YENAGOA, Nigeria, Dec 2 (Reuters) - A large oil spill near Nigeria's Brass facility, run by ENI, has spread through the sea and swamps of the oil producing Niger Delta region, local residents and the company said on Monday. ENI said it was not yet possible to determine the cause of the spill. There are hundreds of leaks every year from pipelines that pass through the delta's creeks, damaging the environment and the profits of oil companies including ENI and Royal Dutch Shell , especially when production has to be deferred.
The first steam locomotive to arrive in Lac La Biche back in 1915 was greeted with cheers. Today the 100-car oil trains that run through the heart of the Northern Alberta town are met with a mixture of anger and worry. The tracks bisect the town. The hospital lies on one side, the fire station on the other. Over the past five years, as the oil boom escalated and more and more bitumen from Fort McMurray was shipped by rail, the oil trains grew long enough to block all the town’s railway crossings for extended periods of time.
Emergency crews ran for cover when they heard the noise, as they fought blasts of burning oil during the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. The kettle-boil scream meant one thing: Oil vapours were shooting out of a derailed tank car and another fireball was about to rip from the broken train. It wasn’t until four days after the July 6 derailment that the fires finally subsided.
For Eddie Brown, 54, a former refinery worker and now owner of the Kutz 4 Kingz Barber Shop in Port Arthur, Texas, enough is enough. "My mom died of cancer," he said. "My son had breathing issues. I have a lot of friends and relatives who have a lot of breathing problems. There's a lot of people with cancer in this area." So when he heard about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline bringing another 830,000 barrels of heavy oil into his beleaguered town, he was against it. "Sooner or later I think safety and health should trump the commercial side," he said.
Long before disaster struck, the 5,900 residents of Lac-Mégantic had grown accustomed to the sight of large oil tankers rolling through their small, tightly knit community in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. A shortage of oil pipelines in North America had created a new kind of railway industry traversing the continent. In just a few years, tankers carrying crude oil from the resource-rich West had grown from a mere 8,000 in 2009 to nearly 400,000, and Lac-Mégantic is located along one of the main routes to refineries in the East.
There are two ways to look at Canada's oil wealth, found mostly in Alberta's oilsands deposits. One is to be amazed that Alberta has more than 170 billion barrels of oil - an immense resource by any yardstick. The other is to question what it all means. Will it have an effect on the global supply of oil, is Canada going to be able to sell it in the future, and how does the rest of the world view Canada - and its oil? Game changer. Oil is found just about everywhere on the planet.
Rosa Parks famously occupied the seat of a Montgomery bus, an action that sparked a revolution in U.S. racial relations. The Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en now defiantly occupies territory whose location is critical to a proposed new pipeline route. They experience daily surveillance by helicopters that sometimes buzz close over the main cabin of the occupation.
One would have hoped that Canada's newest and largest private sector union – UNIFOR, made up of the former Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) unions – would have been out front in the growing movement against Enbridge's Line 9 pipeline reversal. This key new organization of Canada's working-class needs to join First Nations, environmental activists, young people, Occupy veterans, other unionists and working people in communities across Ontario in organizing to demand that Line 9 be stopped.
An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people rallied in Vancouver on November 16 in opposition to the Northern Gateway tar sands pipeline. It was a strong expression of the ‘wall of opposition’ that the BC and federal governments are facing as they try to push through acceptance of the project, including gaining formal approval of the National Energy Board.