Only a full ban on fracking will do. Regulations can neither prevent nor mitigate the disastrous consequences inherent to fracking. We need to keep the carbon in the ground.
A year after buying his dream home in Los Angeles, Gary Gless started falling down and breaking bones.
Fourteen years and one thousand doctors visits later, his neuromuscular disorder hasn’t been specifically diagnosed. He survives on painkillers and sleep aids.
Gless’s backyard overlooks the Inglewood Oil Field, the largest urban oil field in the nation. Within the field, gas companies have been secretly fracking in the middle of this community of 300,000 residents for nine years.
Many of Gless’s neighbors also suffer from neurological, auto-immune and respiratory diseases and several types of cancers. Many have died. Homes and swimming pools are cracking.
None of these people will be helped by passage of the only fracking bill still alive in California’s legislature: Senate Bill 4. That’s because the regulations in SB 4 do nothing to actually make fracking safer.
Instead, the flawed bill sets up a process for notification, disclosure, monitoring and permitting and simply calls for future regulations by other agencies and a scientific study.
Telling someone when you're going to frack, where you're going to frack and what chemicals you will use, is like a murderer telling you he's going to shoot you on your front porch at noon tomorrow using an AK-47.
It took a while for the Alabama public to understand that their state is being transformed into a tar sands Mecca. Proposals for rail and pipeline transport and tar sands storage facilities were first presented in 2010, and by 2012, most were rubber…
With the school year starting for many this week, it's another year of academia for professors across the United States - and another year of "frackademia" for an increasingly large swath of "frackademics" under federal law. "Frackademia" is best…
Thousands of climate activists marched Saturday through the streets of Richmond, California to the gates of the Chevron refinery, as part of a protest against the oil giant and other fossil fuel companies.
Chanting "arrest Chevron," protesters sat in front of the refinery gates before being handcuffed by police in riot gear. The event was scheduled to mark the anniversary of the August 6th explosion and fire at the refinery that generated a huge plume of black smoke and sent 15,000 people to hospitals complaining of breathing problems.
More than 200 people were arrested Saturday outside the oil giant's Richmond refinery during the protest, and many cited safety issues at the plant and the company's global environmental practices, among other complaints.
The arrests came hours into a protest that began with a rally Saturday morning outside the Richmond BART Station and a march west to Chevron's gates. By the time the demonstration reached the refinery, the crowd numbered into the thousands.
Protesters chanted outside the gate and drew a giant sunflower using biodegradable paint on the pavement. Police began making arrests when the demonstrators, many of them carrying sunflowers, walked onto company property and refused to leave.
"The showdown was about more than one local community's battle with its largest employer and biggest polluter, however. It represents the latest example of a fast-growing movement by environmentalists across the United States to organize rallies, marches and civil disobedience for more action to reduce greenhouse emissions
"The pace is picking up very dramatically," said Bill McKibben, one of the event organizers.
McKibben is a Vermont writer who cofounded the nonprofit group 350.org, which has organized thousands of similar events in the past five years. He was among the first people arrested Saturday. McKibben said protests are increasing because people are frustrated that Congress has not passed national laws to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the coal, oil and other fossil fuel industries despite overwhelming scientific evidence that the planet is warming.
"Everybody thought at first that if you have a problem this big that scientists said is a problem, then our system would act," McKibben said. "That was my assumption. But at a certain point it became clear that wasn't happening. The science was no match for the money. They've purchased the U.S. Congress."
McKibben, a professor at Middlebury College who was awarded a 1993 Guggenheim Fellowship for nonfiction writing, said the movement's major goals include convincing President Obama to cancel the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would allow Canada to export tar sands oil to U.S. refineries in Houston and other cities. Boosting federal funding and tax credits for solar, wind and other renewable projects, is also among the goals, along with passing a federal carbon tax or cap-and-trade program, similar to California's, that would offer incentives for using fewer fossil fuels."
Eventually, 210 people were arrested, nearly all of them on suspicion of trespassing, police said. They were cited and released.
