Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Mark Fiore to produce this spoof video in the vein of Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." Making its debut today in honor of Gasland 2, which features the details of the gas industry's psychological warfare scandal, here is "Frackalypse Now":
Canada's right-wing Prime Minister is in New York today trying to convince lawmakers that the tar sands are okay, and that the Keystone XL pipeline should go ahead.
At the same time, Canada's environment minister is in London trying to convince politicians there that tar sands crude is the same as regular sweet crude, and should not be subject to a polluter tax.
As a Canadian it blows my mind that we can have the second largest deposits of oil in the world, but our government remains billions in debt and one in seven Canadian children live in poverty.
I feel like we are being played for fools here in Canada, because foreign owned oil companies like ExxonMobil, British Petroluem and PetroChina (71% of oil sands production is owned by foreign shareholders) are making billions exporting raw tar sand from our country, while us citizens are dealing with all the nasty downsides.
While clean up continues on the Exxon oil spill in Arkansas, another oil pipeline burst was detected over the weekend - this time in Houston, Texas.
The Shell Oil owned pipeline burst was detected Friday by the US National Response Center and has dumped an estimated 30,000 gallons of oil into a waterway connected to the Gulf of Mexico (as if it needed any more oil dumped into it!).
Operators of the Royal Dutch Shell subsidiary West Columbia pipeline, a 15 mile long, 16 inch diameter line, received warnings from the US National Response Center of a potential 700 barrel release (nearly 30,000 gallons) of crude oil on Friday, March 29.
Yesterday, representatives from the US Coast Guard acknowledged at least 50 barrels of oil had entered Vince Bayou, a waterway connected to the Gulf of Mexico.
So far this latest pipeline burst has received very little mainstream news coverage, likely because there has been so many spills lately (3 in the last week alone), that it is no longer considered "news."
Of course, this all comes at a time that the Obama administration is under great pressure to make a final decision on the new Keystone XL pipeline that will complete a span of pipe from Alberta, Canada all the way to Texas. The Keystone pipeline will transport diluted bitumen (also known as dilbit or "junk crude"), the same type oil that spilled from a burst pipe last weekend in Mayflower, Arkansas .
In April 2011, the Province of Alberta invested $25 million to form the "Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative" that would study ways to deal with leakage from the toxic tailings ponds that are a by-product of tar sands mining operations.
The HAI was also tasked with finding ways to upgrade the energy extracted from bitumen and lignite coal in order to reduce energy consumption, and a few other "sustainable solutions" to Canada's ongoing environmental and energy challenges.
"It was seen as a risk for our reputation. As an environmental research centre we have an independent role as an honest broker and doing research in this constellation could have had reputational problems for us, especially after Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol."
The Helmholtz Association has come under fire recently for their work on Alberta's tar sands operations, most notably in 2012 when Germany's Green Party (a very powerful political player) filed a query to the German government, asking why German taxpayers' money was going into a project that contradicts Germany's official climate policy agenda.
The response at the time from government was very evasive and concluded that the project had only just started and that it was too early to say anything more substantial.
This recent news is the latest in a string of stories about the Alberta tar sands and climate policy damaging Canada's reputation abroad.
Activists working against the 2002 planned construction of British Petroleum's Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline in Turkey, singled out Environmental Resources Management (ERM) for what they saw as ERM "grooming" the BP pipeline for construction. Like the Keystone XL pipeline assessment, ERM's assessment of the Turkish pipeline was seen as flawed and drafted in a way that gave all but the green light for the pipeline to be constructed.
The State Department's recent conclusion that the Keystone XL pipeline "is unlikely to have a substantial impact" on the rate of Canada's oil sands development was based on analysis provided by two consulting firms with ties to oil and pipeline companies that could benefit from the proposed project.
The “sustainability consultancy” Environmental Resources Management (ERM) was paid an undisclosed amount under contract to TransCanada to write the statement, which is now an official government document.
