energy

Energy Problems…Government Solutions

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Eliminating government is the most obvious first step towards energy independence. Let’s start with the Department of Defense.

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Sam needs his steroids taken away before he kills us all.

The fraud of foreign wars and the ‘war on terror’ contribute heavily to U.S. energy consumption. Bringing our troops home from the 761 military bases scattered all over the world would go a long way toward energy independence. Using a downsized military at home for defensive purposes only, eliminating the corruption of the military/industrial complex and getting rid of Israel’s stranglehold over military policies would be a good start.

The Department of Defense is the world’s largest buyer of oil and the nation’s largest single user of energy. In 2006, DoD purchased 110 million barrels of petroleum, costing $13.6 billion. {source}

The Department of Defense uses 4.6 billion gallons of fuel annually, or an average of 12.6 million gallons of fuel per day. A large Army division may use about 6,000 gallons per day. According to the 2005 CIA World Factbook, the DoD would rank 34th in the world in average daily oil use, coming in just behind Iraq and just ahead of Sweden.

In FY 2006, the DoD used almost 30,000 gigawatt hours (GWH) of electricity, at a cost of almost $2.2 billion. The DoD’s electricity use would supply enough electricity to power more than 2.6 million average American homes. In electricity consumption, the DOD would rank 58th in the world, using slightly less than Denmark and slightly more than Syria (CIA World Factbook, 2006).

The DoD uses 93 percent of all US government fuel consumption (Air Force: 52%; Navy: 33%; Army: 7%. Other DoD: 1%) {source}

Since these numbers come from government sources, you can bet they are underestimated.

War and military policy for the profit and power of a few psychopaths is not energy efficient.
A large number of poor people also die in vain.

How about FEMA, The Department of Education, EPA, the IRS? And that’s just a few of the big ones. No need to stop there. Shutter their doors. No carbon footprint and hot air from these frauds and the world is closer to being ‘saved.’ This is not to say that there is no need for the rule of law. We have laws already to take down the various criminals in all of their endeavors. They’re just not being used.

The billions not spent on these government entities, if they were made obsolete and dismantled and the money not stolen from taxpayers, would certainly stimulate the economy in the long run.

Without war as the first step, we can then move on to all of the other problems we have because of corruption; the federal reserve, bankers, Wall Street, health care, sustainable agriculture, “the war on drugs,” U.S. manufacturing, globalism, the welfare state, etc. etc.

Or maybe I have it a little out of order. Perhaps we should start with the global bankers and the Federal Reserve. After all, historically they have the most to gain from war.

I can visualize a ‘green’ world in our future but only without the thieves that deceive us.

Oh well, just another one of those “I had a dream” moments. We all know that any move pushing too far in the direction of smaller honest government would result in the deaths of many Americans on our own soil, again, blamed on ‘foreigners’ that want to destroy us and getting that old ‘kill ’em all and let God sort it out’ American patriotism back in line. Would the majority be fooled again?

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Dreams without action don’t come true. How do we stop this madness?

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TVA cleanup intensifies and so does the heat bill

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Although the TVA ash spill has dropped out from the national news, there is still a major story here to be told. The local press continues to expose some facts and TVA continues to spin. All while TVA customers are paying and struggling with the highest bills in history.

TVA once prided itself on having the lowest or very near the lowest rates in the country. No more. Local reports are that some neighboring states that are not TVA controlled are paying half or less for the same amount of electricity. TVA says it’s our fault. We haven’t conserved enough. As if in these economic times there are a great number of people who can afford energy efficient appliances, heating systems and new homes.

This is what happens when centralized government monopolies without oversight from our ‘representatives’ are in control. Not a lot different than when private monopolies such as Enron and the oil companies have a license to steal.

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This property, with TVA’s Kingston plant looming in the background, remains covered in sludge ash.

Restoring Area May Be the Biggest Challange

January 26, 2009

HARRIMAN, Tenn. — TVA is near the end of its first phase of response to a massive coal ash spill in East Tennessee last month, stabilizing and preventing further spread of the sludge at an estimated cost of $1 million a day.

The giant public utility is considering options for what could be the costliest, lengthiest and most complicated operations: removing the ash from land and water and restoring the area to pre-spill conditions.

One of the trickiest jobs could be removing the coal ash from the Emory River and possibly downstream on the Clinch River, both of which have pockets of radioactive materials buried in the riverbed that can be traced to splitting atoms for nuclear power and weapons development upstream at Oak Ridge decades ago.

Residents are concerned about where the ash will be put and whether, as TVA tries to move it, the materials can become airborne or move downstream and harm people or aquatic life.

TVA is developing plans and an official said it will soon move into the next phase, which would include dredging at a weir on the Emory built to capture coal ash.

“We’re going to get the material out of the river,” said Anda Ray, TVA’s senior vice president of the Office of Environment and Research. “We’re going to do the right thing, not the low-cost thing.”

The cost of removing the ash will depend on the depth of the dredging in the streambed, whether the ash is allowed to dry out initially on a barge or at a land facility, and where the muck will go for disposal.

About 5.4 million cubic yards of ash sludge tumbled from TVA’s aboveground combination pond/landfill when it ruptured on Dec. 22, knocking one nearby home off its foundations, downing trees and power lines, killing fish and sullying about 275 acres. It filled two inlets of the Emory.

Dredge risk downplayed

The Emory — along with the Clinch River, which it flows into, and the Lower Watts Bar Reservoir, which they both enter — still has pockets of sediment that holds radioactive cesium and a host of other ills from nuclear power production and weapons development at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation several decades ago.

The lake was already off limits to commercial fishing because of the contamination from polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from unspecified sources, and the public has been warned for years not to eat striped bass from the lower Emory River and the Clinch.

A state advisory says no one should eat more than one meal a month of catfish or sauger from there, and pregnant women and children shouldn’t eat the fish at all. The Clinch River has advisories on even more species.

Some environmentalists have pointed out that dredging could kick up sediment, but a committee of state, TVA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA officials that has to inspect any dredging requests in the area downriver of Oak Ridge has said the action would not be a problem in the Emory.

“Most of the sediment that’s going to be dredged in any one given location is really not going to be that heavily contaminated,” said John Shewairy, spokesman for the DOE office in Oak Ridge.

Eroding soil from development and other sites over the decades has buried much of the older sediment, with the higher concentrations of cesium found 8 to 32 inches deep.

Sampling over the years on the Emory has consistently shown cesium levels below the amount that would prohibit the sediment from being spread on agricultural lands, according to monitoring data that the group provided. That’s the only requirement if levels are high.

Strontium, mercury and uranium were among the materials that regularly moved in the 1950s and 1960s from DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation via streams that flow into the Clinch River. With the Emory draining into the Clinch, materials have backed up into it also.

Testing historically showed only cesium levels were high enough to keep an eye on in the Emory, according to John Owsley with the state’s DOE Oversight Office. The radioactivity, buried over the years, has weakened, he said.

More testing, however, would have to be carried out if ash is found in the Clinch that must be dredged, the interagency group said in a Jan. 15 letter to TVA.

