Sunday, March 2, 2008

Tiny Alaskan Village lookin' to kick Big Oil's Gas

An Alaskan village eroding into the Arctic Ocean sued two dozen oil, power and coal companies, claiming that the large amounts of greenhouse gases they emit contribute to global warming that threatens the community's existence. The Inupiat Eskimo village of Kivalina sued Exxon Mobil Corp. and eight other oil companies, fourteen power companies and one coal company. Sea ice that forms later and melts sooner because of higher temperatures has left the community unprotected from fall and winter storm surges and pounding waves that lash the coastal community. Relocation costs have been estimated at more than $400 million. Damage to Kivalina from global warming has been documented in official government reports by the Army Corps of Engineers and the General Accounting Office.

A spokesman for Exxon Mobil said the company takes the issue of climate change seriously. "Exxon Mobil is taking action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in our operations, supporting research into technology breakthroughs and participating in constructive dialogues on policy options with NGOs, industry and policy makers," he said.

A real opportunity could arise for Exxon Mobil to take the issue of climate change seriously and act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by giving back a minuscule portion of their enormous profits. The House of Representatives voted in favor of a tax package to use funds from Big Oil's tax breaks to boost incentives for wind and solar energy and energy efficiency. Extending tax breaks for wind and solar energy would prevent the loss of jobs in those fast-growing industries, whose tax breaks are set to expire at the end of the year placing 116,000 jobs at risk. The bill was sent to the Senate. However, the Bush administration, Republican lawmakers and Big Oil condemned the bill.

“Since President Bush took office, the price of oil has gone from $30 per barrel to a record high price of $101 yesterday,” said Congressman Edward Markey, Chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “This administration’s oil-centric energy policy has proven itself to be completely bankrupt for everyone except for Big Oil. President Bush should support this bill, which helps consumers and our economy, not continue to oppose this bill for the sole benefit of the most profitable companies in the world.”

How about it Exxon Mobil...ready to really show that you take climate change seriously? Give back some small change ($) from your huge profits to help consumers, the economy and the planet. Alaskans won't be holding their breath while waiting. It's been about 19 years since the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil in Alaskan waters and on the coastline, and still no money has been paid in punishment for that offense.

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