It seems that company has been dumping oil from its Mayflower spill in a wetlands area after all
When news emerged last week that Exxon had surprisingly secured a no-fly zone over the area surrounding its 150,000 gallon spill in Mayflower in Arkansas, most people thought that here was Big Oil up to its tricks again trying to deliberately stop the public and press from seeing the extent of the destruction from the spill.
So activists from Keystone XL Blockade decided they should go and investigate. They heard rumours that Exxon was deliberately pumping oil into wetlands to keep it from public view. But when they tried to get to the affected area, they were turned away several times by police and Exxon spill cleanup workers.
But on Saturday they sneaked back to the oily wetlands. What we already knew is that the spill has already killed ducks and other wildlife, which have been found by cleanup workers.
But the footage taken by activists at the weekend says it all. It seems that Exxon has been dumping oil from its Mayflower spill in a wetlands area after all.
And no wonder they have been trying to keep the public away. The footage (see picture) shows white paper towels scattered over the oil as some unbelievably pathetic attempt to clean up the oil. This is not some banana republic this is America’s backyard and yet the world’s largest and most powerful oil company is using paper towels to clean up a spill and then just leave them there.
If this is the 21st Century cutting edge clean up technology, it’s a complete joke. And it makes you wonder what they would do if there was a spill from the KXL.
Tar Sands Blockade has also been interviewing local residents. One said that the quality of the air is not good. He complained that his eyes were constantly watering, his sinuses were affected. And because of the pollution he could no longer fish in the local lake. Exxon acts “like nothing is wrong”, he said. “They act like it was no big deal”. The local resident accused Exxon of “Bullshit propaganda” over the spill .
Sherry Appleman, who has lived on the shores of Lake Conway for 12 years, …more
Proposed rule seeks better verification of dolphin safety during tuna fishing, addresses WTO’s concerns about uniform standards
The US National Marine Fisheries Service proposed a new rule last Friday that would extend current protections for dolphins to tuna fisheries around the world. By doing so, the rule would improve reporting on dolphin safety and help resolve a bitter World Trade Organization dispute between the United States and Mexico over Dolphin Safe tuna labels.
Photo by Steve Jurvetson
Earth Island’s International Marine Mammal Project (IMMP) developed the Dolphin Safe label in 1990 after a campaign against the killing of dolphins in tuna nets. More than 7 million dolphins have been killed since the method of using purse seine nets to catch tuna was developed in the late 1950’s. In the late 1980’s, the estimates of dolphin deaths ranged from 80,000 to 100,000 each year. Last year, thanks to the Dolphin Safe label, less than 2,000 dolphins are estimated to have died.
In the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean (ETP), which stretches from the coast of southern California down to Peru, and out into the ocean almost to Hawai’i, schools of tuna regularly swim with dolphins. Fishermen learned to target dolphins to catch the tuna, injuring and drowning thousands of dolphins in nets every year.
Dolphin Safe labels on tuna cans mean that dolphins were not deliberately targeted by tuna fishermen and that no dolphins were chased netted or killed during an entire tuna fishing trip. Even accidental death or serious injury of one dolphin is prohibited if a tuna company wishes to use the Dolphin Safe label in the US. IMMP has also developed agreements with individual tuna companies around the world to protect dolphins using the same standards.
Except for Mexico, Venezuela and Colombia (and a few companies in Latin America), most of the world’s tuna industry avoids harming dolphins and abides by the standards for Dolphin Safe tuna. To qualify to use a Dolphin Safe tuna label in the US, tuna companies must provide statements from boat captains that no dolphins were chased or netted during fishing operations.
The government of Mexico continues to allow its tuna fleets to chase, net and kill dolphins. They have tried since 1990 to overturn the US Dolphin Safe standards, but IMMP has fought back and maintained …more
We need action on the scale that’s actually necessary, rather than the scale that appears to be possible
It was never going to be easy to face the ecological crisis. Even back in the 1970s, before climate took center stage, it was clear that we the prosperous were walking far too heavily. And that “environmentalism,” as it was called, was only going to be a small beginning. But it was only when the climate crisis pushed fossil energy into the spotlight that the real stakes were widely recognized. Fossil fuels are the meat and potatoes of industrial civilization, and the need to rapidly and radically reduce their emissions cut right through to the heart of the great American dream. And the European dream. And, inevitably, the Chinese dream as well.