The heavy part of the ash has not been found beyond the Emory, TVA’s Ray said. However, lighter “cenospheres” the agency says are inert, hollow particles have floated miles downstream into the Clinch River and Watts Bar Reservoir on the Tennessee River.

The state, which must give permission for any dredging, wants swift action on the river cleanup.

more – The Tennessean

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TVA memo spins environmental impact of coal ash disaster

TVA’s edited internal memo on coal ash disaster

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Tennessee fumes over high heating bills

Nashville-area utilities get record number of calls.

Customers of Nashville Electric Service who felt sticker shock when they received their December bills were not alone.

Across the Nashville region, electricity users have been hit with painful and surprising balances on bills. Utilities received record numbers of customer service calls as representatives explained that slightly higher rates, colder-than-average weather and increased energy usage contributed to the spike.

In recent weeks, many customers — thousands at NES alone — have expressed outrage over high bills or made arrangements to pay them late, as the seemingly overnight increase left many of them scratching their heads. Others have become more prudent about turning off lights and lowering thermostats when they are not home.

While the companies have little control over rates, Jones said, customers do have control over conserving energy: make sure their homes are weatherproofed and buy energy efficient appliances.

“The day has passed of leaving the light on when they leave the room,” he said.

Tennessee has the 13th-highest consumption of electricity per capita.

Customer gets $304 bill

Hendersonville resident Mark Powelson was perplexed over the prices and his $304 electric bill for using 2,958 kilowatt-hours. His father a state away in Missouri used the same amount of power — though from a different electric company — and paid $128.

The rate increases that customers see are handed down to the utilities from TVA through cost adjustments, which are made quarterly.

“Is it fair? Are we being overcharged because of mismanagement and overrun costs that aren’t necessary?” Powelson said. “It just seems to me that the rates have gotten so high and they shouldn’t be.”

Jones, of Middle Tennessee Electric, said Tennessee has among the lowest rates in the country. The average bill for the agency was about $155.

“Rates are still about 20 percent below the national average,” Jones said. “We are somewhat spoiled with our rates.”

Powelson wants to find out firsthand how Tennessee matches up. He is so determined to understand what is happening that he has asked friends and family from across the country to send him copies of their bills from places like Georgia, Maine, Indiana and Minnesota.

“My father in 15 years has not had a rate increase,” he said. “If that electric company can do it and still profit, why can’t TVA model that and do the same?”

P.D. Mynatt, spokesman for the Murfreesboro Electric Department, echoed his counterpart at Middle Tennessee Electric and said all utilities are busy educating customers on how to lower their bills.

Customers should weatherstrip windows and doors, and turn off or even unplug appliances not being used. Customers can also perform an energy audit on their homes or ask for a representative to do it.

“It is important for customers to utilize their energy wisely,” Mynatt said.

Bills could get worse before they get better, he warned, because of a chilly January, when temperatures approached zero degrees some days.

“Customers should probably anticipate their bills will not be coming down, and if anything they may be going up,” Mynatt said.

more – The Tennessean

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Although TVA and the local electric companies do a good job of keeping the electricity flowing, they have always wasted billions of dollars.

From 1977 to 1984, TVA was constructing a nuclear plant in Hartsville, TN. After spending at least $2 billion, the project was canceled. Maybe cancellation was a good thing but it never should have been started.

Having known a number of people who worked on this project, the horror stories they told were many. Not the least of which was the burying of possibly millions of dollars worth of equipment and materials on the site just to keep some of the costs covered up.

There also have been reports of clandestine government activities taking place at the Hartsville site. Whether true or not remains to be seen.

Mountain Removal – Coal for Electricity

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In light of the massive environmental damage from the TVA dike break and the questions of how coal is mined, used and how the waste products are disposed of, let’s take a little look at the sordid history of coal. There are a few activists trying to do something about the destruction of life and land. They need support.

Centralized energy production monopolies are some of the destroyers of our planet. Nuclear and coal have no place in a sane world. The money spent on lying fabricated wars and the lost trillions from the scams of the financial systems, central banks and government could have gone to solar solutions. Each home, office building, factory etc. could generate its own electricity with technology from intensive research in solar applications if the money had been spent there.

Decentralizing energy sources doesn’t fit the plan of the ruling powers. That might make us less of a slave, somewhat independent and maybe have a little freedom.

Can’t have that now can we.

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Not since the glaciers pushed toward these ridgelines a million years ago have the Appalachian Mountains been as threatened as they are today. But the coal-extraction process decimating this landscape, known as mountaintop removal, has generated little press beyond the region.

A mountaintop no more.

A mountaintop no more.

The problem, in many ways, is one of perspective. From interstates and lowlands, where most communities are clustered, one simply doesn’t see what is happening up there. Only from the air can you fully grasp the magnitude of the devastation. If you were to board, say, a small prop plane at Zeb Mountain, Tenn., and follow the spine of the Appalachian Mountains up through Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia, you would be struck not by the beauty of a densely forested range older than the Himalayas, but rather by inescapable images of ecological violence. Near Pine Mountain, Ky., you’d see an unfolding series of staggered green hills quickly give way to a wide expanse of gray plateaus pocked with dark craters and huge black ponds filled with a toxic byproduct called coal slurry. The desolation stretches like a long scar up the Kentucky-Virginia line, before eating its way across southern West Virginia.

Central Appalachia provides much of the country’s coal, second only to Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. In the United States, 100 tons of coal are extracted every two seconds. Around 70 percent of that coal comes from strip mines, and over the last 20 years, an increasing amount comes from mountaintop-removal sites.

In the name of corporate expedience, coal companies have turned from excavation to simply blasting away the tops of the mountains. To achieve this, they use the same mixture of ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel that Timothy McVeigh employed to level the Murrow Building in Oklahoma City — except each detonation is 10 times as powerful, and thousands of blasts go off each day across central Appalachia. Hundreds of feet of forest, topsoil, and sandstone — the coal industry calls all of this “overburden” — are unearthed so bulldozers and front-end loaders can more easily extract the thin seams of rich, bituminous coal that stretch in horizontal layers throughout these mountains. Almost everything that isn’t coal is pushed down into the valleys below. As a result, 6,700 “valley fills” were approved in central Appalachia between 1985 and 2001. The U.S. EPA estimates that over 700 miles of healthy streams have been completely buried by mountaintop removal and thousands more have been damaged. Where there once flowed a highly braided system of headwater streams, now a vast circuitry of haul roads winds through the rubble. From the air, it looks like someone had tried to plot a highway system on the moon.

Seven floods have inundated the town of Bob White, W.Va., since mountaintop-removal mining started high above in 2000.

Seven floods have inundated the town of Bob White, W.Va., since mountaintop-removal mining started in 2000.

Serious coal mining has been going on in Appalachia since the turn of the 20th century. But from the time World War II veterans climbed down from tanks and up onto bulldozers, the extractive industries in America have grown more mechanized and more destructive. Ironically, here in Kentucky where I live, coal-related employment has dropped 60 percent in the last 15 years; it takes very few people to run a strip mine operation, with giant machines doing most of the clear-cutting, excavating, loading, and bulldozing of rubble. And all strip mining — from the most basic truck mine to mountaintop removal — results in deforestation, flooding, mudslides, and the fouling of headwater streams.

