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Oil corps destroy for profits


Countless Pollution Problems Prove Oil Corps Neglect Environment
Rolf Auer, 1 August 2013
 
Blood is not thicker than water, when that water is tears for dead relatives.
 
Many tears were shed after the recent horrifying catastrophe caused by the train-wreck oil-based explosions at Lac Megantic, Quebec. So searingly violent were the huge fireballs that many victims could not be identified until days later.
 
Forty-seven people are presumed killed by the 6 July 2013 incident. Relatives of victims are launching multimillion dollar lawsuits against the responsible rail company, Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Inc. (MMA). Edward Burkhardt, president and chairman of MMA, is the only individual named in the lawsuits so far.
 
While Burkhardt was head of Wisconsin Transportation Corporation (WTC)—another rail company—he reduced crew sizes. In 1996, a similar incident involving WTC caused the evacuation of 1,700 people from their homes.
 
DOT-111 railcars transported the oil which disastrously ignited at Lac Megantic. Flaws in these types of railcars were noted in safety studies as far back as 1991.
 
The oil industries—and the government departments with which they liaise, particularly any having to do with the environment—have a history of ignoring concomitant problems, such as, for example, pipeline spills. One news article states that in Alberta there have been on average two spills per day for the past 37 years. How many news reports about these have we seen?
 
It’s been noted in one study that fewer than one percent of environmental infractions in Alberta have drawn enforcement. Coauthor Kevin Timoney of the 677-page report said that’s only the “…tip of the iceberg.” Stated Timoney, “It was evident that there were thousands of incidents the public didn’t know anything about.” Further, the raw data was full of errors and incomplete records. The authors of the report pretty well financed the work themselves.
 
As noted in Intersection Vol 1 Set 1 (the previous issue;ref: facebook.com/rolf.auer, @Rolf_Auer), bitumen spills are impossible to clean up. Furthermore, this type of pollution is known to have carcinogenic consequences.
 
So, when bitumen crude isn’t exploding upon contaminating the environment, it’s causing cancers and other serious illnesses. After the Lac Megantic disaster, the corporate-controlled press got into a ludicrous discussion on the safest method of transport of bitumen crude: railcar or pipeline. The real point is that at present there is no safe method of transport: spills will occur regardless. Further, unreported is that oil companies are not interested in improving bitumen transportation technology (because bluntly they would have to spend precious profits to do so).
 
A bitumen pipeline—belonging to TransCanada—was proposed to run from Alberta to the Atlantic provinces. Its route takes it between Ottawa and Kemptville (closer to the latter), across the Rideau River.
 
Based on records of previous spills by similar pipelines, a spill from this pipeline—even if the response time were only a matter of minutes—would result in millions of litres of bitumen polluting the environment (including watersheds, water tables, etc.).
 
TransCanada—instead of awaiting approval by appropriate authorities—unilaterally decided to go ahead with construction on 1 August 2013. Ecology Ottawa plans to fight this. So also does the Council Of Canadians. The Council stated that the pipeline is not safe, is unlikely to provide energy security for Atlantic Canada, and will not generate decent jobs. Ecology Ottawa (which has a petition on its website) gives similar arguments against the pipeline.
 
The complete and utter lack of concern evidenced by oil corporations in not making their hazardous material transportation methods robust proves their ecocidal neglect of the environment in the name of their “holy” mantra: profit at any cost.

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