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Posted by Ivyslush - Aug 1, 2003 - 10:39am
10 comments on this journal entry.

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Posted: Dec 9, 2012 - 1:24pm

ND waits 11 days to tell public about oil spill
By JAMES MacPHERSON | Associated Press – Fri, Oct 11, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — When a pipeline rupture sent more than 20,000 barrels of crude spewing across a North Dakota wheat field, it took nearly two weeks for officials to tell the public about it.

The break in a Tesoro Corp. pipeline happened in a remote area, and officials say no water was contaminated or wildlife hurt. But environmentalists are skeptical and say it's an example of a boom industry operating too cozily with state regulators.

"It shows an attitude of our current state government and what they think of the public," said Don Morrison, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, an environmental-minded landowner group with more than 700 members in North Dakota. "It's definitely worrisome. There is a pattern in current state government to not involve the public."

The North Dakota Health Department was told about the spill on Sept. 29, after a farmer whose combine's tires were coated in crude discovered oil spewing and gurgling from the ground. Although the state initially thought just 750 barrels of oil was involved, it turned out to be one of the largest spills in North Dakota history — an estimated 20,600 barrels over 7.3 acres of land, or about the size of seven football fields.

Chevron granted access to environmental activists' email accounts
The Guardian
July 2013

Oil giant Chevron has been granted access to "more than 100 email accounts, including environmental activists, journalists, and attorneys" involved in a long-running dispute involving damage "caused by oil drilling" in Ecuador, reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation...

Tar sands exploitation would mean game over for climate, warns leading scientist...
the Guardian on May 19, 2013

Study Finds No Single Cause of Honeybee Deaths

The devastation of American honeybee colonies is the result of a complex stew of factors, including pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity, according to a comprehensive federal study published on Thursday. The problems affect pollination of American agricultural products worth tens of billions of dollars a year...

Al Gore at his blog May 10, 2013—
Yesterday, for the first time in human history, concentrations of carbon dioxide, the primary global warming pollutant, hit 400 parts per million in our planet's atmosphere...
A Building Not Just Green, but Practically Self-Sustaining

The great garbage patch of the Pacific
by Rose Aguilar, the host of Your Call, a daily call-in radio show on KALW in San Francisco
March 9, 2013 

If you listen closely, you can hear the oceans, underwater life, and birds crying. Sometimes they're yelling for help. Plastic is quickly and painfully killing their environment and overall way of life.

If you think I'm exaggerating, watch this heartbreaking trailer for Midway: Message From the Gyre, a forthcoming documentary about Midway Atoll, a collection of three small islands in the North Pacific, where the bodies of tens of thousands of dead baby albatrosses are filled with plastic junk. The islands are more than 2,000 miles (3,219km) from the nearest continent, making it one of the most remote places on earth.

Led by the incredible photographer Chris Jordan, the team behind the film has returned to the island over several years and bore witness to albatrosses dying from starvation, toxicity, and choking caused by human trash. "We walk through the fire of horror and grief, facing the immensity of this tragedy - and our own complicity - head on. The viewer will experience stunning juxtapositions of beauty and horror, destruction and renewal, grief and joy, birth and death, coming out the other side with their heart broken open and their worldview shifted."

Gore raps Obama on climate change in post-Sandy speech

by Edith Honan and Hilary Russ
December 6, 2012

NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore on Thursday sharply criticized President Barack Obama, a fellow Democrat, for failing to make global warming a priority issue, saying action was more urgent than ever after the devastation in the Northeast from Superstorm Sandy.

"I deeply respect our president and I am grateful for the steps that he has taken, but we cannot have four more years of mentioning this occasionally and saying it's too bad that the Congress can't act," Gore told the New York League of Conservation Voters.

Gore was the surprise guest to introduce New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spoke about the city's response to Sandy, which slammed into the city on Oct. 29, killing 43 people, destroying homes, and knocking out power, mass transit and telephone service in huge swaths of the city.

Nationally, the storm caused at least $50 billion in damage and killed at least 131 people, officials said.

Much of Lower Manhattan flooded from the storm surge, a danger many climate scientists warn will become more acute as the burning of fossil fuels contributes to higher global temperatures that speed the melting of polar ice, raising sea levels.

Bloomberg has long sounded alarm bells about climate change and the city's vulnerability to major storms. His blueprint for infrastructure needs, called PlaNYC, aims to cut the city's carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2030 and he has pushed to limit dependence on coal, a leading source of carbon emissions.

Bloomberg showed a picture of Gore and himself painting a city roof with white paint, a technique that keeps temperatures down and helps cut energy consumption.

The mayor also echoed some of Gore's sentiments about leadership in Washington, saying cities were "not waiting for national governments to act on climate change."

But Bloomberg added: "We had help from every part of the federal government. Everything we asked for we had. Now we've got to get some money out of them, but that's another issue."

The city has asked Washington for $9.8 billion to pay for costs from Sandy not covered by insurance or other federal funds.

Much of Gore's remarks centered on leaders in Washington, who he said had abdicated responsibility on carbon as humans treat the atmosphere as an "open sewer."

Gore, a long-time environmental advocate who served under President Bill Clinton, helped raise awareness on climate change by narrating the hit documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," which won two Academy Awards in 2007.

"Our democracy has been hacked," Gore said. "And when the large part of polluters and their ideological allies tell the members of Congress to jump, they do say, 'how high?' And we need leadership in the executive branch as well."

While saying New York must be more prepared for storms, Bloomberg was defiant that the city will not flee from its 520 miles (837 km) of shoreline.

"Let me be clear: We are not going to abandon the waterfront ... But we can't just rebuild what was there and hope for the best. We have to build smarter and stronger and more sustainably," Bloomberg said.

New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked for $41.9 billion in federal disaster assistance, including $9.1 billion for projects to prevent and mitigate damage from future storms. (Editing by Daniel Trotta and Vicki Allen)

Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation’s Underground Water Supply
by Abrahm Lustgarten
December 11, 2012

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.

EPA records show that portions of at least 100 drinking water aquifers have been written off because exemptions have allowed them to be used as dumping grounds.

"You are sacrificing these aquifers," said Mark Williams, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado and a member of a National Science Foundation team studying the effects of energy development on the environment. "By definition, you are putting pollution into them. ... If you are looking 50 to 100 years down the road, this is not a good way to go."



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Posted: Dec 4, 2012 - 11:34am

10 Dumbest Things Fox Said About Climate Change In 2012
Media Matters
December 31, 2012

Why Is the Media Ignoring the Mass Sinkholes Popping Up Around the Country?
by Anthony Gucciardi
Natural Society
December 3, 2012

Have you heard of the massive sinkholes popping up around the nation? Flammable craters spanning acres wide and leaking radiation, monster sinkholes described as ‘apocalyptic’ have forced residents out of homes, expelled radiation into the environment, and are now ushering in concerns about serious Earth changes in the near future. If you’ve heard of these sinkholes, chances are it has been from the alternative media.

It’s a hot issue on forums, some social networking sectors, and certain alternative talk radio programs. Sure, it has come up in some mainstream reports here and there, but there are virtually no in-depth pieces tying everything together. And they often fail to mention the scale of these sinkholes, behemoth anomalies that can swallow up 100 foot trees, houses, with the latest Ohio sinkhole devouring 4 football fields of land. Events that are sending residents scrambling...


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Posted: Dec 3, 2012 - 6:24pm

Canadian Government: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Tar Sands May Double by 2020
by Stephen Lacey
August 8, 2011

A newly-released report from the Canadian government reinforces the looming environmental impact of tar sands oil: As producers ramp up their activity, due in large part from a projected increase in demand from U.S. refineries, greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta’s tar sands could double by 2020 compared to 2010 levels.


5 things to know about the Canada-China investment treaty
CBC News
Oct 27, 2012

The federal government has come under heavy scrutiny from opposition parties and critics alike after Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed an investment treaty with China, formally known as a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA), while at the APEC Summit in Vladivostok, Russia, on Sept.9, 2012.



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Posted: Nov 12, 2012 - 7:26pm

Fight against climate change blocked by Luddites at Big Oil
by Linda McQuaig
The Toronto Star
November 19, 2012

In a report earlier this month, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world’s largest accounting firms, states the world has “passed the critical threshold” and that current carbon reductions amount to “a fraction of what is required against the international commitment to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.”

In order to keep within that limit by 2050, the accounting firm says the world will have to dramatically accelerate its annual pace of carbon reduction — to a rate never before achieved, and then continue at that rate “for 39 consecutive years.” No problem!

That’s if we want to keep warming to just 2 degrees Celsius — which may be too high. So far, we’ve warmed the planet by only 0.8 degrees Celsius — and yet that little bit of warming packs quite a punch, as the U.S. east coast learned last month.

The PwC report notes that, at current rates, we’re headed for 6 degrees of warming by the end of the century.

Yet this alarming news was barely reported. The media apparently didn’t think it necessary to inform us that the Earth has basically been tossed onto the barbecue.

Stand Still for the Apocalypse
By Chris Hedges
November 26, 2012

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided
November 2012
A Report for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics



The Search for BP's Oil

Among their most striking findings are graveyards of recently deceased coral, oiled crab larvae, evidence of bizarre sickness in the phytoplankton and bacterial communities, and a mysterious brown liquid coating large swaths of the ocean floor, snuffing out life underneath. All are worrying signs that the toxins that invaded these waters are not finished wreaking havoc and could, in the months and years to come, lead to consequences as severe as commercial fishery collapses and even species extinction.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the most outspoken scientists doing this research come from Florida and Georgia, coastal states that have so far managed to avoid offshore drilling. Their universities are far less beholden to Big Oil than, say, Louisiana State University, which has received tens of millions from the oil giants. Again and again these scientists have used their independence to correct the official record about how much oil is actually out there, and what it is doing under the waves.

Large new oil spill under investigation off Louisiana's coast

"It was hard to believe I was seeing as much oil in the South Louisiana area again," he wrote on his blog yesterday. "It was even harder to believe that our so called government watchdogs have not closed these fishing grounds!"

