Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Sid Ryan rightly criticizes Tim Hudak's anti-labour plans as a push toward poverty rather than prosperity.

- Via Climate Progress, Steven Mufson reports on the causes of Enbridge's Michigan oil spill - with Enbridge's complete failure to repair known defects over a period of five years included among the reasons:
The cost of the spill has reached $800 million and is rising, the NTSB said, making the pipeline rupture the most expensive on-shore oil spill in U.S. history. The pipeline’s contents — heavy crude oil from Canada’s oil sands — have made the spill a closely watched case with implications for other pipelines carrying such crude.

The NTSB also blamed “weak federal regulations” by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for the accident, which spilled at least 843,444 gallons of oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo in Marshall, Mich. The oil spread into a 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo and a nearby wetlands area.

The NTSB said Enbridge had noticed cracks as early as 2005 but had failed to repair them.

“This accident is a wake-up call to the industry, the regulator, and the public,” NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. “Enbridge knew for years that this section of the pipeline was vulnerable yet they didn’t act on that information.” She added that “for the regulator to delegate too much authority to the regulated to assess their own system risks and correct them is tantamount to the fox guarding the hen house.” 
- Which means that B.C. citizens look to have every reason for their reaction to Enbridge's pipeline propaganda (as documented by Vaughn Palmer):
(S)uddenly, amid the usual flow of advertisements for automobiles, communication services and cold drinks, there was one of those Enbridge spots touting the Northern Gateway as “more than a pipeline, it’s a path to the future.”

Sparkling colours. Relentlessly cheery. Nice production values, as one would expect with a campaign priced in the millions of dollars.

But here’s the thing: The audience actually booed the pro-pipeline pitch and did so with considerable enthusiasm.

How often that has been happening in movie theatres, I have no idea. But I was struck by the thought of Enbridge launching a campaign to — in the words of a company representative — “help British Columbians understand what the project is all about” only to have its best efforts greeted by a chorus of boos.
- Finally, Heather Mallick offers up an appropriate level of thanks to Jason Kenney for his attacks on refugees.

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