WBEZ | tar sands http://www.wbez.org/tags/tar-sands Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Feinstein continues defense of CIA torture report http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-15/feinstein-continues-defense-cia-torture-report-111232 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP620596710376.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee continue to defend the release of the CIA torture report. Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joins us to discuss the fallout from last week&#39;s disclosures.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-feinstein-defends-release-of-cia-torture/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-feinstein-defends-release-of-cia-torture.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-feinstein-defends-release-of-cia-torture" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Feinstein continues defense of CIA torture report" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 10:53:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-12-15/feinstein-continues-defense-cia-torture-report-111232 Environmentalists protest Keystone XL pipeline http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/environmentalists-protest-keystone-xl-pipeline-105576 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/chicago%20youth%20climate%20coalition.jpg" style="height: 313px; width: 610px;" title="Protesters gathered in Grant Park Sunday to rally against a proposed pipeline that has become a crucible for the Obama administration's policy on climate change. (Image courtesy Chicago Youth Climate Coalition)" /></p><p>Roughly 200 Chicagoans rallied in Grant Park Sunday to call on President Barack Obama to reject the controversial <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/keystone-xl-pipeline">Keystone XL pipeline</a> project and take action on climate change, an issue he prioritized for his second term but which remains politically problematic.</p><p>The crowd, convened by the Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, demonstrated in solidarity with <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/business/energy-environment/obamas-keystone-pipeline-decision-risks-new-problems-either-way.html?smid=tw-share&amp;_r=0">thousands of protestors gathered at the Washington Monument in the nation&rsquo;s capital</a> for what is believed to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history.</p><p>The proposed XL extension would complete a pipeline from Canada&rsquo;s Athabasca oil sands in Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Climate scientist <a href="http://www.giss.nasa.gov/staff/jhansen.html">James Hansen</a> has said the carbon dioxide emissions from the vast tar sands reserves <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/opinion/game-over-for-the-climate.html">would mean &quot;game over for the climate.&quot;</a></p><p>Proponents of the $7 billion pipeline tout its property tax benefits and construction jobs, and dismiss or downplay its environmental impacts.</p><p>Obama delayed his administration&rsquo;s decision on the issue last year, citing disputes over the 1,700-mile pipeline&rsquo;s path, but Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2013/01/22/keystone_xl_nebraska_governor_heineman_approves_pipeline_route.html">approved a revised route</a> in January.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/keystone-xl-rally-305px-wide.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" />Protesters in Chicago marched from Grant Park to the Federal Building at 77 W. Jackson Blvd., home to the Environmental Protection Agency&rsquo;s regional offices. Climate advocates view the EPA <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/obamas-state-of-the-union-climate-call-may-buy-time-for-epa-87567.html">as the most likely vehicle for action on the issue</a> given that Republicans in Congress have continually stymied legislation intended to curb carbon emissions. Thanks to a series of court rulings, the EPA has considerable power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.</p><p>Congresswoman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/jan-schakowsky">Jan Schakowsky</a> (D-Ill.) sent a statement to the protesters in Chicago, thanking them for their advocacy. Schakowsky serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.</p><p>&ldquo;There should be no doubt that all of us need to get bolder and louder in the call for action,&rdquo; read Schakowsky&rsquo;s statement.&nbsp; &ldquo;Climate change is happening, and its consequences are dire.&rdquo;</p><p>Dozens of protesters, including James Hansen, <a href="http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/13/arma-virumque-cano-police-arrest-keystone-protesters/">were arrested at the White House Wednesday</a> in the first act of civil disobedience ever organized by the 120-year-old environmental group Sierra Club.</p><p>In Chicago, support for the youth-led rally was not limited to students and environmental groups.