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Big Oil and citizenship
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5359

PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2014 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will eagerly await a substantive response from mrgybe. Perhaps this will divert him from his current obsession of telling KC that he is much more experienced with black people and Africa, and he can revert to telling us all how ethical the oil companies, and particularly EXXON, are. From the Nation:

Quote:
ExxonMobil’s New Guinea Nightmare
How a US government loan enabled an environmentally destructive project plagued by lethal landslide, police repression and civil unrest.

Ian T. Shearn April 30, 2014 | This article appeared in the May 19, 2014 edition of The Nation.

Monday, January 23, 2012, was a routine day for 15-year-old Jackson Piwago. Like every other weekday, his father met him after school, and the two walked hand in hand back to their home in Tumbi, a small village in the remote, mountainous Hela Province of Papua New Guinea. There, at the foot of the Gigira Mountain Range, Jackson went about his chores: looking after the family’s pigs, collecting firewood, fetching water and cooking sweet potatoes. He chatted with some of his father’s nine wives, as well as his many brothers and cousins. As on most evenings, dinner was boisterous and joyful.

Then, just as he did every night, Jackson fell asleep alongside his father, using his dad’s arm as a pillow. Jokoya Piwago, a prominent Ware tribal chief, recalled that night vividly in a recent conversation. He remembered his son imploring him, “Please, Daddy, buy me the bicycle that I need to go to school and come back…. Buy me a bicycle tomorrow.”

Jokoya paused and said, “That’s the last word that he spoke to me.”

Jokoya Piwago rose at sunrise on January 24. He was running late for work, and his ride was waiting outside. He woke up Jackson, then jumped into the car, shoes in hand. Minutes later, three loud, rapid-fire cracks filled the air. To some, it sounded like the discharge of an AK-47 rifle. Other villagers said it sounded more like a thunderclap. No one could find words to describe the sound that immediately followed.

It was the sound made by 2 million tons of boulders, limestone, water, mud and trees roaring down from the top of Tumbi Mountain. It was the sound of homes being buried by the landslide, which after only a few minutes had created a debris field a kilometer long, several hundred meters wide and 100 meters deep.

At least twenty-seven people sleeping in their homes died instantly, according to a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families. Twelve of them, including Jackson, were in Jokoya’s family. A precise death count is unknown—no bodies were ever recovered.

The landslide emanated from a quarry operated by a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, Esso Highlands Limited. Since 2010, EHL had been mining limestone for the construction phase of Papua New Guinea’s $19 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project. The quarry—which, according to local residents and a former member of the country’s Parliament, had been mined sporadically by other operators for several decades without incident before ExxonMobil’s arrival—was part of a massive endeavor that involved drilling wells for gas extraction and the construction of hundreds of miles of pipeline, storage facilities, processing plants and even an airstrip. The limestone was destined primarily for construction of a nearby airport that would be used to fly in heavy equipment and supplies. ExxonMobil has trumpeted the “multiple benefits” that locals would receive from the project, including jobs for “around 10,000 Papua New Guineans” and “more than 650 million kina [about $300 million] invested in community and infrastructure projects.”

The LNG project, which has been vexed since its inception by civil unrest and huge cost overruns, was made possible in large part by American taxpayers, in the form of a $3 billion loan in 2009 from the Export-Import Bank of the United States—at that point, the largest loan by the bank in its seventy-five-year history. This massive government loan to the ExxonMobil-led project was issued despite sharp rhetoric from the Obama administration on climate change. Indeed, the loan was approved by the administration just four days before the president delivered his address to the December 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. “As the world’s largest economy and the world’s second-largest emitter, America bears our share of responsibility in addressing climate change,” Obama said then. “That is why we have renewed our leadership within international climate negotiations, and worked with other nations to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies.”

The PNG LNG loan was hardly the only exception to the president’s stated position. Since Obama took office, the Export-Import Bank has invested more than $27 billion in fossil-fuel endeavors, while lending less than $2 billion to clean-energy projects.

In the months before the landslide, villagers in Tumbi had been complaining to quarry officials about the operation—which they believed was unsafe and contaminating their water—with no results. But immediately after the disaster, government officials swung into action, dispatching additional police to Tumbi along with a team from the National Disaster Center. “This is a very huge landslide,” Bill Yomba, an NDC spokesman, told CNN the next day. “We are still trying to find out the cause, but at this stage, we believe the gas project run by Esso Highlands Limited was a contributor because they had been digging for limestone in this area.”

http://www.thenation.com/article/179618/exxonmobils-new-guinea-nightmare#
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 5359

PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the re-emergence of mrgybe, arguing that we should blame Obama, ignore bigotry, and trust the moral compass of our corporate institutions, it is time to update the story of the Richmond refinery. Those whose memories and critical thinking capacity have not been destroyed by talk radio might recall that mrgybe blamed the problems of refinery expansion on overzealous government and citizens. He has found his industry blameless. Let's see what corporate citizenship looks like from the perspective of a Richmond resident:

