Tag Archive: Gulf of Mexico

Feb 28 2012

Setting the Stage for Keystone XL Approval

Is anyone surprised that the White House has given its blessing to Transcanada’s Keystone XL pipeline plan to build an portion of the oil pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas despite rejection of the company’s earlier application in January? After all the protests last year to stop the construction and the Republican congressional maneuvering to force the president’s decision, it certainly appears that the Republicans and the oil companies will win but that shouldn’t be a surprise considering this president’s penchant for siding with the ruling class against the best interests of the country’s needs. This project won’t create jobs or reduce the price of gas, not now or in the future:

“As the President made clear in January, we support the company’s interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production,” Carney said in a statement. [..]

But if the argument for building Keystone is to generate new oil within the United States and bring down gas prices, TransCanada’s plans don’t deliver. In fact, environmental groups say, TransCanada’s plans for Keystone mean more domestic oil will head overseas and a potential spike in gas prices. [..]

Kim Huynh, speaking for Friends of the Earth, accused the president of trying to have it both ways by touting his commitment to clean energy “while simultaneously shilling for one of the dirtiest industries on Earth” by endorsing the pipeline’s construction.

“What the administration seems to be missing is that the southern segment of this pipeline would exacerbate air pollution in refinery communities along the Gulf Coast and threaten our heartland with costly spills — all for oil that likely won’t make it to Americans’ gas tanks,” Huynh said in a statement.

Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, director of the International Program at the National Resources Defense Council, wrote in blog post:

So what exactly has TransCanada proposed today? TransCanada announced that it has let the State Department know that the company will submit a new application for a presidential permit for the northern portion of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline from the border crossing in Montana to Steel City, Nebraska on the Kansas border where an already existing part of the pipeline starts. TransCanada would supplement this application with the proposed route through Nebraska after that has been determined in cooperation with Nebraska. But there is some question as to how long this would take since Nebraska does not currently have laws in place to do this assessment. TransCanada will then apply separately to the various federal and state permits for the southern portion of the pipeline from Cushing Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast.

Raw tar sands oil going from the Midwest to the Gulf for refining means serious pipeline safety issues for landowners and environmental justice impacts of tar sands refining. Concerns of Texas landowners over TransCanada’s high-handed attempts to take their land through eminent domain will all remain the same in the case of an Oklahoma to Texas tar sands pipeline.

And the southern route pipeline will still provide the main service to oil companies that Keystone XL would provide: it will divert tar sands from the Midwest to the Gulf, raising American oil prices and likely also gasoline prices. An Oklahoma to Texas tar sands pipeline will mean more tar sands converted to diesel and available for export overseas. It will mean less tar sands remaining in the US, even while Americans bear the risks of the pipeline.

Bill McKibben, who has led protests against Keystone XL, gave the following response to the news:

“Transcanada’s decision to build its pipe from Oklahoma to Texas is a nifty excuse to steal some land by eminent domain. It doesn’t increase tar sands mining because there’s still no pipe across the Canadian border, but it’s the usual ugly power grab and land grab by the fossil fuel industry — we’ll do what we can to stand by our allies in that arid and beautiful land.”

The plight of Texas land owners was highlighted in Brain Buetler’s Talking Points Memo:

Julia Trigg Crawford, 53, of Lamar County, TX faced similar pressure. On Friday, a judge voided a temporary restraining order she’d secured against TransCanada on the grounds that the company is threatening to build the pipeline across a portion of her 600 acre property that archaeological authorities say is teeming with Caddo nation artifacts. It also threatens a creek she uses to irrigate her land and wells her family uses for drinking water.

“I do not want my place to be a guinea pig on this,” she told my by telephone. Those practical concerns lay atop a more fundamental question of whether a for-profit company should be able to seize private land for profit.

“I’m looking out my window every hour,” Crawford said. “While they don’t have a permit to build anything, they have the right to start construction…. A foreign for profit pipeline was allowed to condemn my land without my being allowed to talk to a judge.” [..]

The result: protests in Paris, Texas against the pipeline, on Crawford’s behalf.

“You could check off 20 different kinds of boxes, politically, professionally, temperamentally,” Crawford said. “We had Occupiers, Tea Partiers. This is about rights as a landowner.”

A Nebraska landowner, Randy Thompson told TPM in the same article how he was harassed by Transcanada after he withdrew his permission to survey his farm land in 2007.

