Months ago, forest destroyer Sinar Mas told industry peers that it would formally respond to issues raised by a Greenpeace report. After mountains of bad press and losing business, many had hoped the palm oil, paper, and coal giant would use this moment to come clean, admit mistakes and move forward to improve its business.
Unfortunately, Sinar Mas is not showing any signs of doing that.
Sinar Mas was meant to publish an audit into its own activities by the end of June. They baulked and postponed until late July. Now, they are saying it will be August 10th.
In the meantime, Sinar Mas has hired PR firm Bell Pottinger to help present their greenwash. Bell Pottinger recently did public relations work for Trafigura, the oil trading company who was recently convicted and fined for illegally transporting toxic waste to the Ivory Coast. Classy clientele!
Anticipating that Sinar Mas will try to greenwash the results of their flawed audit, Greenpeace just released (more!) fresh evidence that notorious forest destroying practices continue unabated and in direct violation of the company’s own environmental commitments on protecting forests and peatlands. The report, Empires of Destruction, contains evidence that Sinar Mas is clearing rainforest and peatland areas on the island of Borneo. Further photographic evidence shows Sinar Mas recently cleared rainforest orangutan habitat. While Sinar Mas talks about protecting rainforests and peatlands, its actions speak louder, and tell a different story.
But, it is not just what Sinar Mas has done in the past that should cause alarm – it is what it plans to do in the future. In addition the report details how Sinar Mas plans to expand its empire of destruction even further. Last week, the Sinar Mas palm oil division, Golden Agri Resources, confirmed plans to expand into an additional 2.5 million acres
With wildlife like the orangutan and Sumatran tiger being pushed towards extinction, the Paradise Forests cannot afford to continue to be the victim of Sinar Mas’s ever expanding empire.
The good news is that Nestle, Kraft, Unilever, HSBC, and other prominent companies are distancing themselves from Sinar Mas. Until Sinar Mas is no longer involved in destroying rainforests and peatlands, other companies who still purchase from them – like fast food companies Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and Pizza Hut – should take similar measures. Take a moment now to tell those companies to stop serving up forest destruction!
For the forest,
While some news reports attempt to downplay the amount of damage that has been done, it's clear that the Gulf oil disaster is one of the worst environmental tragedies in US history. This catastrophe has also further revealed the extraordinary extent of the oil industry’s influence on our government. Many questions remain unanswered about government communications with BP and other oil companies, underwater oil plumes, impacts to marine wildlife, chemical dispersants, oil drilling safety regulation, and more.
We've submitted 27 Freedom of Information Act requests to multiple government agencies and two Public Records Act Requests to the offices of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. The scope of these FOIA requests were derived from our ongoing field research as well as tips from local activists and reporters.
The following is a list of the requests we've filed. In parentheses after each item is the agency with whom the request was filed (click on any of the agencies to view a PDF of the request).
