Why are we always the last to know?

news clip artOn February 12th, California Emergency Management Agency posted on its website that the P66 Rodeo refinery released greater than 500 pounds of sulfur dioxide into our air due to an “equipment malfunction.”   Residents  learned about the release from the Dow Jones Busines News, the Wall Street Journal, and Nasdaq  …but nary a word from the refinery or from Contra Costa County Department of Emergency Services.

Both could have issued a health advisory, but did not.

The day before the article was posted, the refineries fenceline monitoring system was taken off-line. Three days after the article was posted, residents were startled by non-stop booms coming from the direction of the refinery.  The refinery dismissed the booms as coming from Air Liquid, not P66.  The Air Liquid plant provides the hydrogen for the P66 refining process and is completely surrounded by the P66 refinery operations in Rodeo.

One P66 supervisor took the prize for obfuscation when telling a concerned resident that Air Liquid was really a “renter”…

 

 

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Californians Push Back !

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From Benicia down to San Luis Obispo, Californians are pushing back on Crude by Rail.   Two huge projects recently appeared in front of planning commissions this month:  San Louis Obispo County (Phillips 66) and the City of Bencia (Valero).  Both drew record-breaking crowds.  One project was defeated (Valero) and the other (Phillips 66) is well on its way to meet the same fate.

In both cases, State Attorney General Kamala Harris took the long view and weighed in against both crude-by-rail projects. At both hearings, hundreds of citizens signed up to speak. And in both cases, citizens from Crockett, Rodeo and Hercules were there “to represent.”

 

Just to give you a sense of scale of the opposition: At the Phillips 66 hearing in San Luis Obispo County, over 400 people filled out speaker cards.   That public hearing went on for two days and will wrap up on February 25th.   Although the folks here at C.R.U.D.E. don’t have a crystal ball, we reckon it has a snowball’s chance in Hell of passing as the San Luis Obispo County staff submitted a recommendation to turn it down…as did 26 cities, 20 school districts, 5 county/regional agencies and 2 local congresswomen.

And in Benicia?  After 3 days of hearings, that City’s planning commission took the courageous stand to stop the project, over the city staff’s objections.

Here are two articles describing the hearings:

  1. An overview of the San Luis Obispo Phillips 66 hearing (this Tar Sands project is intricately tied into the expansion project up here in Rodeo) can be read here: Sunflower Alliance
  2. Click here to read an article in the Huffington Post about Benicia’s decision about Valero’s refinery crude-by-rail project:  Huffington Post

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Portland, Oregon, just passed the strongest resolution against fossil fuels in the country

by Natasha Geiling (Climate Progress)

 

Iportland cities leadn the strongest city-supported opposition to fossil fuels in the country, the Portland Oregon city council voted last week to pass a resolution that opposes any new infrastructure that would transport or store fossil fuels within the city or its adjacent waterways.  While Portland can’t unilaterally ban fossil fuels from being shipped via rail, road, or water, While Portland cannot, due to interstate commerce laws, it can enact local laws that limit the transportation and storage of fossil fuels within the city itself, making it prohibitively expensive, or too time consuming, for fossil fuel companies.

Portland’s 350.org activist Andriana Voss-Andre observed:

“We seem to be reaching some sort of tipping point where people are waking up and realizing the enormity of the issue,”

She added, “That we got a unanimous vote was jaw-dropping.  It was an inspiring moment for all of us.”

Read the full story here.

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Canadian Prime Minister’s directive: End oil tanker transit off of Canada’s West coast

By Mychaylo Prystupa (National Observer)

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The fossil fuel industry is clearly at a tipping point.   We are on the eve of the Paris Climate Talks.  One week ago President Obama killed the Keystone XL pipeline. Yesterday, Prime Minister Trudeau killed the Enbridge pipeline and set forth a plan to end subsidies for big oil.

 

Could this is the beginning of the end for the dirtiest crude oil on Earth?

Read full story here.

 

Renewable energy made up half of world’s new power plants in 2014 according to the International Energy Agency

By Damian Carrington (The Guardian)

Thermo-solar power plant in Beni Mathar, Morocco.           Above: Massive thermo-solar plant in Beni Mathar Morrocco
             

The IEA said investment in oil exploration and production was set to fall by 20% in 2015, as high cost projects in the US, Canada, Russia and Brazil continue to be shelved.

“Renewable energy has become a mainstream fuel.”

Read the full story here.

President Obama finally rejects, completely, the construction of KXL Tar Sands pipeline!

Coral Davenport, New York Times

President Obama finally rejected the oil infrastructure project that would have dealt the final blow to the environment and (as per the State Department) would have offered only 35 permanent jobs after construction.  Had it not been for scientists and climate activists in both Canada and America, it truly would have been “game over” for Mother Nature.

This will come as a great relief to those who live in the heartland of America. One only wonders what will happen to the farmers who had their land seized through eminent domain for the pipeline.

As for Alberta, oil extractors have turned water into poison and an arboreal forest the size of England into a surreal, Hell-on-earth.

Read full story here.

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Co Co County Supervisors vote to explore community choice renewable energy programs

By Jean Tepperman (East Bay Express)

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Contra Costa County has over 40,000 acres of industrial brownfields and superfund sites which could be turned into solar and winds farms, a type of creative re-use supported by EPA’s program “Repowering America’s Lands.”

 

A renewable energy project of this size be would be a job creator and provide an economic stimulus to our area. Even better: installation of 40,000 acres of solar panels could power 1.27 million homes…and our county just has a little 400,000 households.

This could be a real money maker.

Read full story here.