Friday, December 14, 2012

Lawsuit Targets US $3 Billion Spending on Fracking and LNG Projects in Great Barrier Reef

For Immediate Release: December 12th, 2012

Sarah Uhlemann, Center for Biological Diversity, + 1 (206) 327-2344
Teri Shore, Turtle Island Restoration Network, + 1 (707) 934-7081
Doug Norlen, Pacific Environment, +1 (202) 465-1650
Dirty Fossil Fuel Facilities Threaten Endangered Sea Turtles and Dugong

                                                                            SAN FRANCISCO— Conservation groups filed a lawsuit today challenging the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s nearly $3 billion in financing for a massive Australian fossil fuel facility in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. 

Construction and operation of the liquefied natural gas facility will threaten sea turtles, dugongs and other protected marine species, as well as the Great Barrier Reef itself. The lawsuit seeks strong environmental protections for the projects as required under U.S. law. Download the complaint below.

“Dirty fossil fuel facilities don’t belong in a world-famous marine sanctuary like the Great Barrier Reef,” said Sarah Uhlemann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This liquefied natural gas project doesn’t meet U.S. standards, and we shouldn’t be subsidizing the world’s fossil fuel dependence or the destruction of a natural wonder like the Great Barrier Reef.”

The Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that funds international projects to promote U.S. exports, provided a $3 billion loan in May 2012 for the project, which will be located in Queensland, northeast Australia.

The Australia Pacific LNG project will include drilling 10,000 coal-seam gas wells in interior Queensland using controversial “fracking” techniques, digging nearly 300 miles of gas pipelines and constructing a massive natural-gas processing facility and export terminal. To provide access to the new terminal, the project requires dredging the adjacent harbor and its seagrass beds. Increased tanker traffic will eventually ship the fuel across the Great Barrier Reef to ports in Asia and around the world.

“Sea turtles and dugongs are already imperiled due to the fossil fuel frenzy now underway across Australia,” said Teri Shore, program director of Turtle Island Restoration Network. “To allow oil companies to industrialize this critical nesting and feeding haven in the Great Barrier Reef will push these vulnerable marine animals ever closer to the brink.”

“The Export-Import Bank has a sad history of funding environmental damage, but a fossil fuel project inside one of the world's most important marine reserves is a new low.  Ex-Im Bank should focus on renewable energy and stop worsening the world’s addiction to fossil fuels,” said Doug Norlen, policy director with Pacific Environment.

The Great Barrier Reef was given World Heritage status to preserve its remarkable natural beauty, coral reefs and rare dugong and sea turtle habitat; the new liquid natural gas plant will be located within the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. UNESCO, the international body charged with overseeing implementation of the World Heritage Convention, issued a report in June expressing “extreme concern” over the project’s impacts on the reef. UNESCO has threatened to add the reef to the “In Danger” list, a designation made when activities of a host country or outside entities threaten a world heritage area.

The natural gas project will also harm several species protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act, including dugongs and green and loggerhead sea turtles; it will degrade seagrass and other habitats, diminish water clarity and quality, and increase the risk of ship strikes.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, asserts violations of the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act, which implements U.S. obligations under the World Heritage Convention. The case raises the unresolved legal issue of whether the Endangered Species Act applies to U.S. agency actions taken outside of U.S. borders.

Turtle Island Restoration Network is a non-profit environmental organization committed to the study, protection, enhancement, conservation, and preservation of the marine environment and wildlife.  TIRN has approximately 60,000 members and supporters around the world including Australia and has offices in the United States and Costa Rica. For more information, visit 

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 350,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. For more information, visit 

Pacific Environment protects the living environment of the Pacific Rim. We have partnered with local and indigenous communities in Russia, China, California, and the Alaskan Arctic for more than two decades. We believe that long term environmental and social progress originates from strengthening local communities and grassroots movements, complemented with sophisticated policy advocacy at international finance and governance institutions. See


  1. This is a great courtcase and hoping for a great result.

    Didn't Woodside say some time back they were looking at finance from this bank?