- Details of any and all mammal spotter flights conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Gulf region (USFSW)
- Any and all chain of custody forms for deceased wildlife in the Gulf region (USFWS)
- Details regarding turtles being killed in controlled oil burns in the Gulf region (USCG, NOAA, USFWS)
- Details of U.S. Navy flights contracted for whale and dolphin sightings in the Gulf region (Navy)
- Details of any and all communications or information regarding any of 23 endangered or threatened species of concern in the Gulf region including sperm whales and sea turtles (NOAA, USCG)
- Details of any communications about “carcass collection facilities” in the Gulf region (USFWS)
- Details of any communications between the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and BP concerning dead mammals or marine life in the Gulf region (USFWS)
- Details of Natural Resource Damage Assessment flights (USFWS)
Oil drilling safety regulation
- Details of communication between the United States Coast Guard and ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, and/or ConocoPhillips concerning the safety of oil rigs in the Gulf and/or the term “blowout preventers” (USCG)
- Details of communications between the Minerals Management Service and the Offshore Operators Committee Deep Spills Working Group. (BOEMRE)
- Details of any information concerning the 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf (BOEMRE)
- Details of all internal communications regarding the 23 blowouts that have occurred on oil rigs in the Gulf since 2006. (BOEMRE)
- Details of all communications between MMS staffers K. Stauffer and J. McCarroll who contributed to deepwater environmental assessments (BOEMRE)
- Communications with USGS staff member Keith A. Kvenvolden concerning natural oil seeps (USGS)
- Details of violations and inspections and the certification process of the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port facility (USCG)|
- Internal communications within and between the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard and BP concerning directives on dispersant use and exemptions granted to BP by the Coast Guard (EPA, USCG)
- Details of the effectiveness of sub-sea dispersant application, how the Environmental Protection Agency has monitored BP’s use of dispersants, and the point at which dispersants have a greater environmental impact than leaked oil (EPA)
- Records of dispersant-carrying aircraft with specific call signs flying out of Stennis International Airport (FAA)
- Details of communications regarding BP employees or contractors and their authority or ability to police public lands (USCG)
Underwater oil plumes
- Internal communications from NOAA missions to search for underwater oil plumes (NOAA)
- Details of all meetings and correspondence between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and BP regarding underwater oil plumes (NOAA)
Communication Between Oil Companies and State Offices
- Details of any and all internal and external communications between Governor Bobby Jindal or any of his staff and the following companies: BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, and/or the American Petroleum Institute (Office of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal)
- Details of any and all internal and external communications between Governor Haley Barbour or any of his staff and the following companies: BP, Shell, Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, and/or the American Petroleum Institute (Office of Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour)
Moreover, according to Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the UK's Met Office, one of the agencies participating in the NOAA study, “The glaringly obvious explanation for this is warming from greenhouse gases.”
Yet within this context, a flak from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Myron Ebell, still has the gall to say, "It's clear that the scientific case for global warming alarmism is weak. The scientific case for [many of the claims] is unsound and we are finding out all the time how unsound it is."
This is what the climate deniers’ tactics basically amount to: Covering their ears and singing. “La la la I can’t hear you everything is fine we need oil and coal lalala.”
The worst part is, it works. That’s why we have to push back.
The science is settled: Global warming is happening and human activities are causing it. But the reporter who wrote this article on CNN's website didn’t bother factchecking Ebell whatsoever, meaning Ebell got away with repeating the Dirty Lie. We need you to help set the record straight.
Why would Ebell be willing to go on record ignoring hard scientific data with blatantly false talking points? Hm, let’s see… His employer, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has taken buckets of money from oil companies like Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, and Texaco. CEI has also hosted events sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute and Arch Coal. Think that maybe has something to do with Mr. Ebell’s skepticism? At the very least, these egregious conflicts of interest should be pointeded out to readers, as they should invalidate any “impartial” or “expert” opinion Ebell may have been able to provide.
Here are a few links you can drop in the comments of the article on CNN to make sure future readers know the full story about Myron Ebell and the Competitive Enterprise Institute:
Competitive Enterprise Institute – Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group
ExxonSecrets.org Factsheet: Competitive Enterprise Institute, CEI
Competitive Enterprise Institute on SourceWatch.org
The Billionaire's Party: David Koch is New York's second-richest man, a celebrated patron of the arts, and the tea party's wallet.
The best pull quote is this:
Global warming could be good for the planet, Koch says. "A far greater land area will be available to produce food."...from this paragraph, which shows Greenpeace got his billionaire attention this spring:
David Koch is deeply antagonistic to the Obama administration. He fought the health-care bill, and the financial-regulation measure that was passed last week ("Everyone I know in the financial world is terrified by the powers it gives the federal government"). He also opposes the president's climate-change proposals. In his office, Koch showed me a photocopied flyer Greenpeace had produced with sketches of him and Charles below the words wanted for climate crimes and shook it in the air. Koch Industries' emissions, Koch told me, are far less than legally required. "And yet they're attacking us as environmental criminals," he said. "Wanting to put me and Charles in jail." Koch says he's not sure if global warming is caused by human activities, and at any rate, he sees the heating up of the planet as good news. Lengthened growing seasons in the northern hemisphere, he says, will make up for any trauma caused by the slow migration of people away from disappearing coastlines. "The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food," he says.Wow. What a load of... And it goes uncontested by the NY Mag author, Andrew Goldman, who seems to write mostly "people" pieces for the magazine — on Bette Midler, Martha Stewart's daugher, Annie Leibovitz — so he can't be expected to know a big ol' global warming lie when he hears it. But we know it's a Dirty Lie — and if you want to do something about it, please go to the article right now and call Mr. Koch out for his attempts to downplay the seriousness of global warming just so he can keep raking money in hand over fist.
