Energy company ditches plan to install a possible tar sands oil facility in New York

May 24, 2018 by  
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Environmentalists celebrated a victory in New York state after an energy company tossed out a 5-year-old plan to install a facility that could have handled Canadian tar sands oil. The plan had clear environmental risks and posed a threat to area residents. After resistance from environmental groups and the public,  Global Companies  decided to abandon the plan. Erin Doran, senior attorney at Riverkeeper , an environmental organization devoted to protecting the Hudson River , said in a statement , “The proposal threatened the health of neighboring communities and would have placed the Hudson River at a greater risk for a disastrous oil spill .” Massachusetts-based Global Companies had requested boilers capable of handling heavy crude at the Port of Albany back in 2013 — Times Union pointed out the company did not indicate the facility would be used for tar sands oil, although it could have — and a legal battle ensued. Company spokesperson Liz Fuller told the Times Union, “We are withdrawing that request and plan to resubmit a renewal application with modifications later this year. The changes to the permit will include a reduction in the amount of crude oil handled through the terminal and will not include a system for the heating of crude oil.” Related: Extreme fossil fuel financing has surged to $115BN under Trump Doran said this is the second major victory in 2018 for Hudson River protection, “…coming after the defeat of industry’s request for new anchorage grounds to facilitate the transport of more crude oil.” She said since 2014, together with other partners, Riverkeeper had been battling the plan in court. She called on New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to approach Global Companies’ next submission “as a new application and to ensure that the operations at this facility finally undergo a comprehensive environmental review.” According to the Times Union, Global Companies sued that department back in 2015 for failing to issue a permit for the boilers, and DEC won an appeals court ruling earlier this year upholding its decision that the energy company’s permit application lacked sufficient information. This week, DEC said it was pleased that Global Companies withdrew its plan. Earthjustice lawyer Chris Amato described this development as “a huge victory for the families that live, work, and go to school in Albany’s South End…Global’s proposal would have spewed more toxic pollution into the air, endangering the health of South End residents, including hundreds of children who live and attend [Giffen Elementary] school in the shadow of the Global facility. This has been, and continues to be, a fight for environmental justice .” + Riverkeeper Via the Times Union Images via Bill Morrow and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Energy company ditches plan to install a possible tar sands oil facility in New York

The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought

April 9, 2018 by  
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New reports show that nearly twice as much crude oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota last November than originally estimated. TransCanada spokesperson Robynn Tysver said that roughly 9,700 barrels of oil leaked instead of the estimated 5,000 barrels. This new information means the leak is among the biggest onshore spills in the United States since 2010. There are 42 gallons in one barrel of oil, so instead of 210,000 gallons as was originally estimated, around 407,700 gallons leaked in what TransCanada refers to as the Amherst incident . This means the spill was the “seventh largest onshore oil or petroleum product spills” reported to the United States Department of Transportation since 2010, according to Aberdeen American News. Related: Keystone 1 oil pipeline leaks 210,000 gallons days ahead of Keystone XL permit decision TransCanada started utilizing the pipeline again 12 days following the leak. Tysver told American News, “The remediation work on the property has been completed. We have replaced the last of the topsoil and have seeded the impacted area.” The Amherst incident cost the company around $9.57 million, according to the news publication, citing an updated pipeline safety administration report. TransCanada said on their website they sampled groundwater at 12 monitoring wells and there “was no impact to groundwater.” The Keystone Pipeline connects oil fields in Alberta, Canada to refineries in the United States; Reuters described it as a 590,000 barrel-per-day pipeline. Aberdeen American News said according to a preliminary report, the pipe may have been damaged in 2008, during construction. Reuters said they had reviewed documents revealing Keystone has leaked far more oil, and more frequently, “than the company indicated to regulators in risk assessments” before operations started in 2010. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration , part of the Department of Transportation, could release the final report on the leak in the upcoming few weeks. Via Aberdeen News and Reuters Images via TransCanada

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The Keystone Pipeline leak was nearly twice as big as we thought

