Friday, August 26, 2016

Repeated Spills Show the Soulless Self Interest of Fossil Fuel Companies

A number of fossil fuel companies are guilty of repeated spills. This includes companies like PetroPeru, Shell, and Duke Energy. Whether crude oil or coal ash, these leaks are a regular occurrence. It is safe to say that these companies and many like them are guilty of chronic spill recidivism. Sadly, repeated spills are the norm not the exception.

They remain undeterred even in the face of  massive fines. Last October BP was forced to payout more than $20 billion in a settlement agreement for the massive oil leak caused by the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon. The cost of this one spill is approaching $62 billion. A bit more than a month ago BP agreed to settle a lawsuit and pay investors $175 million because of the companies failure to disclose business risks.

Spills are not only expensive for fossil fuel companies, they are utterly devastating to wildlife and people. In Peru four spills have occurred from the same pipeline this year and 23 have occurred in the last five years.. The troubled half century old 687-mile pipeline belongs to State owned oil company Petroperu. The latest spill occurred in August and there were two spills in February that were devastating to local indigenous people. Another rupture was reported on June 24th. The most recent spill took place right around the same time as PetroPeru was fined $3 million for improper clean-up of the Cuninico oil spill in 2014.

Shell is also is guilty of repeated spills in 2016 with two occurring in the span of a week. The first occurred on May 12 and then another on May 23.

Duke energy recently leaked 50,000 gallons of storm water over a coal pile at the Roger Energy Complex into the Broad River near Mooresboro, N.C. Duke is another fossil fuel giant that has a long rap sheet of spills. They are best known for their broken storm water pipe that spilled up to 39,000 tons of coal ash into the Dan River in February 2014. Then they got caught pumping coal ash into public waterways a month later.

Duke pleaded guilty to nine violations of the Federal Clean Water Act in May of 2015 and they where ordered to pay $102 million fine which upon appeal was commuted to $6.6 million. But Duke still doesn't want to pay so they are contesting.

All of these companies have done everything in their power to avoid paying their fines. They refuse to accept responsibility for their roles as causal agents in climate change so it is no surprise that have no desire to assume responsibility for the damages they are causing through spills. The devastation in Louisiana is a case in point. Massive flooding has ravaged the state, and oil companies have yet to invest in coastal recovery projects even though this increases the risk of yet more spills as their pipelines are being exposed to corrosive salt water through coastal erosion.

Time and time again fossil fuel companies have shown soulless disregard for people and for the planet.

Pipelines and Oil Spills in Alberta Canada
The Dangers of Transporting Fossil Fuels
Top 25 Oil Spills Over 1000 Tonnes in the Last Decade

No comments: