Even dumber than the dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

Guest post by David Middleton

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The Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil on Thursday, arguing that the company is violating several key water regulations at one of their Boston storage and transfer locations.

The site in question — located in the Boston suburb of Everett, Massachusetts — is a sprawling, 110-acre terminal that extends to the bank of the Mystic River. The complaint alleges that the terminal has released toxic pollutants into the water for years, and that the company has failed to make improvements to the terminal to strengthen it against the risks of climate change — violating both the Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

“This is a stunning example of how ExxonMobil’s climate deceit hits home, where their repeated sworn, but false, statements to regulators that this facility was prepared for climate conditions put the surrounding communities that have hosted the facility for years in danger,” Brad Campbell, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, told ThinkProgress.

According to investigative reports published last year by both InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times, ExxonMobil’s internal scientists knew about the role of fossil fuels in driving global warming as early as 1977, and yet publicly continued to fuel doubt about climate science.

Exxon also built oil rigs in the North Sea to withstand projected climate impacts like sea level rise and rising temperatures.

Yet the company failed to make the same structural improvements to its terminal in Massachusetts, the lawsuit claims, leaving surrounding communities at risk of toxic pollution during severe storm events or floods. According to the complaint, the Everett Terminal is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change predicted to hit New England in the coming years: sea level rise, increased precipitation, increased magnitude and frequency of storm events, and increased magnitude and frequency of storm surges.

“All of the available modeling shows that… {blah, blah, blah}

[…]

Think Progress

 

If ExxonMobil’s storage and transfer facility is in violation of tht Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the EPA or Massachusetts State regulators might just have noticed it.  If the regulators missed the violations, and this environmental terrorist activist group can make their case in court, ExxonMobil will have to correct the violations and pay for any actual damages.  However, the connection of this to climate change and the moronic #ExxonKnew crackhead conspiracy theory is mindbogglingly stupid.

This bit of total ignorance defies description:

Exxon also built oil rigs in the North Sea to withstand projected climate impacts like sea level rise and rising temperatures.

Yet the company failed to make the same structural improvements to its terminal in Massachusetts, the lawsuit claims…

Now, I am probably going out on a limb to assume that these dimwits actually mean “oil rigs” when they say “oil rigs”… However, ExxonMobil doesn’t build oil rigs.  They contract rigs from companies like Noble Drilling, who paid companies like National Oilwell to build them.  Offshore drilling rigs are designed to survive the weather.

The oil rigs that drilled wells in the North Sea were capable of drilling all over the world.  Half the rigs that were in the Gulf of Mexico 10 years ago have moved overseas, mostly to the Middle East and Africa.  The rigs are capable of working year-round.  Offshore oil rigs don’t notice 0.0035 °C per year of rising temperatures and 3 mm per year of sea level rise.  However, they do notice hurricanes, which occasionally sink them.

Oil rigs are designed to operate in specific water depth ranges.

offshore-rigs

“Within offshore rigs there are two main categories; jackups and floaters. Jackups do not float, they simply stand on retractable legs (usually three) and hence provide a stable platform from which to drill. The Jackup can of course only work in water depths that are less than the length of its legs, and typically this limits operations to less than 400ft water depth. When moving between drilling locations the hull is usually towed by tugs or carried by a specialist vessel, with the legs sticking high into the air. Once the jackup has arrived at the drilling location, the legs are lowered to the seabed, and then the hull (upon which all the drilling equipment is installed) is jacked up the legs, so raising itself out of the water. Unlike Jackups, floaters are not limited to 400ft water depths as they do not rely on standing on long legs. They are essentially ships with drilling equipment, are usually self propelled and have a marine crew.” http://investmentpedia.net/?page_id=205

 

What happens to an oil rig if sea level rises by 1 foot?