BP Oil Spill: Employees Reportedly To Face Manslaughter Charges
The Huffington Post

NEW ORLEANS — Oil giant BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a person familiar with the deal said Thursday.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the deal, also said two BP employees face manslaughter charges over the death of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.

The person said BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress about how much oil was pouring out of the ruptured well. The person declined to say exactly how much the fine in the billions of dollars would be.

BP made a net profit of $5.5 billion in the third quarter, it reported last month.

The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Department of Justice was a $1.2 billion fine imposed on drug maker Pfizer in 2009.

London-based BP PLC said earlier Thursday it was in advanced talks with U.S. agencies. In a statement, BP said the proposed settlement would not include civil claims under the Clean Water Act and other legislation, pending private civil claims and state claims for economic loss.

The Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, sank after the April 20, 2010, explosion. The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil, soiling sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.

Nelda Winslette's grandson Adam Weise, of Yorktown, Texas., was killed in the blast. She says somebody needs to be held accountable, even if it doesn't end her family's pain.

"It just bothers me so bad when I see the commercials on TV and they brag about how the Gulf is back, but they never say anything about the 11 lives that were lost. They want us to forget about it, but they don't know what they've done to the families that lost someone," she said.

The spill exposed lax government oversight and led to a temporary ban on deepwater drilling while officials and the oil industry studied the risks, worked to make it safer and developed better disaster plans.

BP's environmentally-friendly image was tarnished, and independent gas station owners who fly the BP flag claimed they lost business from customers who were upset over the spill. BP chief executive Tony Hayward stepped down after the company's repeated gaffes, including his statement at the height of the crisis: "I'd like my life back."

The cost of BP's spill far surpassed the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. Exxon ultimately settled with the U.S. government for $1 billion, which would be about $1.8 billion today.

The government and plaintiffs' attorneys also sued Transocean Ltd., the rig's owner, and cement contractor Halliburton, but a string of pretrial rulings by a federal judge undermined BP's legal strategy to pin blame on them.

At the time of the explosion, the Deepwater Horizon was drilling into BP's Macondo well. The rig sank two days later.

After several attempts failed, engineers finally were successful in capping the well on July 15, 2010, halting the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico after more than 85 days.

The disaster also created a new lexicon in American vocabulary – such as top kill and junk shot – as crews used innovative solutions to attempt to plug the spewing well with pieces of rubber. As people all over the world watched a live spill camera on the Internet and television, the Obama administration dealt with a political headache, in part because the government grossly underestimated how much crude was spilling into the Gulf.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans was assigned to oversee tens of thousands of court claims spawned by the explosion. A trial date was set, but Barbier postponed it so BP could hammer out a deal with attorneys for Gulf Coast shrimpers, commercial fishermen, charter captains, property owners, environmental groups, restaurants, hotels and others who claim they suffered economic losses after the spill. Relatives of workers killed in the blast also sued.

Barbier gave his preliminary approval to that proposed settlement in May and scheduled a February trial for the remaining claims, including those by the federal government and Gulf states.

In a pretrial court filing, the Justice Department said it would argue that BP's actions and decisions leading up to the deadly blowout amounted to gross negligence.

"We do not use words like `gross negligence' and `willful misconduct' lightly," a Justice Department attorney wrote. "But the fact remains that people died, many suffered injuries to their livelihood, and the Gulf's complex ecosystem was harmed as a result of BP and Transocean's bad acts or omissions."

One of Barbier's rulings possibly insulates Transocean and Halliburton from billions of dollars in liability. Barbier said Transocean and Halliburton weren't obligated to pay for many pollution claims because of contracts they signed with BP.

The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation of the spill. Until now, the only person charged was former BP engineer Kurt Mix, who was arrested in Texas in April on obstruction of justice charges. Mix is accused of deleting text messages about the company's response to the spill, not what happened before the explosion.

The companies also sued each other, although some of those cases were settled last year. BP has sued Transocean for at least $40 billion in damages.

And there are still other claims against BP from financial institutions, casinos and racetracks, insurance companies, local governments and losses caused by a government-imposed moratorium on drilling after the spill.

None of those are covered by BP's proposed settlement with the private lawyers.

A series of government investigations have spread blame for the disaster.

In January 2011, a presidential commission found that the spill was caused by time-saving, cost-cutting decisions by BP, Halliburton and Transocean that created unacceptable risk. The panel didn't point blame at any one individual, concluding the mistakes were caused by systemic problems.

In September 2011, however, a team of Coast Guard officials and federal regulators issued a report that concluded BP bears ultimate responsibility for the spill. The report found BP violated federal regulations, ignored crucial warnings and made bad decisions during the cementing of the well a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

BP has repeatedly said it accepts some responsibility for the spill and will pay what it owes, while urging other companies to pay their share.

BP waived a $75 million cap on its liability for certain economic damage claims under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, though it denied any gross negligence.


Al Gore on Why America Needs a Non-Violent Tahrir Square, Part 1

Exxon gains access to Arctic oil in exchange for teaching Russians to frack
by Elizabeth Souder
The Dallas Morning News
Aug. 30, 2011

Exxon Mobil Corp. signed a deal with Russia's Rosneft that gives the Irving oil giant access to oil in the Arctic in exchange for teaching the Russians to use technology developed here in North Texas.

The companies plan a $3.2 billion exploration program for the Kara Sea on the Arctic Ocean and the Black Sea, they said in a joint press release on Tuesday. Rosneft, Russia's state-owned oil company, will have the option to invest in Exxon drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico and tight oil fields in Texas that require new technology to produce. The companies will also study developing tight oil resources in Siberia.



Top NASA Climatologist Protests Transnational Oil Pipeline
Elianna Mintz
The Talk Radio News Service
August 29, 2011

As President Obama's deadline to approve or disapprove licensing of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline draws closer, NASA's lead climatologist, Dr. James Hansen, addressed reporters at the National Press Club to explain the grave consequences of approving such a project.

"We have a planetary emergency," Hansen, an adjunct professor at the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and at Columbia's Earth Institute, told reporters Monday.



Sun and Sanity
by Ralph Nader
Monday, August 29. 2011

This is the second week of protests, led by Bill McKibben, in front of the White House demanding that President Barack Obama reject a proposed 1700 mile pipeline transporting the dirtiest oil from Alberta, Canada through fragile ecologies down to the Gulf Coast refineries. One thousand people will be arrested there from all fifty states before their demonstration is over. The vast majority voted for Obama and they are plenty angry with his brittleness on environmental issues in general...

Were Obama to look out his White House window and see the arrested and handcuffed demonstrators against this $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline, he might think: "This will upset my environmental supporters, but heck, where can they go in November 2012?"

He is right. No matter what Mr. Obama does to surrender environmental health and safety to corporatist demands, they will vote for him. They certainly won't vote for the Republican corporate mascots. They wouldn't vote for a Green Party candidate either. This is not only the environmentalists' dilemma, it is the liberal/progressive/labor union dilemma as well. They have no bargaining power with Obama...



Do the Koch Brothers Want A Toxic Disaster?
By Robert Greenwald
August 24, 2011

Even though the Koch brothers' businesses put 4.4 million people at risk with pollutants, the Kochs have poured millions into lobbyists' coffers and political contributions to ensure their bottom line stays unchanged by the most basic safety precaution...

The Kochs' disregard for chemical safety policy, and their tactics they employ to duck responsibility and fund policy beneficial to their businesses and their bottom line is a well-oiled machine they've deployed elsewhere in scores of public policy debates. But their assault against potential safety legislation is heightened because the brothers are directly pouring money into Congress. Politicians of both parties on key committees in both chambers of Congress with control over safety legislation have been on the receiving end of KochPAC donations. When the Koch brothers can pollute at will and disregard the safety of so many non-billionaires, one has to inform others and take action to stop the sale of our democracy.

That same model of media manipulation, Gore said, "was transported whole cloth into the climate debate. And some of the exact same people - I can go down a list of their names - are involved in this. And so what do they do? They pay pseudo scientists to pretend to be scientists to put out the message: 'This climate thing, it's nonsense. Man-made CO2 doesn't trap heat. It may be volcanoes.' Bullshit! 'It may be sun spots.' Bullshit! 'It's not getting warmer.' Bullshit!"

BP Disaster a Year Later, Healthcare Crisis Worsens

By Lily Hough
WASHINGTON, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS)

When news of the disastrous BP oil well explosion reached the residents of Jean Lafitte, Louisiana last April, Mayor Tim Kerner did the only thing he could think of to stop the oil from destroying his community. He encouraged everyone in his town to join him on the water, working day and night throughout the disaster to clean-up the spill.

Now, one year after BP managed to cap the runaway well that fouled the Gulf of Mexico with an estimated five million barrels of oil, most of those people are ill.

First 24 hours shaped Japan nuke crisis
By Eric Talmadge and Mari Yamaguchi
Associated Press / July 2, 2011


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Posted: Nov 8, 2012 - 10:43pm

The Fracking Industry's War On The New York Times — And The Truth
by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
October 20, 2011

investigative journalism by the New York Times has brought the paper under attack by the natural gas industry. That campaign of intimidation and obfuscation has been orchestrated by top shelf players like Exxon and Chesapeake aligned with the industry's worst bottom feeders. This coalition has launched an impressive propaganda effort carried by slick PR firms, industry funded front groups and a predictable cabal of right wing industry toadies from cable TV and talk radio. In pitting itself against public disclosure and reasonable regulation, the natural gas industry is once again proving that it is its own worst enemy.

Fracking Suspected in Rash of Earthquakes in Unlikely Places
by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky
December 14, 2011

Ohio is not exactly earthquake country, and yet the area near Youngstown has been struck nine times in eight months by seismic activity...

Seismologists found most of the quakes' epicenters coincided with the location of a 9,000-foot well near downtown Youngstown, into which went leftover liquids from fracking operations in Pennsylvania. "As the wastewater was injected into the well under pressure, the thinking went, some of it might have migrated into deeper rock formations, unclamping ancient faults and allowing the rock to slip," wrote Henry Fountain in The New York Times...

