Promises that can't be kept: Michigan and Louisiana
This from Michigan particularly catches my eye...
Enbridge’s claim that they have restored the Kalamazoo River after the 2010 spill holds no merit, nor does it justify expanding the pipeline. Tar sands cannot be cleaned up; this material is thick and heavy, it sinks in water, and clings to surfaces. Expanding the pipeline increases the risk of another disaster for all of life and future generations.
...coming as I do from the Harry Shearer New Orleans flood protection board lawsuit transcript. Ninety-seven oil companies are defendants. I believe that means that they're all charged with failing to keep written, legal promises to repair marsh damage. These promises go back in history, and the state of Louisiana has failed to enforce them; it is not the fault of the current Bobby Jindal administration. Louisiana is losing land at the rate of a football field an hour... no, 50 minutes... no, 38 minutes. So this little board is doing what no one else has tried to do: make the oil companies keep their promise.
But what kind of promise is it? Can it be kept? Can you restore 1900 square miles of land, the size of the state of Delaware, that's gotten lost in Louisiana in our lifetimes? And is more land disappearing faster and faster? Can it even be stopped?
Shearer makes the point that as a society we're turning to private litigation because political/governmental avenues have failed:
Harry Shearer: As people become more and more frustrated with the political system and its inability to do big things or look long-term, the private litigation system has more and more become an alternative channel. There might have been a time, let’s put our imagination caps on, when a part of government somewhere would have taken on the task of saying to the oil companies, you got to clean up. I’m just positing that that’s possible in some imaginary democratic universe, with a small d.
Meanwhile, the oil companies and the governor are trying to derail the lawsuit. Nola op-ed by oil association leader Chris John says that it's in the oil companies' interest to stop the land loss. I'm thinking, duh. And I'm thinking, like when do you think you might start trying? Oh wait, I guess they have:
Chris John of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association: For the past two decades, industry has implemented processes and dedicated resources to restoration and preservation efforts in addition to working with the state to secure funding for coastal protection efforts.
And the lawsuit, as a proactive alternative?
John Barry, Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority - East: ...this suit, if it goes forward to fruition, it’s going to take years...
...tick tick tick tick tick tick...
We are so screwed.
Good luck, Felix.
Update: New photo just posted from Michigan:
A bird’s eye view of some of the destruction Enbridge has caused in “Pure Michigan”