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/keystone-xl-rally-305px-2.jpg" style="float: right;" title="(WBEZ/Chris Bentley)" />Mike Sinner, a 52-year-old employee of Weiss Memorial Hospital, lives in the West Ridge neighborhood. Toting a &ldquo;Resist KXL&rdquo; sign and walking a bike he said had logged 111,000 miles, Sinner likened the present day climate action movement to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.</p><p>&ldquo;As you get older you know that in most issues there is no moral black and white,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But some issues are black and white. Today we&rsquo;re saying to President Obama that we have his back if he does the right thing and rejects the pipeline.&rdquo;</p><p><a href="http://triblocal.com/grayslake/2011/07/26/on-yearly-quest-for-genuine-experience-cancer-survivor-bikes-to-lake-county-fair/">A cancer survivor</a>, Sinner said he is hopeful. Despite Obama&rsquo;s bullishness on fossil fuels like natural gas, Sinner said he was heartened by the President&rsquo;s call to &ldquo;act before it&rsquo;s too late&rdquo; during the 2013 State of the Union Address.</p><p>&ldquo;I think if we don&rsquo;t have hope,&quot; Sinner said,&nbsp;&quot;then we&rsquo;re in trouble.&quot;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><object height="458" width="610"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632789421303%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632789421303%2F&amp;set_id=72157632789421303&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632789421303%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2F34610267%40N05%2Fsets%2F72157632789421303%2F&amp;set_id=72157632789421303&amp;jump_to=" height="458" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="610"></embed></object></p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-02/environmentalists-protest-keystone-xl-pipeline-105576 A lot at stake for BP in Whiting expansion http://www.wbez.org/story/lot-stake-bp-whiting-expansion-95709 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-20/BP 2.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Just beyond Chicago’s southern border is Whiting, one of the smallest cities in Indiana with about 5,000 residents. But you’d never know it these days. That’s because thousands of construction workers descend upon the “Little City on the Lake” every day to head to the BP Refinery. The facility’s 100 years old now and is getting a multi-billion dollar makeover. There’s a lot at stake for BP’s finances and it’s environmental cred.</p><p>Remember when Soldier Field got its fancy makeover? Think about all the work that went into remodeling that stadium. They removed old seats, replaced the field, and put up a new scoreboard.</p><p>Now, imagine if all that happened while the Bears were playing and the fans were hooping it up and the tailgaters were in the parking lot. It would have been business as usual, except with dangerous machinery and construction workers all around. Well, that’s pretty much what’s happening at BP’s Whiting Refinery.</p><p>MOYE: We’re building the 6th largest refinery in North America inside the 4th largest refinery while it’s actually operating. That brings a lot of complexities to it and makes it a very exciting time.</p><p>That’s Dave Moye, BP’s Lakefront complex operation specialist in Whiting.</p><p>MOYE: A new refinery hasn’t been built in the U.S. since the 1970s I think. So, this is a significant modification to a refinery.</p><p>Moye’s a got a lot to back up that boast. BP’s expansion project will cost $3.8 billion, which makes it the largest private investment in Indiana history. Moye and other BP supervisors already keep track of their own 1,900 employees, but now they’re managing another 9,000 construction workers. And soon ... they’ll manage 1,000 more.</p><p>The size and scale of BP’s expansion project is hard to wrap your head around, so to get a better idea of it, I went on a tour. A process engineer named Ryan O’Leary was one of my guides.</p><p>O'LEARY: You can tell there’s a tremendous amount of activity around here. Contractors in and out. This is some of the heaviest construction in the area. Just here in our view, six, seven cranes. This will be carrying through in the next year.</p><p>O’Leary was quick to show off a lot of engineering muscle that’s gone into this, but he stopped to remind me several times that there’s more at stake for BP than just a makeover, or even short-term profits.</p><p>O’LEARY: This project gives us a future in the area that is defined, it is long term. It is a key project for BP’s sustainability in the United States and the world.</p><p>This is no exaggeration. BP’s environmental cred has been on the line because of that big oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. But you might recall that this modernization project has already attracted environmental scrutiny. Five years ago, BP announced that the Whiting facility would refine a lot more heavy Canadian oil - a stickier, thicker kind of crude.</p><p>But when BP sought permits from the state of Indiana, environmental groups and Illinois congressmen stepped in. They worried the plant would release more mercury and ammonia pollution into Lake Michigan. And these critics hit the airwaves with radio ads and other tactics to stop the Whiting project.