In Arkansas, state officials became so alarmed by a swarm of more than 700 earthquakes that in July they shut down one disposal well, while the operators of three others shut down voluntarily. Since then there has been a significant decrease in earthquakes.

Alarm has also been raised in Oklahoma, where a 5.6 earthquake, the state's largest in history, struck 30 miles east of Oklahoma City on November 5. Oklahoma, a major location for hydraulic fracturing, experienced between 2 and 6 earthquakes a year between 1972 and 2008. In 2010 there were 1,047...

The Big Fracking Bubble: The Scam Behind the Gas Boom
by Jeff Goodell
This story is from the March 15, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone.

Aubrey McClendon, America's second-largest producer of natural gas, has never been afraid of a fight. He has become a billionaire by directing his company, Chesapeake Energy, to blast apart gas-soaked rocks a mile underground and pump the fuel to the surface. "We're the biggest frackers in the world," he declares proudly over a $400 bottle of French Bordeaux at a restaurant he co-owns in his hometown of Oklahoma City. "We frack all the time. What's the big deal?"

McClendon dominates America's supply of natural gas the same way the Tea Party-financing Koch brothers control the nation's pipelines and refineries. Like them, McClendon is an influential right-wing power broker — he helped fund the Swift Boat attacks against John Kerry in 2004, donated $250,000 to the presidential campaign of Rick Perry, and contributed more than $500,000 to stop gay marriage. But unlike his fellow energy czars, McClendon knows how to tone down his politics and present a friendlier, less ideological face to the public. He secretly gave $26 million to the Sierra Club to fight Big Coal, and built a Google-like campus for Chesapeake's 4,600 employees in Oklahoma City, complete with a 63,000-square-foot day care center, a luxurious gym and four cafes manned by cook-to-order chefs. He even voted for Barack Obama because he thought the country needed "an inspirational figure."...

At first, when oil and gas producers confined themselves to fracking in the wide-open spaces of Texas and Oklahoma, nobody much gave a damn. The trouble started in 2007, when drilling operators made a run on the Marcellus Shale, a broad region of gas reserves that stretches through Pennsylvania and up into Ohio and New York. Almost overnight, fracking's technological miracle was recast as the next great environmental menace. The Oscar-nominated film Gasland exposed the dark underbelly of fracking, interviewing residents who could literally light their faucets on fire, thanks to the gas that had contaminated their drinking water. Last year, The New York Times documented how gas drillers were dumping millions of gallons of irradiated wastewater loaded with toxic chemicals into Pennsylvania's rivers and streams, largely without regulatory oversight...

"I was an early optimist about natural gas," says Robert Kennedy Jr., who sits on a panel that's advising Gov. Andrew Cuomo on whether to allow drillers like McClendon to expand into New York. "But after looking into it, I now believe that, without tighter regulations and stricter oversight, the shale-gas boom could turn out to be an economic and environmental disaster."...

Well failures, in fact, are fairly common at drilling sites. I ask Anthony Ingraffea, an engineering professor at Cornell University and a former consultant for oil-service firms, to look at the 141 violations levied against Chesapeake in Pennsylvania last year. According to Ingraffea, 24 of them involved failures of well integrity. "When a well loses integrity, it means the seal is broken and something — usually methane, but it could also be flowback water — is leaking out underground," he says. "And it's impossible to know where it is going, or in what amounts."...

Last year, scientists at Duke University, McClendon's alma mater, published the first rigorous, peer-reviewed study of pollution at drilling and fracking operations. Examining 60 sites in New York and Pennsylvania, they found "systematic evidence for methane contamination" in household drinking water...

The study caused a big stir, in part because it was the first clear evidence that fracking was contaminating drinking water, contrary to the industry's denials...

McClendon, a major benefactor to Duke, fired off a blistering letter to the university, which was printed in the alumni magazine and widely circulated online. He didn't point out any errors by the scientists or question their methodology. Instead, he went after their character, dismissing the study as "more political science than physical science" and accusing them of having a bias against fossil fuels...

When I ask Avner Vengosh, a geochemistry professor who served as a lead author of the study, about McClendon's letter, he laughs lightly. "I have no agenda," he says. "I am a scientist. I report what the evidence I find tells me to report." He and his colleagues visited Chesapeake's headquarters in Oklahoma a few weeks before the study was finished and shared their results with the company. They also offered to consider any data that Chesapeake might have that would challenge their results. "They offered us nothing," says one scientist who attended the meeting...

But McClendon's worst enemy may not be environmentalists or coal companies, but his own recklessness. He played a leading role in creating the fracking bubble by hyping the promise of endless natural gas and sweet-talking Wall Street into funding a massive land grab. If the bubble bursts, Chesapeake's stockholders won't be the only ones who pay the price — the shock waves will be felt throughout the economy, from homeowners who rely on natural gas for heat to manufacturers who were betting on it to power their new factories. Thanks to McClendon's gambles, Chesapeake is struggling to cover $10 billion in long-term debt. In recent weeks, the company has announced it will sell off more land and shut down some production. McClendon also hopes to increase demand and boost gas prices by promoting cars and power plants that run on natural gas, and by cutting deals to export gas to Europe and Asia, where prices are five times higher than in the U.S.

Turning vast stretches of Pennsylvania into a pincushion in order to ship gas to China doesn't exactly mesh with McClendon's emphasis on making America energy independent. But unless something changes, that's precisely where things are headed — on a grand scale...

McClendon may rely on sophisticated new drilling technologies, but at heart, he's driven by the same dream of endless extraction that has gripped oil barons and coal companies since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. In the end, all his talk of energy independence and a cleaner, brighter future boils down to a single demand, as simple as it is disastrous: Drill, baby, drill.

Why Not Frack?
by Bill McKibben
The New York Review of Books
February 26, 2012

First, how much damage is being done to water wells and underground aquifers from methane migration and the chemicals mixed with water and then injected into fracking wells under high pressure? You might call this the "flaming faucet" question, and it has understandably and rightly galvanized many of the local people fighting fracking. The industry claims that there's no problem—that the cement casings they put in the wells keep the chemicals out of layers of soil where drinking water might be found. But rigorous scientific study has been scant, in part because since 2005 (at the urging of then Vice President Dick Cheney, whose former company Halliburton is a major player in the fracking boom), drilling companies have been exempt from federal safe drinking water statutes and hence not required to list the chemicals they push down wells.

Preliminary research from Duke University seemed to indicate that indeed methane was showing up in drinking water; in December, the EPA released its first thorough study, conducted in the Wyoming town of Pavilion, where residents had reported brown, undrinkable water after nearby fracking operations. The EPA concluded that the presence in the water of synthetic compounds such as glycol ethers and the assortment of "other organic components" were "the result of direct mixing of hydraulic fracking fluids with ground water," and told local residents to stop drinking from their wells.

The company involved insisted that the EPA had introduced the contaminants itself; Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, best known for decrying global warming as a "hoax," added that the EPA report was part of "President Obama's war on fossil fuels." But the evidence from Pavilion was a powerful indictment of the industry, and it led several leading doctors to call for a moratorium on fracking pending more health research. "We don't have a great handle on the toxicology of fracking chemicals," said Vikas Kapil, chief medical officer at the National Center for Environmental Health, an arm of the Centers for Disease Control...

In any event, it should by now be clear that fracked gas is not a "bridge fuel" to some cleaner era, but a rickety pier extending indefinitely out into a hotter future. This is one of those (not rare) cases where abundance may prove a great problem.

New York Judge Rules Town Can Ban Gas Hydrofracking
by Mireya Navarro
The New York Times
February 21, 2012

In a victory for opponents of the drilling process known as hydrofracking, a New York State judge ruled on Tuesday that the upstate town of Dryden in Tompkins County can ban natural gas drilling within its boundaries...

EPA Finally Supplies Drinking Water to Pennsylvania Fracking Victims
by Matt Bewig
January 23, 2012

In yet another case of drinking water contamination in areas where energy companies have engaged in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is supplying clean water to some residents of Dimock Township, Pennsylvania (pop.: 1,398), at taxpayer expense.

Apparently concerned that the contamination may be more widespread, EPA will soon begin more extensive testing of the local water supply. In fracking, energy companies use powerful pumps to force pressurized fluid into deep layers of rock, causing fractures, which allow the extraction of otherwise unavailable natural gas or oil...

Officials: 4.0 magnitude quake in northeast Ohio related to wastewater injection well
Star Tribune
article by the Associated Press
updated January 1, 2012

McDONALD, Ohio — Officials said Saturday they believe the latest earthquake activity in northeast Ohio is related to the injection of wastewater into the ground near a fault line, creating enough pressure to cause seismic activity.

The brine wastewater comes from drilling operations that use the so-called fracking process to extract gas from underground shale. But Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Jim Zehringer said during a news teleconference that fracking is not causing the quakes.

"The seismic events are not a direct result of fracking," he said.

Environmentalists and property owners who live near gas drilling wells have questioned the safety of fracking to the environment and public health. Federal regulators have declared the technology safe, however.

Zehringer said four injection wells within a five-mile radius of an already shuttered well in Youngstown will remain inactive while further scientific research is conducted.

A 4.0 magnitude quake Saturday afternoon in McDonald, outside of Youngstown, was the 11th in a series of minor earthquakes in area, many of which have struck near the Youngstown injection well. The quake caused no serious injuries or property damage, Zehringer said.

Thousands of gallons of brine were injected into the well daily until its owner, Northstar Disposal Services LLC, agreed Friday to stop injecting brine into the earth as a precaution while authorities assess any potential links to the quakes...


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Location: Bethany

Posted: Nov 8, 2012 - 10:34pm

Fukushima warning— danger level at nuclear plant jumps to 'serious'
Justin McCurry in Osaka
The Guardian, Wednesday 21 August 2013

The new warning, expected on Wednesday, comes only a day after the nuclear watchdog assigned a much lower ranking when the plant's operator, Tepco, admitted about 300 tonnes of highly toxic water hadleaked from a storage tank at the site.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has now said it will dramatically raise the incident's severity level from one to three on the eight-point scale used by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for radiation releases. Each single-digit increase in the scale actually represents a tenfold increase in the severity of a radiological release, according to the IAEA.