8,600 acres of the Cumberland Forest owned by University of Tennessee-Knoxville will be leased off to the oil and gas industry this August in a new form of "frackademia" - and one of the top financial beneficiaries will be the family of Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who sits on UT-Knoxville's Board…
As the 1960s ended, the Seven Sisters -- the major oil companies -- controlled 85 percent of the world's oil reserves. Today, they control a mere 10 percent.
New territory is needed to satisfy their lust for oil and power, and the Sister's gaze turns towards Africa. With "peak oil," wars in the Middle East, and the rise in crude prices...Africa becomes the oil giants' new battleground.
In their bid to dominate Africa, the Sisters installed a king in Libya, a dictator in Gabon, fought the nationalisation of oil resources in Algeria, and through corruption, war and assassinations, brought Nigeria to its knees.
Oil may be flowing into the holds of huge tankers, but in Lagos, petrol shortages are chronic.
The country's four refineries are obsolete and the continent's main oil exporter is forced to import refined petrol - a paradox that reaps fortunes for a handful of oil companies.
Encouraged by the companies, corruption has become a system of government - some $50bn are estimated to have 'disappeared' out of the $350bn received since independence.
But new players have now joined the great oil game.
China, with its growing appetite for energy, has found new friends in Sudan, and the Chinese builders have moved in. Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir is proud of his co-operation with China - a dam on the Nile, roads, and stadiums.
"Everybody thought there could be oil in Sudan but nobody knew anything. It was revealed through exploration by the American company Chevron, towards the end of the 70s. And that was the beginning of the second civil war, which went on until 2002. It lasted for 19 years and cost a million and a half lives and the oil business was at the heart of it."
- Gerard Prunier, a historian
To be able to export half a million barrels of oil a day from the oil fields in the South, China financed and built the Heglig pipeline connected to Port Sudan. Now South Sudan's precious black crude is shipped through North Sudan to Chinese ports.
And in a bid to secure the oil supplies out of Libya, the US, the UK and the Seven Sisters made peace with formerly shunned Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, until he was killed during the Libyan uprising of 2011. The flow of Libyan oil, however, remains uninterrupted.
Desperately needing funds for rebuilding efforts, Libya is now back to pumping over a million barrels of oil per day. And the Sisters are happy to oblige.
On Tuesday, watch for parts three and four. Or of course, you can view them all at Al Jazeera.
Over 900 people have sought medical treatment following a massive fire at a Chevron oil refinery in Richmond, California this week. Tens of thousands of area residents were ordered to stay in their homes with the windows and doors closed after a series of blasts Monday sparked blazing fires that sent huge plumes of smoke. Chevron now says the situation is under control.
Amy Goodman and Nermeen ShaikhI of DemocracyNow! talk with Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, a member of the Green Party, who is seeking a full investigation into the blaze.
“We have a community that has been fighting Chevron for a long time, and I’m proud to and honored to stand for that community,” McLaughlin said.
Also joining the discussion is Andres Soto, the Richmond organizer for Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice group that has previously sued Chevron over what it says was a shoddy environmental impact report. “They refuse to sit at the table, they refuse to negotiate in good faith with the community over a wide range of issues, whether it’s fair taxation or whether it’s environmental safety and environmental justice,” Soto said.
Members of Occupy Los Angeles say that recent efforts to clean the "skid row" area of the city are actually a ploy to eventually rid the area of its homeless population, so that a powerful group of lobbyists can begin efforts to help their clients realize plans to redevelop the area into profitable businesses.The CCA is a business group that lobbies city and state government to grease the wheels for development in downtown LA. They represent local businesses, as well as large corporations, such as Chevron, Walmart, Verizon, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo and Bank of America .
Police say that any property not placed in the city provided storage facility during the cleaning operations must be mobile, and kept moving all day long, until the one of the Injunctions kicks in at 9pm and people are allowed to sleep. At 6am, they must begin moving around again until the night. You can hear police explain in the video above "You cannot return to where you were, and you cannot stay where you are now." Come 9pm, the homeless have to find a new spot to sleep for the night because they are not allowed to return to the "cleaned" areas, and then each day the process begins again.
