Subscribe to deSmog feed
Updated: 52 min 49 sec ago

Flip This Well: How Fracking Company CEOs Get Rich While Losing Billions

Tue, 05/29/2018 - 16:33
Flip this well logo on top of oil pumpjacks

Last year the fracking company Halcón Resources announced a new strategy that was sold as the path to profits for the previously troubled shale oil and gas firm. The company had sold its stake in the Bakken oil fields in order to double down on the Permian shale in Texas. At the time, Reuters touted the deal as a “stunning turnaround” for CEO Floyd Wilson, and the good news immediately drove up the Halcón stock price by 35 percent.

“The sale of our Williston Basin operated assets transforms Halcón into a single-basin company focused on the Delaware Basin where we have more than 41,000 net acres,” Wilson said in a statement. He was making his pitch and investors responded.

However, the move was part of a familiar formula for those in the shale industry, which uses horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to release oil and gas from shale formations: Borrow lots of money, drill lots of fossil fuels at a loss, flip the company for a profit.

Tags: Halconfrackingshale oilfinancesBankruptcyFloyd WilsonPermian Basin ShaleUtica Shale basinBakken Shale
Categories: News

What's Wrong With Secret Donor Agreements Like the Ones George Mason University Inked with the Kochs

Sun, 05/27/2018 - 14:14
George Mason University faculty and students protest Koch influence on their school

By Alexa Capeloto, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

George Mason University President Ángel Cabrera acknowledged this month that his school gave the Charles Koch Foundation “some influence” over hiring and evaluating faculty as it accepted millions of dollars for its free-market research center, the Mercatus Center.

This news rankled the academic world, but it perhaps didn’t come as a surprise. Many scholars saw this as just the latest revelation of strings-attached giving with an ideological slant — another encroachment on the sacrosanct idea that teaching and research at universities, especially public ones like George Mason, must be immune from outside influence.

Tags: Koch brothersgeorge mason universitydonor transparencycharles koch foundation
Categories: News

10 Families Bring First Ever 'People’s Climate Case' Against the EU

Sat, 05/26/2018 - 13:58
Lavender farm in Provence

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Ten families from Fiji, Kenya and countries across Europe who are already suffering the effects of climate change filed a case against the EU Wednesday in a bid to force the body to increase its commitments under the Paris agreementAFP reported.

The “People's Climate Case,” as it is being called, challenges the climate policies of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, saying they will not reduce emissions quickly enough to stop rising temperatures from disrupting the plaintiffs' lives. While an increasing number of communities and individuals have taken fossil fuel companies and governments to court over climate change in recent years, this is the first such case to be brought against the EU as a whole.

Tags: european unionclimate change adaptationclimate litigationclimate impacts
Categories: News

Indulge Them on Conspiracy Theories, And Deniers Might Just Warm to Climate Consensus

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 20:21
Someone at the People's Climate March holds a science saying 'Science is not a liberal conspiracy'

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

new study in the AMS journal Weather, Climate and Society suggests that there’s an interesting way to soften denier rejection of the consensus on climate change: validate their conspiracy theories.

Tags: climate science denialconspiracy theoriesscience communicationsocial science
Categories: News

Opponents Ask Court to Stop Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction in Louisiana Community During Ongoing Legal Battle

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 00:44
Protesters with banners stop construction at a Bayou Bridge pipeline site in Maurice, Louisiana

Today, residents of St. James, Louisiana, and groups opposing the Bayou Bridge pipeline petitioned a state court to halt construction on the oil pipeline along its final 18 miles. This segment falls in an area known as the coastal zone and requires a special state permit.

The court previously ruled against the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for issuing a permit that did not follow state guidelines and consider if the project had adequate environmental and emergency response plans for the town of St. James in case of a pipeline failure.

Opponents thought the court’s order would bring a stop to construction but that hasn’t been the case. As a result, today’s petition asks for a pause in construction until all the permit’s conditions are met.

Tags: Bayou Bridge pipelineLouisiana Department of Natural ResourcesEnergy Transfer PartnersSt. James Parish
Categories: News

Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Sideline 100 Miles of Construction in Virginia and West Virginia

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 16:38
Central Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Builders of the controversial Atlantic Coast pipeline told federal authorities they will delay construction along 21 miles in West Virginia and 79 miles in Virginia until the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issues a revised “incidental take statement,” which limits the number of threatened or endangered species that might be accidentally killed or harmed during development activities.

Tags: Atlantic Coast pipelineVirginiawest virginiadominion energyU.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commissionnatural gas pipelines
Categories: News

Koch-Backed and Anti-Renewable Energy Groups Wooing Interior Department Official

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 21:41
Vincent DeVito

Fossil fuel groups backed by the Koch brothers and lobbyists for anti-renewable energy entities have been courting an Interior Department official responsible for energy policy, according to internal documents. Vincent DeVito, a senior energy advisor to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, has received considerable attention from these groups, accepting several invitations to closed meetings and conferences.

