Posts Tagged ‘gas’

A Climate Convergence in San Francisco

A Climate Convergence in San Francisco

Organizers call San Francisco “flagship” event for worldwide campaign

Christopher Penalosa / KQED More than a thousand people marched down Market Street in San Francisco for the Moving Planet rally.

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Posted 24 September 2011, by Sarah Terry-Cobo, KQED News – Climate Watch, blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/

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About a thousand people marched in San Francisco on Saturday, chanting slogans, carrying signs and wearing costumes. But unlike many demonstrations that frequent the City by the Bay, the Moving Planet rally was one of hundreds around the world, calling for action and awareness to halt global climate change.

Organized by 350.org, the non-profit founded by author and activist Bill McKibben, the San Francisco rally brought together some predictable allies, such as the Sierra Club, Greenpeace and the Berkeley-based Ecology Center, but it also included groups with broader aims, such as the National Organization for Women, Food Not Bombs and 100,000 Poets for Peace. McKibben’s group is devoted to reducing carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere to 350 parts per million (from the current 390 ppm), a number that some scientists estimate could stave off catastrophic effects of climate change.

Chris Penalosa / KQED Bill McKibben addresses the crowd at the Moving Planet rally in San Francisco

“Every country on Earth — except for probably, North Korea — is having rallies around this wonky data point, 350 parts per million CO2,” said McKibben in an interview after addressing the San Francisco gathering.

n the absence of national climate change legislation, McKibben told the crowd, it’s important to “put our bodies on the line.” The Vermont-based activist is one of about 1,200 people that was arrested August 20 for protesting in front of the White House the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas.

Michael Brune, President of the national Sierra Club noted that his organization was the first to create “blue-green” alliances between environmental and labor groups.

“What we’re trying to do is find a way to make this an issue that brings us together, that doesn’t divide folks, so this doesn’t punish one industry and reward another,” said Brune in a separate interview.

Brune added that the Sierra Club is working with clean technology companies to ramp up renewable energy. “We firmly believe the road to a clean energy future is one that will make our country more economically resilient,” he said.

Chris Penalosa / KQED Carl Anthony, a long-time Bay Area activist for environmental and social justice, addressed the crowd.

Another focus of the afternoon rally was the connection to environmental justice, the concept that poor communities and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by pollution of all types. Carl Anthony, founder of Urban Habitat, one of the nation’s oldest environmental justice organizations, spoke to an energetic crowd packed into Civic Center Plaza. He emphasized that people, not just polar bears, are affected by climate change.

“Global warming is a climate justice issue,” he told the rally. “The people of color, the poor people, the indigenous people will bear the burden of climate change, even though they, less than anyone else, are responsible for our CO2 emissions.”

He continued, “This means that any solution we come up with for climate change must also be a solution for social and racial justice.”

“We have the opportunity in California, to take money away from suburban sprawl…to rebuild a public transportation system that works for poor people as well as rich people,” Anthony said, citing the Sustainable Communities legislation that would redirect $218 billion to rebuild public transportation.

Many people took public transit to the day’s event. Cassie Barr rode BART to the rally from Oakland with her six-year-old son, Philip. She said she wanted to make a statement that people should do more to avert climate change and that she supports an outright tax on carbon emissions. “I think it’s the only way to get businesses — corporations — serious about lowering their CO2 levels,” said Barr.

Jordan Pacheco also took BART from Moraga with his five-year-old daughter, Macy, “…because this is her planet too.” Pacheco works for the solar panel installation company Sungevity, on the firm’s design and engineering team.

In the future, he said, “I would like to see a more openness to any kind of alternative energy, whether its solar, wind, anything. I think the politics have taken over to the point where there’s no common sense anymore.”

Chris Penalosa / KQED Employees from Sungevity hold a parachute painted with a depiction of the Earth.

Bill Carney, president of Sustainable San Rafael helped to organize participation from Marin county. In recent years, activists there won state approval for a community-owned energy company, after much resistance from the investor-owned Pacific Gas & Electric, he said.

“There are many sources of renewables: hydro, solar wind, or methane and with the funding to our local power provider, they are able to buy that energy but [also] create a local marketplace for additional generators of that clean electricity,” said Carney.

Falling back on a familiar metaphor with a global warming theme, Carney said, “Events like this really are the tip of the iceberg of public awareness that is really growing by leaps and bounds.”

More:

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http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2011/09/24/a-thousand-descend-on-san-francisco-for-climate-rally/

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Damage to shale-gas well pit investigated

 

Damage to shale-gas well pit investigated

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Posted22 September 2011, by Sam Kusic, The Indiana Gazette, indianagazette.com

 

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CHERRYHILL TOWNSHIP — State police in Indiana are investigating what may be an act of sabotage at a controversial shale-gas well near Yellow Creek State Park.

