Sunday, May 30, 2010

BP worse health, environment and safety record

Woodside Energy Ltd, BHP Billiton Pty Ltd, BP Developments Australia Pty Ltd, Chevron Australia Pty Ltd and Shell Development Australia Pty Ltd’s all have shares in the proposed largest LNG Precinct in the world at James Price Point, Kimberley, Western Australia. It is these very same companies and their subsidiaries companies that are in association with the world's most damaging oil spill. Now in its 41st continuously gushing day – is creating huge unseen "dead zones" in the Gulf of Mexico, according to oceanologists and toxicologists. They say that if their fears are correct, then the sea's entire food chain could suffer years of devastation, with almost no marine life in the region escaping its effects.

While the sight of tar balls and oil-covered birds on Louisiana's shoreline has been the most visible sign of the spill's environmental destruction, many scientists now believe it is underwater contamination that will have the deadliest impact. At least two submerged clouds of noxious oil and chemical dispersants have been confirmed by research vessels, and scientists are seeing initial signs of several more. The largest is some 22 miles long, six miles wide and 3,300 feet deep – a volume that would take up half of Lake Erie. Another spans an area of 20 square miles.

More than 8,300 species of plants and animals are at risk. Some, such as the bluefin tuna, which come to the Gulf to spawn, could even face extinction. Scientists predict it will be many months – even years – before the true toll of the disaster will be known.

BP, one of the worlds biggest oil and gas producer, has a worse health, environment and safety record than many other major oil companies, according to RiskMetrics, a consulting group that assigns scores to companies based on their performance in various categories, including safety.

The 2005 explosion at a refinery in Texas City, Tex., killed 15 workers and injured hundreds more. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined BP a record $87 million for neglecting to correct safety violations.

Only a year later, a leaky BP oil pipeline in Alaska forced the shutdown of one of the nation's biggest oil fields. BP was fined $20 million in criminal penalties after prosecutors said the company had neglected corroding pipelines.

BP had serious concerns about the Deepwater Horizon rig but still broke its own safety policy, The New York Times reports, citing internal company documents.
The documents also showed BP was worried about safety on the rig far earlier than it let on to Congress in hearings earlier this week, the paper reported late Saturday.

The Times said that on June 22, 2009, BP engineers expressed concerns that the metal well casing the company wanted to use might collapse under high pressure.
"This would certainly be a worst-case scenario," Mark Hafle, a senior drilling engineer at BP, warned in an internal report.

"However, I have seen it happen so know it can occur."

According to the report, the company went ahead with the casing but only after getting special permission from colleagues because it violated BP's safety policies and design standards.

The internal reports do not explain why the company allowed for an exception. But they revealed that company officials knew the casing was the riskier of two options, The Times said.

Here are some items from the evidence set being adduced in Kenner and Congress:

The failed blowout preventer on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig had a hydraulic leak and a dead battery in one of its control pods, and testing in the hours before an April 20 explosion revealed that pressure in the well was dangerously out of whack.

While some data were being transmitted to shore for safekeeping right up until the April 20 blast, officials from Transocean, the rig owner, told Congress that the last seven hours of its data are missing and that all written logs were lost in the explosion.

Heavy drilling fluid was unconscionably replaced with lighter seawater against industry standards just prior to the blowout. Over heated objections by experts on the scene, BP management supervisors overruled drillers, and insisted on displacing the mud with seawater

The broken blow out preventer had not been inspected in over five years.

BP was in a severe economic and time crunch to finish the job quickly and were over six weeks behind schedule.

Immediately leading up to the explosion, BP used procedures that violated their own drill plan; and in spite of indications of a “very large abnormality,” kept testing until they got something they could disingenuously claim fulfilled the test.

BP management supervisors refused to run the comprehensive cement bond log test, a definitive test of the integrity of a well’s cement mandated by Federal Regulations if there are concerns with the results of negative and positive pressure tests like were clearly present.

