Endangered Kemp’s Ridley hatchlings biggest hurdle ahead may be the lingering effects of the Gulf oil spill. Tell the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council to prioritize projects that restore important habitat areas.

Right now, $4 billion of your tax dollars subsidize the oil industry every year - $4 billion. They don’t need a subsidy. They’re making near-record profits. These are the same oil companies that have been making record profits off the money you spend at the pump for several years now. How do they deserve another $4 billion from taxpayers and subsidies? … It’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable. And every politician who’s been fighting to keep those subsidies in place should explain to the American people why the oil industry needs more of their money - especially at a time like this
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"Aliens might be surprised to learn that in a cosmos with unlimited starlight, humans kill for energy buried in the sand."
- Neil deGrasse Tyson

1. Earthglow | 2. London | 3. Houston | 4. Long Beach | 5. Montreal

Related: TransCanada Pipeline Explosion Shuts Off Gas For 4,000 Residents In Sub-Zero Temperatures | GOP senators urge Obama to make decision on Keystone XL | THIS POST

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About 150 activists, indigenous groups & supporters gathered in New York City’s Foley Square this morning to demand that Chevron be held accountable for the $18 billion in damages the big oil corporation was ordered to pay in 2011 for toxic dumping, spills & environmental destruction in Ecuador. 

Today marks the beginning of the trial Chevron’s retaliatory R.I.C.O. (Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization Act) has brought against the Ecuadorians and their U.S.-based legal advocates. The corporation’s use of R.I.C.O. when filing suit against the Ecuadorian victims is its latest attempt to avoid accountability, to evade its $18 billion cleanup & compensation costs & to silence the resistance against the oil giant. Chevron will argue in a non-jury trial that the verdict was obtained through fabricated evidence & manipulation. 

Protesters wore plastic gloves stained with black liquid & held up images of the widespread contamination sites along the Amazon as they chanted “Chevron, asesino!” (Chevron, murderer!). Speakers also told stories of how big oil is threatening indigenous lives in Ecuador. 

Oriente in the Ecuadorian Amazon has been described as a “Rainforest Chernobyl” after Chevron-owned Texaco dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic wastewater into its streams & rivers from 1964 to 1992. Water sources are now teeming with heavy metals, petroleum & other chemicals, making them inhabitable to aquatic life. Waste pits exuding harmful vapors have yet to be cleaned up while indigenous communities who live in the area - Cofán, Siona, Secoya, Kichwa & Huaorani - are plagued with high rates of cancer, birth defects & miscarriages. 

Chevron has been sued in multiple countries before without success. Those who have been watching the trial say the verdict is already obvious. From Paul Barrett: “Most recently, [U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan] issued a 104-page pretrial ruling last week warning that he has already determined ‘there was probable cause to suspect a crime or fraud’ by [Ecuadorians’ lead defense lawyer Steven] Donziger in connection with the fabrication of scientific evidence, the coercion of one Ecuadorian judge, the bribing of other Ecuadorian judges, and the ghostwriting of a critical report supposedly composed by an independent court-appointed official. For good measure, Kaplan added that he suspects that Donziger’s legal team in Ecuador secretly wrote some, or all, of the February 2011 court judgment.”

Photos/words by Graciela
(Edit: Yes, that is Bianca Jagger in the first photo.)

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, we are in contact with one of the workers helping to build a pipeline to bring oil from the tar sands to the U.S. Read the anonymous correspondent’s second dispatch from one of the world’s most controversial jobs.

A pipeline that leaked in northern Alberta was only five years old and designed to last for 30, according to top executives with Apache Canada, the company responsible for a large spill of toxic oil and gas waste.
— 

Northern Alberta pipeline was only five years old before toxic spill - The Globe and Mail

This raises even more concerns about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

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TV News Misses Yet Another Opportunity To Cover Climate Change

Photos: NYC Climate Change March Rallies Over 310,000

Re: No one cares about climate change

Four Questions for After the Climate March

Protesters Take to the Streets to Sound Alarm on Climate Change in New York, Across the World

Protesters At People’s Climate March In NYC Cal For Financial Incentives To Help Fight Global Warming

Thousands Rally in New York for the People’s Climate March

Leonardo DiCaprio and Sting among thousands on New York climate change march

People’s Climate March in Photos

Climate protesters march near Wall Street, block street near NYSE

Climate change protesters march on Wall Street

Climate March Spin-Off ‘Flood Wall Street’ Clashes With Cops

Dozens arrested as police face off with Flood Wall Street protesters

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Trial opens in Chevron RICO suit against pollution victims in Ecuador
October 14, 2013

On Tuesday, Ecuadorean villagers from the Amazon rainforest region ravaged by Chevron’s oil contamination will join supporters for a large rally in Foley Square across from the courthouse where a trial will open in the California-based oil giant’s retaliatory R.I.C.O. (Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organization Act) lawsuit against the Ecuadorians and their U.S.-based legal advocates. 

