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A Portland Protester Is Now Making ‘Tear Gas Ted’s Hot Sauce,’ in Reference to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler


August Winningham is familiar with tear gas. While protesting racial injustice and police brutality, the Farm Spirit cook has — like countless other Portlanders — inhaled his fair share of CS gas, a “riot control agent” that severely burns the eyes and causes retching and coughing. In July, Winningham watched as Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also the police commissioner, choked for the cameras when federal agents sprayed the crowd with tear gas, an agent Portland police had used for months.

“I was feeling sad and angry about his hypocrisy, him protesting the federal occupation and the brutality when Portland police has done the exact same thing,” Winningham says. “We’re all getting more disillusioned by these empty gestures.” He used that frustration to fuel a side project: Tear Gas Ted’s hot sauce.

Winningham’s hot sauce uses peppers like serranos, jalapenos, and tomatillos from farms like Junction City’s Groundworks Organics, which he lacto-ferments and bottles. The bottles come adorned with an image of Wheeler in goggles and a mask, designed by local artists Nicole Marsh and Jeffery Frankenhauser. The flavors change sporadically — he’s currently tweaking a version made with carrot, habanero, and smoked pineapple.

Tear Gas Ted’s has become another way for Winningham to show his support for the larger movement. Each bottle is available for free, as long as interested parties prove they’ve donated at least $10 to Don’t Shoot Portland, a social justice nonprofit known for its policy work, community aid, and advocacy for marginalized groups across the state. “[Founder] Teressa Raiford has been putting in the real boots-on-the-ground work for so long, and she’s going to be on the ground for a long time,” Winningham says. “They do real, concrete, consequential action.”

Customers can currently find the hot sauce at Fermenter, though Winningham is trying to figure out a way to ship bottles, as well. He’s adamant, however, that Tear Gas Ted’s is not meant to be a big, profitable brand. “The intention was never to build a business or make money, it was a really small way to raise awareness,” he says. “I’ve been paying for everything — bottles, labels, product — and then people donate and show me proof. That’s my donation.”

Tear Gas Ted’s Hot Sauce [Instagram]
Don’t Shoot Portland [Official]
Ted Wheeler Has a Hot Sauce Named After Him. It’s Not Meant as a Compliment. [WWeek]
Portland mayor tear-gassed by federal agents at protest [CBS]
For Portland Police, Indiscriminate Use of Tear Gas During Protests Is Unavoidable [Merc]
When Portland police use tear gas, protesters aren’t the only ones breathing it [OPB]





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Breaking New

Gas prices fall below $2 a gallon on average in the United States



The plunge can be attributed to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has wiped out demand as people are increasingly told to shelter at home. The ongoing oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia has exacerbated that decline.
Not even two weeks ago, the price of a gallon of gas was $2.19, but could be purchased for $2 or less in about a dozen of states. Today, drivers can find a gallon of gas for $1.99 or less at roughly 70% of US gas stations, AAA said.

“This is unprecedented,” Tom Kloza, head of energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, told CNN Business at the time.

AAA said in a press release Tuesday that it expects gas prices to fall to $1.75 or less in April. Kloza, however, predicts they will continue to drop beyond that, to between $1.25 to $1.50 per gallon in the next few months.

Oil prices have been declining steadily this year. US crude plunged nearly 7% and finished at an 18-year low of $20.09 a barrel Monday as the coronavirus continues to deal a devastating blow to energy demand. At session lows, oil touched $19.27 a barrel — the weakest intraday price since February 2002.

Brent crude, the world’s benchmark, tumbled as much as 13% and fell to as low as $21.65 a barrel, its lowest point in 18 years. Brent settled at $22.76 a barrel, the lowest close since November 2002.

Oil prices slightly rebounded Tuesday.

–CNN Business’ Matt Egan contributed to this report.



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Trump’s Iraq threats could backfire on oil and gas prices


Trump vowed Sunday to hit Iraq with penalties “like they’ve never seen before” if American troops are forced out on an unfriendly basis.

“It’ll make Iranian sanctions look somewhat tame,” the president told reporters aboard Air Force One.

That would be difficult to achieve without lifting already-rising oil and gasoline prices. Iraq is one of the most important oil producers on the planet. Sidelining Iraq’s output would exacerbate fears of a supply shock that erupted after Trump ordered the drone strike in Baghdad last week that killed a top Iranian commander.

“If there were Iran-style sanctions that made Iraq’s oil toxic to the rest of the world, that would drive prices up quite sharply,” said Bob McNally, president of consulting firm Rapidan Energy Group.

That’s exactly why analysts don’t believe Trump will follow through on his threat, especially with the presidential election only 10 months off. He made the statement after the Iraqi parliament voted Sunday to obligate its government to work towards ending the presence of all foreign troops on Iraqi soil.

