Tag Archives: oil spill

Weekend Round-Up of Disaster and Disorder

14 Aug

Oil leak in North Sea confirmed by Shell

Oil giant Shell was accused of being secretive on Friday over an oil leak from one of its platforms in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. Shell publicly reported the spill on Friday night, though it is understood that the company was alerted to a “light sheen” of oil on the surface of the water on Wednesday.

The company last night said it had “considerably reduced” the amount of oil leaking from the Gannet Alpha platform about 112 miles east of Aberdeen—but maintained a stony silence over how much was still escaping and how much had already escaped.  Read more about the spill here

Nigeria oil spills have created ecological disaster, Shell again at the forefront

After half a century of oil spills, Nigeria’s troubled Niger Delta is one of the most polluted places on Earth, and it could take $1 billion and 30 years to clean up the mess, according to a UN report released Thursday. Pollution from over 50 years of oil operations in the region has penetrated further and deeper than many may have supposed,” the report says. Some areas that seemed unaffected on the surface are severely contaminated underground and need urgent action to protect the health of fishing and farming communities, it says. The report puts pressure on Shell Petroleum Development Co., the major operator during the period, which has had a bitter relationship with communities. It produces about 40% of Nigeria’s oil in a joint venture with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp.  Read more here

China orders petrochemical plant shutdown after protests

Chinese authorities have ordered a petrochemical plant to shut down immediately after tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of a nearby city, demanding the factory be relocated.

The demonstration in Dalian – one of the biggest in a series of recent Nimby rallies against potential polluters in China – was sparked by the news last week that a protective dike around the Fujia factory, in the Jinzhou industrial complex, had been breached by rain and high waves as typhoon Muifa approached.

In a rare concession the local Communist party chief, Tang Jun, and Dalian’s mayor, Li Wancai, promised to move the project out of the city, Xinhua reported.

The protesters demanded a clear timetable for moving the plant, with some refusing to leave until a plan was in place, the state-run news agency said.  Read more here

Niger Delta villagers go to the Hague to fight against oil giant Shell

6 Aug

Oil spill on the shores of the Niger Delta swamps of Bodo, a village in Niger's oil-producing Ogoniland. Photograph: Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

By John Vidal

Excerpts below. To read full article go to source: Cross-posted from here

Goi is now a dead village. The two fish ponds, bakery and chicken farm that used to be the pride and joy of its chief deacon, Barrisa Tete Dooh, lie abandoned, covered in a thick black layer. The village’s fishing creek is contaminated; the school has been looted; the mangrove forests are coated in bitumen and everyone has left, refugees from a place blighted by the exploitation of the region’s most valuable asset: crude oil.

Last Thursday, a long-awaited and comprehensive UN study exposed the full horror of the pollution that the production of oil has brought to Ogoniland over the last 50 years.

The UN report showed that oil companies and the Nigerian government had not just failed to meet their own standards, but that the process of investigation, reporting and clean-up was deeply flawed in favour of the firms and against the victims. Spills in the US are responded to in minutes; in the Niger delta, which suffers more pollution each year than the Gulf of Mexico, it can take companies weeks or more.

Goi, 40 miles from Port Harcourt, is a typical case. Just a few miles from where Shell first found oil in Ogoniland in 1958, it is only 20 miles from Bane, the ancestral home of Ogoni writer and leader Ken Saro-Wiwa. People from Goi joined the great Ogoni protest march of 1994, when one in three people from the small kingdom of 900,000 rose peacefully against the company, preventing it from working any of its 30 wells in the area. Two years later, Saro-Wiwa and eight Ogoni leaders were tried on a fabricated murder charge and executed.

On Wednesday, Shell formally accepted responsibility in British law for two significant spills in nearby Bodo. Those were rare victories. More than 1,000 court cases have been taken against Shell for pollution in the last 30 years, but almost all are rejected, settled for a few dollars or remain mired in the legal system for years. Even when the courts rule against the company and fine it millions, it is possible for it to appeal, with legal delays draining communities of cash. One case against Shell taken by people in Goi is still in the courts after 14 years.

For full article go here

Earth First! Rendezvous begins amidst Exxon’s Yellowstone oil spill

5 Jul

Local buzz has already begun about Earth First! being in town. And people are paying attention, including the Port of Lewiston, local a pro-industry agency, who is re-posting Earth First! news reports.

This weekend also saw a serious oil spill in the nearby Yellowstone River. The spill has already spread 15 miles passed the original leak and continues to spread.

An excerpt from a re-posted article on the Port’s website, which ran originally in the local Tribune, states:

The largest annual event of the national environmental group is set to run July 5 through July 12 in the Lolo National Forest near, but not within sight of, U.S. Highway 12 between the Idaho border and Lolo, Mont., said Greg Mack, of Moscow, an organizer.