The BP management official on Deepwater Horizon making the unconscionable decisions, over the vehement objections of seasoned drilling experts, Robert Kaluzza has refused to testify by invoking his 5th Amendment criminal right against self incrimination.

BP officials aboard the rig wanted to skip required pressure tests and tried to impose a drilling plan sent directly from BP’s Houston headquarters that had not been approved, as required, by the federal government’s Minerals Management Service.

As a direct and proximate result of the above described reckless, wanton, willful, and grossly negligent conduct, eleven men are dead and the biggest environmental disaster in history has been unleashed on the fragile and critical Gulf of Mexico, threatening the lives and livelihoods of untold numbers of American families. Some of the toxic death foisted upon the environment cannot even be seen because it lurks in deep giant underwater plumes miles wide by miles long.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chevron AGM Chevron bars shareholders from meeting, 5 arrested By Rainforest Action Network:

At least four protesters were arrested this morning at a demonstration outside a Chevron shareholders' meeting downtown. The protesters moved past temporary police barricades and sat on the ground after they were refused entrance into the building at 1400 Smith.

Several dozen protesters -- a few dressed as the sea turtles Chevron is allegedly exterminating -- waved placards declaring "People Over Profits" and listened while several international speakers took turns on a microphone, telling the crowd what brought them here today. The demonstration was sponsored by a coalition of environmental advocacy and human rights groups who issued a "an alternative annual report" called "The True Cost of Chevron," detailing the oil giant's alleged destructive operations around the world.

Some protesters said they had shareholder proxies that should have allowed them into the meeting, but they were blocked by security officers at the building's entrance. While protesters shared a mutual contempt of what they considered Chevron's unethical business practices, they came for a variety of reasons.

You tube video of event - Australian's feature at around the 3 minute mark.

Josh Coates

The first four staged a sit-in at the front of the Chevron building in downtown Houston at the entrance into the shareholder's meeting. Chevron denied over 20 shareholder's from around the world (including Ecuador, Angola, California, Texas, Burma, Australia) entry to the meeting despite having secure paperwork. In response, Reverend Davis staged a sit-in and were joined by Parras, Anderson and Han Shan.

Antonia Juhasz made it into the meeting and was dragged out by security for her comments and arrested amidst chanting protestors.
Omeyele Sowore, a Nigerian activist, showed Hair Balls his shareholder proxy from the San Francisco-based advocacy group As You Sow; Sowore said security told him the document did not look official. Reached by phone, As You Sow President Larry Fahn told us, "This company's actions toward its own shareholders is nothing short of shameful."

Sowore said he had come to Houston to protest the reappointment of Chevron board member George Kirkland, who also served as managing director of Chevron Nigeria Ltd. Sowore said he has testified in federal court as part of a lawsuit filed in 1999 by Niger Delta villagers against Chevron in a California federal court. The suit accused Chevron of acting in concert with Nigerian military police to shoot villagers who protested Chevron's Niger Delta operations. Sowore said one of his friends was killed by Chevron-backed soldiers.

Unlike Sowore, Oxfam International's Ian Gary made it inside the meeting. The human rights organization recently filed a resolution urging Chevron to disclose its payments to governments in the countries where it operates. Gary came to the meeting with advocates from Cambodia, who believed such transparency would hold governments accountable for education and health care funding.

From Alberta came Ryan Derange, a Dene Indian also known as Gitz Crazyboy, who said his shareholder proxy credentials were also refused.

"They said 'improper documentation,'" he told Hair Balls. He had wanted to discuss what he called Chevron's "ecological holocaust" in the Alberta oil sands region that was wiping out his tribe's way of life.

"What are acceptable losses in order to efficiently produce oil?" Derange said he wanted to ask the shareholders. "Is it a cancer cluster?"

For Josh Coates, the issue is humpback whales. Specifically, the preservation of one of the largest humpback whale nurseries in the world, off Australia's Kimberley Coast. Traveling from West Perth on behalf of The Wilderness Society, Coates said Chevron's plans to build a liquified natural gas plant on the coast would threaten the humpback population, as well as a variety of other species. He said his organization is urging Chevron to consider what he said are already-identified viable alternatives.

