[ Lake Erie Death Watch ] By Barry Yeoman for the NRDC
Brought back from the brink once before, a Great Lake again faces biological collapse
What would it mean to lose one of our Great Lakes? The environmental and economic calamity could devastate the region’s tourism, sport fishing industry, drinking water supply, and wildlife, and could also take a toll on human health. And there would be plenty of blame to go around, from changing agricultural methods to inattentive politicians to weaknesses in our nation’s bedrock environmental protections — many of which can partially trace their existence to concern over Lake Erie in the first place.
Erie is the most fertile of the Great Lakes: It contains only 2 percent of their water but 50 percent of their fish. Its biological abundance, and its location in a densely settled corner of the Midwest, make the prospect of collapse all the more frightening. If conditions grow worse, imploding native fish populations could decimate Lake Erie’s recreational fishing industry. (Fishing generates $7 billion a year throughout the Great Lakes.) The water supply for 11 million people could become undrinkable without expensive treatment. And blue-green algae, linked to liver cancer in China and fatal poisonings in Brazil, could pose a grave threat to people here, too, particularly if ingested.
I just had an ah – ha moment, for me emotions are not just internal, they have location and I have to spend time with them before I understand from whence they come or how to approach them (time / space relativity). I suppose this is mostly obvious to anyone reading this blog.
[ DATA DUMP ] Recent portfolio of work
[Click images to enlarge]
Encaustic, 21″ x 24″
Encaustic, 12″ x 14″
Encaustic, 21″ x 24″
Encaustic, 21″ x 24″
Encaustic, 12″ x 22″ & 24″ x 48″
I made this painting 15 years ago. It is fairly large 48″x 60″. I still find myself in this relationship to what I sense around me.
[ Justice in the Air ] tracks toxic data from America’s Industries and Companies to Our States, Cities, and Neighborhoods.
And examines who breaths a disproportionate share of toxic air and who is releasing them.
Links on company names below lead to detailed company reports.
East Chicago Companies in Orange
[ EPA ] Sets CO2 Standards for Power Plants and Oil Refineries
Power plants account for more than 2.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year, more than any other industry. Oil refineries clock in as the second largest source, with emissions equivalent to more than 200 million tons of carbon dioxide (mainly a mixture of carbon dioxide and methane).
via NRDC Switchboard [ David Doniger’s Blog ]
List of Coal Plants in the US via [ Wikipedia ]
|Rank||State||# of Plants||Total
- Tuscaloosa Refinery (Hunt Refining Company), Tuscaloosa 52,000 bbl/d (8,300 m3/d)
- Saraland Refinery (Shell Oil Company), Saraland 80,000 bbl/d (13,000 m3/d)
- Mobile Refinery (Gulf Atlantic Refining & Marketing), Mobile 16,700 bbl/d (2,660 m3/d)
- Kenai Refinery (Tesoro), Kenai 72,000 bbl/d (11,400 m3/d)
- Valdez Refinery (Petro Star), Valdez 50,000 bbl/d (7,900 m3/d)
- North Pole Refinery (Petro Star), North Pole 17,000 bbl/d (2,700 m3/d)
- Kuparuk Refinery (ConocoPhillips), Kuparuk 14,400 bbl/d (2,290 m3/d)
- North Pole Refinery (Flint Hills Resources), North Pole 210,000 bbl/d (33,000 m3/d)
- Prudhoe Bay Refinery (BP), Prudhoe Bay 12,500 bbl/d (1,990 m3/d)
- El Dorado Refinery (Lion Oil), El Dorado 70,000 bbl/d (11,000 m3/d)
- Smackover Refinery (Cross Oil), Smackover 6,800 bbl/d (1,080 m3/d)
- Bakersfield Refinery (Big West), Bakersfield, 66,000 bbl/d (10,500 m3/d)
- Bakersfield Refinery (Kern Oil), Bakersfield, 25,000 bbl/d (4,000 m3/d)
- Bakersfield Refinery (San Joaquin Refining Company), Bakersfield, 24,300 bbl/d (3,860 m3/d)
- Benicia Refinery (Valero), Benicia, 144,000 bbl/d (22,900 m3/d)
- Carson Refinery (BP), Carson, 265,000 bbl/d (42,100 m3/d)
- El Segundo Refinery (Chevron), El Segundo, 265,500 bbl/d (42,210 m3/d)
- Golden Eagle Refinery (Tesoro), near Martinez, 166,000 bbl/d (26,400 m3/d)
- Long Beach Refinery (Edgington Oil Company), Long Beach, 26,000 bbl/d (4,100 m3/d)
- Martinez Refinery (Shell Oil Company), Martinez, 154,900 bbl/d (24,630 m3/d)
- Oxnard Refinery (Tenby Inc), Oxnard, 2,800 bbl/d (450 m3/d)
- Paramount Refinery (Paramount Petroleum), Paramount, 50,000 bbl/d (7,900 m3/d)
- Richmond Refinery (Chevron), Richmond, 242,901 bbl/d (38,618.2 m3/d)
- Rodeo San Francisco Refinery (ConocoPhillips), Rodeo, 100,000 bbl/d (16,000 m3/d)
- Santa Maria Refinery (ConocoPhillips), Santa Maria, 41,800 bbl/d (6,650 m3/d)
- Santa Maria Refinery (Greka Energy), Santa Maria, 9,500 bbl/d (1,510 m3/d)
- South Gate Refinery (Lunday Thagard), South Gate, 8,500 bbl/d (1,350 m3/d)
- Torrance Refinery (ExxonMobil), Torrance, 149,000 bbl/d (23,700 m3/d)
