Tag Archives: oil pollution

‘Anyone Surprised?’ Kinder Morgan Pipeline Leak Two Days Before Trudeau Buyout Was 48 Times Larger Than First Reported

“With accuracy like that, we should all be very, very worried.’

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-10-2017

Thousands march in opposition to the Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion. (Photo: MeanwhileinCana/Twitter)

Just two days before Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that his government would purchase Kinder Morgan’s faltering and widely opposed Trans Mountain pipeline, British Columbia’s Ministry of Environment said 100 liters of crude oil had leaked at a Kinder Morgan pipeline pump station north of Kamloops—but the company initially refused to confirm the severity of the spill.

On Saturday, with its bailout from the Canadian taxpayer confirmed by Trudeau, Kinder Morgan declared after an investigation that, actually, 4,800 liters of crude oil had leaked during the May 27 spill—48 times more crude than first reported. Continue reading

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An elusive justice—holding parent companies accountable for human rights abuse

A UK judgement on Shell’s operations in Nigeria yet again shows the need to prevent powerful multinationals hiding behind their subsidiaries to dodge accountability for human rights abuses.

By Joe Westby. Published 2-14-2017 by openDemocracy

Local residents survey the aftermath of an oil spill in the Niger River Delta. Photo: Sosialistisk Ungdom/Flickr

Recently, the UK High Court threw out a case brought against oil giant Shell by two impoverished communities in the Niger Delta. It is a blow to the communities in their struggle for justice after suffering years of devastating oil spills.

But the judgement also has wider implications for corporate accountability, making it more difficult to bring future legal cases against UK companies that abuse human rights abroad. As such, the ruling goes to the heart of a situation in which multinational corporations enjoy an impunity that is sharply at odds with their enormous profits and power. It further demonstrates the need for legal reforms that actually improve access of victims of corporate abuse to courts in jurisdictions where large corporations are based (the ‘home’ state). Continue reading

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Company Apologizes for Oil Train Disaster It Acknowledges Was Inevitable

“We’re playing Russian roulette. I think the industry is perfectly willing to put a gun to our heads and risk our lives for the sake of making money. It is abundantly clear this enterprise is unsafe, unsustainable and they don’t know how to manage it.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-5-2016

Mosier, 6-3-2016. Photo: Paloma Ayala

Mosier, 6-3-2016. Photo: Paloma Ayala via Columbia Riverkeepers

As crews continue efforts to contain an oil sheen on the Columbia River and assess the environmental impact of a derailment and resulting fire on Friday, a spokesperson for the oil-by-train company behind the disaster issued an apology to the community of Mosier, Oregon on Saturday.

“I want to apologize to the community,” Union Pacific spokesperson Raquel Espinoza said at a news conference. “This is the type of accident we work to prevent every day.” Continue reading

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Tax Windfall for Deepwater Horizon Settlement a ‘Major Coup for BP’

‘Treating the worst oil spill in U.S. history as an ordinary and necessary business expense boggles the mind’

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-5-2016.

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire while searching for survivors. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon's 126 person crew. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard (public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon. A Coast Guard MH-65C dolphin rescue helicopter and crew document the fire while searching for survivors. Multiple Coast Guard helicopters, planes and cutters responded to rescue the Deepwater Horizon’s 126 person crew. Photo courtesy US Coast Guard (public Domain) via Wikimedia Commons

In the six years since BP‘s catastrophic Deepwater Horizon spill poured millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, environmentalists, Gulf coast residents, and politicians have clamored for justice. But Monday’s historic $20 billion settlement against the oil giant is not what they hoped it would be.

The settlement’s terms are so generous to BP that it amounts to a tax break worth billions—as some observers predicted.

A whopping $15 billion of the $20 billion settlement can be written off by BP as a “normal operating expense,” meaning the multinational corporation will pay only a fraction of the total settlement amount and American taxpayers will be left with the majority of the astronomical costs of the company’s mistake. Continue reading

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In a World Made Toxic, Nearly a Quarter of All Human Deaths Caused by Pollution

Contaminated water, polluted air, chemical waste, climate change, and UV radiation kill 12.6 million people annually, says a new report from the WHO

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2016

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. One in four children's deaths around the world are caused by unhealthy environments, the WHO has found. (Photo: Adam Cohn/flickr/cc.)

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. One in four children’s deaths around the world are caused by unhealthy environments, the WHO has found. (Photo: Adam Cohn/flickr/cc.)

Nearly a quarter of all deaths around the world are caused by living and working in toxic and polluted environments, and the worst affected are children, the poor, and the elderly, a new report (pdf) released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found.

