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British Petroleum (BP)

BP Well Sprays Crude Oil Mist Over 27 Acres Of Alaskan Tundra

By Emily Atkin - Think Progress, April 30, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

A large pipe attached to a BP-owned well pad on Alaska’s North Slope has sprayed an oily mist of natural gas, crude oil, and water over an area of tundra larger than 20 football fields, state officials confirmed Wednesday.

The discovery at BP’s Prudhoe Bay oil field operation comes one week after federal scientists released a report warning that the United States is woefully unprepared to handle oil spills in the Arctic.

A statement provided by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said BP discovered the release on Monday during routine inspections, and that the spray was active for about two hours before it was contained. The pipe spewing the gas mixture was facing upwards while strong 30 mph winds blew, which ultimately caused the spray to spread over 27 acres.

It is unclear at this point how much of the mixture was released, the DEC statement said.

A spokesperson for BP did not immediately return ThinkProgress’ request for comment Wednesday about its cleanup effort, but spokesperson Dawn Patience told the Associated Press that it is “still assessing repairs.” Patience reportedly said it was too soon to determine long-term impacts from the release, but that no wildlife were impacted.

Federal scientists from the National Research Council recently confirmed the difficulty of cleaning up spills in the Arctic. According to their 198-page report, the Arctic’s environment is uniquely challenging due to pockets of oil that get trapped under freezing ice, sealing it beyond the reach of traditional cleanup equipment. The Arctic also lacks a variety of infrastructure, including paved roads, which could make response time exponentially longer than typical spills.

The Prudhoe Bay has experienced oil spills at the hands of BP before. In 2006, approximately 267,000 gallons of oil spilled from a quarter-inch hole corroded in a BP-owned pipeline, the largest spill in the region’s history at the time.

Canada: Land of the Toxic Lakes

By Richard Mellior, AFSCME Local 444, retired - Facts for Working People, November 27, 2013

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

In the aftermath of the crash, polls have indicated that as much as 36% of the US population looks more favorably to socialism, and a recent Pew survey of America's youth between 18 and 29 found that more have a positive view toward Socialism than they do toward Capitalism, Socialism: 49% Capitalism 46%.  While there is no doubt what people mean by socialism varies I think it is fairly accurate to say it means a more egalitarian society, or more accurately, a more just social system.

The problem is that capitalism cannot deliver these goods.  Capitalism is an exploitive system of production in which production or the production of social needs is set in to motion on the basis of profit, on how it can enrich that small minority that own the means of producing human needs and the production process itself. Human needs are secondary as are the needs of the natural world.

Hunger, disease, war, these are the by-products of capitalism.  But so is environmental degradation as land, water, and the natural world is simply there to be exploited regardless of the long-term damage. I read now that Chevron is fighting back against an $18 billion judgment against the company by Judge Nicolas Zambrano in Ecuador. The ruling supported villagers, claims that Texaco had contaminated an oil field in northeastern Ecuador between 1964 and 1992. Texaco was bought by Chevron. Ecuador's Supreme Court has since reduced the amount to $9.5 billion.  Chevron attorneys have accused the US lawyer for the villagers, Steven Donziger, of orchestrating an international criminal conspiracy by using bribery and fraud in Ecuador to secure a multibillion-dollar pollution judgment against the oil company.”

Meanwhile, BP which is responsible for the catastrophic spill in the Gulf of Mexico, has been accused of lying about the amount of the spill and is resisting paying reparations saying claimants who were not harmed are demanding payment.

No amount of court theatrics will stop the catastrophic environmental destruction that will at some point reach a tipping point with vast swathes of the planet becoming uninhabitable. Life on this planet cannot survive the ravages of capitalism forever, or more accurately, a system of production which places profit above all else and in which the means of producing humanity’s needs like energy, are owned by private individuals. We have absolutely no say in how decisions about these issues are made, decisions that have life and death consequences for all of us.

Transport Workers and Climate Change: Towards Sustainable, Low-Carbon Mobility

By ITF Climate Change Working Group - International Transport Workers’ Federation, August 4, 2010

This report, now more than a decade old, was remarkably forward-thinking for its time (except for the uncritically positive assessment of Carbon Capture and Storage and Cap-and-Trade, positions the authors would likely now no longer hold. It also, interestingly, includes in an appendix, the delegate of one union affiliate, Robert Scardelletti, President of the Transportation Communications International Union (TCU), an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW), from the US, who dissented from this report's conclusions, because it's green unionist orientation would "destroy jobs", a position held by the most conservative unions in the AFL-CIO.

From the introduction:

Climate change is the biggest single challenge ever faced by human civilization. Human economic activity has put so much carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) into the atmosphere that serious global warming is already happening. As a society, we have no choice but to reduce these emissions drastically in order to stand a good chance of avoiding potentially catastrophic changes in our climate. Moreover, emissions from transport are rising faster than emissions from any other sector and in some cases the increase in transport emissions is counteracting emissions reductions achieved in other sectors. Lowering transport emissions presents a series of unique and formidable challenges.

The good news for transport workers is that a serious approach to emissions reductions will create new opportunities for quality employment, particularly in public transport, railways (both passenger and freight), transport infrastructure, road repair, and in developing clean transport technologies. But failure to act on climate change will have the opposite effect.

Read the text (PDF).

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