The Ecuadorians are representing 30,000 plaintiffs who won a landmark judgment against Chevron in an Ecuadorian court in 2011, wherein the company was ordered to pay more than $18 billion towards the cleanup of widespread contamination, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. The case, holding Chevron accountable for toxic dumping by its predecessor company, Texaco, has been upheld by appellate courts in Ecuador.

Nearly 20 years since the case was filed in 1993, Chevron refuses to pay for a cleanup, and is waging a scorched-earth legal, PR, and lobbying campaign to crush its victims and their advocates and supporters. The oil giant stripped its assets from the country, forcing the Ecuadorians to pursue enforcement of the judgment in countries where the Chevron still maintains assets. Chevron’s use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act when filing suit against the Ecuadorian victims [.pdf ] and their advocates is the latest chapter in their attempts to evade accountability and repress those trying to hold the company to task.

“This trial is merely Chevron’s latest cynical ploy to evade accountability for its crimes in Ecuador,” said Paul Paz y Miño of Amazon Watch. “Chevron’s legacy in the Amazon has caused enough environmental ruin and human suffering already; it’s time the company to pay for a cleanup, rather than for more abusive efforts to run from its responsibility.”

The Foley Square protest will feature villagers from the Ecuadorean Amazon living amidst hundreds of Chevron’s abandoned toxic waste pits that litter the region. They will be displaying bottles of water polluted by Chevron oil operations, as well as images of friends, family, and community members who have died or suffered cancer and similar illnesses from prolonged exposure to petroleum wastewater. The rally is being organized by members of New York’s Ecuadorean community, along with human rights supporters and environmental activists, who will be supporting them with a massive ‘Lady Justice’ figure and other visually arresting props.

Full article
Facebook event page: Tuesday, Oct. 15 Foley Square 9 a.m.

Watch on sagansense.tumblr.com

Not like anyone needs a reason to share this video anytime, but in the wake of the 2014 UN Climate Summit, this segment by John Oliver (featuring Bill Nye) perfectly communicates one of the major factors in the United States’ science illiteracy problem….communication of science itself.

Watch, laugh, then realize that this is hardly humorous. Our future is being throttled at the helm of capitalism and the corrupt industries who rely on climate change denial think-tanks which have PR departments whose 9am-5pm grind focuses on taking advantage of others’ ignorance.

Have a chuckle, because we all need a laugh, but share this and pay it forward, because there are far too many people still relying on mainstream media as their primary source of information and education.

That Pipeline through New England? It’s (Mostly) Owned by Exxon. And They Want to Transport Toxic Tar Sands Oil through It.

Last week, ten national and local Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire organizations including NRDC released a fact sheet exposing Big Oil’s stealth campaign to bring extra dirty tar sands to New England.

What exactly is so troubling about the idea of Exxon’s pipeline companies and Enbridge transporting tar sands through Eastern Canada and New England? To name just a few reasons for concern:

  • Tar sands is a dirty fuel – extra damaging and risky to the environment and public health throughout its entire lifecycle of extraction, pipeline transport, refining, and combustion. An area of Alberta’s Boreal forest the size of Florida could eventually be decimated if industry is allowed to continue expanding their extraction efforts. The damage from tar sands extends globally, as it causes 20% more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil, taking us in the wrong direction when the world needs to transition to clean energy.
  • Tar sands pipelines pose greater safety risks to the land and water along their path. Diluted bitumen – raw tar sands mixed with a diluent so that it can be transported via pipelines – is more corrosive and abrasive than conventional oil, creating a greater spill risk. And, when tar sands pipelines do spill into rivers, rather than floating on the surface, the diluted bitumen separates – with the diluents evaporating and the bitumen becoming submerged and impossible to fully clean up.
  • Exxon and Enbridge already have a bad track record with tar sands pipelines. ExxonMobil, the company responsible for the disastrous Valdez oil spill that rocked the world in 1989, was also responsible for the July 2011 Silvertip Pipeline spill that dumped 42,000 gallons of oil into the pristine Yellowstone River in Montana. While that oil spilled happened to be conventional crude oil, the pipeline is also used to move corrosive tar sands “diluted bitumen.” Enbridge’s best-known pipeline spill was the million gallon tar sands spill into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in July 2010. Just last week—more than two years after the spill – the Environmental Protection Agency told Enbridge that they still need to keep cleaning up the river.