Here's a video about the Greenpeace campaign Mr. Koch was referring to:
Greenpeace issued a report on the Koch Brothers in March 2010 (Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine) and another report last week on Bill Koch, David's twin brother who is waging a campaign to kill Cape Wind, which will be the first offshore wind farm in the nation, just because he doesn't want to look at it from his mansion.
By the way, Greenpeace has relaunched our PolluterWatch website with profiles of all of the Kochs.
New York Magazine got trusted inside access to David Koch (who rarely gives interviews), and provides a detailed biography of the three twisted billionaire Koch brothers. Allowing the magazine such access may have been a PR attempt to do some damage control and fend off the increasing attention the Kochs are receiving for their association with Americans for Prosperity and the radical Tea Party movement. Rachel Maddow has driven this story hard for months. Koch fought back with preemptive press releases that they have nothing to do with the Tea Baggers, but it just got them more bad press on Maddow.
Its great. The Koch legacy of shrouded political action, global warming denial and free-market, anti-government, anti-regulatory radicalism is finally, slowly being dragged out into the sunlight... Accountability is a wonderful thing, especially when it involves the filthy rich.
This post originally appeared on Huffington Post.
This morning, starting at 5.30am, teams of Greenpeace volunteers shut down 50 BP stations across London.
The teams - each named after an animal threatened by BP's reckless oil exploration - fanned out across the capital in their electric and hybrid cars, going station to station and disabling the pumps.
Why today? Because BP is expected to announce later the appointment of Bob Dudley as the company's new head to replace the gaffe-prone Tony Hayward, who led BP during the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
But there's more. This is also about realizing what we can achieve if we set our minds to it.
We can end the oil age. We already have the tools we need to leave it behind and move towards a clean energy future. All that's missing is the determination to make it happen fast.
Tell Congress: No new drilling, period!
ABOVE: The safety switches from the BP Stations in London that were shutdown today by Greenpeace volunteers. These were removed, operating the safety shutdown and and closing the pumps. We're going to return all the switches later but until they fit new ones at the stations, the pumps will be out of action.
This blog post comes from Lisa Vickers, a webbie at Greenpeace International.
That’s the Dirty Lie: The idea, heavily promoted by coal and oil industry lobbyists and their friends in Congress, that there is no remedy for our addiction to fossil fuels. But the truth is that with today’s technology, we can continue to grow our economy while phasing out fossil fuels altogether.
Our Energy [R]evolution report lays out a roadmap for achieving a clean energy economy. It also shows that we could create over a million American jobs in the renewable energy sector alone by 2030.
So if we have the means for kicking our dirty energy habit and moving to clean, green energy, and most Americans are more than supportive, why isn’t it happening? The reason is simple: Big industry has an incredible amount of influence over our energy policy, thanks to decades of campaign contributions to the politicians who make the rules. These companies and politicians defend their planet-killing actions by saying that we need coal and oil. It’s time to call out the Dirty Lie, and break their stranglehold.
That’s where you come in. We need help watchdogging the politicians and talking heads who take money from the fossil fuels industry and then push the Dirty Lie on the American public. Whenever you catch the Dirty Lie being promoted without challenge, or find a case where someone is regurgitating fossil fuels lobbyist talking points as if they were fact, let us know. In turn, we’ll let you know when and where to help set the record straight.