    John Howard lobbied Israel to get Woodside over the line on gas

    From:The Australian
    December 15, 201212:00AM

    JOHN Howard lobbied the Israeli Prime Minister to back Woodside Petroleum's purchase of a stake in the huge Leviathan gasfield.

    The Weekend Australian has confirmed that the former prime minister sent a letter to Mr Netanyahu on September 11 this year just as Woodside was in the final stages of a competitive bid to purchase the 30 per cent stake in Leviathan, which is slated to become Israel's first LNG project.


    Ningaloo Oil Plans

    Green groups have called on authorities to increase protection for World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef urgently after Apache Energy revealed plans to explore for oil just 13km from the area.

    Documents lodged with the Federal Environment Department yesterday show US-based Apache wants to undertake seismic surveys of an area north-east of Ningaloo Marine Park from February.

    The bid comes just 11 days after Apache - the company behind the Varanus Island gas explosion - asked for Commonwealth permission to carry out similar work over a nearby area 28km from the reef.

    In launching the bids, Apache has joined a growing list of companies actively involved in seeking or taking oil and gas off Ningaloo - one of WA's premier natural assets.

    In October, BHP Billiton revealed plans to explore just 5km from Ningaloo days after rival oil major Shell started a $60 million drilling program near the reef.

    According to Apache's latest submission, the Ningaloo area was a "matter of national environmental significance" but seismic testing was unlikely to have a major effect on its values.

    World Wildlife Fund WA director Paul Gamblin disputed the claim, saying seismic activity was known to disrupt migration patterns of marine species including whales and dugongs.

    Mr Gamblin said the State and Federal governments had an obligation to ensure Ningaloo was properly protected but instead they were allowing industry to surround it.

    "It really is high time I think that governments indicated how it's going to manage these areas so close to Ningaloo," Mr Gamblin said.

    "It's absolutely not good enough for us to see these referrals for seismic and drilling coming every few weeks now when we don't know where it's all going."

    The Conservation Council of WA agreed, with a spokesman saying every new oil and gas project off Ningaloo heightened the risk of an environmental disaster.

    An Apache spokesman said it was planning to do work only in areas it was permitted to explore.

    "Apache is committed to conducting all its operations and activities with minimal impact on the environment and other marine stakeholders and in compliance with all Federal and State laws," he said.
    DID YOU KNOW? 260km The length of Ningaloo Reef

  2. CHEVRON :

    US oil giant Chevron has agreed to pay 310 million reales ($A148 million)) to Brazil for an oil spill last year that fouled beaches in Rio de Janeiro, officials said.

    The November 2011 spill saw some 3000 barrels of crude soil the waters of the Atlantic near the Frade oil field, located some 370 kilometres northwest of Rio.

    A report released in July by Brazil's National Petroleum Agency accused Chevron of negligence and said the company could have avoided the spill.


    Chevron Witness Faces Defamation Lawsuit In Ecuador for Lying In Sworn Affidavit, Lawyers Say

    “Reyes is yet another Chevron witness peddling junk science and fake facts,” said Hinton.

    Other witnesses in the Ecuador matter presented by Chevron who ended up having little or no credibility include:

    **Diego Borja, a field worker for Chevron's legal team who admitted to helping the company corrupt scientific evidence during the trial while being paid at least $2.2 million in fees and other benefits.

    **Sara Portilla, Borja’s wife who ran Chevron’s supposedly “independent” lab in Ecuador while her husband manipulated soil samples at the well sites; she now works for Chevron in the U.S.

    **John Conner, a Houston-based technical expert who wrote a "playbook" directing the company's technicians to find only "clean" soil samples during the judicial inspections process; Conner has testified that Chevron paid his company at least $8 million for working in Ecuador.

    **Ralph Marquez, formerly the lead lobbyist for the chemical industry in Texas who worked as in “independent” monitor for the Chevron during the Ecuador trial. Marquez is a Karl Rove ally whose main expertise is using junk science to protect corporate polluters.

    **Douglas Southgate, a global warming apologist and academic who worked as a consultant with Chevron.

    Hinton said Chevron lawyers clearly designed the Reyes affidavit as part of its campaign to mislead shareholders and to distract attention from asset seizure actions that threaten $15 billion in company assets in Canada, Brazil and Argentina. Chevron’s management team is under enormous pressure from several large shareholders for its bungling of the Ecuador lawsuit.

    Reyes worked for Chevron during the mid-1990s as an expert on a “remediation” that multiple courts have found was part of the oil giant’s long-running fraud in Ecuador.


    Chevron Trying to Block Release of Documents Related to Its Corruption in Ecuador, Records Show

    “Chevron’s management is fighting furiously to hide thousands of pages of critical internal documents because it fears having its greed and misconduct exposed to the world,” said Hinton. “Watson is also terrified that shareholders who are raising questions about his bungling of the Ecuador lawsuit will use the documents to make an even stronger case against his continued leadership of the company.”

    “We believe these hidden documents will demonstrate that Chevron knowingly committed environmental crimes in Ecuador, and then tried to cover it up with a sham remediation, bribes to government officials, and threats to judges,” said Hinton.


  3. CHEVRON cont...

    Summary of Overwhelming Evidence
    Against Chevron in Ecuador Trial

    .....Chevron (a) recklessly adopted sub-standard operational
    practices in Ecuador to cut production costs to the bare minimum, creating what experts believe
    could be the largest and most damaging oil-related disaster of all time; (b) flagrantly violated
    multiple Ecuadorian laws, its own contractual obligations, and oil industry standards in effect at
    the time; and thereby (c) caused massive environmental damage to an area the size of Rhode
    Island that for decades to come will create myriad health risks for thousands of rainforest
    inhabitants unless there is a comprehensive clean-up. The evidence against Chevron comes not
    only from the plaintiffs, but also from Chevron’s own experts and environmental auditors as
    well as independent third-party sources. The damages also included a punitive component
    designed to punish Chevron for trying to sabotage the trial and threaten judges with jail time if
    they did not rule in the company's favor.
    Human health impacts. Substances found in TPH and at the inspected sites include
    known human carcinogens and toxins such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, polycyclic
    aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzoanthracene, benzopyrene, and phenanthrene. The soil and
    water samples taken from Chevron sites established illegal levels of barium, cadmium, copper,
    chromium VI, mercury, naphthalene, nickel, lead, vanadium, and zinc. The trial court relied on
    materials from U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (the preeminent
    authority on toxicity) to describe how these chemicals adversely affect the functioning of the
    immune, nervous and reproductive systems and can cause cancer.
    The court calculated the
    damages from data and analyses provided to the court by numerous experts from both parties.
    For example, the per-cubic-meter cost estimate for remediating soil was provided by Chevron’s
    own nominated expert, Gerardo Barros. The overall $8.5 billion assessment of actual damages is
    modest compared to BP’s estimated $60 billion liability for its 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in
    the Gulf of Mexico. In contrast to the BP spill, Chevron's Ecuador contamination has existed for
    almost 50 years, has poisoned one of the world's most delicate and bio-diverse ecosystems, has
    decimated indigenous groups, and creates grave health risks for tens of thousands of men,
    women, and children.
    Finally, the trial court reviewed the voluminous evidence of Chevron’s contemptuous actions
    toward the plaintiffs and malfeasance throughout the trial, from its constant campaign to delay
    the process with frivolous motions to its outright attempts to corrupt, impugn, and even threaten
    the court, and concluded that this misconduct warranted the imposition of a “moral damages”
    award equal to the amount of the actual damages, but offered Chevron the chance to avoid
    paying this award entirely if it simply apologized publicly to the victims of its contamination.
    Chevron refused. The appeals court, too, focused on the unprecedent depth of Chevron’s
    “flagrant bad faith” and upheld the moral damages portion of the trial court award in its entirety.

  4. LOL - Barnett wont like this...

    Shell has reignited speculation about a potential takeover of BP after its chief executive spoke publicly about the Anglo-Dutch group's recent interest in buying its fiercest rival, whose share price is still recovering from the Gulf of Mexico blowout.

    Peter Voser, the Shell boss, told a German newspaper that Shell had considered a move on BP in the past two years and answered "no comment" to the question of whether that ambition remained.

    "I can't imagine that there was anyone in our industry that didn't have a look at it. At the end of the day we're all business people," Voser is quoted as saying.

    Former BP chief executive John Browne revealed in his memoirs that discussions had taken place between the two companies in 2004 when Shell was smaller by market capitalisation.

    But Voser's comments that Shell considered making a bid for BP in the past two years, according to an advance copy of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, will inevitably rekindle excitement in the City that a mega-merger could still be on the cards. Voser noted that following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, BP's share price fell sharply, and still had not completely recovered.

    Equity analysts have speculated over the past 18 months that a BP wounded by the Deepwater Horizon accident was dangerously vulnerable to a foreign predator.



    Teekay LNG Partners signed an agreement with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea for the construction of two 173,400 cubic metres capacity LNG carriers, and with an option for three more, to prepare for the next wave of LNG output and shipping US-produced cargoes through the Panama Canal.

  5. Looking forward to some info as to how the court case went last week,Joe,Phil vs WA & others.
    Please, exactly what is the case about,details are scarce.Thankyou.

    Really hoping for a great result this time.

  6. Dock worker's arm crushed between dock and barge

    The Maritime Union of Australia is calling for Chevron to immediately review its operations after the serious injury of a dockworker in Dampier over the weekend.

    A Karratha man’s arm was crushed as he worked at the dock supplying Chevron’s massive Gorgon LNG project in Western Australia on Saturday, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) says.

    The man was airlifted to a Perth hospital after his arm became trapped between the dock and a barge at the Mermaid Marine Supply base in Dampier, which is used exclusively by Chevron.

    MUA WA secretary Chris Cain described Chevron and its contractor as “cowboys“, saying poor safety standards had been a problem at the Mermaid Marine Supply base for months.

    “It’s becoming clearer and clearer that Chevron and their contractors like Mermaid are cutting corners to make up time and money on the Gorgon project,” Mr Cain said.

    The union said WorkSafe WA had been warned that poor training and management made an accident “inevitable”.

    Safety representatives had arranged for WorkSafe WA inspectors to visit the site on Friday.

    “We’ve got serious issues when the day after WorkSafe says there’s no problem, ambulances are called to an accident of the type exactly predicted by health and safety representatives,” Mr Cain said.

    The union said the accident raised serious questions that need to be answered, such as why WorkSafe was called to investigate the accident hours after it happened.
    WorkSafe and Mermaid Marine have been contacted for comment.


    "I came back from years in the world and when you see what's happening at home you either fall in a hole or you rise to the occasion."

    Kerrianne says she sees frightening correlations between the industrialization of the Kimberlys and the encroachment of coal seam gas mining in the Northern Rivers.

    "You people are starting to feel the injustice we feel every day of our lives. But we're past being simply Aboriginal, our rights as shareholders of the earth have been violated.

    "I've been fighting long before this - the history of unresolved Aboriginal injustice is what I was brought up in. I had our culture and music to bring me through it. It's important to bring a common vision together as a starting point for groups around Australia."


    AND THIS....

    And in a national scoop, Kerrianne's revealed to The Scene that her maternal grandmother, Jabirr Jabirr elder Rita Augustine, who publicly berated retired Greens leader Bob Brown on ABC TV's Q&A program over his opposition to the Kimberly gas hub, has changed her mind and resolved to oppose it.

    "She realized she'd been set up and used. She wants to put a new claim in. So now our family's back together and strong. When you wanna see change you don't go to the pollies, you go to the people. That's my big strategy."


    Kerrianne Cox plays alongside SHE at the Nimbin Bush Theatre on December 8. Tickets: $20/15 from, The Green Bank in Nimbin or at the door.


      Emerald Oil and Gas are apparently wanting to explore for shale gas in the Beagle Bay area.

