Tag Archives: oil spills

‘This Scares Me,’ Says Bill McKibben as Arctic Hits 100.4°F—Hottest Temperature on Record

“100°F about 70 miles north of the Arctic Circle today in Siberia. That’s a first in all of recorded history. We are in a climate emergency.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2020

A graphic shows record heat in the Arctic Circle on Saturday, June 20, 2020. (Image: Screengrab\@ScottDuncanWX)

A small Siberian town north of the Arctic Circle reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, a figure that—if verified—would be the highest temperature reading in the region since record-keeping began in 1885.

“This scares me, I have to say,” environmentalist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben tweeted in response to news of the record-breaking reading in Verkhoyansk, where the average high temperature in June is 68°F. Continue reading

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In Latest Legal Blow to Trump and Dirty Energy, Federal Appeals Court Upholds Block on Keystone XL Permit

“Contrary to what the Trump administration has argued, the law is clear. We won’t sacrifice imperiled species so giant corporations can profit from the dirty fossil fuels that pollute our waters and climate.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-28-2020

“The Trump administration has repeatedly violated the law in its relentless pursuit of seeing Keystone XL built, and it would have been unconscionable to allow this pipeline to be built through rivers, streams and wetlands while it remains tied up in court,” said Doug Hayes, a senior attorney with Sierra Club, following the ruling by the Ninth Circuit. (Photo: Tar Sands Blockade)

In another legal victory for opponents of Keystone XL and similar pipelines, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on Thursday upheld a lower court ruling that suspended a federal fast-track permit for the controversial tar sands project that campaigners for nearly a decade have opposed as a climate-destroying effort of the first order.

Siding with the previous ruling and against the Trump administration, the court’s ruling said the government and fossil fuel companies behind the project “have not demonstrated a sufficient likelihood of success on the merits and probability of irreparable harm to warrant a stay pending appeal.” Continue reading

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Scientists have found oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout in fishes’ livers and on the deep ocean floor

Researchers use Atlantic mackerel for bait on long-lining fishing sampling expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico.. C-IMAGE Consortium, CC BY-ND

Steven Murawski, University of South Florida and Sherryl Gilbert, University of South Florida

Over the decade since the Deepwater Horizon spill, thousands of scientists have analyzed its impact on the Gulf of Mexico. The spill affected many different parts of the Gulf, from coastal marshes to the deep sea.

At the Center for Integrated Modeling and Analysis of the Gulf Ecosystem, or C-IMAGE at the University of South Florida, marine scientists have been analyzing these effects since 2011. C-IMAGE has received funding from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative – a broad, independent research program initially funded by a US$500 million grant from BP, the company held principally responsible for the spill. Continue reading

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Yemen’s deadly ghost ship

An abandoned oil tanker with over a million barrels of oil on board is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

By Chris Baraniuk. Published 2-18-2020 by openDemocracy

he FSO Safer is moored five nautical miles off the coast of Ras Isa on Yemen’s west coast. | Image: Conflict and Environment Observatory

Five miles off the coast of Yemen lies a floating bomb. An oil storage vessel called the FSO Safer has been sitting more or less unattended in the Red Sea for half a decade.

A victim of Yemen’s current civil war, the Safer has fallen in to a dire state of disrepair, with rust spreading around her hull and on-board equipment. She is packed with more than a million barrels of crude oil, which over time is thought to have steadily released flammable gases meaning the Safer could explode if she doesn’t simply begin leaking huge volumes of oil into the sea. Continue reading

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Blow to ‘Powerful Corporate Interests’ as Federal Court Throws Out Pipeline Company Lawsuit Against DAPL Water Protectors

Greenpeace lawyer confident that decision will deter other companies “from abusing the legal system in their quest to bully those who speak truth to power.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-15-2019

Krystal Two Bulls and other defendants celebrated on Thursday after a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit targeting water protectors who organized against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). (Photo: EarthRights International/Twitter)

In a “landmark” ruling on Thursday, a federal court in North Dakota tossed out a “baseless” case against Greenpeace and other environmental and Indigenous activists who organized protests against the deeply controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), which drew thousands of people to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in 2016.

District Judge Billy Roy Wilson dismissed (pdf) all claims against all defendants in a lawsuit brought by fossil fuel giant Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), which sought to hold the water protectors liable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for millions of dollars in alleged damages

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‘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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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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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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Enbridge’s Sandpiper Blues

Image via Facebook

Image via Facebook

On Tuesday, Enbridge Energy announced that the Sandpiper pipeline project will be delayed for at least a year due to permitting problems in Minnesota. The start of construction was to be in 2015, with the pipeline becoming operational in early 2016.

Minnesota regulators have requested a more extensive study of the environmental impacts of six possible routes for the pipeline that have been offered by opponents of Enbridge’s proposed route, which crosses many rivers, streams and wetlands. Enbridge for their part says the alternate routes are longer and more expensive. Furthermore, most don’t terminate in Superior, Wisconsin; the proposed ending spot of the pipeline and a major hub for pipeline distribution.

Needless to say, some were unhappy with the announcement. Calling the pipeline “a very important project” for his state’s oil production, Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority, said;  “The pipeline will provide growing volumes of crude oil a safe and reliable method of transportation to markets around the United States.”

In some ways, Kringstad almost has a point. The alternative method of transporting the oil is by rail, and we’ve seen how that’s been working for them. We’ve discussed exploding Bakken oil trains on a couple occasions; they in no way represent a safe way of transporting the extremely volatile crude coming out of the Bakken field. But – and this is a huge but – all pipelines leak. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when and how much.

Is either alternative worth the possible consequences? We say no. We’d like to see the time, ingenuity and effort the energy companies put into extracting fossil fuel resources being spent on renewable energy sources instead. To see those companies invest in such things as high speed rail instead of blocking such things because they want to sell more gas to individual people. To have them put the general welfare of the people and the planet above profit. To be responsible stewards instead of reprehensible ones.

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