There are a variety of ways you can plug in to our work to call out the Dirty Lie:
3 Ways to expose the Dirty Lie
If you have a Facebook account you can immediately mobilize your friends to expose the dirty lie. When you find an article that repeats the lie, post it to your Facebook with a status message that says something like:
“This article claims that we can’t live without fossil fuels. That is a dirty lie! Please go to the article and leave a comment saying so.”
If you spot the Dirty Lie in the media and want to report it via Twitter, just use the hashtag #dirtylie and make sure you link to the news piece in question. We’ll be searching for this hashtag regularly, so we’ll be sure to find it. You can regularly search for tweets with this hashtag as well, we'll use it to let you know how you can help call out the worst offenders.
Delicious is a Social Bookmarking service that allows you to bookmark and save web pages online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. It's perfect for the work before us of calling out the Dirty Lie!
Delicious also allows you to tag your bookmarks with a keyword. That makes it a great tool for collaboration because we can easily look up all web pages tagged with the key word “DirtyLie.”
Here’s how to help:
1) If you’re new to Delicious, the first thing you need to do is create an account. Go to https://secure.delicious.com/login and follow the instructions. If you have a yahoo account you can use that to quickly create one. If not you’ll need to create one of those too.
2) Add a bookmarklet button to your browser’s bookmark bar. This way you’ll be able to bookmark and tag articles anywhere on the web with just a click. Go to http://delicious.com/help/bookmarklets and follow the instructions for your web browser.
3) Now it’s time to start exposing the Dirty Lie by bookmarking and tagging articles. When you read articles that repeat junk science like “We’ll never have enough renewable energy to replace oil,” click your “Bookmark on Delicious” bookmarklet button you added to your browser. A pop-up window will appear. Add the tag “dirtylie” (important: keep “dirtylie” as one word) and any other tags or info you think is appropriate and click save.
4) Find other articles tagged with “dirtylie” at http://delicious.com/tag/dirtylie. You can read and comment on these articles and find other Delicious users that are exposing the Dirty Lie.
Greenpeace staff and volunteers will be keeping an eye on all of these social networks for the instances of the Dirty Lie you report. We’ll prioritize the worst offenders and let you know how you can help set the record straight.
Of course, you can also stay tuned right here on this blog to find out when and where you can help push back on the Dirty Lie. Stay tuned.
Friends at Greenpeace asked me to visit Washington this week to meet with some key Senators who will be voting soon on chemical plant security.
While admittedly only one on a list of many potential terrorist targets across this country, chemical plants must be given greater attention since from a terrorist's perspective chemical plants offer a maximum kill rate for a minimal effort. Studies have shown that just one chemical facility can place up to a million people at risk.
The facts illustrate that virtually every major populated area has one or more of the 5,000 most lethal, "high-risk"chemical facilities. Sadly, many of these facilities suffer from lax oversight, poor perimeter security, and vulnerable operating technologies.
Such facilities are open to: aerial attack (a terrorist flying a small, private plane into the facility); cyber-attack (a terrorist logging in and overtaking an operating system from a net café half way around the world); internal attack (a disgruntled employee deciding to push a button); and/or mere human error (BP's Deep Horizon oil spill proves that catastrophic accidents can and do happen).
Short of handing out HAZMAT suits and masks to every individual living within the zone of danger, there are other feasible ways to make such lethal facilities safer. One simple way is to use smart security. Smart security essentially means substituting the lethal variety of a chemical with a non-lethal alternative so that if an accidental release occurs nobody dies. Here is a list of 500+ success stories.
Admittedly, using such alternatives will initially create a nominal cost increase to the chemical company but perhaps, more importantly, smart security means no dead people for the surrounding community. Seems like a no-brainer, right?
Nope, it's not because for some in Washington it remains business as usual.
Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 widow and activist, is known for pressuring official Washington to provide a public accounting to the American people of what went wrong on the morning of September 11 and in the months leading up to the disaster that claimed the life of her husband and more than 3000 others.
