A leaked memorandum published by The Intercept and Documented Investigations shows that a Koch Industries' donors network, known as the Seminar Network, has taken credit for Donald Trump approving the permits for both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines during the first months of his presidency. The memo also applauded efforts by the Koch network's Americans for Prosperity (AFP) chapter in Wisconsin to pass a deregulatory measure there known as the REINS Act. The Seminar Network, which meets secretly twice a year, is made up of donors who give at least $100,000 toward Koch-led political and philanthropic efforts.
Koch Industries has a business interest in both pipelines, though their approval has not been something its funded network has widely discussed. Quietly, though, Koch has advocated for the pair of pipelines in regulatory hearings in both Iowa for Dakota Access — as previously reported by DeSmog — as well as in Canada, as reported in 2012 by InsideClimate News.Tags: The InterceptFlint Hills ResourcesBarack ObamaGulf Coast PipelineAmerican Association of Retired PersonsAARPPine BendMinnesotaAlberta60 Plus Associationcanadakoch industriesTrump AdministrationDonald Trumpamerican legislative exchange councilALECDakota AccessInsideClimate NewsBakken ShaleKeystone XLtar sandsoil sandsfrackinghydraulic fracturing
The who's who of America's conservative movement gather each year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside of D.C.
This year was no exception. You could get a selfie with former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele. Or on the ballroom main stage, you could catch a speech by the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) Wayne LaPierre and this year, even President Donald Trump.
And in a small, lightly attended side room, the who’s who of climate science deniers converged at a Heartland Institute panel, where they, predictably, used former Vice President Al Gore as a punching bag, gushed over Trump’s environmental protection rollbacks, and alleged that the scientific consensus on climate change is a lie.Tags: CPACDonald Trumpmarc moranoal goreCommittee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT)Tim HuelskampHeartland Instituteheritage foundationcraig ruckercompetitive enterprise institute
Sea Level Science Agency Publishes Response to 'Completely Unwarranted' Attacks from Climate Deniers
Scientists at a British government-backed agency have formally responded to “completely unwarranted” claims from climate science deniers that they were engaged in a conspiracy to arbitrarily adjust data from tide gauges around the world and misrepresent sea level rise.
A research paper by two Australian climate science deniers claimed the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), based at the UK’s National Oceanography Center, had “arbitrarily” altered sea level data from Aden, in Yemen.
The research, from Australia-based pair Albert Parker and Cliff Ollier, was published in December 2017 in the new journal, Earth Systems and Environment and reported uncritically by the UK’s MailOnline.Tags: James DelingpolepsmslPermanent Service for Mean Sea Levelalbert parkerCliff Ollierbreitbartclimate change
'Keep It In the Ground' Approach to Fossil Fuels on US Public Lands Would Cut Climate Emissions, Study Confirms
Limiting fossil fuel production on U.S. federal lands would reduce both global oil consumption and overall carbon emissions, according to a new study by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), a research organization focused on sustainable development. In the study, SEI researchers specifically examined the policies proposed in the “Keep It in the Ground Act,” which would ban new and renewed leases to extract oil, gas, and coal on all federal lands, and was introduced in Congress in 2015, 2016, and again in 2017.
“Our models show that each barrel of U.S. oil left undeveloped leads to about a half-barrel drop in global oil consumption,” said Pete Erickson, SEI senior scientist and study co-author. “In the long term, the smart choice — for the climate and the economy — is to phase down oil and gas production, not ramp it up.”Tags: keep it in the groundPruittstockholm environment instituteTrump AdministrationFracking on Public LandsObama administration
There was an eerie stillness along the route of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin the day after a federal judge halted work on the pipeline. A temporary injunction was granted two weeks after groups opposed to the pipeline had their say in court, giving Energy Transfer Partners enough time to clear a path through the World Heritage site.
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick wrote that she was enjoining further work on the pipeline in the basin “in order to prevent further irreparable harm until this matter can be tried on the merits.” She will release her reasoning for ordering ETP to stop construction in the coming days.
Last week, climate scientist Dr. Michael E. Mann was honored with the AAAS award for Public Engagement in Science.
Mann hardly needs an introduction here. Ever since the publication of his hockey stick study twenty years ago, Mann has been a central target of the denial machine. Deniers have attacked him with everything they’ve got: weaponized FOIAs, constant trolling, you name it. In 2010, as the FBI finished the investigation into anthrax-laced letters that killed five people in the early 2000s, someone sent Mann white powder in an envelope.Tags: Professor Michael Mannclimate science denialpolitical attacks on climate scientistsroger pielke
Climate Science Deniers’ Favourite Journal Just got ‘Overhauled’ — And it Could Lead to a Skeptic Shutout
The publisher of an academic journal beloved by climate science deniers has been revamped to ensure it meets industry standards of peer-review and editorial practice. Its climate science denier editor has also stepped down.