According to police, someone punched holes in the plastic lining of a containment pit at the Marcellus shale well sometime between 4 p.m. Tuesday and 2 p.m. Wednesday, causing an estimated $3,500 in damage.

Mike Knapp, president of Knapp Acquisitions and Production, land agent and public liaison for the well owner, Kittanning’s MDS Energy, said that whoever is responsible appeared to have blasted about a half-dozen holes in the liner with a shotgun. He or she also pulled up stakes that were holding up a safety fence and used them to punch another half-dozen holes, Knapp said.

The pit is meant to hold the powdery drill cuttings from the bore hole, not the water produced through the hydraulic fracturing process. Knapp said the pit contained some cuttings from when the company began drilling the well earlier in the year — drillers reached a depth of about 380 feet before having to stop — and some rainwater that had collected in it.

Knapp said the company has notified the state Department of Environmental Protection and is awaiting word on how the agency wants the company to proceed.

He said they are taking the incident as a message from someone, given the timing of the incident.

“I would certainly assume (the person responsible is) someone who is not happy about this project,” Knapp said.

On Sept. 9, the Indiana County Zoning Hearing Board issued MDS a special-use permit to drill the well, an approval it needed to resume operations.

The company needed the board’s approval because the well, on a piece of privately owned farmland off Ray Road in Cherryhill Township, falls within a conservation zone around Yellow Creek State Park.

The zone, established under the county’s Special Recreation and Zoning Ordinance, is designed to protect the area around the park from detrimental land uses and industrial encroachment. While gas wells are permitted in conservation zones, they can be drilled only with the board’s approval.

Not realizing that the well was in a conservation zone, or that the zone even existed, MDS began work on the vertical well without the permit. When county officials learned of the operation, they ordered the company to cease until it obtained approval.

This is the first shale-gas well being drilled in one of the conservation zones, and it has tested the ordinance, which was written in the 1970s, well before shale-gas wells were on the horizon.

But despite opposition from county residents and environmental organizations, the board awarded the permit to the company, as long as it follows several conditions it laid out.

Considering that a shotgun appears to have been used, Knapp said the company is worried about the safety of its employees and the landowner. He said the company has hired a security officer who will guard the well site during off hours.

 

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http://www.indianagazette.com/a_police_courts/article_3ff8f1df-caeb-5abb-b857-f55dd15e4772.html

UN: Indigenous Peoples abused in race for natural resources

UN: Indigenous Peoples abused in race for natural resources

Indigenous peoples suffer abuses in race for natural resources – UN rights expert

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Posted 20 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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Special Rapporteur James Anaya

UN News Centre

20 September 2011 
Posted at Censored News

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Extraction of natural resources and other major development projects in or near the territories of indigenous peoples is one of the most significant sources of abuse of their human rights worldwide, an independent United Nations expert warned today.

“In its prevailing form, the model for advancing with natural resource extraction within the territories of indigenous peoples appears to run counter to the self-determination of indigenous peoples in the political, social and economic spheres,” the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples James Anaya told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

In a report based on answers to a questionnaire he distributed to governments, indigenous peoples and organizations, business corporations and other actors, he cited conflicting viewpoints on the potential adverse impact and benefits of such activities as mining, forestry, oil and natural gas extraction and hydroelectric projects in indigenous territories.

He said he had made it a priority to reconcile the differing views and courses of action to ensure the full protection of indigenous rights and promote best practices through a broad dialogue with governments, indigenous peoples’ organizations, corporate actors and international institutions, in which consensus-building would be a key element.

“The lack of a minimum common ground for understanding the key issues by all actors concerned entails a major barrier for the effective protection and realization of indigenous peoples’ rights,” he added, praising a new Peruvian law compelling private companies to consult indigenous communities before going ahead with major projects such as mining.

Among key concerns, Mr. Anaya included the gradual loss of control by indigenous peoples over lands, territories and natural resources; water source depletion and contamination for drinking, farming and grazing; the adverse effects of water and airborne pollution on overall community health; and an increase in infectious diseases spread by interaction with workers or settlers.

Another concern was the adverse impact on indigenous social structures and cultures, including alarming rates of alcoholism and prostitution previously unheard of among such peoples, imported by illegal loggers or miners, non-indigenous workers and industry personnel in specific projects, and increased traffic due to the construction of roads and other infrastructure.

