "Money talks so opponents don't have to!"

Via Think Progress:

A small town in Ottawa, Canada will be receiving $28,200 from energy company TransCanada Corp. in exchange for not commenting on the company’s proposed Energy East tar sands pipeline project, according to an agreement attached to the town council’s meeting agenda on June 23.

Under the terms of deal, the town of Mattawa will “not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects” for five years. In exchange for that silence, TransCanada will give Mattawa $28,200, which will ultimately go towards buying a rescue truck for the town. [...] If approved, Energy East would carry about 1.1 million barrels of tar sands crude across Canada each day. That’s more than Keystone XL...

tar sands keystone xl protest climate change disaster

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"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?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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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What I will not write about today: News stories, links, and snarkitude

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frustrated36

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

  • House GOP Finalizes Demands to Raise Debt Ceiling- They want to trade a one-year extension for approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, or for repeal of the Affordable Care Act's risk corridors. What, no Benghazi demands? You're sli-i-ip-ping, GOP.

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk wine bulance

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Climate change? Pfft! say deniers. But money talks, and right now it's screaming.

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climate change Jack and Jill

Climate change, schlimate change, what a bunch of hooey, because, brrr, it's cold! Clearly, that means there's no global warming, right? Wrong.

Psst! Weather is not the same as climate, denier geniuses:

weath·er
noun \ˈwe-thər\

: the state of the air and atmosphere at a particular time and place : the temperature and other outside conditions (such as rain, cloudiness, etc.) at a particular time and place

: bad or stormy weather

vs...

cli·mate
noun \ˈklī-mət\

:  a region of the earth having specified climatic conditions

a: the average course or condition of the weather at a place usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation

Now that that's settled, let's take a little peek at how increasingly extreme weather conditions, likely caused by overall climate change, are affecting more than what we wear. As we speak, we are seeing an alarming economic impact. As I read my morning Los Angeles Times, several articles scattered throughout the Business section caught my eye, and not in a good way:

1. Stocks dive on fresh growth worries:

Stocks were pounded by discouraging data released Monday on manufacturing, auto sales and construction spending.

You're probably asking, "Yeah? So? What does that have to do with climate change?" Plenty:

2. GM, Ford, Toyota auto sales plunge with January's cold weather:

Arctic-like weather across much of the nation put a freeze on January auto sales. [...] General Motors said Monday that its U.S. sales fell 12% in January to 171,486 vehicles compared with the same month a year earlier. [...] The automaker said its sales were the worst in the South, Midwest and Northeast, all areas that suffered from the extreme cold. [...]

Ford Motor Co. said its January fell 7% to 154,644.

Given the difficult weather in our largest sales regions, we are fortunate to have held in at retail as well as we did,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. [...]

Toyota reported January sales results of 146,365 vehicles, a 7.2% decrease from what it sold in the U.S. in the same month a year earlier.

“January was off to a solid start, but the weather conditions slowed industry sales in key markets late in the month,” said Bill Fay, Toyota’s division group vice president and general manager.

but wait there's more smaller

3. Manufacturing activity slows in January; stocks slump:

"A number of comments from the panel cite adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively impacting their businesses in January," said Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

4. California citrus season shortened by December freeze:

Consumers will have less time to get their hands on California citrus this year because of a cold snap in early December that damaged $441-million worth of fruit in the San Joaquin Valley, an industry study released Monday said. [...]

An estimated 40% of the [mandarin orange] crop that remained on trees were lost. That amounts to 4.7-million 40-pound cartons and $150 million in lost revenue. [...]

About 30% of the navel crop was lost in the valley, the heart of the state’s agriculture industry. That amounted to 22 million 40-pound cartons or $260 million worth of navels.

Valley lemon producers lost 20% of their crop, equal to $24 million in lost revenue.

And finally...
tadaa35. 'Polar vortex' wallops fliers' wallets:

Flights canceled in January's "polar vortex" inflicted $2.5 billion in costs on stranded travelers, according to a new analysis. The $2.5-billion figure represents lost productivity, hotel expenses and meals, MasFlight reported. The airline industry lost $75 million to $150 million. [...]

To avoid the hefty fines, airlines are now more likely to cancel flights during bad weather. [...] [T]he weather woes could take a bite out of the bottom line for some of the nation's biggest airlines.

"They'll definitely take a financial hit," Counter said.

All of those stories appeared in just one day, in one section of my paper.

And while all this is taking a financial and emotional toll, we have the filthy, "game over," disaster-in-waiting Keystone XL tar sands pipeline looming.

Hope the weather's good wherever you are, because the overall climate-- whether economic, psychological, political, or meteorological-- is chilling.

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Pres. Obama, just say no to addiction to (tar sands) oil. Please.

