The threat of deep sea mining
via Earth First! Newswire:
Yesterday, the U.S. government released a final proposal to allow the use of controversial seismic airguns to look for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida. According to the Department of the Interior (DOI), these dynamite-like blasts are expected to injure and possibly kill large numbers of dolphins and whales along the East Coast and disturb the necessary activities of millions more.
Stop the Uinta Express Pipeline Project!
In order to have standing to object to the decision that will be made, individuals and organizations must provide comments to the scoping process. The comment period closes March 17. Tell the Forest Service to STOP THE UINTA EXPRESS PIPELINE
from Utah Tar Sands Resistance
Tesoro wants to build a 135-mile insulated pipeline connecting the Uinta Basin with the Salt Lake City-area refineries. The pipeline would move up to 60,000 barrels of black and yellow waxy crude a day. Because of its high paraffin content, Uinta’s waxy crude must remain warm in transit; black wax crude heated to 95 degrees, and yellow wax to 115 degrees.
If this pipeline is approved, it will be one more piece of infrastructure the state of Utah wishes to push forward in order to create an energy colony in Eastern Utah, and continue turning the area into a sacrifice zone. Utah has nearly completed a two-lane highway to nowhere, seeks to build a nuclear power plant and oil refinery on the Green River, and set up further infrastructure for US Oil Sands, Enefit, Red Leaf, and other fossil fuel extraction companies.
According to a recent article in the Salt Lake Tribune: “[The pipeline] would also ease a transportation bottleneck that state officials say is holding back development on Utah’s busiest oil patch and costing the state’s economy billions.”
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Banners at Unist’ot’en camp
SAVE THE DATES: Location to be announced
Rising Tide is organizing a convergence weekend on April 4, 5 and 6th called: No Pipelines!: Action Training for Climate Justice. This weekend will be for mass movement trainings focused on building resistance across our different organizing spaces to fight extreme energy expansion and its numerous resulting oppressions across Turtle Island.
We would like to invite you/your collective/group/organization to this event so we can learn from one another and strengthen our resolve to stop the expansion of extreme energy, end the exploitation of human and natural resources and offer our support to communities on the front lines of the ecological crises.
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The Ivanpah Solar Thermal generating station in the Mojave Desert may lure birds from across half the continent into a death trap. Photo by Howard Ignatius.
From Earth Island Journal, via Earth First! Newswire:
Ivanpah installation a zone of death for tortoises, raptors
The world’s largest solar thermal power plant officially went online one week ago today, on February 13. At a ceremony in the Mojave Desert south of Las Vegas, with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz presiding, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System formally joined California’s power grid.
The cleantech trade press trumpeted the milestone in glowing terms only rewritten corporate press releases can offer. One article went so far as to call it the “Hoover Dam of Solar,” though whether that is a good or bad thing depends on your view of river impoundment. Reaction to the opening from other quarters was decidedly nuanced. When it was proposed in 2007, Ivanpah was first lauded as the future of clean energy. Now, the project is rarely covered in the press without the epithet “controversial” attached, aside from those glowing reports in the tech press.
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From Earth First! Newswire:
A local Unitarian minister and three western Maryland residents were arrested just before noon today outside the Allegany County Courthouse in Cumberland for peacefully protesting Virginia-based Dominion Resources’ plan to build a liquefied natural gas export facility at Cove Point in southern Maryland. The protesters blocked the courthouse entrance to demand justice in the controversial federal handling of the massive $3.8 billion project, which would take nearly a billion cubic feet of gas per day from fracking wells across the Appalachian region, liquefy it on the Chesapeake Bay, and export it to Asia.
Activists lock their necks together at Florida Power and Light headquarters in protest of the company’s fossil fuel-fired power plant expansion plans, Feb 24, 2014
[On Feb 21], as a key state permit hearing began in downtown Baltimore, activists from every corner of Maryland and from across the Mid-Atlantic marched from a nearby plaza to the doorstep of the Public Service Commission to send one clear message to state leaders: “Stop Cove Point.” This controversial $3.8 billion project, proposed by Virginia-based Dominion Resources, would take gas from fracking wells across the Appalachian region, liquefy it along the Chesapeake Bay in southern Maryland, and export it to Asia.
Over 80 activists with Earth First! groups from across the country converged at the Florida Power and Light (FPL) Headquarters [on Feb 24]. Five protestors locked their necks together, disrupting business operations at the second largest energy company in the nation. Their primary concern is a proposal to construct a fossil fuel power plant in Hendry County, on the border of the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation.
Coke sponsored Christmas tree torched to protest privatization, Mexico City 2013
Although the FTA has not yet been implemented, Canadian investments are already contributing to social conflict in Honduras, particularly in the mining, export manufacturing and tourism sectors.
The Canadian government provided technical assistance and support for the General Mining and Hydrocarbons Law, passed in January 2013. Notably, the new mining law lifts a seven-year moratorium on new mining projects and earmarks 2% of the royalties paid by extractive companies for a Security Tax to help fund Honduran state security. The law paves the way for new mining projects which have given rise to increased conflict and militarization of affected communities where mining projects operate. According to the Honduras Documentation Centre, 52% of all conflict in Honduras is rooted in natural resource management. The most notorious case is that of Vancouver-based Goldcorp’s which operated the San Martin gold and silver mine in Valle de Siria. The projects legacy is one of water contamination, dried up streams, and reports of serious public health problems in surrounding communities which have yet to be fully addressed. (Read more)
If all goes well, drillers responsible for a shale-oil bonanza in Texas will soon cross the southern US border and extend the hydraulic fracturing boom to Mexico. But first the Mexican government, foreign oil companies or some combination of the two will have to neutralize some of the most savage gangsters in the world.
Oil and gas were a key subtext of yesterday’s North American summit between Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and US President Barack Obama. Hoping to join the US and Canadian energy boom and invigorate the laggard Mexican economy, Peña has pushed through a dramatic reversal of the country’s seven-decade-old ban on private oil and gas drilling. His goal is to lure companies that are drilling in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and the Texas shale patch to lead the development of Mexico’s potential 42 billion barrels of oil. (Read more)
Rare earth elements used in cars
In case you needed another incentive to make sure that no rare earth metal mines start up near you, a news release from Scandinavian research group SINTEF highlights these metals’ status as choke points of the global economic system:
The demand for metals such as neodymium (Nd) and dysprosium (Dy) is increasing much faster than production. These metals are used in technologies such as the generators that store power in wind turbines, and the electric motors that propel electric and hybrid cars. But they are also used in everyday products like computers and mobile phones.
Rare earth metals do occur in the earth’s crust, but not in sufficiently high concentrations. This is why only one country – China – has so far been supplying the entire world with these elements. However, in recent years, China has begun to restrict its export of these materials.
Forecasts show that as early as next year, these metals will be hard to come by.
The press release notes that recycling of rare earth metals is still not a financially viable option, which is why SINTEF is hard at work to find a way to do just that:
“The aim is to extract valuable materials from the waste streams. The challenges lie in the fact that the material must be sufficiently clean in order to be recycled, and we have to be sure that it is not contaminated by other harmful materials”, explains Odd Løvhaugen of SINTEF ICT.
In the meantime, the global mining industry is not just ripping apart Inner Mongolia in its desperate quest for these metals, but also gearing up to strip mine our planet’s oceans on a massive scale.
Which highlights yet another reason to oppose rare earth mining: it’s not enough to just be anti-extraction about your own back yard.
The Land is Not for Sale! A community in resistance to La Parota dam.
The Council of Ejidos and Communities in Opposition to La Parota Dam (CECOP) has warned residents to be on-guard that the government may try to sneak into their communities to perform preliminary studies for the construction of La Parota, in line with its recent attempts to resurrect the project in spite of a state agreement not to build it.
The communities in question recently voted to form a communal police force, to prevent both drug cartels and the armed forces or allied paramilitaries from moving into their territory. They made it clear that this force will help peacefully resist the dam. In addition, a new guerilla group, FAR-LP, also recently announced its military support for CECOP.
CECOP has called on the federal government to abandon plans for La Parota and redistribute the funds already allocated to the dam for this year to the effort to reconstruct those same communities following devastation from Hurricane Manuel and other storms in 2013.
In other news, CECOP recently expelled a gravel-mining company from its territory, because the communities had rejected the presence of that industry.
Activists halt work at Utah’s Seep Ridge Road public highway project, which is intended to accelerate extreme extraction projects, including tar sands strip mining. Photo: Peaceful Uprising
A national fuel storage company has plans to turn an asphalt plant near the Willamette River into a rail and marine terminal for crude oil. … The Arc Logistics website lists the Portland site among its terminals and describes it as “capable of receiving, storing, and delivering heavy and light petroleum products,” by both rail lines and marine vessels. The project is the latest of several potential crude oil terminals in the Pacific Northwest, a region receiving unprecedented amounts of oil by rail shipments because of a surge North American oil production. North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields and Canada’s tar sands.
Think only Canadians need to worry about tar sands extraction? Think again. In October, U.S. Oil Sands, Inc. joined Kentucky-based Arrakis Oil Recovery as the second company to receive a permit to produce U.S. tar sands. The Utah Water Quality Board gave U.S. Oil Sands a permit to extract 2,000 barrels of oil per day from Utah’s tar sands reserves. Despite its name, U.S. Oil Sands is actually a Canadian outfit based in Calgary, Alberta. The company currently holds leases on just over 32,000 acres in Utah’s Uintah Basin. U.S. Oil Sands’ mining will take place at PR Spring on the Colorado Plateau in an area called the Bookcliffs, which straddles the Utah/Colorado border.
Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago, [a panel of] scientists warned that without international cooperation with a focus on “deep-ocean stewardship,” deep sea mining will follow the destructive examples set by commercial fishing and offshore fossil fuel operations.
Vast tracts of deep seabed are already being leased by commercial mining operations, said panelist Professor Lisa Levin, who heads the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Levin told the conference that the surge in demand for consumer devices, such as portable electronics and batteries for hybrid vehicles, is pushing mining companies to expand their operations to the ocean floor to seek out hard-to-find rare earth elements such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and copper.