</p><p>BP felt the pressure, so it pledged to keep pollution going into Lake Michigan at current levels, even though the Whiting plant would be bigger and process dirtier oil. That environmental fight was several years ago. Now, the work of keeping BP’s environmental promises comes down to people like Ramachandra Achar, a water treatment specialist.</p><p>ACHAR: The mercury issue is a very significant technological challenge though. Much more difficult than any other that we have really faced in the past.</p><p>In fact, BP says it’s dedicating about $1 billion to cut down on mercury and other pollutants. That means one of every four dollars in the expansion project is for water treatment.</p><p>One reason for the big outlay is that BP is forced to used equipment that’s unique or nearly so. For example, it’s brine treatment unit is the first of its kind to be used in the U.S., and only the second worldwide. BP is also testing merging technologies – technologies that are not fully developed.</p><p>It’s getting help from<a href="http://webs.purduecal.edu/pwi/"> Purdue University Calumet’s Water Institute in Hammond</a> and <a href="http://www.anl.gov/">Argonne National Laboratory</a> in Chicago’s western suburbs. Dr. Cristina Negri researches pollution controls for Argonne. She’s helping to find technologies for BP to lower the amount of mercury that’s released into Lake Michigan.</p><p>NEGRI: The problem there is the concentrations are very tiny, very small. The technologies that were available had really were not been tested at those concentrations.</p><p>Negri says the nice thing is BP is taking on large-scale real world tests at the refinery. If the mercury pollution controls work, they might help other industries, or even city water treatment facilities release less mercury into the environment.</p><p>NEGRI: I think you won’t find anywhere else a study that’s so broad as far as mercury goes. You’re talking between us and Purdue we tested some 40 some technologies. It’s a lot.</p><p>Scientists and engineers aren’t the only people interested in whether BP can pull off an expansion, while keeping pollution in check. Envionrmental groups and local residents are, too.</p><p>Thomas Frank lives in East Chicago near the Whiting Refinery. Frank says it’s good BP’s spending so much money on environmental controls, but the expansion’s still not worth the risk.</p><p>FRANK: It shows there’s a dedication. They are going to try to leverage funds that they know there’s a problem. We have a hundred years of industrial legacy that is meant we are sitting on the most polluted waterway in the country (Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal) , it means our land is considered the most polluted and our airshed is the 9th most polluted in the country. The BP project adds to that complexity and the concentration of industry right here.</p><p>Frank’s sentiment is getting heard by BP officials, even ones at the top. Recently, the CEO, Bob Dudley, visited Chicago to talk about BP’s environmental record. It so happens Dudley’s a local guy. He grew up in west suburban Hinsdale, and he’s familiar with Whiting, Indiana.<br> Dudley took over BP after the Gulf Oil spill of 2010.</p><p>DUDLEY: Our reputation was in tatters. We had experienced a massive loss of public trust. We knew we had a responsibility to embed the lessons from this accident across BP worldwide. But in light of what had happened. We’ve committed to reinforcing our safety and risk management procedures globally everywhere.</p><p>Dudley told Chicago business people that the Whiting Refinery modernization is one example of how BP wants to get on track with cleaner technology. But, of course, that’s only a prediction right now. The BP refinery project won’t be done until the fall of 2013.</p></p> Fri, 20 Jan 2012 21:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/lot-stake-bp-whiting-expansion-95709 Worldview 1.19.12 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-11912 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2012-january/2012-01-19/keystone2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Yesterday, President Obama rejected the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, making good on a promise to not give in to Republican ultimatums. The project was supposed to carry heavy crude oil from the tar sands of Alberta, Canada to refineries on the Texas coast. <em>Worldview</em> speaks to University of Alberta professor and philosopher <a href="http://www.augustana.ualberta.ca/profs/dgoa/" target="_blank">Davis Goa</a> about the cultural, psychological and social tolls of the project. And, on <a href="http://wbez.org/globalactivism" target="_blank"><em>Global Activism</em></a>, Beth Skorochod of <a href="http://www.psi.org/togo" target="_blank">Population Services International (PSI)</a> discusses her HIV prevention work with men who have sex with men in Togo. Sodomy is illegal in the West African country.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 15:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-11912