No Chevron representatives appeared to be present at the protest; Hair Balls asked a security guard if Chevron had made a spokesperson available to the media on the scene, but we were told no one was available. (We put a call into Chevron's San Mateo, California headquarters and are waiting for a response).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Who's your eco-hero

My eco hero is a young women named Erica Fernandez who is inspiring and a real-life young leader who changed her world, at the age of 16.

When Erica found out that a liquefied natural gas facility was proposed for the coast of Oxnard and Malibu with a 36-inch pipeline routed through low-income neighborhoods, she was outraged. She worked in concert with the Sierra Club and Latino No on LNG group to mobilize the youth and Latino voice in protests and public meetings.

She organized weekly protests at the BHP Billiton offices in Oxnard, met regularly with community members, marched through neighborhoods that would be most impacted, reached out to the media, and brought more than 250 high school students to a critical rally. Her passionate testimony at the California State Lands Commission meeting was quoted in news articles, and helped convince the Commission to vote to deny the project. Next, she helped convince the California Coastal Commission to vote 12-0 against the project, and worked on a letter writing and phone call campaign to the Governor asking him to veto the project, just as the commissioners did.

Erica’s community organizing and dogged determination played a crucial role in helping her community to resist a multinational billion-dollar corporation.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Red Hand Goes International

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is emerging as a World Best Practice approach for addressing the social and environmental impact of company activities. Companies from the oil and gas sector are very reluctant to implement and our State government refuses even to want to speak about it. The Broome Community is the only one who can really grant the social licence to operate. Woodside and the State government have to prove to us, as a community that they can operate with responsibility and integrity, so far they are failing miserably.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gulf Air "Unsafe"


Rikki Ott, marine toxicologist and Exxon Valdez survivor, talks to GreenopolisTV about the effects of air pollution due to oil spills. Rikki says based on air monitoring conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a Louisiana coastal community, findings show that airborne levels of toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds, now far exceed safety standards for human exposure currently in those areas.

The first oil from the Gulf of Mexico spill has entered an ocean current that could take it to Florida and up the east coast of the US, scientists say. European scientists warn the spill could reach Florida within six days.

Oil has been spewing into the Gulf since the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, leased by oil giant BP, exploded off the coast of Louisiana on 20 April and sank two days later.

Satellite images released by the European Space Agency (ESA) depict a streak of oil stretching south from the main slick into the Loop Current - a body of fast-flowing water coming from the Caribbean which the agency says is likely to propel oil towards Florida within six days.

Meanwhile, astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station have said they could see the oil spill while passing over the Gulf of Mexico.

"It looks very scary," Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov told reporters via a video link.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Kimberley Land Council WAKE UP

Whilst, redhand is in Africa, thought it would be a good idea to show the supporters of the proposed oil & gas at James Price Point, what their indigenous brothers & sisters are suffering under the very same companies that Kimberley Land Council wish to do deals with. They all have full time employment, its called survival.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Broome Community No Gas Rally

Hundreds gathered at Chinatown Oval in Broome this morning for a peaceful and warm hearted rally to express their support for retaining the Kimberley coast without industrial development, specifically a LNG at James Price Point.
It was a spectacle of banners, placards, floating fish, paddling turtles and a waving whale, music and people.
Inspiring performances by Kerrianne Cox, Steve Pigram, Harry Jackamarra, Clint and Wil Thomas; The speakers Joseph Roe, Lorna Cox, Neil McKenzie, Martin Pritchard, Arnhem Hunter, Robyn Wells, Kerry Marvell and Chris Maher urged us to stay strong; to write to the Prime Minister; make this an election issue; beware the social consequences; understand what’s happened in the Pilbara; a wise warning about the drug issues ‘without speed the Burrup would never have been built’; to be informed; to ask questions; understand what real Indigenous employment means; keep looking after country. The message was loud and clear, no one here wants gas in the Kimberley.
“Thanks everyone
Good onya
Keep the faith
Spread the word
Stay strong for country”

Friday, May 7, 2010

WWF - As US oil spill worsens, Australia delays report

WWF - As US oil spill worsens, Australia delays report

Sunrise decision 'fails legal test'

May 7, 2010

THE regulator of East Timor's petroleum industry has accused Woodside of failing to comply with its legal obligations before announcing plans to build a floating liquefied natural gas platform above the Timor Sea's Greater Sunrise field.