Flow of Tainted Water Is Latest Crisis at Japan Nuclear Plant
April 29, 2013

TOKYO — Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world’s second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain.


Fukushima nuclear disaster lifts Shell profit

by Peter Cripps
The Independent
October 27, 2011

Spiralling oil prices and strong demand for gas after the Fukushima nuclear disaster helped Shell double its profits between July and September.

Europe's largest oil company reported profits of £4.5 billion, up from £2.2 billion, at a time of continued fuel price misery for British motorists.

Shell has benefited from a 48% rise in oil prices — partly caused by unrest in the Middle East and North Africa — as well as a 2% increase in production, excluding asset sales.

Natural gas prices have risen nearly a third after the Fukushima nuclear disaster boosted demand as Japan sought alternative sources of power...

Fukushima Desolation Worst Since Nagasaki as Residents Flee
By Yuriy Humber, Yuji Okada and Stuart Biggs
Bloomberg News
September 27, 2011

Takako Harada, 80, returned to an evacuated area of Iitate village to retrieve her car. Beside her house is an empty cattle pen, the 100 cows slaughtered on government order after radiation from the March 11 atomic disaster saturated the area, forcing 160,000 people to move away and leaving some places uninhabitable for two decades or more...

What's emerging in Japan six months since the nuclear meltdown at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant is a radioactive zone bigger than that left by the 1945 atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While nature reclaims the 20 kilometer (12 mile) no-go zone, Fukushima's $3.2 billion-a-year farm industry is being devastated and tourists that hiked the prefecture's mountains and surfed off its beaches have all but vanished.

The March earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear crisis and left almost 20,000 people dead or missing may cost 17 trillion yen ($223 billion), hindering recovery of the world's third-largest economy from two decades of stagnation...

On April 26, 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl reactor hurled 180 metric tons of nuclear fuel into the atmosphere, creating the world's first exclusion zone of 30 kilometers around a nuclear plant. A quarter of a century later, the zone is still classed as uninhabitable...

Tokyo Electric's decision in the 1960s to name its atomic plant Fukushima Dai-Ichi has today associated a prefecture of about 2 million people that's almost half the size of Belgium with radiation contamination. In contrast, Chernobyl is the name of a small town near the namesake plant in what today is Ukraine...


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Location: Bethany

Posted: Nov 6, 2012 - 10:10pm

The Keystone Pipeline Revolt: Why Mass Arrests are Just the Beginning
by: Bill McKibben
This story is from the October 13, 2011 issue of RollingStone.

We were there for a simple reason: because it was time. After two decades of scientists gravely explaining to politicians that global warming is by far the biggest crisis our planet has ever faced, and politicians nodding politely (or, in the case of the Tea Party, shaking their heads in disbelief), it was time to actually do something about it that went beyond reading books, attending lectures, lobbying congressmen or writing letters to the editor. With Texas on fire and Vermont drowning under record rainfall, it wasn't just our bodies on the line.

The Keystone XL pipeline wraps up every kind of environmental devastation in one 1,700-mile-long disaster. At its source, in the tar sands of Alberta, the mining of this oil-rich bitumen has already destroyed vast swaths of boreal forest and native land - think mountaintop removal, but without the mountain. The biggest machines on earth scrape away the woods and dig down to the oily sand beneath - so far they've only got three percent of the oil, but they've already moved more soil than the Great Wall of China, the Suez Canal, the Aswan Dam and the Pyramid of Cheops combined. The new pipeline - the biggest hose into this reservoir - will increase the rate of extraction, and it will carry that oily sand over some of the most sensitive land on the continent, including the Ogallala aquifer, source of freshwater for the plains. A much smaller precursor pipeline spilled 14 times in the past year.

Even if the oil manages to get safely to the refineries in Texas, it will take a series of local problems and turn them into a planetary one. Because those tar sands are the second-biggest pool of carbon on earth, after the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. Burning up Saudi Arabia is the biggest reason the Earth's temperature has already risen one degree from pre-industrial levels, that epic flood and drought have become ubiquitous, and that the Arctic is melting away. Since we didn't know about climate change when we started in on Saudi Arabia, you can't really blame anyone. But if we do it a second time in Canada, we deserve what we get.

Stand together against the tar-sands scourge

by Robert Redford
The Globe and Mail
November 21, 2011

Working in Vancouver for the past several months has allowed me to spend fall in one of the most spectacular cities in the world, amid the natural splendour and wilderness wonder of British Columbia.

It's been a reminder to me of the close partnership Canadians and Americans have forged as neighbours, bound by geography, history and culture reaching back to our national beginnings. Over the generations, these bonds of common experience and identity have combined to create something even more important: the values we share around the need to stand up for the lands we treasure and love.

Today, together, we need to stand up once more, because the lands we treasure and love are imperilled by a threat we must meet as one.

In Alberta's great boreal forest, one of the last truly wild places on Earth, tar-sands producers have turned an area the size of Chicago into an industrial wasteland and international disgrace...


Keystone XL and Jobs: Just More Pipe Dreams

by Robert Redford
December 11, 2011

This week the GOP leadership, once again, has sided with Big Oil against the will of the American people. They are trying to circumvent President Obama's decision to further investigate the impacts of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. GOP leadership is instead advocating for granting the permit now, or else they will hold up important legislation meant to benefit real people's real lives.

They want you to believe it's about jobs, but that's not what the facts bear out. Just take a look...

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) became the latest source of misinformation on this. He said Thursday that the Keystone XL "will put tens of thousands of Americans to work immediately."

That's just not true.

The project would provide, at most, 6,000 temporary construction jobs, very few of which would be local hires, according to an analysis performed by the U.S. State Department.

"The construction work force would consist of approximately 5,000 to 6,000 workers, including Keystone employees, contractor employees, and construction and environmental inspection staff," the State Department concluded in the executive summary of the final Environmental Impact Statement it published in August. Even that may be pushing it.

Cornell University's Global Labor Institute did its own evaluation, concluding that the project would employ between 2,500 and 4,650 construction workers. "Most jobs created will be temporary and non-local," the institute concluded in its report, appropriately titled, "Pipe Dreams?"...

Congress and Keystone XL: A National Disgrace

by Robert Redford
December 18, 2011

The Congress is ending the year much as it began — playing politics with our nation's future and putting American families at risk to score partisan points.

In the closing act to a shameful year of paralysis and indecision on the issues that matter most, House Republicans held common-sense tax relief for American families hostage to a holiday gift to Big Oil.

After the GOP-led House welded the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline rider onto the tax-relief bill, the Democratic-led Senate went along for the ride, passing a bad piece of legislation rather than being accused of blocking a needed tax cut.

When the United State Congress intentionally ties these two things together, though, it's not a joke: it's a national disgrace...

Punching Back at Big Oil
by Robert Redford
September 24, 2011

First, the Keystone XL, as proposed, would run from Canada across the width of our country to Texas oil refineries and ports. It would carry diluted bitumen, a kind of crude oil, produced from the Alberta tar sands...

The fact is, producing oil from tar sands generates 17 percent more of the carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet than conventional oil in this country. It's 19 percent dirtier than Middle East Sour, 13 percent dirtier than Mexican Heavy and 16 percent dirtier than Venezuelan crudes.


Corporations Wrote a Law Requiring Climate Denial be Taught in School. Tennessee Just Passed It.
by Brian Merchant
March 22, 2012

Would you let corporations decide how climate science gets taught in your kids' classroom? That is exactly what is happening—Tennessee just became the 4th state to pass corporation-written laws dictating how global warming is taught in public schools. And they did it with ALEC.

The American Legislative Exchange Council represents one of the most pernicious trends in modern governance: the increasingly substantial extent to which corporations and wealthy individuals buy direct access to the policy-making process. ALEC may be little known at this point, despite being one of the targets of recent Occupy Wall Street protests, but it is already influencing just about every sphere of our lives...

Keystone XL's Dirty Little Secret
by Jim Hightower
April 9, 2012

The people and companies pushing the tar-sands pipeline don't want you to know that most of this oil won't be made into gasoline for our vehicles.

"It's certainly true," declared Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, "that having Canada as a supplier for our oil is much more comforting than to have other countries supply our oil."

He was referring to the Canadian tar sands oil that TransCanada Corporation intends to move through the Keystone XL pipeline it wants to build from Alberta to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. He and lobbyists for the pipeline assert that filling America's gas tanks with fuel derived from Canadian crude will cut U.S. dependency on the oil we get from unstable and unfriendly nations.

Good point! If it were true. However, ask yourself this question: why go to the expense of piping this stuff 2,000 miles through six states, endangering water supplies and residents with inevitable toxic spills, when there are oil refineries much closer to Canada in the Midwest? What's the advantage of sending Canadian crude to refineries way down in Port Arthur, Texas? Aha — because it's a port!

What the pushers of Keystone want to keep secret from you and me is that this oil will not be made into gasoline for our vehicles. Most of it will be refined into diesel and jet fuel and exported to Europe, China, and Latin America.

The claim that the pipeline will reduce our reliance on OPEC is an outright lie...

The Keystone XL Flim-flam
by Jim Hightower
March 2, 2012

This friendly Canadian corporation, they cried, would send 700,000 barrels of "tar sands crude" oil per day through the 2,000-mile-long pipeline that it would build from Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries on the Gulf Coast. "Less dependence on OPEC," they chant like a mantra, "more gasoline for America, lower prices for consumers." What's not to like?

Well, aside from inevitable environmental damage from pipeline leaks, and the fact that this foreign-owned corporation would use the autocratic power of eminent domain to take land from unwilling sellers along the 2,000 mile route, here's something not to like: The gasoline and diesel that would be made from this Canadian crude would not go to American gas pumps, but to foreign markets.

