It simply wouldn’t be an election year in the United States without the fictitious “war on coal” talking point rearing its ugly head. But something is different this year. In years past, the “war on coal” was admittedly fake, but today we really do have presidential candidates who have expressed interest in making the industry a thing of the past, and those quotes are being used as a catalyst to rally voters in coal-dependent states like West Virginia and Kentucky.
The biggest criticism lobbed at President Obama from the environmental movement is that he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. While he has always accepted that climate change is real and needs to be addressed, his proposals have always been countered by some sort of gift to the fossil fuel industry — leasing new lands for offshore drilling, expanding coal leases, increasing domestic oil exploration, lifting the crude oil export ban, etc.
So last November, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that she would do away with the coal industry if elected president, environmentally conscious voters applauded her actions. Her proposal was broad, ambitious, and would have made a serious impact on the amount of carbon that the United States was producing while at the same time protecting both the economy and the environment.
Jackson Dunn, a lobbyist employed by FTI Consulting subsidiary FTI Government Affairs and a top-level campaign finance bundler for Hillary Clinton's presidential run, lobbied throughout 2014 and 2015 for offshore drilling off the coast of Israel on behalf of Noble Energy.
The finding by DeSmog comes days after an irritated Clinton told an activist for Greenpeace USA, that she was “so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me” with regards to her coziness to lobbyists and fossil fuel campaign cash.
Dunn, according to his FTI biography, formerly worked for the Bill Clinton White House as the point man for the “business community’s support of President Clinton’s economic and trade agenda.”
A new study from Stanford has confirmed that fracking operations are contaminating drinking water sources in Wyoming.
“This is a wake-up call,” said lead author Dominic DiGiulio, a visiting scholar at Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences. “It's perfectly legal to inject stimulation fluids into underground drinking water resources. This may be causing widespread impacts on drinking water resources.”
Of course this comes soon after a Pennsylvania jury awarded $4.24 million to two families in Dimock, PA who sued Cabot Oil for contaminating their drinking water via fracking operations. And a new study that has found fracking — and not just frack waste injection — is causing earthquakes in Canada.
Reuters recently reported that Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy revealed that, “Methane emissions from existing sources in the oil and gas sector are substantially higher than we previously understood.”
So, it shouldn’t be too surprising that a new poll from Gallup finds that opposition to fracking among the American public has increased in the past year and now a majority of Americans oppose fracking.
We are now officially through half of the United States Presidential election primary and caucus season, and there are currently 5 contenders left in the Republican and Democratic parties vying for their party’s respective nomination. Delegate math shows that Governor John Kasich has no chance to become the Republican nominee, so we’re left with four real candidates to examine.
The differences between the candidates of the two major parties could not be greater. On the Democratic side, there are two candidates who proudly embrace science and agree that action on climate issues is sorely needed. On the Republican side, both of the remaining candidates reject the scientific consensus and instead argue that climate change is nothing more than a series of unfortunate weather events.
It is important to remember that acceptance of climate science is not necessarily limited to one political party. Recent polls show that majorities of voters within both the Democratic and Republican parties (as well as Independent voters) accept that climate change is real and that human activity is a contributing factor. The discrepancy between the desires of voters and the views of the candidates can best be seen in the contributions from the fossil fuel industry, which will be described in detail later.
As for the candidates remaining in the race, only Republican frontrunner Donald Trump lacks a record to verify his statements on climate change. But judging on his statements alone, he will not be a friend to the environment if he secures the nomination and subsequently wins the White House.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made their positions on fracking clear last weekend. Trump is all for it. Clinton too, but only if a list of conditions met. Sanders is against it.
Trump brought up fracking on Friday at a New Orleans campaign rally. “New York has been let down, they didn’t allow them to frack,” Trump said. “If they fracked in New York, New York would lower its taxes, would have no debt, would have made a fortune. Instead Pennsylvania took all their money.”
Praising Pennsylvania, Trump said, “They took those beautiful, beautiful natural resources. They took ‘em out.” He failed to mention hundreds of reports of water contaminated by the Pennsylvania fracking industry.
In 2009, the South African government announced a major energy plan to construct two new coal-fired power stations. The project, which aimed at building the world’s largest coal plants, came under intense criticism by various governments and climate activists, who saw it as a disastrous blow to the fight against climate change.
Yet newly released emails from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State, reveal that she acted in support of a World Bank loan for the construction of one of the plants.
Furthermore, a DeSmog investigation finds that the other plant, which received funding from a US government agency led by a close Clinton ally and fundraiser, is being built by an American construction firm tied to another associate of the former Secretary.
These actions seem contrary to Clinton’s tough campaign talk on curbing CO2 emissions and investing in renewable energy. They also raise new questions about Clinton's ties to the revolving door lobbying culture that connects major corporations to top officials in Washington, DC.
As the February 1 Iowa Caucuses loom, the Hawkeye State sits as the proverbial last man standing in the decision whether to grant pipeline giant Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) a permit for its Dakota Access pipeline.
Slated to carry upwards of 570,000 barrels per day of oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) from North Dakota's Bakken Shale basin, the pipeline would cut diagonally across Iowa. In recent weeks, ETP has obtained necessary permits from North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois.
Will the Hawkeye State say yes to the fossil fuel project, or play its part to #KeepItInTheGround and protect its prized agricultural lands from a spill?
Final exams and winter break loom large for students at Columbia University, but at the upper echelons of the university's administration, new calls for transparency about the funding of a university affiliated center are likely to create plenty of homework as well.
A letter sent out today and shared with DeSmog from several high-profile advocacy groups addressed to Columbia President Lee Bollinger calls for Columbia to reveal the funders of the influential — and to-date, dark-money funded — Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP).
The letter was signed by groups ranging from Public Citizen, ForestEthics, Bold Nebraska, Environmental Working Group, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and the Checks and Balances Project.
In the run-up to the 2012 U.S. Presidential elections, the “war on coal” talking point was used incessantly by the Republican Party. It wasn’t until nearly a year after those elections that the coal industry publicly admitted that the war on coal never existed in the first place, but that hasn’t stopped politicians from using that phrase when they want to attack the EPA or plans to limit U.S. carbon emissions.
The argument, according to the politicians who carry water for the coal industry, is that reducing carbon emissions will lead to a reduction in coal industry jobs, thus harming the U.S. economy. While reports show that the EPA’s carbon emissions rules will actually create more jobs than would be lost, the claim is still used to strike fear into the hearts of the people who depend on those dangerous jobs for their livelihood.
So how can you fight a battle that doesn’t exist while simultaneously easing the fears of American workers? Hillary Clinton has the answer.