Read more.

In other Chevron news: Chevron faces deadline in $19 billion Ecuador case
August 7, 2012

U.S. oil giant Chevron has until midnight tonight to pay a US $19.04 billion Ecuador court judgment for polluting Amazon waterways or officially default and face another lawsuit to seize its assets, this time in Ecuador. Such collection lawsuits are pending against Chevron in Canada and Brazil.

Ecuador Judge Liliana Ortiz on Friday signed an order giving Chevron until midnight tonight to deposit the funds necessary to remediate the oil contamination, which included the dumping of more than 16 billion gallons of toxic waste from oil production into Amazon waterways.

Judge Ortiz’s order comes after almost 19 years of litigation.

The case, Aguinda v. ChevronTexaco, began on November 3, 1993 when 30,000 indigenous people and farmers from Ecuador’s Amazon filed a class action suit against Texaco in New York federal court alleging massive oil contamination of the rainforest.

For 10 years, Texaco argued before U.S. judges that the case should be transferred to Ecuador’s courts. In 2002, a U.S. federal judge granted Texaco’s motion and removed the case to Ecuador on the condition that Texaco submit to jurisdiction there and be bound by any ruling of the Ecuadorian courts.

In the meantime, Chevron bought Texaco in 2001, assuming its liabilities and defense of the case.

Texaco operated in Ecuador from 1964 to 1992, building hundreds of oil production facilities. The trial judge in Lagio Agrio found overwhelming evidence that the company dumped billions of gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways as a cost-saving measure.

Five indigenous groups in the area have been harmed by the pollution that covers an area the size of Rhode Island. The contamination also caused an outbreak of cancer that has killed or threatens to kill thousands of people in the area, according to evidence before the court.

Judge Ortiz’s order is the final step under Ecuador civil procedure to certify the 188-page trial court judgment, which was issued on February 11, 2011. That judgement was unanimously affirmed on appeal in early January. It set the amount of the judgment at $18.2 billion.

Last week, Judge Ortiz raised the final amount of the award to $19.041 billion after calculating various mandatory costs required by Ecuador law.

Chevron stripped most of its primary assets, including service stations, from Ecuador years ago and the company no longer operates in the country.

Pablo Fajardo, the lead Ecuador lawyer on the case, says that for practical purposes, Judge Ortiz’s order allows the rainforest communities to execute the Ecuador judgment against Chevron’s remaining assets in their home country.

Fajardo estimates Chevron’s remaining assets in Ecuador are worth roughly $200 million, including a $96 million court judgment the company won recently in an international arbitration proceeding against Ecuador’s government.

Judge Ortiz’s order also puts the plaintiffs in a stronger legal position to pursue recognition of the Ecuador judgment abroad under various international treaties and domestic law statutes.

Collection lawsuits are pending against Chevron in Canada and Brazil, where the company has billions of dollars worth of assets. The plaintiffs are asking courts to seize to seize these assets to satisfy the judgment and finance a cleanup of the oil contamination, said Fajardo.

“People in Ecuador are dying because of Chevron’s pollution and company’s utter contempt for the rule of law,” said Fajardo. “Chevron is going to have to be forced by courts to comply with its legal obligations.”

Chevron maintains the plaintiffs’ allegations that it is responsible for alleged environmental and social harms in the Oriente region of Ecuador are “false.”
  
Chevron says the company never conducted oil production operations in Ecuador, and its subsidiary Texaco Petroleum Co. (TexPet) “fully remediated its share of environmental impacts arising from oil production operations, before leaving Ecuador in 1992.”

“After the remediation was certified by all agencies of the Ecuadorian government responsible for oversight, TexPet received a complete release from Ecuador’s national, provincial, and municipal governments that extinguished all claims before Chevron acquired TexPet in 2001,” the company says.

“All legitimate scientific evidence exonerates Chevron and proves that the remediated sites pose no significant risks to human health or the environment,” Chevron says on its website.

If Chevron refuses to pay the court judgment, the company will face a greater risk of liability in the enforcement actions already pending, said Karen Hinton, the U.S. spokesperson for the indigenous and farmer plaintiffs.

If Chevron defaults, Fajardo said his legal team will file court actions to seize the intellectual property rights of various Chevron brands in Ecuador, including Havoline.

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