On the Environment: BP suspended and Amazon deforestation rate is down

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On the environmental front, there are two areas of good news this week:

The Environmental Protection Agency as announced BP has received a suspension from being issued new contracts with the US government. The Associated Press reports the EPA suspension has arrised due to BP’s “lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response.”

AND – the AP also reports the rate of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has dropped to the lowest level in the past 24 years. This is really great news, but we should not be pleased until we see the deforestation stop altogether and see that trend continue into into the future.


Property rights teaming with the right to a healthy environment – vs. the Keystone XL Pipeline

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In the vary state synonymous with oil, property owners are fighting back against TransCanada and its Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Associated Press is reporting nearly half of the steel used in the construction of the pipeline is not American-made, the company is not promising to hire local employees and there is no guarantee being offered that that oil being transported to the Gulf will stay in the US. And TransCanada has engaged in land-grabbing in Texas. John Wayne wouldn’t like this and most Texans won’t like this news and most Americans across the map shouldn’t like it.

And certainly everyone with at least an ounce of concern or more for wildlife and the environment don’t want to risk this sort of toxic oil flowing down the length of our country. Texas isn’t and shouldn’t be the only state where this concern is rising to the surface.

So why is it happening at all? – Because GREED is so often backed by some powerful folks. And the local landowners and concerned citizens – who care about the environment, wildlife and property rights – are supposed to shut up and stand aside and bow down to Big Oil.

Even a majority of the US Supreme Court is telling us that our voices – because we don’t hold the power – should carry less weight than the voice of Corporate America. If you’ve got the millions to flood national TV ad time, you can do that too? – Right? … Like the propaganda-filled advertizing we see every half-hour from the likes of BP and Exxon.

These companies certainly have the right to buy ad time. But they don’t have the right to have more power over the political process or over the governmental process than each one of us. In fact, people should have more power than corporations. But what we’re seeing with the Keystone Pipeline and what we saw in the days leading up to and following the BP Gulf Oil Gusher, is part of the process.

Certainly, there are many cases where our best interests take the same path of the best interests of corporations. But WE should come first, especially when corporations are stepping over the line to stomp on our rights to a clean environment and healthy wildlife populations.

We have this from the AP story – “” A 78-year-old great-grandmother, Eleanor Fairchild, whose late husband worked in the oil industry, spent a night in jail after trespassing – along with actress Daryl Hannah of “Splash” fame – on land condemned on her 425-acre farm. “” – So they stole her land and then charged her with trespassing? How can this be?

This should be an illegal warping of the process of eminent domain. But this is another case where members of the US Supreme court have burned a section of the US Constitution.

Sadly, the propaganda has too many people and putting blinders on. That constant parade of look-how-great-we-are oil company ads is giving too many viewers a warm-fuzzy for Big Oil. BP is the hero of the Gulf region and Exxon really, really cares. In the cases of people who fall for this propaganda, I hope no one shows up at their homes promising to resurface their driveways if they give them $10,000 in cash upfront.

The risk of spills from the tar sands oil is great. Ask the people who live around the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010. The cleanup is still ongoing.

Uncaring, elitist quote from ExxonMobil CEO says much about how some corporations feel about us

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I’m not only a passionate animal-lover, I’m also an unwavering tree-hugger. So when I saw a headline this morning about a statement on climate change from the CEO of ExxonMobil, I had to read the article.

The good news comes in the fact that Rex Tillerson acknowledges in an MSNBC.com article that fossil fuel consumption does contribute to climate change. But on the other hand, he apparently doesn’t think it’s to much degree at all – or that it’s all that serious a problem.

Okay. It’s a step in the right direction. I get it. He can’t go full-out or toss all of the cards on the table and completely admit there’s a human impact on the climate. He’s the CEO of a huge oil company.

But then about midway into the article the topic turns to fracking for natural gas. Once again, Tillerson makes a pretty big admission, but says the situation isn’t all that bad. He is quoted as saying –

“The consequences of a misstep in a well, while large to the immediate people that live around that well, in the great scheme of things are pretty small.”

Oh, now I get it. I guess for Big Oil the impact of the Exxon Valdez spill was just large for the area of the spill, but was pretty small in the grand scheme. The massive Gulf Oil Gusher, with all of its horrible impacts for people and wildlife was just a local thing? No big deal? Pretty small?

It just screams to me like a statement from some sort of Mr. Potter-like character from “It’s a Wonderful Life.” – If the health and welfare of humans and wildlife at the local level is negatively impacted, that’s a pretty small price to pay for corporate success.

I’m all for capitalism in it’s base form, where companies grow and are successful and hire people and help make the economy grow. But this warped form of capitalism, where the money and greed have all but taken over our government and our elections – and where the airways are flooded with propaganda every day – is dangerous.

