Showing posts from December 31, 2014

Over 6 Million Litres of Crude Oil and Produced Toxic Water Spilled in Alberta this year

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[Enough to fill two and a half Olympic swimming pools in Alberta alone, with no reported impacts to wildlife? *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 31 December 2014

WCNN has been covering produced toxic water spills and Crude Oil leaks over the last year (2014) in Alberta, from pipeline failures, mechanical failures, freezing valves, and operator errors these incidents happen almost daily, and now the totals are starting to roll in with a massive volume of over 6,252,000 Million litres spilled this year.

The top offenders totals are in (Litres):
Apache Canada Ltd = 1,666,000
Spyglass Resources Corp = 572,000
Penn West Petroleum Ltd = 420,600
Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) = 375,400
Husky Oil Operations Limited = 370,200
Anterra Energy Inc = 306,000
Pengrowth Energy Corporation = 275,200
Arc Resources = 259,200
Harvest Operations Corp = 253,200
Talisman Energy Inc = 220,300
Whitecap Resources Inc = 206,000

This City Eliminated Poverty, And Nearly Everyone Forgot About It

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[An amazing piece of Canadian history - memories such as these of the kind of Canada most of us still think we live in, have been largely obliterated by the forty year neoliberal quiet revolution. *RON*]
Zi-Ann Lum, Huffington Post, 30 December 2014
On a December afternoon, Frances Amy Richardson took a break from her quilting class to reflect on a groundbreaking experiment she took part in 40 years earlier.

“Well, that was quite a few years ago,” she said. “There was a lot of people that really benefitted from it.”

Between 1974 and 1979, residents of a small Manitoba city were selected to be subjects in a project that ensured basic annual incomes for everyone. For five years, monthly checks were delivered to the poorest residents of Dauphin, Manitoba –- no strings attached.

And for five years, poverty was completely eliminated.

The program was dubbed “Mincome” -- a neologism of “minimum income” -- and it was the first of its kind in North America. I…

The True Costs of Corporate Welfare

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[WalMart, "a corporation that made $16 billion in net profits in 2013 is getting some $2.66 billion in government subsidies each year." *RON*]
By The Daily Take Team, The Thom Hartmann Program, Truthout, 30 December 2014

Help save Truthout from needing to make any cuts in 2015. Donate now to ensure we start the new year strong!
Who should we really be drug testing?

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a series of bills into lawthat will require some welfare recipients in Michigan to be drug-tested.

Meanwhile, other states are considering following in Rick Snyder's footsteps.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is on the record saying that he also wants to make drug testing welfare recipients and applicants a law.

And, according to ThinkProgress, "In 2014, at least 18 states introduced proposals or addressed bills that would require some form of drug testing or screening for applicants for or recipients of public assistance."

One of the …

Stop Kidding Yourself: The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People

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[Police history - to serve and protect the 1% So what was our first clue? Among the first US police forces created were runaway slave patrols. Was it ever a case of "a few bad apples", then or now? *RON*]

Sam Mitrani, Labor and Working Class History Association, 29 December 2014

In most of the liberal discussions of the recent police killings of unarmed black men, there is an underlying assumption that the police are supposed to protect and serve the population. That is, after all, what they were created to do. If only the normal, decent relations between the police and the community could be re-established, this problem could be resolved. Poor people in general are more likely to be the victims of crime than anyone else, this reasoning goes, and in that way, they are in more need than anyone else of police protection. Maybe there are a few bad apples, but if only the police weren’t so racist, or didn’t carry out policies like stop-and-f…

Environment Agency: 7,000 properties to be lost to sea

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[The plans involve setting priorities on what is considered worth protecting from rising ocean levels due to global warming. *RON*]
By Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 29 December 2014
An estimated 7,000 properties around England and Wales will be sacrificed to rising seas over the next century, according to the Environment Agency.

Analysis by the Agency, based on current funding levels, projects that more than 800 will be lost over the next 20 years as coastlines erode.

The cost of protecting these properties is considered to be too high.

The Environment Agency estimates that more than £1bn worth of properties will disappear as a result.

The coast of England and Wales is being steadily eaten by the waves, and climate change is projected to increase sea-level and drive up the intensity of storms.

In the coming 100 years, six local authorities - Great Yarmouth, Southampton, Cornwall, North Norfolk, East Riding and Scarborough - are expected to lose more than …

Pope Francis Has Declared War on Climate Deniers

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[I wonder how many cardinals voted for him thinking that he was a sweet non-entity? :-) See also A Koch Hack Tells the Pope to 'Back Off' on Climate Change*RON*]

By Rebecca Leber, The New Republic, 29 December 2014

In 2015, Pope Francis plans to make climate change a personal issue for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. The Guardian’s John Vidal reports that Francis will publish an encyclical (a letter to the world's bishops), speak directly to United Nations leaders in the fall, and organize a summit of world religions—all aimed at pressuring countries to commit to a strong climate agreement at a Paris meeting next December.

Catholics that have rallied for climate change action for years—most recently at recent climate talks in Lima, Peru—are thrilled with the Pope's efforts. “The anticipation around Pope Francis’s forthcoming encyclical is unprecedented," Neil Thorns, head of advocacy at Catholic development agency Cafo…

Goldman's Top London Staff Get Paid 80% More Than They Did Two Years Ago

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[How much did your income rise in the last two years? *RON*]
Mike Bird, Business Insider, 31 December 2014

If you want to earn a lot of money with a US bank in the City of London, newly-released figures published by Bloomberg suggest you should be looking for a job at Goldman Sachs.

Filings for 2013 show that Goldman's highest-paid 121 staff get an average of $4.72 million (£3.03 million) each.

These code staff (senior decision-makers) got paid an average of £1.8 million just two years earlier, according to the Guardian. That's a pay rise of 83.5% in two years. Who says there's no wage growth?

Other major US banks pay their top staff barely half Goldman's 2013 figure. Bank of America;s top 110 staff earn $2.54 million on average, and Morgan Stanley's earn $2.39 million. JP Morgan's most senior workers take home $2.37 million and Citigroup's earn $2.13 million.

The banks are now required to release the pay details of these …

The Oil Crash Has Claimed Its First Casualty

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[Are you paying attention, yet, Christy Clark? The question answers itself. *RON*]

Oleg Vukmanovic, Reuters / Business Insider, 30 December 2014

Excelerate Energy's Texan liquefied natural gas terminal plan has become the first victim of an oil price slump threatening the economics of U.S. LNG export projects.

A halving in the oil price since June has upended assumptions by developers that cheap U.S. LNG would muscle into high-value Asian energy markets, which relied on oil prices staying high to make the U.S. supply affordable.

The floating 8 million tonne per annum (mtpa) export plant moored at Lavaca Bay, Texas advanced by Houston-based Excelerate has been put on hold, according to regulatory filings obtained by Reuters.

The project was initially due to begin exports in 2018.