“It would be really bullish for gas prices and therefore hurt the economy and Trump’s election chances,” McNally said.

The targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian commander, sent Brent oil prices above $70 a barrel on Monday. US crude also ticked above $63 a barrel. Neither move signals outright panic, but investors are clearly concerned about the threat of an oil price shock caused by Iran’s promise for harsh retaliation for the drone strike.

Iraq is the No. 2 oil producer within OPEC, behind only Saudi Arabia. Iraq produced 4.6 million barrels of crude per day in November, well above the 3.1 million barrels produced by the United Arab Emirates, the No. 3 player in OPEC.

Bigger picture, Iraq is expected to be the third-largest contributor to global oil supply through 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.
The United States relies on Iraqi oil to keep the American economy humming. US oil imports from Iraq totaled 252,000 barrels per day in October, according to the most recent US government stats. That makes Iraq the No. 4 source of foreign oil to the United States, behind Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.

“Who can predict what Trump is going to do next? But it doesn’t make a great deal of sense,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at Clipper Data.

OPEC has room to pump more oil to offset losses from Iraq or elsewhere. The cartel, along with allies like Russia, has been restraining production in a bid to boost prices.

However, McNally said OPEC wouldn’t be able to compensate for the loss of all of Iraq’s production. “We’d be out of spare capacity.”

To be sure, Trump did not specifically mention that US sanctions would target Iraq’s oil industry. However, oil is clearly Iraq’s most important industry. Oil exports, excluding ones made by the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in the north, accounted for 88% of total government revenue in 2017, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

In other words, it would be hard to severely punish Iraq without touching its oil industry.

Shale revolution reduces America’s foreign oil needs

US presidents typically try to avoid taking action that causes pain at the pump. The national average price of gasoline is $2.58 a gallon, roughly flat with a month ago, according to AAA. However, a sudden rise above $3 a gallon could upset voters ahead of the November election, and a sustained spike in energy prices would slow parts of the American economy.

“President Trump is clearly bound by the election dynamics to ensure the markets are supported and the economy does not suffer an oil shock,” said Matt Gertken, a geopolitical strategist at BCA Research.

However, Trump likely isn’t as worried as his predecessors were about an oil shock. That’s because the US is now the world’s leading oil producer, lessening its reliance on foreign crude. In fact, the shale revolution has left America with so much oil that it is now exporting millions of barrels a day.

Net imports (imports minus exports) stood at just 2.9 million barrels per day in October, according to the most recent Energy Information Administration statistics. That’s down dramatically from 8.7 million a decade earlier.

“President Trump feels he has a buffer with voters over gasoline prices. That has emboldened him to put pressure on Iran,” said Gertken.

Rob Thummel, managing director at energy investment firm Tortoise Capital, said America’s shale oil boom would limit the long-term impact of US sanctions on Iraq.

“The US could produce more oil if it had to. It would take a little while because oil production is not like turning on your faucet. It takes time,” said Thummel.

Repeat of Iran in 2018?

Still, in the past Trump has displayed concerns about how oil sanctions will impact the American economy.

In 2018, oil prices soared after he promised to zero out Iran’s oil exports through sanctions.

After US crude reached nearly $77 a barrel in early October, Trump backed down. The administration provided waivers that allowed some of Iran’s major customers to continue buying crude. The reversal caused supply fears to vanish. US crude eventually plunged into a bear market.

“If we did Iraq sanctions,” Rapidan’s McNally said, “I think we’d see a repeat of the situation with Iran.”



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Democrats to float bill to tackle greenhouse gas emissions on public land


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday will unveil a bill that aims to zero out emissions from drilling, mining and other activities on federal land and waters by 2040.

The bill reflects the ambitious climate agenda of Democrats who view global warming as an urgent threat, but is unlikely to become law unless the party gains ground in the Republican-controlled Senate and unseats Republican President Donald Trump in next year’s election.

Congressman Raul Grijalva, chair of the Democrat-controlled House Natural Resources Committee, will be joined by his committee and three environmental groups to release details of the panel’s bill which offers measures to slash emissions as well as “simultaneously promoting positive climate actions.”

The committee said the legislation would create a pathway for the Interior Department and Forest Service, which oversee federal land and waters, to achieve the net-zero goal.

The U.S. Geological Survey found in a 2018 report that a quarter of carbon emissions come from federal lands.

The Trump administration has moved to expand drilling and mining on federal land as part of its “energy dominance” agenda by speeding up permitting, rolling back rules governing methane and carbon emissions and undoing an Obama-era moratorium on mining on federal land.

The Interior Department under Trump also plans to expand offshore drilling on 90% of offshore waters but those plans are on hold as litigation to stop it plays out.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Sandra Maler



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Car wash worker drives into Boca Raton gas station



BOCA RATON, Fla. — Boca Raton police say at least one person was hurt after a car plowed into a BP gas station on Friday morning, hitting a man.

