Energy, Mining & Utilities

Last Friday, April 12, The Municipal Government of Talamanca (one of the counties where the Costa Rican government granted concessions to U.S. companies for oil development) declared Talamanca an ''Oil-Free'' County. As far as we know, this is the first government entity anywhere that has declared its territory ''free of oil and gas exploration and exploitation'' by initiating a ''moratorium on all activities related to petroleum exploration and exploitation within the Talamancan territory.''
In 2000 British Petroleum launched an expensive ad campaign, re-branding its corporate image into the eco-friendly "BP: Beyond Petroleum." We said it then. When a company spends more on advertising its environmental friendliness than on environmental actions, that's greenwash. Three long weeks into the BP oil disaster roiling the Gulf of Mexico, CorpWatch's December 2000 skewering of its new image sadly, bears repeating.
New targets to reduce the environmental impact of air travel - set to triple over the next 30 years - are being launched by the UK's aviation industry.
The developer of a new mall planned for Upstate New York vows that it will be the closest thing to an "Apollo Project" for renewable energy that America has ever seen -- one that grows the economy, strengthens national security by encouraging energy independence, and protects the environment.
Europe moves towards making significant changes to its emissions-trading system that could force large polluters to pay for most, if not all, permits to produce climate-changing gases.
Two and a half years ago, Public Interest Watch, a self-described watchdog of nonprofit groups, wrote to the Internal Revenue Service urging the agency to audit Greenpeace and accusing the environmental group of money laundering and other crimes. What is clear is where PIW has gotten a lot of its funding: Exxon Mobil Corp., the giant oil company that has long been a target of Greenpeace protests.
The effects of global warming are cruelly ironic: the impact of fossil-fuel consumption will be most severe in regions where the least fuel has been consumed. Sub-Saharan Africa is becoming drier: in East Africa droughts of the kind that used to strike every 40 years are arriving every four or five.
Chinese and South Korean companies are leading an investor rush to Burma to build lucrative cross-country pipelines to deliver Saudi oil and Burmese natural gas to China. Poor communities have been displaced and allegations of human rights abuses are rife in the pipeline's route.
Major energy companies have effectively created a secret law firm of conservative attorneys general to persuade Washington lawmakers to gut environmental regulations, according to an investigation by the New York Times. In return, these senior government officials have received millions of dollars to help them win political campaigns.
It has been a wrenching professional and personal reversal for Michael Kopper, who three years ago became the first Enron executive to plead guilty to criminal charges and cut a deal with the government. Mr. Kopper was also the first high-ranking Enron employee to publicly admit to lying and stealing - in his case, more than $16 million - from the company.