Frackers have cracked open the books on a variety of archaic oil laws and found that in many states they can forcibly frack your property if enough of the surrounding community has consented to fracking already. As if oil and gas companies weren’t scary enough when they were merely threatening to contaminate your water. You can read an interesting and worrying article on this very topic here: http://www.newsweek.com/2014/06/20/your-lawn-need-fracking-254499.html
Justice, it seems, has not only left the building but has been hurled out a second-story window by a man who wears Ray-Bans inside and whose job description includes “aggressive negotiations.” In an appalling court decision, a federal judge ruled that the Citgo Petroleum Corporation owed nothing (i.e. zero dollars) in restitution for criminally endangering the lives of people living adjacent to its plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. Citgo had been allowing pollutants, including the carcinogen benzene, to escape from uncovered tanks at the facility, threatening the health of the generally minority, lower-income residents surrounding the plant. Citgo made at least $1 billion from the illegal operation, according to the Justice Department. So, even after a jury ruled that Citgo was, again, criminally guilty of violating the Clean Air Act and the Justice Department recommended that $55 million go to the victims, the judge in his infinite wisdom decided that calculating the whole who-owed-what-to-whom would “unduly delay the sentencing process” and it was really just easier to let Citgo off with the minimum fine for violating the Clean Air Act (a paltry $2 million) rather than do all that math. Meanwhile, the victims get nothing. But think of all the time saved not worrying about what it would cost to go to the doctor regularly for the rest of your life to get screened for cancer. Or relocate your home to a neighborhood where the air isn’t half benzene. And I mean, who really needs air anyway?
This outrageous decision states, not only is the time and money of a large oil company worth more than the lives of people but that these individuals’ lives, and by extension humanity, are, compared to this corporation’s bottom line, without value. Yes, large corporations do go to extremes to find profit in a competitive marketplace. This is unfortunate but not unexpected. But when the legal system refuses to hold those corporations accountable for their actions, disregards the unalienable rights of individuals, and declares that they have a higher claim on public resources — including the air we breathe — than the rest of us, that is something truly shocking, or it would be if we weren’t so used to seeing it. But becoming inured to real violence doesn’t make it morally acceptable; it is simply proof that the violence has gone too far.
For your own safety the North Carolina legislature is considering a bill that, as part of the fracking push in the state, would make it illegal to release the contents of the chemical cocktail that frackers use to blow holes underground. Remember, if even looking at the list is dangerous… then it’s probably fine to put in the ground. I wouldn’t worry about it.
Despite frackers being allowed to do their fracking in and around drinking water sources, so far they are still not required to disclose what chemicals they are using. And boy, they ain’t telling. It could be the kind of chemical that gives people super powers. Or it could be formaldehyde.
By heating and storing molten salt through some combo of science and mirrors, a solar power plant in Spain can now run for more than 18 hours without direct sunlight, allowing it to continue supplying power throughout the night. As we overcome the cost and engineering hurdles of solar power there are fewer and fewer reasons not to expand our use of it.
True story. In a proposal to the Canadian government, energy giant Kinder Morgan suggests that “Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies” and then followed with a reassuring “Spill response and cleanup creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers.” Who knew all these catastrophic oil spills were so helpful for the economy? Why do we even burn all this oil? We could just be pouring it onto city streets, smearing it on our homes, and dunking office workers in it. Think of all jobs we would create. Like all along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. That place is booming. Right?
Fans of the environment have won a decisive courtroom victory against Team Frack. Hopefully, many more will follow as communities hold these companies responsible for their destructive practices and disregard for human health.
Shell is still pressing to drill in the Arctic despite having no proven method for cleaning up oil in treacherous winter conditions. On top of this, Shell has experienced repeated failures of equipment while operating in the Arctic Ocean. Help Keep Shell out of the Arctic. DemandCleanPower.org
Major power outages have increased tenfold over the past three decades, according to a new report. Four out of five outages were weather-related. What could possibly be causing this? Maybe it’s that climate change thing people have been telling me about?