Alongside this ecological devastation lies an even more ominous human dimension: an Eastern Kentucky University study found that children in Letcher County, Ky., suffer from an alarmingly high rate of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath — symptoms of something called blue baby syndrome — that can all be traced back to sedimentation and dissolved minerals that have drained from mine sites into nearby streams. Long-term effects may include liver, kidney, and spleen failure, bone damage, and cancers of the digestive tract.

Erica Urias, who lives on Island Creek in Grapevine, Ky., told me she has to bathe her 2-year-old daughter in contaminated water because of the mining around her home. In McRoberts, Ky., the problem is flooding. In 1998, Tampa Energy Company (TECO) started blasting along the ridgetops above McRoberts. Homes shook and foundations cracked. Then TECO sheared off all of the vegetation at the head of Chopping Block Hollow and replaced it with the compacted rubble of a valley fill. In a region prone to flash floods, nothing was left to hold back the rain; this once-forested watershed had been turned into an enormous funnel. In 2002, three so-called hundred-year floods happened in 10 days. Between the blasting and the flooding, the people of McRoberts have been nearly flushed out of their homes.

Related Stories

We Live It Every Day
Portraits and words of people on the front line in Appalachian fight against destructive mining practices.
The Legend of Weepy Hollow
An excerpt from Missing Mountains: We Went to the Mountaintop but It Wasn’t There

Consider the story of Debra and Granville Burke. First the blasting above their house wrecked its foundation. Then the floods came. Four times, they wiped out the Burkes’ garden, which the family depended on to get through the winter. Finally, on Christmas morning 2002, Debra Burke took her life. In a letter published in a local paper, her husband wrote: “She left eight letters describing how she loved us all but that our burdens were just getting too much to bear. She had begged for TECO to at least replace our garden, but they just turned their back on her. I look back now and think of all the things I wish I had done differently so that she might still be with us, but mostly I wish that TECO had never started mining above our home.”

In the language of economics, Debra Burke’s death was an externality — a cost that simply isn’t factored into the price Americans pay for coal. And that is precisely the problem. Last year, American power plants burned over a billion tons of coal, accounting for over 50 percent of this country’s electricity use. In Kentucky, 80 percent of the harvested coal is sold and shipped to 22 other states. Yet it is the people of Appalachia who pay the highest price for the rest of the country’s cheap energy — through contaminated water, flooding, cracked foundations and wells, bronchial problems related to breathing coal dust, and roads that have been torn up and turned deadly by speeding coal trucks. Why should large cities like Phoenix and Detroit get the coal but be held accountable for none of the environmental consequences of its extraction? And why is a Tampa-based energy company — or Peabody Coal in St. Louis, or Massey Energy in Richmond, Va. — allowed to destroy communities throughout Appalachia? As my friend and teacher the late Guy Davenport once wrote, “Distance negates responsibility.”

The specific injustice that had drawn together a group of activists calling themselves the Mountain Justice Summer movement was the violent death of 3-year-old Jeremy Davidson. At 2:30 in the morning on Aug. 30, 2004, a bulldozer, operating without a permit above the Davidsons’ home, dislodged a thousand-pound boulder from a mountaintop-removal site in the town of Appalachia, Va. The boulder rolled 200 feet down the mountain before it crushed to death the sleeping child.

But Davidson’s death is hardly an isolated incident. In West Virginia, 14 people drowned in the last three years because of floods and mudslides caused by mountaintop removal, and in Kentucky, 50 people have been killed and over 500 injured in the last five years by coal trucks, almost all of which were illegally overloaded.

Fighting for Their Lives

What's left of Kayford Mountain, W.Va.

What’s left of Kayford Mountain, W.Va.

On the third of July, I drove across 10,000 acres of boulder-strewn wasteland that used to be Kayford Mountain, W.Va. — one of the most hideous mountaintop-removal sites I’ve seen. But right in the middle of the destruction, rising like a last gasp, is a small knoll of untouched forest. Larry Gibson’s family has lived on Kayford Mountain for 200 years. And most of his relatives are buried in the family cemetery, where almost every day Gibson has to clear away debris known as “flyrock” from the nearby blasting.

Last year, Kenneth Cane, the great-grandson of Crazy Horse, came to this cemetery. Surrounded by Gibson and his kin, Cane led a prayer vigil. Then he turned to Gibson, put a hand on his shoulder, and said, “How does it feel to lose your land?”

“What was I going to say to him?” Gibson asked me, sitting at the kitchen table of his small, two-room cabin beneath a single, solar-powered fluorescent bulb. Certainly an Oglala Lakota heir would know something about having mountains stolen away by people in search of valuable minerals.

A short, muscular man, Gibson is easily given to emotion when he starts talking about his home place — both what remains of it and what has been destroyed. Forty seams of coal lie beneath his 50 acres. Gibson could be a millionaire many times over, but because he refuses to sell, he has been shot at and run off his own road. One of his dogs was shot and another hanged. A month after my visit, someone sabotaged his solar panels. In 2000, Gibson walked out onto his porch one day to find two men dressed in camouflage, approaching with gas cans. They backed away and drove off, but not before they set fire to an empty cabin that belongs to one of Gibson’s cousins. This much at least can be said for the West Virginia coal industry: it has perfected the art of intimidation.

Gibson knows he isn’t safe. “This land is worth $450 million,” he told me, “so what kind of chances do I have?” But he hasn’t backed down. He travels the country telling his story and has been arrested repeatedly for various acts of civil disobedience. When Gibson talks to student groups, he asks them, “What do you hold so dear that you don’t have a price on it? And when somebody comes to take it, what will you do? For me, it’s this mountain and the memories I had here as a kid. It was a hard life, but here I was equal to everybody. I didn’t know I was poor until I went to the city and people told me I was. Here I was rich.”

A coal silo looms behind Marsh Fork Elementary School.

A coal silo looms behind Marsh Fork Elementary School.

Just down the mountain from Gibson’s home, in the town of Rock Creek, stands the Marsh Fork Elementary School. Back in 2004, Ed Wiley, a 47-year-old West Virginian who spent years working on strip mines, was called by the school to come pick up his granddaughter Kayla because she was sick. “She had a real bad color to her,” Wiley told me. The next day the school called again because Kayla was ill, and the day after that. Wiley started flipping through the sign-out book and found that 15 to 20 students went home sick every day because of asthma problems, severe headaches, blisters in their mouths, constant runny noses, and nausea. In May 2005, when Mountain Justice volunteers started going door-to-door in an effort to identify citizens’ concerns and possibly locate cancer clusters, West Virginia activist Bo Webb found that 80 percent of parents said their children came home from school with a variety of illnesses. The school, a small brick building, sits almost directly beneath a Massey Energy subsidiary’s processing plant where coal is washed and stored. Coal dust settles like pollen over the playground. Nearly 3 billion gallons of coal slurry, which contains extremely high levels of mercury, cadmium, and nickel, are stored behind a 385-foot-high earthen dam right above the school.

