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Archive for the ‘oil’ Category

Penalties, fracking alter the playing field for energy companies

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deepwater horizonGuest post by Daphne Holmes. She is a writer for arrestrecords.com; reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.

The notorious BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in 2010, considered to be the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry, was the “shock heard ’round the world,” and it is still reverberating. The cause of eleven deaths and a loss of many billions of dollars to the Gulf Coast economy – it has impacted offshore drilling, tourism, and fishing – the BP spill resulted in numerous civil lawsuits and settlements as well as criminal charges. BP is fighting some of these charges and the terms of some settlements, even as it continues to present itself as an environmentally responsible corporate citizen.

Meanwhile, fracking is causing a furor because of concerns about environmental impacts, including groundwater pollution and an alarming increase in earthquake activity in some areas. Activists around the world are working to stop fracking, and activist groups such as Greenpeace have planned legal challenges to fracking in England. Fracking has been challenged in the U.S. as well, with the main battles being between environmentalists and proponents of economic growth. A web site called Fracking Insider keeps track of legal battles and regulatory developments in the fracking industry. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

July 3, 2014 at 4:00 am

Fractures in the Fracking Debate

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frackingMore on fracking : a new web video series designed to provoke discussion and disrupt conventional thinking on a wide variety of contemporary issues released its second episode — about the use of hydraulic fracturing – fracking – and its impacts on economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The “Summits on Tenth” series is a joint project of the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a social change philanthropy and AlterNet, an online source of independent news and commentary. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

October 9, 2013 at 4:00 am

Huge tar sands development in Utah under fire

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tar sandsThe future of tar sands development could reside in a potentially precedent-setting legal battle in Utah.

A coalition of conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and others, recently filed a 253-page “request for agency action” urging the Utah Department of Air Quality to revoke its recent approval of a new oil refinery in Green River, Utah. The refinery is planned by the Calgary-based U.S. Tar Sands. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

August 26, 2013 at 4:00 am

ExxonMobil Adapt to Climate Change? Hah!

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exxonmobil_greenpeaceThe question posed by a guest blogger on ThinkProgress was, “How will ExxonMobil adapt to climate change crisis it helped create?”

Given the oil major’s history the answer should have been pretty obvious, until one saw who wrote the piece: Jane Dale Owen, the granddaughter of Robert Lee Blaffer, one of the founders of Humble Oil and Refining Company, the parent company of ExxonMobil.

Owen is president and founder of Citizens League for Environmental Action Now (CLEAN) www.cleanhouston.org, an organization that provides news, information and education about global and local environmental issues.

Given that background, the premise got somewhat interesting, so let’s see what Owen had to say. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

June 19, 2013 at 5:00 am

Romney energy policy: oil and gas

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And renewables? Fuhgetaboudit! A clean energy economy is the sort of idea that’s impossible to find in Mitt Romney’s approach to energy policy, contained in his 87-page platform document, “Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.”

Romney’s energy program is so bereft of new ideas and so cynically beholding to Big Oil and King Coal that it’s almost breathtaking: basically, whatever the fossil fuel industry wants, Romney is there.

One of the bills he says he’ll introduce on “day one” of his presidency will direct the Department of Interior “to undertake a comprehensive survey of American energy reserves in partnership with exploration companies and initiate leasing in all areas currently approved for exploration.”

There it is—Romney the handmaiden and toady for Big Oil and King Coal on energy policy. Exactly what the economy and the environment needs. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

June 4, 2012 at 2:00 am

BP, Halliburton Ready to Rumble

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A pox on both their houses. Legal battles surrounding the Deepwater Horizon 2010 drilling disaster will be just as messy—and way lengthier—than the spill incident itself.

