Amazing work from Sane Energy Project. Thank you for all your work mapping natural gas infrastructure across NY state.
It’s sadly what we’ve come to expect: advocates for saving the planet — and present and future lives with it — and those who protest financial crimes and improprieties get arrested, charged, and often serve jail time, but those responsible among the corporate and financial elite go free.
In this case, the headline on mlive.com (as in Michigan) that came to our attention reads, “Four protesters arrested at Enbridge pipeline construction site charged with felony.”
Enbridge is a massive intertnational oil and gas pipeline company (based in Canada) that, as noted in a study by the Polaris Institute, fesses up to large scale environmental damage:
Thousands of litres of dangerous fluids are released from the company ’s pipelines and holding tanks into the environment each year.
According to Enbridge’s own data, between 1999 and 2010 , across all of the company’s operations there were 804 spills that released 161,475 barrels of hydrocarbons into the environment.
This amounts to approximately half of the oil that spilled from the oil tanker the Exxon Valdez after it struck a rock in Prince William Sound, Alaska in 1988.
Local tragedies, such as the one in Lac Megantic, must not distract from the global tragedy which threatens us all.
We write today as witnesses, witnesses to an ecological and social disaster which words can scarcely describe: we have just returned from Fort McMurray, Alberta, the nerve-centre of the tar sands. Welcomed by the local Indigenous community and accompanied by hundreds of citizens from across North America, we walked through the heart of the largest industrial project on the planet. Some of us also visited the Suncor Oil facilities at that company’s invitation.
What we have seen and heard has left an indelible mark upon us. We return deeply saddened and angry. The extent of the devastation caused by this industry is obvious to anyone who sets eyes upon the place, and the numbers confirm this feeling. Each day, oil sands production releases 11 million litres of toxic water into our natural environment — 4 billion litres per year — and emits the equivalent, in greenhouse gas emissions, of 15 million cars.
This is to say nothing of the appalling social effects upon local populations. In some Indigenous communities in the region cancer rates have exploded, and now exceed the Canadian average by a staggering thirty per cent. Meanwhile, the industry has treated First Nations with complete contempt: the Beaver Lake Cree community, for example, has recorded no less than 20,000 violations of their territorial treaties. In many cases, as much as 80 per cent of the territory of Indigenous communities is inaccessible to them at one point or another of the year due to tar sands development. Just as it is here, the Indigenous peoples are the forgotten ones in these types of development projects.
If you’ve been a sentient being for the last few months, you’ve probably been watching some of the most curious weather events happening throughout the world.
Of particular concern for many scientists has been the Arctic sea ices melt, which dropped to its lowest level on record last summer. In the first few months of this year, large cracks were witnessed in the sea ice, indicating a great possibility that it has entered a death spiral and will disappear completely in the summer months within the next two years.
The rapid melt (and eventual disappearance) of the ice is having drastic affects on the jet stream in the northern hemisphere, creating powerful storms and extreme weather events, largely outside the comprehension of many scientists.
Jeff Masters, meteorology director at the private service Weather Underground states: “I’ve been doing meteorology for 30 years and the jet stream the last three yeas has done stuff I’ve never seen. […] The fact that the jet stream is unusual could be an indicator of something. I’m not saying we know what it is.”