Tag Archives: tar sands

Undercover at the Tar Sands: What It’s Really Like Working for Big Oil

28 Aug

An anonymous worker reveals conditions at ground zero for Canada’s controversial pipelines

from Rolling Stone

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from Getty Images

Editor’s Note: In recent months, many climate activists have focused their efforts on Canada’s tar sands and the companies set on extracting fossil fuels from them. With the debate raging louder than ever, Rolling Stone is in contact with one of the workers helping to build a pipeline to bring oil from the tar sands to the U.S. Read on for that anonymous correspondent’s second dispatch from one of the world’s most controversial jobs.

On its surface, Fort McMurray, Alberta, looks like any other small Canadian city, with rows of new houses, condo developments and a Wal-Mart. Recycling bins line the streets, and residents schlep cloth bags to the store because the community banned plastic bags. But there’s one big difference between Fort Mac and other towns: This is ground zero for Canada’s controversial tar sands operations. Like tens of thousands of others, I saw green in the tar-like bitumen-drenched sand, and I came here to cash in. (I’m writing anonymously to protect my colleagues, my friends and myself.)

Read Our Undercover Correspondent’s First Dispatch from the Tar Sands

The majority of oil-related work happens north of town. Follow Highway 63 for about 20 minutes and you’ll see a sprawling series of smoke stacks at the Syncrude Canada Ltd. processing facility. You can smell the oil in the air, and smog hangs across the otherwise crisp northern horizon. Drive further, and things get even worse. Koch Carbon’s giant pile of petroleum coke in Detroit is nothing compared to what the oil companies have up here. Shell, Imperial Oil, Exxon, Encana, Husky, BP, Suncor Energy, CNR, Southern Pacific and Petro-Canada all have a stake in this game, and there’s an estimated 170 billion barrels of crude on the line.

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The Ecology of a Police State

26 Aug

Or, why hating cops may be the most environmentally sustainable decision you can make in your life

by Panagioti / Earth First! Newswire

The police state in effect at 2013 RNC in Tampa

The police state in effect at 2013 RNC in Tampa.

Imagine being an environmental activist in a world where police can get away with killing young people for vandalizing a fast food joint; where a government’s local law enforcers are collaborating with giant energy corporations to stifle opposition; where a sheriff demands funding for a program urging neighbors to snitch on anyone who says they hate said government.

Sadly it doesn’t take much imagination, does it? In case you weren’t inspired to click the embedded links above, they reference recent stories of these things occurring in the US.

In light of this reality, it’s crystal clear that global ecology will never be stabilized as long as the police have anything to do with it.

That’s right. Stopping the tar sands’ atmospheric climate bomb, keeping GMOs out of our food, and defending wolves’ ability to restore biodiversity depends on getting rid of the fuzz. Perhaps this is the beginning of a new movement initiative that aims to reduce the CO2 parts per million (ppm) by simultaneously slashing the cpms (cops per million). Cops are not only the industrial empire’s first line of defense against, well, us. They are also massive usurpers of the public financial resources that might otherwise be put towards restoring the Earth.

Where the Earth First! movement was once known for its epic wilderness corridor proposals in the ‘80s which became a basic foundation for the future of conservation biology, I think this plan too will shape the face of the ecology to come.  Continue reading

Hey Earth First!, Time to Get Busy!

20 Aug

earth-firstMore Full Time Direct Action campaigns about to kick off this Summer…

from Earth First! Newswire

At the 2012 Earth First! Rendezvous, during the 4th in a series of workshops intending to “Give EF! a Kick in the Ass,” facilitators proposed what was initially called the “FTDA Pledge” [FTDA = Full Time Direct Action]. The result was a list of people who expressed the desire to be contacted when crucial campaigns were in need of support at critical times.

The workshop discussed what sort of criteria would be used in making these “call-outs” for support.

What was decided together was that they should be: (1) Strategic and well thought-out campaigns, (2) Community-led with strong local organizing looking for support, (3) Against mega-infrastructure

With goals being strong participation in actions that can strengthen the EF! network; renew the culture and spirit of ecological resistance; and radicalize other movements, groups and individuals.

According to EF!ers on the ground last year in East Texas, the Tar Sands Blockades fit very squarely in these criteria, so we called for support from EF! activists around the US, and they came.

There has since been a suggestion to call the FTDA pledge “the Crunch” (a nod to the Movement for a New Society), highlighting the limited window of space that is often present for a rapid escalation of direct action tactics and strategy. 

The following text is modified from an email sent out to EF! activists nationwide regarding organizing efforts which have been discussed and found to also fit the above criteria. If you can plug in to these campaigns over the next few weeks with skills, supplies, time, energy, funds, etc, it could be pivotal moments for the growth of the movement.

Check out the details below. Send it out over local EF! lists. Hope to see you out there.  Continue reading

77 ALEC Bills in 2013 Advance a Big Oil, Big Ag Agenda

2 Aug

by Brendan Fischer / PR Watch

hands_in_crude_oil350px

At least 77 bills to oppose renewable energy standards, support fracking and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and otherwise undermine environmental laws were introduced in 34 states in 2013, according to a new analysis from the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of ALECexposed.org. In addition, nine states have been inspired by ALEC’s “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” to crack down on videographers documenting abuses on factory farms. 

ALEC, Fueled by Fossil Fuel Industry, Pursues Retrograde Energy Agenda

For decades, ALEC has been a favored conduit for some of the worlds largest polluters, like Koch Industries, BP, Shell, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil, and for decades has promoted less environmental regulation and more drilling and fracking. 

ALEC bills in recent years have pulled states out of regional climate initiatives, opposed carbon dioxide emission standards, created hurdles for state agencies attempting to regulate pollution, and tried to stop the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation introduced in 2013 carries on this legacy. ALEC bills favor the fossil fuel barons and promote a retrograde energy agenda that pollutes our air and water and is slowly cooking the planet to what may soon be devastating temperatures.

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Update On The Enbridge Blockade in Michigan

24 Jul

Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands Needs Your Support!  11 arrests, four people face felony charges.

Donate to their legal support here

from MI-CATS

Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands activists directly halted business on July 22nd at the Stockbridge Enbridge construction site. Show your solidarity by donating to our bail fund, or taking direct action against Enbridge on your own, with your friends!

commrades at jail

Here are some thoughts written by a couple of folks who participated in the action:

My name is Virginia. I am 63 years old and I am tired. Tired of decades of fighting greedy corporations raping & pillaging the beautiful planet I knew as a young woman for oil & money.

Each day people are getting sicker. Entire species are going extinct and I wonder; will my granddaughter’s generation become extinct as well? Continue reading

Tar Sands Mining to Begin This Summer in Logan County, Kentucky

28 Jun
Alberta tar sands mining

Alberta tar sands mining

by Erica Peterson / WFPL

Later this summer, a company plans to open a surface mine in southern Kentucky. But the operation won’t be mining for coal. Instead, they’re seeking to extract a new natural resource in the commonwealth: tar sands.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Shut Down After Second Leak In One Month

27 Jun

Canadian Press

HOPE, B.C. — Another leak has been detected along Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline which crosses southern British Columbia carrying petroleum products from Alberta.

Kinder Morgan spokesman Andy Galarnyk confirms the line has been shut down as a precaution after a company crew noticed a problem in the Hope area, about 150 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Galarnyk says regulatory agencies and local authorities have been notified and the company is following the same procedures used on June 12 when a small leak occurred near Merritt, about 120 kilometres north of Hope.

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