Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα environmental damage. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα environmental damage. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Παρασκευή 19 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

Ethiopia dam tripartite committee to choose impact study firm in early 2015

The tripartite committee looking into Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam is expected to meet by mid-January to choose an international firm to conduct studies on the dam's impact, Egypt's irrigation minister said Friday.

Hossam Moghazi told state news agency MENA that Egypt is committed to completing the study by mid-2015.   
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia had selected seven international firms in October to prepare technical and financial offers to conduct studies on Ethiopia's $4.2 billion dam project, which Egyptian officials fear could affect the country's water share.

The tripartite committee was expected to have selected the firm by mid-December. However, the deadline to receive offers was extended after two firms withdrew.

After meeting to study the firms' offers, the tripartite committee is expected to meet in Addis Ababa to sign the final contract.

The firm's report — based on a study to be conducted over five months — will include the dam's impact on upstream Nile countries Egypt and Sudan, as well as its environmental, social and economic effects.
An Ethiopian "people's delegation" arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for a three day visit. Delegates met with diplomats, religious figures, university professors and journalists.


Σάββατο 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

Boat protest against Canaries oil prospecting

LANZAROTE, Spain: Protesters plunged half-naked into the icy sea and unfurled banners on Saturday (Dec 13) to try to stop oil prospecting near Spain's Canary Islands, a major tourist destination.

Ten boats from the archipelago took protesters eight nautical miles from where Spanish firm Repsol is exploring with a view to possibly drilling off the islands in the Atlantic ocean.
Protesters warn the oil and gas project is a threat to the environment and the tourist industry on which the Canary Islands rely. They say drilling would raise the risk of an oil spill like the Deepwater Horizon disaster that struck at a BP oil prospect in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The government says finding oil could create thousands of jobs and reduce Spain's dependency on energy imports. The country currently imports 80 per cent of its energy. The beaches on the archipelago off northwest Africa are a popular draw for tourists from Britain, France and elsewhere.

Opponents of Repsol's operations are furious at the Spanish government for authorising Repsol to probe below the sea bed 50 kilometres from the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura.

Environmentalists have branded it a threat to dolphins and other local fauna and flora. "I have been a boat owner for 10 years and what they are doing here pains me. I am sick of seeing the sea polluted and destroyed," said Samuel Rocio Garcia, 32, a protester who dived into the water.

On board one of the boats was the leader of the local government from the island of Lanzarote, Pedro San Gines Gutierrez. He said the protest was "a symbolic act of vigilance" to try to monitor the activities of the Rowan Renaissance, the ship Repsol is using to probe below the sea bed.

Spanish authorities last month temporarily impounded a boat of the environmental campaign group Greenpeace after it protested at the Repsol project in the same area. Spain said the crew had defied orders to leave a restricted zone.

On Nov 15, three Spanish navy boats rammed vessels in which Greenpeace activists were approaching the Rowan Renaissance, a video distributed by Greenpeace showed. An Italian protester fell in the water and was injured, Greenpeace said. It said its activists were protesting peacefully.

Πέμπτη 23 Οκτωβρίου 2014

Lake shrinks by third. (The sharp fall of the lake's water level will affect shipping and fishing as well as nearby residents' water supply)

China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang, has shrunk by one third over the last three days due to a reduced water supply from the Yangtze River and little rainfall.

At 8 am Wednesday, the lake's surface area was 1,490 square kilometers, a reduction of 679 square kilometers compared with 2,169 square kilometers on Monday, said the Jiangxi Provincial Hydrological Bureau on Wednesday. 

The water level at the Xingzi hydrological station was 11.99 meters at 4 pm Wednesday, 2.13 meters lower than the average level recorded in recent years. The water level is falling by 30 centimeters every day.

The two major causes for the lake shrinking were the reduced water supply from the upper Yangtze River due to the construction of dams and sparse rainfall over the past month in Jiangxi, said the bureau.

The precipitation was less than 5 millimeters since September 20 in Jiangxi Province.

The lake's flood season began on April 30 and lasted until October 18.

This year's flood period was 33 days longer than last year's.

The sharp fall of the lake's water level will affect shipping and fishing as well as nearby residents' water supply.  

