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February 03 2012


Warren Buffett Exposed: The Oracle of Omaha and the Tar Sands

On January 23, Bloomberg News reported Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF), owned by his lucrative holding company Berkshire Hathaway, stands to benefit greatly from President Barack Obama’s recent cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline

If built, TransCanada's Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline would carry tar sands crude, or bitumen (“dilbit”) from Alberta, B.C. down to Port Arthur, Texas, where it would be sold on the global export market

If not built, as revealed recently by DeSmogBlog, the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, and could include increased levels of ecologically hazardous gas flaring in the Bakken Shale, or else many other pipeline routes moving the prized dilbit to crucial global markets.

Rail is among the most important infrastructure options for ensuring tar sands crude still moves to key global markets, and the industry is pursuing rail actively. But transporting tar sands crude via rail is in many ways a dirtier alternative to the KXL pipeline. “Railroads too present environmental issues. Moving crude on trains produces more global warming gases than a pipeline,” explained Bloomberg.

A key mover and shaker behind the push for more rail shipments is Warren Buffett, known by some as the “Oracle of Omaha” — of "Buffett Tax" fame — and the third richest man in the world, with a net worth of $39 billion. With or without Keystone XL, Warren Buffett stands to profit enormously from multiple aspects of the Alberta Tar Sands project. He also, importantly, maintains close ties with President Barack Obama.

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January 23 2012


Enviro News Wrap: The Sheen Comes off Natural Gas; the True Cost of Oil; At-Risk Species, and more…

The Latest Environmental News HeadlinesGlobalWarmingisReal contributor Anders Hellum-Alexander wraps-up the climate and environmental news headlines for the past week:


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January 20 2012


November 07 2011


On Our Radar: $135 Million for Exxon Spill Cleanup

The oil company is removing damaged pipeline from the Yellowstone River to try to determine the cause of the rupture, which spilled 42,000 gallons of crude.

July 11 2011


July 08 2011


Musings of a Malcontent: EXXON ROCKS!

Exxon Rocks! Maybe the recent spill into the Yellowstone River was the river's fault anyway...“Musings of a Malcontent” is a weekly op-ed by GlobalWarmingisReal contributor Carlyle Coash

Yes, I am going out on a limb and making sure I REPRESENT. (Sorry – channeling the hood there for a second)

As you all likely know by this point, on Friday July 1st an Exxon pipeline running under the Yellowstone River in Montana burst, causing a huge swath of oil to float down the river. By Sunday it had sent a plume 25 miles downriver. Since there has been record flooding in the area, there have been delays in getting to the pipe or starting any kind of real clean up.


The best part of the AP news report I read showed how the numbers can be spun regarding the amount that was spilled. Pam Malek, an Exxon spokesperson, said 750 to 1,000 barrels. Other Exxon officials estimated it at 42,000 gallons.

1,000 or 42,000? I’m keeping that spokesperson around the next time I cause an environmental disaster. She can low-ball my destruction of the planet anytime. Just make sure to use the measuring system that sounds the least damaging.

A barrel is about 42 gallons, but who’s counting. Already Exxon is downplaying it, saying that the situation is not all that bad. Like we’re going to believe them. Large organizations and truth – not a great track record.There is even blame being put on the river. Yes, my friends – the Yellowstone River is the true villain in this story. I know – I could not believe it myself. In a ploy to destroy the natural environment, the river over the last several days has conspired to flood its banks. In a statement, the Yellowstone River claimed it was the sky’s fault for sending so much rain – but we know better. The water levels rose, likely “exposing” the pipe to debris, which split the pipe. In typical river fashion the Yellowstone refused to bend to criticism.

Jokes, satire, and puns – I use them all.

I imagine that the Exxon spin team is already hard at work with the “upsides” to the spill, so that by next week we will all be convinced it was a good thing this happened. A few that popped into my head:

  • More Omega 3 – The fish of the Yellowstone will benefit from the new oil enriched water of the river. It will totally boost their Omega 3 content! So for all you health conscious folks out there, make sure to stock up on genuine Yellowstone River oil fed trout this summer. GOOD EATS!
  • Watery Water – Scientists from Exxon, along with experts from the EPA, determine that the water of the Yellowstone River before the spill was too “watery”. “Too much water type substance in that water. It needed more character”, stated a lead spokesperson. “Thanks to Exxon, the river’s content is more diverse. Oil adds just the right qualities to make the river’s ecosystem really shine. Literally.” As a result, the EPA is giving Exxon a “Best Water Enrichment” award for their innovation and moxie.
  • Fireworks Display the Best Ever – Thanks to all the oil fumes in the air from the Yellowstone River spill, the fireworks this year in nearby Laurel, Montana were amazing. The fumes, which ignited when the fireworks exploded, flashed magnificently in the July sky. Although a relatively small town of 6,500 residents, Laurel hosts a huge 4th of July fireworks display. It is not uncommon for 50,000 or more area residents to attend. “It was incredible this year!” said one resident, “the flames arching across the sky were just the right touch. Thank you Exxon!”

Laugh now, but just wait.


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