Up to 105,000 gallons of oil obtained via offshore drilling have spilled from a pipeline owned by Plains All American at Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County in California. At least 21,000 gallons have poured into the Pacific Ocean and the spill's impacts stretch nine miles, according to the Associated Press.
It's time for Friday funnies, and the top hit today is Ethical Oil: the Puppet Rap, which first popped up over at The Tyee.
It's a foul-mouthed, satirical music video remix of Kathryn Marshall's ridiculous PR gymnastics to avoid answering a basic question from CBC's Evan Solomon whether Enbridge funds the Ethical Oil Institute. The second half features “Easy-E” Ezra Levant, the founder of the Ethical Oil Institute and creator of the 'ethical oil' talking point.
Check it out:
In a must-read piece co-published today by Salon.com and The Tyee, Geoff Dembicki exposes the dark underbelly of the public relations and lobbying industry, revealing the interconnectedness between Alberta tar sands movers and shakers in Alberta and their oily compatriots in Washington.
The investigative article focuses on the fossil fuel industry front group Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA), which is run out of the offices of the PR firm HBW Resources, headed by David Holt, Andrew Browning, and Michael Whatley.
Geoff Dembicki's article “Big Oil and Canada thwarted U.S. carbon standards,” exposes CEA's effort to thwart government efforts to favor relatively cleaner conventional fuels over the dirtiest forms of extreme unconventional energy like the Alberta tar sands.
Dembicki reveals how CEA influenced the debate at both the national and state-by-state levels on low carbon fuel standards (LCFS), working to defeat or delay any efforts to differentiate between the emissions footprints of extreme and unconventional fuels like tar sands oil and cleaner-but-still-dirty conventional oil.
Oil industry power players, including BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon, Shell and Norway’s Statoil are among the CEA's key financially backers, and many of these companies also happen to have deep ties to the Alberta tar sands.
In recent months, opposition to Enbrige’s Northern Gateway Pipeline has mounted as citizens, environmental groups and First Nations groups have protested the $5.5 billion dollar pipeline that would bring as many as 220 supertankers per year to Kitimat, B.C., to ship dirty tar sands crude to hungry energy markets in Asia.
While opposition to this project has grown, it’s curious that we haven’t heard anything about an alternate project to route tar sands crude through Vancouver.
The recent application to the National Energy Board (NEB) comes from Trans Mountain Pipeline, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan that operates the 300,000 barrel per day (bpd) pipeline from Alberta to B.C. and Washington State. Their project would vastly expand oil tanker traffic through the waters of Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, and make Vancouver the major conduit of tar sands crude and bitumen to China.
DeSmog has helped to document the Canadian government’s extensive efforts in Europe to kill climate change legislation targeting the Alberta tar sands. In a major development today, official documents obtained though an Access to Information request by the Dominion newspaper exposed a nefarious “pan-European oil sands advocacy strategy” that is much more coordinated than previously understood.
According to Martin Lukacs at the Dominion Paper, the Canadian government has carried out a secret plan to boost investment and keep world markets open for Alberta’s filthy tar sands oil. Their strategies include collaboration with major oily allies to aggressively undermine European environmental measures.
The Tyee’s Ben Parfitt has a must-read piece today focusing on the huge amounts of drinking water that the shale gas industry is drawing from public water resources for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations. It describes the efforts of Talisman Energy and Canbriam Energy to secure long-term licenses that would allow the gas industry to draw from B.C.’s public water supplies for years and possibly decades with little thought about water stewardship.
The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission - the same agency charged with regulating the gas industry - is consulting with the industry without public input or information sharing with key water stewardship officials.
Gas companies are currently sourcing most of their water needs for fracking from the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) through temporary permits. The Tyee notes that the gas industry “has a unique advantage over all other water users in the province in that it can get water from its own dedicated regulator.”
Anyone concerned or simply intrigued by the controversy over Canada’s climate-wrecking tar sands needs to check out The Tyee homepage every day for the next few weeks. The Tyee’s tar sands investigative reporter Geoff Dembicki today released the first installment of his upcoming series exploring the intense lobbying battles taking place right now in Washington, D.C. over the future of tar sands development vis-a-vis the United States’ oil addiction.
Today’s installment was mainly a teaser about what is to come in the series, which will begin in earnest tomorrow with Dembicki’s report on the one-on-one interview he conducted with former Republican congressman Tom Corcoran, who is now a major lobbyist working to convince U.S. lawmakers to embrace Canadian tar sands as a source of non-Middle-Eastern oil.
The six major oil companies that for decades enjoyed phenomenal profits and power over the world’s oil supply now find themselves fighting over the dirtiest and most dangerous oil left - Alberta’s climate-wrecking tar sands and the dangerous deepwater deposits in the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico and other difficult to reach areas. Geoff Dembicki reports today in The Tyee that the oil supermajors once known as the “Seven Sisters” now control a tiny fraction of the world’s dwindling oil reserves - just seven percent - while state-owned oil companies and national governments control 93 percent.
That shift in power has left the six Anglo-American oil majors sparring fiercely for control of the remaining dregs to feed our oil addiction. Dembicki writes that:
In their race to the bottom, these six oil companies are all vying for control of Canada’s dirty tar sands. Dembicki notes that:
The Tyee has launched a new series exploring the efforts of Canadian tar sands interests to undermine low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) policies in the U.S. that could some day threaten to wipe out Alberta’s greenhouse gas-intensive oil sands industry.
Climate change policies being implemented in California and currently under consideration in 23 other U.S. states seek to favor lower-carbon transportation fuels. Since Canada’s tar sands are widely known to be among the dirtiest and most carbon-intensive sources of oil on the planet, the tar sands would of course fall out of favor rapidly if enough U.S. states passed the low-carbon standards into law. And since laws passed by large states like California are often used to pressure Washington to set federal policies, tar sands interests have a lot at stake in battling early adopter states.
As a result, The Tyee reports:
“A sophisticated lobbying effort led by Canadian officials, fossil fuel lobby groups and several of the world’s largest oil companies is targeting policymakers and consumers across the United States.”
The Tyee has an excellent piece exploring the joint lobbying efforts of the Canadian government and the oil industry to attack European climate legislation that would set a precedent that could eventually impact the development of Alberta’s dirty tar sands.
While very little of Alberta’s tar sands oil is currently exported to Europe (nearly all goes to the U.S.), the entrenched tar sands defenders in Canadian government and the oil companies who stand to profit from tar sands development are concerned that Europe’s efforts to favor low-carbon fuel sources could influence other countries that also need to find ways to reduce global warming emissions - say the U.S. for instance.
That could spell disaster for the Alberta tar sands profiteers, since the tar sands are known to have a far greater carbon footprint than conventional oil, and certainly more than rapidly-growing alternative fuels.