A Fracked Earth News report.
Canada & Keystone
__Canadian voters swept out the Conservatives in favor of Trudeau and the Liberals on Tuesday. Caught up in the momentum were First Nations, voting in large numbers, and, “Bam!” — electing 10 indigenous MPs to the House of Commons (8 Liberal, 2 NDP).
__Canada’s neighbor to the south is still stuck with TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline possibility, however, since Justin Trudeau favors it.
__Charlie Pierce addresses the Keystone XL Pipeline, succinctly and with wicked wit. Don’t miss.
__Meanwhile, Nebraskans opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline packed a courtroom in O’Neill. At issue is the governor’s power to approve major pipeline routes. TransCanada says the issue is now moot, but the land-owners maintain it could re-emerge at any time and, thus, they want it resolved.
Oil, gas & pipelines
__This is heating up! Two California Democratic Congressmen (Ted Lieu-Los Angeles and Mark deSaulnier-Walnut Creek) wrote Attorney General Loretta Lynch about ExxonMobil suppressing–for almost 40 years–scientific research linking fossil fuels use to global warming. Martin O’Malley (D-MD) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are also concerned. Democracy Now! reports.
__10 top oil company executives “support … an ‘effective’ deal to fight global warming at a Paris conference next month.” They’re from BG Group, BP, Eni, Petrelos Mexicanos, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil and Total. Greenpeace’s reaction: “nothing meaningful.” Interesting quotes from the controversy.
__Two Arctic drilling lease sales have been cancelled by the US Interior Department which also denied Statoil’s and Shell’s requests for extensions of existing leases. Nonetheless, Arctic drilling rights are still held by BP, ConocoPhillips, Eni, Hilcorp, Iona and Repsol.
__State and federal governments initially said they would, but now say they won’t, ask for an additional $92 million for the devastating Exxon Valdez accident which unleashed up to 38 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989 — funds which could have been used to find oil still lurking in the sea, endangering the herring fishery.
__Price of a barrel of oil on Thursday: $45.20 WTI and $48.30 Brent.
__Times are so hard, what with oil prices down and all, that Saudi Arabia is delaying paying their infrastructure contractors, some for more than six months.
__European refiners are turning away Russian oil in favor of Saudi oil. Bit of a tit-for-tat going on as Russia has muscled in on the Saudi’s Asian markets.
__A fracking-earthquake link has been established in Oklahoma. What about the impact of such earthquakes on oil storage sites? Rachel Maddow takes a look:
__Concerned about earthquake damage to oil pipelines and storage tanks, Oklahoma is not approving new disposal wells and will “shut in or reduce the amount of water” used by 13 current wells near Cushing, where much crude is stored.
__Wyoming’s oil boom is on the wane, North Dakota has 63 oil rigs operating (down from 181 a year ago), and oil production has slowed in other states. This will be offset, however, by “new production in the Gulf of Mexico”. Gulp.
__Standing resolutely in opposition to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline are eight First Nations, joined by environmental organizations and others. Their motivation? As Chief Na’Moks said, “We don’t want anything from anyone. We just want to keep what we have.” Other chiefs express similar sentiments:
__UK fracking opposition has run into industry push-back. Fracking firm Cuadrilla (drilla?) is “lodging an official complaint” about a Friends of the Earth warning about dangers of fracking. A police investigation is possible in North Yorkshire where people are said to be erroneously identified as aligned with anti-frackers.
__Results of “the first UK experimental survey of public perceptions of shale gas fracking” show “the public have considerable reservations” about fracking, and prefer green energy over fossil fuels which are “polluting, finite and outdated.”
__Bolivia, Ecuador and some other Latin American countries need “an OPEC-like organization [to] help stabilize oil and gas prices,” make them less vulnerable to international price fluctuations and provide some breathing room to develop future strategies.
__In South Sudan, tragedy, as a fiery explosion engulfed a crowd of poor people trying to siphon fuel from a tanker truck. 100+ killed, 50 more injured.
Mining’s past & present, future
__Excerpts from secretly recorded conversations by Don Blankenship, former Massey Energy CEO, are being played to jurors weighing criminal charges against Blankenship for safety violations in the deaths of 29 coal miners at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. Former employees are testifying about working conditions, including lack of safety measures. The judge has warned Blankenship “that safety rules are not on trial” and he’s “not to tell jurors he’s being persecuted by Democrats.”
__Hopi, Navajo, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute and Zuni have proposed a federal-tribal collaborative management plan for Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Bears Ears is “culturally significant and ecologically imperiled,” including by mining.
__Big win for the Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations and for Mother Earth as Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that Rio Tinto Alcan can’t appeal a lower court ruling in favor of those First Nations’ suing “an industry or private company for damaging lands or interfering with their use and occupancy of lands and rivers.”
__Will Canada’s leadership change lead to a reversal “of human rights abuses, including forced labor, sexual violence, and involuntary relocation of communities” in Latin America by Canadian extractive industries? Imposing accountability on the industries is long overdue.
__The Australian government is determined to ram through several huge coal mines in Queensland. The mines threaten floral, fauna and precious water and will require port development and dredging—threatening the Great Barrier Reef.
On the climate change front
__Big, splashy, thoughtful, edition from National Geographic on climate change.
__Fiji, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tokelau have issued a joint plea to larger nations to at least help them relocate their populations to habitable areas with jobs available so they can support themselves. Their lands are sinking as seas rise. C’mon, where’s the help?
__Huge conservation seed vault in the far northern Arctic has shipped “38,073 seed samples to Lebanon and Morocco … to regenerate ancient food crops lost during Syria’s civil war.” First shipment ever—because of war. Meanwhile, Russia has a brand new “giant military base” in the Arctic.
__Mounting concern about the cold North Atlantic Blob’s impact on the jet stream, possibly allowing Siberian cold in and thrusting Europe into a deep, damp winter chill. There’s suggestion of interconnection between El Nino and the Blob.
__”Greenhouse gas emissions in [the EU] have plunged to the lowest level ever recorded,” while economic growth hit 46%. There’s concern, however, that the EU’s emission cuts are slowing.
__Peat fires continue raging in Indonesia are generating toxic pollution. Only rain can extinguish them. “Land licenses” revoked for some companies allegedly causing the fires. Palm oil profits are a major driver of this calamity, but previous “no deforestation” pledges are being abolished.
__So many wildfires in Alaska’s Yukon Flats that the trees simply cannot absorb all the carbon, sending it instead into the atmosphere.
__117 ships, including oil tankers, have now been through the Northwest Passage, conveniently de-iced by global warming. Canada is trying to regulate traffic through the Northwest Passage, but the US and EU consider it international waters.
Positive actions and a set-back
__New round of executive orders from President Obama, “targeting the powerful ‘super pollutants’ [or hydrofluorocarbons] used in air conditioners and refrigerators,” thereby removing “up to 1bn tonnes of carbon pollution globally by 2025.”
__“Personal injury law firms around the United States are lining up plaintiffs for what they say could be ‘mass tort’ actions against agri-chemical giant Monsanto Co” and its Roundup. Lawsuits filed so far in New York, California and Delaware.
__Popcorn companies Pop Secret and Pop Weaver are being urged to stop using “corn seeds that are grown with neonicotinoid insecticides,” bee killers.
__Pipeline meet power line. Clean Line Energy Partners of Texas is running into considerable resistance to its proposed interstate power lines from wind farms.
Neil Young, “Harvest Moon”
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