Friday, July 10, 2015

Distortion and Secrecy: Oil and Rail Industries Fight Disclosure

 Methane data collected from Florida to California in 2010.

Oil & Gas Industry Mangles More Facts, Turns EDF Study Results Upside Down

Mark Brownstein, Vice President in the Climate and Energy Program at Environmental Defense Fund
HuffPost Green  7/10/15

Here we go again.

A new set of peer-reviewed scientific papers pointing to 50 percent higher than estimated regional methane emissions from oil and gas operations in Texas were published this week. And like clockwork, the oil and gas industry's public relations machine, Energy In Depth, proclaimed that rising emissions are actually falling, and that the industry's meager voluntary efforts are responsible.

This is, of course, wrong on both counts. In fact, it's a willful misrepresentation of the findings.

First, the assertion that emissions are going down is flat wrong. EPA's latest inventory released in April reports that in 2013 the oil and gas industry released more than 7.3 million metric tons of methane into the atmosphere from their operations--a three percent increase over 2012--making it the largest industrial source of methane pollution. So much for those voluntary efforts.....  more here

Bakken oil trains rumble through downtown Milwaukee, leaving some city officials and residents afraid of what might happen if there is a spill and explosion, as has happened elsewhere.

Bakken oil trains rumble through downtown Milwaukee

Michael Murphy hits railroad for refusal to share bridge safety data

By Crocker Stephenson      Journal Sentinel   July 9, 2015    

A frustrated Milwaukee [ Wisconsin ] Common Council President Michael Murphy called for a change in federal law Thursday after Canadian Pacific railroad refused to share the results of its inspection of a rusty-looking downtown bridge.

The bridge crossing W. Oregon St. at S. 1st St. is used by rail cars carrying potentially explosive crude oil through the heart of the city. City engineer Jeffrey Polenske told members of the council's Public Safety Committee that Canadian Pacific not only refused to share the results of its inspection of the bridge, conducted in May, but also refused to send a representative to the committee to brief aldermen on the bridge's condition.

Polenske said the email he received from Canadian Pacific "went on to reassure us that they were following all federal regulations and standards and that the bridge was in compliance."

"There wasn't a whole lot of detail or specifics," he said.

Murphy appeared incredulous.

"The current structure is, Canadian Pacific evaluates these bridges and then tells the U.S. government or our state and local government, 'Don't worry about it. It's fine.'

"Why are we allowing a private company to determine our safety?"

Murphy said he wanted the federal law changed so that an independent agency — not the rail companies — would be responsible for safety inspections.

He also called on Wisconsin's congressional delegation to send a letter to the Federal Railroad Commission, signed by all, demanding release of the inspection's report.....    more here


 July 8, 2015  by Dan Zegart, Senior Fellow at the Climate Investigations Center

The former Department of Justice lawyer who led the watershed lawsuit against tobacco companies, says that the news out today about oil giant ExxonMobil knowing as early as 1981 about the threat posed by climate change could worsen the fossil fuel industry's liability picture. 

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