Sources : Xinhua - globaltimes.cn
22- 23/10/14

Τρίτη 12 Αυγούστου 2014

Big Ships Will Soon Be Banned From Venice's Historic Center

ROME (AP) — Italy has moved ahead with plans to block big cruise ships from sailing past Venice's historic center, authorizing an environmental study for an alternate route that it hopes will still satisfy the city's key tourism industry.

Cruise ships currently can pass within 300 meters (1,000 feet) of Venice's iconic St. Mark's Square, granting a stunning view to those aboard but presenting a jarring sight against the backdrop of Venice's Byzantine architecture.

Residents, activists and environmentalists have long opposed cruise ship traffic in Venice.
They balked at the decision Friday by a commission of government ministers and local officials authorizing a study into using the Contorta-Sant'Angelo canal.

The group "No Big Ships" called it the worst choice and insisted that big cruise ships must be kept out of the lagoon altogether.

Τρίτη 15 Ιουλίου 2014

Turkish activists make the ‘big jump’ to free rivers from dams (Turkey faces losing 80 percent of its biodiversity)

Activists in Turkey have gathered along several rivers across the country to make a swan dive in the global “big jump” event calling for the protection of waterways to protest the scores of hydroelectric plant projects (HES) and dams that threaten dozens of environmentally protected or untouched areas.

One of the venues was the picturesque town of Hasankeyf at the border of the Tigris River, which will be flooded by the gargantuan Ilısu reservoir when completed.

The Nature Association, which sponsored the event in Turkey, stressed the Constitutional Court had halted legislation that exempted companies making huge energy investments from the validation of an Environmental Impact Assessment (ÇED) report earlier this month.

  • It also said that Turkey faces losing 80 percent of its biodiversity if the HES projects are to be completed in the near future.

“While in a normal state of law it would be impossible to think not to what’s required by this ruling, in Turkey all the unlawful projects are ongoing,” said Engin Yılmaz, chairman of the association.

  • “Rivers are the source of life. Each river is also the heart of all the life destroyed by dams and HES. We don’t only lose our biodiversity, like in Hasankeyf, we also lose the cultures that have lived in these lands and are our roots,” he said.

Other similar demonstrations have been held at the fiery Fırtına River in the Black Sea province of Rize, at the Süvari Çayı River in Ankara and nearby the Alakır River in the southern province of Antalya. 


Πέμπτη 13 Μαρτίου 2014

Lower Mekong Countries Urge Halt to Lao Dam Project

Officials from the Mekong countries of Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are urging Laos to halt development of a dam project that could have a significant impact on downstream communities and ecosystems along the river.
Cambodian, Thai, and Vietnamese delegations visited the site of the planned dam on Wednesday. All three countries have expressed their concerns over the project.

Tek Vannara, head of Cambodia's NGO Forum, a consortium of organizations, told VOA Khmer he was still concerned after the visit to the Don Sahong dam site.

"If they block the fish migration passages by building this dam, some fish species will surely be lost," he said.

He added that the dam would affect at least 6 million Cambodians living either near the site or along the Mekong River or Tonle Sap lake.

Lao officials said they were conducting the project transparently and with the proper safeguards.

Sin Niny, permanent vice chair of Cambodia's National Mekong Committee, said Cambodia has maintained its position that Laos should stop the project and conduct more environmental assessments.

"We demand that Lao study in details as requested by other countries along the Mekong before starting the dam construction," said Sin Niny.

Meanwhile, more than 50 environmental and development organizations are preparing to submit a letter to the Mekong River Commission, an inter-regional body formed to tackle river issues, voicing their concerns over the impact of the dam.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Khmer service.

Παρασκευή 31 Ιανουαρίου 2014

US says no significant impact on environment from Keystone pipeline

The US State Department released a much-anticipated environmental review Friday of a controversial oil pipeline project from Canada, raising no major objections to the plan.

"The analyses of potential impacts associated with construction and normal operation of the proposed project suggest that significant impacts to most resources are not expected along the proposed project route," the huge report said about the Keystone pipeline.

The proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline is unlikely to increase the pace of Canadian oil sands development, a US State Department study said, raising pressure on President Barack Obama to approve a project environmentalists see as a major climate change problem.

The massive 11-volume environmental impact study released on Friday did not recommend whether President Barack Obama should grant or deny an application by TransCanada Corp to build the $5.4 billion line, which would transport crude from Alberta's oil sands to US refineries.