Occupy Los Angeles, LA CAN, Occupy the Hood, and Occupy Skid Row have all kept a presence in the area to protest the efforts of CCA, with Occupy LA reporting over this past weekend. From Occupy LA's website:
First thoughts written last night: ”4 Arrests in Midnight LAPD Raid on CCA Siege – Occupy Los Angeles – three of my best friends and roommates, and an unknown 4th man ARRESTED. Charges unknown. Police orchestrated tactical raid with 25+ cops, pepper spray out and batons were swinging. Captain Frank (at a compañera’s trial yesterday) pointed at her and said, “Don’t I know you?”. Another police officer told a fifth occupier that “You’re getting arrested tomorrow.”
I couldn’t move, trapped inside a tent and seeing silhouettes of gum-chewing cops, fidgety and in war-mode. LAPD’s true colors emerging.
You want to talk targeted kidnappings and terror? Cops were laughing as they pushed and hit us. Laughing as they sent 3 snatch squads and took my friends in the dead of night.”
We’re traumatized and enraged. Three of my roommates were snatched by LAPD last night. Bails are $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000…. they’ve been some of the most visible organizers with the siege on the Central City Association (1%’s lobby here in Los Angeles) for nearly a month. They have all been harassed, intimidated, brutalized, and arrested by the LAPD before. They have all been occupying for months and are inspiring in their defiance and rejection of the oppressive status quo.
The arrests began over alleged chalk drawings, despite the 9th circuit court decision of Mackinney vs. Neilson that states, “No chalk would damage a sidewalk.”
Since May 29, occupiers and homeless advocates have camped out each night in front of the CCA’s offices in downtown, as part of an ongoing “siege” protest that was originally only meant to last seven days. The action was coordinated by Occupy Los Angeles, Occupy the Hood, Occupy Skid Row and the Los Angeles Community Action Network.
Obviously, occupiers, who would prefer government to be free of corporate influences, are ideologically opposed to the lobby group. In fact, one could say the CCA is Occupy LA’s local archenemy.
Heather Meyer, an occupier who has been camping out in front of the CCA, said the lobby is “behind everything that is oppressive.” She cites as an example the groups opposition to the recently passed “Responsible Banking” ordinance, which requires banks doing business with the city to turn over information on loans and foreclosure activity and making it readily available to the public.
“They are the lobbyists for the one percent,” she said. “They are the epitome of money in politics.”
The CCA has done more than support bankers to irritate occupiers. The CCA also successfully opposed community efforts to block the construction of a Walmart in Chinatown. They helped kill a city ordinance that would have required hotels to keep their employees 90 days after a change of hotel ownership, according to their website.
As further evidence of the power the lobbyists at CCA wield, the report cites CCA announcing their intentions earlier this year to further lobby for more police resources for the skid row area. The LAPD soon after announcing 40 more officers being sent in to patrol despite there only being a “minor uptick in reported crime” in a neighborhood that “still reports some of the lowest crime levels in the city,” according to the Downtown News.
To explain the decision to respond so strongly to a minor uptick in crime, the LAPD stated:
In recent months, the department has been fielding more complaints from residents and businesses about aggressive panhandling and people sleeping on the sidewalk during the day, he said.
“We are having an increase in quality of life issues and we don’t want to lose any ground that we’ve gained in that area,” Perez said. “We want to stop the problem before it explodes. We’re just being proactive in our analysis and response to the area and understanding it.”
Interestingly enough, it sounds as if the increase in complaints began around the time CCA announced it would begin lobbying for more police...
If you continue to read the Downtown News article, it really does a great job of making skid row sound bad. I've seen it, it's a depressing and disturbing area that seems like you've crossed some great divide into an undeveloped nation. So many people with nowhere else to call home. Then it finishes with a quote from CCA's CEO:
“There hasn’t been an area in the entire county of Los Angeles that has not benefited from making Downtown come alive,” said Schatz. “When people are sleeping on the streets… it affects our ability to continue to attract investment and continue to make this Downtown thrive.”
As I read that quote, it didn't sound to me as if what happens to the people of skid row was a priority, or even a concern at all.
I'll keep you posted on any updates on the situation.