You add 1 foot to the Kelly Bushing (KB).  I’ve been working the Gulf of Mexico since 1988.  To my knowledge, climate change has not forced us to revise the KB’s of any well ever drilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

Despite the raging catastrophic rise in sea level since Al Gore invented the Internet and global warming, jackup, semi-submersible and drill ship rigs are still drilling in the same places they were 30 years ago.  Since they are capable of operating in winter, spring, summer and fall, from the North Sea to West Africa to the Middle East to Southeast Asia to the Gulf of Mexico, they did not have to be specially designed to fend off climate change.

The #ExxonKnew Crackhead Conspiracy Theory… ad nauseum

According to the complaint, the Everett Terminal is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change predicted to hit New England in the coming years: sea level rise, increased precipitation, increased magnitude and frequency of storm events, and increased magnitude and frequency of storm surges.

“All of the available modeling shows that… {blah, blah, blah}

ExxonMobil is apparently being sued on the basis of future damages predicted by models which have demonstrated no predictive skill over the past 30 years.  Good luck with that strategy.  Last I checked, legal standing required evidence of actual damages.

Who are the Conservation Law Foundation

Apparently they are a group of attorneys with an affinity for freezing in the dark.

clf01

clf02

Who is Think Progress?

The short answer is the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The long answer is:

The Center for American Progress (CAP) is a progressive public policy research and advocacy organization. According to CAP, the center is “dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.”[2] The Center presents a liberal[3] viewpoint on economic issues. It has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The president and chief executive officer of CAP is Neera Tanden, who worked for the Obama and Clinton administrations and for Hillary Clinton’s campaigns.[4] The first president and CEO was John Podesta, who served as chief of staff to then U.S. President Bill Clinton, and is currently serving as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Director.[5] Podesta remained with the organization as chairman of the board until he joined the Obama White House staff in December 2013. Tom Daschle is the current chairman.[6]

The Center for American Progress runs a campus outreach group, Generation Progress, and a sister advocacy organization, the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Citing Podesta’s influence in the formation of the Obama Administration, a November 2008 article in Time stated that “not since the Heritage Foundation helped guide Ronald Reagan‘s transition in 1981 has a single outside group held so much sway”.[7]
Wikipedia

For further reference:

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part 1)

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part Deux, “Same as it ever was.”)

What did ExxonMobil Know and when did they know it? (Part 3, Exxon: The Fork Not Taken

“Smoke & Fumes”… The dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

“Smoke & Fumes,” Part Deux: Exxon Knew “The entire theory of climatic changes by CO2 variations is questionable.”

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83 thoughts on “Even dumber than the dumbest attack on ExxonMobil evah’

    • Yup…

      And as soon as Scalia’s seat is filled with a political operative, it’s all over — and not in a good way.

      If Hillary wins, it’s possible and perhaps likely that websites like this one will be shut down… as the lights sputter and dim all over the nation with the introduction of ‘Green’ energy.

      Insanity.

      • @ unknown: I am way more worried about the internet getting regulated, that is the progressive’s way to go around the first amendment truly frightening if they are successful they will use the same avenue to go after the rest of the constitution.

  1. “If ExxonMobil’s storage and transfer facility is in violation of tht Clean Water Act (CWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the EPA or Massachusetts State regulators might just have noticed it.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2009/09/13/us/0913-water.html?_r=0

    “The New York Times surveyed violations of the Clean Water Act in every state. The survey found that in many states, more than 50 percent of regulated facilities violated the Clean Water Act, but enforcement actions against polluters were infrequent.”

    • Can you point us to the link where these enforcement agencies are sued by the same organizations so distraught over Exxon?

    • All of these violations were noticed by the regulatory agencies, mostly because the violators reported the violations to the regulators.

      Generally speaking, severe punishment only occurs when the violators fail to report violations and/or fail to take corrective action or when the violations involve gross negligence.

      • I believe a London double decker bus – sighted by Elvis’s body [for tax purposes] (porpoises) – has now vanished, and cannot be seen.

        I believe.