“The day after every rendezvous we do a direct action,” Mack said. “I have to tell you we don’t like to tell people exactly what we’re going to do so we have some element of surprise. If the megaloads during that time … aren’t moving, we may choose a completely different subject.”

ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil wants to send more than 100 oversized loads on U.S. 12. The loads, consisting of pieces of a processing plant bound for the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, are so large they will take up both lanes of U.S. 12.

The Idaho Transportation Department hasn’t granted permission for the supersized cargo. The agency is waiting on a recommendation from a hearing officer who listened to representatives of opponents, Imperial Oil, Imperial Oil’s hired hauler and the Idaho Transportation Department in a proceeding that ended in May.

The possibility oversized loads might become common on the scenic corridor was a reason Earth First! selected western Montana as the site for the rendezvous, Mack said.”

More about Yellowstone oil spill

More about the Earth First! Rendezvous

Exxon causes oil spill in Yellowstone

3 Jul

Oil swirls in the Yellowstone river after an Exxon Mobil pipeline ruptured near Billings, Montana. Photograph: Larry Mayer/AP



Hundreds of barrels of crude oil spilled into Montana’s Yellowstone River after an ExxonMobil pipeline beneath the riverbed ruptured, sending a plume 25 miles downstream and forcing temporary evacuations, officials said.

The break near Billings in south-central Montana fouled the riverbank and forced municipalities and irrigation districts Saturday to close intakes.

The river has no dams on its way to its confluence with the Missouri River just across the Montana border in North Dakota. It was unclear how far the plume might travel.

ExxonMobil spokeswoman Pam Malek said the pipe leaked an estimated 750 to 1,000 barrels of oil for about a half-hour before it was shut down. Other Exxon officials had estimated up to 42,000 gallons of crude oil escaped.

Duane Winslow, Yellowstone County director of disaster and emergency services, said the plume was dissipating as it moved downstream. “We’re just kind of waiting for it to move on down while Exxon is trying to figure out how to corral this monster,” Winslow said.

Cleanup crews deployed booms and absorbent material as the plume moved downstream at an estimated 5 to 7 mph.

Indigenous and Environmental Groups set sail from Australia to protest offshore oil drilling

27 Mar

A flotilla of six boats sailed from Auckland Sunday to launch a protest against plans by a Brazilian oil company to drill for oil and gas off the East Cape of the North Island.

The protesters, including the Greenpeace environmental group, the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society and an East Cape tribe of indigenous Maoris, said they feared potential damage from an oil spill like last year’s BP accident in the Gulf of Mexico.

The government announced in June that it had given Brazil’s Petrobras International Braspetro BV a 5-year exploration permit, covering 12,333 square kilometres of the Raukumara Basin.

News Roundup 5/23

23 May

Six activists locked down inside the border patrol’s lobby here in Tucson, and they all were cited and released. Just walked away, and felt damn good about it. They won the local news cycle, sending racist cops a strong message. But they didn’t expect to get away, and our sources say they were prepared to sit in jail at least through the weekend. Anybody planning similar actions should be similarly prepared.

The new EF! UK Action Update is out. Here’s the print version. Both are in PDF.

Support GI Resistance by attending the UXO Tour!

We got the mountain defenders’ bail reduced to $2500!

Martin and Bryant were offered a deal of 5 days time-served and 55 days community service, along with the conditions that they remain on house arrest for the 55 days, leaving only for community service hours, and plead guilty to trespass and conspiracy.

Bryant took the deal and will be getting out of jail Monday. EmmaKate did not immediately take the deal.

Like in Tucson, the theme here in WV is be prepared. These CGZ folks made the decision to intentionally go to jail for their beliefs, and that’s what happened. They were mentally and physically ready for it (hopefully). At least one is also under house arrest for awhile. They apparently believe that blocking Massey’s Road for a minute, and the media coverage that comes with, is worth the next 60 days of their lives. We’ve heard that more people with such strong convictions are needed out in the mountains, because MTR SUCKS.

The first EF! Journal Release Party will take place in Florida!

The Everglades EF! Journal release party is 5/24 Monday, 7pm at the Night Heron Grassroots Activist Center, 1307 Central Terrace.

We will be commemorating Judi Bari’s life and work, as well as celebrating to EEF! folks whose legal matters (panagioti and stevie) have been resolved, without going back to jail. Both got out of jail on appellate bonds from actions against FPL (who are now calling themselves ‘NextEra Enrgy’), for the WCEC and Barley Barber.

And finally, we will be discussing the ‘Skunk Ape Proxy’ featured in the new EF!J.