In a confidential letter seen by BusinessDay, the independent National Petroleum Authority criticised Woodside for failing to provide regulators with detailed reports and its findings on all three possible development plans for the field before deciding on the floating platform.

East Timor's leaders have repeatedly demanded the gas be piped to a processing plant in East Timor and say they will not approve either a floating platform or piping the gas to Darwin, which the Woodside-led consortium also considered.

As accusations swirl around the multibillion-dollar joint venture, East Timor's Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, refused to meet Woodside chief executive Don Voelte in Dili yesterday, saying he would not compromise the "integrity" of "negotiation mechanisms".

A group of about 200 protesters prevented Mr Voelte (pictured right) and representatives of the other joint-venture partners from leaving Dili's VIP airport lounge for almost two hours yesterday.

After the tense standoff, the group was eventually allowed to leave for a meeting with East Timor's President, Jose Ramos Horta, who has asked for briefings on the project.

"We wanted Mr Voelte and his party to know that Timorese demand the gas be piped to East Timor to promote our economic growth and jobs," said Vincente Mauboci, the group's spokesman.

In a confidential letter dated May 4, Mr Gusmao told Mr Voelte he was "surprised" by the company's announcement about a floating platform and said he was convinced "there must have been a wrongful interpretation" of the Greater Sunrise agreement.

Comments by Mr Gusmao and other East Timorese political leaders about Greater Sunrise have fuelled nationalist sentiment in the nation of 1 million people.

Some influential Timorese believe that development of the field should be delayed and say the government in Dili should not be afraid of walking away from the deal in which East Timor and Australia would equally share $US40 billion ($A44 billion) in revenue.

East Timor is debt free and has almost $US6 billion of oil and gas revenue invested in the US, which is increasing by $US100 million a month.

But local institutions lack the capacity to provide the services and infrastructure needed to lift the majority of Timorese from poverty.

In his letter to Mr Voelte, Mr Gusmao, a former guerilla commander and revolutionary hero, challenged Woodside's pledge that building a floating platform would boost Timorese employment and training skills.

"As far as we know, from 2002 until now, there have only been seven Timorese officers working as trainees in ConocoPhillips," Mr Gusmao said, referring to Woodside's consortium partner.

"This suggests to us that the best we can look forward to under your concept is having another seven Timorese working with you.''

Gulf Oil Spill - Where's The Latest Imagery?

For the most reliable up todate information about the Gulf Oil Spill follow utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Skytruth+%28SkyTruth%29.
both on their site and on tweeter.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We beg your patience. Our main source of imagery is from the NASA satellites, Terra and Aqua, that carry the MODIS sensor. This sensor measures visible to infrared wavelengths of light, so when it's cloudy or hazy in the Gulf, we get a nice picture of...clouds and haze. MODIS images also show a distinct pattern of glittery sunglint on the water (when there are no clouds in the way, and the geometry with the sun is just right). This can be very useful for mapping oil slicks because the oil flattens out the water, and will appear either very dark or very bright (depending, again, on the sun angle). But other things can make the water flat: calm winds, for example. So if we get a MODIS image that suffers from too many of these quality problems, we don't process and post it because it's not providing useful information about the spill.

See our Twitter feed (just glance to your right!) - that's where we post updates and info that's briefer and more timely than these blog entries. Follow us on Twitter and when we know it, you'll know it.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gas hub claims process heats up

Gas hub claims process heats up

New oil lease 83kms offshore from Margaret River,

SURFERS and conservationists are leading the fight to get the South West marine environment protected from possible offshore oil development.

