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Leaks and Spills

  • The Porter Ranch methane leak is now plugged permanently, but the jury is still out on what the long-term health impacts will be. Partially because very little research has been done on the chemicals involved.
  • The Porter Ranch catastrophe calls attention to the fact that pipelines are leaking all the time. Every day, pipelines across California leak tons of methane into the air. The total amount of collectively leaked each year likely exceeds the vast volume of methane spewed from the Aliso Canyon blowout near Porter Ranch, according to one state estimate.
  • Every hour, 60,000 kilograms of methane are emitted from the natural gas wells operating in North Texas’ Barnett Shale. By comparison, the Porter Ranch leak emitted 58,000 kilograms an hour. But unlike Porter Ranch, there is no planned end for these leaks – they’re just part of business as usual. Makes you think industry and the government should be working together to bring these leaks under control.
  • There was a huge global spike in methane emissions over the last decade - and the United States may be the biggest culprit. Since 2002, our country alone could be responsible for between 30 and 60 percent of the global growth in human-caused atmospheric methane emissions, according to a new study from Harvard.
  • The source of the 140,000-gallon oil spill in Santa Barbara last May was pipeline corrosion, according to federal regulators. Glad the oil industry is keeping an eye on things.
  • Porter Ranch residents aren’t the only ones suffering the consequences of fossil fuels. Working-class, minority neighborhoods in Wilmington and South Los Angeles have been plagued for years by foul odors, noise and dirt from oil operations that are practically in their backyards. But residents and activists argue that officials' response to those problems has been slow and woefully inadequate.

Climate Change is a Public Health Issue

  • Reducing carbon emissions as spelled out in the recent Paris climate agreement would prevent "hundreds of thousands of premature deaths" and save "billions of dollars" in the U.S. alone, according to a new study.

#ExxonKnew and the Plot Thickens

  • Had Exxon told the truth in 1980, we might not have wasted 25 years arguing over the reality of climate change – we could have just gotten to work. Instead, Exxon hid the truth, hired a former Big Tobacco lobbyist to sow doubt, and got to work deceiving the planet for a quarter century, writes Bill McKibben.
  • Over 100 leading scientists wrote a letter urging the American Geophysical Union to reject funding from Exxon as a point of scientific integrity. Looks like deliberately misleading the public about climate change might qualify as a violation of AGU’s rules that prohibit taking money from groups spreading scientific disinformation.
  • John D. Rockefeller’s great-grand daughter wrote an op-ed on how she lost faith in ExxonMobil and donated her shares to help fight global warming.
  • Maryland Attorney General suggests his office may join New York and California in investigating Exxon, saying the office will "hold accountable any individuals and corporations who have intentionally contributed" to climate change."
  • ExxonMobil says it supports a carbon tax. But what does the evidence show? In 2013, 80 percent of the legislators funded by ExxonMobil voted AGAINST a revenue neutral carbon tax. In 2015, 75 percent of senators who received campaign contributions from Exxon voted in favor of a resolution prohibiting a carbon tax.
  • Big Oil says they support effective climate policies, but the money tells a different story. Last year, the oil industry spent more than the year before on lobbying – mostly to defeat legislation that would have cut oil use (and pollution).

The Koch's plot against EVs

After previous oil industry attempts to kill electric vehicles failed, the bad guys are taking out the big guns. The Koch Brothers are set to spend $10M a year to boost petroleum-fueled cars and attack subsidies for EVs.

Crazy Trains

  • More communities are joining the bandwagon to stop oil trains. The Benicia Planning Commission voted unanimously against Valero’s proposal to increase crude-by-rail shipments just one week after Phillips 66’s proposed rail spur to the Santa Maria Refinery faced heavy opposition at a planning commission hearing.
  • Public opposition to oil-by-rail is growing. What was a somewhat invisible issue in 2014 is turning into a resistance from Maryland to California, reports DesmogBlog.
Sign the petition to stop Phillips66

Fracked Up

  • A Stanford study found that a “surprising number” of companies are fracking directly into shallow freshwater aquifers.
  • Minorities bear the burden of fracking costs than non-minorities. In South Texas, communities that are over 80 percent minority are twice as likely to live near wastewater wells than areas identified as less than 20 percent minority.
  • Oklahoma’s latest major quake was a 5.1, the third strongest on record. Scientists, environmental groups, and Oklahoma residents have all pointed to the state’s oil and gas industry as the culprit behind the sudden increase in earthquakes. A new lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club is alleging that three oil and gas companies are in violation of a federal waste management law, and are endangering Oklahoma residents and the environment in the process.
America now has its first official climate refuges, reports Mashable. A tribe in Louisiana that lost 98% of their traditional land is receiving federal funds to help relocate. The Department of Housing and Urban Development says this is the first time it has funded a community relocation due specifically to climate change.
Due to a combination of manmade global warming and strong El Nino conditions, January 2016 was the most unusually warm month ever recorded. To put that in perspective: there is a chunk of missing Arctic sea ice equal to the size to Texas, New Mexico, Maryland and New Hampshire combined.
Bakersfield City Councilman Willie Rivera accepted a position as the first-ever director of regulatory affairs for the California Independent Petroleum Association, one of California’s most influential oil trade groups. New job title; same priorities.
One-third of all oil firms are at risk of bankruptcy this year as low commodity prices crimp their access to cash and ability to cut debt, according to a new study from Deloitte.
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