        Auto
        [Channelling the ‘Star’ ‘Spot’ ‘Spat’ ‘Shot’- some name beginning with ‘S, and possibly ending with t’]

    • Considering that violations can be so small as a single plastic pellet that leaves your fenceline, or a single very bad rain exceeds your flow limit or a pH limit, or a single blank on a single daily form isn’t filled out.

      I could go on. The environmental regulations are as strict as possible, and the majority of violations do not proceed to enforcement. Even emission events and releases don’t often result in a fine because they were minor accidents and the permittee did everything reasonable to prevent and respond to it.

      If the police fully enforced (as in, issued a ticket for) every violation of every traffic law, no one could afford to drive. If the EPA issues fines for every violation, all they would do would incintivize deception.

      • Strict, explicit, and EQUAL enforcement of quite a few or those rules (EPA and traffic) would result in those rules being changed or done away with.

        The green City of Portland (Oregon) has more (effect moreso than volume) waivers and MOA’s to than any other that I have seen. Unequal enforcement is the standard.

      • I once asked the bartender of my local why the bar had received a health violation from the city. He showed me a box of test strips he was required to use to test for bacteria. Apparently, he didn’t notice that they had an expiry date, and was dinged for using it past the date.

        As a side bonus, he had to order an entire box, but there was no way he needed to use every strip before they expired…which meant he threw out most of them THEN of course had to buy a new box. Repeat as needed.

        And people wonder why “small business” politicians get any traction.

    • Well, griffypoo; that is a lot of nonsense wrapped in bafflegab with lots of scare words thrown plus claims of real damage.

      Now prove them.

      It is one thing for an agency to ‘claim’ violations; or worse, some alarmist rag is given thousands of alleged records where inexperienced know nothings can assume violations.

      All without due process.

      Falsehoods fabrications and fairytales griffypoo.

      Bring us some real news.

  2. be interesting to see how the employment levels /income/bankruptcies etc went after this crew did their “good work” in those small communities

  3. It is apparently okay to use Exxon Mobile products like gasoline, electricity from natural gas, wind and solar, but you should sue them at the same time. It’s about a revenue stream, not the climate. It’s about more money, not a cooler planet. These people are so transparent.

    • CLF is one of the classic “sue and settle” organizations. They sue an energy or power company, agree to a consent order and a settlement to go away, which includes payment for all their legal fees in the case. Then they take the money and sue again the same company again for something different.

  4. This seems to be a nomenclature problem. The term “oil rigs in the North Sea” likely refers to company-owned production platforms that are often conflated with drilling rigs. These are fixed structures, often very large, that stand on the seafloor and project above the sea surface. They are designed for increasing water depth over time, with seafloor subsidence due to oil & gas withdrawal as the dominant factor. Since these structures may be in service for 60+ years, an allowance for gradual sea level rise may be included.

    • I have little doubt that they were conflating rigs with fixed structures.

      However, fixed platforms designed to operate in the North Sea had to be designed to operate in the harsh weather and sea conditions of the North Sea. A few inches of sea level rise and/or sea floor subsidence over the platform’s 30-60 year lifespan falls into the noise level of the normal weather and sea conditions of the North Sea.

      • You wrote “Now, I am probably going out on a limb to assume that these dimwits actually mean “oil rigs” when they say “oil rigs”…”. If you google “oil rigs”, the images mix offshore platforms with MODUs. Outside the industry, both are termed “oil rigs”.

        Of course North Sea platforms are designed for local conditions with margins and air gaps but since no one wants another Ekofisk, both geological and geotechnical subsidence are considered. I am not familiar with North Sea regs, but I suspect the Brits and Norwegians do require some lip service to long-term climate effects.

        Their point about offshore structures may have a grain of truth but it is well-disguised by ignorance of the subject matter. The subsequent conclusion about an onshore terminal reflects the legalistic gymnastics typical of the Climate Change cult.

    • That’s not a nomenclature problem, it’s called not having the slightest idea of the subject on which you chose to attack someone.

      Anyway it should not take long for the court to establish they don’t know jack and hit them with costs for the defendant.

