Tag Archives: oil

Tim DeChristopher: An Act of Bravery. Your help is needed.

The whole world by now knows of Tim DeChristopher’s brave act of civil disobedience who won bids totaling about $1.5 million on more than 10 lease parcels in December in an attempt to disrupt a U.S. Bureau of Land Management lease auction of 149,000 acres of public land in scenic southern and southeastern Utah.

The entire story can be viewed at The Center for Water Advocacy, located in Moab, UT and also managed by Green Party of Utah‘s Co-Coordinator Harold Shepherd,  The Center for Water Advocacy is collecting funds to pay for Tim’s legal defense.  Tim is facing Federal Criminal Charges – which could result in Federal Prison time.

Please visit the above linked website and donate to Tim’s legal defense fund.  For the sake of Utah’s Canyonlands.  For the sake of future generations.  For the sake of all life on our planet.

US Mayors Agree to Phase Out Bottled Water

[Salt Lake City Mayor] Rocky [Anderson] targets waste of bottled water


Posted December 18, 2006 in [Water]

Doug Smeath – Deseret Morning News 

Rocky Anderson is taking his fight for a more eco-friendly Salt Lake City to a new enemy: bottled water.

In a letter sent to members of his cabinet last month, the mayor asked that departments stop handing out bottled water at meetings and interoffice events.
The letter does not rise to the level of an executive order or a new policy. Rather, it asks for voluntary cooperation.

“The environmental impacts surrounding the production, shipment and disposal of bottled water do not fit within the city’s goal to conduct itself in an environmentally sustainable way,” Anderson wrote.

According to his letter, more than 1.5 million barrels of oil are used to produce the plastic bottles for individual-serving water each year. A number of environmental Web sites corroborate that figure.

“Add to that the tremendous amount of fuel needed to transport it from the bottling line to the store shelf, and it is clear why bottled water has been described as the most inefficient method for transporting water in human history,” he wrote.

He cited a study by the Container Recycling Institute reporting that eight of 10 plastic water bottles end up in landfills rather than being recycled. There is no reason to use bottled water, Anderson wrote, in places like Salt Lake, where tap water is safe and clean.

Not to mention cheaper. Anderson’s letter estimates water is up to 10,000 times costlier when delivered by bottle rather than by tap.

The letter encouraged department heads to invest in water pitchers and reusable cups so that staff members can easily drink tap water in meetings. E-mail: dsmeath@desnews.com

There is a site called Knock Out Bottled Water  where you can see businesses in Salt Lake City that have pledged to not sell those products, has a page of resources, and links to Think Outside the Bottle.

Additionally, you can take the Individual Knockout Bottled Water Pledge

Kudos to Mayors across the U.S. who are taking action on phasing out bottled water in their cities:

Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 by Agence France Presse

US Mayors Agree to Phase Out Bottled Water


The US Conference of Mayors on Monday passed a resolution calling for a phasing out of bottled water by municipalities and promoting the importance of public water supplies.0625 02 1 2

The vote comes amid increasing environmental concerns about the use of bottled water because of its use of plastic and energy costs to transport drinking supplies.

The mayors, meeting in Miami, approved a resolution proposed by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom along with 17 other large-city mayors to redirect taxpayer dollars from bottled water to other city services.

“Cities are sending the wrong message about the quality of public water when we spend taxpayer dollars on water in disposable containers from a private corporation,” said Newsom.

“Our public water systems are among the best in the world and demand significant and ongoing investment.”

According to the activist group Think Outside the Bottle, more than 60 mayors in the United States have already canceled bottled water contracts.

“It’s just plain common sense for cities to stop padding the bottled water industry’s bottom line at taxpayer expense,” said Gigi Kellett, national director of the Think Outside the Bottle campaign.

“This resolution will send the strong message that opting for tap over bottled water is what’s best for our environment, our pocketbooks and our long-term, equitable access to our most essential resource.”

The American Beverage Associations called the resolution “tainted with hypocrisies and inaccuracies.”

“While some mayors oppose the use of bottled water by city governments, most mayors across America gladly welcome bottled water when disaster strikes,” the industry group said in a statement.

“Our beverage companies continually come to the aid of communities ravaged by floods, fires, hurricanes, other natural disasters and compromised municipal water systems.”