In 1972, a similar coal impoundment dam collapsed at Buffalo Creek, W.Va., killing 125 people. Two hundred and eighty children attend the Marsh Fork Elementary School. It is unnerving to imagine what damage a minor earthquake, a heavy flash flood, or a structural failure might do to this small community. And according to documents that longtime activist Julia Bonds obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the pond is leaking into the creek and groundwater around the school. Students often cannot drink from the water fountains. And when they return from recess, their tennis shoes are covered with black coal dust.

Massey responded to complaints about the plant by applying for a permit to enlarge it, with a new silo to be built even closer to the school. It was this callousness that led to the first major Mountain Justice direct action on the last day of May 2005. About a hundred out-of-state activists, alongside another hundred local citizens, gathered at the school and marched next door to the Massey plant.

Inez Gallimore, an 82-year-old woman whose granddaughter attended the elementary school, walked up to the security guard and asked for the plant superintendent to come down and accept a copy of the group’s demands that Massey shut down the plant. When the superintendent refused, Gallimore sat down in the middle of the road, blocking trucks from entering or leaving the facility. When police came to arrest her, they had to help Gallimore to her feet, but not before TV cameras recorded her calling Massey Energy a “terrorist organization.”

Activists protest peacefully outside a coal-processing plant in West Virginia.

Activists protest peacefully outside a coal-processing plant in West Virginia.

Three other protesters took the woman’s place and were arrested. Three more followed.

In the end, the media coverage at the Marsh Fork rally prompted West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) to promise he would put together an investigative team to look into the citizens’ concerns. But seven days after that promise, on June 30, Massey received its permit to expand the plant.

An Ugly History

The history of resource exploitation in Appalachia, like the history of racial oppression in the South, follows a sinister logic — keep people poor and scared so that they remain powerless. In the 19th century, mountain families were actually doing fairly well farming rich bottomlands. But populations grew, farms were subdivided, and then northern coal and steel companies started buying up much of the land, hungry for the resources that lay below. By the time the railroads reached headwater hollows like McRoberts, Ky., men had little choice but to sell their labor cheaply, live in company towns, and shop in overpriced company stores. “Though he might revert on occasion to his ancestral agriculture,” wrote coal field historian Harry Caudill, “he would never again free himself from dependence upon his new overlords.” In nearly every county across central Appalachia, King Coal had gained control of the economy, the local government, and the land.

In the decades that followed, less obvious tactics kept Harlan County one of the poorest places in Appalachia. Activist Teri Blanton, whose father and brother were Harlan County miners, has spent many years trying to understand the patterns of oppression that hold the Harlan County high-school graduation rate at 59 percent and the median household income at $18,665. “We were fueling the whole United States with coal,” she said of the last hundred years in eastern Kentucky. “And yet our pay was lousy, our education was lousy, and they destroyed our environment. As long as you have a polluted community, no other industry is going to locate there. Did they keep us uneducated because it was easier to control us then? Did they keep other industries out because then they can keep our wages low? Was it all by design?”

Whether one detects motive or not, this much is clear: 41 years after Lyndon Johnson stood on a miner’s porch in adjacent Martin County and announced his War on Poverty, the poverty rate in central and southern Appalachia stands at 30 percent, right where it did in 1964. What’s more, maps generated by the Appalachian Regional Commission show that the poorest counties — those colored deep red for “distressed” — are those that have seen the most severe strip mining and the most intense mountaintop removal.

There is a galling irony in the fact that the 14th Amendment, which was designed to protect the civil liberties of recently freed African slaves, was later interpreted in such a way as to give corporations like Massey all of the rights of “legal persons,” while requiring little of the accountability that we expect of individuals. Because coal companies are not individuals, they often operate without the moral compass that would prevent a person from contaminating a neighbor’s well, poisoning the town’s drinking water, or covering the local school with coal dust. This situation is compounded by federal officials who often appear more loyal to corporations than to citizens. Consider the case of Jack Spadaro, a whistle-blower who was forced out of his job at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration precisely because he tried to do his job — protecting the public from mining disasters.

When the Buffalo Creek dam in West Virginia broke in 1972, Spadaro, a young mining engineer at the time, was brought in to investigate. He found that the flood could have been prevented by better dam construction, and he spent the next 30 years of his career at MSHA investigating impoundment dams. So when a 300-million-gallon slurry pond collapsed in Martin County, Ky., in 2000, causing one of the worst environmental disasters this side of the Mississippi, Spadaro was again named to the investigating team. What he found was that Massey had known for 10 years that the pond was going to break. Spadaro wanted to charge Massey with criminal negligence.

There was only one problem. Elaine Chao, Spadaro’s boss at the Department of Labor, is also Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s wife; and it is McConnell, more than anyone else in the Senate, who advocates that corporations are persons that, as such, can contribute as much money as they want to electoral campaigns. It turns out that Massey had donated $100,000 to a campaign committee headed by McConnell. Not surprisingly, Spadaro got nowhere with his charges. Instead, someone changed the lock on his office door and he was placed on administrative leave.

Spadaro’s story seems to validate what many coal-field residents have been contending for years — that the very agencies that should be regulating corporations are instead ignoring the law, breaking the law, and at times even rewriting the law in their favor, as when deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior (and former coal lobbyist) Steven Griles instructed his staff to rewrite a key provision of the Clean Water Act to reclassify all waste associated with strip mining as merely benign “fill material.” A federal judge rejected that change, arguing that “only the United States Congress can rewrite the Act to allow fills with no purpose or use but the deposit of waste,” but the change was upheld in 2003 by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court — on which sat John Roberts, the recently appointed chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Terrorizing Little Old Ladies

On July 8, I was standing in Richmond, Va.’s Monroe Park, next to a pretty girl with pierced lips and colorful yarn braided into her blond hair, as Mountain Justice activists prepared to march 10 blocks to the headquarters of Massey Energy to demand the closure of the prep plant behind Marsh Fork Elementary School.

Short, gray-haired Julia Bonds stepped to the mike and told the crowd, “I’m honored to be here with you. We’re an endangered species, we hillbillies. Massey Energy is terrorizing us in Appalachia. Little old ladies in their 70s can’t even sit on their porches. They have to cut their grass wearing respirators. That’s how these people have to live. The coal companies are the real terrorists in America. And we’re going to expose them for the murdering, lying thieves that they are.”

With that, the marchers started down Franklin Ave., behind a long banner stretching across the street that read: INDUSTRIAL CAPITALISM KILLS OUR LAND AND PEOPLE. They marched on past blooming crepe myrtle trees and exclusive clubs. Then they hung a right, and suddenly we were all standing in front of a granite-and-concrete monolith that had been cordoned off with yellow tape.

Don Blankenship is the CEO of Massey, a man that many feel has dubious access to the Bush administration. Records show that from 2000 to 2004, whenever MSHA Assistant Secretary David Lauriski weakened a mine safety standard, it usually followed a meeting with Blankenship.

