I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nasty Conclusions

I'm drawing nasty conclusions from the news reports on BP's environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100609/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill_sketchy_plans
BP PLC's 582-page regional spill plan for the Gulf, and its 52-page, site-specific plan for the Deepwater Horizon rig vastly understate the dangers posed by an uncontrolled leak and vastly overstate the company's preparedness to deal with one, according to an Associated Press analysis. The lengthy plans were approved by the federal government last year before BP drilled its ill-fated well. ... Among the glaring errors in the report: A professor is listed in BP's 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a national wildlife expert. He died in 2005.
http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/06/bp-campaign-donations-obama
Who's BP's favorite politician ever? If you're just going by the numbers, it's none other than President Barack Obama, who leads BP's lifetime campaign donation list with $77,051. That puts him just ahead of reliable oilmen such as Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, his retired colleague Sen. Ted Stevens, and George W. Bush. According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, BP and its employees have given more than $3.4 million to federal candidates since 1990.
Is it cynical to make a connection between money spent on politicans and favourable regulatory regimes? However cynical, it doesn't happen  in Canada, right?  We don't allow the public interest to be subverted by political connections, do we?   Maybe.  "Oil" sands mining flourishes in Canada - even if it is much less than green.  Jeff Rubin, an economist, notes that:
There’s nothing clean about the production of synthetic oil from tar sands. The production of a single barrel of synthetic oil pollutes some 125 gallons of fresh water and emits over 200 pounds of carbon dioxide, principally as a result of the combustion of the natural gas, over 1,000 cubic feet of it, needed to generate the heat to separate the oil from the sand and then process it.  Currently, Canadian tar sands produce roughly one and a quarter million barrels per day, but the International Energy Agency (IEA) is projecting ultimate production at around 4 million barrels per day. Do the math on carbon emissions and water pollution, and you begin to get a sense of what has made the tar sands the most recent bĂȘte noire of the world environmental movement. ...The tar sands aren’t a greener alternative to deep-water oil. They’re just a more expensive alternative. And the more that synthetic oil from tar sands replaces deep-water production, the more you’ll pay to burn it.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/commentary/jeff-rubins-smaller-world/gulf-oil-disaster-doesnt-make-the-tar-sands-green/article1596265/

The government of Canada has subsidized development of the  tar sands in the past and continues to do so to the tune of $ 1 billion per year according to Kairos' report Pumped Up.   Moreover , the party currently in power has ties to the energy sector.  For example, Clarke Cross is a hired lobbyist for Enbridge who formerly worked for Canadian Alliance Party MPs. Yaroslav Baran lobbied the federal government on behalf of Enbridge throughout 2006 and is also a long time Conservative Party staffer (Out on the Tar Sands Mainline , Polaris Institute.)   This cozy relationship between oil and gas corporations and federal politicians has culminated in the  Conservatives tabling an omnibus bill that "is trying to rollback key environmental assessment rules through an omnibus bill currently under review by a House of Commons Committee. " http://www.waterkeeper.ca/2010/05/04/rollbacks-to-canadian-environmental-legislation-come-on-the-heels-of-the-gulf-oil-disaster/  

This cozy intimacy will lead to more environmental destruction in Canada unless the Senate breaks up the bill .  A nasty conclusion indeed .

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