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green and sustainable business

Posts Tagged ‘Big Oil

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

25 years later and

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we’ve learned very little, except that fighting Big Oil and especially ExxonMobil is never-ending.

It’s been 25 years since the Exxon Valdez disaster. It’s a major reason for this blog’s existence; I’ve learned that ExxonMobil is bigger and more powerful than ever, and it’s grip on our lives is unrelenting.

ExxonMobil is an empire with it’s own set of rules; it does nothing that will weaken that empire.

A case in point from Friends of the Earth:

Despite the tragic damage to the ocean, wildlife and people, to say nothing of the score of spills since 24 March 1989, the oil industry and its supporters in Congress are pressuring the Obama administration to rescind a 40-year old ban on the export of U.S. crude oil. Lifting the ban would unleash a flood of oil tankers on our ports, significantly increasing the risk of another disaster.

“The Obama administration is turning a blind eye to the anticipated climate and environmental impacts of exporting fossil fuels like Bakken shale and Powder River Basin coal from the U.S., while at the same time touting a climate plan that claims to reduce our damaging impact here at home,” said Marcie Keever, Friends of the Earth’s Oceans and vessels program director. “On top of that, the administration may actually be considering lifting the ban on U.S. crude oil exports, which would exponentially increase climate change and the risks of more Exxon Valdez and Gulf oil spill disasters.”

An infographic, “Gateway to Extinction,” from Friends of the Earth and Healthy Planet/Healthy People details the potential threats posed by the proposed fossil fuel export terminal and pipeline projects in the Northwest. It also shows how lifting the ban would exponentially increase those threats.

gatewaytoextinction[carrie]10.14.13

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

Does Romney even understand clean, renewable energy?

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No, Mittwit has not a clue. The progressive advocacy group Center for American Progress Action Fund today lacerated the Mittster’s energy policy in an issue brief that says the Romney-Ryan ticket’s opposition to key clean energy investments would result in more jobs shipped overseas and lower American competitiveness.

Despite pledging to protect American employment, the Republican presidential candidate opposes clean energy policies that encourage investment and create jobs on American soil. Romney wrote in a Columbus Dispatch op-ed that, “In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy. This vision has failed.”

“Real energy?” Solar energy is not real? Wind is not real? Someone who can say that with a straight face is the one living in a fantasy world of denial and subservience to the fossil fuel giants. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

September 5, 2012 at 10:20 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

Interagency Group: What the Frack?

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Fracking is getting heat—or at least a lot of attention—at the grassroots and at the federal levels. President Obama this month issued an Executive Order forming an interagency working group “supporting the safe and responsible development of unconventional natural gas resources.”

“Unconventional” in this case is hydraulic fracturing—aka fracking—a natural gas extraction method in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground at high pressure in order to fracture, or crack open, layers of rock, making oil and natural gas accessible. Fracking makes it easier to get at the large deposits of oil and gas from shale formations.

But many also contend that it is risky and, in effect, cruel and unusual punishment to the earth’s crust and water resources. Fracking can release harmful pollutants into the air and underground water tables. There is also alarming evidence that the process causes earthquakes, which apparently is what happened last year at a fracking site near Blackpool, England. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

April 30, 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

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

Have a sustainable, renewable New Year

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This is the time of year when writers, journalists, bloggers or whatever we scribblers have become in an age where communication and connection occurs mostly in 140-word snippets or less take a look back and ahead. Top Ten lists abound; crystal ball thumb-sucking dots the landscape and cyberspace.

I’ll leave that listing and prediction stuff (mostly) to the experts, or at least to those who have managed to stay gainfully and reliably employed over the last 12 months. They must have greater insight, or skills or something.

I do have some observations, for what they are worth:

- The usual word to describe the recovery is fragile but I prefer chimerical. Corporate profits are rebounding, Wall Street’s escape act was hugely successful and Republicans proved once again that America’s short-term memory disorder is firmly entrenched and that lies, inaccuracies, misrepresentations, denials, polarization and fear-mongering is a winning strategy. Well, winning for them – for many the economic recovery is mostly non-existent: unemployment hovers stubbornly around 10 percent; wages continue their decline; the housing market remains in the toilet; energy costs are increasing; the stranglehold of Big Oil and Big Coal continues unabated.

- Whatever the emerging ‘new normal’ is, it’s not much fun – it’s really pretty raw, stressful and uncertain.

- On a personal note: Freelancing should never be construed as working for free! OK? Are we clear?

- Environmentally-speaking, when electric vehicles hit the market in a major and consumer-friendly way—and one, the Chevy Volt, wins Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award—that is stunning and hopeful progress.

- Environmentally-speaking, when a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon occurs and little to nothing occurs to change our dependence on fossil fuel, or regulation of Big Oil, that is stunning and disturbing progress of an entirely different sort.

So ‘here’s to the new boss, same as the old boss.’

Here’s to the New Year, same as the Old Year.

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