According to police, a white Ford Focus was exiting the car wash and an attendant who was driving the car hit another vehicle and then smashed into the gas station at Yamato Rd. and Congress Ave.

RELATED: More photos from the scene

Police said the attendant fled the scene but was captured nearby and taken into custody.

A man inside the gas station was struck by the car and was taken to Delray Medical Center, according to police. A photo from the scene shows him sitting on the ground, with blood on his shirt.

The entire front of the building is smashed out, and shards of glass are scattered everywhere.

This is a developing story. Stay with WPTV for updates.





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One woman’s mission for equality in the oil and gas industry


Women represent just 22% of employees in the industry worldwide, according to a 2017 report by the World Petroleum Council and The Boston Consulting Group — a significantly smaller share than found in almost any other sector.

Ogutu Okudo of Kenya is on a mission to change that.

To help bridge gender gaps in the energy sector, Okudo founded Women in Energy & Extractives (WEX Africa) in 2011. The nonprofit operates in eight African countries and has grown to more than 4,000 members.

The group works to reach girls at an early age and encourage them to study science and technology. “We make sure we go to high schools all around Kenya and all around Africa,” says Okudo, who has worked as a consultant for oil companies including Nigeria’s SpringRock Energy.

“I talk to girls about STEM subjects because I know how unattractive [those subjects] are deemed,” says Okudo. “If we want to have a sustainable approach and we want more women into these industries, we have to look at it from the short term, midterm and long term.”

This company is using recycled plastic milk bottles to repave roads in South Africa

To address shorter-term goals, WEX Africa visits smaller communities to tell women about opportunities within the industry that don’t require years of training. Okudo says WEX Africa organizes conferences for professional women to network, and it plans to release a report in 2020 detailing the number of women working in the oil and gas industry in Africa, and describing their experiences.

The group also helps women get access to personal finance by setting up groups where women contribute money every month and can apply for funds from the pool. She says that some women have used the funds to set up cleaning and catering services for oil companies.

“Women need to be empowered economically,” says Okudo, who in addition to running WEX Africa is now SpringRock’s country manager for Kenya, leading new projects and working with the Ministry of Petroleum. “One of the biggest issues we have is access to markets, technology and finance.”

WEX Africa visits schools and talks to girls about science and technology.
By encouraging more women to enter the male-dominated field, Okudo hopes to open up opportunities for them in a rapidly growing industry. Africa’s oil and gas production is forecast to increase by 74%, by 2050, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Okudo says she wants to see more women in the industry go beyond working in catering and cleaning jobs, and take up positions in technical roles.

“The development trajectory for Africa for the next 50 years being very infrastructure and fintech focused, we must ensure girls are not left behind,” says Okudo.

The goal is to empower the whole of Africa.

“When you observe women and their patterns, the money they get will 100% go back to their families and this changes the economic outlook of the community,” Okudo explains. “We want women at the forefront. That’s the real African dream.”

“I want women to disrupt. I want to see more women in these sector,” Okudo says. “I want to see more women in positions of power and influence.”



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Man arrested after crashing into BP gas station, removing license plate before fleeing scene


BRANDON TWP., Mich. (WXYZ) — A 24-year-old man was arrested after driving his vehicle into a BP gas station on Ortonville Road and then removing his license plate before leaving the scene, police say.

The incident occurred at the BP gas station in the 1700 block of Ortonville Road in the early morning hours of Oct. 24.

The suspect, William David Edmonds, was a regular at that gas station, a clerk told police. On that day, he purchased beer, opened one and got into his vehicle, according to a police report. Edmonds’ vehicle was parked near gas pumps.

An employee at the gas station told police that Edmonds then accelerated at a high rate of speed, then turned 180 degrees, striking a gas pump island and then driving into the building.

The employee told police that Edmonds took his license plate off the vehicle along with some papers from inside the truck then left on foot from the scene.

Edmonds was located 13 hours later, and arrested by Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies at his home.

While in custody, Edmonds told police he was trying to speed around the gas pump to give his new tires a spin. As he was speeding, he hit a curb and lost control and crashed through the store. Edmonds also admitted to police that he had been drinking.

He added that after the crash, he became scared, which is why he fled the scene. He told police that he had not intention of driving into the building and putting others in danger.

Edmonds is charged with reckless leaving the scene of an accident. He was arraigned on Oct. 25.





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Teen dies after being ambushed by group of men while pumping gas in west Harris County


An 18-year-old is dead after a group of unknown men shot him outside a gas station in west Harris County.

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted Thursday night that the teen was ambushed by suspects in a dark colored pickup truck.

When deputies arrived to the Mobil station at 4909 Greenhouse, they found a teen with serious injuries.

The teen was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but later died, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

We do not know whether deputies have any leads on the suspects.

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