But a State Department official who briefed reporters ahead of the report's release said that blocking Keystone - or any pipeline - would do little to slow the expansion of Canada's vast oil patch, maintaining the central finding of the State Department's preliminary study issued last year.

The report's publication opened a new and potentially final stage of an approval process that has dragged for more than five years, taking on enormous symbolic political significance, potentially helping define Obama's legacy.

With another three-month review process ahead and no firm deadline for a decision on the 1,179-mile line, the issue threatens to drag into the 2014 congressional elections in November. Obama is under pressure from several vulnerable Democratic senators who favor the pipeline and face re-election at a time when Democrats are scrambling to hang on to control of the US Senate.........................http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_02_01/Keystone-pipeline-will-not-affect-Canada-oil-sands-growth-US-State-Department-0800/


Παρασκευή 17 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Keystone XL: No US decision yet on Canada pipeline. -Kerry

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State John Kerry Friday refused to answer Canadian calls on whether or not Washington will approve the construction of a controversial oil pipeline, saying it was still under review.
"I can promise our friends in Canada that ... all the appropriate effort has been put into trying to get this done effectively and rapidly," Kerry said, ahead of talks with his Canadian counterpart John Baird.
But he said the State Department was still reviewing the environmental impact of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline which is intended to carry heavy crude from Alberta's oil sands to Texas refineries.
"An analysis will be made with respect to the national interest ultimately. And we're just not at that point yet, haven't received it, they haven't finished it," Kerry told reporters, ahead of his bilateral talks with Baird.

A months-long review process solicited over a million responses, and Kerry said the queries had to be given "appropriate answers."
"The public has a role in this. We're all accountable to our publics. The democratic process demands that we do that," the top US diplomat said.
Baird said he hoped Washington would release its report "in short order and that the administration will be in a position to make a positive decision."
"Obviously, this is a tremendously important project for the future prosperity of the Canadian economy," Baird said.
"It's a great project. It'll create a lot of jobs here in the United States. It's a great project which will increase the energy security of our closest friend and ally."
At a speech on Thursday at the US Chamber of Commerce, Baird had called on the United States to end its foot-dragging over the issue.
"The time for Keystone is now," he said.
"I'll go further -- the time for a decision on Keystone is now, even if it's not the right one. We can't continue in this state of limbo."
US President Barack Obama is expected to decide this year whether to greenlight the $5.3 billion, 1,179-mile (1,897-kilometre) pipeline, first proposed back in 2008.
The project was put forth by TransCanada, which operates oil and gas pipelines in North America.
Environmentalists have opposed the pipeline because the oil it will carry requires huge amounts of energy and water to extract, and producing and refining it generates a large amount of damaging emissions in the process.
They also warn the pipeline will carry risks of environmentally damaging spills.

Παρασκευή 20 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Dead Sea: Environmentalists Question Pipeline Rescue Plan

An "historic" agreement between Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians is supposed to save the shrinking Dead Sea. But some environmentalists believe the plan to pump water from the Red Sea could do the salt lake more harm than good.

Even as it shrinks in size, the Dead Sea, a turquoise blue shimmering salt lake, remains a mystical place. Boat jetties jut out into nothingness, abandoned as the water has retreated further and further; each year the level dropping by a meter. The Dead Sea is dwindling to nothing, deprived of water by humans.

