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07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]

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07.16 US aid cuts to UN agency will hurt vulnerable women and children, critics say

07.16 Trump abortion restrictions in effect for taxpayer-funded clinics

07.15 The response to DRC’s Ebola crisis isn’t working. Here’s what we need to do

07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]

07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]

07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]

07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]

07.12 These solar panels don’t just generate power—they produce drinking water

07.12 David Attenborough: polluting planet may become as reviled as slavery [1:34 video]

07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]

07.10 Molly Scott Cato: ‘It’s the wealthy who are causing climate change’

07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]

07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]

07.05 Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis

07.04 On reflection: how the 'albedo effect' is melting the Antarctic

07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn

07.03 Deep-sea mining to turn oceans into ‘new industrial frontier’

07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]

07.02 American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion laws

07.02 'Committed' CO2 emissions jeopardize international climate goals, study finds

07.01 New Solar + Battery Price Crushes Fossil Fuels, Buries Nuclear

07.01 Freak summer hailstorm buries cars in Mexico's Guadalajara [0:50 video]

07.01 Climate Change is Devastating India With Heat Waves and Water Shortages [13:48 video]

06.30 American farmers can't afford this administration's climate apathy

06.30 The US military is a bigger polluter than more than 140 countries combined [Could a world-wide moratorium of military activity dramatically slow the climate crises?]

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07.16 Describing 'Future We Want to Live In' Scores of Groups Unveil New Blueprint for Reproductive Rights

07.16 'Do not take the bait': congresswomen denounce racist Trump attack [3:50 video]

07.16 Money Laundering Scandal Forces Puerto Rico’s Governor to Cut His Vacation Short — Just in Time for Another Scandal

07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]

07.15 Finding the Future in Radical Rural America

07.15 Sanders Accuses Biden of Parroting Pharma and Insurance Industry Script With Attacks on Medicare for All [Like Trump, Biden explains why he's unelectable every day.]

07.15 If there is an 'immigrant' who has failed to integrate in America, it's Donald Trump

07.15 Trump tells Ocasio-Cortez and other female progressives to 'go back' to 'original' countries

07.15 Trump Takes Pelosi's Side Against AOC and The Squad as Intraparty Fight Over Immigration Continues [Its about much more than immigration, its about the Corporate Dominance—by many of the same companies, even—over both major Political Parties. With too few exceptions, neither party has represented The Public since Nixon generously raised the minimum wage (Part D Medicare and ACA both became Frankenstein legislation due to excessive corporate price-fixing influence), and that has to change!]

07.14 Trump: People like Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party [Then it's too bad he didn't stay to finish the job!]

07.13 Trump's POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role [A willingness to perform criminal behavior seems the only competency required...]

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07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]

07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]

07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]

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07.15 China’s Economic Growth Hits 27-Year Low as Trade War Stings

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07.16 Trump’s race fantasy is clear: the US as home for whites fleeing Europe [1:09 video]

07.15 India’s Terrifying Water Crisis

07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]

07.14 Kasich: The chilling effect of British ambassador's leaked memos

07.14 'Just a matter of when': the $20bn plan to power Singapore with Australian solar

07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]

07.13 New Zealand Begins Gun Buyback Prompted by Mosque Attacks

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]

07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning

07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]

07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]

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  Print view: Here We Go Again: Another Rig Explosion
EARTH BECOMING A TOXIC WASTE SITE:

Here We Go Again: Another Rig Explosion

by Stephen Lendman
Saturday, 4 September 2010
Many believe only a total ban of offshore drilling can work, shifting America's fossil fuel addiction to alternative, clean sources. The choice is simple - either a healthy, safe environment or one contaminated and destroyed. There may be little time left to decide.

Drilling means spilling, hundreds of annual incidents, most small, unreported, yet their cumulative effect is devastating, what the industry and nightly news won't mention or explain.