      • You are right, it is not a nomenclature problem, because sea level rise is none of a problem for rigs, let alone a new problem in future.

        Or, to put it in an another way. If sea level really speeds up, which it hasn’t done and won’t do, the oil rigs are not the issue to worry about.

      • “Anyway it should not take long for the court to establish they don’t know jack and hit them with costs for the defendant.” But these are courts in Massachusetts. I won’t be surprised if the courts accept the case and go all the way to trial. But ExxonMobil should follow Mark Steyn’s example and counter-sue, and force discovery.

    • I am surprised nobody has mentioned the daily sea level rise ( and sea level lowering)
      It’s called ebb and flood just about everywhere) and in some areas it is slightly larger then this issue is about . If I was a judge I’d throw it out in one sentence!

  5. Whats Up !!!
    Exxon Mobil has been in the North Sea since about 1978, BUT, as a partner with UK Shell , it has PARTNERED with other majors, not as the major, in plus-minus 40 producing fields,
    ( I maybe wrong )
    The North Sea,
    Shell had weather recording buoys on site in the Brent field for some years before designing, building and locating their platforms, the design called for the 100 year wave, in the first year winter the Brent Delta got hit by the 100 year wave 23 times with an air gap of around 30 meters and winds of 150 miles plus an hour.
    It was called the Clinton affect.

    • Caligula Jones,
      If all that is published about the Clinton’s is 0.1% true the great American unwashed deserve the shit they have shoveled themselves into!

  6. If I am correct the Conservative Law Foundation’s (CLF) premise that Exxon Mobile is guilty of not taking measures to prevent a future disaster from happening. Based upon this “logic” if a company that really doesn’t believe global warming is real is guilty for not taking action for a hypothetical future event, wouldn’t a company that publicly signs of on the GW agenda and still doesn’t take action be guilty of an even greater crime.

    If the judge doesn’t immedialtely throw this case out he is a bigger fool/crook that the CLF.

  7. Mencken described the U.S. as “A commonwealth of morons.”

    There was never a better demonstration of that than the dimbulbs promulgating the “#ExxonKnew Crackhead Conspiracy Theory.”

  8. And for any who didn’t know, our old friend Joe Romm is a full time paid staffer for CAP/Think Progress. (He moved over when his old blog, Climate Progress, folded) No doubt Natasha (author of this article) is one of his faithful disciples.

    • Natasha is just a 20-something know-nothing trained in muck-raking. She once wrote an article about Usain Bolt, asking: is Jamaican drug testing up to snuff? Bolt is one of the most tested athletes in the history of sport. I have two good friends who coach world class sprinters, and both have told me that despite his laid-back demeanor Bolt is the hardest working athlete of this generation Couple that with his freakish natural ability and they are surprised he hasn’t lowered the 100m record even more. But a muck-raker wouldn’t approach a story from that perspective … in their world the “haves” are always cheaters.

      • Mark, with all due respect to Mr. Bolt, I have to say: “McGuire”, “Bonds”, “Armstrong”, et cetera.

        The sports industry has done this to itself due to the huge numbers of scandals. Even Neil Armstrong, who five years ago said almost the exact same thing you just did, was forced to admit that he was cheating. There is no trust because the trust has been broken by the whole industry, and each individual athlete will have to build it up again.

      • Neil? Don’t wreck my faith in Neil … he worked hard to get to the Moon.

        Now Lance on the other hand … a disappointment, but the only real surprise there is that his teammates that (say they) knew about it and still rode strategically for him to win.

  9. The Conservation Law Foundation, lighting the way for nonprofit shakedown specialists since 1966.

  10. I noticed on the home page, in the picture accompanying the link to this article, that the clouds in left hand panel show a big grin. Yes, warmer is better.

  11. “According to CAP, the center is “dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.””

    They certainly do have an odd perspective on “Improving the lives of all Americans”.

  12. The CLF claims that “Exxon also built oil rigs in the North Sea to withstand projected climate impacts like sea level rise and rising temperatures.”