Farmers in Haiti have committed to burning 475 tons of genetically modified, pesticide-treated FrankenCorn Seed donated by Monsanto.

Maybe we should just eat industrially farmed bugs.

The Big Oil Spill sludges onward.

The Richardson Grove EIR has been released by CALTRANS. It of course finds “no significant impact on the human environment.” Well, some environmentalist humans in Humboldt think otherwise and are still set for an action camp on 28 May.

Some EF!ers are having a Regional Rendezvous in the Globe Forest in NC. Seems like a pretty good operation they’ve got out there, with a great website full of great information. It’s at least an even bet that they’ll save that forest out there. Forest defense has a lot of potential in the South, which is being deforested faster than any other US region, especially when it’s fresh like in WV, with tactics the locals haven’t necessarily seen before. And on that note, we found this on their blog and thought it worth re-posting:

Top Ten Endangered Areas in the South for 2009:

  1. Clinch and Powell Rivers (Virginia) Issue: Construction of a new coal-fired power plant in Wise County will accelerate mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, and further increase mercury levels in the Clinch and Powell rivers.
  2. Interstate 81 Corridor (Virginia) Issue: Virginia officials are reexamining a plan to widen all 325 miles of I-81 to perhaps eight lanes to support long-haul truck traffic – a plan that would cost billions of dollars and cause tremendous harm to communities and historic, scenic, and environmental resources.
  3. Marine Waters (Virginia) Issue: Virginia is the first state in our region to begin the process of opening up its marine waters to offshore drilling for oil and gas. The benefit of this short-term supply of energy is dramatically outweighed by the harm to the environment and communities.
  4. Globe Forest (North Carolina) Issue: Destruction of rare, old-growth forest in the Southern Appalachians.
  5. Pamlico River (North Carolina) Issue: The single largest destruction of wetlands in North Carolina’s history will occur if a phosphate mining company gets permission to expand its operations on the river’s banks.
  6. Great Pee Dee River (South Carolina) Issue: Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility, is proposing to build more coal-fired power plants with outdated technology that would dump an additional 300 pounds of mercury into an already mercury-overloaded river.
  7. Johns Island (South Carolina) Issue: A $420 million highway proposal threatens to bring large-scale development to this historic community, transforming the island into a sea of condos, mega-stores, and traffic.
  8. Salt Marshes (Georgia) Issue: Large-scale development on biologically rich islands and tidal waters.
  9. Weeks Bay (Alabama) Issue: Unchecked development and weak regulation threatens an area so unique it is one of only three in Alabama to receive the designation of Outstanding Natural Resource Water.
  10. Cherokee National Forest (Northeast Tennessee) Issue: The U.S. Forest Service is moving forward with its plans to log several areas of this remarkable landscape, endangering trout, unbroken wildlife habitat and rare species.”

News Roundup 5/20

20 May

Greenpeace UK made BP a new flag. The coolest part is, they’re still taking suggestions for other new BP flags.

The Oil Spill is now leaking between 76,000 and 104,000 barrels per day. That’s a pretty wide range of guessing, but it makes sense considering the authorities have no idea what they’re gonna do about it. The damn oil will be in the Atlantic soon. And Congress thinks BP is using the wrong dispersant. Oh well. Maybe Kevin Costner will save us.

Good video here of a Maine EF!er on trial. He was supposed to be the police liaison.

Also from Maine, they’ve just posted directions to this year’s Rendezvous. There’s also the beginnings of a ride board, but no one’s posted anything yet.

The Sea Lion Defense Brigade has wrapped up their campaign and is claiming success. Congrats to them for keeping a close eye on the State’s insane plan to kill 64 California sea lions this year. They only actually killed 10.

In other pinniped news, the Navy is using sea lions to sniff out bombs. Props to Earth Island Institute for trying at least to tell them what they’re doing is wrong.

And last week RAN locked down at Cargill HQ in Minnesota. The video isn’t very good, and they’re still a bunch of compromisers on board with the FSC. Which by the way, was a good idea gone horribly wrong.

In other big enviro news, big green groups and corporations have reached an agreement to better manage a whole bunch of acres of Canada’s Boreal forest. Seems to reek of compromise. We’ll see if logging up there is slowed significantly, or if the forest will continue to disappear.

Climate Ground Zero is still busy, speaking out at a public hearing on what could be the largest mine in WV history. Two of their road blockaders still need our help to get their bail reduced.

ScienceDaily uses the Asian shore crab to make the dangerous point that maybe invasive species aren’t all bad.

And scientists at the Craig Venter Institute have created the first synthetic living cell. Next up: synthetic meat, coming to fast food joint near you.