Tags: vincent devitoamericans for prosperity (AFP)edison electric instituteConsumer Energy AllianceRyan ZinkeU.S. Department of Interior
Categories: News

How Enbridge Helped Write Minnesota Pipeline Laws Aiding its Line 3 Battle Today

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 22:04
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announces Enbridge Line 3 replacement project

By Logan Carroll

The Minnesota section of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline accounts for nearly 300 miles of the longest crude oil transport system in the world, and it is failing. The multi-billion-dollar transnational corporation has applied for a permit to replace it. Opposition from tribes in the region and environmental groups is slowing the project, but the process at times appears so tilted in Enbridge’s favor that, watching the court battles and utility commission meetings, it almost feels like Enbridge wrote the rules.

At one point in its application to build the new Line 3, Enbridge listed all the federal and state laws that regulate the permitting and construction of pipelines. Nearly all the Minnesota laws originated in one 1987 Senate bill: S.F. 90.

This bill was accompanied by unprecedented pipeline industry lobbying — led in spending by Enbridge — and included subtle but major handouts to pipeline companies. One such provision imposes a sweeping limit on the public’s ability to oppose new pipelines, including the Line 3 replacement project.

Tags: EnbridgeMinnesota Public Utilities CommissionAmerican Petroleum InstituteMinnesotaEnbridge Line 3 pipeline
Categories: News

Columbia University Hires Trump Official and Fossil Fuel Defender as Climate Policy Expert

Tue, 05/22/2018 - 19:02
George David Banks

Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) is a hugely influential policy group filled with heavy hitters from politics and the oil industry. While the center's home page describes it as “an independent, interdisciplinary, and nonpartisan platform,” its track record shows that CGEP consistently supports the same policies favored by the fossil fuel industry. 

And one of its latest moves — hiring former Trump energy advisor and fossil fuel defender George “David” Banks as an expert on “international climate policy” — shows that trend will continue.

Tags: David BanksColumbia Universitycenter on global energy policyamerican council for capital formationCharles G. Koch FoundationTrump Administration
Categories: News

Climate Science Deniers From Around Globe Rally Around Sacked Scientist Peter Ridd

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 16:47
Peter Ridd

Climate science denial groups from the UK, U.S., and Australia have leapt to support a controversial marine scientist who was fired from his job at an Australian university.

Dr. Peter Ridd, formerly a professor at James Cook University (JCU), was sacked for repeated breaches of his employment’s code of conduct, according to a statement from the university.

Ridd claims that the Great Barrier Reef is “in great shape” and dismisses evidence that human activities including dredging and human-caused global warming have damaged the internationally iconic marine wonder. Back-to-back coral bleaching events linked to record-breaking sea surface temperatures have killed about one third of the reef's corals.

Tags: peter riddjames cook universityGWPFJames DelingpolebreitbartwattsupwiththatAnthony WattsIPAInstitute of Public Affairs
Categories: News

Bayou Bridge Pipeline Construction Proceeds in Louisiana Community Despite Invalid Permit Ruling

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 19:18
Bayou Bridge pipeline workers in St. James, Louisiana

Construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline has continued in and around the Louisiana town of St. James despite a judge’s ruling that a state agency wrongly issued a permit allowing this oil pipeline to be built without an emergency and evacuation plan for the vulnerable town. A follow-up judgment formalizing the initial ruling came on May 15.

Tags: St. James ParishLouisiana Department of Natural ResourcesBayou Bridge pipelineEnergy Transfer PartnersPastor Harry Joseph
Categories: News

Scott Pruitt's Approach to Pollution Control Will Make the Air Dirtier and Americans Less Healthy

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 18:09
PruittBy Robert Percival, University of Maryland

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s ethical lapses and extravagant spending habits have distracted the public from what he is doing to roll back important environmental protections.

Tags: Scott PruittTrump AdministrationUS Environmental Protection Agencyclean air act
Categories: News

What 30 Years of Documents Show Shell Knew About Climate Science

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 16:16

There can be no mistake: as early as 1981, big oil company Shell was aware of the causes and dangers of climate change.

These documents show Shell walking backwards. In the 1980s it was acknowledging anthropogenic global warming. Then, as the scientific consensus became more and more clear, it started introducing doubt and giving weight to a “significant minority” of “alternative viewpoints” as the full implications for the company's business model became clear.  

By trawling through a tranche of documents first uncovered by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent, published on Climate Files, DeSmog UK can chart 30 years of the company’s understanding of climate science.