- Wilmington Asphalt Refinery (Valero), Wilmington, 5,900 bbl/d (940 m3/d)
- Wilmington Refinery (Tesoro), Wilmington, 133,100 bbl/d (21,160 m3/d)
- Wilmington Refinery (Shell Oil Company), Wilmington, 98,500 bbl/d (15,660 m3/d)
- Wilmington Refinery (Valero), Wilmington, 149,000 bbl/d (23,700 m3/d)
- Delaware City Refinery (idle in 2010; purchased by PBF Energy Partners from Valero in April 2010)
- Savannah Refinery (NuStar), Savannah (Asphalt Refinery) 28,000 bpd
- Douglasville Refinery (Young Refining), Douglasville — shutdown 07/04
- Kapolei Refinery (Tesoro), Kapolei 93,500 bbl/d (14,870 m3/d)
- Hawaii Refinery (Chevron), Kapolei 54,000 bbl/d (8,600 m3/d)
- Lemont Refinery (Citgo), Romeoville 160,000 bbl/d (25,000 m3/d)
- Joliet Refinery (ExxonMobil), Joliet 238,000 bbl/d (37,800 m3/d)
- Robinson Refinery (Marathon Petroleum Company), Robinson 215,000 bbl/d (34,200 m3/d)
- Wood River Refinery (ConocoPhillips), Wood River 306,000 bbl/d (48,700 m3/d)
- Whiting Refinery (BP), Whiting 405,000 bbl/d (64,400 m3/d)
- Mount Vernon Refinery (Countrymark Co-op), Mount Vernon 23,000 bbl/d (3,700 m3/d)
via [ Democracy Now ] COP16 in Cancun, December 9, 2010
via [ Sierra Club ] Toxic Tar Sands: Indiana
Carolyn Marsh, Whiting Indiana
Carolyn Marsh’s house in Whiting, Indiana, just southeast of Chicago, sits within walking distance of both Lake Michigan and the BP Whiting Refinery. One is beautiful and the other, Marsh says, looks like “a death trap zone.” Now BP is pushing to expand the capacity of its refinery to process tar sands crude.
The synthetic heavy crude produced from tar sands is laden with more toxins than conventional oil. If the expansion goes through, people like Marsh, who live in the shadow of these refineries, will face increased exposure to heavy metals, sulfur, and carcinogens like benzene.
After learning of BP’s plans to pump tar sands pollution into the air and her community, Marsh was galvanized to action. She joined a legal challenge to the oil giant’s air permit.
Marsh believes BP’s permit application dramatically underestimates the potential air pollution from their tar sands expansion. The company understated the amount of toxic gases vented from flares, claiming they would only be released occasionally. But flaring will only increase as the refinery handles more of the world’s dirtiest oil.
Flaring is only one part of the refinery’s massive polluting process, and air pollution is not the only threat that Marsh fears from the tar sands expansion.“We don’t want Lake Michigan to become another oil industry sacrifice zone. Quality of life here in Indiana should not suffer for foreign oil profits.”
The refinery is already one of the largest sources of mercury pollution in Lake Michigan. Mercury is a
Tar sands crude spells disaster for clean water in every step of its life cycle. If tar sands operations continue to expand in America, Lake Michigan will be exposed to the same types of contamination spreading through the once pristine water sources along the Athabasca River in Alberta, where tar sands are mined.
A recent study published by leading Canadian scientists found elevated concentrations of toxic heavy metals including arsenic, lead and mercury around and downstream from tar sands mining operations, suggesting a strong correlation between tar sands mining and toxic discharges to water resources.These poisonous impurities are released in refining as well, and discharges from BP’s tar sands expansion will bring the pollution of the Athabasca directly to Lake Michigan.
Marsh believes the citizen struggle to stop the tar sands expansion is her community’s best line of defense, and she has committed to the fight. She has little faith in state regulators, whom she believes are too complicit with toxic conditions created by BP’s refinery. Marsh knows what’s at stake.
Lake Michigan, which provides drinking water for 10 million people, will be exposed to new levels of contamination from particulate emissions and huge increases in ammonia and other discharges into the water from the refinery’s tar sands expansion.potent neurotoxin that causes severe fetal damage, impaired motor function, and kidney and respiratory damage in humans. “We don’t want Lake Michigan to become another oil industry sacrifice zone. Quality of life here in Indiana should not suffer for foreign oil profits,” she says.
via [ OurWorld 2.0 ] “Mapping critical politics: a land use expert talks tar sands” By Max Ritts
The late geographer Bernard Nietschmann once observed that “more indigenous territory has been claimed by maps than by guns”. Whether or not you agree that more can be taken back with maps, it is hard to overestimate the role of representations in the shaping of collective understandings and modes of possible intervention in political struggle.