“Once I found out a little bit more about what was going on, I rescinded that permission,” Thompson told TPM by phone on Sunday. “[W]e did meet with them once, maybe a couple times. We told them, you don’t have a permit yet, so we absolutely do not want this thing on our property. So until you actually get a permit we have no reason to have any further discussion about this. They continually called me, like once a month or whenever they felt like it. Kept the pressure on us. Made us an offer, $9000. Whatever the offer was, we just don’t want the damn thing on our property.” [..]

“In July 2010, we got a written letter from TransCanada, they told us if you don’t accept this within 30 days, we’re going to immediately start eminent domain proceedings against you,” Thompson said. “They didn’t say anything about a permit. I tried to contact the Governor’s office. All I got back was a form letter talking about the pipeline.”

If the White House thought for even a nanosecond that this would blunt Republican criticism of Pres. Obama, they are as deluded as the Republicans who say this will reduce the price of gas:

House Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio, said he will continue to stress that the Obama administration is blocking construction of the entire pipeline, which would carry oil from the tar sands of western Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas.

“The president is so far on the wrong side of the American people that he’s now praising the company’s decision to start going around him,” Boehner said in a statement.

“But he can’t have it both ways,” Boehner said. “If the president thinks this project is good for America, he knows how to make it happen right away. Until he does, he’s just standing in the way of getting it done.”

The only thing that completing the southern portion of the pipeline will do is ease the glut of oil that is being stored in the Midwest. It won’t lower the price of gas because that oil will be exported to the global market where it will be resold at a higher price. That will drive up prices in the Midwest where gas prices have been kept low because of the lack of the pipeline.

The reality is oil prices will continue to be artificially high by the saber rattling over Iran. The best and easiest way for the President to immediately lower gas prices is to stop the phony rhetoric of a war with Iran. Repeat it loud and often, Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. That’ll work better than any environmentally unsafe pipeline.

Oct 17 2011

Pipe Dreams And Drilling Rights

After scrapping stricter smog limit, President Barack Obama continues to throw the environment under the bus.

BP allowed back into the bidding for gulf oil drilling rights

by Terry Macalister

US regulator declines to enforce ‘death penalty’ on oil company despite environmentalists’ fury

The Obama administration has infuriated environmentalists by giving BP the green light to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

The move – seen as a major step in the company’s political rehabilitation as an offshore driller following the Deepwater Horizon accident – was revealed by the head of the US safety regulator after a congressional hearing in Washington.

[]

BP declined to comment, but Friends of the Earth said it was appalled. “Governments should be administering the death penalty to all deepwater drilling rather than waiting for yet more devastating incidents like the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico or in any other part of the world,” argued Craig Bennett, director of policy and campaigns at the environmental group.

“It is not just BP operations that are deeply flawed,” he added. “There is not a single oil company that can say with a high degree of confidence that it can drill safely and how it will clear up if something goes wrong. It is clear in the context of climate change we need to develop new clean technologies, not hunt for fossil fuels in ever more remote and hard-to-reach areas.”

Obama allies’ interests collide over Keystone pipeline

by Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson

In May, the environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben – pondering a simmering energy issue – asked a NASA scientist to calculate what it would mean for the Earth’s climate if Canada extracted all of the petroleum in its rich Alberta oil sands region.

The answer to McKibben’s query came a month later: it would push atmospheric carbon concentrations so high that humans would be unable to avert a climate disaster. “It is essentially game over,” wrote James E. Hansen, who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is one of the nation’s leading voices against fossil fuel energy.

“This project represents a collision of multiple national interests and multiple political interests,” said P.J. Crowley, who served as spokesman for the State Department during part of the review process. “Energy security and environment normally go together, but in this case they are somewhat at odds. All have come together to make this a bigger deal than it might have appeared at first blush.”

Charles K. Ebinger, a senior fellow for energy at the Brookings Institution, said the issue has “become a test case for the Democrats” with two factions within the Obama camp asking the same question: “Is he with us or against us?”

“I do think it has become a defining political issue,” Ebinger said. “I don’t think he’s going to win any friends whichever way he goes.”

Oct 04 2010

“Even Jesus couldn’t save their souls”

BP and the Feds have fooled America and the entire world into thinking the BP Gulf Oil Spill is over, that the beaches are clean and that the seafood is safe, and everything is OK.

Titled “The Gulf Oil Spill isn’t over!” here’s a little bit of mournful Louisiana blues to tell the real story.

