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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Another mining tragedy in Coal Country and the unspeakable failures of Massey Energy's CEO Don Blankenship; Oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef... PLUS: ExxonMobil paid zero in federal taxes on their $45 billion profit last year!...All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': U.N. chief shocked by dying lake, once 4th largest in world; Severe drought devastates farmers; 'Smart meter' investigations in Texas, California; BP fights to limit controls on shale gas drilling; Obama's recess appointments include pesticide-pushing trade rep; Wisconsin bans phosphorus in lawn fertilizer; U.S. Refineries have world's worst safety record ... PLUS: Koch Industries outspends Exxon Mobil on climate denial groups ...
Info/links on those stories and all the ones we talked about on today's episode follow below...
- West Virginia Mine Blast Kills 25, 4 Miners Still Missing:
- Massey confirms 25 dead in Raleigh disaster (Charleston Gazette)
- Search For Missing Miners Delayed (Charleston Gazette)
- Mine Disaster Update: News from Today's Press Briefing (Coal Tattoo)
- What Killed the Miners? Profits Over Safety? (Huffington Post) [emphasis added]:
All coal mining safety laws have been written in miners' blood.
My grandfather, who barely survived an explosion in a coal mine in southern Illinois, taught me this phrase. He also taught me about the 150-year-old battle in the coalfields over reckless production at the cost of responsible safety measures.
In a now infamous internal memo to employees that was used in the Aracoma mine trial, Massey's CEO Don Blankenship openly declared: "If any of you have been asked by your group presidents, your supervisors, engineers or anyone else to do anything other than run coal (i.e. build overcasts, do construction jobs, or whatever) you need to ignore them and run coal," the complaint quotes the memo. "This memo is necessary only because we seem not to understand that coal pays the bills."
- West Virginia Mine Explosion: Massey Energy Mine Had Scores Of Safety Citations (Huffington Post Green)
- Inspectors Say Conditions At Massey Mine Posed Signifiicant Risks (Daily Mail)
- The Massey Mine Disaster: Now what? (Coal Tatoo)
- MARCH 26, 2010: MSHA: Mine industry slow on safety gear upgrades (AP) [emphasis added]:
Mine Safety and Health Administration figures show 34 mines nationwide have functioning systems that meet its requirements. The agency says 491 mines are supposed to have the equipment.
The mandate was imposed after the January 2006 deaths of 12 West Virginia miners who became trapped underground following a methane explosion.
- United Mine Workers of America: Statement On Incident at Upper Big Branch Mine (UMWA)
- 115 Chinese Mine Workers Rescued, 38 Still Missing
- Oil Spill on the Great Barrier Reef
- Reef oil spill a government 'wake-up call': Authorities have worked through the night to determine how to salvage a coal carrier grounded in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park off central Queensland. (Australian Broadcasting Co.)
- Carriers making 'coal highway' out of Barrier Reef (Australian Broadcasting Co.): Investigators are looking into why the ship was 15 nautical miles off course, raising the possibility that it was taking a shortcut through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
- Oil spill feared on Great Barrier Reef (LA Times)
- Australia rushes to contain oil spill from ship that rammed into Great Barrier Reef (Chicago Tribune)
- ExxonMobil Pays $0.00 in Federal Income Taxes:
- Exxon's Income Tax: $0 (Mother Jones) [emphasis added]:
The good news is, oil megacorporation ExxonMobil had such a profitable year in 2009, it contributed $15 billion to the world's tax coffers. The bad news: Not a cent of that went to the IRS.
The most hilarious part is ExxonMobil still finds a way to bitch about its lot in life. The corporation's website includes an issues page on "industry taxes," which threatens that energy innovation is already on the ropes because of excessive taxes, and it will be forever consigned to the dustbin by any new taxes on windfall profits (or, we'd assume, plans like President Obama's to close the offshore earnings loopholes that saved ExxonMobil from the IRS this year).
- What The Top U.S. Companies Pay In Taxes (Forbes)
- FLASHBACK: Study Tallies Corporations Not Paying Income Tax: 2 out of 3 U.S. Corporations Paid ZERO Income Tax From 1998-2005 (NY Times)
- U.N. chief shocked by shrinking lake: 'Clearly one of the worst disasters,' he says of Aral Sea: Once the world's fourth-largest lake, the sea has shrunk by 90 percent since the rivers that feed it were largely diverted in a Soviet project to boost cotton production in the arid region. (AP)
- Spring Harvest of Debt for Parched Farms in Southern China (NY Times):
This drought is southern China’s worst, climatologists say, in 80 to 100 years. From Yunnan eastward through Sichuan and Guizhou Provinces and the Guangxi region, the soil on roughly 30,000 square miles of farmland is too dry to plant crops, the vice minister of water resources, Liu Ning, said last Wednesday. Around 24 million people are short of water. Agricultural losses already total $3.5 billion.
Many areas have not had rain since at least October.
- Eye-Popping Electric Bills Spark Smart Meter Investigations in Texas, California: Educated Consumers Can Save Money, But Public Training Is Slow to Reach Out (Solve Climate)
- BP fights to limit controls on shale gas drilling: Oil company wants to see off potential opposition from US Environmental Protection Agency (Guardian UK)
- Obama's Recess Appointments Include Pesticide-Pushing Trade Rep (Mother Jones)
- Wisconsin Bans Phophorus In Lawn Fertilizer To Protect Drinking Water And Tourism Industry (Treehugger)
- Study Shows US Refineries Have Bad Safety Record: Report shows US oil refineries have bad safety record as blast kills 4 in Washington state (ABC News)
- Report: Koch Industries Outspends Exxon Mobil On Climate Denial (Think Progress)
Thanks to the Thom Hartmann Program for additional audio clips!
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA': More green news not covered in today's audio report...