The dirty little secret that those pushing so urgently for building Keystone XL don't want you to know is that the tar sands oil producers are in cahoots with Texas refineries to move the product onto the lucrative global export market, selling it to buyers in Europe, Latin America and China — not to you and me...

Already, U.S. refineries are exporting records amounts of the gasoline they make. For the first time in 62 years, America is now a net petroleum exporter. Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. exporter of refined petroleum products, is a major lobbyist for Keystone XL. Along with Motiva (an oil refiner jointly owned by Shell and Saudi Aramco) and Total (a French refinery), Valero has signed secret, long-term contracts with Keystone's owner (TransCanada Corp.) and several tar sands oil producers to bring this crude to Port Arthur, Texas. All three have upgraded their refineries there to process diesel for export.

Adding to Big Oil's enjoyment is the fact that the Port Arthur refineries of Valero, Motiva and Total are within a Foreign Trade Zone, giving them special tax breaks for shipping gasoline and diesel out of our country. And adding to the dismay of some U.S. consumers, TransCanada has quietly boasted that Keystone XL would cut gasoline supplies in our Midwestern states, thus raising prices at the pump and siphoning more billions of dollars a year from consumers pockets into the vaults of multinational oil interests...


The Long, Hot March of Climate Change
by Amy Goodman
April 12, 2012

The Pentagon knows it. The world’s largest insurers know it. Now, governments may be overthrown because of it. It is climate change, and it is real. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, last month was the hottest March on record for the United States since 1895, when records were first kept, with average temperatures of 8.6 degrees F above average. More than 15,000 March high-temperature records were broken nationally. Drought, wildfires, tornadoes and other extreme weather events are already plaguing the country...

Back in the U.S., March delivered this year’s first weather disaster that caused more than $1 billion in damage, with tornadoes ravaging four central states and killing 41. Dr. Jeff Masters of the weather website Weather Underground blogged about March that “records not merely smashed, but obliterated.” On March 23, conservative Texas Gov. Rick Perry renewed the state of emergency declared there last year as a result of massive droughts.

Texas lists 1,000 of the state’s 4,710 community water systems under restrictions. Spicewood, Texas, population 1,100, has run dry, and is now getting water trucked in. Residents have severe restrictions on water use. But for Perry, restricting corporations whose greenhouse-gas emissions lead to climate change is heresy.

Mitt Romney is on track to be the Republican candidate for president, with the support of former challengers like Perry. They are already attacking President Obama on climate change. The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, has been promoting legislation in statehouses to oppose any climate legislation, and rallying members of Congress to block federal action, especially by hampering the work of the Environmental Protection Agency. As the Center for Media and Democracy has detailed in its “ALEC Exposed” reporting, ALEC is funded by the country’s major polluters, including ExxonMobil, BP America, Chevron, Peabody Energy, and Koch Industries. The Koch brothers have also funded tea-party groups like FreedomWorks, to create the appearance of grass-roots activism...

Marching Off the Cliff
by Noam Chomsky
In These Times
December 6, 2011

To gain perspective on what's happening in the world, it's sometimes useful to adopt the stance of intelligent extraterrestrial observers viewing the strange doings on Earth. They would be watching in wonder as the richest and most powerful country in world history now leads the lemmings cheerfully off the cliff.

Last month, the International Energy Agency, which was formed on the initiative of U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974, issued its latest report on rapidly increasing carbon emissions from fossil fuel use...

Also last month, the U.S. Department of Energy reported the emissions figures for 2010. Emissions "jumped by the biggest amount on record," The Associated Press reported, meaning that "levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst-case scenario" anticipated by the International Panel on Climate Change in 2007...

Just about every government is taking at least halting steps to do something about the likely impending catastrophe. The United States is leading the way—backward. The Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives is now dismantling environmental measures introduced by Richard Nixon, in many respects the last liberal president.

This reactionary behavior is one of many indications of the crisis of U.S. democracy in the past generation. The gap between public opinion and public policy has grown to a chasm on central issues of current policy debate such as the deficit and jobs. However, thanks to the propaganda offensive, the gap is less than what it should be on the most serious issue on the international agenda today—arguably in history.

The hypothetical extraterrestrial observers can be pardoned if they conclude that we seem to be infected by some kind of lethal insanity.


Fukushima damage leaves spent fuel at risk-U.S. lawmaker
by Roberta Rampton
AlterNet (source: Reuters)
April 16, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) - Japan, with assistance from the U.S. government, needs to do more to move spent fuel rods out of harm's way at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden on Monday.

Wyden, a senior Democratic senator on the Senate Energy committee, toured the ruined Fukushima plant on April 6, and said the damage was far worse than he expected.

"Seeing the extent of the disaster first-hand during my visit conveyed the magnitude of this tragedy and the continuing risks and challenges in a way that news accounts cannot," said Wyden in a letter to Ichiro Fujisaki, Japan's ambassador to the United States.

Last March, an earthquake followed by a tsunami wrecked the Fukushima plant, causing the world's worst nuclear accident in 25 years and prompting global scrutiny of the safety of nuclear power plants...

Fukushima Daiichi Site: Cesium-137 is 85 times greater than at Chernobyl Accident
by Akio Matsumura
updated April 6, 2012

I asked top spent-fuel pools expert Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy, for an explanation of the potential impact of the 11,421 rods.

I received an astounding response from Mr. Alvarez...


Russia Stunned After Japanese Plan To Evacuate 40 Million Revealed
The European Union Times
April 15, 2012

A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared by the Foreign Ministry on the planned re-opening of talks with Japan over the disputed Kuril Islands during the next fortnight states that Russian diplomats were “stunned” after being told by their Japanese counterparts that upwards of 40 million of their peoples were in “extreme danger” of life threatening radiation poisoning and could very well likely be faced with forced evacuations away from their countries eastern most located cities… including the world’s largest one, Tokyo.

The Kuril Islands are located in Russia’s Sakhalin Oblast region and stretch approximately 1,300 km (810 miles) northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater Kuril Ridge and Lesser Kuril Ridge, all of which were captured by Soviet Forces in the closing days of World War II from the Japanese.

The “extreme danger” facing tens of millions of the Japanese peoples is the result of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster that was a series of equipment failures, nuclear meltdowns, and releases of radioactive materials at the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011.

According to this report, Japanese diplomats have signaled to their Russian counterparts that the returning of the Kuril Islands to Japan is “critical” as they have no other place to resettle so many people that would, in essence, become the largest migration of human beings since the 1930’s when Soviet leader Stalin forced tens of millions to resettle Russia’s far eastern regions...

Even though this crisis in Japan has been described as “a nuclear war without a war” and the US Military is being reported is now stocking up on massive amounts of anti-radiation pills in preparation for nuclear fallout, there remains no evidence at all the ordinary peoples are being warned about this danger in any way whatsoever.

Battle to control Fukushima has just 'stored up' dangers
by David McNeill
The Independent
December 16, 2011

Japan's government admitted this week that dismantling the reactors and the 260-tonne lethal cargo of nuclear fuel will take up to 40 years...

Much of the fuel in three of Fukushima Daiichi plant's six reactors has melted through the base of the containment vessels. Engineers are still pumping 4,000 tonnes of water a week on to the fuel to keep it cool, leaving 200,000 tonnes of heavily contaminated water on site. Despite the efforts, the rush to bring the plant under control is storing up complex problems, according to Tomohiko Suzuki, who spent a month working at the plant during the summer and has released a book this week about his experiences. "The question is, can they maintain this temperature for years and years?" he told reporters in Tokyo yesterday. "I believe the problems there are just starting."

First debris from Japanese earthquake/tsunami reaches Olympic Peninsula
by Arwyn Rice 
Peninsula Daily News
December 14, 2011

PORT ANGELES — The first piece of debris that could be identified as washing up on the West Coast from the March 11 tsunami in Japan — a large black float — was found on a Neah Bay beach two weeks ago, Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham said Tuesday night.

Since then, the two researchers, known as DriftBusters Inc. — who have used flotsam to track wind and water currents in the Pacific since 1970 — have learned that the black, 55-gallon drum-sized floats also have been found on Vancouver Island.

Ebbesmeyer and Ingraham spoke to more than 100 people at Peninsula College and brought the float with them, along with examples of other items that may be showing up on beaches in the next year.

Tons of debris washed out to sea when a tsunami struck northern Japan after a massive magnitude-9.0 earthquake March 11.

About a quarter of the 100 million tons of debris from Japan is expected to make landfall on beaches from southern Alaska to California, possibly in volumes large enough to clog ports, Ebbesmeyer said...

Living with Fukushima City's radiation problem
by Ike Teuling
December 8, 2011

We spent four days in Fukushima City doing a radiation survey in the neighbourhoods of Watari and Onami. People there have been left to cope alone in a highly contaminated environment by both the local and national governments. Our radiation experts found hot spots of up to 37 microSieverts per hour in a garden only a few meters away from a house and an accumulation of radioactivity in drainage systems, puddles and ditches. Overall, the radiation levels in these neighbourhoods are so high that people receive an exposure to radiation just from external sources that is ten times the annual allowed dose. How high their internal exposure is from eating contaminated food and inhaling or ingesting radioactive particles remains unknown, since no government program is keeping track of this...

In short, it is clear that the situation in Fukushima is rapidly spinning out of control, and if the national government does not take full responsibility for the protection of its population, the people affected by the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi will continue to suffer for a long time to come.


Why Is the FDA Saying It's OK to Eat Seafood 10,000 Times Over the Safe Limit for Dangerous Carcinogens?
by Brad Jacobson
December 18, 2011

Now a recent study by two of the most tenacious non-government scientists reveals that FDA Gulf seafood "safe levels" allowed 100 to 10,000 times more carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in seafood than what is safe. The overarching issue the report addresses is the failure of the FDA's risk assessment to protect those most vulnerable to the effects of these chemicals, such as young children, pregnant women and high-consumption seafood eaters...

