Energy, Mining & Utilities

The influence of big energy corporations in the Bush Administration is no secret. But the story of Dick Cheney and his former company, Halliburton Co., has received little attention -- and it may be the most important.
WASHINGTON -- After waiting nearly eight months for a response, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) today filed a lawsuit to force the Department of Energy (DOE) to produce records regarding the agency's role in the operations of the National Energy Policy Development Group chaired by Vice President Dick Cheney. DOE's refusal to provide basic information about its involvement with the so-called energy task force violates the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), according to NRDC.
KLM, the Dutch airline, has been forced to backtrack from a plan to use oil from jatropha seeds grown in Indonesia for commercial flights, after Friends of the Earth Netherlands put out a report criticizing the potential impact on local food supplies.
The World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has ordered the government of Venezuela to pay US$1.386 billion to Crystallex, a bankrupt Canadian gold mining company, for canceling a 2002 permit to mine for gold in the Imataca Forest Reserve
A burst pipeline in Alaska's North Slope has caused the Arctic region's worst oil spill, spreadin
BP says that the offshore drilling accident that is spewing thousands of barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico could cost the company several hundred million dollars. Nobody really knows whether the oil giant is being too conservative about the cost for the April 20 accident, which some experts say could end up as the biggest oil spill in history.
Near the town of La Jagua, overlooking the Magdalena River, the landscape is dotted with concrete markers declaring the land, river, and everything else a "public utility" that Colombia has given to the energy company Emgesa as part of the Quimbo Hydroelectric Project. A construction permit was granted in May, with the dam scheduled for full operation by 2014.
A dispute over water rights has hit one of Chile's largest copper mines, Los Pelambres.
Halliburton, the Texas company which has been awarded the Pentagon's contract to put out potential oil-field fires in Iraq and which is bidding for postwar construction contracts, is still making annual payments to its former chief executive, the vice-president Dick Cheney.