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Showing posts from October 9, 2014

Report: Wal-mart owners throw their weight behind anti-solar groups

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["Wal-mart can boast all it wants about its on-site solar panels, but its majority owners are backing campaigns that would keep the rest of us from having any of our own. According to a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ISLR), the Walton family has donated $4.5 million since 2010 to groups like ALEC, Americans for Prosperity and the American Enterprise Institute that are campaigning to end solar subsidies and limit the growth of roof-top solar." *RON*]

Lindsay Abrams, Salon.com, 9 October 2014

Wal-mart can boast all it wants about its on-site solar panels, but its majority owners are backing campaigns that would keep the rest of us from having any of our own.

According to a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ISLR), the Walton family has donated $4.5 million since 2010 to groups like ALEC, Americans for Prosperity and the American Enterprise Institute that are campaigning to end solar subsidies and…

What Canada and Alberta could learn from Norway

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[Should Canada adopt the same energy model that made Norwegian citizens theoretical millionaires? *RON*]

Written from an interview with prominent Vancouver business leader Leonard Schein, CRED (Conversations for Responsible Economic Development), not dated.



What is Norway’s energy model?

To understand Norway’s energy model, it’s helpful to go back to 1962, when excitement ignited about the possibility of oil in the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). A year later, Norway claimed sovereignty over the NCS and deemed any natural resource found there the property of the government. This initial government response forms the basis of the very different philosophies between Norway and Canada on natural resource ownership. While Norway claims ownership over oil in its land, Canada assumes that any oil in the ground belongs to the companies that extract it.

Playing hardball

The disparate philosophies of the role of government in the oil industry seem to be at…

NEB delays Enbridge plan to ship oil through reversed Line 9 pipeline

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[Enbridge, the company still struggling to clean up its Kalamazoo River spill in Michigan, ignored the National Energy Board's order to install safety valves where its Line 9 project crosses rivers. The good news is we can stop Enbridge from ever operating in British Columbia. Add your name here. *RON*]

Shawn McCarthy, The Globe and Mail, 9 October 2014
The National Energy Board has slammed the brakes on Enbridge Inc.’s plan to start shipping western oil to Montreal this fall through its reversed Line 9 pipeline, saying the company failed to install shut-off valves around some major waterways.

In a sharply worded letter to Enbridge this week, NEB secretary Sheri Young said the board is not convinced the company has met the safety conditions which the regulator set when it approved the plan to reverse the pipeline’s direction of flow last March, and that Enbridge cannot begin shipping crude until it addresses those concerns.

“The board takes pro…

U.S. Air Force probed for scrapping costly planes bought for Afghans

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[Unbelievable! *RON*]

By Andrea Shalal, Reuters, 9 October 2014

(Reuters) - A U.S. government watchdog agency is asking the Air Force to explain why it decided to destroy 16 aircraft initially bought for the Afgan air force and turn them into $32,000 of scrap metal instead of finding other ways to salvage nearly $500 million in U.S. funds spent on the program.

John Sopko, special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, asked Air Force Secretary Deborah James to document all decisions made about the destruction of the 16 C-27J aircraft that were stored at Kabul International Airport for years, and what the service planned to do with four additional planes now in Germany.

"I am concerned that the officials responsible for planning and executing the scrapping of the planes may not have considered other possible alternatives in order to salvage taxpayer dollars." Sopko said in a letter to James that was dated Oct. 3 and released Thu…

Imperial Metals asks court to remove Red Chris Mine blockade

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[Damien Gillis posted this as a comment to his piece: STATEMENT FROM KLABONA KEEPERS FOLLOWING TODAY’S COURT VICTORY: “Ultimately, this is an incredible victory – not only for the Klabona Keepers, but for all Indigenous Nations connected by the water and the salmon. Our incredible allies from Secwepemc territory, Kanahus and Anushka, and Klabona Keeper, Loretta, overcame all odds in the colonial court today to seek justice.” I should think that Imperial Metals will go down if the blockade isn't removed. Red Chris is their new cash cow which is being depended on to keep everything else afloat. *RON*]

by Damien Gillis, Common Sense Canadian, 8 October 2014
UPDATE: In a surprise ruling today, Justice Grauer refused to grant Imperial Metals an injunction against the Klabona Keepers’ blockade.