The stated goal of the Richmond march was to get Blankenship to personally accept Mountain Justice’s demand that Massey shut down the prep plant next to the Marsh Fork Elementary School. Of course, everyone knew that wasn’t going to happen.

This Wouldn’t Go on in New England

On April 9, 1963, snarling police dogs pinned a black protester to the ground on a Birmingham, Ala., street. The New York Times was there to report it. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were ecstatic. “We’ve got a movement, we’ve got a movement!” one member exclaimed. “They brought out the dogs.” Without the arrests in Birmingham, and the press that followed, John Kennedy would not have pushed for the Civil Rights Act, and without daily attempts to register black voters in Selma, and the violence that followed, Lyndon Johnson would have dragged his feet for years on the Voting Rights Act. King and the SCLC knew they needed numbers and they needed confrontation. They needed Bull Connor’s dogs and Selma sheriff James Clark’s police batons coming down on the heads of older African Americans. They needed to call out, for all to see, the people who enforced brutal oppression every day in the South.

In their own way, Mountain Justice activists worked hard to expose the injustice spreading across the coal fields of Appalachia. Through nonviolent actions and demonstrations, they attempted to show the nation how coal companies break the law with a pathological consistency and operate with little regard for the human consequences of their actions. But on the national stage, Mountain Justice Summer couldn’t compete with high gas prices and a foreign war, even though it is precisely that war over oil that is driving coal demands higher and laying mountains lower faster. That plus the fact that U.S. energy consumption increased 42 percent over the last 30 years. Urban affluence and this country’s shortsighted energy policy are making Appalachia a poorer place — poorer in beauty, poorer in health, poorer in resources, and poorer in spirit.

“This wouldn’t go on in New England,” Jack Spadaro told me last July, up at Larry Gibson’s place. It wouldn’t go on in California, nor Florida, nor along the East Coast. After the ’60s, America and the mainstream media seemed to lose interest in the problems of Appalachia. Though the Martin County slurry pond disaster was 20 times larger than the Exxon Valdez spill, The New York Times ignored it for months. But the seeming invisibility of the people in Appalachia does not make their plight any less real.

That the civil-rights movement happened so recently in our country’s history can seem dumbfounding, but not to the people who still live in the shadow of oppression. Those who live in the path of the coal industry — beneath sheared-off mountains, amid unnatural, treeless landscapes, drinking poisoned water and breathing dirty air — are fighting their own civil-rights battle. And, as in the past, justice may be slow coming to the mountains of Appalachia. But justice delayed could mean the ruin of a place that has sacrificed much for this nation, and has received next to nothing in return.

Source: grist

****************

By John Gilmer

Sewanee students and community members are rallying to help stop a process known as “mountain top removal” coal mining. With America’s energy needs skyrocketing over the past decade, the country’s energy providers are constantly expanding their operations to keep up with the demand.

Almost half of this energy is generated from coal. Appalachia is and will remain America’s primary source of domestic coal, and mining operations continue to expand every year. The most cost efficient and rapid means of extracting this coal is a method known as “mountain top removal.”

The process involves the literal removal of about 1000 feet worth of mountain to reach every usable coal seam. Although the process is effective at meeting the nation’s energy needs, it has dire humanitarian and environmental consequences that many claim are ignored by both the coal companies and some federal and state policy makers.

In humanitarian terms, critics point out that the process causes flooding, destroys cultural landmarks, and pollutes the ground water of surrounding communities. Environmentally, critics decry the habitat destruction and permanent topographical changes the process causes.

Although Tennessee has not yet experienced mountain top removal coal mining, and Sewanee is helping to ensure that never happens. The movement recently hosted a screening of a film called “Burning the Future,” a stark exposŽ of the process and its impact on West Virginia. It then organized a letter writing campaign to appeal to Tennessee governor, Phil Bredesen, asking for his support in legislation outlawing the practice in Tennessee.

Those looking to support the movement may do so through the Peace Coalition, led by junior, Jennifer Dusenberry. The group will continue to host activities next semester, but simply conserving electricity will help the cause by reducing the demand for coal, the organizers say.

The Sewanee Purple

Burning The Future: Coal in America – Trailer

Mountain Removal

Also see:

The Mountain That Lost Its Top
https://i1.wp.com/www.independent.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00028/kentucky_mountain_28720t.jpg

“It’s like having a gun held on you with the hammer back and not knowing when the man’s gonna pull the trigger.”

When Mountains Move

The quest for Appalachian coal has led to mountaintop removal, a process that’s been called strip mining on steroids.

Destroying Appalachia

“Why Should I Care About…Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining”

Recipe for Catastrophe: Climate, Fuel, and Food

Posted on

Published by cyrano2
biofuel

By Rowan Wolf

4/8/08

Food riots turn deadly in Haiti. Food riots fear after rice price hits a high. And so it starts. Globally there has been roughly a 25% increase in food prices. In some areas – such as Haiti – food prices have increased almost 50% in the last year. The poor of the planet who always live on the razor’s edge of survival, are getting hit by multiple blows aimed directly at the food supply.

From subsistence farmers eating rice in Ecuador to gourmets feasting on escargot in France, consumers worldwide face rising food prices in what analysts call a perfect storm of conditions. Freak weather is a factor. But so are dramatic changes in the global economy, including higher oil prices, lower food reserves and growing consumer demand in China and India.

The world’s poorest nations still harbor the greatest hunger risk. Clashes over bread in Egypt killed at least two people last week, and similar food riots broke out in Burkina Faso and Cameroon this month.

But food protests now crop up even in Italy. And while the price of spaghetti has doubled in Haiti, the cost of miso is packing a hit in Japan.

—Food prices rising across the world

This didn’t start with the current economic crisis which comes with the so-called “mortgage crisis.” It doesn’t start with the recent sky rocketing increase in oil and gasoline. It started with the U.S. turn to bio-fuels production. It has been accelerated by multiple other issues.

The U.S. bio-fuels incentives put not just the U.S. food supply, but the global food supply, in competition with the fuel supply. Farmers (and corporate agriculture) in the U.S. took much of the corn crop to the refinery rather than to the food processing plants. Most of the food price increases seen in the U.S up until about a month ago were due solely to this shift. Globally this policy has increased grain costs, but the new push has also hit the global cooking oil supply. This switch from food (or even cooking oil) crops, to crops for fuel, result in both rainforests and existing fields falling to the more “profitable” crop – that which can be used for bio-fuels.

The global food supply is also being hit by a series of other blows. This includes the continued steep rise in the cost of oil, and climatic disasters.

China was hit hard this winter by horrendous storms in January and February of this year. Those storms hit heavily in Southern China, dramatically impacting the growing area. Poor harvests are among the factors that are creating a rice shortage which is hitting Asian nations hard. Rice prices have increased as much as 70% during the last year alone, The price has more than doubled since 2003.

Wheat crops from Russia to Africa are being hit by the deadly grain virus “rust.” If this spreads as currently predicted, it could hit the wheat region of India with devastating consequences.