    The “ExxonKnew” people have been making a big deal of the fact that in one project from the late 1980s, the engineers decided to design for 500mm of sea level rise over the 25 years of the platform (20mm/year). Of course, we’ve had a long enough period to know whether or not that has happened, and it has not — we only had about 50mm of sea level rise in that period (2mm/year).

    So it turns out Exxon wasted money due to the incorrect projections of the climate change alarmists!

  13. I have been working on and off in the Gulf of Mexico since 1955. It is very difficult (impossible?) to find anybody born between the 20s and 40s that has noticed much sea level rise, with the important exception of areas of subsidence, which can be very, very significant. Nearly two decades ago I read an engineering report (so they could build a structure) who calculated (cited) a rise which would permanently cover a road within a few years. We still drive on it.

    Someone should offer these guys a trip to spend some time on a platform, especially in the winter, or maybe hurricane season.

  14. Rhetorical question: With the way environmentalists operate, is it possible that they’re working on a sue & settle initiative with someone on the inside of XOM?

    • The highest likelihood is that this is just a stunt to garner a few headlines just before the election, and it will be quietly dropped late in November, after it has served its purpose.

      Recall that this is one of Alinsky’s rules – to demonize an enemy, you have to personalize it. People are not gravitating to “climate change” the way the left wants, so they are desperately looking for some way to personalize it, as Alinsky taught. They have latched onto Exxon as their demon du jour, and the fact that there is no actual factual connection between the issue and their Bete Noire means nothing to them.

  15. Forget the rigs, what about all Exxon’s oil tankers? How are they going to cope with rising sea levels that threaten to overwhelm them?

    • Exxon knew! They built a boat that would accommodate a rising sea level. Boy, talk about malfeasance. I too will be a “Bloke down at the pub” in a few short hours.

  16. North Sea Rigs in storms. Notice how much the extra 8cm rise is sea level has been designed into the rigs

  17. Anyone else notice how the alarmists all keep using that evil oil in their cars, they fly on jets, they heat and cool their homes, use electricity? How the heck can they do it? Compartmentalized thinking? Hypocrisy!

  18. In response to this, I would like to see an investigation into who proposed the environmental measures which led to the devastating British floods of a few years back, and who their backers are.

    Who knows, but exposure of what actually went on there might even be a ‘game over’ moment for the AGW movement, in terms of loss of public support.

  19. Reply to asybot September 30, 2016 at 11:49 am

    @ unknown: I am way more worried about the internet getting regulated, that is the progressive’s way to go around the first amendment truly frightening if they are successful they will use the same avenue to go after the rest of the constitution.

    Back in the day, JFK was fooling around with everything in a skirt, and Bill Clinton ends up looking almost like a saint in comparison. But there was no internet in the 1960’s, and the MSM lapdogs kowtowed to the elite and kept quiet, but no more. Shutting down opposing voices and setting up “information gatekeepers” will probably be the first item on the Clinton agenda… http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2014/04/19/clinton-wh-feared-internet-s-ability-to-democraticize-news-three-years-before-drudge-bombshell/

    Three years before Matt Drudge changed the world and how news would be consumed, President Bill Clinton’s White House feared that the Internet was allowing average citizens, especially conservatives, to bypass legacy gatekeepers and access information that had previously been denied to them by the mainstream press.

    The infamous 1995 “conspiracy commerce memo” tried to demonize and discredit alternative media outlets on the right to mainstream media organizations and D.C. establishment figures.

    When Matt Drudge hit the scene, Hillary was bemoaning the lack of “gatekeepers”. The MSM lapdogs at Newsweek had killed their story about Clinton and Lewinsky. But an uppity store clerk by the name of Matt Drudge broke the story… http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/1491134/posts

    Posted on Sun 25 Sep 2005 05:29:17 PM EDT by wagglebee

    China on Sunday imposed new media restrictions designed to limit the news and other information available to Internet users, sharply restricting the scope of content that can be posted on Web sites.

