Thursday, January 10, 2013

Environmental Defenders' cash threat | Newcastle Herald

Environmental Defenders' cash threat | Newcastle Herald:
THE head of the NSW Minerals Council urged Barry O’Farrell to strip the Environmental Defenders Office of its funding because of its potential to interrupt coal industry projects, newly disclosed letters to the premier have revealed.

In a letter addressed to Mr O’Farrell last October, the council’s chief executive, Stephen Galilee, said he was concerned about the office’s association with the anti-coal movement.

‘‘It is difficult to understand the logic behind NSW taxpayers’ funds being provided to an organisation intent on using those funds to lodge legal challenges against decisions taken on behalf of taxpayers by the NSW government,’’ he wrote (see excerpt).

‘‘It is even more absurd for these funds to be used to support a deliberate campaign of economic sabotage against an industry providing our most valuable export commodity.’’

He concluded by requesting Mr O’Farrell cease funding the EDO as a ‘‘matter of urgency’’.


  1. With all the mining corruption stories coming out of NSW lately the Minerals Council wouldn't want any kind of scrutiny.


    2012 warmest on record for US

    Wednesday, January 09, 2013 » 01:09pm

    2012 marked the warmest year on record for the United States and was also the second most extreme weather year yet recorded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

    The hot weather contributed to a record drought which, at its peak, parched 61 per cent of the nation.

    Those dry conditions helped spark massive wildfires which charred 9.2 million acres - the third highest on record, NOAA said.

    The nation suffered through 11 weather disasters that caused $US1 billion ($A956.89 million) in damage, including hurricanes Sandy and Isaac and tornado outbreaks in the Great Plains, Texas and Ohio Valley.

    Every one of the 48 states in the continental United States had an above-average annual temperature in 2012 and 19 of those broke records.

    The average temperature for 2012 was 12.9 C which is 3.2 above the 20th century average, and 1.0 above 1998, the previous warmest year.

    The nationally-averaged precipitation total of 67.5 centimetres was 6.5 centimetres below average and the 15th driest year on record.

    This was also the driest year for the nation since 1988, when 64.1 centimetres of precipitation were observed.

    Meanwhile, 2012 was the third year in a row with 19 named tropical storms, 10 of which packed hurricane strength. One was a major hurricane.

    1. Barack Obama may intervene directly on climate change by hosting a summit at the White House early in his second term, environmental groups say.

      They say the White House has given encouraging signals to a proposal for Obama to use the broad-based and bipartisan summit to launch a national climate action strategy.

      "What we talked about with the White House is using it as catalyst not just for the development of a national strategy but for mobilising people all over the country at every level," said Bob Doppelt, executive director of the Resource Innovation Group, the Oregon-based thinktank that has been pushing for the high-level meeting. He said it would not be a one-off event.

      "What I think has excited the White House is that it does put the president in a leadership role, but it is not aimed at what Congress can do, or what he can do per se, so much as it is aimed at apprising the American public about how they can act."

      Campaign groups and major donors have been pushing Obama to outline a strategy on climate change, in the wake of his re-election and superstorm Sandy.

      Jeremy Symons, senior vice-president for conservation and education at the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), said Obama needed to give a clear indication early on of what he intended to do on climate change – ideally before the State of the Union address when presidents typically outline their agenda.

      "The clock is ticking. The threat is urgent, and we would like to see a commitment in time for the president to address it in the State of the Union address," Symons said. "That would be the window I see. We can't wait forever."

  3. Three environmental groups sued the US government on Tuesday for what they said was Washington's failure to take urgent steps to ensure the survival of endangered loggerhead turtles.

    "Loggerhead sea turtles are among the most imperiled of sea turtle species and have experienced alarming declines in recent years," said the lawsuit filed in US district court for the Northern District of California.

    The lawsuit said loggerheads were already being pushed to the brink of extinction and that the government had failed to comply with deadlines set under the Endangered Species Act to establish protected areas or "critical habitat" for loggerhead sea turtle populations.

    The suit, brought by the Centre for Biological Diversity, Oceana Inc and Turtle Island Restoration, cited the destruction or degradation of nesting and foraging habitats, pollution including oil spills, climate change and sea level rise among other threats to the long-term survival of the marine turtles.