The spread of the deadly virus, stem rust, against which an effective fungicide does not exist, comes as world grain stocks reach the lowest in four decades and government subsidized bio-ethanol production, especially in the United States, Brazil and the European Union, are taking land out of food production at alarming rates.

–Rust to fertilize food price surge

The fertile Ganges delta and Sundarban Islands (India and Bangladesh) are rapidly disappearing. This is largely due to the glacial melt from the Himalayas caused by global warming. Some of the Islanders have been displaced for each of the last three years, and daily they fight a losing battle against the rising waters (Guardian, 3/30/08). While the assumption in the U.S. is that fuel prices are driving increasing costs (at least partially true), it is food that is driving inflation in India. There was a 7% increase in food prices for the first three months of this year alone.

There are expectations that Asia and Africa face famines (or should we say increasing famine) from global warming.

The United States is not immune to the food catastrophe happening around the globe. Eckholm, writing in the NY Times reported that the confluence of a flagging economy and inflation are driving increased food stamp usage. Since only those near or below the poverty line are eligible for food stamps, growth of usage shows growth in this population. However, it under-represents the number of people who are struggling. The cost of everything is going up while wages remain stagnant (at best). While many folks may hold onto their jobs, the increasing costs are dramatically eroding incomes. We should look for dramatically increasing food bank usage as the various forces at play on the food supply continue to mount.

As much as half the population of the planet faces dangerously increasing food pressures. It is telling that riots regarding food prices are starting to occur (i.e. Egypt and Haiti). These type of events will likely increase. Unfortunately, while riots may result in governments applying some price controls, they will not affect food availability, and food availability is a very real issue in an expanding number of places. At this point, the big nations seem to be doing little if anything to address the growing global crisis. The United States, rather than acknowledging the impacts of bio-fuels incentives, expanded the programs again this year. It is very likely that corn prices may go up by over 50% this year.

Since corn is in almost everything in the U.S. food supply, then that cost will be directly felt come later this year. Of course, that increase will also effect the cost of fuels using corn-based fuels. There is no anticipation that oil prices are going to come down, nor that the economic recession is going to ease in the near future. Therefore this situation is likely to get worse before it gets better – if it gets better.

Further, the situation is complicated by shortfalls in food reserves. Nations have been strong armed by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to switch agricultural production from food for sustenance to commercially exportable crops. The expectation being that sustenance crops would come from outside the country (primarily the U.S. and Europe). This is one reason why changes in incentives and production in the United States have such devastating consequences on grain prices globally (Digiacomo, Bello).

The image of 3 billion people rioting for food will hopefully not become a reality. However, to avoid that scenario governments need to act now – not later. Hesitation or avoidance of the issues driving the growing food crisis will not make it go away. Some things are seen fairly immediately – dramatically increasing transportation costs for example. However, much of the current pricing and shortages are from last year. The situation has deteriorated since then, and certainly for the current and upcoming growing season. We need to get ahead of this problem, or it will hit with crushing affect come late summer to next winter.

Click HERE for the simulpost with Uncommon Thought with links to references and sources

Rowan Wolf, a senior contributing editor to Cyrano’s Journal, is a sociologist, teacher, writer and activist. Her areas of interest include social justice, environment, and globalization/corporatization at the core. She frequently writes where these issues intersect which takes her from empire and fascism, to civil liberties and politics, to the links between corporatization and genocide. Rowan was a member of the City of Portland’s Peak Oil Task Force, which submitted its efforts and recommendations to the City in February of 2007 (Descending the Oil Peak: navigating the transition from oil and natural gas). She also maintains her own site Uncommon Thought Journal, and may be reached by email at rowan@uncommonthought.com

The E.L.F.s are mad! Why aren’t we?

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The E.L.F.s are mad! Why aren’t we?


elf_housing

“Of Mommies and Daddies Who Just Don’t Give a Fuck”

By Jason Miller

3/8/08

Sorry kids, but you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that we are greedy narcissists. We’re dyed in the wool consumers, we worship Mammon, and eliminating the cancer of capitalism is simply out of the question.

What’s that, our beloved sons and daughters? You’re worried that the air will be too polluted to breathe, the water too toxic to drink, the rain forests too sparse to act as the Earth’s lungs, and the resources too depleted to sustain you and the other sentient inhabitants of this planet? You don’t believe “clean” coal, biofuels, and nuclear power will sustain the exquisite industrial civilization we will bequeath you once we’ve siphoned off the last drop of oil and departed for the big suburb in the sky?

Unfortunately, you’ll just have to suck it up, shut up, and deal with it! George Bush 41 made it abundantly clear that our “American Way of life is non-negotiable.” We Americans don’t even negotiate with terrorists, so it would be idiocy to even consider the possibility that we would budge an inch for mere children! Culturally genocidal perpetuators of the horrors of factory farming like McDonald’s; mammoth, gas-guzzling personal tanks that keep the economy Humming; televisions with screens large enough to put AMC out of business; single family McMansions with sufficient square footage that one subdivision could solve the homeless problem in America; our dinosaur-sized carbon foot-prints; and the production of enough garbage to ensure that we have the means to fill that ugly void known as the Grand Canyon are indispensable aspects of our being.

Ironically, Lorax-like prophets of the inevitable environmental catastrophe we are engendering are acceptable as long as they remain safely abstract and confined to children’s fables. We’ll let the Lorax lecture, plead, and implore to his dying breath via Seussian rhyme, but the minute he begins taking direct action on behalf of Mother Earth against the Once-lers and their capitalist, consumerist, and industrialist infrastructure that is sucking the life from this planet like a starved vampire, he becomes public enemy number one.

Just how deep are the moral decay, rot, and decadence of mature capitalism and the American Empire? They have penetrated to the very core of our collective being. Facts and statistics on Climate Change, the alarmingly rapid rate of species extinction, the devastating effects of commercial fishing on marine life, the horrors of factory farming, rampant deforestation, and a plethora of other deep gashes left by our relentless assaults on the planet to which we owe our very existences are so ubiquitous and irrefutable that only an idiot would deny that we are destroying the Earth and many of its sentient inhabitants.

Each day our industrial civilization thoughtlessly and carelessly launches ruthless violent assaults upon our world and its non-human animal inhabitants, yet when the Lorax finally does strike a blow against a Once-ler (as was the case in the Earth Liberation Front’s recent laudable destruction of several McMansions in the Seattle area) all Hell breaks loose. “Crack” teams of law enforcement circle the wagons and frantically scramble to eradicate the “terrorists” who had the audacity to violate our sacrosanct property rights and interfere with our ongoing rape of the Earth. As a society, it is permissible for us to continue a relentless march toward rendering our planet uninhabitable, but let a handful of individuals from the Earth Liberation Front destroy some precious manifestations of our perverse obsession with material possessions and the FBI offers a reward of $100,000 to ensure their capture.

Just why were the ELFs so enraged? Consider their own eloquent explanation for their actions:

“There are over six billion people on this planet of which almost a third are either staving, or living in poverty. Building homes for the wealthy should not even be a priority.