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tar sands keystone xl oil pipeline emissions

Excuse me, Official Environmental Review, but the dirtiest oil on earth ("a mixture of clay, sand, rock, and tarry fossil fuel called bitumen, which can be hard as a hockey puck") is brought to you by the Keystone XL "tar sands" pipeline. Then again, tar sands “isn’t oil. This is a pipe-eating, planet-cooking, water-fouling goo. You can’t clean up tar.” Did I mention that, per said report, only 50 permanent jobs would be created?

Get real, State Department. The Arkansas pipeline rupture foreshadows devastating environmental impact. Nevertheless, it looks like the State is leaning toward approving Keystone, even though it would bring the dirtiest oil on earth through America.

Here is some of what the Los Angeles Times had to say:

Environmentalists said the study neglected research that shows the pipeline would play a central role in the planned expansion of oil sands extraction, including a report by the Canadian Assn. of Petroleum Producers. [...] About one-fifth of Alberta's bitumen deposits can be strip-mined. The rest is deeper and would be tapped by injecting superheated steam. Both methods require burning fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide. [...]

[T]he current analysis conceded that mining Alberta's bitumen would generate an average of 17% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil refined in the U.S. It also said that, under certain scenarios, the pipeline could add as much as 27.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually, or the equivalent of putting 5.7 million additional cars on the road. [...]

By [2020], nearly all of Canada's emissions increase will be due to oil sands extraction, the report says.

Environmentalists also point out that the State Department's inspector general is conducting an inquiry into whether the contractor that produced the final impact statement, Environmental Resources Management, failed to disclose recent work it did for TransCanada, resulting in a conflict of interest.

Here is what Chris Hayes had to say:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hayes's astute Special Comment on breaking our, and President Obama's, addiction to fossil fuels included this:

Trillions of dollars of crude oil, of tar sands oil, of coal and natural gas, we have to leave it in the ground. Abandon it there. In other words, we have to stop...

The [Keystone XL] Pipeline is the line in the sand... It is quitting time if we are serious... We have to say no...

No single project is going to be the project that does us in, just like no single drink is what does the drunk in...

If we say we're going to quit today and then push it off to tomorrow, we are not quitting, so let us not fool ourselves. If we spend billions of dollars to tap an entire new keg, a dirty keg at that, we are not quitting. We are sinking further into our dependence and self-destruction...

This fight is far from over. ... The president will have the ultimate say. And he has set the standard very recently in his own State of the Union...

The miracle of those who break addiction is the incredible resolve they somehow manage to find within themselves to counter the inner addict logic... and anyone who breaks free of any addiction digs down and finds some inner strength to say, "No." To stop. To say, "This is the day I start to turn my life around."

And the question is whether we as citizens and Barack Obama as a president, as a human being, can find that strength within himself.

tar sands keystone xl oil pipeline map

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California billionaire may be liberals' answer to the Koch brothers

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austinpowersw393h222

 

There is a lot of good info to read in this article in the Los Angeles Times, but I'll try to concisely sum it all up for you. In as nut shelly a recap as I can muster up, the story goes a little something like this:

There's this evil French Kenyan Marxist liberal tree-hugging progressive California billionaire who also happens to believe there's such a thing as climate change. He's doing what he can to block that infamous disaster-in-waiting project, the dirtiest oil on earth brought to you by the Keystone XL "tar sands" pipeline, because he's no dummy, and he's a no-dummy with a whole lot of money.

And thanks to our ludicrous campaign finance laws, part of that stash o' cash is being used to influence national elections on behalf of environmentalists and the Democratic party. Or as I like to call them, people with foresight. Take that, Koch brothers. The Times calls him the "liberals' counterpoint" to the Kochs. Hey, it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.

[I]n [Tom] Steyer, liberals have a billionaire on their side. Like the Kochs, he is building a vast political network and seizing opportunities provided by loose campaign finance rules to insert himself into elections nationwide. In direct contrast to them, he has made opposition to fossil fuels and the campaign against global warming the center of his activism.

The former financier is an unlikely green icon. Steyer built his fortune with a San Francisco-based hedge fund of the sort that drove protesters to occupy Wall Street. Some of the investments that landed him on the Forbes list of America's wealthiest went into companies he now says are destroying the planet. Adversaries and, in private, at least some erstwhile allies call him a dilettante.

Yet, unlike many others in a parade of super-rich Californians who have made forays into politics, Steyer has proved himself skilled at bringing attention to his cause and himself.

He's racked up some impressive victories, which you can read about in the Times piece.

He may not be every die-hard liberal's cup of political tea, but for those of us who have been concerned about the lack of one percenter lefties who are willing to compete with all those filthy rich conservative donors and activists, this is welcome news.

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