Chelsea Green Publishing

“Making It Right” After BP Oil Disaster Is Up to Us – Not BP

Grand Isle, Louisiana. When I returned to Cordova, Alaska, in December 2010 after my first six-month stint in the Gulf coast communities impacted by the BP oil disaster, fishermen greeted me wryly. "See you found your way home." Fishermen were interested in stories because even then, twenty-one years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, there was still no sense of closure. Exxon never "made it right." How could Exxon "make right" family lives shattered by divorce, suicide, or strange illnesses stemming from the "cleanup" work? Or the sense of betrayal by the Supreme Court to hold Exxon to its promise to "pay all reasonable claims"? As fishermen listened to the Gulf stories, one asked, "Do they know how f---ed they are yet?" No, I explained, they've only lost one fishing season and they just now are filing claims for the first deadline. When I returned to the Gulf in early January 2011, I heard the same story from Louisiana to Florida. "Everythi
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Lots of Inconvenient Truths — Chemical Illness Epidemic in the Wake of the BP Blowout

Recently Kenneth Feinberg, the lawyer overseeing the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility to “make it right” for people harmed by the British Petroleum oil blowout disaster, told a Louisiana House and Senate committee that he had not seen any claims, or any scientific evidence, linking BP’s oil and dispersant release to chemical illnesses. Feinberg […]
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When Harm Goes Unpunished: Why Congress Should Overturn the Supreme Court’s Exxon Valdez Decision

When the Supreme Court slashed punitive damages in the Exxon Valdez case last month, it was more than a travesty of justice. The court’s decision also charted a dangerous course for America — one largely overlooked in the flurry of coverage on the court’s other eleventh-hour, high-profile decisions, but one that renders our legal system […]
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From the Ground: BP Censoring Media, Destroying Evidence

"There's only one reason for that," the pilot said. "BP doesn't want the media taking pictures of oil on the beaches. You should see the oil that's about six miles off the coast," he said grimly. We looked down at the wavy orange boom surrounding the islands below us. The pilot shook his head. "There's no way those booms are going to stop what's offshore from hitting those beaches."
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Human Health Tragedy in the Making: Gulf Response Failing to Protect People

Grand Bayou, Louisiana -- The federal agencies delegated with protecting the environment, worker safety, and public health are in hot water in the small coastal communities across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
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The U.S. Supreme Court Sells Out: A Government of, for, and by the Corporations

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen United v. Federal Elections Commission case sold America down the river. It opens the floodgates to unfettered -- unlimited! -- corporate and union spending on candidate elections by overturning state and federal restrictions on electioneering. This will affect all elections: school board, zoning commissions, state and municipal judges, state representatives, congressional delegates, President.
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A Letter to the Governor of Alaska

There is an opportunity for this state to demonstrate that it will act fairly and responsibly to protect its residents from oil spill impacts when the law fails to do so.
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More Oil? Cheap Gas? Now is the Time to Make Tough Choices

Cordova, Alaska. When President Obama said, during a speech on environment and climate change, “America will not be held hostage to dwindling resources, hostile regimes, and a warming planet,” people across the country grew hopeful that we were, at last, charting a course away from fossil fuels. And we certainly can. But it will require […]
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The Human Cost of Bush’s Arctic Policy

Wainwright, Alaska. “We’ll have to give you an Eskimo name if you like our food!” Kenneth “Kenny” Tagarook teased as he sliced another piece of frozen raw caribou meat for me with his ulu – a hand-sized, flat piece of metal with a small handle opposite the sharp, curved edge. Kenny and his wife Ann […]
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Onshore and Offshore: The Human Cost of Oil Drilling

Wainwright, Alaska. Rebecca “Ricky” Ekak, a tenth grader at Alak High School in Wainwright, implored her teacher, “Please, can we learn more about this? What they said went into me.” Ricky and her classmates are Inupiat (“In-OU-pe-at” or “Eskimo”).Wainwright is one of eight Inupiat villages at the top of the world or at least the […]
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Crimes at the Top of the World: The Human Cost of Oil

Wainwright, Alaska. Rebecca “Ricky” Ekak, a tenth grader at Alak High School in Wainwright, implored her teacher, “Please, can we learn more about this? What they said went into me.” Ricky and her classmates are Inupiat (“In-OU-pe-at” or “Eskimo”). Wainwright is one of eight Inupiat villages at the top of the world or at least […]
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