Archive for the ‘POLITICS’ Category


Saturday, August 20th, 2011


WASHINGTON — Ranchers from Nebraska, people in car caravans from California and hundreds of others plan to hold daily sit-ins at the White House starting Saturday, protesting against a planned pipeline that would greatly expand the flow of oil from the black sands of western Canada.

Two weeks of protests will raise the question of what the United States should do about climate change, putting the topic back into the spotlight. They’ll pressure President Barack Obama, who must decide whether the pipeline is in the national interest and whether it will be built.

For some participants, the key issues are local matters of land and water conservation. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands of Alberta would run from Canada through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

It would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, the giant underground water source under much of Nebraska and other Great Plains states. Some Nebraskans have been calling for a different route away from their irrigation source and the state’s Sand Hills, a land of canyons and mountains of grass-covered sand where cattle graze.

For others, the key issue is climate change.

Writer and protest organizer Bill McKibben says it may be the “single clearest decision Obama will make in his first four years because for once he has a clear shot. Congress isn’t in the way. He gets to make the call.”

McKibben said it’s a test to see if Obama stands by his 2008 campaign promise that in his presidency “the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet begin to heal.”

An Obama denial of the permit for Keystone XL would “send an electrifying jolt through his base,” McKibben said. “We’ll be reminded about why we were so enthused when he was running.”

The decision puts the president between his environmentalist supporters and those looking for projects that create jobs immediately. The American Petroleum Institute said the pipeline would create 20,000 direct jobs in the two years it would take to build it.

An existing Keystone pipeline from Canada already brings 591,000 barrels of diluted bitumen, the technical name for the thick oil mixed in the sands, to refineries in Oklahoma and Illinois. The new pipeline would increase the capacity to 1.3 million barrels a day and deliver the crude to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Protesters argue that the pipeline would be in place for some 50 years, bringing a heavily polluting form of oil. The extra energy needed to mine the oil from the sands of Alberta and to process it creates more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional oil.

NASA climate scientist James Hansen argues that if emissions from coal are phased out in a few decades and unconventional fossil fuels such as the crude from the oil sands are left in the ground, it will be possible to stabilize the climate.

“Phase-out of emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix, it is essentially game over,” Hansen wrote in a paper in June. Hansen in recent years has participated in protests, and organizers say he’ll join this one as well.

The organizers said they expect some arrests. They plan to station people in Lafayette Park across from the White House every day for two weeks.

That means they will be there in a week, when the president and his family return from their vacation on Martha’s Vineyard.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Brendan Grylls forced

to reveal Palmer dealings

January 26, 2011 – 11:07AM
CCC urged to probe email trail between Clive Palmer and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.
CCC urged to probe email trail between Clive Palmer and Nationals leader Brendon Grylls.

The West Australian Information Commissioner has ordered Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls to release information about his dealings with mining magnate Clive Palmer.

For months the WA opposition has pursued the government over why Mr Palmer’s company Mineralogy was not forced to pay a $45 million bond for the project in the Pilbara.

In March last year opposition state development spokesman Mark McGowan applied under Freedom of Information for all documents to and from the minister’s office concerning Mineralogy and its chairman Mr Palmer, a National Party donor.

As a result Mr Grylls, the WA National Party leader, released 11 edited documents but refused to hand over a further 17 because he viewed them as outside the scope of Mr McGowan’s application.

The information commissioner found Mr Grylls’ decision was “deficient” because it did not give “details of the reasons for the refusal”.

“The notice given to the complainant only asserted that the 17 documents, to which access was refused, were exempt,” the finding stated.

“However, the material facts that is, the facts necessary to constitute the exemption claimed and references to the material on which the minister’s findings were based were not included in the notice.”

Following a search of an email account of a former staffer of Mr Grylls, the commissioner also found six additional documents relevant to the FOI application.

Mr Grylls will now be forced to reveal about 35 additional documents either partially or in full.

Although the minister and Mr Palmer can appeal the decision through the courts, Mr McGowan called on them to be open and transparent.

“Mr Grylls must now come clean and release the documents,” Mr McGowan said.

“While Mr Grylls and Professor Palmer can appeal this decision to the Supreme Court, I call on them to finally be open and accountable and release the documents.”

He said the decision to exempt Mineralogy from the paying the environmental bond had saved Mr Palmer $45 million and “brought into question the integrity of the state’s environmental approvals process”.

“Earlier documents released regarding this matter show that Mr Grylls was intimately involved in lobbying the environment minister and the premier’s office to assist Clive Palmer’s project,” he said.


Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha