Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Archive for April 3rd, 2009

Suncor lives to pollute another day!

Posted by feww on April 3, 2009

Suncor slapped with ‘parking ticket fine’

A Canadian court ordered  Suncor Energy Inc and its contractor to pay C$1 million ($800k) in fines on Thursday for environmental violations at the company’s northern Alberta oil sands operations, Reuters reported.

[Where's the justice in this world? McDonald's no doubt wants to know. The company was fined $2.9 million for second and third degree burns sustained by a woman who spilled hot coffee on herself.]

“Suncor, Canada’s No. 2 oil sands producer, will pay C$675,000 for failing to install pollution control equipment at its Firebag steam-driven oil sands operation near Fort McMurray, Alberta, and then keeping that information from provincial environmental authorities.” Said the report.

The violations occurred during 2006 and 2007 when deadly hydrogen sulfide [suicide gas] was released into the atmosphere, according to the Alberta environment ministry.

“The company had committed to installing the equipment in its application to develop the Firebag project, where steam is pumped into the ground to loosen up tar-like bitumen, allowing it to be pumped to the surface in wells.” Reuters said.

Suncor and one of its contractors, Compass Group Canada Ltd, were also found guilty for yet another violation by a Fort McMurray court, which fined the two a total of  C$400,000 for releasing wastewater into the Athabasca River from 2005 and 2007.

“The subcontractor pleaded guilty to falsifying information and mismanaging the facility.” [That's what the fall guys are for!]

“The ministry said Suncor and Compass were unaware of the falsification [that's the stuff friendly ministries are made of,] but Suncor was fined C$175,000 for failing to supervise Compass and Compass was fined C$225,000 for failing to report the subcontractor’s violations.”

The payment compares with the Exxon Valdez fine, admittedly a bigger disaster than the Suncor legacy,  which even after it was slashed, still stood at $500million [Exxon claimed to have spent $3.4 billion to compensate victims, clean up the spill, and pay settlements and fines.]

Is that because of the fundamental differences that exist between the US and Canadian courts?
(Forex rate: $1=$1.25 Canadian)

Related Links:

Posted in Alberta environment ministry, Compass Group Canada Ltd, Exxon Valdez, hydrogen sulfide, suicide gas | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Our Shrinking World Series: Deluge in Namibia

Posted by feww on April 3, 2009

Parts of Southern Africa Submerged by Deluge

Flooding has affected Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique. Rainfall was above normal in southern Africa for January to March, 2009, reports said.

Deadly Flooding in Namibia – Earth Observatory Images


Image acquired March 27, 2009


Image acquired October 18, 2002

At least 350,000 people were affected by flooding in Namibia during the annual rainy season in southern Africa in March 2009. According to a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at least 92 people had been killed and 13,000 people were displaced as of April 1.

Among the places affected by the heaviest rains and most severe flooding was the Caprivi Strip, a narrow “peninsula” of Namibia that stretches out along the Zambezi River between Zambia to the north and Botswana to the south. This pair of natural-color images of the area was captured by the Advanced Land Imager sensor on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite on March 28, 2009 (top), and the Landsat 5 satellite on October 18, 2002 (bottom).

Flood waters pooled across a wide swath of the Zambezi flood plain on March 28, and numerous towns and villages were either underwater or surrounded by floods. In the dry season, the river meanders in a narrow ribbon across the region. The vegetation is dry, and the land is shades of beige and brown. In the flooded image, the vegetation across the area is greener, which makes the flooded landscape look almost purple in places.

Flooding during the southern Africa rainy season is a normal occurrence, but this year’s rains and flooding were exceptional. Quoting Caprivi Governor Leonard Mwilima, an Agence-France Press news report said that the Zambezi River rose to its highest level in 40 years.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using EO-1 ALI data provided courtesy of the NASA EO-1 Team, and Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey Global Visualization Viewer. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey. Instrument:  EO-1 – ALI

Southern Africa hit by worst floods in years

zambezi-river-afp
The Zambezi River passes the town of Tete in central Mozambique after floods took place in three river basins in 2008. Photo AFP. Image may be subject to copyright.

On Mar 27, 2009 AFP reported:

  • Southern Afica’s  worst floods in years, has killed more than 100 people, displacing thousands more.
  • Record river levels across the region have affected hundreds of thousands of people.
  • In March, Namibia’s government declared a state of emergency in areas where floods have affected over 350,000 people, 13,000 of whom were displaced.
  • Some 160,000 people have been affected in Angola.
  • The Zambezi river, along Namibia’s northeastern Caprivi Region, rose to 7.82 meters last week, its highest level in 40 years.
  • Large areas were submerged by water and access to several villages was cut off.
  • The death toll stood at 112.
  • Nearly 200 schools have closed.
  • One hospital and 19 clinics were cut off due to floods.
  • “Water engineers are telling us these are the worst floods here since 1965,” an official told AFP.
  • In Zambia, 21 districts have been affected by flooding and the army has been called in to assist the worst affected region of Shang’ombo, where they are also helping reconstruct a bridge connecting it to the rest of the country.
  • In northern Botswana, rain has caused the Okavango, Zambezi and Chobe rivers to swell, leaving 430 people displaced and submerging eight villages.
  • The villages of Satau and Parakarungu (population 1,000), could be swept away by the rising rivers within a matter of days, said a district official.
  • In Mozambique,  about 4,000 people were cut off by floods.
  • In 2008, heavy rains in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi caused flash flooding in Mozambique displacing tens of thousands of people and destroying 100,000 hectares of crops.
  • In 2000 and 2001 about 700 people were killed in Mozambique’s floods caused by torrential rains.
  • “We must seriously consider the present floods and those of a year ago as having to do with climate change,” Guido van Langenhove, a Namibian government hydrologist, said.

Posted in Angola, displaced by deluge, Mozambique, state of emergency, weather refugees | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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