Tag Archive: United States


As Republicans take the reins of the 2011 Legislature next month, high on their agenda is revising the countries’ energy and environmental laws, to boost natural-resource development and jobs.

“If we are going to have jobs, it will be in natural resources,” says Sen. Debby Barrett, R-Dillon, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources Committee. “I think our committee will be very busy.”

Montana is one state in which the agenda of politicians is very environmentally related.

Republican lawmakers, who will have strong majorities in both chambers of the 2011 Legislature, already have requested scores of bills in this arena, targeting everything from the Montana Environmental Policy Act to renewable-energy mandates, which they see as unnecessary.

Many Democrats as well as the state’s environmental community are bracing for a fight, saying the state’s environmental-protection laws will come under “constant and very serious attack.”

In addition to the proposed changes to MEPA and renewable-power incentives, environmentalists say they’re also expecting attempts to alter or roll back the state’s ban on cyanide heap-leach gold mines, weaken the state Superfund hazardous-waste cleanup law, enact private-property laws that could stymie environmental regulations and perhaps even encourage nuclear-power development in Montana.

Republicans, however, say their convincing victory in legislative races in November is a message that Montanans want more development of all resources, including oil, gas, coal, timber and more.

Sorry for not having any posts in the last 3 weeks, but I’ve been very busy. At least someone in the US Government fakes caring about the environment!

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I’ve already brought this up before, talking about my opinion and those of others. However, I feel I need to bring it up once more as the Guardian had another article on it. I am of course talking about the BP oil disaster.

The presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster ran into controversy today by saying it had found no evidence that BP and other oil companies put profits ahead of safety on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

In a preliminary finding by what is the first independent panel, the commission’s chief investigator found a series of missed warning signs before the April 20 explosion on the rig.

Fred Bartlit, appointed by President Obama to investigate into the spill, complained repeatedly during his presentation that he did not have subpoena powers and had to rely on the goodwill of oil firm.”I wish I had that power because I think it’s damned important — but that’s the way it goes,” he said. The Senate refused to grant such powers.

In a long and detailed re-enactment of events leading up to the explosion, Bartlit and his team outlined a clear trail where disaster could have been averted. The team also questioned executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton. The investigation produced 13 findings on the path to the disaster.

Eleven men died when the rig exploded, releasing nearly 5m barrels of oil and gas into the Gulf of Mexico. The Macondo well was from the start a challenging one. BP had intended to drill even deeper but stopped at 18,36 ft because of the difficulties of preventing oil seeping into the surrounding rock.

The failure is even more striking given BP and Halliburton knew by 20 April that the cement seal on the well was defective.”People knew there was one barrier. The well was under-balanced and that called for heightened high vigilance,” Grimsley said. “People knew you had to be really careful.”

The findings included:

• The cement seal at the bottom of the well failed to hold back oil and gas in the reservoir, and should have been redesigned.

• BP and Transocean interpreted the failed negative pressure test as a success.

• BP introduced additional safety risks in its plan to shut down the drilling rig.

• Crews on the rig and in offshore offices should have picked up warnings on monitors that gas was rising from the well.

• Rapid response at that time could have prevented a blowout.

Many conclusions mirror those of BP’s internal investigation, and Bartlit said he agreed with 90% of it. The most significant conclusions for BP could be the finding that the leak rose through the drill pipe rather than the space between the casing and the rock formation. That supports BP’s contention that its well design was not a contributing factor in the explosion.

Wow. Talk about NEGLIGENCE.

Poor Polar Bears…

While the US and southern Canada relish a golden, warm autumn, way up north the polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba, are heading to the shores of Hudson Bay.

They are waiting for the bay to freeze so they can end their months-long fast and hunt seals. But these days their wait for the ice can be four to six weeks longer than in decades and centuries past. And in the spring the ice melts earlier, forcing them back to land where they fast again throughout the longer warmer seasons.

“It makes you appreciate how fragile the ecosystem is,”  Churchill zoo communications manager Steve Pine said. “It’s really too bad that it’s come to this- how can polar bears be expected to survive and multiply in these conditions? And what can one group or one person actually do?”

Personally, I certainly wish one person could make a huge difference. But it takes the agreement of corporations, the government, and the population to do anything real and substantial- this is why it’s so hard to actually tackle the (SUPPOSED) climate change. I only say ‘supposed’ because naysayers provide reasonable evidence, but how can you say that nothing is happening when a fragile ecosystem is getting ruined and not melting and freezing on time?

The melting of the polar ice caps is as real as the world we live in. How come we can’t solve these environmental problems?

Alberta’s oil sands are a reasonably sized source of oil located in one of Canada’s Prairie provinces, Alberta. Ezra Levant is a Canadian lawyer and blogger with an interesting opinion on the oil sands.

Environmentalists are constantly thinking about what they could be doing better to sell action on climate change. The folks on the other side, possibly including Ezra Levant, apparently are not afflicted with the same sense of self doubt.

How else can you explain a rebranding exercise being embraced by conservative commentators in Canada to market the produce of Alberta’s tar sands as “ethical oil”?

The case is being made in a new book by conservative activist Ezra Levant called: “Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands”.

From what I can glean in press reports, the gist of Levant’s argument is that yes, Canadian tar sands oil is really, really bad for the planet — it produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions as convention oil, poisons rivers and destroys ancient boreal forest — but it’s politically smarter than buying from the Middle East or Venezuela.

Or as Levant so subtly puts it:

“You can’t fill up your car’s gastank with solar panels or windmills or cold fusion or dilithium crystals. It’s Canadian ethical oil, or Saudi terrorist oil.”

It’s pretty clear to me that Ezra Levant cares more about politics than the environment. To Levant, Canadian ‘ethical oil’ is better than the alternative, Saudi ‘terrorist’ oil. But at what price does it come? Is it REALLY ethical if it means three times the emissions and destroying ancient forest?

For the larger part of my childhood, I grew up in and around these forests. It is NOT ethical oil if beautiful boreal forest is destroyed, no matter how great the political benefit.

BP Spill Plugged, to Cost $10bn

‘British Petroleum’s bill for containing and cleaning up the oil spill has reached almost $10bn (£6.4bn), as the US government declared that the blown-out well has finally been plugged, five months after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig.

BP also said payouts to people affected by the spill such as fishermen, hoteliers and retailers had dramatically increased since it handed over authority for dispensing funds to a White House appointee.

BP has set up a $20bn compensation fund, which has so far paid out 19,000 claims totalling more than $240m.

The oil company previously paid out about $3.5m a day in compensation, but this has risen to $12.5m a day since Feinberg took over.’

What great official news! British Petroleum, the government and all other officials agree that the well is finally done spilling- for good. BP’s cleanup costs are huge though, and there are definitely going to be many fair trials. The legal costs are going to be higher because of BP’s huge negligence to the environment and everything.

But realize, just for a second, what a huge number 10 billion dollars is, and the fact that there will be much, much more in fines to the oil giant over the next decade. That’s how long it takes for legal proceedings to do with environmental disasters to get completed.