Forests, farms and wetlands are being replaced with a sea of houses, green chemical lawns, blacktop, and roadkill. Farmland is being bought out by land developers because of their inability to compete with cheap corporate, genetically-engineered, pesticide saturated food. The time has come to decide what is more important: the planet and the health of its population or the profits of those who destroy it.”

The unoccupied homes the Earth Liberation Front torched on the “Street of Dreams” near Seattle on 3/3/08 were abominations represented as “environmentally friendly” and “green”. Two million dollar houses? 4500 square feet of living space for a single family? Friendly to the BUSINESS environment? Definitely. But to the natural environment? Not even close. And the only “green” would have been the money that would have gone into the wallets of the builders and developers. Let’s be honest here. The presence of these “Street of Nightmare” homes would have polluted Bear Creek (a crucial home for nearly extinct Chinook salmon) and a nearby aquifer. It also would have threatened protected wetlands in the vicinity. We owe the Earth Liberation Front a small debt of gratitude.

So we rape the planet, torture and murder sentient beings to feast on their flesh, wantonly and willfully spew toxins into the environment, and consume the Earth’s resources with the rapacity and rapidity of a starving man attacking his first meal in a week. And we do so without giving it a first, second, or third thought. Meanwhile, the ELFs act on their justified moral outrage, put a tiny dent in our planet killing apparatus in a desperate bid to awaken us from our greed-induced apathy (injuring or killing NO ONE), and we are ready to lynch these heretics quicker than Cotton Mather could have said, “Get thee to the gallows, witch….”

Make no mistake. The world is burning while we fiddle. And even if we don’t feel impassioned to act on behalf of non-human animals or our Mother Earth, isn’t the fact that we are condemning our children to the purgatory of a dying planet motivation enough for us to stop the madness? Or are we truly “mommies and daddies who just don’t give a fuck?”

Long live the Earth Liberation Front!

Jason Miller is a recovering US American middle class suburbanite who strives to remain intellectually free. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com

http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=626#more-626

Exxon will Never Again Steal from Venezuela Says Chavez

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Exxon will Never Again Steal from Venezuela Says Chavez

lawsuit that has frozen the assets of the OPEC nation.” align=”left”>

United Socialist Party Delegates protest against ExxonMobil in Puerto Ordaz on Saturday (Gonzalo Gomez/Aporrea)
Caracas, February 11, 2008 (venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez classified the intention of the worlds largest oil company, ExxonMobil, to freeze assets of state-owned Venezuelan oil company Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), as part of a US government backed “economic war” and destabilization campaign against his government and the people of Venezuela. Chavez vowed that the Venezuelan government would not be intimidated.

“They will never rob us again, those bandits of ExxonMobil, they are imperialist bandits, white collar criminals, corruptors of governments, over-throwers of governments, who supported the invasion and bombing of Iraq and continue supporting the genocide in Iraq,” he said on his weekly TV show ‘Alo Presidente.’

Last week, Exxon said it won temporary court orders in the UK, the Netherlands, and the Dutch Antilles to freeze PDVSA assets worth up to $12 billion, in a dispute over compensation for a 41.7% stake (worth $750m), in the Cerro Negro exploration project in the Orinoco oil field. The project was nationalized by the Venezuelan government in May last year as part of a drive to gain majority state participation in the country’s oil production joint ventures.

Other major oil companies including U.S.-based Chevron Corp., France’s Total, Britain’s BP PLC, and Norway’s Statoil negotiated deals with Venezuela to remain on as minority partners in the Orinoco oil belt projects.

However, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil, rejected the changed conditions and have been in compensation talks with PDVSA. A spokesperson for ConocoPhillips said they are seeking an “amicable resolution” with the Venezuelan government.

ExxonMobil rejected an initial compensation offer by the Venezuelan government and is seeking arbitration. Another injunction solicited by ExxonMobil in a New York court in January also froze up to $315 million in funds owned by the Venezuelan oil company.

However, all of the court orders are subject to appeal and the Venezuelan government is set to challenge the injunctions in New York and London on the 13th and 22nd of February respectively.
Chavez has warned that if the injunctions are not overturned Venezuela will suspend oil shipments to the United States.

“If you freeze us, if you really manage to freeze us, if you damage us, then we will hurt you. Do you know how? We are not going to send oil to the United States,” he said.

Venezuela is the U.S.’s fourth largest oil supplier behind Canada, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Energy Department, Venezuela accounted for 12% of U.S. crude oil imports in November, supplying some 1.23 million barrels a day.

“Take note, Mr. Bush, Mr. Danger. If the economic war continues against Venezuela, the price of oil will reach $200. Venezuela will take up the economic war and more than one country is inclined to join us,” he added.

Nicaragua’s President, Daniel Ortega, backed up Chavez’s stance, saying the move by Exxon in conjunction with recent comments attacking Venezuela by US National Intelligence Chief, Mike McConnell showed “a clear imperialist offensive against Venezuela.”

“What I want to say to President Chavez and to the Venezuelan people is that they can count on the unconditional solidarity and approval of the Nicaraguan people,” Ortega added.

PDVSA, which accounts for some 90% of Venezuela’s foreign exchange and half of federal tax revenue, has been central to the Chavez government’s policy of wealth distribution through funding immensely popular social programs that provide free education and healthcare to the poor. In 2006 the government invested more than $13 billion in such programs.

Venezuela’s predominantly wealthy opposition sectors, hostile to Chavez’s nationalization and wealth distribution policies, blamed the government for Exxon’s injunctions, arguing the oil project “should never have been nationalized in the first place.”

However, Chavez pointed to the two-month oil industry shutdown, orchestrated by the opposition in an attempt to oust him from government in 2002-2003, which caused an estimated $10 billion worth of damage to the economy and said there are some Venezuelans that want to destroy PDVSA.

Similarly, Venezuela’s Ambassador in London, Samuel Moncada also criticized the “anti-national conduct of some Venezuelans,” specifically the owners and workers of private TV station Globovision, “who demonstrated their open and unconditional support” for the attacks of ExxonMobil against Venezuelan interests.

In contrast, the actions by ExxonMobil have angered many poorer Venezuelans who view the move as an attack on Venezuela’s sovereignty and who have organized protests around the country. Oil workers in the Cerro Negro project, (renamed Petromonagas), rejected the judicial actions of ExxonMobil as completely unacceptable. Union leader Luis Carvajal said, “This transnational has exploited our wealth, has exploited our workers and violated our rights – all the workers in the Orinoco oil belt support the nationalization.”

Stalin Pérez Borges, national coordinator of the National Union of Workers said the injunctions are “a political-economic attack that is part of a plan against the revolutionary process.”

The founding congress of the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela has passed a resolution calling for demonstrations against ExxonMobil this Thursday in Caracas and in Maracaibo, in the oil rich state of Zulia.

http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/3142

http://www.wakeupfromyourslumber.com/node/5680

http://dusteye.files.wordpress.com/2007/02/exxon.jpg

DISCOVERY BACKS THEORY OIL NOT ‘FOSSIL FUEL’ – ENDLESS SUPPLY

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DISCOVERY BACKS THEORY OIL NOT ‘FOSSIL FUEL’ – ENDLESS SUPPLY
Posted By: Susoni
Now wouldn’t that get their shorts all riled up.. Imagine ‘cheap’ fuel???