The Surfrider Foundation and Conservation Council of WA have joined forces to organise a community rally this Saturday at noon at Reuther Park.

It comes in response to plans for a new oil lease 83kms offshore from Margaret River, in an area designated for assessment for future marine sanctuaries.The Greens have demanded the Western Australian Government give the south-west marine environment priority over oil development in the region.

An area of ocean, off the coast of Margaret River, was short-listed in the 2010 Offshore Petroleum Acreage Releases.

The area has also been earmarked as a potential marine sanctuary.

The Conservation Council has called on the Government to postpone a decision about the oil lease until a marine assessment is completed.

Greens' Senator Rachael Siewert says protecting marine life should be the Government's primary concern.

"We know this area has some very unique environmental features, we know it's important for whales," she said.

"Given that this area is being considered for marine protection, we believe that process needs to proceed before any decisions are made about oil and gas exploration."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Outcry after oil spill

For the Gulf #oilspill: Today's MODIS satellite image - fresh oil upwelling, slick footprint up to 3260 sq. miles -
and additional news at

Indigenous group to lodge new James Price Pt claim

Indigenous group to lodge new James Price Pt claim

Scientists oppose Broome gas hub

Scientists oppose Broome gas hub

NASA Satellite Images Show Gulf Oil Spill Size Larger Than Florida

Social networking may turn out to be the first line of defense against public relations spin by providing real time gathering of data on the massive river of oil flowing into the Gulf of Mexico from the Transocean/Deepwater Horizon well explosion. Maps generated by satellite and "predictions" are only so valuable. One of the tenets of remote sensing is that "ground truthing" be a mandatory part of the equation. Truth is the operative word here as Gulf Coast residents face an unprecedented environmental disaster.

It’s been a bit of a revelation for Redhand about the extent in which the flow of information is so controlled and this has clearly been illustrated by the way in which the Mexican Gulf Oil Spill information flow has in lots of ways dried up. There are no new videos, or images for the last three days and those that are up there are very difficult to upload or do not connect at all. The ones that are getting through are either company or government issued or driven. This major news item seems to have dropped out of the major media outlets view.

It’s not just Redhand, many people all over the world are currently complaining about the lack of information flow and the validity of the trickle that is getting through about this spill. Even twitter has slowed to a tweet, every now and again. Research on this issue confirms that the free flow of information on the internet is manipulated and controlled over the years by corporations and governments and they are getting far more efficient at it. Printing press, radio, and television all started with free flow, but then became one way medias, in the hands of a few.

We can not allow ourselves to be thrown off track by these distracters who have hijacked our debates. These information hijackers are terrorists--I call them, information terrorists that are taking the reigns of our media, spreading their propaganda, refusing people’s access to real life truth, demeaning our freedom of speech and limiting our abilities to respond to issues in an informed way?

Redhand has experienced this first hand with the complete cover up of the Broome Dinosaur trackways blog and the Australian National Heritage Commission’s complete denial of the world significance of this 200 kms site. Only the local media picked up this story and it really went nowhere. Normally, stories of this nature would attract international and national coverage.

It does not matter if it is ordinary citizens who are inputting real-time photos and testimony in order for the general public to have the opportunity to experience first hand what is really happening in the Gulf of Mexico and along its shores, if their flows of information have been cut and they are locked out.

