Lawyer, Who Sued Chevron over Amazon Oil Spills, Blasts Contempt of Court Conviction

A federal judge has found environmental and human rights lawyer Steven Donziger guilty of six counts of criminal contempt of court after he refused to turn over his computer and cellphone. The case stems from Chevron’s unprecedented legal campaign against Donziger over his role in winning an $18 billion settlement against Chevron for dumping 16 billion gallons of oil into the Ecuadorian Amazon. In an unusual legal twist, the judge appointed a private law firm with ties to Chevron to prosecute Donziger, after federal prosecutors declined to bring charges. Donziger, who has been under house arrest for almost two years, condemned the judge’s ruling.

Steven Donziger: “This is an outrageous decision. I see it as an attack on human rights lawyering, an attack on the very notion of corporate accountability for the fossil fuel industry. And I’ve already been locked up in my home awaiting this decision for almost two years on a misdemeanor. I’m the only lawyer in American history, as far as we can tell, who’s spent even one day, prior to trial, locked up. I’ve been here now 720 days. This is an outrage. It’s a violation, I believe, of the rule of law. It’s terrible for our democracy, and it’s terrible for the planet. The United States cannot become a country that begins to lock up its human rights lawyers, its environmental advocates, its Earth protectors.”

— source democracynow.org | Jul 27, 2021

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BP’s cover-up aided by Bush State Department

On April 20, 2010, eleven men on the Deepwater Horizon were incinerated when the BP/Transocean oil rig blew out and exploded.

“Accident”?

Here’s what I reported after a four-continent investigation for Britain’s Channel 4 TV and Europe’s ARTE channel:

Chelsea Manning and the Deepwater Horizon Killings

Just 17 months before the Deepwater Horizon destroyed 600 miles of Gulf Coast, BP covered up a nearly identical blowout in the Caspian Sea. We located an eyewitness with devastating new information about the Caspian Sea oil-rig blow-out, which BP had concealed from our government and the industry.

The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP’s Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story, as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers “could have had a chance” of survival. But BP’s insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their

— source gregpalast.com | Greg Palast | Apr 19, 2021

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Environmentalists, farmers win Dutch court case over Shell Nigeria spills

A Dutch appeals court on Friday held Royal Dutch Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary responsible for multiple oil pipeline leaks in the Niger Delta and ordered it to pay unspecified damages to farmers, in a victory for environmentalists. The case was brought in 2008 by four farmers and environmental group Friends of the Earth, seeking reparations for lost income from contaminated land and waterways in the region, the heart of Nigeria’s oil industry. Shell settled a similar case in a British court in 2015, agreeing to pay 70 million euros ($85 million) to members of the Niger Delta Bodo community.

— source reuters.com | Jan 29, 2021

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Mauritians take to the street over oil spill and dolphin and whale deaths

People gathered in the thousands in Mauritius’s capital, Port Louis, to protest the government’s response to a recent oil spill. The Japanese-owned freighter M.V. Wakashio crashed into the coral reef barrier off the island’s southeastern coast on July 25 and leaked about 1,000 tons of fuel oil into the sea near ecologically sensitive areas, before breaking in half a few weeks later. The stranding of at least 39 dolphins and whales near the site has sparked an outcry, though a link between the Wakashio shipwreck and the beachings has not yet been established. In a controversial move, the Mauritian government decided to sink the front half of the ship several kilometers away from the crash site in open waters, which some experts say could have impacted the dolphin and whale populations.

— source news.mongabay.com | 1 Sep 2020

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Enbridge Agrees To Pay $75 Million For Massive Kalamazoo River Tar Sands Spill

Canadian oil company Enbridge has agreed to pay $75 million for its role in a 2010 pipeline rupture that resulted in the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Enbridge settled with the state of Michigan this week over the Kalamazoo River oil spill, a disaster that sent more than 800,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands crude into the river. Under the settlement, the oil company will pay $30 million to restore or create 300 acres of wetlands, in an effort to help to improve the health of the Kalamazoo River. The spill affected 38 miles of the river itself and 4,435 acres of shoreline, according to the Detroit Free Press.

— source thinkprogress.org | 2015/05/14

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BP to Pay $18.7B in Sweeping Oil Spill Settlement

BP has reached an $18.7 billion settlement to resolve all government claims resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The agreement covers damages sought by the federal government, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as more than 400 civic entities along the Gulf Coast. The payment includes a $5.5 billion civil penalty under the Clean Water Act and $7.1 billion fine for environmental damage to the Gulf. If confirmed by a federal judge, it would be the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history and the largest ever by a single entity.

A federal judge last year found BP had engaged in “gross negligence” before the spill, making “profit-driven decisions” that showed “a conscious disregard of known risks.” In a statement, the Gulf Restoration Network welcomed the settlement, but said: “Although $18.7 billion is a significant sum, we have serious concerns about how much of this money is actually going to be allocated towards restoring the Gulf’s environment and impacted communities.” Charlie Tebbutt, attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, added: “While $18.7 billion looks like a lot, just remember that BP makes that amount in net profit every three months.”

2015

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Exxon Will Pay $5 Million To End Lawsuit Over 134,000-Gallon Mayflower Oil Spill

ExxonMobil has agreed to pay approximately $5 million to end a lawsuit over a 2013 pipeline rupture that coated an Arkansas town with 133,980 gallons of oil, the Environmental Protection agency announced Wednesday. The lawsuit, brought by both the federal government and the state of Arkansas, accused ExxonMobil of violating clean water laws when its Pegasus Pipeline ruptured in March 2013, spilling approximately 134,000 gallons of Canadian tar sands crude oil into the small community of Mayflower. The lawsuit sought to prove that ExxonMobil engaged in gross negligence and willful misconduct in the events leading up to the spill.

— source thinkprogress.org | 2015/04/23

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Lessons We Cannot Ignore from the BP Disaster

On April 20, 2010, the BP exploratory rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 workers and setting off the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Oil gushed from the seafloor for 87 days, ultimately spewing more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Ten years after one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, this report examines the cause and impacts of the catastrophe; how those impacts are still being felt today; and whether the disaster changed the government and industry’s approach to offshore drilling. To answer these questions, Oceana reviewed government documents, media coverage, scientific studies, reports from nonprofit organizations and interviewed Gulf Coast residents, scientists, business owners and policy experts.

— source usa.oceana.org | Apr, 2020

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Exxon Confirms 80,000-Gallon Spill Contains Canadian Tar Sands Oil

A pipeline that ruptured and leaked at least 80,000 gallons of oil into central Arkansas on Friday was transporting a heavy form of crude from the Canadian tar sands region, ExxonMobil told InsideClimate News. Crude oil ran through a subdivision of Mayflower, Ark., about 20 miles north of Little Rock. Twenty-two homes were evacuated, but no one was hospitalized, Exxon spokesman Charlie Engelmann said on Saturday. The 20-inch Pegasus pipeline runs 858 miles from Patoka, Ill. to Nederland, Texas. Engelmann said the line was carrying Wabasca Heavy crude from western Canada when it ruptured. Because dilbit contains bitumen—a type of crude oil that’s heavier than most conventional crude oil—it can be harder to clean up when it spills into water. A 2010 spill in Michigan, which released a million gallons of dilbit in the Kalamazoo River and has cost pipeline operator Enbridge more than $820 million, continues to challenge scientists and regulators as they work on removing submerged oil from the riverbed.

2013

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