fresh voices from the front lines of change







Conservatives, their movement funded by big oil and king coal, constantly complain about “job-killing regulations.” They say that the Environmental Protection Agency is pushing “socialism” because it wants to lower the amount of pollution that energy companies pump into the air. And here is a story that makes their point.

From the AP: Russia oil spills wreak devastation,

Environmentalists estimate at least 1 percent of Russia’s annual oil production, or 5 million tons, is spilled every year. That is equivalent to one Deepwater Horizon-scale leak about every two months. Crumbling infrastructure and a harsh climate combine to spell disaster in the world’s largest oil producer, responsible for 13 percent of global output.

Oil, stubbornly seeping through rusty pipelines and old wells, contaminates soil, kills all plants that grow on it and destroys habitats for mammals and birds. Half a million tons every year get into rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean, the government says, upsetting the delicate environmental balance in those waters.

It’s part of a legacy of environmental tragedy that has plagued Russia and the countries of its former Soviet empire for decades, from the nuclear horrors of Chernobyl in Ukraine to lethal chemical waste in the Russian city of Dzerzhinsk and paper mill pollution seeping into Siberia’s Lake Baikal, which holds one-fifth of the world’s supply of fresh water.


Oh, darn, sorry. My bad. Big mistake. Oops. That’s a story about what happens if we don’t strictly regulate the energy companies.

The oil industry in Komi has been sapping nature for decades, killing or forcing out reindeer and fish. Locals like the 63-year-old Bratenkov are afraid that when big oil leaves, there will be only poisoned terrain left in its wake.

“Fishing, hunting — it’s all gone,” Bratenkov said.

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