 Where there once was water, there is now a crumbling coastline, which is already riddled with deep craters that can open up suddenly. Nonetheless, the lake's withered beauty still attracts many to its shores.
The only question is, for how long?
The Dead Sea is now set to be saved -- but the plans of its self-appointed savior may actually turn out to be more like euthanasia.
Last week, Israeli Energy Minister Silvan Shalom, together with his Jordanian and Palestinian counterparts, agreed to a joint project which, it was solemnly declared, would prevent the Dead Sea from drying out. At the same time, what Shalom described as an "historic agreement" would secure water supplies for the notoriously arid region -- and send a signal of international understanding in the Middle East.
Nothing But a Waste
But numerous environmentalists and the 20 Palestinian NGOs who spoke out in advance against the project argue that the acclaimed agreement is nothing but a waste.
The plan is to build a desalination plant in the Jordanian city of Aqaba on the Red Sea, which will then supply both the neighboring Israeli city of Eilat and southern Jordan with fresh water. The brine that is created in the desalination process will be pumped 180 kilometers through a pipeline to the Dead Sea.
Will this stop the Dead Sea from shrinking?
"Nonsense," says Gidon Bromberg simply. As director of the environmental organization Friends of the Earth Middle East, the Israeli lawyer has been involved with issues surrounding the Dead Sea for more than a decade.
What is taking place, Bromberg says, is not a ground-breaking project to save the lake, but simply a water exchange. Israel and Jordan want to build up their water supplies, and the supposedly economically-friendly rescue action is an excellent way to attract international money to do so.
Catastrophic Ecological Consequences
Bromberg is not the only one who thinks like this, primarily because the 200 million cubic meters of brine set to be pumped into the Dead Sea by 2017 at the earliest only make up about 10 percent of the water needed to halt the lake's retreat.
"The amount of water is not sufficient," says hydrogeologist Christian Siebert from the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in the German city of Halle, who is investigating how the decline of the water level in the Dead Sea is affecting aquifers in the region. "And the environmental consequences are not foreseeable."
What worries Siebert and environmentalists is the question of what will happen when mixing seawater and lake water.
Experiments carried out by Israeli microbiologists on behalf of the Geological Survey of Israel show that the transfusion of water from the Red Sea could have catastrophic ecological consequences for the Dead Sea. They could include: an uncontrolled growth of red or green algae; the proliferation of bacteria; the lake turning a rusty red color; and the formation of white gypsum crystals on the water's surface.
"The lake would be completely cloudy," says hydrogeologist Siebert. It would also be possible that the water from the Red Sea would not mix properly with the water from the Dead Sea because of different densities, but would rather form layers. In the worst case scenario, according to Siebert, microorganisms could establish themselves and convert the gypsum into noxious, putrid, stinking hydrogen sulfide.
The brine produced as the product of desalination is also usually contaminated with chemicals and copper.
Until now, people with skin conditions have been drawn to the Dead Sea because of the healing power of its waters. But who wants to bathe in a foul-smelling lake full of chemical waste?
Siebert and Bromberg agree that anyone wanting to save the Dead Sea must first save the Jordan River. It once supplied the salt lake with its water; now the flow has almost completely dried up. The river, which plays a prominent role in the Bible, is today just a miserable, dirty little trickle.
Water As a Weapon
An incredible 98 percent of the Jordan River's water is diverted by bordering countries, and more than half of that by Israel. Until two years ago, Syria and Jordan shared the rest; the Syrians have now largely been left out in the cold due to the country's civil war. The Palestinians claim about 5 percent.
To restore the river, Israel and Jordan would have to do without one-third of its water. It's a tall order in a region where water is also always a weapon, an instrument of power. Bromberg, therefore, has a different solution in mind, namely that the chemical companies on the shores of the Dead Sea, and especially the Israeli Dead Sea Works Company and the Jordanian Arab Potash Company, must finally relinquish some of the millions they make selling salts and other minerals.
In order to produce these substances, the firms allow water to evaporate from the salt lake in massive quantities. For this precious water, they pay nothing.
Translated from the German by David Knight.



Πέμπτη 31 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Ukraine’s Shale Gas Plans Pose Danger for Russia – WWF. -Russia cannot compel Ukraine to present an international assessment of the project’s risks because Russia has not ratified the United Nations’ Espoo Convention.

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) –
Planned drilling for shale gas in Ukraine is likely to pollute downstream waters in neighboring Russia, environmental conservation group the World Wide Fund for Nature said Thursday.

Ukraine last year announced a joint project with Europe’s biggest oil company, Shell, to drill for shale gas in the eastern Kharkiv Region, which borders Russia. Extraction is due to begin in 2018 or 2019.

The project is expected to decrease Ukraine’s current dependence on natural gas from Russia following a series of so-called gas wars that saw Moscow using the lucrative resource for political leverage.

But shale gas extraction in the eastern region is likely to pollute the Seversky Donets River, which flows into Russia, the WWF’s Alexei Knizhnikov told RIA Novosti.

Russia cannot compel Ukraine to present an international assessment of the project’s risks because Russia has not ratified the United Nations’ Espoo Convention on cross-border environmental impact, said Knizhnikov, who oversees energy projects at the WWF’s Russian branch.