The latest shots in what bids to be a never-ending exercise in passing the buck and liability were fired last month when oil giant BP went to court in New Orleans claiming that the U.S. contractor Halliburton (you know – Iran, Dick Cheney? That Halliburton) botched the cement work on the doomed oil rig. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

January 20, 2012 at 11:02 am

Chevron, Ecuador and the forever lawsuit

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Back in May I wrote about Chevron’s stubborn refusal to settle an $18 billion lawsuit over oil pollution in Ecuador.

Chevron is on trial in Ecuador for widespread contamination of Amazonian land and water resources in the 1970s by Texaco, which Chevron purchased in 2001. Plaintiffs suing Chevron are challenging the adequacy of a $40 million remediation effort that Texaco completed in 1998. A court-appointed expert in the Ecuadorian litigation has recommended that Chevron be held liable for up to $27.3 billion in damages. In February, an Ecuadoran judge fined the San Ramon oil major $9.5 billion over oil-field contamination in a portion of the Amazon rain forest where Texaco used to drill, working as a partner with the government-run Petroecuador. The fine could increase to $18 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

October 13, 2011 at 2:15 am

No Concessions from Chevron on Ecuador or Anywhere Else

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Among the developments  at Chevron’s recent raucous annual shareholder meeting was the oil company’s stubborn refusal to settle an $18 billion lawsuit over oil pollution in Ecuador.

Chevron is on trial in Ecuador for widespread contamination of Amazonian land and water resources in the 1970s by Texaco, which Chevron purchased in 2001. Plaintiffs suing Chevron are challenging the adequacy of a remediation effort that Texaco completed in 1998. A court-appointed expert in the Ecuadorian litigation has recommended that Chevron be held liable for up to $27.3 billion in damages. In February, an Ecuadoran judge fined the San Ramon oil major $9.5 billion over oil-field contamination in a portion of the Amazon rain forest where Texaco used to drill, working as a partner with the government-run Petroecuador. The fine could increase to $18 billion. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

May 31, 2011 at 2:00 am

Chevron, the socially responsible oil company?

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When you’re a member of the Big Oil club, bragging about your CSR accomplishments and good citizenship rings more than hollow, it is tone deaf and lame from an environmental and climate change perspective and considering the commodity involved.

Chevron forged ahead anyway with its 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report, released this month. It makes these points: The company achieved the safest year in its history; it has reduced total energy consumption by 33 percent since 1992; spent $2 billion with small U.S. businesses and “increased social investment” in communities around the world to $197 million. Yippee-skippee. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

May 17, 2011 at 2:00 am

Deepwater dreaming

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When the Exxon Valdez crashed into Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989 it caused the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Out of that terrible event there was some good: New standards for tanker construction such as double hulls; new laws covering oil spill liability and compensation and a comprehensive regime for oil spill response, cleanup, training and equipment.

For the most part these changes were enacted in a bipartisan fashion – we were shocked, briefly, out of our complacency and ignorance about the danger of supertankers feeding our oil addiction.

We did something then and for the most part it has worked.

Now we’re faced with the Deepwater Horizon disaster and what is the new worst environmental disaster in U.S. history by far. People have died. The “experts” don’t seem to have a solid clue about what to do.

The challenge is enormous – we’re dealing with a well spewing oil more than one mile below the surface of the Gulf. Stopping that flow and dealing with the catastrophic  environmental effects is and will be a harder task than going to the moon.

Is there an opportunity here? Will there finally be a realization that breaking the hold of the oil companies on our economic, environmental and security future is a necessity that must begin now? Is it conceivable that oil companies could change their spots and become energy companies or even (dare it be whispered?) renewable energy companies?

If you dare to dream you might as well dream big.

But this nightmare occurs in a time of partisan and political extremism, with corporations and their legislative minions calling the shots. Is it possible that the level of discourse, influence and the ability to act quickly and collaboratively in this country can be turned on its head?

Of course anything is possible. As Thomas Friedman said on Sunday, “A disaster is a terrible thing to waste.”

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Written by William DiBenedetto

June 1, 2010 at 8:29 am

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