“If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, according to Business Insider.
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‘Climate Not For Sale’ Declares Public as Fossil Fuel Giants Drool over Federal Auction

‘The health of our communities and our public lands should not be auctioned off to the highest bidder’

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2015

"Selling of our public lands to the highest bidder should not be allowed," said Zabrina Arnovitz with Rights For All People, a Colorado-based immigrant justice group that participated in Tuesday's protest. (Photo courtesy of Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversity)

“Selling of our public lands to the highest bidder should not be allowed,” said Zabrina Arnovitz with Rights For All People, a Colorado-based immigrant justice group that participated in Tuesday’s protest. (Photo courtesy of Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversity)

As the federal government moves to sell off public land to private fossil fuel corporations, opponents from across the United States charge that such auctions constitute affronts to local communities, crimes against the climate, and attacks on the common good.

That opposition was demonstrated early on Thursday as people from local and national organizations rallied outside of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) oil and gas lease sale in Lakewood, Colorado—where more than 90,000 acres of publicly-owned land in the central and eastern parts of the state are on the auction block. Continue reading

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With Final Stamp of Approval, White House Places Fate of Arctic in Shell’s Hands

The permit comes days after President Barack Obama announced an upcoming Alaska visit to highlight what he said was ‘one of the greatest challenges we face this century: climate change.’

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-17-2015

Activists in Seattle protest against Shell's Arctic drilling plans. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Activists in Seattle protest against Shell’s Arctic drilling plans. (Photo: Backbone Campaign/flickr/cc)

Placing the “fate of the Arctic” in the care of Big Oil, the Obama administration on Monday granted Shell the final permit to drill deep into the waters off the Alaskan coast.

The permit, issued by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), comes days after President Barack Obama announced an upcoming Alaska visit to highlight what he said was “one of the greatest challenges we face this century: climate change.”

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The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

In order to respond adequately, first we may need to mourn

Written by Per Espen Stoknes, Published 5-14-15 in CommonDreams.

‘To cope with losing our world,’ writes Stoknes, ‘requires us to descend through the anger into mourning and sadness, not speedily bypass them to jump onto the optimism bandwagon or escape into indifference.’ (Photo: Nikola Jones/flickr/cc)

Climate scientists overwhelmingly say that we will face unprecedented warming in the coming decades. Those same scientists, just like you or I, struggle with the emotions that are evoked by these facts and dire projections. My children—who are now 12 and 16—may live in a world warmer than at any time in the previous 3 million years, and may face challenges that we are only just beginning to contemplate, and in many ways may be deprived of the rich, diverse world we grew up in. How do we relate to – and live – with this sad knowledge?

Across different populations, psychological researchers have documented a long list of mental health consequences of climate change: trauma, shock, stress, anxiety, depression, complicated grief, strains on social relationships, substance abuse, sense of hopelessness, fatalism, resignation, loss of autonomy and sense of control, as well as a loss of personal and occupational identity. Continue reading

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The Gulf Oil Spill You Never Heard About May Be the Largest Ever

The AP charges that Taylor Energy Company ‘has downplayed the leak’s extent and environmental impact’

Taylor Wells slick as seen by satellite imagery from September 26, 2011

Taylor Wells slick as seen by satellite imagery from September 26, 2011

Written by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams, published April 17, 2015

While Gulf Coast residents and environmental groups focus on the upcoming five-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, a damning Associated Press investigation has exposed the lingering impacts of a separate 2004 leak in the Gulf of Mexico—one that few people know about, and one that is far worse than the industry wants to admit.

Taylor Energy Company, which formerly operated the oil platform that collapsed during Hurricane Ivan, “has downplayed the leak’s extent and environmental impact, likening it to scores of minor spills and natural seeps the Gulf routinely absorbs,” according to AP journalists Michael Kunzelman and Jeff Donn. Continue reading

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Rolling Bombs and Leaky Pipelines

On Saturday night, a Canadian National Railway (CN) train with 100 tank cars of crude oil derailed about 80 kilometers south of Timmins, Ontario. The derailment was on the CN mainline, in an area inaccessible by road. 29 cars jumped the track, and seven were still burning the following afternoon. An unknown amount of oil was spilled.

Yesterday, twenty five cars of a 109 car CSX train derailed in Adena Village in Fayette County, West Virginia. At least one car ended up in the Kanawha River, while another slammed into a house. At least fourteen cars caught fire, and some exploded. Kelley Gillenwater, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), said that the DEP was told the train was carrying “crude oil and possibly other materials.”

West Virginia, February 16, 2015. Photo via Twitter

West Virginia, February 16, 2015. Photo via Twitter

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