Tags: shellclimate change#ShellKnew
Categories: News

FERC Allowed Chairman McIntyre to Participate in Decisions Concerning his Former Clients

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 22:43
FERC's McIntyre and Glick

Ethics officials at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — the agency responsible for approving energy infrastructure such as interstate oil and gas pipelines and overseeing utilities — recently gave the OK for its new chairman, Kevin McIntyre, to be involved in decisions concerning two of his former clients and previous firm, DeSmog has found.

Tags: American Electric Powerfederal energy regulatory commission (FERC)Kevin McIntyreConflicts of Interest
Categories: News

Pipeline Exec Refers to Activists Opposing Construction Near Bald Eagle Nest as ‘Awful Soulless People’

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 18:41
Bald eagle near Neversink River, New York

In a Twitter exchange that quickly devolved into a shouting match and the slinging of insults, an executive for a pipeline company called activists “awful soulless people.” Michelle Smith Hook, Director of Public Relations at Millennium Pipeline Company, was responding to heated tweets by activists in New York state who say the company is planning to construct a pipeline near a nesting bald eagle with eaglets, which are protected by federal law.

Tags: Millennium Pipeline CompanyAnti-fracking activismnew yorknatural gas pipelinesbald eagles
Categories: News

Friend of Mike Pence and a Coal-Funded Lawyer Form 'Accountability' Group to Attack Climate Lawsuits

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 17:29
christopher horner

For a group apparently hooked on transparency, the latest organization to spring from the loins of the fossil fuel–funded climate science denial industry certainly manages to obscure one or two pertinent facts.

Government Accountability and Oversight (GAO) — the name of the group given public charity status on March 20, 2018 by the Internal Revenue Service — is promising to publish documents about the people and groups behind ongoing court cases against the energy industry and its impact on the global climate.

“We’re not going to get into the science debate and other arguments. We’ll just show the public the documents, so you can decide,” lawyer Chris Horner told a sympathetic Daily Caller about GAO’s Climate Litigation Watch (CLW) project.

Behind the group are three lawyers — one a Republican-elected district attorney, another a former radio host and “longtime friend” of Vice President Mike Pence, and Horner, who has been paid by coal companies and works at the fossil fuel–funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.

While apparently not wanting to “get into the science debate,” Climate Litigation Watch says the science linking fossil fuel producers to climate change is “dubious” — a position at odds with every major scientific academy on the planet.

So, who are these characters behind the GAO and its sole project, Climate Litigation Watch?

Tags: Christopher HornerMike Pencematthew hardinGovernment Accountability & OversightDavid Schnarecompetitive enterprise institute
Categories: News

Brexit Pushing Ireland Towards US Fracked Gas, Putting Climate Commitments at Risk

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 10:00
LNG carrier

Environmental groups have united in opposing a massive new terminal that would receive fracked gas from the US in a protected area on Ireland’s west coast. They fear the plan runs counter to Ireland’s newly agreed climate commitments and is contrary to the country’s decision to ban fracking.

The public consultation on the proposal closed yesterday.

Tags: Shannon Estuary LNG
Categories: News

Introducing Empire Oil: A DeSmog UK Special Investigation

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 23:05
African Oil Hub

The UK likes to brag about its credentials as a global climate leader. But a new DeSmog UK investigation reveals that beneath the green veneer lies some dirty business.

At the centre of it all is the City of London and its junior stock exchange, the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

DeSmog UK’s new three-part investigative series Empire Oil: London’s Dirty Secret, lifts the veil on a “boys' club” that generates wealth for The City from environmentally damaging activities in politically unstable regions.

Through detailed analysis of company activity and market data, it exposes how AIM’s “light touch” regulation and complex offshore company structures create an opaque corporate environment in which conflicts of interest have been shown to thrive.

Tags: Empire OilLondon Stock ExchangeAIM stock exchangeAIMLondon oil hub
Categories: News

On Rollbacks, Automakers Tell Trump 'Not So Fast,' Kochs Say 'Burn More Gas'

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 19:28
Trump and Pence meet with automaker industry leaders

It’s a classic case of be careful what you wish for. Automakers asked the Trump administration to weaken emissions and efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, and are now anxious about just how much the Trump administration actually plans to weaken the standards.

On Friday, May 12, heads of car companies visited the White House, to make the awkward request that Trump not actually give them what they asked for.

Tags: auto alliancemitch bainwolScott Pruittcafe standardsauto emissionsTrump Administration
Categories: News

Announcing The Narwhal, Canada's Independent Media Solution

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 16:34
The Narwhal

Congratulations to our long-time colleagues Emma Gilchrist and Carol Linnitt, who are launching The Narwhal today to continue to advance more constructive conversations about energy and environment issues that are critical to Canada's future.

Check out their new website at for top-quality independent news and analysis, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram if you don't already.

Tags: the narwhaldesmog canadaindependent mediaCarol LinnittEmma Gilchrist
Categories: News