Heard about the FBI Tracking of Keystone XL Activists? It’s Worse than You Thought.

If you didn’t already know, a private security firm providing intelligence reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security has cited an FBI document to justify the surveillance of anti-fracking groups. The same security firm concluded that the “escalating conflict over natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania” could lead to an increase in “environmentalist activity or eco-terrorism.” If you did know about this, it’s much worse than you originally thought. Read this well put together article from Adam Federman. He’s done the research and what he’s uncovered will blow your mind. Read the full article here.

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President Obama will support the future of transportation by taxing big oil

Here’s a clear indication that exiting President Barack Obama no longer cares what anyone thinks. He’s just introduced a budget that would tax oil companies $10 per barrel of oil in order to fund the future of transportation, according to a new release from the White House. Obama’s plan to produce a new cleaner transit system includes guidelines for how to trim carbon emissions, build out new public transit systems and introduce the latest and greatest in car technology onto U.S. roadways. But it’s got a hefty price tag.

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SECOND CANADIAN COMPANY COMPLETING TAR-SANDS PIPELINE INTO THE U.S.

For six years, TransCanada has negotiated federal and state laws, and contended with the opposition of environmental organizations and landowners, to build the Keystone XL: a 36-inch-diameter, 1,700-mile pipeline that, if completed, would transport 830,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Canadian tar-sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast.

The U.S. State Department has not issued the required presidential permit, which would declare the importing of tar-sands oil in the “national interest.” And the Nebraska Supreme Court just heard oral arguments on a landowners’ lawsuit that could cost TransCanada another year if it has to reapply for its permit in the state.

The stalled process has led one equities analyst to observe that, “Keystone XL doesn’t look like it will ever get fully up and running.”

Yet TransCanada’s fight, and the Keystone XL pipeline, might be moot—along with the campaign that brought together a broad coalition of environmental groups working to block the project and contain the import of tar-sands oil.

According to State Department documents, annual corporate reports, and interviews with company officials and attorneys, Enbridge Inc. and its U.S. subsidiary have circumvented the pipeline permitting process. By the middle of next year, the Calgary-based company will be transporting 800,000 bpd of tar-sands oil from western Canada into the U.S.

Read the full article here.

New investigative report by Washington Spectator reveals how Canadian company Enbridge used deceptive measures and State Department complicity to push through cross-border pipeline with same capacity as hotly contested KXL Pipeline. This is an outrage.

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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.

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The oil industry’s latest disaster has arrived on the shores of Santa Barbara, California, where an underground pipeline ruptured and spilled an estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean. We don’t know the full extent of the damage yet — in the worst-case scenario, we could be looking at something more like 105,000 gallons spilled — but officials say the oil, which has separated into two large patches, has coated at least nine miles of coastline; Wednesday evening, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for the county.

Decades after a major spill opened our eyes to oil’s dangers, we’re still living under the delusion that it’s safe

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Netflix’s ‘Virunga’ uncovers Congo’s fight to protect resources

British filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel did not expect a civil war to break out when he arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 to profile Virunga National Park’s plans for tourism and economic development.

But that’s exactly what happened as he filmed his first feature-length documentary.

 

Full article from Reuters

Don’t miss the documentary, Virunga, now on Netflix.

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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.

Ugh, I hate when people make comments like this:

“You protest sweatshops, but you’ve got a smart phone.”

or

“You blame Fossil Fuel industries, but you drove a car to this protest.”

It’s like saying:

“How did you get to this “women should vote” rally? Oh with your husband’s money for the horse and buggy! Check mate Ma’am!”

You don’t have to opt out of a system completely to criticise it . And moreso, the problem is these systems (Big Oil Economies, Patriarchy, Capitalism) are so dominant there’s no way to opt out of them. That’s the prob.

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While evaluating the potential impact of developing a gas field it was interested in off Indonesia, ExxonMobil found one major reason for concern: the field in question was 70 percent carbon dioxide. If the field were developed, and that gas vented into the atmosphere, it could become the “largest point source of CO2 in the world,” accounting for a full one percent of climate change-causing emissions. According to Leonard S. Bernstein, a former chemical engineer at the company, Exxon recognized the potential for global warming concerns to lead to regulations that would impact the project and others like it.

The oil industry has been spreading climate denial for years – and there’s proof it knew better