Showing posts from November 30, 2014

Alberta Pipeline Spills 60,000 Litres Of Crude Into Muskeg, Says Energy Regulator

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[It's all in how it's presented. They come out once or twice a week, announce a spill, say "Oh it wasn't that big, and besides, it's in the middle of nowhere." Where is the discussion about cumulative impacts, the total spillage per annum? *RON*]
By The Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 29 November 2014

RED EARTH CREEK, Alta. - The Alberta Energy Regulator says close to 60,000 litres of crude oil have spilled into muskeg in the province's north.

An incident report by the regulator states that a mechanical failure was reported Thursday at a Canadian Natural Resources Limited (TSX:CNQ) pipeline approximately 27 kilometres north of Red Earth Creek.

The report says there are no reports of impact to wildlife and that a cleanup has begun.

Red Earth Creek is over 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

Carrie Rosa, a spokeswoman for the regulator, says officials have been delayed reaching the scene due to poor weather in the last …

Environment Canada Study Reveals Oilsands Tailings Ponds Emit Toxins to Atmosphere at Much Higher Levels than Reported

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[1,069 kilograms of cancer causing toxins are released into the air each year from oilsands tailing ponds. *RON*]
Carol Linnitt, DeSmog Canada, 28 November 2014
There are more than 176 square kilometres of tailings ponds holding waste from oilsands development in the area around Fort McMurray, Alberta. According to new research released from Environment Canada, those tailings ponds are emitting much higher levels of toxic and potentially cancer-causing contaminants into the air than previously reported.

As the Canadian Press reports, Environment Canada scientist Elisabeth Galarneau is the first to conduct field studies in the region and her research confirms that previous estimates of chemical release into the air have been massively underestimated.

“We found that there actually does appear to be a net flow of these compounds going from water to air,” Galarneau told the Canadian Press. “It’s just a bit under five times higher from the ponds than w…

Fracking could be as damaging as thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos, government's Chief Scientific Adviser warns in new report

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[Speaks for itself. *RON*]
Lewis Smith, The Independent, 28 November 2014

Fracking has the potential to be as controversial and as damaging as thalidomide, tobacco and asbestos, a report from the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser warns.

The technology has been developed to help oil companies extract gas trapped in shale rock but, the report fears, it could prove to be another innovation that takes society in the wrong direction.

Drawing a direct comparison with fracking technology chief scientist Mark Walport’s annual report said: “History presents plenty of examples of innovation trajectories that later proved to be problematic — for instance involving asbestos, benzene, thalidomide, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, many pesticides, mercury, chlorine and endocrine-disrupting compounds, as well as CFCs, high-sulphur fuels and fossil fuels in general.

“In all these and many other cases, delayed recognition of adverse effects incurred not only se…

Austerity - take your pick

Thousands gather in Montreal, Quebec City for anti-austerity demos (May well hurt Trudeau's election chances.)Thousands Take Part in General Strike Over Greek Austerity Measures (This was actually a general strike that brought Greece to a halt but this is, after all, the Wall Street Journal.)Spaniards protest against austerity cuts (More than 250,000 people from nearly 100 different organisations.)The north hits back at Osborne’s austerity: ‘it’s devolution or bust’ (Newcastle takes a page from the Scots in talking about devolving tax power to regions/municipalities.)

"Eat-what-you-kill capitalists" should care about income inequality too

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[Still quite soft-pedaled; but at least the topic has made it into the pages of Business in Vancouver. A Vancouver economist argues that Canada's tax system needs an overhaul. Note that the BIV editors assume - probably quite rightly - that their readers have not read Piketty. *RON*]
By Jen St. Denis, Business in Vancouver, 26 November 2014

A Vancouver economist is arguing that Canada’s tax system is in serious need of reform to rein in growing income inequality and spur investment in the economy.

“I’m concerned about growing inequality and increasing income concentration, but I know that not everyone shares that concern,” Kevin Milligan, a professor at the University of British Columbia, told Business in Vancouver.

“The goal here is for me to convince people who are even eat-what-you kill capitalists that it’s important for them too.”

In a report published November 26 by the C.D. Howe Institute, Milligan calls for several changes, including tax…

Time for government to address income inequality, TD report says

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[All in all, a light tap on the wrist for austerity supporters. Even at that, go to the original article and read the comments if you want a sample of the abysmal ignorance of Edmonton Journal online readers. *RON*]

By Sheila Pratt, Edmonton Journal, 27 November 2014

EDMONTON - Alberta’s strong oil economy and the housing boom are helping to keep income inequality from getting worse in Canada, says a new report by TD Economics.

Even with those positive trends, it’s time for government to address the issue, as too much inequality will hurt economic growth, says Craig Alexander, TD vice-president and chief economist.

“Alberta’s resource economy has really meant a lot of demand for middle-skilled workers,” Alexander said in an interview Thursday. “But if the oil boom slows, so will middle-class job creation.”

Canada’s income inequality worsened in the 1990s when governments were cutting spending and slashing deficits and it has not recovered, according…

Should Putin fear the man who ‘pulled the trigger of war’ in Ukraine?

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[Interesting new information on the role of Russia in the Ukraine and the "separatist commander" Igor Strelkov. *RON*]
By Lucian Kim, Reuters, 25 November 2014

The official Kremlin narrative on the war in eastern Ukraine is clear and simple: after seizing power in February, a Western-backed “junta” in Kiev sent neo-Nazi gangs – then tanks and warplanes – to stamp out peaceful protests by the Russian-speaking community. The locals who took up arms are freedom fighters, and the only help they get from Russia is humanitarian aid. For the past six months, Russian state television has carpet-bombed its viewers with this message, day in and day out.

Now one of the leaders of the rebellion in eastern Ukraine has turned the Kremlin storyline on its head. Igor Girkin, a retired Russian special ops officer also known as Igor Strelkov or simply “Strelok” (Shooter), was the military commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic before g…