    "Loggerhead sea turtles face numerous, ongoing threats in waters off the coasts of California and Hawaii, along the continental shelf off the eastern seaboard from Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, south through Florida and the Gulf of Mexico," it said.

    A government spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

    The legal complaint said the "incidental capture, injury and death by commercial fishing fleets" posed another clear danger to the loggerheads.

    Of the seven species of sea turtles, six are found in US waters. The marine reptiles live mostly in the ocean and often migrate long distances, but adult females return to land to lay their eggs along beaches.

    Florida beaches have the largest nesting population of loggerheads in the United States but face increasing threats from coastal development.

  4. Jan 9 (LNGJ) - Royal Dutch Shell, the leader in Floating LNG plant development, has relaunched its Technology Center in Houston, Texas, which has undergone extensive modernization and expansion to become one of the largest industrial technology centres in the world. Shell has two other technology centres in Bangalore, India, and Amsterdam in The Netherlands.


    consortium of companies developing natural gas liquefaction to handle production off Mozambique has awarded a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract to a joint venture of Fluor Corp., Irving, Tex., and Japan’s JGC Corp.

    Anadarko Mocambique Area 1 Ltda. awarded the 50-50 joint venture FEED for a 20-million tonne/year (tpy) LNG plant in Cabo Delgado province, about 1,240 miles northeast of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo. The award will deliver designs for the initial phase of the Mozambique LNG plant of four 5-million tpy trains. The JV’s announcement said the project has the potential to expand capacity to about 50 million tpy.

    For this first LNG project in Mozambique, the feedstock will come from offshore production in Offshore Area 1, operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corp., and Offshore Area 4, operated by Eni SPA. Plans target first LNG cargo for 2018


    China's Russian Roulette

    Thursday, 10 January 2013

    WHILE the prospect of liquefied natural gas exports from North America to Asia remains uncertain, there appears be momentum building for exports from the East, with far-reaching implications for Asian gas markets.


    Energy offices flock to Vancouver as natural gas projects gather steam

    British Columbia’s deep-rooted environmentalism is about to get a much stronger counterpoint as a growing number of energy giants establish a corporate presence on the West Coast.

    Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Petronas, BG Group, Enbridge Inc., TransCanada Corp., Kinder Morgan have opened offices, are expanding or are planning to set up offices in Vancouver or nearby to oversee the planning of liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants on the northern coast, build pipelines, talk up the benefits of energy development to policy makers, communities and First Nations.

    We welcome the beefed up corporate presence of the energy patch here
    They are joining Houston-based Spectra Energy Corp., until recently the lone energy company with a large presence in Vancouver, a legacy of its takeover of B.C.-grown Westcoast Energy Inc. about a decade ago.

    The corporate shift dilutes Calgary’s stature as Canada’s energy capital, but supports British Columbia’s plans for a liquefied natural gas business that could one day rival in size Alberta’s oil sands.

    Shell moved into Vancouver last summer to support its proposed Kitimat-based LNG Canada project, said spokesman David Williams.

    “Clearly we recognized that as we progress that project we need to talk to many people in Vancouver and more broadly in British Columbia, and that office helps with that work,” Mr. Williams said. “We have opened a small office there and we are recruiting to fill that office. Quite a bit of the key project work will be done there in terms of engaging with people on shipping, on the LNG facility itself, on the regulatory side of things, ON THE ABORIGINAL CONSULTATION SIDE.”

    TransCanada’s office in Vancouver supports its major gas pipeline plans in the province, including the $5-billion pipeline for Progress Energy Resources Corp., owned by Malaysia’s Petronas, that was announced Wednesday. The line will move gas from the North Montney region to Progress’s Pacific Northwest LNG export plant near Prince Rupert.

    “Having a dedicated location in Vancouver makes sense for us and it will probably grow,” said spokesman Grady Semmens.

    Progress has opened an office of its own in Vancouver and it’s expanding it to house a big part of the project team for the LNG terminal, said president and CEO Mike Culbert. “The entire LNG business is new, it’s an industry that is getting set up,” he said.

    “It’s really about getting more people on the ground to get that SOCIAL LICENCE TO OPERATE.”