Thursday, January 8, 2015

Dave Lincoln, He Blew the Whistle on Big Oil

Dave was recruited by Union Oil in 1966. He was fourteen. From that day until the moment he walked away from the job he loved and a six figure income he lived and breathed the oil business. 

Union Oil was looking for PR cover, which they would use during the Santa Barbara Oil Spill in 1969.

At the time, Dave was completing his work to become an Eagle Scout, making him a natural recruit to sell the good intentions of Union Oil. Scripts of well-honed lies were provided to Dave and his fellow recruits. 

The techniques used by Union Oil could have been taken from indoctrination material for Nazi Youth. 

It would be twenty years before Dave realized, to his horror, how he and the other students had been used. By then, Dave was a geologist working in Malaysia for Enron, and dealing directly with foreign countries for the company. 

Dave believed it was his duty to protect nature, not destroy it. 

Walking away was the only option. Dave returned to the US and went to work for Green Peace. His entire life had been focused on the oil industry. He had both academic and on the ground experience with all aspects of the technologies for oil production, drilling, and had studied intensely the sloppy and cost cutting planning and strategies which were destroying lives and the environment. 

His depth of knowledge and clear thinking made it possible for him to identify the most devastating facts and images to be used against the experts assembled by Big Oil.

Carried out for the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association
The Association had been losing their battle to stop construction on the proposed off shore gas pipeline in MA 1997, gas pipe from Canada to Boston Harbor. Dave provided hard data on the incidence of gas pipeline leaks presented to make it impossible not to understand a leak could be dangerous because a large of volume methane could change the density of the water and cause the ships to sink. Methane changes the buoyancy. The opposition, a gas company, withdrew their proposal. 

Carried out for the Massachusetts Fishermen’s Partnership and Commonwealth Corporation
Enacting a moratorium against exploration and drilling on George's Bank in Canada 1999 opened up the campaign for a moratorium by the US. 

Dave provided the in-depth research and the illustration which immediately lead to the adoption of a moratorium for seven years, which was then extended and is active today.
Dave played the sound of an airgun going off while he testified, ignoring requests he turn it off. The sound had a stunning impact on those attending. 

The oil company involved was Texaco. Texaco was sold the next year. They had lost their cash cow. First time an oil company was told it could not drill. Tactics used including issued a report on the seismic effect on mammals and fish, also prepared by Dave. 

The Moratorium for the US was adopted in 2000. In this case Dave was up against the New England Aquarium, which had taken a large grant from Pew, which is, of course, Sun Oil (Sunoco). The New England Aquarium hired someone from California who was cued to say Texaco's plans might not cause harm. 

Dave again used the materials prepared for the Canadian campaign and additionally focused in on damage to marine organisms and toxic drilling muds when they play together. These were illustrated very graphically during the panel. Opposition was Shell, Texaco in the US.

Materials Dave wrote:

February 25, 1998 - Letter from Gloucester Fishermen’s Association
January 1,      1999-  ARTICLE:  The Truth About George's Bank Exploration and 
                                     Production Operations May                             Oil Drilling on Georges Bank?
October  2000           ARTICLE:  Coexistence of the Fishery & Petroleum Industries

                                     News Release  for Massachusetts Fishing Partnership 
May 24, 2002 -         Media Release: The Sierra Club of Canada applauds extension of the

2002 -                         STUDY: Submission to Public Review Commission - Sense 
                                     and Nonsense-The Environmental Impacts of   Exploration on Marine 
                                     Organisms Offshore   Cape Breton
March 2003-             Media Release: Cape Breton Island Threatened by Coastal Oil and Gas

In 2000 the US changed its rules about seismic noise.

Carried out for The Dragon Chinese Restaurant, Pittsfield, MA. 
In 2004 a tanker truck carrying 9,000 gallons of heavy fuel oil turned over in the parking lot of the The Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Pittsfield Massachusetts. 

Dave was hired by an attorney who had heard of his work to provide the evidence for court. Dave carried out an investigation onsite to show there were contaminants left over after the fire department removed most of the oil. He provided a computer model of the event and presented this to the jury. 

Additionally, the owner of the restaurant, who was Vietnamese, thought it was her job to protect the food and stayed on the site. Because no one told her this was unsafe she remained at her place of business for two days. 

Two separate law suits were filed. Dave was the forensics expert for both. 

Dave examined the fuel company's records for driver safety discovering the driver involved had exceeded his time and the trucking company had an abnormally high number of accidents. They were breaking all the rules, working too long, going through population centers. 

In court, Dave also testified on the air dispersion models showing where the gases went and the concentration. These concentrations were high enough to have caused her nausea. Using his own peer-reviewed articles Dave was prepared for any question asked. He always answered clearly and concisely. This was also litigated and she received $100,000. The suit was won hands down. 

During the time this was going on her son won a prize on Top Chef.

Carried out for Environmental Rights International

The issue was the decades old oil spill in Ecuador originally caused by Texaco. The drilling had been carried out in the 1970s. Trial was schedule for 2009. 

As a byproduct of their drilling the company had built oil pits which they used to dispose of oil and produced water. This sank into the water table causing the 30,000 Indians living in the area to be poisoned. These people and their children now suffer from stomach cancer, or other forms of cancer and chronic diseases. Many have died as a result and many more will die. A generation of children have grown up drinking and bathing in oil polluted water, which Texaco described as 'produced water.' 

Forced to provide information during the early stages of the litigation Texaco provided Dave with five boxes of data. 

Dave scanned through the stuff, finding their reports. These had been written for Texaco using their own specifications which limited what was provided because of what they said would otherwise be too costly. Therefore, they had only sampled half of the pits, leaving the worst ones for later. 

Results provided included only half the 300 pits. There were also five gathering stations, where pipes come together in each field. Oil pits are used to separate oil from water. Three of the five actually sampled just on the surface came back 100% oil. 

Texaco had claimed the problem had been solved in 1980. Problem occurred in the 1970s continued until 1980 when Texaco claimed they had cleaned up the toxic waste. This was a lie. 

The presentation materials Dave built includes photos of the kids. The opposition was given copies of these as part of the pre-trial disclosure. 

Dave went through several full days of depositions. During this time he was subjected to a battering of Good Cop – Bad Cop harassment. In court, as he was waiting alone for the hearing to begin a group of around ten men from the oil company sat around him and began to make threats and remind him he had been “one of their own.” Dave did not budge and did not respond.

The lawyers hired managed, by legal manipulation, to keep Dave from testifying and then suppressed his book, “The Hidden Cost of Oil.” 
Big Oil is not afraid of the Sierra Club or Greenpeace – but they fear Dave. 

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