Investigation: Two Years After the BP Spill, A Hidden Health Crisis Festers

by Antonia Juhasz
The Nation Magazine
April 18, 2012

BP released one Exxon Valdez–sized oil spill every three to four days for the eighty-seven days it took to cap the well, for an estimated total of 210 million gallons, plus 500,000 tons of natural gas. It applied some 2 million gallons of Corexit from the air and water. It also conducted about 410 “controlled burns” of the oil on the surface of the water. The spill polluted the air with particulate matter and a visible haze, and polluted the water, exposing Gulf seafood to a host of harmful toxins...

Writing in the American Journal of Disaster Medicine, Dr. Diaz observed that the ailments appearing among Gulf response workers and residents mirrored those reported after previous oil spills, including the Exxon Valdez spill, and warned that chronic adverse health effects, including cancers, liver and kidney disease, mental health disorders, birth defects and developmental disorders—a list that is repeated by several of the NIEHS study physicians—should be anticipated among sensitive populations and those most heavily exposed. In an interview, Diaz added that neurological disorders should also be anticipated...

Arctic methane leaks threaten climate
by Michael Marshall
April 22, 2012

As Arctic sea ice breaks apart, massive amounts of methane could be released into the atmosphere from the cold waters beneath.

High concentrations of the greenhouse gas have been recorded in the air above cracks in the ice. This could be evidence of yet another positive feedback on the warming climate – leading to even faster Arctic warming...

The Chernobyl nuclear disaster: 26 years ago today
by Justin McKeating
April 26, 2012

It’s 26 years later and what have the nuclear industry and its supporters learned?


The nuclear industry still hasn't realized or admitted that its reactors are unsafe. Reactors are vulnerable to any unforeseen combination of technological failures, human errors and natural disasters. That puts the tens of millions of people living near the worlds more than 400 reactors at risk...

Are We in the Midst of a Sixth Mass Extinction?

by Richard Pearson
The New York Times
May 6, 2012

NEARLY 20,000 species of animals and plants around the globe are considered high risks for extinction in the wild...

This should keep us awake at night.

By generalizing from the few groups that we know fairly well — amphibians, birds and mammals — a study in the journal Nature last year concluded that if all species listed as threatened on the Red List were lost over the coming century, and that rate of extinction continued, we would be on track to lose three-quarters or more of all species within a few centuries. We know from the fossil record that such rapid loss of so many species has previously occurred only five times in the past 540 million years. The last mass extinction, around 65 million years ago, wiped out the dinosaurs...

Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet
by Bill McKibben
The Indypendent
June 7, 2012

My solution is: get outraged.

Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies. I’ve come to earth summits and conferences of the parties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, and many places in between.

All along, two things have been clear.

One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the earth about one degree Celsius, and two decades ago it was hard to believe this would be enough to cause huge damage. But it was. We’ve clearly come out of the Holocene and into something else. Forty percent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic. There’s nothing theoretical about any of this any more. Since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere is about 4 percent wetter than it used to be, which has loaded the dice for drought and flood. In my home country, 2011 smashed the record for multibillion-dollar weather disasters—and we were hit nowhere near as badly as some. Thailand’s record flooding late in the year did damage equivalent to 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). That’s almost unbelievable. But it’s not just scientists who have been warning us. Insurance companies—the people in our economy who we ask to analyze risk—have been bellowing in their quiet, actuarial way for years. Here’s Munich Re, the world’s largest insurer, in their 2010 annual report: “The reinsurer has built up the world’s most comprehensive natural catastrophe database, which shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events. For instance, globally, loss-related floods have more than tripled since 1980, and windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise cannot be explained without global warming.”

Two, we have much of the technological know-how we need to make the leap past fossil fuel. Munich Re again: “Whilst climate change cannot be stopped, it can be kept within manageable proportions, thus avoiding the possibility that climate change tipping points will be reached.”

What does this mean in practice? Go to China where, yes, they’re emulating the West by putting up lots of coal-fired power plants. But they’re also busy building, say, solar hot-water heaters: 60 million arrays, providing hot water for 250 million Chinese, almost a quarter of the country—compared with less than 1 percent in America. I could list here a long tally of solutions (wind, geothermal, conservation, bicycles, trains, hybrid cars, tidal power, local food) and I could list an equally long tally of policies that everyone knows would help bring them quickly to pass: most important, of course, putting a stiff price on carbon to reflect the damage it does to the environment. That price signal would put markets to work in a serious way. It wouldn’t guarantee that we could head off climate change, because we’ve waited a very long time to get started, but it’s clearly our best chance...

Oil Wars on the Horizon
by Michael Klare
May 10, 2012 

Six Recent Clashes and Conflicts on a Planet Heading Into Energy Overdrive

Conflict and intrigue over valuable energy supplies have been features of the international landscape for a long time. Major wars over oil have been fought every decade or so since World War I, and smaller engagements have erupted every few years; a flare-up or two in 2012, then, would be part of the normal scheme of things. Instead, what we are now seeing is a whole cluster of oil-related clashes stretching across the globe, involving a dozen or so countries, with more popping up all the time. Consider these flash-points as signals that we are entering an era of intensified conflict over energy.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Argentina to the Philippines, here are the six areas of conflict — all tied to energy supplies — that have made news in just the first few months of 2012...


New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years
by Abrahm Lustgarten
May 1, 2012

A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.

More than 5,000 wells were drilled in the Marcellus between mid-2009 and mid-2010, according to the study, which was published in the journal Ground Water two weeks ago. Operators inject up to 4 million gallons of fluid, under more than 10,000 pounds of pressure, to drill and frack each well.

Scientists have theorized that impermeable layers of rock would keep the fluid, which contains benzene and other dangerous chemicals, safely locked nearly a mile below water supplies. This view of the earth's underground geology is a cornerstone of the industry's argument that fracking poses minimal threats to the environment.

But the study, using computer modeling, concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, exacerbated by the effects of fracking itself, could allow chemicals to reach the surface in as little as "just a few years."...

The Tale of J.R. Simplot's Two-Headed Trout
by Jim Hightower
Common Dreams
March 10, 2012

The corporate propensity for rationalizing the irrational in the pursuit of profit appears to be boundless.

Consider J.R. Simplot, a giant conglomerate whose mining operations in Idaho have grossly polluted creeks with selenium, a highly toxic metal. But Simplot's scientists rationalized the corporation's dirty deed with a 1,000-page study asserting that even though the selenium contamination of creeks was well above levels allowed by environmental law, the water remained "safe" for fish.

Tucked back in the appendix of Simplot's "study," however, were a few photographs that vividly depicted the screaming irrationality of the corporation's safety claims. The most stunning photo was of a two-headed baby trout produced by Simplot's pollution of area creeks. It was not the only sickening deformity caused by the selenium – other trout had facial, fin, and egg disfigurements.

These grotesque mutations led to calls for an independent agency to conduct a full scientific review of Simplot's 1,000-page study. At Sen. Barbara Boxer's request, this was done by the Fish and Wildlife Service, which issued a scathing report in January that bluntly branded the corporate study "biased." For example, Simplot systemically understated the deformity rate of baby fish in the creeks – it's not 20 percent that are deformed, but 70 percent...

From Rocky Flats to Fukushima: this nuclear folly
by Naomi Wolf
The Guardian
February 21, 2012

There's no such thing as safe and accidents are always covered up. So why let Obama build a whole new generation of reactors?

Unknown to the families living in the shadow of the classified facility, deadly plutonium particles were seeded among the stunning beauty of the mountain landscape. As Iversen grew up, she became aware of the growing incidence of bizarre cancers being diagnosed in local children. Iversen's reporting, extensive interviews, and review of FBI and EPA documents, shows how classifying a toxic nuclear site led to the ruin of hundreds of lives — and continues to pose ever-escalating threats as the legacy of what we know about such nuclear contamination is being swept under the rug by developers, energy lobbyists and government agencies colluding with them, at the risk of exposing more of us, more severely.

The nature of the cover-up is incredible: in 1989, the FBI joined forces with the EPA to raid on the plant. The plant, in turn, was owned by the Department of Energy.

"It's the only time in the history of our country that, to my knowledge, two government agencies have raided another," notes Iversen. A grand jury investigation followed the raid, and jurors called for indictments against Rockwell, the manufacturer, and Department of Energy officials. In spite of this, not one indictment was ever issued. The jurors, furious, actually wrote their own report on the contamination and the suppression of the facts — which, astoundingly, still remains under seal.

But cancer rates are telling the tale: they remain elevated in neighborhoods around Rocky Flats 30 years on (plutonium has a half-life of 24,000 years). Recent tests confirm earlier findings: there is still contamination in the soil...

Radioactive waste swamps Japan sewage plants
Al Jazeera's Steve Chao reports from Saitama, August 31, 2011

Environmental experts in Japan are warning of new fallout from the country's nuclear crisis.

Radioactive waste is piling up at several sewerage plants, well away from the crippled Fukushima reactor.

Japan's TEPCO admits further reactor meltdowns

- Tue May 24, 6:38 am ET

TOKYO (AFP) - The operator of Japan's tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant on Tuesday said it believed fuel had partially melted inside three reactors, as long suspected by experts.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said new readings on water gauges indicated that the fuel had dropped to the bottom of the containment vessels of units two and three, matching its earlier assessment of unit one.

Digital Dump
by Samantha L. Stewart
Jul 25, 2011

On the outskirts of Accra lies the Agbogbloshie slum— one of Ghana's largest electronics-waste dumps. Amid black smoke and the stench of burning plastic, a mountain of abandoned motherboards, computer monitors, and hard drives litters the landscape. It is no wonder the locals call it "Sodom and Gomorrah."

25 Years Since Chernobyl by Al Gore
This is from Physicians for Social Responsibility, recipient of the Nobel Prize in 1985...

Radiation and Health— The Japanese Nuclear Crisis and Health Impacts

Radioactive particles are carcinogenic and long-lasting. They tend to lodge in specific organs or parts of the body, thus concentrating their carcinogenic effects.

And no threshold exists for a "safe" level of exposure to radioactive particles, according to the National Academies of Science BIER VII report.

