Name games: Speaking of Exxon and AGs, there’s a stew over whether a cove connected to Arkansas’s Lake Conway and contaminated by Exxon oil after the March 29 Pegasus pipeline rupture is, in fact, part of Lake Conway. According to Exxon, it isn’t. But then again, maybe it is. The Arkansas attorney general says, duh, the cove (linked to the lake via two 48-inch culverts, which emergency workers blocked after the spill) is part of the lake. Exxon has since relented, but still feels the need to clarify that when it says there is no oil in the lake, it means the main body of the lake. Yeah, tell that to the turtles. : Cove Where Exxon Oil Has Been Found Is Part of Lake Conway | InsideClimate News
North Dakota just passed Alaska to become the second-largest oil-producing state in the country. Good for the local economy (at least while the boom lasts), but not so good for public health, crime rates, water use, air pollution, and the social fabric. Read about what happens when a small town turns boomtown in our special reports:
In Steve Coll’s new book Private Empire, a history of ExxonMobil in the years since the March 24, 1989, Valdez spill in Alaska, CEO Lee Raymond doesn’t quite reach Minderbinderian levels of amorality, but he gets mighty close. His company pays the torture-happy Singaporean military to protect its oil fields from rebel forces. He hires a team of scientists to browbeat researchers attempting to assess the damage from Valdez. He publicly dismisses the very notion of climate change, even as his company explores how global warming might offer new opportunities for oil exploration and profit. “Don’t believe for a minute that ExxonMobil doesn’t think climate change is real,” Coll quotes a manager as saying.
Hey, that’s worth emphasizing: “Don’t believe for a minute that ExxonMobil doesn’t think climate change is real”
Bombings, gas leaks, suspicious deaths, and disease: Wiebo Ludwig’s family struggle against Big Oil in Canada made for a very dramatic story. So David York turned it into a movie … And we interviewed him about it: Filming One Man’s Battle Against Big Oil
On Tuesday, House Republicans released a transportation package that environmental groups have labeled as a massive giveaway to oil and gas interests.
It’s got everything that oil companies have asked for over the years and more: drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and off the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, increasing oil shale production, allowing much larger trucks on highways, and cutting funds for high-speed rail. And Speaker John Boehner has said he wants to attach a provision to the bill that would force approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline as well.
But here’s where it gets really sad: The bill would also cut the Safe Routes to School program, a $202 million grant program that helps states and school districts make improvements so that kids and their families can walk to school without getting run over.
President Obama said Wednesday that it could be “several months” before he decides whether to OK TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipelineand pledged that he would not put safe drinking water, fertile croplands, and public health at risk.
“My general attitude is, what is best for the American people? What’s best for our economy both short term and long term, but also what is best for the health of the American people,” he said Wednesday in an interview with KETVin Omaha, Nebraska.
“I think folks in Nebraska, like all across the country, aren’t going to say to themselves, ‘We’ll take a few thousand jobs if it means that our kids are potentially drinking water that would damage their health,’” Obama said, “or, if rich land that is so important to agriculture in Nebraska ends up being adversely affected, because those create jobs and when somebody gets sick that’s a cost that the society has to bear as well.”
The comments, Obama’s most comprehensive to date about the Keystone XL project, highlighted the sensitive political balance the president is trying to strike. The issue has become a political hot potato that threatens his relations with a core contingent of his progressive backers.
The whole affair may reach a tipping point this week, when Robert Kennedy Jr., environmental activist Bill McKibben, and thousands of other pipeline opponents are expected to join aSunday rally at the White House in what could be the largest pro-environment demonstration of Obama’s presidency.