Imperial Metals, the company behind the Mount Polley tailing pond disaster, is seeking an injunction today at the BC Supreme Court to forcibly remove Tahltan…

ISIS Battles Kurds Over Border Town Kobani To Maintain Oil Trade

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[A good piece for drawing attention to the many strategic, and non-religious, reasons for the fighting in Syria. *RON*]
Posted by Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 8 October 2014

Yves here. One needs to read past the spin on the combatants and the hectoring of the Turks in this post. It does serve to explain why Kobani is a critical piece on the chessboard of the struggle in Kurdistan.

By Claude Salhani, a journalist, author and political analyst based in Beirut, specializing in the Middle East, politicized Islam and terrorism He is the former editor of the Middle East Times and a long-time contributor to the Commentary pages of the Washington Times and Beirut’s Executive Magazine. He is the former International Editor with United Press International and also ran UPI’s Terrorism & Security Desks. Originally published at OilPrice

Islamic State militants have been fighting for the past week for control of a key town straddling the Syrian-Turkish b…

Russia Has Burned $55 Billion To Prop Up The Ruble ... And It's Still Losing

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[$55 billion doesn't seem like so much to me in the context of the trillions of the global economy, but the slide of the ruble is worth keeping an eye on. Of course, in terms of oil sales, winter is coming on in Europe, so things could rather quickly change. *RON*]
Tomas Hirst, Business Insider, 9 October 2014

The Russian central bank was forced to intervene again in currency markets to defend the ruble as it continues its collapse.

So far in October the central bank has spent about $1.85 billion trying to keep the ruble from falling too much against the dollar and the euro. Since the start of the year, the country's international reserves have shrunk to $454 billionfrom $509 billion — a $55 billion drop.

As you can see from the chart below, it has so far been unable to halt the slide:

Why is this happening? Well, the cause of the latest pressure has come mostly from the worsening outlook for Russia's most important export — oil. Bren…

RMR: Rick's Rant - The Speaker's Role

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[Absolutely bang-on and hilarious to boot. *RON*]


China overtakes USA as world's largest economy

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["In 2014, the International Monetary Fund estimates the size of the US economy was $17.4 trillion and the size of China’s economy was $17.6 trillion." *RON*]

Mychaylo Prystupa, Vancouver Observer, 8 October 2014

In a world history moment, China has just pushed off the United States as the world's top economy, according to new data from the International Monetary Fund.

The measurement, known as Purchasing Power Parity, shows that Chinese consumers are able to buy more shoes, Starbucks and cars than Americans can with their money - a clear sign of China's rising wealth and superpower status.

"It's been expected for a long time," said Yuen Pau Woo, Distinguished East Asia Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada in Vancouver.

“If we haven’t already understood how important China is to Canada, I sure hope this statistic wakes us up, and prompts an even more focused reorientation of our political, economic and diplomatic…

Environment minister lashes back at federal watchdog

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[Harper won't release carbon emission regulations that have been available for more than a year, and which have so far only been shared with the oil and gas industry and the province of Alberta. *RON*]

By Jordan Press, Ottawa Citizen, 8 October 2014

Canada’s environment minister hit back at a federal watchdog Wednesday, charging that the new environment commissioner omitted key facts in a report that criticized the government’s lack of progress reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Leona Aglukkaq wouldn’t answer opposition MP questions about when the government will release draft regulations to crack down on carbon emissions from the oil and gas sector. Nor would her department explain why it had kept the regulations secret, or undertaken what Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Julie Gelfand termed a narrow and private consultation.

Gelfand revealed Tuesday that the government had a draft of the regulations for more than a…