It’s only Wednesday and we’ve already got way more than a week’s worth of comically evil behavior from the fossil-fuel sector.
Item the first:
A Chinese coal freighter tried to take a shortcut through Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and rammed into the world-reknowned ecological treasure. The stranded ship remains in danger of breaking apart and spilling its 1,075 tons of heavy engine fuel into the marine park (2.5 tons have already leaked).
Captain Wang Jichan, of the Chinese state-controlled conglomerate Cosco, doesn’t get it. He told authorities the leak is “not serious” and that he’s more worried about pesky rescuers consuming his crew’s food and water: “They need some more water because the rescue team is consuming the water and food. They need that. That is a problem at the moment.”
Item the second:
In response to the tragic coal-mine explosion that killed at least 25 of his workers, notorious coal baron Don Blankenship shrugged off his company’s history of safety. “Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process,” said the Massey Energy CEO.
This from a businessman who wrote a 2005 memo instructing supervisors not to waste time on safety precautions and whose company was called “one of the worst in the industry” by a government safety regulator.
Item the third:
ExxonMobil paid no U.S. income taxes last year, despite reaping a record $45 billion profit, Forbes reports. By using legal accounting methods and Caribbean tax shelters, the energy giant was able to avoid paying a cent to the IRS. At the same time, it complains about its tax “burden.”
Update: Exxon clarifies that it did pay U.S. taxes last year (it won’t say how much). It continues to use offshore tax shelters and moan about its tax burden.
Update: Item the fourth:
A Chevron pipeline spilled 18,000 gallons of crude oil into a canal in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge southeast of New Orleans. These accidents are tough to keep up with.
Remember, these are the captains of industry who tell us we can’t afford to change our current way of doing things. This is the status quo they’re working frantically to defend. Good times.
Get Grist in your inbox