When we see quotes like this, it offers more evidence that gutting environment regulations would be a huge mistake. What we need are better regulations. The environment belongs to all of us and we should never support selling it off to the highest campaign donor.

The damage from the BP Gulf Oil Gusher goes on and on and on and ….

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Despite the BP TV ads that paint a rosy picture, the Gulf Oil Gusher continues to wreak havoc under the surface of the water and in the adjacent wetlands.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The National Wildlife Federation issued a new report earlier this month, noting it may take years to decades to overcome the damage done by the huge spill. The suffering and deaths of dolphins and sea turtles are highlighted in the report.

National Wildlife Federation Senior Scientist Dr. Doug Inkley was quoted on the NWF website as saying – “Little action has been taken to address the long-term species threats and wetlands habitat degradation exacerbated by the oil disaster. Much more needs to be done to ensure a complete recovery.”

US House committee advances bill to force through the Keystone “Tar Sands” Pipeline

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The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted Tuesday at a 33-20 clip to advance a bill – possibly to the full House floor – to cram the Keystone Pipeline down middle America’s throat.

Some are falsely claiming this pipeline will reduce our reliance on foreign oil. The E2 Wire blog on TheHill.com quotes Rep. Ed Markey as saying – “This appears to be a complete fiction, because under this bill there are no guarantees that even a drop of the tar sands oil and fuels will stay in this country.

“This bill is not about energy security, it is not about jobs, it is about oil company profits, plain and simple.”


Good news and bad news out of Canada

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I believe the Canadian people are great – aye. The Canadian government, on the other hand, engages in some really messed up policies. And as is the case far too often in the US government, elected officials there seem to be locked into doing the bidding of corporate Canada and Big Oil – over what is best for the people, the environment and wildlife.

The good news out of Canada this week comes from an odd source – Russia. CTA.ca reports the International Fund for Animal Welfare has obtained a document that states the Russian Federation has banned has the importation of all harp seal pelts.

Russia has been the largest market for seal pelts. This could be a great victory for baby seals and could mean vast numbers could be saved from the brutal hunts that take place each year, where the babies are clubbed to death. It’s a sick industry and it’s long past time to shut it down.

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Texas oil refineries want tax rebates – even if it means millions are robbed from schools

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Just when I think GREED can’t get any worse in the world, we find a story like this one: Texas oil refineries want big tax refunds, even knowing the possible $135 million could be robbed from local school budgets in the state.

The people who might support this horrible idea probably watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and cheer the actions of Mr. Potter. Or maybe they watch one of the many versions of “A Christmas Carol” and are appalled at the end because the three spirits have ruined Ebenezer Scoorge’s personality.

Come to think of it, I wonder if greed-lovers even understand the message of compassion for others played out in these films.

Just a few months ago, Texas lawmakers cut education spending in the state by more than $4 billion, according to the AP story. The refineries want the money to offset the costs of buying pollution-controlling equipment.

Really? So Big Oil thinks taxpayers should pay to cut the polluting emissions from their smoke stacks. I can’t believe where we are right now. Big Oil has reached a point of being so bold that it wants taxpayers to pay the bill for its negative actions.

It would be like the head of a drug cartel asking a state to pay for the cost of protecting their street-corner dealers from arrest. It would be like your next-door neighbor pumping his toilet waste into your front yard, and when you complained, he ask you to pay for the cleanup and to redirecting his pipes.

But to think the refineries would even consider the option of taking money from the school kids was even a little bit okay is beyond GREEDY. Do some people just not care about ANYTHING but PROFITS?

In the article linked above, one of the refinery spokesmen is quoted as saying – “But this is really no different than a homeowner appealing their property tax, just on a larger scale.” – It’s amazing – isn’t it? Can some people really be that out-of-touch?

It’s a little off topic for the blog – but not really. I promote compassion for others.

Tropical Storm Lee confirms BP’s Oil Gusher is far from gone

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Tropical Storm Lee washed ashore tar balls and oil – most likely from the BP Oil Gusher. The mess is showing up on beaches from Florida to Louisiana.

Rocky Kistner of the NRDC reports a resident of Bay St Louis, Miss. tried to present oil samples from the beach to the US Coast Guard at a meeting in Biloxi, Miss. – but officials refused to take them.

Kistner also quotes a fisherman who indicated crabs have tar on their legs. Shrimp catches are called “dismal” and fisherman are finding dead dolphins.

And then we have this video, posted August 25, 2011 –

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Bachmann completely wrong about the EPA

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I really don’t like stepping into politics here on the Pack Mentality Blog. But if anyone from any area of the political spectrum makes statements that directly step into the realm of animal welfare or environmental protection – I’m certainly not going to ignore it.

I’ve slammed Ken Salazar for targeting wolves – and other boneheaded anti-environmental or anti-animal moves by the Obama administration. Today, it’s presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann, who thinks the doors to the Environmental Protection Agency should be locked down.

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