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Posts tagged "exxonmobil"


ExxonMobil’s oil spill emergency response plan is redacted by the federal government. Not a joke.

Burst Pipeline’s Spill Plan Is None of Your Business, Suggests Regulator

Federal regulators have released ExxonMobil’s 2013 emergency response plan for the pipeline that ruptured in an Arkansas residential neighborhood on March 29, but the document is so heavily redacted that it offers little information about Exxon’s preparations for such an accident.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) completely blotted out more than 100 pages of the 290-page document, including Exxon’s worst-case scenario hypothesis and its plans to repair any damage caused by an accident. Via

Remember the oil spill in Arkansas neighborhood? People in the area were evacuated from their homes and the abutting wetland was “cleaned” up with paper towels.

Arkansas is suing.

More from InsideClimateNews

January’s attack, and subsequent hostage crisis, at the BP and Statoil-run In Amenas gas facility in Algeria by Islamist terrorists

brought home just how dangerous some parts of the world can be for the expat oil and gas worker. An inevitable consequence for the oil and gas industry as it moves into “frontier” areas in its search for reservoirs rich in hydrocarbon resources is the increased security risk of operating in some of the world’s most dangerous countries and regions.

But while the In Amenas incident, which caused the deaths of 39 foreign hostages and an Algerian security guard, might have brought to the fore the threat to the oil and gas sector from Islamism in North Africa, other parts of the African continent, and indeed, the world, have far more prevalent incidences of hostage taking and kidnappings.

Of course the kidnapping of energy workers can happen anywhere oil and gas work is carried out, as the case of British oil worker Malcolm Primrose’s kidnapping in June showed.

Good read

In Kivalina v ExxonMobil, I and two other students represented ExxonMobil in ‘moot court’ in a climate change law class at Vermont Law School. We won. In fact, my team crushed the environmental law students who represented the impoverished Native Alaskans of the Village Kivalina.

ExxonMobil (and about a dozen other oil companies) was sued by a small island village located along the northern coastline of Alaska called Kivalina. The claim was that the oil companies had altered the earth’s atmosphere so much that its climate changed to the detriment of the village. The village is, as you read this, literally being eaten by the ocean at rates never seen in history. They wanted the oil companies to pay for relocating the villagers. They also sued to expose a conspiracy to mislead the public - the so-called “climate denial” you hear so much about.

Exxon defended itself on several grounds, and easily won the case. Although climate change was not under question, Kivalina could not prove that Exxon et al were the actual cause of their harm. This is called traceability - basically, they couldn’t trace the exact carbon molecules back to the oil companies.

So, the case was thrown out for ‘lack of standing.’ Standing is the first hoop of getting into court - you have to show a clear connection between the harm and the cause. If you can’t make it past this first test, the case is thrown out. None of the ‘merits’ or arguments for or against are even discussed. Such is the law.

Ironically, Kivalina was represented pro-bono (free) by one of the most controversial and powerful attorneys in America, Theodore Olson. Recall, Ted is a conservative-republican, anti-Clintonian who argued and won in Bush v Gore in the Supreme Court. In fact, he’s won 20 out of his 23 SCOTUS cases, almost all for conservative causes.

Olson, strangely, has taken a severe left turn as of late (perhaps to make up for a career of bullying liberals). In addition to representing the poor people of Kivalina, he’s currently the co-lead attorney in the Prop 8 same-sex marriage case that everyone is so stoked about. So the man who wrought George Bush upon the world is now representing core liberal causes, thus demonstrating that America’s cultural memory is astoundingly atrocious.

There are about 400 Native Alaskans (technically Inupiat Eskimos) in Kivalina, and their island is literally eroding away by rising sea levels and melting because much of the land is permafrost - both issues are caused (in part) by a changing climate. Warmer temperatures causes thermal expansion in the ocean, and the temperatures melt glaciers and sea ice. This causes sea levels to rise, and islands and coastal cities have to deal with the impacts (they were originally planned to handle a little bit of sea rise, but not the aggressive rise occurring today).

The above Kickstarter, and the quasi-point of this long post, is for a documentary about the lives of the Kivalinans - it’s about the people, and not about the legal case.

Kivalina People is being directed by a young film maker from Brooklyn named Gina Abatemarco, who decided to film and produce the documentary about 5 years ago.

I’ve been following the plight of the Kivalina for several years, hoping that they’d have their justice, or at least a good day in court. They haven’t. Their island is disappearing, and it will cost tens of millions to move them to new territory. I hope Gina’s documentary is viewed by millions.

One of the most important skills I learned in law school was how to argue - convincingly - the opposing side. I learned that the law is skewed to protect the accused, even in cases where the accused is clearly liable. We won that case in class on a technicality. And in court, technicalities can be cold and cruel son’s a bitches.

$190,000,000,000! Wonder the proportion that will go to politicians?

One of the big deals that ExxonMobil has announced in the past year involves access to the Russian Arctic, where it is partnered with a Russian firm to access many billions of dollars worth of reserves involving big investments ExxonMobil would make north of the Arctic Circle. Why is that oil accessible? It’s because sea ice is melting in the Arctic. Global warming may, in fact, unlock enormous opportunities for oil companies.
As ExxonMobil attacked global warming publicly, geologists working within ExxonMobil were examining how a warmer Earth — resulting from global warming — could create new business opportunities for ExxonMobil. (via nprfreshair)

(via nprfreshair)

Ben Jervey of DeSmogBlog shows how ALEC helps industry torpedo climate regulations. This ALEC thing is cracking wide open.

Must read. Bloomberg blows the lid off of a DC front group that’s funded by anti-environmental corporations with major stakes in reversing regulations. The group drafts bills for Republican legislators, who then bring the issue to the floor and public to attack climate change, EPA, enviro-regs, and more.  

Source: Bloomberg

Update: The group is called ALEC. I’m reading about their attack on women’s rights. Click here to see some of bills it has proposed. There is also a petition to get rid of them.

Pics of that oil spill in Montana. Also, Democracy Now has a tumblr.


Family farmer, Alexis Bonogofsky, who lives about 10 miles from where Exxon Mobil’s pipeline ruptured Friday night beneath the Yellowstone River, sent Democracy Now! these pictures of oil on her property near the water.

Click here to hear an interview with Bonogofsky.


Black Water in the Yellowstone
An ExxonMobil pipeline burst overnight Friday into the Yellowstone River, around 20 miles west of Billings, Mont. The company quickly shut down the pipeline but oil has traveled more than 10 miles down stream, Exxon officials acknowledged.

Read the whole story…

Propylene is a highly regulated chemical used to make hundreds of products. ExxonMobil uses it in oil refining. Human health impacts, here. Dow Chemical description, here

Exxon Mobil Corp. has told Texas environmental regulators there was an eight-week-long, 108,000-pound propylene release at the company’s refinery complex near Houston.

Propylene is a component of ground-level ozone. According to the report, Exxon isn’t permitted to release any propylene at the olefins plant.

Source: SeattlePI

Meanwhile, the U.S. just won a case against EU subsidies to Airbus. Apparently, that subsidy was ‘unfair’… More, here.

Shell, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP America and Chevron Corp—the “Big Five” oil companies—reported a cumulative total earning of $36 billion in the first quarter of this year. As Huffington Post writer Erich Pica points out that’s “more than $200,000 every minute.” This jaw-dropping number has been accompanied by a hike in oil prices, which averaged out at about $3.98 per gallon for regular unleaded gas across the country. This is more than a dollar increase from the $2.90 gas stations were charging one year ago, The Associated Press reports.