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Posts Tagged ‘oil

Oil-by-rail project gets derailed

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It’s tough to find good things to write about on the climate change front these days, especially with the abomination that is Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA, and Trumpola still around…has it been only one year?

Anyway, something positive did happen recently when Washington Governor Jay Inslee rejected a permit that was required for Tesoro-Savage to build the Vancouver Energy oil-by-rail facility, the largest such project in the nation, at the Port of Vancouver. Inslee explained the basis of his decision, which followed a several years long process, in a letter to the state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council:

“When weighing all of the factors considered against the need for and potential benefits of the facility at this location, I believe the record reflects substantial evidence that the project does not meet the broad public interest standard necessary for the Council to recommend site certification.”

Inslee’s action on 29 January followed the Vancouver Port Commissions’ action earlier that month when it voted to not renew the company’s lease if the project did not have all required permits and licenses by March 31. This move effectively ended the project.

According to DeSmog Blog, momentum for the vote “began in November when Don Orange joined the port commission after a resounding victory against a challenger who was heavily funded by the oil industry. Orange, on the other hand, promised to oppose Vancouver Energy’s planned construction of the largest oil-by-rail facility in the country.” Washington State’s Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council recommended in November that the governor should reject the proposed project.

“We will not become just another polluted oil town,” said Rebecca Ponzio, director of the Stand Up To Oil Campaign. “This should be a signal for communities across the country, the oil industry does not get to decide your future. Together, people are always more powerful than the money of oil companies.”

In a written statement issued 30 January, Vancouver Energy officials said Inslee’s endorsement of the council’s “faulty recommendation” sets an “impossible standard for permitting new energy facilities in the state.” In addition Inslee’s decision sends an “anti-development” message that will have far-reaching consequences for industries across the state, Vancouver Energy officials added.

It doesn’t ever have to be development versus the environment…

Image is from the Stand Up To Oil website.

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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

26 August, 2013 at 4:00 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

20 January, 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

13 October, 2011 at 2:15 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

17 May, 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

1 June, 2010 at 8:29 am

ExxonMobil flush with bucks, gushes with confidence

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Ever since the then Exxon Co. devastated the Prince William Sound environment in Alaska and the livelihoods of thousands workers in that area following the Exxon Valdez oil spill 21 years ago, I have to admit the company leaves me cold. And that’s a polite way of putting it.

Each year at about this time I take a moment to consider developments surrounding the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in Alaska’s Prince William Sound on March 24, 1989, spilling about 11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill spread oil on more than 1,200 miles of coastline, closed fisheries and killed thousands of marine mammals and hundreds of thousands of sea birds.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by William DiBenedetto

29 March, 2010 at 9:42 am

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