Thus, the "repeated assurances that these emissions are too low to affect health, don't square with what we know," stated Helfand. "Any exposure ... increases risk of cancer."

Strontium-90 is one of those radioactive particles. Because it has chemical properties similar to calcium, strontium in the body tends to collect in the bones and teeth. With a half-life of 29 years, strontium-90 stays in the bones essentially for life, creating a high risk of leukemia and bone cancer.

Other carcinogenic radioactive particles include iodine-131, which collects in the thyroid, where it can cause thyroid cancer; cesium-137, which disperses widely through all body tissues; and plutonium-239, which can cause lung cancer.

Plutonium can also contaminate land, as well as food and water. Helfand notes that, 25 years after the nuclear catastrophe at the Russian nuclear reactor in Chernobyl, the land is still not safe to use. If a large release of nuclear material were to take place in Japan, Helfand observed, "it is conceivable that parts of the metropolitan Tokyo area could be contaminated in this way."

nuclear emergency plan

Wikileaks— Japan Was Warned About Fukushima

And our government, in our name, continues both to seek ways to prosecute WikiLeaks, and to stick by the President's ludicrous 2009 suggestion that we accelerate our national Nuclear Power program. The uncensored real oversight, and the truth about Japan's irresponsibility, are both buried because the illusion of Japan as a successful safe nuclear nation is necessary to President Obama's pitch, and President Obama's pitch is necessary to some labyrinthine political calculation, and to the bottom lines of sundry international corporations.


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Location: Bethany

Posted: Nov 1, 2012 - 9:46am

BP Hauls in $7.7 Billion in Profits, Gulf Fishermen Haul in Shrimp with No Eyes

by Peter Lehner
Natural Resources Defense Council
February 22, 2012

Oil giant BP, the company behind the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reported profits of $7.7 billion for the last quarter of 2011. Company executives and industry analysts sounded bullish about the company's future in a recent New York Times article, saying they had set aside enough money to compensate victims of the Gulf spill and had plans to expand drilling operations in the Gulf.

BP seems to be recovering nicely after the disaster, which killed 11 people and pumped 170 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. But stories from the Gulf suggest that the region is anything but healed.

The Gulf has been plagued with a suite of unexplained afflictions. Gulf fishermen say this is the worst season they can remember, with catches down 80 percent or more. Shrimp boats come home nearly empty, hauling in deformed, discolored shrimp, even shrimp without eyes. Tar balls and dead dolphins still wash up on beaches. Scientists report huge tar mats below the sand, "like vanilla swirl ice cream."...

Ocean Acidification to Hit 300-Million-Year Max
by Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica
March 2, 2012

Some like to point to cycles when dismissing climate change, brushing off warming as simply being the thing that happens right before cooling. In this view, concern about climate change is akin to the naïve worry that half of schools are performing below average. This is why we need context. We need to know whether an observed change is more like a world premiere or a familiar re-run.

A new paper in Science examines the geologic record for context relating to ocean acidification, a lowering of the pH driven by the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The research group (twenty-one scientists from nearly as many different universities) reviewed the evidence from past known or suspected intervals of ocean acidification. The work provides perspective on the current trend as well as the potential consequences. They find that the current rate of ocean acidification puts us on a track that, if continued, would likely be unprecedented in last 300 million years...

While the authors frequently point out the difficulty in teasing apart the effects of ocean acidification and climate change, they argue that this is really an academic exercise. It’s more useful to consider the witches’ brew with all the ingredients—acidification, temperature change, and changes in dissolved oxygen—since, historically, those have come together. That combination produces unequivocally bad news.

The authors conclude, “The current rate of (mainly fossil fuel) CO2 release stands out as capable of driving a combination and magnitude of ocean geochemical changes potentially unparalleled in at least the last 300 million years of Earth history, raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.”

Natural Born Drillers

by Paul Krugman
The New York Times
March 16, 2012

To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe — or pretend to believe — in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. And with prices at the pump on the rise, so is the chant of “Drill, baby, drill.” More and more, Republicans are telling us that gasoline would be cheap and jobs plentiful if only we would stop protecting the environment and let energy companies do whatever they want.

Thus Mitt Romney claims that gasoline prices are high not because of saber-rattling over Iran, but because President Obama won’t allow unrestricted drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal tells readers that America as a whole could have a jobs boom, just like North Dakota, if only the environmentalists would get out of the way.

The irony here is that these claims come just as events are confirming what everyone who did the math already knew, namely, that U.S. energy policy has very little effect either on oil prices or on overall U.S. employment. For the truth is that we’re already having a hydrocarbon boom, with U.S. oil and gas production rising and U.S. fuel imports dropping. If there were any truth to drill-here-drill-now, this boom should have yielded substantially lower gasoline prices and lots of new jobs. Predictably, however, it has done neither...

Historic March Heat Wave Sets New Milestones
by Andrew Freedman
Climate Central
March 19, 2012

The March heat wave continues to shatter longstanding records from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast, with more than 2,200 warm temperature records set during the month so far. It’s quite possible that this March heat wave will be considered an unprecedented event in the U.S. historical record, which extends back to the late 19th century, based on the margin by which records are being exceeded, the wide geographic scope of the heat wave, the duration of the event and the time of year when it is occurring...

Climate of Denial— Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?
by Al Gore
This article appears in the July 7, 2011 issue

The climate crisis, in reality, is a struggle for the soul of America. It is about whether or not we are still capable — given the ill health of our democracy and the current dominance of wealth over reason — of perceiving important and complex realities clearly enough to promote and protect the sustainable well-being of the many. What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.

Global warming close to becoming irreversible — scientists
by Nina Chestney
March 26, 2012

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

"This is the critical decade. If we don't get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines," said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University's climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

Despite this sense of urgency, a new global climate treaty forcing the world's biggest polluters, such as the United States and China, to curb emissions will only be agreed on by 2015 — to enter into force in 2020...

Hurricane Sandy: Problems at Five Nuke Plants

Time For Outrage On Behalf of the Planet
by Bill McKibben
The Indypendent
June 7, 2012

My solution is: get outraged.

Having written the first book about global warming 23 long years ago, I’ve watched the issue unfold across decades, continents, and ideologies. I’ve come to earth summits and conferences of the parties from Rio to Kyoto to Copenhagen, and many places in between.

All along, two things have been clear.

One, the scientists who warned us about climate change were absolutely correct—their only mistake, common among scientists, was in being too conservative. So far we’ve raised the temperature of the earth about one degree Celsius, and two decades ago it was hard to believe this would be enough to cause huge damage. But it was. We’ve clearly come out of the Holocene and into something else. Forty percent of the summer sea ice in the Arctic is gone; the ocean is 30 percent more acidic. There’s nothing theoretical about any of this any more. Since warm air holds more water vapor than cold, the atmosphere is about 4 percent wetter than it used to be, which has loaded the dice for drought and flood. In my home country, 2011 smashed the record for multibillion-dollar weather disasters—and we were hit nowhere near as badly as some. Thailand’s record flooding late in the year did damage equivalent to 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). That’s almost unbelievable. But it’s not just scientists who have been warning us. Insurance companies—the people in our economy who we ask to analyze risk—have been bellowing in their quiet, actuarial way for years. Here’s Munich Re, the world’s largest insurer, in their 2010 annual report: “The reinsurer has built up the world’s most comprehensive natural catastrophe database, which shows a marked increase in the number of weather-related events. For instance, globally, loss-related floods have more than tripled since 1980, and windstorm natural catastrophes more than doubled, with particularly heavy losses from Atlantic hurricanes. This rise cannot be explained without global warming.”

Two, we have much of the technological know-how we need to make the leap past fossil fuel. Munich Re again: “Whilst climate change cannot be stopped, it can be kept within manageable proportions, thus avoiding the possibility that climate change tipping points will be reached.”

What does this mean in practice? Go to China where, yes, they’re emulating the West by putting up lots of coal-fired power plants. But they’re also busy building, say, solar hot-water heaters: 60 million arrays, providing hot water for 250 million Chinese, almost a quarter of the country—compared with less than 1 percent in America. I could list here a long tally of solutions (wind, geothermal, conservation, bicycles, trains, hybrid cars, tidal power, local food) and I could list an equally long tally of policies that everyone knows would help bring them quickly to pass: most important, of course, putting a stiff price on carbon to reflect the damage it does to the environment. That price signal would put markets to work in a serious way. It wouldn’t guarantee that we could head off climate change, because we’ve waited a very long time to get started, but it’s clearly our best chance...

Brazil Chevron oil leak charges to focus on safety
by Jeb Blount, RIO DE JANEIRO
(Additional reporting by Joshua Schneyer in New York and Sabrina Lorenzi in Rio de Janeiro; Editing by Todd Benson and David Gregorio)

Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:12pm EDT

A Brazilian prosecutor plans to allege this week that Chevron and Transocean should not have drilled a deep-water well that leaked in November, legal documents showed, giving a glimpse into expected criminal charges that could slow the rush to develop Brazil's vast offshore oil wealth.

The allegations are part of police and prosecutors' reports being used to assemble criminal indictments against oil company Chevron, drill-rig operator Transocean, and 17 of their executives and employees.

The documents, obtained by Reuters, provided the most detailed look yet at possible causes of the oil leak off Brazil's southern coast. They also outline why prosecutors are seeking criminal charges for what industry watchers note is a relatively small spill at a well that was approved for drilling by Brazilian regulators...

The pending criminal case, along with a record $11 billion environmental lawsuit the prosecutor launched against Chevron in November, show heightened concern over the safety of Brazil's offshore oil boom in the wake of the 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico...

I wouldn't be surprised if Chevron is found to have done a bad job," said Ildo Sauer, an oil and gas expert at the University of São Paulo and Petrobras' former natural gas chief. "But Chevron got approval for its work at every step. It's a farce to attack on Chevron and let the government, with its bigger responsibility, off the hook."

