Mike Small's blog

Residents Lament 'Profound Social Impacts' of Ongoing Problems at Exxon's Mossmorran Chemicals Plant

Read time: 4 mins
Flares from Mossmorran chemicals plant

The Mossmorran plant in Fife, Scotland has been shut down for a month over safety fears due to unplanned flaring. 

Plant operator ExxonMobil notified the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) of the move on Thursday, apologising for the latest incident. But residents remain unhappy at the company’s lack of engagement with the community, and the Scottish government’s failure to protect them.

Comment: Why was the Blackout Used to Attack Renewables? Because Some Media Still Have an Anti-Climate Action Agenda

Read time: 5 mins

England recently experienced its most severe blackout in more than a decade, leading to a cacophony of calls from the usual suspects to scrap windfarms and abandon plans to turn the country’s electricity supply from brown to green.

The blackout was caused by two power plant outages last Friday – at the Little Barford gas-fired power plant and the Hornsea offshore wind farm. While National Grid was quick to explain that this was a “rare and unusual event”, the breakdown was used to push an anti-climate action agenda under the auspices of debate over energy policy.

Comment: Mark Field's Attack on ‘Environmental Extremists’ Allowed the Climate Crisis to be Conveniently Forgotten

Read time: 6 mins

After protests around the Newbury Bypass in the 1990s, Conservative minister John Watts famously claimed that he would like to see Swampy “buried in concrete”. 

The descent of peaceful protest in Britain from being seen as an essential part of a democracy into a criminal act to be framed as a “threat” can be charted down the decades: from the Greenham Common Peace Camp in 1981, accelerating through the alternative culture of the traveling community in the Battle of the Beanfield in 1985, to the rave scene and road protests of the 1990s.  

The phenomenon has more recently been charted by DeSmog and reached its apogee with the appalling Spycops scandal.

This is the background to Tory MP Mark Field's violent removal of Greenpeace protestor Janet Barker at a plush Mansion House Dinner last week.

ExxonMobil's Community Engagement on Plastics Plant Flaring 'Utterly Ineffectual', Residents Say

Read time: 6 mins
Mossmorran flaring

At a packed meeting in Lochgelly on Friday, about 200 people, including disgruntled residents, community leaders and local politicians, voiced their anger at continued environmental breaches at a polluting plant that looms large over the area.

The meeting was called following the latest in a series of unplanned flaring incidents at ExxonMobil's Mossmorran ethylene plant. Local people had raised the alarm over huge plumes of black smoke, chemical-smelling fumes and a rumbling noise emanating from the site.

Claire Fox: This Climate Science Denying Former Revolutionary Communist Might Win in the European Election

Read time: 3 mins

Polls suggest Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party is set to win big in Thursday’s European Parliament elections. Surprisingly, for a party that mainly pitches itself as an ally of Europe’s far right, that could mean a self-identified former hard-line communist taking a seat in Brussels.

That’s what will happen if Claire Fox, the party’s lead candidate in the North West, wins as expected.

Community Anger Rising Over Flaring at ExxonMobil's Mossmorran Plant

Read time: 4 mins
Mossmorran ethylene plant

Representatives of ExxonMobil’s Fife Ethylene Plant have apologised after unexpected flaring sent black smoke high into the skies across Fife for most of the past week. But the community remains furious at what it sees as regulatory failure and corporate evasion from ExxonMobil.

The flare at the giant petrochemical plant at Mossmorran could be seen for miles – it was clearly visible across the Firth of Forth – and went on for six days. It is one year since the Mossmorran plant was hit by an unscheduled flaring after several incidents in 2017 and 2018 led to the plant owners receiving “final warnings” from the environmental agency. 

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