Long a home for papers that cast doubt on climate science and the seriousness of climate change, Energy and Environment was recently bought by publishing behemoth SAGE. As part of the acquisition process, the publisher “over-hauled its peer review practices to bring it into line with SAGE standards”, a spokesperson told DeSmog UK.Tags: energy and environmentBenny PeiserSonja Boehmer-Christiansen
Emails sent and received by Travis Fisher, an outgoing senior Trump administration official at the Department of Energy, shed light on a murky anti-clean energy network with ties to the fossil fuel industry that operates in the Midwest and nationally.
The emails were obtained by the Energy and Policy Institute via a series of public records requests to Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz and other state legislators involved in campaigns to roll back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, as well as bail out failing coal and nuclear power plants.Tags: institute for energy researchtravis fisherTrump AdministrationU.S. Department of EnergyRick PerryEnergy and Environment Legal InstituteOhio
A trans-Atlantic network of Conservative and Libertarian think tanks were caught creating ‘shadow trade deals’ which deregulate in favour of food and drug lobbies during Brexit. In this investigation for Insurge and Real Media, Kam Sandhu exposes the long history of this trans-Atlantic network, and its efforts to drag us towards corporate freedom at the expense of public safety since the birth of neoliberalism.
'I’m sure you all know the story of how you came to be here’, Brexiteer and Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan addressed a packed room at the Capitale, New York on November 8 as he delivered the Toast to Freedom for the Atlas Network:
‘Gallus Gallus Domesticus….the chicken should be the symbol of the global freedom movement.’
Surrounded by a room full of ‘freedom champions’, Hannan used his speech to attack EU regulations which prevent US food staples such as chlorinated chicken, hormone fed beef and Genetically Modified (GM) foods from sale to the UK.Tags: Daniel HannanIFTliam foxheritage foundationAmerican Legislative Exchange Council ALECKoch Indusriesatlas
At a February 21 hearing, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Trump administration must either fork over documents showing how the U.S. Department of State reversed an earlier decision and ultimately came to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or else provide a substantial legal reason for continuing to withhold them. The federal government has an order to deliver the goods, one way or the other, by March 21.
DeSmog has reviewed the court evidence from the environmental groups bringing the case, records which help illuminate their argument that the government is, in fact, withholding such documents. The judge will decide if those documents, legally, should be made public.Tags: Keystone XLTransCanadatar sandsIndigenous Environmental NetworkTrump AdministrationDepartment of State
On the heels of Iowa and Ohio, Wyoming has become the third state to introduce a bill criminalizing the type of activities undertaken by past oil and gas pipeline protesters.
One of the Wyoming bill's co-sponsors even says it was inspired by the protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access pipeline, and a sheriff involved in policing those protests testified in support of the bill at a recent hearing. Wyoming's bill is essentially a copy-paste version of template legislation produced by the conservative, corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).Tags: CSGAPIDanny GlickDonald TrumpNational Sheriffs' AssociationDevon EnergyEMACemergency management assistance compactPeabody EnergyAmerican Petroleum InstituteChesapeake EnergybpAFPMHolly Frontier CorporationAnadarko PetroleumONEOKALECfrackingWendy LoweDavid PicardLeland ChristensenCindy DeLanceyWyoming Business AllianceWilliams Companieshydraulic fracturingamerican legislative exchange councilWyomingIowaOhioEnergy Transfer PartnersKim KoppelmanNorth DakotaCouncil of State Governments
by David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report
Oil giant ExxonMobil is engaged in unprecedented efforts to sue and harass in court the very people who are investigating and suing the company over global warming. Faced with determined efforts by states and localities to hold it and other fossil fuel companies accountable for contributing to, and concealing the evidence of, climate change, Exxon is crying foul, contending that it’s the victim of politically- and financially-motivated conspiracies.
But in reality there are no improper schemes behind the cases against Exxon. Instead, what’s troubling is an apparent effort by Exxon, one of the world’s wealthiest corporations, and its powerhouse corporate lawyers, to avoid a courtroom reckoning by making specious legal arguments and outspending their foes in the legal arena.Tags: ExxonKnewclimate liabilityclimate change lawsuitExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM)
The UK’s main climate science denier thinktank has seen its income from membership fees double over the last year, its latest accounts show.