  • Moscow and Kiev both signed the convention in 1991, but only Ukraine ratified it.

  • Russia recently stepped up political pressure on Ukraine over the latter’s plans to sign an association agreement with the European Union next month.

Earlier this week, the chief executive of Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom demanded an immediate resolution of Ukraine’s unpaid August gas bill, which he said amounted to $882 million.

Τετάρτη 30 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Brazil court orders resumption of work on Amazon Belo Monte dam.

AFP - A Brazilian court on Wednesday ordered work to resume on a dam in the Amazon, reversing a ruling that had ordered a stoppage over environmental concerns, the project consortium said.
A Norte Energia statement said the president of the Federal Court in Brasilia lifted the suspension on the Belo Monte dam.
Another judge had ordered the consortium to halt the work Friday, saying it had not met its environmental commitments.
Just as the 20,000 workers were preparing to stop work at the dam, located in the northern state of Para, Judge Mario Cesar Ribeiro said only a special court could rule on a suspension, according to a spokesman.

Federal Court Judge Antonio Souza had suspended the project's environmental license as well work at the dam last week after state prosecutors charged that Norte Energia had failed to comply with environmental commitments.
But Norte Energia insisted that it was "rigorously complying with its obligations and commitments."

Indigenous groups fear the dam across the Xingu River, a tributary of the Amazon, will harm their way of life. Environmentalists have warned of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and irreparable damage to the ecosystem.
Belo Monte, a $13 billion project aiming to produce 11,000 megawatts of electricity, is expected to flood a 500-square-kilometer (300-square-mile) area, displacing 16,000 people, according to the government.
It would be the third-biggest dam in the world, after China's Three Gorges and Brazil's Itaipu in the south.

Δευτέρα 28 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Brésil: la justice suspend la construction du gigantesque barrage de Belo Monte.

Foto: en.wikipedia.org
Un juge d'un tribunal fédéral de Brasilia a ordonné la suspension des travaux de construction du gigantesque barrage de Belo Monte, en Amazonie brésilienne, vivement contesté par les écologistes et les populations locales, a annoncé lundi une porte-parole de la cour.
Le juge Antonio Souza Prudente a prononcé la suspension de l'autorisation environnementale accordée au projet et l'arrêt des travaux du barrage hydroélectrique, situé sur le fleuve Xingu, dans l'Etat du Para (nord), selon cette porte-parole.
Prise vendredi, la décision du juge interdit à la banque publique BNDES, qui finance le projet, de débloquer des fonds tant que tous les engagements sociaux-environnementaux n'auront pas été tenus par les promoteurs. "Nous ne nous opposons pas au développement du pays mais nous affirmons qu'il faut respecter la loi", avait déclaré le procureur de l'Etat du Para.

La décision du juge Souza Prudente fait effet jusqu'à ce que les magistrats de ce tribunal se réunissent en collège et statuent sur sa validité.
Norte Energia, responsable du projet, a indiqué à l'AFP ne pas avoir encore été informée de cette décision judiciaire mais a affirmé que "toutes les obligations et les engagements de l'entreprise sont rigoureusement respectés".

  • Belo Monte est le barrage le plus important en cours d'édification au Brésil et le troisième du monde, derrière celui d'Itaipu (Brésil et Paraguay) et des Trois Gorges (Chine). Il fournira 11 233 mégawatts, soit 11% de la capacité installée du pays, et la première tranche devrait entrer en service en 2015. Sa mise en place entraînera l'inondation de 502 km2. Son coût est estimé à 13 milliards de dollars.

  • Même si leurs terres ne seront pas inondées, l'édification du barrage risque de changer le mode de vie des communautés indiennes vivant aux alentours, qui ne pourront plus pêcher pour leur subsistance en raison de la dérivation des cours d'eau.

Τετάρτη 30 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Air pollution champion: China burns more coal than rest of world combined

China burns almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported. China’s coal use is poised to continue rising, despite the country's rapidly deteriorating environment, experts predicted.
­The latest EIA report revealed that China's coal consumption grew more than 9 percent in 2011, continuing its upward trend for a 12th consecutive year. Since 2000, the country has accounted for more than 80 percent of the global increase in coal use, the EIA reported. China currently accounts for 47 percent of global coal consumption, nearly totaling the rest of the world combined.