Quote:
My oily town — Richmond
By David Helvarg
If the Supreme Court is right that corporations are people and money is free speech, then Chevron is the biggest loudmouth in Richmond, where I live.
When people think of unlimited campaign spending, they tend to think of national elections, but the most insidious impacts may be taking place at the state and municipal levels. I know Chevron contributes to our local economy because it disbursed more than $2 million in city election campaign money since 2010, or roughly $50 each on me and every other registered voter in our small city of 106,000. The company provides jobs not only at its sprawling Richmond oil refinery but also for public relations, printers and a private detective who was hired a few years ago to smear the mayor.
Chevron wants to get rid of our Green Party mayor and progressive City Council majority because they’ve challenged the company on property taxes and pollution. That’s why in 2012 Chevron spent $422,000 backing a single candidate for one of the seven council seats that pays $16,830 a year. The company wants to return to the days when the council majority was known as the “Chevron 5.”
In August 2012, there was a fire at the refinery. I took pictures of the billowing black column of smoke while 15,000 other people went to local hospitals complaining of burning eyes, nausea and trouble breathing. Cal-OSHA fined the company close to $1 million for safety violations, and it pleaded no contest to a series of misdemeanor criminal charges. That is what corporations now do in lieu of anyone going to jail. I’ll agree with the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court that corporations are people when Texas places one of them on death row.
Now Chevron wants to assure me that things are better, and we should all be “Richmond Proud.” That’s the name it’s given a multimillion-dollar PR campaign of billboards, T-shirts, tote bags, mailers, robo-calls, highly publicized charitable contributions, a local newspaper it created, and TV ads. Phase one of the campaign was all about being proud of our parks and waterfront and youth opportunities, which all expanded under the progressive City Council that Chevron wants to get rid of.
Then I attended a Richmond Planning Commission meeting on the company’s billion-dollar refinery modernization plan, which the City Council could vote on this month. A contingent of folks showed up in blue and white T-shirts reading “A Modernized Refinery. Another Reason to be Richmond Proud.” I couldn’t help noticing that while 80 percent of the folks in the pro-Chevron shirts were white, 69 percent of Richmond’s population is not.
Now in PR phase two, the billboards, TV ads and mailers are telling us how good this plant modernization will be for Richmond. Unfortunately, the $1 billion for the refinery upgrade will not be spent in the part of the facility that caught fire but on a hydrogen plant that will allow the company to burn higher-sulfur-content petroleum from places like Iraq. This could increase air pollutants 24 percent and greenhouse gas emissions 16 percent, by one reading of the company’s environmental impact report.
Chevron, which will probably make barrels of extra money burning this “sour” oil, insists there will be no net increase in pollution, thanks to new and innovative approaches like carbon trading. But even reducing greenhouse gas emissions from an oil refinery is like reducing gun violence at the Colt firearms factory. It misses the point.
Richmond has double the childhood asthma rate of Marin County just across the bay. California is experiencing a historic drought and forest fires linked to climate change brought about by carbon pollution. It’s become a product liability issue. Chevron’s product, used as directed, overheats our planet.
When I asked the company how much it planned to spend in this fall’s city elections (that would include phase three of their media blitz), I was told the company hadn’t decided yet but would support candidates committed to public safety, job creation and other boilerplate.
Richmond Mayor Gayle McLaughlin didn’t mince her words, however. “We get all their pollution not only in the air, but they pollute our elections, too. If they’d reduce their emissions and withdraw from our elections, they’d be respecting our health and democracy.”
Of course, if they’d do that, then I’d be Richmond Proud of them, but I’m not holding my breath, although, living 2 miles from the refinery, I probably should.


To be sure, there is a compromise available that would allow upgrading of the refinery, including the capacity to refine higher sulfur crudes. But Chevron, in the mind set that mrgybe constantly invokes, would rather spend money on private detectives and public relations than public health.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As noted above, a compromise was available. It seems to me that Chevron took the middle road, and agreed to a series of measures that will allow the project to go forward:

Quote:
Chevron made multiple concessions during the approval process, including accepting an alternative endorsed by Attorney General Kamala Harris that caps the refinery’s greenhouse gas emissions and reduces levels of sulfur processing.

The alternative and other concessions made by Chevron mean that the refinery will “operate at a lower throughput” than its current operation and that health risks to the community will “go way down,” according to Jennifer Hernandez, the Holland & Knight attorney hired by the city to vet the project.

Chevron also upped its investment in Richmond and North Richmond for a third time Tuesday, from $60 million to $90 million over 10 years. See the full list of what the money will be spend on below this report.

The project approved Tuesday was supported by a long list of city and state agencies, including the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Contra Costa County Health Services, Richmond NAACP, the East Bay Leadership Council; and the Council of Industries. U.S. Rep. George Miller, who represents the region in Congress and has been a frequent critic of Chevron, also called council members before the meeting to support the project.

Before the project can move forward, the company needs to get Contra Costa County court approval to lift a 2009 judgment that halted the earlier project for having an incomplete environmental impact report.
http://richmondstandard.com/2014/07/city-council-approves-chevron-richmond-1-billion-modernization-company-increases-community-investment-90m/
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