The Greatest Environmental Disaster of the Century: Turning Point or More to Come?

 

This Land Is Your Land - Woody Guthrie

 by Randy Shannon

April 30, 2010

The Deep Horizons ultra-deepwater dynamic positioned semi-submersible oil drilling rig, lying upside down a mile below sea level, was built and owned by Transocean Limited of Vernier, Switzerland. This rig was the most technologically advanced drilling machine on earth, designed to tap oil reserves miles below the ocean’s surface. It was completed in 2001 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea. British Petroleum was leasing the rig at a cost of one-half million dollars per day to exploit oil and gas trapped under tremendous pressure miles below.

Just as Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara thought that advanced technology would allow U.S. weaponry to defeat the people of Vietnam in the 1970s, the Wall Street banks now believe that current ‘advanced technology’ will allow them to tap unknown forces of nature…at a profit.

They justify this endeavor with the argument that exploiting natural resources always involves some endemic risk and that they are insured to protect their investors. Wall Street and their oil industry allies believe that, as in the past, disasters are a cost of business and that once the cleanup is done there will be a return to profitability.

Profits from deepwater drilling, as well as the fracking of the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania and New York, are projected to be enormous, to create dazzling new fortunes for those who are bold, hardy, and carefree enough to get there first. These expectations of great wealth from expensive and refractory resources are based on the knowledge that the world, but especially the United States, is rapidly using up, and to a great degree wasting, petroleum and gas reserves. As the reserves shrink and become more expensive to exploit, the push to find and exploit them intensifies.

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Demand Senate Investigation into last decade of oil drilling disasters

Nelson requests Senate investigation into oil safety claims

BY LESLEY CLARK – Herald Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Seizing on the oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, Sen. Bill Nelson asked Monday for a rare joint Senate committee investigation into safety claims made by the oil industry.

The request — made along with New Jersey Democratic Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez, who like Nelson oppose oil and gas drilling off their states’ coast — comes as authorities monitored the Gulf spill and tried to use underwater equipment to cap the leak.

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Pres. Obama Promises More Effective Safety Oversight at Eulogy for Miners

PA Municipalities Can Take Steps to Protect Themselves from the Ravages of Gas Drilling

April 16

Towns get legal advice on gas issues

A lawyer offers sample laws to Back Mountain towns concerned about drilling.

By Rebecca Bria rbria@timesleader.com
Staff Writer

DALLAS TWP. – The Back Mountain Community Partnership was advised Thursday afternoon to separately pass ordinances that may help protect against gas drilling issues.

Read more Natural Gas Leases – Marcellus Shale articles

The partnership is an intermunicipal group composed of Dallas, Franklin, Jackson, Kingston and Lehman townships and Dallas borough.

Attorney Jeffrey Malak, who is solicitor of the group, explained it would be better for each municipality to enact its own ordinances rather than to pass joint partnership ordinances because each municipality has its own unique needs.

Malak provided an example of an ordinance, created by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Solicitors, which addresses height regulations of equipment, setbacks, access roads, wells, tanks and storage.

He also furnished sample dust, noise and light pollution ordinances and a sample road bond agreement. In addition, he provided a copy of Dallas’ zoning ordinance, which restricts drilling to certain areas of the borough and deals with screening and buffering and outdoor lighting issues.

Continue reading PA Municipalities Can Take Steps to Protect Themselves from the Ravages of Gas Drilling

New York DEC Imposes Strict Regulations on Marcellus Shale Drilling to Protect New York City Water Supply

State Decision Blocks Drilling for Gas in Catskills

By MIREYA NAVARRO
Published: April 21, 2010

New York state environmental officials announced Friday that they would impose far stricter regulations for a new type of natural gas drilling in the state’s only two unfiltered water supplies, making it highly unlikely that any drilling will be done in the Catskills watershed that supplies drinking water to New York City.

The decision also applies to the smaller Skaneateles Lake watershed, which supplies drinking water to Syracuse and some other towns.

Continue reading New York DEC Imposes Strict Regulations on Marcellus Shale Drilling to Protect New York City Water Supply