    Hillary Rodham Clinton said IN 1998 during a meeting with reporters said that “we are all going to have to rethink how we deal with” the Internet because of the handling of White House sex scandal stories on Web sites.

    Clinton was asked whether she favored curbs on the Internet, after the DRUDGE REPORT made headlines with coverage of her husband’s affair with a White House intern. “We are all going to have to rethink how we deal with this, because there are all these competing values … Without any kind of editing function or gatekeeping function, what does it mean to have the right to defend your reputation?” she said.

    And the latest is the Clinton’s campaign claim that Breitbart.com has no right to exist… http://dailycaller.com/2016/08/18/hillary-campaign-vows-to-destroy-opposition-website/

    Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign has sent out a fundraising email arguing the website Breitbart News has no “right to exist,” and suggests that if elected, the website will be shut down entirely.

  20. Once upon a time I was a mud-logger on a semi-submersible rig, out in the Atlantic north-west of Shetland, in about 1000′ of water. We had weather not unlike that shown in the clips. The marine riser (big fat pipe that brings the drilling mud back up to the rig) had a slip joint in it that could cope with close to 30′ of travel. The semi-submersible rigs were held in place by 8 anchors, so they don’t move like a ship. The movement is heavily damped. It could get a bit scary when you were pitched down into the on-coming wave, but it never got to the point where we had to abandon drilling.
    Any ‘lawyer’ who asserts that a marine drilling rig of any sort is (negligently) unable to cope with the sort of sea-level rise that is actually happening is a fool, who will soon be unemployed and broke.
    3mm/year vs 30m waves ? No contest.

  21. Like the Everett cop that backhanded my window next to the terminal and yelled at me for stopping in the intersection while the light was green. Meanwhile the traffic pulled ahead fifty yards with the light still green and the short cop continuing his tirade. I looked at the cop awaiting instructions before proceeding into the intersection but apparently he was hoping I would get stuck so he gave none. This place is about due for another attitude adjustment.

  22. “Tom Daschle is the current chairman.” Ahh. Figures. Mr. “I’m a conservative in South Dakota but a liberal in DC” former senator has moved on from helping orchestrate Obamacare to organizing lawfare against the Climate Change cult’s latest bogeyman. One of my happiest moments in the last 15 years was when he got the boot from the Senate.

  23. Like so many things this election cycle, it’s all about making the original “report” headlines. This seems to fit into the same box of tomfoolery that Howard Dean’s claim that one of the Presidential candidates is a cocaine user (he guesses when asked for proof). Imho, SLAPP may not apply here but Exxon should seek dismissal and sanctions against them plus submit complaints to the Bars the attorneys are licensed.

  24. Skeptics should be welcoming this. A lot of “oil” people here, including the author, have pointed out that rigs are designed to handle more than a tiny bit of sea-level rise. I agree with many here though, that it would be excellent if this did go to litigation. For a start, it would be very interesting for the court to examine whether there is any proof at all that warming leads to increased weather systems, storminess, drought or flood. Even the IPCC admits that there is no evidence for that to date. There is also quite a bit of evidence to the contrary (historic low number of landfall hurricanes in the US, decreased ACE over the last 30 years). Secondly, it would be excellent for the court to try to establish, with regard to the coastal facility involved in this, how much storm surge or etc might relate to sealevel rise, in comparison to historical events. This would allow exposure of the moderate sealevel rise noted by tide guages versus the “corrected” satellite number. It would also be interesting to show that there has been no acceleration of sealevel rise in the period that may have been affected by CO2 increases. It would then be excellent for the court to come to a conclusion as to whether any of these effects are due to CO2, or natural variability. So I say, bring on the court case. This looks like a massive own goal on the part of the warmist camp.

  25. How far above high tide is the facility? Rivers *fall* to the sea, so the bulk of it
    is presumably at least several metres above high tide, so *is* there any risk
    from sea level rise in say the next 200 years?

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