On February 25, 2009, Environmental Research web.org writer Kate Ravilious did, headlining "Small unreported oil spills add up to major damage," saying:

Big spills make headlines while small ones "often go unnoticed and unreported. But these little slicks could be just as damaging to the environment as large spills, according to new research findings."

Barcelona, Spain Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya Professors Jose Redondo and Alexei Platonov developed a way to spot spills from satellite images. They show that "small oil spills are very common, and when added together they become comparable to large" ones. Their frequency makes them damaging, yet little about them is reported.

Studying European waters alone, they determined that major spills happen every few years, large ones three or four times a year, and smaller ones virtually daily. Extrapolated globally over time amounts to a major environmental problem, compounded by many small incidents and natural seepage - as much as 14 million barrels a year globally offshore.

"For example, it seems that there are four to five times more spills (large and small) in East Asia than in European Coastal waters," and Middle East ones experience "significantly more spills." Most often, negligence to cut costs is why.

According to Redondo and Platonov, "the cumulative effect and toxic dose (of small spills) is the same as a large spill, and will be detected in the long run," as well as their environmental damage, slowly destroying the health of global waters.

Charles Clusen, Natural Resources Defense Council National Parks and Alaska Projects director believes up to 500 spills happen annually and will increase with greater production, plus natural seeps adding more. According to former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA) supervisory researcher Jeff Short:

"Once you have a spill, you are pretty much screwed. That's because oil spreads on water at a rate of one-half a football field per second. Recovery can take decades."

Besides daily spills, the Gulf of Mexico alone has experienced over 500 oil rig fires since 2006, most never reported.

Another expert says offshore spills cause more damage than a terrorist attack. They're unacceptable risks - reason enough to ban all shallow and deep water drilling and strictly regulate the rest. Besides daily spills, the Gulf of Mexico alone has experienced over 500 oil rig fires since 2006, most never reported, the latest on September 2. More on it below.

Exhibit A in Alaska was the Prince William Sound Exxon-Valdez incident. After over 20 years of natural weathering, it remains an environmental and human catastrophe, and it was minor compared to BP's greatest ever environmental crime.

On land, drilling is hazardous, but offshore requires complex technology, greatly increasing the risks. According to UC Berkeley Engineering Professor Robert Bea:

"This is a pretty frigging complex system. You've got equipment and steel strung out over a long piece of geography starting at the surface and terminating at 18,000 (or more) feet below the sea surface. So it has many potential weak points," compounded by negligence to cut costs. "Just as Katrina's storm surge damage found weaknesses in those piles of dirt - the levees - gas likes to find weakness in anything we connect to that source."

Drilling is a dirty, dangerous business. The long-term harm greatly outweighs the benefits. Besides spills and other accidents, the ecological damage is immense, contaminating waters and shorelines. Drilling releases toxic muds, containing poisonous heavy metals, including mercury, cadmium and lead, as well as dangerous amounts of arsenic, benzene and radioactive minerals. According to the EPA:

Drilling "may leave behind waste containing concentrations of naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) from the surrounding soils and rocks. Once exposed or concentrated by human activity, (it) becomes Technologically-Enhanced NORM or TENORM. Radioactive materials are not necessarily present in the soils at every well or drilling site. However, in some areas of the country, such as the upper Midwest and Gulf Coast states, the soils are more likely to contain radioactive material."

"Radioactive wastes from oil and gas drilling take the form of produced water, drilling mud, sludge, slimes, or evaporation ponds and pits. It can also concentrate in the mineral scales that form in pipes (pipe scale), storage tanks, or other extraction equipment."

Naturally occurring radioactive materials include radium and radon gas, potent carcinogens that accumulate in water, wildlife, plants and vegetables, and take 1,600 years to degrade. Combined with other toxins (after decades of offshore drilling) has left vast areas of global waters dangerously toxic - why nothing in them should be eaten.

