Fracking and Mining Whirl: Everyday Is Earth Day
__Confluence Partners’ plans to build a $1million mall and I don’t know what-all on the Grand Canyon rim, with the support of some Navajo leaders. Special election in the Navajo Nation will impact this project. Update: election results. Check out “Save the Confluence.” Video: Leave It As It IS. Yes!
__Here it comes: with local water supplies running very low and drought settling in on the West Coast, Alaska Bulk Water is ready to package and deliver “big-volume … Sitka water to thirsty southern markets.”
__Captain Kirk to the rescue! William Shatner has a Kickstarter project to raise $30 billion to bail California out of the drought via pipeline. As he says, if a water pipeline springs a leak, “you’re irrigating!”
—100,000+ people in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico are without drinking water, their rivers polluted by oil. Oil went gushing into the rivers as thieves tapped a Pemex pipeline. Drug cartels reportedly involved; last year, Pemex identified “3,674 illegal taps.”
—Chile’s magnificent, pristine river in Patagonia, the Futaleufú, has gained no less a champion than Robert F. Kennedy Jr in efforts to permanently protect the river from mining and other desecrations. Local folks have long fought for this, their struggle now embraced by the Futaleufú Riverkeepers.
Natural gas: history in the making
—Holy moly! Fireballs and explosions at a fracking wastewater injection site near the Greeley-Weld County Airport in Colorado last Friday.
__Atlantic Sunrise, Williams Energy’s planned pipeline from New York City to Georgia, will carry 1.7 billion cubic feet/day of Marcellus Shale natural gas. Similar pipeline projects also underway by other businesses. Meanwhile, a Williams Energy pipeline rupture has expelled “132 barrels of Marcellus Shale condensate” into a West Virginia creek—following another rupture of a Williams Energy pipeline near US 250.
__Who approved this thing? Spectra Corporation and Entergy plan to add “The Algonquin Incremental Market Projects”—a natural gas pipeline—to their Algonquin Pipeline at Beverly, Massachusetts, and run it close by New York’s 42 year old nuclear plant at Indian Point Energy Center and on into Canada. Indian Point Energy Center is about 30 miles from Manhattan.
__Much ado as Pennsylvania Gov Tom Corbett (R), Consol Energy President & CEO Nick Delullis, et ilk, met to celebrate “the start of natural gas drilling activity near Pittsburgh International Airport”. Yep. Much money spent and to be made drilling for gas and exporting most of it, despite frequent mention of “energy independence” at the gala. Btw, Consol Energy sold “five coal mines to Murry [sic.] Energy … [which] only committed to paying for one year of health care” to 1200+ retired workers. Note that Murray Energy “acquired $2.1 billion in employee retirement benefits” as a result of the sale. More here, here and here. More on Murray here, here and here.
__That gas pipeline explosion at a Fresno County sheriff’s gun range in California could be due to Fresno County workers hitting the pipeline while working on a dirt road. Six injured people sent to a local burn unit, “four in critical condition.” Warning signs anywhere around?
__Peer-reviewed study affirms “Gas industry activity ‘most likely’ triggered … earthquakes that shook two North Texas towns from late 2013 through early 2014.” Let the denial begin.
__Finally, the US Supreme Court has ruled that Duke Energy, CMS Energy and other natural gas suppliers “must defend against lawsuits claiming they manipulated prices during the 2000-02 California energy crisis.”
__If they deny it, does it mean it’s true? Russia says it hasn’t made a deal with Greece to run a gas pipeline—the Turkish Stream—through the country in exchange for €5bn.
Oil and people don’t mix real well
__United Steelworkers at Marathon Petroleum’s refinery in Texas City, TX, “rejected the company’s ‘last, best and final’ contract offer.” 150 people would have no jobs if the offer were accepted, and safety policies the workers demand would not only not be met, but actually rolled back.
__325 United Steelworkers at BP Husky oil refinery in Oregon continue to strike, with emphasis on worker safety.
__Lay-offs in the oil industry are increasing as oil prices continue at lower levels (though they are trending upward). CEOS, however, are doing just fine. Royal Dutch Shell’s current CEO pocketed $32.3 million in 2014, “almost three times the amount his predecessor” made in 2013. It’s become so outrageous that shareholders over at BP are reportedly getting upset.
__Schlumberger oil field services to lay off 11,000 workers. That’s in addition to the 9,000 laid off recently. And a third wave of layoffs may be coming.
—A-yip, they done it: the Texas House voted to ban bans on fracking. Grass roots involvement in determining a community’s future? Pffffft.
__ “Trade secrets” work beautifully keeping us in the dark, so nobody’s sure how many gallons have leaked—are still leaking—from Taylor Energy Company’s oil wells off the coast of Louisiana, which began 11 years ago. Video. Update: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fl) has written to the Secretaries of the Interior and Homeland Security, urging their attention to this shameful mess.
—Argentina has sued three British and two US companies for “‘performing illegal acts by entering Argentine territory” — the Falklands/Malvinas — and drilling for oil. Argentina’s action came after “the three British oil companies announced new oil and gas finds north of the islands.”
We’d like to call your attention to …
__”15 Biggest Public-Company Bankruptcies So Far, 2015.” Five of those listed are extractive industries.
__Good on the UK Guardian: a constantly updating counter of barrels of oil, tons of coal and cubic meters of gas being extracted all over this planet.
—Almost 9,000 acres of public land sold for $4.53 million to Graymont Mining of Canada for a limestone mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Several tribes fought the transfer arguing it violates treaty rights under the 1836 Treaty of Washington Ceded Territory. This isn’t over; stay tuned.
__After running tests, “North Carolina officials are advising dozens of residents near Duke Energy coal ash dumps to neither drink nor cook with water from their wells.” Heavy metals contamination.
—There’s more: After vowing to pull-back on coal projects financing, World Bank has increased its fossil fuel support, including coal. Updated press report here. This is occurring in a much larger context, which is attracting increased scrutiny. Video.
Environmental activities (and shenanigans)
__New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced that, by 2030, the city will produce 90% less waste.
—Cornel West added his voice to the divestment movement at Harvard, capping a series of protests called “heat week.” “Sanctions and Divestments: Economic Weapons of Political and Social Change” at the New School April 30 – May 1, open to the public and free.
—An appointee to head up Florida’s Environmental Protection Dept. appeared before the state Senate committee for confirmation and said “Climate change. Climate change. Climate change,” attempting to show that Gov. Rick Scott (R-you had to ask?) really didn’t order state employees to not utter the phrase. Update: Not so fast, say others; recent email releases suggest there was indeed a ban. Go here to express yourself regarding the same shenanigans on-going in Wisconsin. Update: Gov. Scott Walker’s celebrating Earth Day by threatening to cut 57 positions in Wisconsin’s Dept of Natural Resources.
__Second robot sent into the Fukushima # 1 reactor has sent back video, as well as measurements. Tainted water, folks. Update: Radioactive water leaking again into the Pacific as “power outage has shut down all eight water transfer pumps.”
Until next week …
__Get a good glimpse of it before it disappears: Africa’s incredible wetland oasis.
__Some humpback whales are no longer considered endangered. Yay!
__Protect our Mother Earth for the sake of all beings present and future!