Cost of Doing Business? Oil Companies Agree To Pay For Some of Lac-Megantic Damages, But Not to Solve the Real Problems

Although insisting the industry is not to blame, several of the oil companies involved in the fatal Lac-Megantic oil train accident in 2013 have agreed to contribute to a fund to compensate the families of the 47 victims in that accident.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that oil companies Shell, ConocoPhillips, Marathon and Irving have all agreed to contribute to the fund to avoid future litigation, along with General Electric and the Canadian government. While the actual amounts contributed by most companies involved are not available, the total fund is reportedly at $345 million. That sounds like a lot of money but still is less than the $400 million retirement package for Exxon’s last CEO, for example.

Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. hasn't agreed to the settlement, according to the Bangor Daily News, which reports that the judge in the case has delayed his decision on the settlement. Canadian Pacific has asked the court to shield it from future litigation and challenged the Quebec provincial court’s jurisdiction.

The Dark Money Funding Climate Change Denial

The network of corporate-funded right wing think tanks in America is massive. The money that flows to these organizations is even more massive than the networks themselves, and it flows in almost total secrecy thanks to Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.

These think tanks and astroturf groups are the leaders in climate change denial, spreading misinformation and corrupt data to the masses in order to downplay — and in many cases flat out deny — the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

And though we may not have the names of individual donors, a new report from The Guardian does a great job of laying out how much money is flowing to these climate change denial groups.

Breaking! Climate Deniers 'Friends of Science' Say Solutions Uneconomical

Pardon my sarcasm in the title, but I am still getting over the shock that the Alberta-based climate science attack group Friends of Science still think they are relevant.

Last week, the much discredited group issued a report attempting to throw a damp towel on Canada's tepid commitment to dealing with climate change.

Those who have followed DeSmogBlog from the beginning will remember Tim Ball, Tom Harris and the rest of the Friends of Science, a group once caught out for taking money from oil companies and trying to hide it through a convoluted series of back channels involving the Calgary Foundation and Prime Minister's Stephen Harper's fishing buddy Dr. Barry Cooper.

Massive Budget Cuts Looming For EPA As Republicans Seek to Limit Rules on Air and Water Pollution

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was dealt a massive blow this week by the House Appropriations committee, where the Republican majority voted to further cut the agency’s budget and reduce its authority to enforce laws safeguarding our air, water and health.

The House committee voted on Tuesday to slash the EPA’s budget by 9%, or $718 million. This is in addition to a dramatic 20% reduction in overall funding that has taken place since the control of the House of Representatives switched to the Republican Party in 2011. This new reduction will put EPA funding at its lowest level since 1989. 

I Spent the Night in the Tate Gallery, Listening to the Quiet Sounds of Art Activism

A total of 75 black-clad protesters took part in a 25-hour unsanctioned performance organised by activist art collective, Liberate Tate, last weekend. The aim? To urge the gallery to drop its sponsorship deal with BP, one of the world’s largest oil companies. Ellen Booth, one of the performers, describes the experience.

It’s 5:20am in the morning, and I’m sitting on a small folding stool at the side of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. It feels strangely soothing as I sit listening to the musical night time sounds inside the Tate Modern.

The drone of the air conditioning units forms the backdrop to a cacophony of dull repetitive chimes, scraping of chairs and cordons as cleaners work, distant frustrated clanging of management doors, and a ghostly gusting of wind through the corridors and rafters above. 

In front of me, a bright line of books reflects the rising morning sun. To the left of these books, a cluster of friends and journalists sleep, sniffling and snoring, surrounding a store of precious water and food.

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