The Latest Reason to Ban All Offshore Drilling

On September 2, operating 100 miles south of Louisiana's Vermilion Bay in shallow water (several hundred feet deep), a rig operated by Mariner Energy, Inc. (a Houston-based independent oil and gas producer) exploded and caught fire, a company press release saying:

The company "confirms that a fire has occurred at a production platform located on Vermilion Block 380, approximately 100 miles from the Louisiana coast. All 13 members of the crew have been evacuated and safely accounted for. No injuries have been reported. In an initial flyover, no hydrocarbon spill was reported."

False. Workers told rescuers they heard a blast, saw a fire, and had to jump into Gulf waters to be safe. One injury was reported. The Coast Guard said a mile-long, hundred foot wide oil sheen was seen near the site, then later about-faced saying no oil was spotted. It's there and spreading, but there's no indication how much or whether the release was contained. First reported at 9:20AM, the fire was extinguished about six hours later.

Mariner's rig is in production, not a drilling rig platform like BP's. At year end 2009, it produced 47% oil and 53% natural gas. The company has interests in nearly 350 offshore leases, including over 80 in deep water down to 7,100 feet. More than 110 are in development.

According to the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement (BOE, formerly the Mineral Management Service - MMS), federal authorities cited Mariner and its related operations for 10 Gulf accidents in the past four years. They included platform fires, oil spills and a blowout. In a 2008 incident, one employee sustained serious injuries. In early 2010, the company was fined $55,000 for safety violations.

Consider its history. As a former Enron unit, it faced bankruptcy, saved only by private equity investors buying it at fire sale prices. On April 15, Apache Corp., America's largest independent oil and gas producer, announced plans to buy Mariner, calling the deal "a strategic step and a natural extension into the deepwater Gulf....provid(ing) an exciting new platform for growth...." The agreement is still on, Apache saying it's monitoring developments closely but hopes to complete its acquisition in a matter of weeks.

Final Comments

Despite offshore drilling dangers; the industry's history of violations, accidents, and spills, some major like BP's; and the growing contamination of waters and coastal areas, the rage to drill is unabated, few in Congress willing to challenge Big Oil's muscle.

After the Mariner explosion, however, environmental groups are flexing theirs, wanting offshore drilling banned, Greenpeace USA's oceans campaign director, John Hocevar, saying:

"How many times are we going to gamble with lives, economies and ecosystems? It's time we learn from our mistakes and go beyond oil," for sure stop drilling offshore to get it.

Jackie Savitz, senior campaign director for the environmental group Oceana agrees, saying:

"We think all offshore oil drilling should be banned, but not just the deepwater drilling. Even oil spills in shallow water are bad. It doesn't have to be in deep water to be a disaster."

Environment America's Mike Gravitz said Obama "need(s) no further wake-up call to permanently ban new drilling."

In a September 2 press release, the Center for Biological Diversity said:

"Today's explosion....is the latest in a string of accidents in recent decades illustrating the dangers of offshore drilling in shallow (or deep) waters." It called for expanding the moratorium, explaining that "Offshore drilling is an inherently unsafe, toxic activity that, every day, puts people and the environment at risk." Only one solution can work - a total ban.

After the BP incident, a coalition of 14 environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace, wrote Obama, urging a permanent moratorium, saying:

"In response to the BP drilling disaster, we specifically urge you to establish a presidential drilling moratorium which would permanently restore coastal protections for areas currently not leased for offshore oil and gas drilling, and cancel exploratory drilling permits for the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. Furthermore, we urge you to use the full force of your office to push for a comprehensive bill that cuts oil consumption, curbs global warming pollution and shifts us towards clean energy."

The group also called for a "top to bottom review of worker safety, blowout avoidance technology, and oil spill clean up plans for operations in the Outer Continental Shelf."

Others believe only a total ban can work, shifting America's fossil fuel addiction to alternative, clean sources. The choice is simple - either a healthy, safe environment or one contaminated and destroyed. There may be little time left to decide.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.



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This story was published on September 4, 2010.
 

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