Tag Archives: Texas

West Texas Oilfield Town Has Run Out of Water

7 Jun

by Kate Galbraith / The Texas Tribune

photo by Jennifer Whitney

photo by Jennifer Whitney

Barnhart, a small community in West Texas, has run out of water.

John Nanny, an Irion County commissioner and an official with Barnhart’s water supply corporation, said on Thursday that the situation was serious. When reached by telephone, he was working on pumping operations and hoped to have a backup well in service Friday morning. A load of bottled water was on its way to the community center, he said.

The town has one main well that serves 112 customers, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. But the well stopped pumping quickly enough Tuesday evening, and while there is still some water in it, Nanny said, “We don’t want to get down to the mud.” 

Nanny said he had checked for a leak but had not found one. The Barnhart area has been hard-hit by drought, he said, just as surging oil and gas drilling activities have increased local water demands. Barnhart was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal owing to the increase in oil boom-related railroad traffic through the town. (Incidentally, Barnhart’s backup water well was drilled by the railroad in the early 1900s, Nanny said.)

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Second LNG Export Terminal Approved

26 May

Cross Posted from El Paso Inc

In this April 15, 2008 file photo, the Excelsior arrives at the Freeport LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) terminal in Houston. The Energy Department has given conditional approval to a Texas company that wants to export liquefied natural gas, the second LNG export project the Obama administration has approved as it faces a wave of export requests. The permit would allow Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. to export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from its terminal near Freeport, Texas, south of Houston. It is subject to environmental review and final regulatory approval. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Steve Campbell

The Energy Department on Friday conditionally approved a Texas company’s proposal to export liquefied natural gas, only the second such project allowed to move forward amid a production boom that has led to glut of domestic natural gas.

The action would allow Freeport LNG Expansion L.P. to export up to 1.4 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day from its terminal near Freeport, Texas, south of Houston. The DOE said granting such a permit for shipments to countries that do not have free trade agreements with the U.S. was in the public interest.

Freeport is the second export project to win Energy Department authorization, following the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Cameron Parish, La.

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1,000 Toxic Chemical Accidents You Have Not Heard Of

9 May

by Mike Ludwig, Cross Posted from Truthout

photo from ashbygirls.blogspot.com

photo from ashbygirls.blogspot.com

The April 17 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people and injured 200 was perhaps one of the most severe chemical accidents of its kind in recent memory, but it was by no means the first.

Earlier this month, for example, Tyson Foods and its affiliates agreed to a $4 million civil settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Justice Department for violations of the Clean Air Act at 23 facilities in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri where the toxic chemical anhydrous ammonia was released during several occasions between 2006 and 2010, causing property damage, multiple injuries to workers and one death.

The Tyson incidents did not involve a massive explosion like the disaster in Texas, but the accidents have one potentially deadly element in common: anhydrous ammonia.

Investigators now believe that large stores of ammonium nitrate caught on fire and caused the explosion at the West plant. But the plant also held two 12,000-gallon tanks of anhydrous ammonia that could have exacerbated the disaster in Texas if they leaked or exploded, according to the Center for Effective Government (CEG).

During the past 15 years, 1,000 accidents have occurred nationwide at chemical facilities that hold large quantities of anhydrous ammonia, according to data recently compiled by CEG.

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Same Company Building Keystone and Tennessee Pipelines

11 Apr

From Root Force

michelsTwo projects are currently being fought on the ground (and in the trees) halfway across the country from each other, and various sources (including an article in the Ecologist ) have confirmed that the same company is doing on-the-ground construction of both.

Michels Corp is a construction company that specializes in energy, transportation, telecommunications and utility infrastructure — especially pipelines. While Tar Sands Blockaders are busy stopping Michels from building the Keystone XL pipeline (which would bring more toxic tar sands into frontline communities in Houston), the coalition No Tennessee Pipeline is working to stop the same company from constructing a gas pipeline in Pennsylvania.

That means those of you living far from these pipelines’ construction sites now have twice the reason to get in touch with a Michels location near you and tell them what you think of their business decisions!

The fact that the same company is building these disparate projects draw an obvious connection between seemingly separate struggles. After all, working against a project that would destroy the places you love becomes an act of solidarity when that same company is also destroying the places that someone else loves.

On a deeper level, of course, all our struggles are connected. There are so many reasons to target infrastructure expansion: to act in solidarity with indigenous people across the continent and world; to stop evil corporations from making more money while impoverishing the rest of us; and perhaps most critically, because the very projects that Michels specializes in are the projects  needed to keep this death culture alive. Can there be any better reason for opposing them?

Third Major Oil Spill in a Week: Shell Pipeline Breaks in Texas

5 Apr


Thousands of gallons of oil have spilled from a pipeline in Texas, the third accident of its kind in only a week.

Shell Pipeline, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, shut down their West Columbia, Texas, pipeline last Friday after electronic calculations conducted by the US National Response Center showed that upwards of 700 barrels had been lost, amounting to almost 30,000 gallons of crude oil.