Decades later, 81percent of global energy is still supplied by the fossil fuels: coal, gas, and oil. And though the solar revolution is finally beginning, the day is late. The Arctic is melting, and, soon, as each year the northern ocean lies bare beneath the summer sun, the warming will accelerate. Moreover, our plight is becoming visible. We have discovered, to our considerable astonishment, that most of the fossil fuel on the books of our largest corporations is “unburnable” — in the precise sense that, if we burn it, we are doomed. Not that we know what to do with this rather strange knowledge. Also, even as China rises, it’s obvious that it’s not the last in line for the promised land. Billions of people, all around the world, watch the wealthy on TV, and most all of them want a drink from the well of modern prosperity. Why wouldn’t they? Life belongs to us all, as does the Earth.
The challenge, in short, is rather daunting.
The denial of the challenge, on the other hand, always came ready-made. As Francis Bacon said so long ago: “what a man would rather were true, he more readily believes.” And we really did want to believe that ours was still a boundless world. The alternative — an honest reckoning — was just too challenging. For one thing, there was no obvious way to reconcile the Earth’s finitude with the relentless expansion of the capitalist market. And as long as we believed in a world without limits, there was no need to see that economic stratification would again become a fatal issue. Sure, our world was bitterly riven between haves and have-nots, but this problem, too, would fade in time. With enough growth – the universal balm – redistribution would never …more
Bank-funded palm oil company implicated in “death squad” killings of land-rights activists
The World Bank is facing intense pressure from human rights and environmental groups to cancel a $30 million loan to a palm oil company in Honduras that’s suspected of being involved in the murder of scores of small-scale Indigenous farmers in the country’s Aguan river valley.
Photos by hondurasdelegation/Flickr
The company, Grupo Dinant, is alleged to have violently confiscated thousands of acres of land from local residents in the fertile valley region on the country’s northeast coast. International human rights groups claim Grupo Dinant is responsible for displacing and assassinating subsistence-level farmers, who are seen as a threat to the land-intensive monoculture needed for palm-oil production.
The groups have documented dozens of murders of farmers, activists, and their supporters since 2010 in connection with the land conflict in Aguan. The NGOs’ research also claims to implicate security guards employed local palm producers, including Grupo Dinant, in many of the killings.
The World Bank has sought to downplay the violence. In its most recent assessment of the loan it stated that “Dinant understands the importance of having good relationships with their neighboring communities and are [sic] quite proactive in this regard.”
But critics say human rights violations remain commonplace in Aguan – and that community leaders and activists are still being targeted for assassination.
On February 23, 2013, the bodies of two villagers were found with their hands bound together, evidently having been tortured before execution. A week earlier the leader of a farmers’ union was shot to death in front of his wife. In all, at least 91 people have been slain by “death squads” in this small river valley in the last three years.
Victims have been gunned down while travelling or working, at demonstrations, during evictions, or abducted and later found dead.
“There is a situation of endemic repression and violations of the rights of campesino [subsistence farmer] populations in the Aguan region,” Grahame Russell, Rights Action co-director, told EIJ. A February report by Rights Action indicates strong ties between the death squads and a number of private security firms, at least one of which is connected to Grupo Dinant.
“Large landowners have used... private …more
Environmentalist base is worried about president’s waffling on tar sands pipeline
Environmentalists Wednesday kept up their campaign against the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline by staging a large protest outside a San Francisco political fundraiser headlined by President Obama.
Photo by Shadia Fayne Wood/350.org
More than 500 people braved fog and a chilly wind to call on the president to reject the cross-border pipeline that would ship tar sands crude from the mines of Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Protesters filled the mansion-lined streets of San Francisco’s tony Pacific Heights neighborhood as they chanted slogan like “Hey, Obama, we don’t want know climate drama,” accompanied by horns from a local outfit called the Brass Liberation Orchestra.
The protest was organized by the Sierra Club, 350.org, and CREDO Action, which printed up hundreds of red, white and blue signs with the simple slogan, “Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline.” The president was in San Francisco to attend a pair of fundraisers: one organized by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Steyer, a vocal pipeline opponent, and another at the home of Ann and Tom Getty, where some 75 guests paid $32,000 a plate to chat with the president.