BP revisits clean energy commitment with $200 million solar investment

December 18, 2017 by  
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Oil giant BP has invested $200 million to acquire partial ownership of a solar power developer. BP’s investment in British-based Lightsource is a return to form for a company that once prided itself on progressive commitments to clean energy. Prior to the devastating 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill , the company had invested billions in renewable energy, spoke openly and frequently about the dangers of climate change, and even went so far as to rebrand as “Beyond Petroleum.” After a lull in clean energy action, BP is once again responding to pressure from investors and governments, particularly in Europe, to make the switch from fossil fuels. BP and other oil giants are expanding their renewable energy portfolios not simply because it is good publicity and politics, but also because it is profitable. “The European majors feel under pressure to diversify, to get exposure to different technologies so they are not left out,” said Valentina Kretzschmar, an analyst at energy consultants Wood Mackenzie, according to the New York Times . “It is what a lot of their peer group is doing.” Wood Mackenzie estimates that capital investments in renewable energy offer returns between seven and 10 percent. Related: BP and Shell prepare for catastrophic climate change Under political and financial pressure in the wake of the 2010 oil spill, for which BP has paid $64 billion in damages and fines, BP has primarily focused on reinforcing its oil and gas operations in recent years. Despite returning to its earlier focus on renewable energy, it has learned from its mistakes. Previously, the company had invested in solar panel production, which has since been overpowered by countries like China . Its move to acquire partial ownership of Lightsource demonstrates BP’s embrace of a different kind of company, one that focuses on the installation and operation of solar systems rather than their production. “They need a renewable business to develop over time as part of energy transiting, but were lacking the ability to make solar profitable,” said Oswald Clint, an analyst at Bernstein Research, according to the New York Times . “Lightsource might be the solution.” Via The New York Times Images via Depositphotos (1)

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BP revisits clean energy commitment with $200 million solar investment

BP oil platform in the North Sea leaks and there are no plans to clean it up

October 4, 2016 by  
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There’s more odious news from BP  this week: oil has leaked in the North Sea . About 95 metric tons, or almost 105 US tons, of oil leaked from BP’s Clair platform ” west of the Shetland Islands .” BP plans to allow the oil to “disperse naturally,” but The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland is concerned about the environmental damage the unchecked spill could cause. On Sunday around 10 AM, “oil in water” leaked from the Clair platform into the sea after a “technical issue” with a system that separates “mixed production fluids” of oil, water, and gas, according to BP. They say they halted the leak “within an hour once the issue had been identified” and took the field offline. Related: BP gives top executives a 20% salary hike despite 7,000 recent layoffs Oil Spill Response Limited ; the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy ; and BP “oil spill and environmental experts” worked together to determine the best way to handle the leak, according to the company. In a statement, BP said, “At present, it is considered that the most appropriate response is to allow the oil to disperse naturally at sea, but contingencies for other action are being prepared.” Meanwhile, a RSPB Scotland spokesperson told The Guardian many “sensitive seabird species” could be at risk as they disperse from breeding colonies in Norway and the Shetland Islands out to the Atlantic Ocean. The spokesperson said, “We need to know from BP and the maritime agencies exactly what type of oil has been spilled, if it is breaking up in the water column, and what the statutory conservation agencies are advising. It is critical that there is a full and open report of what has happened, with assurances that the situation will be monitored, and details of seabird concentrations in the vicinity revealed as soon as possible.” BP said in their statement that through surveillance flights and “oil spill modeling,” they think the oil is moving north away from the land, and a recent flight revealed oil is already dispersing. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons and BP Facebook

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BP oil platform in the North Sea leaks and there are no plans to clean it up

700 barrels of crude oil spill in California as pipeline breaks

June 23, 2016 by  
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An oil pipeline just began to leak in Ventura, California . Early Thursday morning, firefighters rushed to the scene to try and prevent the crude oil from spilling into the ocean . Ventura County Fire Department spokesperson Mike Lindbery originally said the leak could involve as much as 5,000 barrels of crude oil . Crimson Pipeline owns the leaking pipeline. On their website they say they ” safely ” own around 1,000 miles of pipeline throughout California, in Ventura, Orange, Kern County, Los Angeles, and some areas in Northern California. The oil in question belongs to Aera Energy , one of the largest producers of oil and gas in California, who on their website say they “take pride in our excellent safety and environmental performance.” Related: Why didn’t the California pipeline that spilled 101,000 gallons of oil have an auto shut-off valve? NBC Los Angeles reports that the pipe ” burst ” around 5:30 AM local time. Both the Ventura County and Ventury City fire departments initiated investigations . A hazmat team was also dispatched to the scene. Crews saw crude oil spilling ” into the Prince Barranca ,” a water flow that leads to a beach. Firefighters are now working to try and make sure the oil doesn’t reach the ocean. Crews are utilizing bulldozers to build barriers, but also hope a natural basin will help catch the oil as well. Crimson Pipeline shut the pump off, but while the pipe is depressurized, oil continues to flow because of gravity. According to officials, they notified the California departments of environmental health and fish and game about the leak. California has battled oil spills and even an Exxon Mobil oil refinery explosion in the past. Over 100,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean near Santa Barbara, California due to a pipeline crack just over a year ago. Via the Los Angeles Times Images via J Brew on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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700 barrels of crude oil spill in California as pipeline breaks