Image from eia.gov
Image from eia.gov
Coal remains the most widely used energy source in China due to its low cost – the country is the largest user of coal electricity in the world. Along with its own vast coal resources – about 114 billion tons produced as of 2011 according to the World Coal Association – China also imports large quantities of coal, since the country's coal-mining regions are often far from the areas where it is in demand. "The Asian market is the fastest-growing coal market in the world," Brookings Institution energy analyst Charles Ebinger told Mother Jones magazine. 
China's heavy use of coal is believed to be one of the reasons the capital Beijing recently witnessed its worst air pollution in years. For two weeks, Beijing's air was labeled worse than “very unhealthy” and “hazardous.” Authorities have closed 103 factories and taken 30 percent of government vehicles off the roads, but with little effect.
Air pollution in China hit a record high earlier this month: 30 to 45 times above recommended safety levels. Beijing itself became blanketed in a thick, toxic cloud that grounded flights and forced people indoors.
Vehicles drive through the Guomao Bridge on a heavy haze day in Beijing′s central business district January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
Vehicles drive through the Guomao Bridge on a heavy haze day in Beijing's central business district January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
The report is the highest-level acknowledgment to date of the hazardous air quality levels across much of China.
"We should take effective measures to speed up the enhancement of our industrial structure, push for energy conservation and build an ecological civilization," Chinese premier Wen Jiabao announced on state television.
However, the measures undertaken by the Chinese government do not include replacing coal production and consumption with more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Rather, the IEA predicted the opposite: Coal consumption will grow not only in China, but also in India and other developing economies, and this trend will prevail until clean energy prices can compete with coal.
Notably, wind power recently surpassed nuclear power production in China, and is now the country’s third-biggest source of electricity, second to hydropower, according to a recent report by the China Wind Energy Association.



Buildings and cars are pictured on a heavy hazy day during winter in Beijing′s central business district, January 30, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
Buildings and cars are pictured on a heavy hazy day during winter in Beijing's central business district, January 30, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
Visitors take pictures on Tiananmen Square during a foggy day in central Beijing, January 29, 2013.(Reuters / China Daily)
Visitors take pictures on Tiananmen Square during a foggy day in central Beijing, January 29, 2013.(Reuters / China Daily)
A combination photograph shows people wearing masks on a heavy haze day during winter in Beijing January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)
A combination photograph shows people wearing masks on a heavy haze day during winter in Beijing January 29, 2013.(Reuters / Jason Lee)

Δευτέρα 28 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Lower Mississippi River shut down after huge oil spill

Two barges struck a Mississippi River bridge Sunday morning, causing an oil spill that kept part of the waterway shut down to ship traffic and held up at least 21 boats, barges and vessels.
One of the two tank barges was carrying more than 80,000 gallons (302,833 liters) of light crude oil, an unknown amount of which spilled into the Mississippi River after the vessel hit the Vicksburg Railroad river bridge. Cleanup crews have not yet determined the extent of the oil spill, but a pollution response team is currently assessing the size of the spill and monitoring tank levels for further leakage, the US Coast Guard relayed in a press release. Each of the two ships contains eight tanks of oil.

A section of the lower Mississippi River has been closed to all traffic, backing up at least 21 tugboats, barges and other vessels going both northbound and southbound, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Ryan Gomez told the Associated Press.
The spill occurred at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, and oil was reported as far as three miles downriver later that day. Cleanup clews, including the US Environmental Services, are frantically trying to prevent the oil from spreading and have laid out containment booms – temporary floating barriers used to contain an oil spill.
“They have the boom to contain any cruise oil that’s leaking out of the barge. They have a secondary boom to corral any crude oil that gets past the first boom,” Gomez told AP.
“They are continuing to try to remove the product from the damaged tank to one of the non-damaged tanks on the same barge. The ultimate goal is to transfer all of the crude to a different barge,” he added.
Gomez said investigators are still trying to determine how the accident happened. Third Coast Towing LLC, the company that owns the two barges, has not made any public statements about the collision and has not responded to reporters' requests for comment. At the time of the accident, both vessels were being pulled by the tugboat Nature’s Way Endeavor.
The Mississippi River has suffered numerous oil spills in the past few years, which carry the risk of further devastating the Gulf Coast. In February 2012, part of the river was shut down for one day after an oil barge collided with a construction barge and spilled about 10,000 gallons of oil. In 2008, a fuel barge collided with a tanker, breaking in half and spilling 283,000 gallons of heavy crude into the waterways and keeping a large part of the river shut down for nearly a week.
Large oil spills can leak into the Gulf of Mexico, but Gomez believes the newly spilled oil will not travel the 344 river miles to the gulf. If more oil had been released, then it could have affected residents and businesses in the Gulf Coast states who are still recovering from the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which released 200 million gallons of oil into the water and killed 11 people.
Still, Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Jason McDonald said it’s too early to predict the environmental impact.
“Rivers have a different dynamic than oceans and gulfs,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “It’s too early to tell.”
The Coast Guard does not know how long the afflicted portion of the Mississippi River will remain closed.