Although protesters were kept well away from the Getty mansion and the presidential motorcade never passed the demonstration, organizers say the rally sent another clear signal to the president that the pipeline is a major test for his leadership on climate change.
“This issue is not going away,” Michael Marx, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil campaign, said as he smilingly admired the crowd. “He [Obama] needs to see that if he rejects this pipeline, his base will have is back. Keystone XL is his opportunity to say we’re not going to go down the path of high carbon oil and extreme energy.”
People in the crowd expressed frustration that President Obama hasn’t done more to address climate change. “I’m here because I love to see democracy in action, and we have to hold Obama accountable,” San Francisco resident Olivia Teter said. “He’s disappointed on so many issues, especially this.” As Teter spoke, a man standing nearby waved a sign reading, “Put …more
Campaigners from Corporate Accountability International complain of Coca-Cola’s influence in the parks
With their labels depicting pristine pools of spring water near majestic alpine peaks, some people might still be under the illusion that bottled water is somehow superior to plain old tap water. But if you just look here, here, and here, you’ll see that in fact bottled water isn’t safer than tap water, creates unnecessary plastic waste, and costs thousands of times more than what comes out of your faucet.
Photo by Leonard John Matthews
Despite these facts, bottled water is still sold within many of the United States’ National Parks, which should be paragons of sustainability since they are dedicated to, you know, getting people to appreciate the natural environment. In an effort to get the parks to fully live up to their mission, organizers with the group Corporate Accountability International have launched a campaign calling on the parks to stop selling single use plastic water bottles.
The group’s central targets are Yosemite National Park, one of the crown jewels of the park system, and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which, since it is located partially in San Francisco, gets some of its tap water from the pristine Hetch Hetchy Reservoir also located in Yosemite.
“Humans for thousands of years have figured out how to get their water from places other than federally marketed plastic water bottles,” David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said last week at a press conference organized to demonstrate support for the ban. “I think we can do better. I look forward to working with all you to reducing our national addiction to plastic water bottles.”
With close to 280 million visitors a year, the national parks are “examples of environmental stewardship,” says Hanna Saltzman, an organizer with Corporate Accountability International. “Yet national parks are in danger of becoming a primary billboard and concession stand for a product that is anything but green — bottled water.”
Since bottled water suddenly became popular 20 years ago, they have become a significant burden on the parks’ trash disposal and recycling systems. A 2010 study by national parks facility managers found that 30 percent of the recycling waste at Grand Canyon National Park …more
Oil companies don't have to pay for clean up of spills from pipelines carrying unconventional crude
As the Obama Administration continues to ponder a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada has been assuring everyone of it’s safety. “Safety of the public and the environment is a top priority for TransCanada” their slick website reads. Any spill is deemed “unlikely”.
Hardly. Last year, there were 364 spills from pipelines that released about 54,000 barrels of oil and refined products. In 2010 in Marshall, Michigan an Enbridge pipeline sent 819,000 gallons of toxic tar sands crude into the town’s creek just 80 river miles from Lake Michigan. Now in Mayflower, Arkansas, 22 homes have been evacuated this week as Exxon prepares to attempt to clean 10,000 barrels of this same dirty tar sands crude from neighborhoods.
The experiences of people of Marshall, Michigan may shed light on what the citizens of Mayflower, Arkansas may now be in for.
On July 26th 2010, at 7:30 a.m., Marshall resident Susan Connolly dropped off her children at daycare. That Michigan morning there was a strong smell in the air, making it hard to breathe. By the time she picked up her children just a few hours later, the symptoms had started.
That night her son vomited. The week following, her daughter had a rash, as did almost all the children at the daycare. The other children also reported cases of vomiting, upset stomach, shortness of breath, lethargy, headaches, rash, irritation with the eyes, sore throat, and cough. Meanwhile, Connolly and her husband experienced migraines, eye irritation, sore throat, nausea, and cough. Just six days later, their dog came in from the yard suffering from continuous vomiting and diarrhea.
They quickly learned that this was all related to a broken Enbridge pipe, spilling bitumen ooze into the water just 6/10ths of a mile from their children’s day care and just two miles from their home. Bitumen is a thick, sticky, black semi-solid form of petroleum. It is transported from Alberta Canada as diluted bitumen (dilbit) on its way to refineries in the U.S.
“I’m a parent and I see the children and the staff of this center …more