The group said plastic water bottles “are 100 percent recyclable, making bottled water one of the few fully recyclable consumer goods.”

© 2008 Agence France Presse


The weather crisis in the midwest: effects on crops and fuel

Aside from the devastating effects to residents in the midwest from the recent weather causing floods there, crops will be significantly effected this year.

On the heels of a year long rise in corn prices due to the rising cost of crude oil, Corn is now at an all time high and other crops, such as soybeans, are also on the rise. 

Corn prices have shot up more than 80 percent in the past year amid a spike in crude oil prices, a weak U.S. dollar and rocketing demand for food in developing countries like China and India.

Other agriculture futures also climbed Friday, with soybeans nearing all-time highs.

Soybeans for July delivery rose 23.5 cents to settle at $15.60 a bushel on the CBOT, after earlier rising as high as $15.70. Soybeans hit their all-time high of $15.96, reached in March.

Meanwhile, wheat for July delivery gained 31 cents to settle at $8.82 a bushel.

(Associated Press)

It will be interesting to follow the development of this food crisis, particularly since there is a push towards production of alternative fuels using corn.  Will the production of bio-fuels now decrease so that people can be fed?  

(See my earlier post on Growing grain for fuel and meat: There’s something wrong with this picture.)

The price of oil: It only affects some of us

While the price of fuel keeps climbing:

big business owners advertise like oil was going to be around forever:

I have seen planes like the ones above, as recently as today (May 11, 2008) pulling banners behind them advertising sports teams like Utah’s Jazz (basketball) and the Bees (Baseball).

I think we should be calling these people and getting on their cases about  this.  What an irresponsible, wasteful thing to do!

Retailers in U.S. – Food Rationing?

It’s kind of creepy to see that retailers have the power to ration food….

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Many parts of America, long considered the
breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable
phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New
England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and
cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports
that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew
frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain
for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said.
“You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or
five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but
only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A
20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

“You can’t eat this every day. It’s too heavy,” a health care executive
from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the
Basmati into a shopping cart. “We only need one bag but I’m getting two in
case a neighbor or a friend needs it,” the elder man said.
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KRCL partnering with Chevron????

I am urging everyone who supports community radio to express their opinion on the following:

I love our local “radio-free” community radio station, KRCL. The program hosts are great (and all volunteer), music just about all day, Democracy Now! is played daily. I’ve been fortunate, too, to be able to record psa’s in their studio for various events.

I was quite dismayed this morning to hear a psa about KRCL’s food drive on December 14th for the Utah Food Bank – in partnership with CHEVRON.

When you go to the page, KRCL Food Drive, their is no mention of Chevron, but the psa clearly connects its partnership with this corporation.

I’ve known for years about Chevron’s human rights abuses in various countries.

Read for yourself on Chevron’s corporate domination in the world and their human rights vilations:
Learn more and take actionChevron (CVX) in Nigeria: Claiming Rights and Resources
Democracy Now! archive of news stories on Chevron
NIGERIA: Chevron Paid Troops After Alleged Killing
Chevron On Iraqi Kickbacks: My Bad
Chevron’s Pipeline Is the Burmese Regime’s Lifeline

I have written a letter to KRCL (pasted below) urging them to not accept support from companies like Chevron. I am publicly urging readers to do the same. Here is the contact info for sending letters:

Staff Members

Donna Land Maldonado – General Manager – donnal at krcl.org
Amy Dwyer – Office Manager/Admin Assistant – amyd at krcl.org

Ryan Tronier – Program Director – ryant at krcl.org
Felix Gonzalez – Studio Technician – felix at krcl.org
Troy Williams – RadioActive Producer – troyw at krcl.org
Tino Arana – Operations – tinoa at krcl.org

Development & Fundraising
Charlie Seldin – Development Director – charlies at krcl.org
Sue Gerber – CD-of-the-Month (volunteer) – sueg at krcl.org

Shawn Jimerson – Underwriting Manager – shawn at krcl.org

KRCL 90.9 FM
Listeners Community Radio of Utah
1971 West North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84116
My letter to KRCL:
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Gas prices

Today’s Deseret News has published a piece about the average gas price in Utah (see below). Thing is, oil was around $60 per barrel in the summer and gas prices were about the same as they are now that oil is up to about $80 per barrel. Very strange indeed.

