Archive | Environmental

Don’t people get tired of this?

Deepwater Horizon memorial on Elysian Fields, New Orleans

Being lied to about these disasters? I realize the people who live there are dependent on the fishing industry, but Gulf seafood is most likely unsafe to eat:

Scientists have already reported finding what they called a 1,235-square-mile “bathtub ring” of oil on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico left over from the huge 2010 BP oil spill.

Now it appears this ring is part of a washroom set: A different team of scientists has found that up 10 million gallons of oil have created what can be called only a “bath mat” beneath the sediment of the gulf’s floor.

First the ring. David Valentine and colleagues from the University of California at Santa Barbara wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October that about 10 million gallons of the spilled oil settled on the gulf’s floor. Its size: about the size of the state of Rhode Island.

But what about the rest? As much as 200 million gallons of oil were spilled after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, owned by BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., exploded off the coast of New Orleans, killing 11 workers on the rig, injuring 17 more, and allowing oil to gush into the gulf for nearly three months.

All that oil has been hard to find. But a team of scientists led by Jeff Chanton found between 6 million and 10 million gallons buried in the sediment at the bottom of the gulf about 60 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta. Chanton is a professor of oceanography at Florida State University.

In planned EPA cuts, US to lose vital connection to at-risk communities

MonumentValley1

By Nicole Smith Dahmen, Assistant Professor of Visual Communication, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon and Deborah Morrison, Professor of Advertising, University of Oregon. Activists, federal workers and union representatives rallied for environmental protection policies at the EPA. American Federation of Government Employees, CC BY Recent headlines point to a relentless undoing of policy… Continue Reading →

None of that pussy stuff

Grand Canyon National Park

Like hiking and camping! Real men drill!

A leaked document says that extracting coal, oil, and natural gas from public lands will be the top priorities for the Bureau of Land Management under President Donald Trump, a sharp reversal from the previous administration.

The five-page list of “BLM priority work,” reported by E&E News, begins with a page on “Making America safe through energy independence” — which the administration says means opening up more land for energy development.

“It is extremely disappointing that in their first 100 days, the Trump administration has made it clear that they are going to rig the system in favor of Big Oil companies at the expense of Western stakeholders and local leaders who wish to craft smart and balanced forms of energy development on our public lands,” Chris Saeger, executive director of the Western Values Project, a western conservation group, said in a statement emailed to ThinkProgress.

The priorities document and its accompanying communication guidancecalls on the agency to streamline oil, gas, and coal leasing and permitting and to streamline pipeline, transmission, and solar and wind projects. The document also has priorities for conservation, military and law enforcement activities, bureaucratic efficiencies, and “serving the American family.”

BLM was in the news last week, as well, after it replaced a picture of a child and an adult at a park with a picture of coal as the lead image on its website.

Saeger called the memo a “not-so-subtle wink” at Big Oil and “confirmation that we have indeed returned to the days of “Drill Baby Drill,” when lawsuits and conflict ruled the day on Western public lands.”

Tribes: Hundreds march to White House in pipeline protest

Hundreds marched from the Washington office of the U.S. Army Corps to the White House in protest of the Dakota Access pipeline this morning. Photo by Cecelia Smith-Schoenwalder.

Hundreds of protesters this morning marched from the Army Corps of Engineers office in Washington to the White House, where they held a rally against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Throughout the week, Native American protesters and their supporters have been holding water blessings, cultural workshops and presentations at a ceremonial teepee camp set up by the Washington Monument.

This week, tribes and other groups were outraged by a federal court’s decision to reject arguments from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe that the project violates their religious freedom rights.

During the march that was organized by Native Nations Rise, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Dave Archambault II and Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy read a proclamation that questioned the separation of church and state when dealing with tribal matters.

“The Dakota Access Pipeline crisis is a direct result of the United States government using the religious underpinnings of U.S. federal law against our Nations,” Goudy said in a statement.

Cheyenne River and Standing Rock still have pending legal cases against the pipeline, although the pipeline could start moving oil as soon as next week.

“In order for us to take the steps necessary to assure our own future, we have to understand historically what has happened to us and understand what is currently happening to us,” Archambault said.

Wyoming is basically trying to outlaw clean energy

kmc4nv15Jan17

Solar and wind would be penalized under proposed law Wikimedia Wind turbines It’s often said that in New Zealand, there are more sheep than people. In Wyoming, there’s way more energy than people. The state, the least populous in the U.S., ranks second in overall energy production; first in coal production; fourth in natural gas; and… Continue Reading →

Witch hunt: Trump demands list of civil servants who worked on climate policy

Dead Vlei

Donald Trump’s transition team is instructing the Department of Energy (DOE) to hand over the names of all of the agency’s contractors and employers who have worked on key climate policies under President Barack Obama, raising concerns that a witch hunt is being orchestrated by the incoming administration. The request was included in a 74-question internal… Continue Reading →

They do not believe in democracy

Devon Energy Building in Oklahoma City in sepia

They believe in greed, and getting their own way:

The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

“Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.”

The email exchange from October 2011, obtained through an open-records request, offers a hint of the unprecedented, secretive alliance that Mr. Pruitt and other Republican attorneys general have formed with some of the nation’s top energy producers to push back against the Obama regulatory agenda, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

It’s about damned time

nbc10.com

nbc10.com

Proposed new rules for oil trains:

Two federal agencies have proposed new safety regulations for oil trains. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and the Federal Railroad Administration, both divisions of the Department of Transportation, announced the proposals Wednesday, which are aimed at sharing information with state emergency management agencies. The agencies also want to require a new test for the flammable liquids.

“This rule goes one step further to hold industry accountable to plan and prepare for the worst case scenario,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a release. ”It would help to ensure that railroads have comprehensive plans to respond to derailments when they occur and better ensure the safety of communities living near railroads.”

The rules would require railroads to boost their current response plans from “basic” to “comprehensive” under the federal Clean Water Act, as well as prepare for the worst case scenario.

Each month, the railroads would have to provide state and tribal emergency managers with information on the number of high-hazard flammable trains expected to travel each week through each county, along with the routes of the trains and a description of the flammable liquids onboard.

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