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Wed, 2011-07-13 12:09Farron Cousins
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ALEC Exposed: Center For Media and Democracy Details ALEC's Industry-Friendly Legislation Machine

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has launched a new website, ALECExposed.org, to help consumers understand more about the secretive business group that is helping craft industry-friendly legislation. CMD has obtained more than 800 model bills that were crafted by ALEC for state governments across the country. From a CMD press release:

At an extravagant hotel gilded just before the Great Depression, corporate executives from the tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, State Farm Insurance, and other corporations were joined by their “task force” co-chairs – all Republican state legislators – to approve “model” legislation. They jointly head task forces of what is called the “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC).

There, as the Center for Media and Democracy has learned, these corporate-politician committees secretly voted on bills to rewrite numerous state laws. According to the documents we have posted to ALEC Exposed, corporations vote as equals with elected politicians on these bills. These task forces target legal rules that reach into almost every area of American life: worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, taxes, health care, immigration, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.

The Center obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by companies through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. Those bills, which the Center has analyzed and marked-up, are now available at ALEC Exposed.

Sun, 2011-07-03 22:08Emma Pullman
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Creator of the Valdez Catastrophe, ExxonMobil, Tries to Downplay Yellowstone Spill

The ExxonMobil pipeline that runs under the Yellowstone River in Laurel, Montana ruptured late Friday night, leaking 1,000 barrels of oil into the river. ExxonMobil estimates that approximately 160,000 litres of oil seeped into the river, one of the principal tributaries of the upper Missouri River. 

The spill has forced hudreds of evacuations, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that only a small fraction of the spilled oil is likely to be recovered. Its unclear how far the damage will extend along the river, but fishing and farming are likely to be impacted. 

Record rainfall in the last month has caused widespread flooding, and compromised spill cleanup efforts. While residents wait impatiently for the arrival of Exxon cleanup crews (who are only now arriving on site), Exxon is engaging in image control by trying to convince people that the spill is not as bad as it seems.

Wed, 2011-06-01 22:44TJ Scolnick
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ExxonMobil Drilling Plan Threatens Drinking Water In Delaware River Basin

The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) held a public hearing today to review a proposal from ExxonMobil subsidiary XTO Energy to remove massive amounts of water from the Delaware River Basin for unconventional gas exploration.

The dirty energy giant is hoping to withdraw up to 250,000 gallons per day of surface water from Oquaga Creek near the Farnham Road bridge crossing on Route 41 in Sanford, New York. Roughly 300 residents showed up to comment on the proposal, which has stirred public anger and concern over the potential impacts on the local environment and water supplies.
 
The Exxon subsidiary’s draft docket stipulates that the surface water will be used for unconventional gas drilling via hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. fracking). XTO says the clean water will be used to mix cement and create a “drilling mud/fluid” cocktail. No waste problem, of course.

Beneath the Exxon PR spin, the true costs of withdrawing a quarter million gallons of water per day are estimated at around $17,700 - just for a tiny patch of land.

Consider the fact that the fracking rush is exacting these very same direct costs on many North Americans.

Sat, 2011-04-30 13:12Farron Cousins
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Business Groups Lobby EPA to Drop Gas Emission Standards

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has only been regulating greenhouse gas emissions for four months, but business groups are already tired of the increased oversight. According to new reports, some of the largest business groups in America are fighting back, urging the President and Congress to strip the EPA of its new authority.

Wed, 2011-02-09 14:39TJ Scolnick
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The Koch-Exxon-Skeptic Argument Went Up In Smoke On Eve Of Upton's Show Trial

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its authority to regulate global warming pollution went through its first shakedown today before the Koch Industries and ExxonMobil funded [pdf] House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Energy and Power Subcommittee.

The show trial was a chance for the Kochtopus, fossil fuel interests, and global warming skeptics (including Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) who announced he is releasing a denialist book) to cry foul that industry is being victimized and that global warming is not a threat, and does not pose any risks to the health and well-being of Americans, and the planet.

But Chairman Fred Upton’s (R-MI) and co-author Sen. Inhofe’s polluter-friendly bill, “The Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011” (see memo [pdf]) had to contend with the “bombshell” revelations released late on the eve before the meeting. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the Committee, posted a particularly relevant January 2008 letter [pdf] from former EPA Administrator Steven L. Johnson to then President George W. Bush.

