|NIGERIA: Shell to Pay $15.5 Million to Settle Nigerian Case|
by Jad Mouawad, New York Times
June 8th, 2009
Royal Dutch Shell agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a case accusing it of taking part in human rights abuses in the Niger Delta, a striking sum given it has denied any wrongdoing. Ken Saro-Wiwa, Shell’s most prominent critic at the time in Nigeria, was hanged in 1995 by that country’s military regime after protesting Shell's environmental practices in the oil-rich delta, especially in his native Ogoni region.
|INDONESIA: Scramble for coal assets in Indonesia|
by Sundeep Tucker and John Aglionby, Financial Times
June 7th, 2009
Some of the world’s largest energy groups are scrambling to acquire coal mining assets in Indonesia as family-run conglomerates consider divestments to raise cash. Peabody Energy, the US coal miner, and Xstrata, the Anglo-Swiss miner, are believed to be among those interested. Industry analysts said Chinese, South Korean, Indian and Middle Eastern companies were also scouring Indonesia for assets.
|US: 'Roadless' Forest Areas Now Under Vilsack|
by David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post
May 29th, 2009
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a temporary order yesterday governing development in "roadless" areas of national forests, requiring all new projects to be approved by him personally. A USDA official said it is unclear whether projects with a strictly commercial aim, such as logging or mining, will be allowed.
|FINLAND: In Finland, Nuclear Renaissance Runs Into Trouble|
by James Kanter, New York Times
May 28th, 2009
As the Obama administration tries to steer America toward cleaner sources of energy, it would do well to consider the cautionary tale of this new-generation nuclear reactor site. The massive power plant under construction on muddy terrain on this Finnish island was supposed to be the showpiece of a nuclear renaissance. But things have not gone as planned.
|US: Chevron annual meeting heats up over Ecuador suit|
by Jordan Robertson, Washington Post
May 27th, 2009
In a combative and sometimes colorful annual meeting, Chevron's CEO and chairman exchanged barbs with activists over pollution in the Amazon rain forest and the company's human rights record. The nation's second-largest oil company is awaiting a verdict from a judge in Ecuador that could come with a $27 billion price tag.
|EUROPE: Greenpeace warns on Shell oil sands projects|
by Carola Hoyos, Financial Times
May 18th, 2009
A study by Greenpeace and several other environmental groups has concluded that Royal Dutch Shell's carbon intensity will rise 85 per cent as it develops its oil and gas fields in the coming years. Campaigners warn Shell’s investors that this disadvantages the company vis a vis its peers as US and European policymakers move towards a broad cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions. Shell’s growing carbon intensity stems from its resource base, which is heavily made up of Canadian oil and Nigerian gas.
|ECUADOR: In Ecuador, Resentment of an Oil Company Oozes|
by SIMON ROMERO and CLIFFORD KRAUSS, New York Times
May 14th, 2009
Texaco, the American oil company that Chevron acquired in 2001, once poured oil waste into pits used decades ago for drilling wells in Ecuador's northeastern jungle. Texaco’s roughnecks are long gone, but black gunk from the pits seeps to the topsoil here and in dozens of other spots. These days the only Chevron employees who visit the former oil fields do so escorted by bodyguards toting guns. They represent one side in a bitter fight that is developing into the world’s largest environmental lawsuit, with $27 billion in potential damages.
|WORLD: When Chevron Hires Ex-Reporter to Investigate Pollution, Chevron Looks Good|
by Brian Stelter, New York Times
May 10th, 2009
When Chevron learned that “60 Minutes” was preparing a potentially damaging report about oil company contamination of the Amazon rain forest in Ecuador, it hired a former journalist to produce a mirror image of the report, from the corporation’s point of view. An Ecuadorean judge is expected to rule soon on whether Chevron owes up to $27 billion in damages.
|CHINA: Slump Tilts Priorities of Industry in China|
by Jonathan Ansfield, New York Times
April 18th, 2009
Less than a year ago, officials pressed mines and factories in northern China to shut down or move away to clear the air for the Beijing Olympics. Now, amid the global economic downturn, priorities have shifted. Cumbersome environmental reviews have been accelerated, and China’s powerful state oil companies are pushing hard to postpone nationwide rollout of clean air standards due to the billions of dollars required to invest in their refineries to produce clean diesel.
|US: Oil Giants Loath to Follow Obama’s Green Lead |
by Jad Mouawad, New York Times
April 7th, 2009
The Obama administration seeks the most ambitious transformation of energy policy in a generation. But Big Oil is not on board. Royal Dutch Shell said last month that it would freeze research and investments in wind, solar and hydrogen power, and focus its alternative energy efforts on biofuels. BP, a company that has spent nine years saying it was moving “beyond petroleum,” has been getting back to petroleum since 2007, paring back its renewable program. The list goes on.
|AFRICA/CHINA: As Chinese Investment in Africa Drops, Hope Sinks|
by Lydia Polgreen, New York Times
March 25th, 2009
As global commodity prices have plummeted and several of China’s partners in Africa have stumbled deeper into chaos, China has backed away from some of its riskiest and most aggressive plans. China has sought to secure minerals in Africa through agreements to build huge projects in exchange for minerals. African governments are now realizing that these deals are loans against future revenue, and falling prices could leave them saddled with debt.
|US/CANADA: Alaskan lake’s fate could echo across continent|
by Todd Wilkinson, Christian Science Monitor
March 24th, 2009
A landmark legal case now before the US Supreme Court holds huge implications for lakes across the continent. Nearly four decades the Clean Water Act was passed to protect waterways from industrial pollution, a proposal by Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. to dispose of tons of effluent in Alaska's Lower Slate Lake has sparked an international debate.
|CHILE: Chilean Town Withers in Free Market for Water|
by Alexei Barrionuevo, New York Times
March 15th, 2009
Nowhere is the system for buying and selling water more permissive than in Chile, where water rights are private property, not a public resource, and can be traded like commodities with little government oversight or safeguards for the environment. The small town of Quillaga is being swallowed up in the country’s intensifying water wars.
|ECUADOR/CANADA: Canadian Mining Firm Financed Violence in Ecuador: Lawsuit|
by Jennifer Moore, Tyee Online
March 3rd, 2009
Three villagers from the valley of Intag in northwestern Ecuador are suing Copper Mesa Mining Corporation and the Toronto Stock Exchange. They allege not enough has been done to reduce the risk of harm being faced by farmers and community leaders who have faced violent threats and attacks for opposition to a large open-pit copper mine in their pristine cloud forests.
|EUROPE: Europe to Allow Two Bans on Genetically Altered Crops|
by James Kanter, New York Times
March 2nd, 2009
European Union governments delivered a blow Monday to the biotechnology industry, allowing Austria and Hungary to maintain national bans on growing genetically modified crops from Monsanto. The market for genetically engineered crops is worth several billion dollars worldwide.
|CANADA: The Canadian Oil Boom: Scraping Bottom|
by Robert Kunzig, National Geographic
March 1st, 2009
Once considered too expensive, as well as too damaging to the land, exploitation of Alberta's oil sands is now a gamble worth billions.
Syncrude and Suncor are two of the largest producers of bitumen; Canada is now the largest importer of oil to the United States, with tar sands exploitation slated to increase rapidly over the next five years.
|US: Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests|
by Leslie Kaufman, New York Times
February 25th, 2009
The U.S. obsession with soft toilet paper has driven the growth of brands like Cottonelle Ultra, Quilted Northern Ultra and Charmin Ultra. But fluffiness comes at a price: millions of trees harvested in North America and in Latin American countries, including some percentage of trees from rare old-growth forests in Canada.