By Monday, Shell spokespeople said inspectors found “no evidence” of an oil leak, but days later it was revealed that a breach did occur. Representatives with the US Coast Guard confirmed to Dow Jones on Thursday that roughly 50 barrels of oil spilled from a pipe near Houston, Texas and entered a waterway that connects to the Gulf of Mexico.
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Anarchy in New Orleans, Justice in the Gulf, Direct Action in Texas…

4 Jan
naasn12-poster1As EF! Journal editors arrive in  New Orleans to speak at the 2013 North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference, a story of justice for the Gulf BP spill, albeit too-little-too-late, covers headlines in newspapers across town. [Re-posted below]
     Meanwhile  along the Texas Gulf Coast, the need for yet another Tar Sands Blockade action camp proves that our struggle against a global energy empire is far from over. As of this morning, at least six people have been arrested in a tree sit blockade erected yesterday.
Treesit in Diboll, TX

Treesit in Diboll, TX

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According to NBC News: The Transocean settlement in the 2010 Gulf spill unveiled by the Department of Justice includes $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties. The company had set aside a total of $1.95 billion in potential losses related to the spill, including $1.5 billion for its anticipated settlement with the DoJ.

Shares of Transocean were up 7 percent at $49.50 on midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

BP's Gulf disaster, 2012

BP’s Gulf disaster, 2012

“The bottom line to me is they now can put away the big black cloud that has been hanging over them,” said Phil Weiss, an oil analyst at Argus. “I take this as a positive, even if the number is a little higher than I expected.”

Switzerland-based Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that was drilling a mile-deep well when a surge of methane gas sparked an explosion on April 20, 2010. The explosion killed 11 men and led to one of the largest environmental disasters in U.S. history.

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People Barricade Themselves Inside Keystone XL Pipe To Halt Construction

3 Dec

[Continue reading this post, or check here, for updates throughout the day. Join the fight against Keystone XL by coming to our next Mass Action Camp starting on January 3, one month from today!]

For more photos of today’s action, visit Tar Sands Blockade‘s Flickr page.

Glen-in-pipeWINONA, TX – MONDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2012 7:30 AM – Several protestors with Tar Sands Blockade sealed themselves inside a section of pipe destined for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to stop construction of the dangerous project. Using a blockading technique never implemented before, Matt Almonte and Glen Collins locked themselves between two barrels of concrete weighing over six hundred pounds each. Located twenty-five feet into a pipe segment waiting to be laid in the ground, the outer barrel is barricading the pipe’s opening and neither barrel can be moved without risking serious injury to the blockaders.

Spill-BannerThe barricaded section of the pipeline passes through a residential neighborhood in Winona, TX. If TransCanada moves ahead with the trenching and burying of this particular section of pipe, it would run less than a hundred feet from neighboring homes. Tar sands pipelines threaten East Texas communities with their highly toxic contents, which pose a greater risk to human health than conventional crude oil. TransCanada’s existing tar sands pipeline, Keystone XL’s predecessor, has an atrocious safety record, leaking twelve times in its first year of operation.

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Love and Rebellion in the East Texas Woods

1 Oct

Land cleared in East Texas by TransCanada for Keystone XL construction

I’m writing to ya’ll from a safe space nearby the Tar Sands Blockade in rural east Texas.  Early this week, heeding the call of friends and comrades already on site, we assembled a crew of Earth First!ers from the Northeast US and made the 30+ hour drive to the site to provide crucial reinforcement.  The tree village set up on site is one of the most fantastic things we’ve ever seen, and the emerging pictures on the internet do it no justice. Down below the pods, hideous monsters in the form of massive feller bunchers and dozers fill the air with the heinous sounds of corporate ecocide: mechanical whirs, sawing, and worst of the all the sound of beautiful trees hundreds of years old falling to their death, driving wildlife from their homes.

Yesterday a feller buncher began clearing through a section of the forest, rapidly advancing towards one of the tree sitters. Clearly printed in large letters on the side of the death machine read a warning to stay back at least 500 feet. A roving team on the ground that I was part of began cat-and-mousing the feller buncher, trying to keep our comrade in the tree safe. On the ground two TransCanada workers and one local sheriff operating as an armed mercenary of the corporation oversaw the operations, trying to move through the felled trees to push back our crew from the clear cut site. We continued to advance, determined not only to protect our comrade above in the canopy but to push them back and show them that we are not scared and that we will resist.    Continue reading

People Lock Themselves to Keystone XL Machinery to Defend Tree Village

25 Sep

Defending the blockades from “the machine”

DATELINE WINNSBORO, TX — This morning two Texas-born Tar Sands Blockaders have locked themselves to a critical piece of equipment for TransCanada’s Keystone XL construction in order to protect a massive tree village in the direct path of the toxic tar sands pipeline.

The village, where eight tree sitters remain in vigil, is on property that TransCanada now claims ownership of through court action. Keystone XL construction crews have advanced just over 300 yards away from the northern boundary of Tar Sands Blockade’s tree vigil.

Stay updated at the Tar Sands Blockade website

CALL TO ACTION: Stop the Keystone XL ASAP!

18 Sep

Friends, comrades, and allies:

In the heartland of Texas, camped in the backwoods among armadillos and water moccasins and deeply rooted small farmers and ranchers, we at Tar Sands Blockade are engaged in what may be the largest direct action battle of our time. We are mobile, skilled and powerful, and though we number in the dozens, the magnitude of what we face demands a call to action.
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