Brazil to charge Chevron executives over fresh oil leak
BBC News
March 17, 2012

Brazilian prosecutors say they will bring criminal charges against 17 executives from the US oil company Chevron and drilling contractor Transocean after a new leak of crude.

The executives have been barred from leaving the country until the investigation concludes.

Chevron halted production in Brazil after the new oil leak was found on the seabed off Brazil earlier this week...

Ocean life on the brink of mass extinctions— study

OSLO (Reuters)
June 21, 2011

Life in the oceans is at imminent risk of the worst spate of extinctions in millions of years due to threats such as climate change and over-fishing, a study showed on Tuesday.

Time was running short to counter hazards such as a collapse of coral reefs or a spread of low-oxygen "dead zones," according to the study led by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

"We now face losing marine species and entire marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, within a single generation," according to the study by 27 experts to be presented to the United Nations.

Climate of Denial— Can science and the truth withstand the merchants of poison?

by Al Gore
This article appears in the July 7, 2011 issue

The climate crisis, in reality, is a struggle for the soul of America. It is about whether or not we are still capable — given the ill health of our democracy and the current dominance of wealth over reason — of perceiving important and complex realities clearly enough to promote and protect the sustainable well-being of the many. What hangs in the balance is the future of civilization as we know it.


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Location: Bethany

Posted: Nov 1, 2012 - 9:46am

STUDY: The Press And The Pipeline

Media Matters analysis shows that as a whole, news coverage of the Keystone XL pipeline between August 1 and December 31 favored pipeline proponents. Although the project would create few long-term employment opportunities, the pipeline was primarily portrayed as a jobs issue. Pro-pipeline voices were quoted more frequently than those opposed, and dubious industry estimates of job creation were uncritically repeated 5 times more often than they were questioned. Meanwhile, concerns about the State Department's review process and potential environmental consequences were often overlooked, particularly by television outlets...


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Location: Bethany

Posted: Nov 1, 2012 - 9:43am

Sandy’s Devastating Impact to Hudson River Includes Widespread Toxic Spills

Fifteen 'Near-Misses' at U.S. Nuclear Plants in 2011
Environment News Service
February 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — The Union of Concerned Scientists has documented 15 "near-misses" at 13 U.S. nuclear plants during 2011 and evaluates the response of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to each event in a report released today...

Problems plague cleanup at Hanford nuclear waste site
by Peter Eisler
USA Today
January 18, 2012

HANFORD SITE, Wash. — Seven decades after scientists came here during World War II to create plutonium for the first atomic bomb, a new generation is struggling with an even more daunting task: cleaning up the radioactive mess.

The U.S. government is building a treatment plant to stabilize and contain 56 million gallons of waste left from a half-century of nuclear weapons production. The radioactive sludge is so dangerous that a few hours of exposure could be fatal. A major leak could contaminate water supplies serving millions across the Northwest. The cleanup is the most complex and costly environmental restoration ever attempted.

And the project is not going well...
Sea radiation from Fukushima seen triple Tepco estimate
(Reporting by Yuko Takeo; Editing by Michael Watson)
September 9, 2011

TOKYO (Reuters) - Radioactive material released into the sea in the Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis is more than triple the amount estimated by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co, Japanese researchers say.

Japan's biggest utility estimated around 4,720 trillion becquerels of cesium-137 and iodine-131 was released into the Pacific Ocean between March 21 and April 30, but researchers at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) put the amount 15,000 trillion becquerels, or terabecquerels...

Huge amounts of contaminated water accumulated during efforts to cool the reactors, with much of it reaching the sea, and radiation has been found in fish, seaweed and other seafood...

Can the oceans continue to feed us?
by Renee Schoof
McClatchy Newspapers
November 10, 2011

WASHINGTON — Far out on the Pacific Ocean, the world's industrial fishing fleets pursue one of the last huge wild hunts — for the tuna eaten by millions of people around the world.

Yet tuna still aren't fished sustainably, something that conservationists and big U.S. tuna companies are trying to fix. This illustrates one part of the pressure on the world's oceans to feed a growing global population, now 7 billion. It also underscores the difficulties people have in balancing what they take against what must be left in order to have enough supplies of healthy wild fish...

History is Made in Australia
by Al Gore
November 7, 2011
This is a historic moment. Australia's Parliament has put the nation's first carbon price into law. With this vote, the world has turned a pivotal corner in the collective effort to solve the climate crisis. This success is the result of the tireless work of an unprecedented coalition that came together to support the legislation, the leadership of Prime Minister Gillard, and the courage of legislators to take a vote that helps to safeguard the future of all Australians.

I have spent enough time in Australia to know that their spirit of independence as a people cannot be underestimated. As the world's leading coal exporter, there's no doubt that opposition to this legislation was fierce. But through determination and commitment, the voice of the people of Australia has rung out loud and clear.

Today, we celebrate. Tomorrow, we do everything we can to ensure that this legislation is successful.

Here Comes the Sun
by Paul Krugman
The New York Times
November 6, 2011

For decades the story of technology has been dominated, in the popular mind and to a large extent in reality, by computing and the things you can do with it. Moore's Law — in which the price of computing power falls roughly 50 percent every 18 months — has powered an ever-expanding range of applications, from faxes to Facebook.

Our mastery of the material world, on the other hand, has advanced much more slowly. The sources of energy, the way we move stuff around, are much the same as they were a generation ago.

But that may be about to change. We are, or at least we should be, on the cusp of an energy transformation, driven by the rapidly falling cost of solar power. That's right, solar power...

Thousands in D.C. protest pipeline
November 6, 2011

WASHINGTON - Thousands of protesters, including a Nobel laureate and a movie star, gathered near the White House on Sunday in opposition to TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.

The demonstration is the latest in a series of White House protests aimed at convincing U.S. President Barack Obama to block the $7 billion project that would carry Alberta oilsands crude through six American states to Gulf Coast refineries...

Greenhouse gases rise by record amount
By Seth Borenstein
Associated Press Science Writer

The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has jumped by a record amount, according to the US department of energy, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.

The figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.

"The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, the co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

The world pumped about 564m more tons (512m metric tons) of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009, an increase of 6%. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries, China, the US and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases.

It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate department of energy figures in the past...

Koch Brother funded Study Confirms Climate Data
by Al Gore
October 26, 2011

Climate skeptics were hoping this study would debunk data proving the existence of the climate crisis— instead it reaffirmed the science:

"Back in 2010, Richard Muller, a Berkeley physicist and self-proclaimed climate skeptic, decided to launch the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project to review the temperature data that underpinned global-warming claims. Remember, this was not long after the Climategate affair had erupted, at a time when skeptics were griping that climatologists had based their claims on faulty temperature data."

"Muller's stated aims were simple. He and his team would scour and re-analyze the climate data, putting all their calculations and methods online. Skeptics cheered the effort. "I'm prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong," wrote Anthony Watts, a blogger who has criticized the quality of the weather stations in the United States that provide temperature data. The Charles G. Koch Foundation even gave Muller's project $150,000 - and the Koch brothers, recall, are hardly fans of mainstream climate science."

"So what are the end results? Muller's team appears to have confirmed the basic tenets of climate science."

With the evidence reconfirmed (again), I would hope that skeptics would rethink their position and join me in pushing our government, and governments around the world, to take steps to solve the climate crisis.

A GOP assault on environmental regulations
Los Angeles Times
October 10, 2011

Republicans in the House are best known for their inflexible opposition to tax hikes and government spending, but that's nothing new for the GOP; what marks this group as different is that it is perhaps the most anti-environment Congress in history. So far, that hasn't had much impact because Republicans control only one house, and Democrats in the Senate have blocked their most extreme attempts to gut the Clean Air and Clean Water acts. But recent legislative moves in the House provide a preview of what's to come in 2013 if the balance of power shifts further in favor of a GOP that is more united than ever in opposition to environmental regulation...

Koch Industries, Keystone XL Pipeline ... a BP on the Prairie?

As the race to develop domestically produced fuels hits a fevered pitch, especially as a reaction to the tensions in the Middle East, politicians from the president on down are seeking a "magic pill" that will solve our energy problems. President Obama promised a "green revolution," with hints at promising wind and solar energy sources during the campaign, but has now done one of his famous backtracks as he pushes the idea of "clean coal." One of the alleged "clean coal" sources his administration has placed under serious consideration is "bituminous coal" (aka "unconventional petroleum deposit'), or simply put ... "tar sands." Tar sands are plentiful in the US and Canada, but environmentally treacherous to mine and transport — yet, this is the "green energy" the Obama administration has leaned toward — with heavy prodding from its most threatening political enemy, Koch Industries — disputed founders of the Tea Party movement.
Koch's Web of Influence

At an EPA hearing last summer, representatives from Koch Industries argued that moderate levels of the toxic chemical dioxin should not be designated as a cancer risk for humans...

The money that Koch (pronounced "coke") has spent on lobbying in Washington has soared in recent years, from $857,000 in 2004 to $20 million in 2008. The Kochs then spent another $20.5 million over the next two years to influence federal policy, as the company's lobbyists and officials sought to mold, gut or kill more than 100 prospective bills or regulations.

Oil is the core of the Koch business empire, and the company's lobbyists and officials have successfully fought to preserve the industry's tax breaks and credits, and to defeat attempts by Congress to regulate greenhouse gases.

But Koch's diversified interests, and thus its lobbying activities, extend far beyond petroleum. Koch companies trade carbon emission credits in Europe and derivatives in the U.S. They make jet fuel in Alaska from North Slope oil, and gasoline in Minnesota from the oil sands of Canada. They raise cattle in Montana and manufacture spandex in China, ethanol in Iowa, fertilizer in Trinidad, nylon in Holland, napkins in France and toilet paper in Wisconsin...

The emergence of "the Koch web - political action, campaign giving, funding of groups engaged in political action and campaigns, conferences to expand political and policy influence - is a striking phenomenon," said Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute...

This article from The New Yorker on August 30, 2010 is incredibly illuminating about the Koch brothers... The New Yorker is the best magazine in the USA... just the facts... enjoy...

Covert Operations 

The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.