News Roundup 5/13

13 May

Skytruth estimates that, actually,  1.1 million gallons of oil per day are now spilling into the Gulf. The feds won’t reveal any actual information about the amount, because that would lead to cleanup costs billions of $ higher than the current estimate of less than $1 billion.

Tucson students walked out of school and occupied a state building downtown in protest of a new law canceling ethnic studies in all Arizona schools. Pictures here.

Here’s an update on Scott DeMuth, Minnesota’s favorite grand jury resister. Some friends of his are going on a roadshow this summer to raise money for his legal defense. Here’s their support site.

A bunch of badasses pulled off an awesome direct action at the Westin Hotel in SF:

Make sure you sleep with the right people if you’re going to this year’s Pride. More info here. This action brought to you by the Brass Liberation Orchestra.

Check out the Dark Mountain Project: primitivism gone mainstream in the UK. They’re having an “UnCivilisation Gathering” at the end of the month, tickets being £60 apiece payable by credit/debit/paypal online. Oh, the irony.

Over 33,000 mink, native to North America, have escaped from fur farms in Ireland. Now the Irish government is paying 3 full-time trappers over £1 million over five years to trap as many of them as possible and then shoot the captives with .22s. Of course, pine martens, stoat or hedgehogs will be inadvertently caught in the traps as well, but they’ll supposedly be released “unharmed”. Maybe this wouldn’t be a problem if Ireland hadn’t allowed fur farms in the first place. Northern Ireland doesn’t. More info here on Irish fur farms and those trying to shut ’em down.

And here’s an awesome new anti-mining site from the Philippines.

News Roundup 5/10

10 May

Containment Boom to defend Breton National Wildlife Refuge

NOAA maps admit that oil from Deepwater Horizon is accumulating onshore. Greenpeace found some at a place called Port Eads.

Here is a 9-day-old video offering a crisp, clean, universally comprehensible explanation of the spill. Keep in mind that by now the first “solution”, the robotic sub, didn’t really work. The second solution, the big dome, just recently failed, so now they’re planning a little “top hat” dome. Also, the stats have changed: 210,000 gallons per day are now gushing into the ocean, for a total of 3.5 million gallons so far. BP has now received federal approval to continuously pump chemical dispersants underwater, the ecological effects of which are completely unknown. Everyone seems clueless about what to do, with the next options including artificial islands, cutting the riser pipe (scary, because even more oil could then leak out), releasing water from the Louisiana levees, or a “junk shot”:

“The next tactic will be a junk shot,” Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen told “Face the Nation” anchor Bob Schiffer on Sunday. “They’ll take a bunch of debris, shredded up tires, golf balls and things like that and under very high pressure shoot it into the preventer itself and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak.”

Here’s the site for the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command, the network of state, corporate and federal agencies responsible for the spill.

The BBC has an interactive graphics page on the spill as well as some video of the cleanup efforts. They also say it’s far from the biggest spill ever. Just wait a few weeks.

Also from the BBC, Neanderthal genes have been confirmed to exist in modern Homo Sapiens. Dave Foreman postulated on this 20 years ago in his book Confessions of an Eco-Warrior.

Russia’s largest underground coal mine has exploded. About 60 people are still trapped inside.

Greenpeace reports that European motorists are using tar sands oil without knowing where it came from.

On May 15th, give your stuff away. Mike Morone is talking about free boxes on a massive scale. It’s something we all should be doing anyway, and maybe this day will help spread awareness.

In case you haven’t seen Kanellos yet, check it out. This dog gets around.

Check out EF! on YouTube! The slide show and puppet show from the Earth First! Roadshow are now online. Props to Diablo EF! for their cathartic car-smashing videos. And in case anyone was wondering, Earth First! is alive and well. We are adding a VIDEOS page to the newswire so everyone can easily watch this stuff.

News Roundup 5/8

8 May

The Big Oil Spill moves inexorably toward shore. Our friends in Tuscon, the Center for Biological Diversity have recently launched an excellent portal for information about it.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network has an excellent blog about their efforts to mitigate the impacts of the spill on endangered species of the Gulf Coast. They informed us that Google Earth is tracking the spill.

The NY Times also has some great info, featuring interactive graphics and an article on the containment dome, which is an “experimental solution” that is completely bogus.

A good article here about how the feds are collaborating with BP to keep us all in the dark about the extent of the spill and who will pay the costs of cleanup (hint: rhymes with ‘snacksprayers’).

Discover Mag is already thinking about the next big spill.

Here’s a good collection of images from the Nashville Flood.

Comrades at RAN occupied the executive offices at Cargill. Why? Because they’re the nation’s largest importer of palm oil. Photos here.

In vivisection news, mice (and thus, probably other mammals too) can synthesize their own morphine.