Archive | May, 2010

Trucking Toward Climate Change

(Illustration: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t)

(Illustration: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t)

The tar sands mining project in Alberta, Canada, is possibly the largest industrial project in human history and critics claim it could also be the most destructive. The mining procedure for extracting oil from a region referred to as the “tar sands,” located north of Edmonton, releases at least three times the CO2 emissions as regular oil production procedures and will likely become North America’s single largest industrial contributor to climate change.

Most of the oil produced by the project will likely be consumed by the United States, a country that, along with Canada, is already heavily invested, on many levels, in the project.

The project is operated by Imperial Oil, whose parent company, ExxonMobil Canada, has a long-term production goal of more than 300,000 barrels of bitumen (extra heavy oil) per day. To do this, they will require new equipment to be shipped through the United States.

Trucks and trailers moving specialized, nontoxic mining equipment from where it is manufactured in Korea to the Kearl oil sands project, located in the Athabasca oil sands in northeastern Alberta, are slated to use highways in Idaho and Montana to transport the gear. This would happen after it has been shipped across the Pacific Ocean to Portland, Oregon, where it would then be barged up the Hood and Snake Rivers to Lewiston, Idaho, from which it would be hauled over land into Canada.

Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for Imperial Oil, said this is the most cost-effective method of moving the equipment, much to the chagrin of many residents in these states.

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Arizona’s War on Immigrants

Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: miss karen, JohnnyWood

Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: miss karen, JohnnyWood

“Most immigrants are economic refugees,” Bob Kee explained as we drove across the rolling arid hills of south-central Arizona towards the border of Mexico. “US policy in the post-9/11 world states that the government knew there would be ‘collateral damage,’ meaning more dead migrants because of the increasing militarization of the borders. But when people are desperate, they’ll do what they need to do to feed their families. It’s a survival situation, and that’s where we’re at.”

Kee is a volunteer with the group the Samaritans, a migrant advocacy organization whose stated goals include “to save lives and relieve suffering of migrants in southern Arizona” and “to encourage elected leaders to humanize border policy.”

 

The Samaritans have their hands full, and while they are, from what Truthout saw, doing a great job on the former, clearly every group or person sympathetic to the plight of immigrants in that state are shocked by the recent legal machinations of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law (SB1070) granting law enforcement personnel the right to detain people based on the “reasonable suspicion” that they are undocumented immigrants recently elicited strong condemnation from six UN human rights experts, who on May 11 claimed that the law may violate international standards that are binding in the US.

“A disturbing pattern of legislative activity hostile to ethnic minorities and immigrants has been established with the adoption of an immigration law that may allow for police action targeting individuals on the basis of their perceived ethnic origin,” the experts said.

Isabel Garcia, an immigration advocate and federal public defender, told CNN on April 20 that the legislation “legalizes racial profiling” and added, “I think this bill represents the most dangerous precedent in this country, violating all of our due process rights. We have not seen this kind of legislation since the Jim Crow laws.”

Brewer also signed a controversial bill that bans ethnic studies in Arizona schools, just three weeks after signing SB1070. The more recent law banning ethnic studies affects specialized courses in African American and Native American studies, and will probably shut down a popular Mexican-American studies program in the Tucson school district. Continue Reading →

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