      Canning Basin Exploration

      Emerald holds a 14.15% Working Interest in approximately 800 square kilometres in EP104/R1, located in the Canning Basin in Western Australian and operated by Buru Energy Ltd.
      These tenements are located approximately 1650 km (1000 mi) NNE of Perth and lie on the highly prospective Pinnacle Fault trend, which runs for approximately 225 km along the northern edge of the basin.
      An airborne gravity gradiometry and magnetic survey was conducted and interpreted over EP104 during 2012. This information will be used to determine future exploration plans.

    2. If the above report is correct,

      "And in a national scoop, Kerrianne's revealed to The Scene that her maternal grandmother, Jabirr Jabirr elder Rita Augustine, who publicly berated retired Greens leader Bob Brown on ABC TV's Q&A program over his opposition to the Kimberly gas hub, has changed her mind and resolved to oppose it.

      "She realized she'd been set up and used. She wants to put a new claim in. So now our family's back together and strong. When you wanna see change you don't go to the pollies, you go to the people. That's my big strategy."

      That means Barnett can no longer claim the "greatest act of self determination" exscuse for his evil plans.

      It also means the state and federal govs will have to put their money where their mouth is and stop the neglect and genocide or they will no longer "be able to look black kids in the eye."

      It also leaves the illegal signing at JPP in tatters,and with other possible defections,may shed some more light on the rigged votes.

      The signing of the agreement for compensation in Perth now in the bin.

      This last week has truly seen support crumble to an all time low.

      So now Barnett really hasn't a leg to stand on with this mad plan for JPP.

      Also with the fraccing threats to country a united front is going to make a big difference.

      Hope all goes well for them.


    Will do.

  9. more bad news for Woodside/Barnett from the land of the "fraccing yanks" - to be re named "Saudi America."

    ....a series of reports into how rising levels of unconventional oil and gas production are revolutionising the global energy industry. In this category, came news that:

    Saudi Arabia has cut oil production to its lowest level in a year thanks to rising US production of oil and gas

    Venezuela is being forced to look for new markets for its critically important oil exports because the US has cut its purchases from that country to a 30-year low

    Argentina is trying to attract international oil companies with the appropriate technology to unlock its shale gas reserves

    Arab states that control the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries voted to maintain their 30 million barrel-a-day quote despite evidence that rising US oil production was starting to destabilise the world market.

    These events followed last month’s International Energy Agency report that revealed the US was poised to overtake Russia as a gas producer, then overtake Saudi Arabia as an oil producer, leading to a flippant suggestion that the US could be renamed “Saudi America.”


    Chevron in more strife.

    Meanwhile, MUA members are on strike at Fremantle Port over plans to privatise or sell off part of the port. The action is expected to last eight days and has the potential to delay equipment arriving at Barrow Island from the southern port.


    1. Never mind the "gas glut" - here comes the "oil glut" - and it's right here right now.

      Woodside need oil to stay at how much a barrel to break even at JPP?

      Somewhere around $120 I think.

      It will soon be around $70 according to some forecasts,might make the drop in iron ore prices look like a picnic.

      Hubble bubble,gas,oil and trouble.

  10. Safety representatives had arranged for WorkSafe WA inspectors to visit the site on Friday.
    Construction Companies Australia

  11. We are funding these murders in "resource rich" West Papua.

    This year so far, 22 West Papua National Committee members have been killed; three are missing; seven have been charged with various offences, as tensions linger.

    Indonesian police have shot dead two West Papuan activists and burned down a house in the provincial city of Wamena which was used as the "Tribal Council" office for community meetings.

    Hubertus Mabel, 30, and Natalis Alua, both members of the West Papua National Committee (KNBP) were shot outside a house in the village of Kurulu at about 11am on Sunday, and later died.

    Activists said the house belonged to Hubertus's family and he was there to celebrate Christmas.

    So far this year, 22 KNPB members have been killed; three are missing; seven have been charged with various offences and more than 200 arrested but released within three months.

    The shootings may indicate a new crack-down on separatist activity under the new chief of Papuan police, Tito Karnavian, who formerly ran counter-terrorist police unit Densus-88, which is partly trained and funded by Australia.

    Australia is adamant that West Papua should be part of Indonesia, with Foreign Minister Bob Carr saying recently it was "utterly inconceivable" that "some other arrangement" could occur.