Let’s make this one viral…



Uploaded to YouTube Oct. 02, 2010 by:

Holt Webb – writer/photographer & publisher of

The Vanishing America Project

http://vanishingamerica.net

a multi-year journey I’ve undertaken to use my skill as a photographer and a writer to promote conservation and raise awareness about what we are losing – our culture, our wildlife, and our landscape – in hopes that some of it will still be around for future generations to enjoy.

Hat tip to Alexander Higgins who for months on his blog has been collecting every bit of news you can imagine about the BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil catastrophe.

Sep 23 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons, Part I – New GOP Campaign Slogan: Monosexuality=Bad

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma



Christine O’Donnell by Taylor Jones, Politicalcartoons.com, Buy this cartoon

Christine O’Donnell is fast becoming the face of the Republican Party.  Her campaign slogan is — to put it in Marxist language — power to the people.  Or, something like that. To quote an oft-used phrase on the internet(s) and one used frequently on this blog, “Teh stoopid! It burns.”  

Time permitting, I will try to post Part II of this diary later on this week.  

Aug 23 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons, Part I – BP’s Soup Recipe

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

Note: Due to a deluge of editorial cartoons over the past week or so, I’m going to, time permitting, post Part II of this weekly diary in the next few days.  In addition to some of the issues covered in this edition, I’ll include more cartoons on the floods in Pakistan, the withdrawal of combat U.S. forces in Iraq, and Rupert Murdoch’s $1 million contribution to the GOP.

Aug 13 2010

Gulf Recovery in Editorial Cartoons – Helping the Helpless

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

NOTE: Please Read This

There are another dozen or so editorial cartoons posted here in the comments section.  Check them out.

Aug 10 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons, Part II – Climate Change Obstructionism

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

Nick Anderson

Nick Anderson, Comics.com, see reader comments in the Houston Chronicle

Aug 04 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons (Part I) – Dropping the Ball

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

John Sherffius

John Sherffius, Comics.com (Boulder Daily Camera)

Note:

Due to the unusually high number of editorial cartoons published over the past week or so (I literally have another 300+ cartoons saved), I’m going to try and post another edition of this diary by Friday, August 6th.  It something I’ve never done before.

Jul 28 2010

Why I Find Myself Shrieking

I sighed uneasy relief with everyone else when BP finally stopped Deepwater Horizon from emptying itself in the Gulf.  Yes, I knew it was temporary.  Yes, I knew it could blow up again any minute.  But there was, nevertheless, a relief.  For a short time anyway, BP would stop turning the Gulf of Mexico into a disgusting oil gumbo garnished with oil soaked pelicans and dead dolphins.

But then I read this article in the New York Times:

A wellhead in southeastern Louisiana was spewing a mist of oil and gas up to 100 feet into the air after being hit by a tug boat early Tuesday morning, officials said. It is at least the third unrelated oil leak in the area since the Deepwater Horizon spill began 99 days earlier.

The well is about 65 miles south of New Orleans in Barataria Bay, which is surrounded by wildlife-rich wetlands and was a fertile area for fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen before the BP spill. By Tuesday afternoon, a reddish brown sheen 50 yards by one mile long was spotted near the well, according to a spokeswoman for the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said the well was owned by Cedyco, a company based in Houston.

The wellhead burst at 1 a.m. local time Tuesday after being hit by a tug boat, the Pere Ana C, that was pushing a dredge barge, Captain Buford Berry, though details were still being investigated.

So, not to put too fine a point on it, there is more oil and gas being deposited in the Gulf as you read this.  And they haven’t started stopping it yet, and are booming.  Booming.  Booming with 6000 feet of boom.  Pardon me, but didn’t we all decide in the past 3 months that that is worthless.  Oh, but excuse me again, this is a new day.  And a new leak.  And so we get to try stuff that didn’t work before all over again.  Because we’re crazy and think it’ll be different this time.

And then we have this gem:

No specific flow rate has been determined, officials said.

Mama mia.  Oy gevalt.

And this, dear reader, is why I find myself shrieking.  And uttering strings of profanity.  Join me.

simulposted at The Dream Antilles and docuDharma and dailyKos

Jul 13 2010

The Week in Editorial Cartoons – The Real Costs of Fossil Fuels

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Matt Bors

Matt Bors, Comics.com (Idiot Box)

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