“Submissions by indigenous peoples and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also reported an escalation of violence by government and private security forces as a consequence of extractive operations in indigenous territories, especially against indigenous leaders,” Mr. Anaya noted. “A general repression of human rights was reported in situations where entire communities had voiced their opposition to extractive operations.”

Several governments highlighted the key importance of natural resource extraction projects for their domestic economies that, reportedly accounting for up to 60 to 70 per cent of the gross national product (GNP) in some countries, with positive benefits for indigenous peoples.

Mining companies noted that indigenous peoples have been direct beneficiaries of basic infrastructure construction such as roads, communications, electricity and water services, as well as health and educational opportunities.

But most indigenous peoples underscored the adverse effects on their environment, culture and societies, which they said outweighed the minimal or short-term benefits arising out of extractive operations.

For example, a member of the Pemon people of Venezuela reported that benefits from extractive industries were not a top priority within the community, which sought “healthy communities, with no infections, in a pollution-free environment,” Mr. Anaya said.

Similarly, an organization representing the traditional authorities of the Cofan people of Colombia concluded that “indigenous peoples are left with no option other than to try to find something positive for their communities out of the disaster left behind by the extraction of oil, mineral, and other resources” in their lands.

“The vast majority of indigenous peoples’ responses, many of which stemmed from the direct experience of specific projects affecting their territories and communities, rather emphasized a common perception of disenfranchisement, ignorance of their rights and concerns on the part of States and businesses enterprises, and constant life insecurity in the face of encroaching extractive activities,” Mr. Anaya said.

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http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/un-indigenous-peoples-abused-in-race.html

Sunken barge with 900 gallons of fuel leaks into Moses Lake

Sunken barge with 900 gallons of fuel leaks into Moses Lake

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Posted17 September 2011, by Staff, Yakima Herald-Republic, yakima-herald.com

 

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MOSES LAKE — Firefighters and state Ecology staff are working to contain up to 900 gallons of diesel and oil on board a dredge barge that sank in Moses Lake on Saturday.

Kathy Davis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Ecology in Olympia, said the barge belonging to the Moses Lake Irrigation & Rehabilitation District contained 600 gallons of diesel and 300 gallons of synthetic oil.

She said firefighters and Ecology staff deployed absorbent boom and pillows around the 40-foot dredge and were working to refloat the vessel.

“From what I understand, there is some leakage. They don’t know how much. It doesn’t sound like much,” Davis said.

Further details about the sinking itself, such as cause and depth, were not immediately available.

Moses Lake, along with the city of the same name, is located along Interstate 90 about halfway between Seattle and Spokane.

It is a natural lake that grew to about 6,200 acres as a result of irrigation damming in the early 20th century

 

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http://www.yakima-herald.com/stories/2011/09/17/sunken-barge-with-900-gallons-of-fuel-leaks-into-moses-lake

 

 

 

Why I’m Donating My Heinz Award Money to the Fight Against Fracking

Sandra Steingraber beautifully shares why the fight against fracking is so important.

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Posted 15 September 2011, by Sandra Steingraber, AlterNet, alternet.org

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Photo Credit: todbaker

I’m thrilled to receive a Heinz Award in recognition of my research and writing on environmental health. This is work made possible by my residency as a scholar within the Department of Environmental Studies at Ithaca College. Many past and present Heinz Award winners are personal heroes of mine–and Teresa Heinz herself is a champion of women’s environmental health–so this recognition carries special meaning for me. And it comes with a $100,000 unrestricted cash prize. Which is stunning.

As a bladder cancer survivor of 32 years, I’m intimately familiar with two kinds of uncertainty: the kind that comes while waiting for results from the pathology and radiology labs and the kind that is created by the medical insurance industry who decides whether or not to pay the pathology and radiology bills. Over the years, I’ve learned to analyze data and raise children while surrounded by medical and financial insecurities. It’s a high-wire act.

But as an ecologist, I’m aware of a much larger insecurity: the one created by our nation’s ruinous dependency on fossil fuels in all their forms. When we light them on fire, we fill the atmosphere with heat-trapping gases that are destablizing the climate and acidifying the oceans (whose plankton stocks provide us half of the oxygen we breathe). When we use fossil fuels as feedstocks to make materials such as pesticides and solvents, we create toxic substances that trespass into our children’s bodies (where they raises risks for cancer, asthma, infertility, and learning disorders).

Emancipation from our terrible enslavement to fossil fuels is possible. The best science shows us that the United States could, within two decades, entirely run on green, renewable energy if we chose to dedicate ourselves to that course. But, right now, that is not the trail we are blazing.  Instead, evermore extreme and toxic methods are being deployed to blast fossilized carbon from the earth. We are blowing up mountains to get at coal, felling boreal forests to get at tar, and siphoning oil from the ocean deep.