Κυριακή 6 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Στην Αλάσκα διασώζουν εξέδρα γεώτρησης που έχει κολλήσει στα ρηχά (VIDEO)

Ειδικοί ετοιμάζονται να προσδέσουν συρματόσχοινο για ρυμούλκηση στην πλωτή εξέδρα γεώτρησης Kulluk, που ανήκει στην πετρελαϊκή εταιρεία Royal Dutch Shell.

Η εξέδρα ρίχτηκε από τα κύμματα στις ακτές της Αλάσκας στις 31 Δεκεμβρίου, όταν μετά από μία σφοδρή καταιγίδα αποκόπηκε από το ρυμουλκό πλοίο και παρασύρθηκε.
Πάνω στην εξέδρα βρίσκονται πάνω από 500 χιλ. λίτρα πετρελαίου και ντίζελ. Προς το παρόν δεν υπάρχουν ενδείξεις διαρροής.

Ωστόσο, στην εξέδρα βρέθηκε θαλασσινό νερό, γεγονός που υποδεικνύει ότι η εξωτερική επένδυση μπορεί να έχει υποστεί βλάβη.


A Coast Guard MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew overfly the conical drilling unit Kulluk Shell's Kulluk platform aground on the southeast shore of Sitkalidak Island about 40 miles southwest of Kodiak City, Alaska, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. The on scene weather conditions were 40 mph winds with 20-foot seas. U.S. Coast Guard video by Petty Officer 1st Class Sara Francis.

Πέμπτη 3 Ιανουαρίου 2013

Σταμάτησε η διαρροή από πλατφόρμα εξόρυξης πετρελαίου της Shell

Σταμάτησε η διαρροή από την πλατφόρμα εξόρυξης πετρελαίου Kulluk της Shell, η οποία προσέκρουσε σε στεριά κατά τη ρυμούλκησή της από την Αρκτική προς την Αλάσκα πριν από λίγες μέρες, γεγονός που καθιστά ευκολότερη την διαδικασία ρυμούλκησης, ανακοίνωσαν αργά χθες το βράδυ αξιωματούχοι.
Έξι εμπειρογνώμονες επωφελήθηκαν από την μικρή βελτίωση του καιρού για να προσεγγίσουν το κατάστρωμά της, ανακοίνωσε ο επικεφαλής της αμερικανικής ακτοφυλακής Πολ Μέλερ.

Την Δευτέρα, η πλατφόρμα προσέκρουσε στη στεριά όταν το παγοθραυστικό που την ρυμουλκούσε υπέστη μηχανική βλάβη εν μέσω καταιγίδας. Η πλατφόρμα Kulluk διαμέτρου 81 μέτρων μετέφερε 540.000 λίτρα ντίζελ και 45.000 λίτρα πετρελαίου λίπανσης, δήλωσε η Ντάρσι Σενκλέρ, εκπρόσωπος του κέντρου διοίκησης της ακτοφυλακής που έχει αναλάβει τον χειρισμό του ατυχήματος.
Και τα 18 μέλη του πληρώματος της 290 εκατομμυρίων δολαρίων πλατφόρμας της Shell διασώθηκαν. Την πλατφόρμα ρυμουλκούσαν προς το Σιάτλ για συντήρηση όταν προσέκρουσε στη στεριά στην ανατολική ακτή του ακατοίκητου νησιού Σιτκαλιντάκ στον Κόλπο της Αλάσκας.


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