Average gas price in Utah now $3.03

A new report from AAA of Utah shows the average price for regular, self-serve gasoline in the state has increased 22 cents during the past month and 69 cents over the past year.

Usually, gas prices will decrease in the fall, according to AAA Utah spokeswoman Rolayne Fairclough. But crude oil prices are at an all-time high and are driving up the gas prices, she said. Last week, the cost per barrel “peaked” at $98.62. The beginning of the year, prices were around $55 per barrel, AAA said.

“This is not a typical year,” Fairclough said. “The overall demand for gasoline has been flat compared to last year, but prices have skyrocketed this fall principally because of the record-setting price of crude oil.”

In Utah, the average price for gasoline was $3.03 on Tuesday. The national average is $3.11. AAA says that 40 states have average prices over $3 per gallon, including Western states such as Idaho, Montana and California.

California has the nation’s highest average price at $3.39 per gallon, while New Jersey has the lowest average price at $2.91 per gallon, according to AAA.

For more information, visit AAA’s Web site www.aaa.com/gasprices.

No Drive Day

I’ve been participating in No Drive Day for three weeks now (I actually have been doing “no drive days” for several years now, just not as part of a project).  It’s difficult with the way our current mass transportation system is set up, but not impossible.  Instead of 20  minutes to get to work in the morning, it takes a little less than one hour.  This is because of the distance we live from where we work causing is to take one bus, the train, and either walking or bicycling the rest of the way (although the latter distance affords the option of taking another bus, we choose to walk or bike).  Fortunately we are able to get bus passes through our work that are good for a year and cost a total of $50.

Yesterday we took our bicycles with us.  It’s a little cumbersome that way because of having to hoist the bikes onto the bike rack in front of the bus and then up into the train.  Taking your bicycle is risky because on the bus and on either end of the train (the only place bikes are permitted on the trains) there can only be two bikes at a time.  If your bus or train comes and their are bikes on there already, you are SOL – if you abide by the rules.  Fortunately our schedule gets us just ahead of the rush hour in the a.m. and after the rush  hour in the p.m.  But any other time it’s likely we would have to wait longer because of the bike situation, since there are more and more folks using their bikes.

My advice to UTA is to design train cars and buses to hold more bicycles.  I’ve seen it in other cities, so I know it can be done).

We will be expanding our “No Drive Day” to two days per week soon.  We just have to decide which day since many days we have to stay uptown for meetings and other events and mass transit becomes non-existent to our area after certain times of the evening.

No Drive Tuesdays

Today I participated in the first “No Drive Tuesday“, An anti-war protest. It is a challenge for me to get to work not driving a car in this valley, but I did it – and didn’t miss any time doing so. I plan to participate every week.

This is an ongoing non-violent action aimed at showing
our resistance and willingness to sacrifice for peace. The sacrifice we make and the
sacrifice we ask of you is to not drive on Tuesdays from now until troops are withdrawn.

No Drive Tuesdays is as action conceived of and undertaken by local Salt Lake activists
who are dismayed at our government’s willingness to sacrifice so many things: the lives
of our troops, the lives of Iraqis, our American values against torture and imperialism,
and yet they have not been gutsy enough to ask even the smallest sacrifice of ordinary

The No Drive Tuesday group does not believe oil is the sole factor involved in this
unjust war, but it plays an undeniably large role. Please join them for no drive
Tuesdays as a way to show our leaders our commitment to Peace and Justice.

Contact No Drive Tuesday for more information.

Mum’s the word with Utah Oil Refineries

Utah’s five oil refineries are refusing to cooperate with requests for financial information from the Governor’s office.

As prices plummet at the gas pumps, Utah’s oil refineries aren’t diclosing how much money they are making.

Utah’s five oil refineries snubbed official requests for financial information — even inquiries that were part of an investigation ordered by Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

A Utah official says refineries are refusing to cooperate with a state probe into gas prices and are gouging consumers.
“The refineries essentially flipped us off and said, ‘We’re not giving you any numbers,'” says Francine Giani, executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce, who led a state probe into gas prices. The Salt Lake-area refineries, she said, have demonstrated a wholesale disregard for any requests for information. “They don’t want consumers to know exactly how much they are making.
“Are we getting gouged? The answer is still yes,” Giani said.
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