Most ominously, through the process called fracking, we are shattering the very bedrock of our nation to get at the petrified bubbles of methane trapped inside. Fracking turns fresh water into poison. It fills our air with smog, our roadways with 18-wheelers hauling hazardous materials, and our fields and pastures with pipelines and toxic pits.

I am therefore announcing my intent to devote my Heinz Award to the fight against hydrofracking in upstate New York, where I live with my husband and our two children. Some might look at my small house (with its mismatched furniture) or my small bank accounts (with their absence of a college fund or a retirement plan) and question my priorities. But the bodies of my children are the rearranged molecules of the air, water, and food streaming through them.

As their mother, there is no more important investment that I could make right now than to support the fight for the integrity of the ecological system that makes their lives possible. As legal scholar Joseph Guth reminds us, a functioning biosphere is worth everything we have. This summer I traveled through the western United States and saw firsthand the devastation that fracking creates. In drought-crippled Texas where crops withered in the fields, I read a hand-lettered sign in a front yard that said, “I NEED WATER. U HAUL. I PAY. “

And still the fracking trucks rolled on, carrying water to the gas wells. This is the logic of drug addicts, not science.  I also stood on the courthouse steps in Salt Lake City while climate activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison for an act of civil disobedience that halted the leasing of public land for gas and oil drilling near Arches National Park. Before he was hauled away by federal marshals, Tim said, “This is what love looks like.”

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http://www.alternet.org/water/152427/

Fracking Mother Earth for Dollars Scheme Exposed


Fracking Mother Earth for Dollars Scheme Exposed

Non-Indians target Blood Nation, Kawacatoose and Fort Peck

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Posted 13 September 2011, by Brenda Norrell, Censored News, bsnorrell.blogspot.com

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Blood Nation women blockade /Photo Arnell Tailfeathers

Non-Indians have targeted First Nation and American Indian lands in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, and Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana, throwing large sums of money at elected leaders for oil and gas drilling, with no regard for future generations or the environment.

Blood Nation women formed a blockade to halt fracking on their land on Friday, exposing a non-Indian corporate scheme behind the new fracturing Mother Earth for dollars.

Lois Frank said the Blood Nation members were never consulted about the widespread oil and gas drilling and fracking that they are now faced with in southern Alberta, near the Montana border.

In the corporate flush of dollars, an in-between fixer has emerged, the non-Indians at Native American Resource Partners in Utah. NARP is designed to entice First Nations and American Indian elected leaders with large sums of money. NARP, as shown on its website, is owned by non-Indians who use the name “Native American” because the company targets Native American lands for exploitation. 

NARP owners began destroying the land for oil and gas drilling on Southern Ute in Colorado and on Uintah and Ouray lands in Utah, before expanding into Canada.

NARP’s investment money comes from another corporation of more non-Indians, Quantum, based in Houston, who are exploiting natural resources around the world.

Besides entering into an agreement with the Blood Nation, NARP also entered into an oil and gas deal with Fort Peck in Montana. The Fort Peck Energy Company formed a new co-partnered Tribal energy company with NARP in August, according to the Fort Peck Journal. NARP provided capital dollars to Fort Peck.

Fort Peck Energy Company is initially owned 50 percent by the Tribe and 50 percent by NARP, with the capital investment made by Quantum, Fort Peck Journal reported.

NARP also provided dollars to the Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan, focusing on treaty land rights, in August.

NARP announced a partnership with the Kawacatoose First Nation (Kawacatoose) of Saskatchewan, Canada. “The newly-created company, Kawacatoose Energy Company, will pursue the development of resource projects on lands and minerals secured by the Nation through the Saskatchewan Treaty Land Entitlement program (TLE,)” according to the press statement.

On the Blood Nation in Alberta in April, Kainaiwa Resources, Inc., the natural resource development company of the Blood Nation, announced that it had formed Kainai Energy in partnership with NARP.

Kainai Energy entered into two joint venture agreements, with NARP kicking in $100 million in capital commitment, according to the Blood Tribe’s press release.

“In forming Kainai Energy, the Blood Tribe has retained all of its rights to royalty payments from development of its reserve land by industry partners Murphy Oil Company Ltd. (“Murphy”) and Bowood Energy Ltd. (“Bowood”), while securing needed capital to participate in its own resource development. The Tribe has also retained exclusive rights to reserve lands outside the existing joint ventures for future development.”

Kainai Energy will initially focus on the existing joint venture areas in the Alberta Bakken, the press release states.

Hydraulic fracturing poisoning drinking water and rivers

Hydraulic fracturing is already poisoning drinking water and rivers, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times obtained concealed documents from the government and drilling industry that show hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells is even more dangerous than previously known.