110 million Americans live with the risk of a large-scale chemical disaster, and many of those are the brave citizens who respond when the worst happens. Ed Schlegel is a retired Fire Captain in California who has first-hand experience with responding to a chemical disaster. He was one of the brave citizens who marched into a chemical plant leaking deadly chlorine gas when the employees were running out. He is proud to protect us, but he knows than many chemical plants don't have to pose this risk.
It's hard to believe that in a post-9/11 world we are not doing everything we can to reduce terrorist targets. All over the country there are chemical and water treatment facilities that are like sitting ducks, unnecessarily storing large amounts of toxic gasses that put thousands to millions of people at risk of a disaster. As we watch the unfolding tragedy in the Gulf we should realize that hypothetical worst-case scenarios can be frighteningly underestimated when they become a reality.
The Senate Needs To Act
Congress has been wrestling with chemical security standards for over a decade and it is now the Senate's turn to pass common-sense measures that reduce the risk of a catastrophic release of poison gas. Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey (a state riddled with chemical facilities) introduced a package of legislation last week that would protect millions of Americans. Once again, though, industry is putting profits over disaster prevention by spreading unsubstantiated claims of economic disaster and job loss.
|A Greenpeace boat in front of the Offshore Windpark Egmond aan Zee off the Dutch coast. America is falling behind in the race to develop renewable energy technologies and utilize renewable resources. Cape Wind would be the first major offshore wind facility in the US.|
After making a killing peddling dirty energy, Bill Koch turns around and uses his immense personal wealth to fund the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, the primary group that finds every possible way to undermine and delay Cape Wind. Even worse, he pays lobbyists through his Oxbow corporation to try and quietly kill the wind farm project altogether.
We compiled the full story behind Bill Koch into a brief dossier which you can read below or righ-click this link and choose "Save Link As" to download the PDF: Bill Koch: The Dirty Money Behind Cape Wind Opposition.
Bill Koch: The Dirty Money Behind Cape Wind Opposition
There are many contradictions in America’s Energy Policy. One that’s come down the pipe recently is just how little we as a society rely upon aggregated costs when determining how expensive coal is.
You’ve heard the talking points: “Coal is cheap and we’ve sure got a lot of it;” “Coal is energy security;” “Coal work provides good quality jobs for lots of folks.”
Well, not exactly.
There is a tremendous human, environmental and governmental cost to coal that is not reflected in its market price. Instead, these costs are borne by society.
Coal is only cheap if you externalize costs. For example, some externalized costs include: air quality costs (like increased rates of asthma, air opacity, poor air quality, coal fires, etc.), the costs of unsafe mining conditions (deforestation, soil erosion, black lung, and the human cost of tragedies like what we recently saw in West Virginia, and the environmental costs of disposal (leaching coal ash ponds, leaking waste destroying fish stocks and agriculture, acid mine drainage).
This is a short list in what is a very large problem. The true cost of coal is in fact very, very high.
Importantly, the debate has heated up recently on one very important aspect of the coal chain of custody: coal ash disposal.
On June 21st, the EPA gave us, the people, 90 days to comment on a federal rule for coal ash disposal. For those that don’t know, coal ash is the residue captured from the chimneys of coal-fired power plants. It contains dangerous pollutants like arsenic, mercury, lead, and a host of other heavy substances and heavy metals. In short, it’s filthy and its never been regulated.
Coal ash impoundments are routinely placed close to schools, residences, and some of the most pristine and beautiful spots in this nation. We have to tell the EPA to act responsibly for both human and environmental health and safety.
To that end, the EPA has given us two choices for its federal rule. One proposal is good and the other is very bad. The first proposal would classify coal ash as a hazardous waste, which it is. The other would classify coal ash as non-hazardous. To classify coal ash as non-hazardous would run contrary to the EPA’s own findings, playing right into the hands of polluting industry.
We need to tell the EPA that we support regulating coal ash as a "special waste" under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Coal Ash is hazardous waste; it destroys communities, destroys our ecosystem, and, unless regulated, will continue to do so in increasing amounts.
The time to act on coal ash is now. Help us get to our target of 10,000 signatures by signing our petition telling the EPA to regulate coal ash as a hazardous substance.
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