Following is a comment on another blog
Alexander Higgins says:
May 4, 2010 at 12:43 am

Seriously…. Where is all of the silt in the prior satellite photos? There are loads of them on this site and that “silt” only seems to surround the spill.
For example, is the satellite image from 4/26… no “silt”.
Prior to the incident, 4/16 and again no “silt”.
Also: updated article and added the ABC map, which is very close to what I have outlined with the exception that the ABC map does not go as far south.
And what the news is reporting is closer to what BP/Big Brother is telling them which has been proven to be a lie several times in this debacle. Even CNN’s latest map shows the spill decreased in size since yesterday, which happens to coincide with a FALSE BP report that they were successful in a partial sealing of the rig.
CNN Data shows oil spill on May 2, which is much larger than what they show for May 3rd.
But here is CNN’s graph for May 3rd. How did this happen? BP mistakenly released a false statement they were successful in partially sealing off the well. Just coincidence?
Regardless, the graph does not match ABC’s. Further most organizations are reporting data that is days old and even that is from Government sources. SkyTruth has already called out government sources twice. Remember when it was only 1,000 barrels a day? If it wasn’t for SkyTruth, CNN and every other media outlet would be reporting much lower figures.
Listen to the news, heh? CNN or ABC or who?? Or just look at the satellite images and see for myself. Hum?

NASA Satellite Images Show Gulf Oil Spill Size Larger Than Florida

Saturday, May 1, 2010


If Woodside Petroleum chief Don Voelte had had any personal or professional experience or consequence with the Exxon Valdez (Prince William Sound) spill or the Montara blowout or the current catastrophe playing itself in the Gulf Coast, he could never be so ignorant in his arrogance.

It really would not take that much to blow the wind out of Mr Voelte’s sales: an unseasonable weather event, a tanker explosion, a leaking pipe or hundreds of his company’s workers all starting to drop dead because they are being exposed to such high levels of unmonitored and unacceptable levels of toxic emissions. There are thousands of possible variables that would really put all the meanings of slam (bang crash smash thump), into Mr Voltel's expression Slam Dunk.7

There are major concerns for all the people and their communities living along the Gulf Coast because even after 20 years, the Prince William Sound is still experiencing subsurface oil all over their environment, not to mention trying to manage the social, economic and community health impacts that still haunts. Even after their seventeen years of a hard fought court battle, these local residents (plaintiffs) received 5 cents to the dollar that was awarded by a jury.

Are those working on the Gulf spill aware that this stuff is very toxic to human health? Redhanded wouldn’t be surprised if most of the people standing up to assist in the clean up operations underway in the Gulf Coast (impossible task) are not trained and will not be wearing or provided with respirators. Unfortunately, this health effects toll will guarantee ongoing rotations of lots of high paying jobs.

The facts are that as long as we: tie ourselves to fossil fuels, trust multinationals with their fallible technologies and weak counterbalance responses, or rely on lead by their nose feeble governments, we will continue to have these total economic, social and environmental tragedies.

We need to manage our responsibilities with solid visionary leadership based on the principles for the real overall well-being of the planet and for the real benefit of all occupants of this planet and not for the profit of a few, who are addicted to the selfish greed conscious that is founded on the theory at any cost.

Bits of signed paper does nothing to stop oil spills or gas blowouts and it does not matter what type of strategic preparedness you have in place or the mitigating management plans nothing can beat the first cold light of reality.

The Oil and Gas industries are very toxic both to the environment and the people that live in that shared environment. It does not matter whether it’s a tanker spill, a gas blow out, a platform spill, or the everyday oil leak from one of the millions of vehicles people drive that finds its way into the ocean and or the groundwater aquifer system that we are totally reliant on.

All the major multinational companies are interlinked and internet-connected for controlled propaganda purposes, and for the overall manipulating of the masses with their chosen selected half truths. Whether its oil or gas, media or even war marauding, they all sit on each other Boards of Management and share their shares. Multinationals companies, their shareholders and all their workers are all pushing for energy development with fossil fuels and in all truth are all it in for the money.

Redhanded is very sorry for the people who have lost their loved ones, those who have lost their special places that they truly loved, that sustained them, their communities, and all the hopes they held for their children's futures.

We will challenge the Don Voletes of the world, their old fashion and highly limited mentality, their inadequate and totally inappropriate visions of complete depletion of our planet and its precious resources, for the sake of the greedy. The price is too high and James will not be paying.
“slam dunk”