The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has consistently argued against the climate science consensus and was set-up by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson to combat what it describes as “extremely damaging and harmful policies” designed to mitigate climate change.
GWPF’s latest accounts published on Companies House last week show a rise in the income generated from membership fees from £5,479 in 2016 to £11,937 in 2017.
Donations were also reported to have increased from £257,044 in 2016 to £284,141 last year — raising the foundation’s total funds to £743,959.Tags: Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF)GWPFSir Nicholas Bonsor
Safety Officials Order Partial Shutdown of Sabine Pass LNG Export Facility After Discovering 10-Year History of Leaks
Sabine Pass, the only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in the country, has reportedly been experiencing safety issues for the past decade, and yet federal safety officials were only informed of this history while investigating the terminal's latest leak in January. Owned by Cheniere Energy, Sabine Pass is located on the Gulf Coast on the border of Texas and Louisiana.Tags: Sabine PassCheniereLNGPHMSAliquefied natural gas exportsSafety
A new technology has the potential to transform the transportation of tars sands oil. Right now, the already thick and slow-flowing oil, known as bitumen, has to be diluted with a super-light petroleum product, usually natural gas condensate, in order for it to flow through a pipeline or into a rail tank car.
However, scientists at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering inadvertently found a way to make tar sands oil even more viscous, turning it into “self-sealing pellets” that could potentially simplify its transport.Tags: tar sands oiloil by railcanadaalberta tar sandstar sands spillsdiluted bitumen
People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as “bird choppers”. And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention.
Wind turbine blades do indeed kill birds and bats, but their contribution to total bird deaths is extremely low, as these three studies show.Tags: anti-windwind farmsfossil fuelsmigratory birds
West Virginia Candidate Ousted From Hearing for Reading Industry Donors. But Bill She Opposed Just Passed in House.
On Friday, February 9, Lissa Lucas — a Democratic Party candidate for West Virginia's House of Delegates — was forcibly removed from a Senate hearing for calling out how many thousands of dollars legislators backing a pro-oil and gas industry bill have received from that very industry.
The video of Lucas's public comment and removal has gone viral and served as a launching pad for her campaign, which has raised more than $46,000 since the incident. Previously, she had raised just over $4,000. Coincidentally, Lucas supports a publicly funded campaign finance system.
That law, “forced pooling” legislation which makes it easier for the oil and gas industry to obtain mineral rights from private landowners as a precursor to drilling, has the support of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. It enables oil and gas companies to perform more hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on private land in the state by mandating that, rather than securing land lease contracts from all landowners, companies only need 75 percent of those living in an area to sign leases and are granted the remaining 25 percent by default.Tags: Appalachian Ethane Storage Hub Study ActDow ChemicalMonsantoExxonMobilchevronWanhua Chemicalfrackinghydraulic fracturingForced PoolingCo-Tenancywest virginiaAppalachian Storage HubAmerican Chemistry CouncilJoe ManchinJim JusticeDepartment of Energy
The first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen a measurable difference in the way the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been holding polluters accountable compared to the past 25 years. Under Scott Pruitt, the EPA has collected, on average, 49 percent less in civil penalties against violators of federal environmental laws than in the first year of the previous three administrations, according to a new report from the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project.
“President Trump’s dismantling of the EPA means violators are less likely to be caught, making illegal pollution cheaper,” said Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project and former director of EPA’s Office of Civil Enforcement. “The president’s ‘law and order’ agenda apparently wasn’t intended for fossil fuel companies and other big polluters.”Tags: Donald TrumpScott PruittUS Environmental Protection AgencyTrump Administration
FERC Commissioner Rob Powelson Spent Much of His First Months in Office Meeting With the Fossil Fuel Industry
In his first few months at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), commissioner Rob Powelson scheduled the great majority of his meetings with fossil fuel energy companies and utilities, his work calendar shows. The calendar, obtained by DeSmog through an open records request, can be viewed below.
Nominated to FERC by President Trump, Powelson began serving on the commission last August. He previously served on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.Tags: federal energy regulatory commission (FERC)Rob PowelsonAmerican Petroleum InstituteJordan Cove LNG
It was gratifying, today, to see a senior justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia denounce the professional “climate change sceptic” Dr. Tim Ball as incompetent, inattentive and, perhaps, indifferent to the truth.
But it was an outrage to see the same judge let Ball so casually off the hook, by dismissing a libel action that had been brought by University of Victoria climate scientist and B.C. Green Party leader Dr. Andrew Weaver.Tags: tim ballandrew weaverclimate lawsuitlibel suit