Tag Archives: heritage

Review finds flaws in environmental assessment of Dakota Access Pipeline

An independent expert hired by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the federal government’s environmental assessment of the pipeline’s impact was inadequate.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II now has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reassess its conclusion that the pipeline crossing will not affect tribal members.

“This underscores one of the fundamental deficiencies of the Final Environmental Assessment—it assumes, without foundation, that placing a massive oil pipeline just upstream from the Reservation presents no risk to the Tribe,” Archambault wrote in his letter to assistant Secretary Jo-Ellen Darcy.

An oil spill at Standing Rock would also impact an estimated 17 million people located down stream from the river, according to Richard Kuprewicz of Accufacts, Inc., a consulting firm that advises government agencies and industry about pipelines.

Accufacts analyzed the government’s environmental assessment on the pipeline and found the Army Corps of Engineers failed to address pipeline safety and the risk the pipeline poses to the waters of Lake Oahe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which draws its drinking water from that lake.

The analysis indicated the assessment significantly underestimated the risk of an oil spill into sensitive areas .

Additionally, the report documented:

• Shoddy pipeline construction

• The risks posed by landslides were underestimated

• Lack of proper safety constructions to contain spills

• Failure to review impact to residents and environment downstream of the site

• A risk review of industry spills and containment at similar sites that document problematic regulatory oversight of the industry in North Dakota

“Mr. Kuprewicz’s findings reflect the common sense point that was somehow lost in the Final Environmental Analysis—that pipelines leak, and that when they do so there are often devastating consequences, particularly when the leak contaminates water,” Archambault wrote in his letter to Darcy. “The public record is filled with examples which further substantiate this point.”

The failure of the Army Corps to adequately assess oil spill risks from the pipeline also raises significant questions about whether the Corp’s review is legally adequate, according to the Standing Rock leader.

“The law requires a full and transparent analysis of risks like oil spills prior to issuance of a federal permit. It’s clear that never happened here,” added Jan Hasselman, who represents the tribe in its litigation against the Army Corps. “We expect the Corps to give this new report close consideration as it determines whether to move ahead with the permits needed to cross the Missouri River—permits that Dakota Access didn’t have before starting construction of the pipeline.”

In light of the report and the deficiencies contained in the environmental assessment, Archambault asked for the government to reconsider its early decisions and disallow the easement for the pipeline crossing.

Spain’s top court overturns local ban on bullfighting

Spain’s top court overruled a local ban against bullfighting in the powerful northeastern region of Catalonia, saying it violated a national law protecting the much-disputed spectacle.

The Constitutional Court ruled that Catalan authorities generally could regulate such public spectacles, and even outlaw them, but in this case the national parliament’s ruling that bullfighting is part of Spain’s heritage must prevail.

Catalonia banned bullfighting in 2010. The decision was part of the growing movement against bullfighting but it was also seen as another step in the Catalan government’s push to break away from Spain.

The ban had little practical effect as Catalonia had only one functioning bullring — in its capital, Barcelona — but neither is the court decision likely to greatly change things.

“There’ll be no bullfights in Catalonia regardless of what the Constitutional Court says,” Catalan Land Minister Josep Rulls said.

The World Animal Protection group described the decision as “outrageous,” adding that “cultural heritage does not justify an activity that relies on animal torture and indefensible levels of suffering.”

But the Fighting Bull Foundation of breeders, matadors, ring workers, aficionados and event organizers welcomed the news, warning that attempts to prevent bullfights in Catalonia would now be illegal.

Catalonia’s last bullfight was in 2011 before the region’s ban took effect.

The court ruling followed a challenge to the ban by the conservative Popular Party headed by acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Catalonia said it banned bullfighting to protect the animals but it continues to allow popular events featuring the chasing and taunting of bulls with flaming balls of wax or fireworks affixed to their horns.

Bullfighting and bull-related events in summer festivals remain immensely popular throughout Spain although animal rights groups have gained some ground in their campaigns.

Catalonia, with a population of 7.5 million, is a wealthy region with its own language and a large degree of self-rule. Its current government is pushing to hold an independence referendum and secede from Spain in 2017. Spain has said it will not allow either.

‘Citizen Kane’ camera, other Orson Welles’ items up for auction

The youngest daughter of director and writer Orson Welles is giving film buffs a chance to buy some of his personal possessions, including a camera, scripts and photos from the set of “Citizen Kane.”

Beatrice Welles discovered the relics last year in boxes and trunks and decided to put them up for auction. She said her father would have preferred making the memorabilia available to film buffs and fans as opposed to sending them to a museum.

“It’s about the last thing he would’ve wanted. He just did not believe in schooling, he did not believe in academic things,” Beatrice Welles said in a telephone interview from her Arizona home. “And museums kind of have that connotation and I thought ‘No, this is not right for him.’”

In all, she is handing more than 70 items over to Heritage Auctions, which will stage the auction on April 26.

Margaret Barrett, director of entertainment-related auctions, declined to speculate on any possible bidding amounts but said she expects all the lots to fetch decent bids.

“People are still talking about him decades after his death,” Barrett said. “One of the enduring signs of fame is when young people know who someone is — someone who might have passed away decades ago.”

Barrett said she thinks Welles’ old Bell & Howell movie camera will be one of the bigger sellers. According to his daughter, he used the camera for home movies. In fact, one of the photos in another lot shows Welles using the camera to record a bullfight in Spain.

Other items are reminders of Welles’ more painful Hollywood experiences. Two scripts for “The Magnificent Ambersons,” a 1942 film he wrote and directed, reveal two different endings Welles had in mind; neither ended up in the film. The movie, which centers on a spoiled heir’s attempt to keep his mother from marrying her first love, was famously re-edited by someone else.

“They kept on changing his pictures around and not letting him finish them. That hurt him,” Beatrice Welles said. “The only one he was allowed to do completely from start to end was ‘Citizen Kane.’”

Long considered Welles’ masterpiece for its innovations in editing and cinematography, the 1941 “Citizen Kane” follows the lonely life of wealthy publishing magnate Charles Foster Kane.

Not among the auction cache is any Rosebud-type childhood memento of Welles’. Rosebud was the name of the sled mourned by the titular character in “Kane” that burns at the end of the film. According to Beatrice Welles, director Steven Spielberg bought a version of the sled in 1982, also at auction, and was later teased by her father about its authenticity.

“My father and Steven were having lunch and my father said ‘I hate to tell you something, but there was only one sled in Citizen Kane. Do you remember the ending?’”

Nearly 30 years after Welles’ 1985 death, Beatrice Welles said she was finally emotionally strong enough to sift through boxes of her famous father’s possessions. Her mother, Italian actress Paola Mori, died less than year after Welles. The double loss was devastating.

“When they died … I just couldn’t even look at the stuff,” she said.

Celebrity interactions and globe-trotting made up Beatrice Welles’ unconventional upbringing, where her father’s “Moviola editing machine was like part of our luggage.”

By the age of 3, Beatrice Welles was getting an education any film student would have loved. She often sat on her father’s lap while he cut movies in the editing room. As she got older, she even pitched in.

“I’d get the two pieces of whatever celluloid film it is on the machine. … He would tell me where to cut and I would cut and do it for him,” Beatrice Welles said.

Her father wasn’t always comfortable with being revered as a film genius, she said.

“He would say, ‘There are only probably three geniuses ever that existed, one of them being Einstein. I don’t put myself in that category.’”