The secret documents from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and drilling industry participants, prove hydraulic fracturing wastewater from gas drilling operations contains high levels of radioactive contaminants. It is being released into waterways supplying drinking water.

The process of injecting “fracking” fluid at extreme pressure creates fissures in the rock formations and extracts gas that was previously trapped.

Drilling companies use between two and five million gallons of “fracking” fluid in the hydrofracking of just one gas well. This toxic cocktail is a mixture of water, sand and hazardous chemicals. Then, 50 percent to 75 percent of fracking fluids stay in the ground, potentially leaking into soil and ground water by way of rock faults or faulty well casings, according to the New York Times.

Then, the situation becomes more critical. The used fracking fluid, called produced water, once it comes back up, is even more dangerous after exposure to rock deep in the earth. This drilling wastewater is hazardous waste because it now also contains heavy metals, radioactive elements such as radium, known carcinogens including benzene and other toxins.

Sewage treatment facilities of the wastewater are incapable of removing some contaminants from drilling wastewater, including radioactive contaminants. These releases are discharged into rivers and waterways and are currently contaminating drinking water sources.

The media is playing its role in the exploitation and destruction of Mother Earth, cheerleading for revenues and economic development, without researching the detrimental effects of oil and gas drilling, or fracturing,  on the land and health of the people. 

Blood Nation: Toxic drilling and dealsBlood Nation members released this statement on Friday:

“The first issue is the toxic nature of the drilling and its capacity to do irreversible damage to the land and water on the Blood Reserve and surrounding areas. Furthermore, fracking poses a major threat to human health, wildlife and livestock.

“The second issue at hand is the nature of the deal between KRI, Murphy Oil, and Bowood Energy. We believe this to be highly problematic for a number of reasons: Blood Tribe members were not consulted during the negotiations of this deal even though the drilling will occur on Blood Tribe land.

“KRI and the Blood Tribe Chief and Council neglected to maintain any degree of transparency during and after the negotiations. Ultimately, leaving a large population of tribal members completely unaware of the situation until after the deal was made.

“Above all else, the health and well-being of Blood Tribe members and all future generations will be compromised due to the rash and reckless decision by KRI and Blood Tribe Chief and Council to sign this deal with Murphy Oil and Bowood Energy.”

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2011/09/fracking-mother-earth-for-dollars.html

Chevron confirms Gulf of Mexico oil leak

 

Chevron confirms Gulf of Mexico oil leak

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Posted 14 September 2011, by By Janet McGurty and David Sheppard, Thomson Reuters, reuters.com

 

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(Reuters) – A leak from a shallow water crude oil pipeline in the Main Pass Area of the Gulf of Mexico has led Chevron to shut down its offshore Louisiana Main Pass pipeline network, the company said on Tuesday.

Chevron has also shut its Cypress line, the company said.

About 15,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production was shut in due to the pipeline leak, Chevron said. The company said late on Tuesday it will resume partial production within 24 hours.

Chevron did not reply to several requests for additional information about the leak and its operations in the Main Pass Area.

Carol Fagot, a spokeswoman at the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), said the agency was “aware of the report and looking into it,” without offering further details.

Both the U.S. Coast Guard and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office said they had not been informed of a leak off the coast.

Chevron has two offshore platforms in the Main Pass 299 block, according to the company’s website. The site is located in shallow waters about 40 miles east of Venice, Louisiana, and has produced heavy oil, natural gas and sulfur, according to government records.

Chevron said the leak was from a 10-inch riser pipelines in Main Pass Block 299. Riser pipelines normally carry crude from the seabed to production platforms.

Chevron also shut its line known as Cypress since “Main Pass is the only connecting pipeline system currently providing volumes into Cypress,” the company said.

The Cypress pipeline feeds a crude terminal known as Empire on the Mississippi River in Louisiana, delivery point for cash crude Heavy Louisiana Sweet. Empire usually handles between 230,000 and 275,000 barrels a day, Chevron’s website said.

The Empire terminal was still operating, a trade source said, although it wasn’t clear whether flows into the terminal had been disrupted.

The Gulf of Mexico was the site of the worst-ever U.S. offshore oil spill last year when BP’s Macondo well released more than 4 million barrels of crude from a blown out well offshore Louisiana.

(Reporting by Janet McGurty, David Sheppard and Joshua Schneyer in New York and Timothy Gardner in Washington; Addtional reporting by Kristen Hays and Erwin Seba in Houston; Writing by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gary Hill)

 

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/14/us-pipeline-chevron-mainpass-idUSTRE78D07M20110914