Land use maps can have a number of applications. In many countries, they are prepared by government agencies, for a variety of reasons, or by individual groups and organizations. Often, land use maps are made publicly available for the benefit of those interested in land use trends. These maps can also become important in zoning and property disputes. Read more…
A panel of experts from the press, government, and academia discuss their new and upcoming projects. They discuss different methods of promoting investigative journalism, ranging from building non-profit institutions to converting the country of Iceland into a “free press haven.”
Unfortunately, I’m having problems with the video player. You can view the entire video here at:
The panel features Gavin MacFadyen (The Bureau for Investigative Journalism, UK), Chuck Lewis (American University), Julian Assange (WikiLeaks), Birgitta Jónsdóttir (Member of Parliament, Iceland) and Jon Weber (The Bay Citizen). Lowell Bergman moderates.
These past many years have been emotionally traumatic for me. And last winter, I got hit again hard with the neglect of my studio and the lost of much of the last four-years of work. Since then I have been trying to be realistically positive and slowly work myself back into the studio. During the spring I worked mostly from my laptop. I posted to this blog. I participated in Paul Sargent’s show “Precious Cargo” (with many thanks to Paul), and the US Social Forum in Detroit, and I spoke a several times about my work and impacts on my community.
Recently, I made a stronger commitment to reenter my studio to rebuild it. I couldn’t just clean it up – I had to change it. In the process I found old work scattered, damaged and thought lost as my life was preoccupied with more pressing issues and wasn’t strong enough to hold and preserve them. It is nice to find them.
This week I tore into the second floor and knocked out a few walls to open up the space. I would love to cathedral the ceiling but I don’t have the money to do any of this – I just have to do something. We will see how things go.
As the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster continues to unfold, the peak oil community has a “teachable moment” in which it can illuminate the reality of our energy plight. The public has had a crash course in the challenges of offshore oil, and learned a whole new vocabulary. They are more aware than ever that the days of cheap and easy oil are gone.
What they do not yet grasp are the challenges in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables.
This is why I love East Chicago (cell phone photos).
Click on image to begin slideshow.
[kml_flashembed movie="http://thomasfrank.org/movies/EC_Song/EC_Song.swf" height="450" width="600" play="false" loop="false" base="." /] Read more...
The Other end of BP’s pipeline – From the Alberta TAR SANDS to BP’s Whiting Refinery.
via [ Democracy Now ] Indigenous Groups Lead Struggle Against Canada’s Tar Sands
via [ IDEM ]
The Grand Calumet River Restoration Fund (GCRRF) was established by Trust Agreement after settlement with “Industrial Users” in the case “United States of America v. The Sanitary District of Hammond, et al., Civ. Action No. 2:93-CV-225 JM”, for the benefit of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), the Deputy Director of IDNR’s Bureau of Water and Resource Regulation (IDNR Co-Trustee), and the Assistant Commissioner of IDEM’s Office of Environmental Response (IDEM Co-Trustee). The purpose of the Fund, as established in the Trust Agreement is to “…address and correct environmental contamination in the Area of Concern, including particularly the cleanup of contaminated sediment and the remediation and restoration of natural resource damages within the Area of Concern….and, more specifically, in and around the West Branch of the Grand Calumet River in the State of Indiana (the “Hammond Reach”).”
The administration of the GCRRF was established by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the Commissioner of IDEM; the Director of IDNR; the IDNR Co-Trustee; the IDEM Co-Trustee; the Regional Director of Region 3 of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Regional Administrator, Region 5, United States Environmental Protection Agency. Each of these “Parties” appointed a representative to serve on a GCRRF Council, the purpose and function of which is to “….coordinate the Parties’ activities relating to the GCRRF in order to achieve the maximum environmental benefit.” The Council is authorized and directed to:
- conduct and oversee scientific and technical studies, sampling, and other activities necessary to the development and implementation of sediment remedial action plans and natural resources restoration plans; make all necessary decisions for the management and administration of funds in the GCRRF in accordance with applicable law and this MOU;
- and arrange for contracts with professional consultants as necessary to provide services to the Parties to undertake activities pursuant to this MOU and the GCRRF Trust Agreement.”
The GCRRF Council has initiated Restoration Alternatives Development and Evaluation for contaminated sediment cleanup and restoration of natural resources in the West Branch Grand Calumet River. This project was divided into 3 phases: Phase I was to compile historical information on sediment contamination and to identify data gaps necessary for alternatives development (results of this portion of the study are included in Technical Memorandum Restoration Alternatives Development and Evaluation West Branch of the Grand Calumet River Indiana, February 2002); Phase II was initiated to collect samples necessary to fill data gaps identified during Phase I – Roxana Marsh and West Branch Characterization studies were initiated (documents related to each of these studies can be accessed below); and Phase III will be the Development and Evaluation of Alternatives.
if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action.
Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, the lack of full scientific certainty shall be used as a reason for not implementing cost-effective measures until after the environmental degradation has actually occurred