Sat, 2011-01-22 10:41Richard Littlemore
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Exxon Emission Projections: Up, Up and Away

In a report that is bullish for the oil industry and horrifying for the people of the planet, the Guardian reports that  Exxon predicts carbon dioxide emissions to rise by 25 per cent over the next 20 years.

“According to the company’s annual Outlook for Energy report – due to be published in the next few weeks – demand for power will increase by nearly 40% in the next 20 years, lifting emissions by around 0.9% a year at least until 2030.”

Which is to say that all the optimistic (!?) international predictions of anthropogenic CO2 emissions levelling off anytime soon are a fiction. Exxon, apparently, is paying attention to the pathetic efforts that world governments are making to rein in increases (and paying a fortune to ensure that platitudes outpace policy for as long as possible).

Wed, 2010-10-20 12:04Emma Pullman
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Big Oil Goes to College: Report Explores the Corporate Control of University Energy Research

The Center for American Progress released a comprehensive analysis and independent expert review examining the implications of the confirmed $833 million in corporate funding from Big Oil to energy research at universities over the last decade. The report examines 10 recent university-industry agreements involving as many as 43 companies, 13 leading universities, and two federal research labs. 

B
ig Oil Goes to College: An Analysis of 10 Research Collaboration Contracts between Leading Energy Companies and Major U.S. Universities explores the growing phenomenon of academic-corporate partnerships at universities, and the findings demonstrate why everyone ought to be concerned. As these partnerships are only likely to proliferate and expand, how universities manage knowledge for the public good - particularly research that has considerable ramifications for how we deal with the climate crisis - must be addressed.

Before Congress releases billions of dollars in federal funding for R&D of alternative and renewable energy and energy efficiency through these public-private partnerships, it should take a good look at the CAP report’s findings and recommendations.  

Fri, 2010-06-04 10:45Brendan DeMelle
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Christopher Monckton Brings His Brand of Crazy To Bonn Climate Talks

Climate deniers often like to talk about “global warming profiteers,” some mysterious breed led by Al Gore who, so the story goes, are out to make the big bucks off scaring people about climate change.  But if there’s anyone making money off lying about global warming these days, it is “Lord” Christopher Monckton, who continues his globetrotting tour to hawk confusion and misinformation at the Bonn climate talks this month. 

Monckton led a “delegation” (nice attempt to sound official) from the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (C-FACT), a conservative think tank that has received money from Exxon, Chevron, and the Scaife and Carthage foundations.

Monckton and the C-FACT gang held a “seminar” in Bonn “on the use of the internet to provide ordinary people with fact and opinions that have received scant attention by much of the mainstream media.”

Wed, 2010-06-02 12:47Brendan DeMelle
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Climate denial activists’ parallel to anti-relativity movement of 1920s

This is an excellent piece by friend of DeSmogBlog Joss Garman, cross-posted with permission from JossGarman.com:

“This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”

So wrote Albert Einstein in a letter to his one time collaborator, the mathematician Marcel Grossmann in 1920.

Jeroen van Dongen of the Institute for History and Foundations of Science at Utrecht University in Holland, writing in a recent edition of the journal, ‘Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics,’ describes the effectiveness of the movement that grew up to oppose Einstein’s theory. There are some striking parallels with today’s climate debate.

At a time when The Guardian just reported another poll showing a drop in concern about climate change, and a New York Times front page this week described Britons’ growing doubts about the science, its worth taking a look at that anti-science campaign, which was waged by Einstein’s critics because like today’s climate denial movement, the anti-relativity movement had some success too.

Wed, 2009-08-19 16:21Jim Hoggan
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Congress Should Expose or Outlaw Astroturfers

The venerable New York Times has reported the discovery of “More Fake Letters To Congress” by Bonner & Associates, the Astroturf specialists hired by Americans for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCE) to interfere with the vote on the Waxman-Markey bill.

As much as Bonner has tried to deny its involvement, the agency was clearly the source of forged letters, purporting to come from charitable organizations opposed to the climate bill. But then, Bonner’s record is well-recorded.

As William Greider described in his book, Who Will Tell the People, Bonner has operated a “boiler room” that featured “300 phone lines and a sophisticated computer system, resembling the phone banks employed in election campaigns. Articulate young people sit in little booths every day, dialing around America on a variety of public issues, searching for ‘white hat’ citizens who can be persuaded to endorse the political objectives of Mobil Oil, Dow Chemical, Citicorp, Ohio Bell, Miller Brewing, US Tobacco, the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association and dozens of other clients.”

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