The construction and operation of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline has impacted the livelihoods of local fishermen, as seen in this video:
"If you ask the question: Do you want your oil from (Venezuelan President) Hugo Chavez or (Alberta Premier) Alison Redford, I think I know the answer."
Doer is making the argument that US President Barack Obama should approve the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, so America can get its oil from the friendly North, instead of the much maligned Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela.
What Doer fails to mention, or maybe he just doesn't know, is that the largest import commodity Canada receives from Venezuela is crude oil.
The common public understanding of the origins of the Tea Party is that it is a popular grassroots uprising that began with anti-tax protests in 2009.
Here's a screenshot of the archived U.S. Tea Party site, as it appeared online on Sept. 13, 2002:
The site is described as, "In 2002, our U.S. Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online, and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated." There is also "Patriot Guest book" available for visitors to voice their support and write a message for CSE and the U.S. Tea Party movement.
The US Tea Party site is no longer online and appears to have been taken down sometime in mid-2011. A DNS registry search, finds that the web address www.usteaparty.com is currently owned by Freedomworks, an organization heavily involved in Tea Party organizing today.
Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Friday with his Canadian counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. In any such bilateral meeting, it is paramount that each participant trust the words of their counterpart. After all, when it comes to the world of diplomacy, where wars are settled and treaties are signed, there's little more than words and trust.
As a former employee in Canada's Foreign Affairs I have attended many bilateral meetings with foreign dignitaries. If I were advising Kerry, I would suggest one question he should ask of John Baird to see if he is an honest broker.
The question is: "Is Canada committed to confronting climate change?"
So here I thought moving back to Canada from Washington, DC, I would get a little break from politics. That isn't happening and it's thanks to an amazing citizens movement that is taking the country by storm.
Tom Borelli, a former science director at Philip Morris who fought claims that secondhand tobacco causes lung cancer and respiratory illness in children, is now touted on Fox News as an expert on the cleanliness of the coal industry. Borelli was busy this election season fighting Obama's "war on coal" on behalf of his new employer, FreedomWorks.
Borelli has a long history of attacking the EPA on behalf of Big Tobacco. Serving in his role as Philip Morris' Director of Corporate Scientific Affairs, Borelli appeared in a notorious 1992 film produced by Philip Morris attacking the Environmental Protection Agency for declaring secondhand tobacco smoke a known cancer causing agent. Borelli states that:
"Based on careful review of the science we believe that environmental tobacco smoke has not been shown to be a risk factor in the development of lung cancer, respiratory disease in children or heart disease."
Borelli has come a long way since then, including a short stint as a professional climate change denier. He is now working at the right-wing think tank FreedomWorks as a Senior Fellow and a self-styled "expert" on the coal industry.
Markey, who is the Ranking Member the US Committee on Natural Resources, is referring to a story first broke by Seattle radio station KUOW, that in September Shell performed tests on a containment dome that was to be deployed as part of the company's controversial Arctic offshore oil drilling operations.
According to government reports, when oil giant Shell (LON:RDSA) tested the containment dome they would use in the event of a spill at an offshore drilling operation in the Northern Arctic seas, the dome "crushed like a beer can" under pressure.
Thanks to the Gulf of Mexico spill two years ago we all know what a "containment dome" is and how important it is when it comes to an undersea oil drilling catastrophe.
According to documents obtained by the Seattle radio station, KUOW, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Shell's containment dome was tested off the calm shores of Seattle, Washington in September of this year and the dome test failed miserably.
In the documents, a federal official witnessing the test "on a dead call Friday night" at sea, reports that Shell's dome"crushed like a beer can."
Considering just how close we came to seeing Shell drilling offshore for oil in the Arctic this year, this is a pretty disturbing revelation. Never before has a company proposed to drill in the Arctic seas of the Chukchi and Beaufort (the same place they film the TV show World's Deadliest Catch).
If Shell can't even come close to getting it right on a calm evening in September off the coast of the protected waters around Seattle, then they are far from being ready to drill in the harsh conditions in the Northern Arctic seas.