Koch brothers

Thu, 2013-10-24 11:51Indra Das
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Koch Brothers' Tar Sands Waste Petcoke Piles Spread to Chicago

Chicago petcoke pile

After using Detroit as a toxic waste dumping ground, the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers are now piling their petroleum coke from tar sands oil refineries in Chicago.

Kiley Kroh of ThinkProgress writes that petroleum coke, or petcoke, “is building up along Chicago's Calumet River and alarming residents.” The Chicago petcoke piles are owned by KCBX, an affiliate of Koch Carbon, which is a subsidiary of Koch Industries.

Petcoke is a high-carbon, high-sulfur byproduct of coking, a refining process that extracts oil from tar sands bitumen crude. The petcoke owned by Charles and David Koch is a byproduct of bitumen crude shipped to US refineries from the Alberta tar sands.

Fri, 2013-06-07 17:10Indra Das
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Petcoke From Koch Carbon’s Detroit Tar Sands Waste Pile Finds Its Way Back To Canada

Tar Sands Coker Towers

It seems Koch Carbon, who own the mound of petroleum coke waste piling up on the side of the Detroit River, need to look no further than Canada to sell their high-polluting industrial waste as fuel. Of course, the irony here is that the petcoke is itself a byproduct of imported Canadian tar sands crude being refined in a Marathon Petroleum plant down the river.

Ian Austen writes in the New York Times, that a “Canadian electrical power plant, owned by Nova Scotia Power…is burning the high-carbon, high-sulfur waste product because it is cheaper than natural gas.”  

Residents have reported “regular visits to the coke pile by two self-unloading, oceangoing bulk carriers owned by Canada Steamship Lines of Montreal.” Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) is owned by former Prime Minister Paul Martin's sons, Paul Jr., David and James.

Wed, 2013-06-05 10:52Indra Das
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Detroit Petcoke Waste Shows the Consequences of Tar Sands Processing

Rise of Petcoke in North America

A black mound of solid waste is piling up in Detroit, making visualizing the environmental impact of the Canadian tar sands boom a little easier for everyone.

The waste, which is carbon-rich petroleum coke, is a direct result of the Albertan tar sands. Ian Austen writes in the New York Times, that the “three-story pile of petroleum coke covering an entire city block on the…side of the Detroit River” is the “long overlooked byproduct of Canada's oil sands boom.”

The coke is waste from a refinery down the river, owned by Marathon Petroleum, which started processing exported Canadian oil from the tar sands as recently as November. The plant refines 28,000 barrels of bitumen crude a day from the tar sands. Already, the results are showing. But even this mountain of what is essentially sulphur and carbon-infused industrial refuse is less a concern than another way to make money for some. The petroleum coke is bought and owned by Koch Carbon.

Tue, 2013-02-19 08:00Guest
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The Resurgence of an Evolving Climate Movement, Part 2

Ken Wu is executive director of Majority for a Sustainable Society (MASS) and co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance

For Part 1 of this article, click here.

In the first part of this article, I described what specific challenges the climate movement faces when confronting its own limiting tendencies as well as industry funded public relations campaigns. In this second part I outline what I think are four essential ways the climate movement must evolve in order to overcome these obstacles.

FIRST, we must become a lot more political, in the sense that it’s fundamentally the laws, policies, and agreements that shape our greater society and economy. And it’s our society and economy which are the foundations of our personal lifestyles. What is available, affordable, practical, and possible in our lifestyles is largely a product of the society in which we live – what clean energy sources exist at what price relative to dirty energy, how available public transit is, how well or poorly our cities are designed for walking, cycling, and accessing our needs, how energy efficient our buildings are, and so on.  

No individual is an island unto himself; the way we live is fundamentally shaped by the economy and society in which our lifestyles are nested.  

Fri, 2013-02-15 09:22Guest
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The Resurgence of an Evolving Climate Movement, Part 1

Ken Wu is executive director of Majority for a Sustainable Society (MASS) and co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance. Read Part 2 of this series here.

After years of apathy and political inertia, North America’s climate sustainability movement has found itself in the midst of a timely resurgence, as is evident by the recent massive expansion of Bill Mckibben's 350.org movement against the Keystone XL pipeline.

With climate change regaining its footing as a central political issue, now is the time to pressure governments to enact the needed laws, policies, and agreements required to curtail runaway global warming. But unless the moment is seized right, climate action will be stymied again – and there is no time to wait for another opportunity.

During his State of the Union address on February 12, 2013, US President Barack Obama stated:

“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change…We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late.”
 
Recent studies project that the Earth’s average temperature is on course to rise over four degrees this century, far beyond the two degree rise when “runaway” global warming kicks-in due to positive feedbacks that make it extremely difficult to halt.

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