Cover Figure

Discovery backs theory oil not ‘fossil fuel’- New evidence supports premise that Earth produces endless supply

A study published in Science Magazine today presents new evidence supporting the abiotic theory for the origin of oil, which asserts oil is a natural product the Earth generates constantly rather than a “fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs.

The lead scientist on the study ? Giora Proskurowski of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle ? says the hydrogen-rich fluids venting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the Lost City Hydrothermal Field were produced by the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in the mantle of the earth.

The abiotic theory of the origin of oil directly challenges the conventional scientific theory that hydrocarbons are organic in nature, created by the deterioration of biological material deposited millions of years ago in sedimentary rock and converted to hydrocarbons under intense heat and pressure.

Lost City is a hypothermal field some 2,100 feet below sea level that sits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the center of the Atlantic Ocean, noted for strange 90 to 200 foot white towers on the sea bottom.

In 2003 and again in 2005, Proskurowski and his team descended in a scientific submarine to collect liquid bubbling up from Lost City sea vents.

Proskurowski found hydrocarbons containing carbon-13 isotopes that appeared to be formed from the mantle of the Earth, rather than from biological material settled on the ocean floor.

Carbon 13 is the carbon isotope scientists associate with abiotic origin, compared to Carbon 12 that scientists typically associate with biological origin.

Proskurowski argued that the hydrocarbons found in the natural hydrothermal fluids coming out of the Lost City sea vents is attributable to abiotic production by Fischer-Tropsch, or FTT, reactions.

The study also confirmed a major argument of Cornell University physicist Thomas Gold, who argued in his book “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels” that micro-organisms found in oil might have come from the mantle of the earth where, absent photosynthesis, the micro-organisms feed on hydrocarbons arising from the earth’s mantle in the dark depths of the ocean floors.

Affirming this point, Proskurowski concluded the article by noting, “Hydrocarbon production by FTT could be a common means for producing precursors of life-essential building blocks in ocean-floor environments or wherever warm ultramafic rocks are in contact with water.”

Finding abiotic hydrocarbons in the Lost City sea vent fluids is the second discovery in recent years adding weight to the abiotic theory of the origin of oil.

http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/forum.cgi?read=118387

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Science 1 February 2008:
Vol. 319. no. 5863, pp. 604 – 607
DOI: 10.1126/science.1151194

Reports

Abiogenic Hydrocarbon Production at Lost City Hydrothermal Field

Giora Proskurowski,1,2* Marvin D. Lilley,1 Jeffery S. Seewald,2 Gretchen L. Früh-Green,3 Eric J. Olson,1 John E. Lupton,4 Sean P. Sylva,2 Deborah S. Kelley1

Low-molecular-weight hydrocarbons in natural hydrothermal fluids have been attributed to abiogenic production by Fischer-Tropsch type (FTT) reactions, although clear evidence for such a process has been elusive. Here, we present concentration, and stable and radiocarbon isotope, data from hydrocarbons dissolved in hydrogen-rich fluids venting at the ultramafic-hosted Lost City Hydrothermal Field. A distinct “inverse” trend in the stable carbon and hydrogen isotopic composition of C1 to C4 hydrocarbons is compatible with FTT genesis. Radiocarbon evidence rules out seawater bicarbonate as the carbon source for FTT reactions, suggesting that a mantle-derived inorganic carbon source is leached from the host rocks. Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water, and moderate amounts of heat.

1 School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.
2 Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA.
3 Department of Earth Sciences, ETH-Zentrum, Zurich, Switzerland.
4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)–Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, Newport, OR 97365, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: giora@whoi.edu
this is a pay site: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5863/604

*******************************************************************

BLACK-GOLD BLUES
Discovery backs theory oil not ‘fossil fuel’
New evidence supports premise that Earth produces endless supply


Posted: February 01, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Jerome R. Corsi
© 2008 WorldNetDaily.com


A study published in Science Magazine today presents new evidence supporting the abiotic theory for the origin of oil, which asserts oil is a natural product the Earth generates constantly rather than a “fossil fuel” derived from decaying ancient forests and dead dinosaurs.

The lead scientist on the study ? Giora Proskurowski of the School of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle ? says the hydrogen-rich fluids venting at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean in the Lost City Hydrothermal Field were produced by the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in the mantle of the earth.

The abiotic theory of the origin of oil directly challenges the conventional scientific theory that hydrocarbons are organic in nature, created by the deterioration of biological material deposited millions of years ago in sedimentary rock and converted to hydrocarbons under intense heat and pressure.

While organic theorists have posited that the material required to produce hydrocarbons in sedimentary rock came from dinosaurs and ancient forests, more recent argument have suggested living organisms as small as plankton may have been the origin.

The abiotic theory argues, in contrast, that hydrocarbons are naturally produced on a continual basis throughout the solar system, including within the mantle of the earth. The advocates believe the oil seeps up through bedrock cracks to deposit in sedimentary rock. Traditional petro-geologists, they say, have confused the rock as the originator rather than the depository of the hydrocarbons.


Giora Proskurowski

Lost City is a hypothermal field some 2,100 feet below sea level that sits along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at the center of the Atlantic Ocean, noted for strange 90 to 200 foot white towers on the sea bottom.

In 2003 and again in 2005, Proskurowski and his team descended in a scientific submarine to collect liquid bubbling up from Lost City sea vents.

Proskurowski found hydrocarbons containing carbon-13 isotopes that appeared to be formed from the mantle of the Earth, rather than from biological material settled on the ocean floor.

Carbon 13 is the carbon isotope scientists associate with abiotic origin, compared to Carbon 12 that scientists typically associate with biological origin.


Lost City Vents

Proskurowski argued that the hydrocarbons found in the natural hydrothermal fluids coming out of the Lost City sea vents is attributable to abiotic production by Fischer-Tropsch, or FTT, reactions.

The Fischer-Tropsch equations were first developed by Nazi scientists who created methodologies for producing synthetic oil from coal.

“Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water and moderate amounts of heat,” Proskurowski wrote.

The study also confirmed a major argument of Cornell University physicist Thomas Gold, who argued in his book “The Deep Hot Biosphere: The Myth of Fossil Fuels” that micro-organisms found in oil might have come from the mantle of the earth where, absent photosynthesis, the micro-organisms feed on hydrocarbons arising from the earth’s mantle in the dark depths of the ocean floors.

Affirming this point, Proskurowski concluded the article by noting, “Hydrocarbon production by FTT could be a common means for producing precursors of life-essential building blocks in ocean-floor environments or wherever warm ultramafic rocks are in contact with water.”

Finding abiotic hydrocarbons in the Lost City sea vent fluids is the second discovery in recent years adding weight to the abiotic theory of the origin of oil.

As WND reported in 2005, a NASA probe to Titan, the giant moon of Saturn, discovered abundant Carbon-13 methane that the agency declared to be abiotic in origin.

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=59991