From the February 2013 PNL #821

compiled by Mitch Lucas and Carol Baum

Transocean Fined

Transocean, the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, agreed in January to pay $400 million for criminal penalties, plus $1 billion in civilian penalties. An explosion on the rig in 2010 released 185 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 workers. Further, the company has decided to plead guilty to accusations that it violated several of the Clean Water Act’s mandates before its next hearing in February.

Of the $400 million, $150 million will go to the environmental habitats of the affected areas while another $150 million will go to clean up and recovery. While government officials call the settlement “significant” for humanity and the environment, experts point towards the Gulf of Mexico’s resources valued at almost ten times more than Transocean will pay in damages, demonstrating negligence for the future environmental problems that will result. Transocean has only set aside $2 billion for affected businesses and individuals in the affected regions. The company will receive more fines, possibly totaling $21 billion.

Even after evidence of negligence on Transocean’s part, its officials have placed blame on the oil rig’s crew who they claim ignored safety regulations.


Idle No More


Canadian PM Stephen Harper is targeted by
Idle No More for his environmentally ignorant
policies. Source: Indian Country Today

In October 2012, the Canadian government proposed budget Bill C-45. Including changes to land use and resource rules, it is viewed by many indigenous people and other Canadian residents as a threat to streams and lakes—not only in first nations’ territory, but throughout all of Canada.


Idle No More is a new movement that calls for more sovereignty for indigenous peoples. Despite the presence of over one million indigenous people in Canada, the first nations’ chiefs were denied entry to government talks on Bill C-45 in December, which prompted mass protests from Idle No More. Facilitated through social media, particularly Twitter, the movement’s actions since November 2012 have included blockades of highways, Canada’s most vital railroads, and tourist and shopping centers. These actions all across the country have cost Canada millions of dollars in only three months.

Despite widespread and growing support of Idle No More —with nearly 700,000 tweets in early January—Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party and the mainstream media continue to oppose its demands.


Inauguration Protests

“Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” – Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Arc of Justice Coalition, a coalition of Washington, DC and national groups, held a rally and march on Inauguration Day. As hundreds of thousands of people celebrated the second inauguration of Barack Obama, peace and justice activists marched down 16th St. calling for an end to corporate and military domination of our political and economic system, a strengthening of the social safety net, an end to wars and occupations, economic and social justice, and the elimination of US killer drones and kill lists. As the march ended, ten members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) held a die-in to protest the use of militarized drones. Although at first arrests appeared likely, all were released without charges.

To view photos, go to; for a video of the die-in, see


Church of England Allows Gay Bishops

On January 4, 2013, the Church of England announced that it will now permit gay bishops to join and remain in the clergy. They may do so under the condition that they remain celibate.

Many bishops from the episcopate are now behind the move, using the argument that sexuality should not be a factor in becoming a bishop as long as all of the other tenets and values of the Church are upheld. The prohibition of having gay bishops has been called “unfair” and “unjust” by a growing number of Anglican clergy.

While there remains an Evangelical segment that wishes to prohibit homosexual bishops, the new rule has survived. Dr. John Jeffrey is an openly gay cleric of a church near London, and in 2003 he was forced to forego accepting a promotion to become a bishop because of the conservative outcry against it. However, under the new ruling he will be allowed to apply for the position again.

The public will be watching the Church of England to see how it decides to determine if applicant clergymen are homosexual and/or celibate. Possibilities include scrutiny into one’s past sexual life and repentance for previous sexual activity.