Kimbal Musk’s new Memphis eatery will offer healthy meals on the go for $5

June 23, 2016 by  
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Regular readers of Inhabitat know of our continued intrigue with Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk , but we haven’t reported as much on his youngest brother Kimbal Musk . The younger Musk brother is a busy man, sitting on the boards of Tesla, SpaceX and Chipotle Mexican Grill – and his own venture, The Kitchen Community , is a nonprofit that puts educational gardens in schools and other community spaces. Now, Kimbal Musk is launching a healthy “grab-and-go” café called The Kitchenette, which will offer healthy meals for just $5. The flagship location of The Kitchenette is planned for Memphis, Tennessee and is expected to open this August. In fact, they are already hiring . The location will be unique, situated inside the visitor center of Shelby Farms Park , a sprawling urban park and nature conservancy which has more than one million visitors each year. At Musk’s café, healthy food will take the spotlight, including $5 meals on-the-go. The menu will consist mostly of sandwiches, soups, and salads. Musk and his cofounder and chef Hugo Matheson have aspirations to expand the concept to other cities, but no solid plans are in place yet. Related: Plummeting sales show Americans are basically over McDonald’s Healthy fast food joints seem to be the latest trend in the food service industry, but many existing options aren’t exactly budget friendly and lunch for one can easily cost $15-20. In order to provide true competition to common fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s, Musk knew he had to keep the prices down. To that end, no single item on the menu at The Kitchenette will be priced over $10. Musk told Tech Insider that he’ll keep prices down by partnering with local farmers , which seems like a smart move, both for diners and for the local economy. The only downside we can see is that The Kitchenette won’t have a drive-thru window. Via Tech Insider Images via Kimbal Musk/The Kitchen

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Kimbal Musk’s new Memphis eatery will offer healthy meals on the go for $5

BREAKING: BP will pay a record $18.7 billion to settle 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims

July 2, 2015 by  
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BP has finally agreed to settle all federal and state claims over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill with a record $18.7 billion payment—the largest environmental fine in U.S. history. With an estimated 210 million gallons of oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico, the 2010 environmental disaster is the biggest offshore oil spill in American history, claiming 11 worker lives and causing extensive and ongoing damage to wildlife, human health, and the economy. BP’s settlement is the “largest settlement with a single entity in American history,” according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch. If approved by a judge, the settlement will bring BP’s total spending over the oil spill to $53.8 billion. Via Wall Street Journal Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 2010 deepwater horizon oil spill , BP , BP payout , BP settlement , deepwater horizon , Deepwater Horizon settlement , environmental destruction , largest environmental payout in history

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BREAKING: BP will pay a record $18.7 billion to settle 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill claims

Pipeline crack spills 21,000 gallons of oil along Santa Barbara coast

May 20, 2015 by  
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Rescue crews are working to contain a four-mile wide slick after a pipeline crack Tuesday May 19 caused an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil to flow into the area’s pristine waters and coat the popular shores of Rufugio State Beach, California with tar. The area lies within the Santa Barbara Channel and features an otherwise healthy, population of sea life and birds. While the scope of the damage is not yet fully known, eyewitness reports suggest that sea lions have been caught up in the crude. Read the rest of Pipeline crack spills 21,000 gallons of oil along Santa Barbara coast Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: california energy , california oil , california wildlife , channel islands national marine sanctuary , environmental disaster , oil pipeline crack , oil slick , oil spill , refugio state beach oil , santa barbara oil , sea life oil

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Pipeline crack spills 21,000 gallons of oil along Santa Barbara coast

INFOGRAPHIC: The most interesting environmental lawsuits in the world

April 29, 2015 by  
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When it comes to protecting the environment, political action and grassroots movements tend to get the most attention. But environmental lawsuits have proven to be an important – if unglamorous – way to help save the planet. This infographic from Australia-based Hones La Hood Lawyers reveals some of the most interesting environmental law cases throughout history and the positive (and not so positive) changes that they brought about, including who benefited from the BP oil spill fines and how current EPA air quality regulations came about. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: The most interesting environmental lawsuits in the world Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: bp oil spill , BP oil spill fines , Deepwater Horizon lawsuit , Deepwater Horizon Spill , environmental law , epa , EPA air regulation , federal air regulations , Haliburton deepwater horizon , infographics , Tasmania dam , trafigura

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INFOGRAPHIC: The most interesting environmental lawsuits in the world

Could this new material make it possible to clean up oil spills with a net?

April 20, 2015 by  
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This piece of steel mesh doesn’t look like much but it might be one of the only things that can separate oil from water . The mesh allows water to go through, but it causes oil to float on top, thanks to an oil-repelling coating on the surface. Researchers mixed water and oil together and then poured the mixture (well, as well as it could be mixed) through the material. The oil was collected on the top of the material and could then be collected in a beaker separately from the water. This type of coating is under development at Ohio State University and is part of a suite of nature inspired nanotechnologies according to Phys.org. This discovery could eventually lead to great strides in the clean-up techniques of oil spills , which endanger wildlife and the environment on a near daily basis. Via Phys.org Images via Ohio State University Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: clean oil spill , cloth collects oil , nanotechnology mesh cloth , oil and water mesh cloth , oil and water separation , oil separation cloth , oil spill , oil spill clean up

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Could this new material make it possible to clean up oil spills with a net?

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