National Journal

Brother of Hillary Clinton's Top Campaign Aide Lobbied for Fracked Gas Export Terminal Co-Owned by Qatar

Anthony “Tony” Podesta began lobbying in late 2013 on behalf of a company co-owned by ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum aiming to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the global market. Tony is the brother of John Podesta, former top climate change adviser to President Barack Obama and current top campaign aide for Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid for president

In October 2012, Podesta Group began lobbying on behalf of the proposed ExxonMobil-Qatar Petroleum Golden Pass LNG facility in Sabine Pass, Texas, according to lobbying disclosure forms. The forms indicate that Tony Podesta himself, not just his staff, lobbied on behalf of the terminal beginning in quarter four of 2013.

Fracking Lobby ANGA's Tax Forms: Big Bucks to Media Outlets, "Other ALECs"

America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) - the public relations arm of the oil and gas fracking industry - has released its 2012 Internal Revenue Services (IRS) 990 form, and it's rich with eye-opening revelations, some of which we report here for the first time. 

Incorporated as American Natural Gas Alliance, Inc., ANGA received $76.7 million from its dues-paying members for fiscal year 2012. Not strictly a lobbying force alone at the state-level and federal-level, ANGA has pumped millions of dollars into public relations and advertising efforts around the country and hundreds of thousands more into other influence-peddling avenues. 

The Nation Magazine's Lee Fang revealed in a recent piece that ANGA gave $1 million in funding to “Truthland,” a pro-fracking film released to fend off Josh Fox's “Gasland: Part II.”

On its website, “Truthland” says it is a project of both industry front group Energy in Depth and the trade association, Independent Petroleum Association of America. The “Truthland” website was originally registered in Chesapeake Energy's office, Little Sis revealed.

Fang also revealed ANGA gave $25,000 to “ASGK Strategies, a political consulting firm founded by White House advisor David Axelrod,” as well as “$864,673 to Edventures Partners, an education curriculum company that has partnered with ANGA to produce classroom materials that promote the use of natural gas.”

Demise of Keystone XL Means More Bakken Shale Gas Flaring

Damned if we do, damned if we don't - this is the CliffsNotes version of the ongoing Keystone XL pipeline debate. President Barack Obama recently halted TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline project, which would bring tar sands crude, or dilluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from Alberta through the heart of the U.S., to Gulf Coast refineries near Port Arthur, Texas, where the oil would then be exported to the global market.

Most environmental organizations declared victory and suggest the Keystone XL pipeline is dead. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) recently told The Hill he may attempt to rope the pipeline into the next payroll tax extension. Furthermore, a recent Congressional Research Services (CRSpaper said that under a little-used Consitutional clause, the two chambers of Congress, rather than the White House, could have the final say on the pipeline's ultimate destiny. CRS explained, 

[I]f Congress chose to assert its authority in the area of border crossing facilities, this would likely be considered within its Constitutionally enumerated authority to regulate foreign commerce.

Because the pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canada border, many thought that the U.S. State Department, and by extension the White House, had the final say in the manner. This may no longer be true.

On the other hand, even if the Keystone XL becomes a “pipe dream,” the grass isn't necessarily greener on the other side.

Mainstream Media Fail to Cover Story on True Costs of Coal

Yesterday, ​Media Matters​ reported in a story titled, “Media Ignore Study On Real Price Of Coal-Fired Power,” that since the release of a ground-breaking report by the American Economic Review, titled “Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy,” not a single mainstream media outlet has echoed the findings of the report – not a single one.

Wrote ​Media Matters,

A study published in the prestigious journal American Economic Review estimates that the costs imposed on society by air pollution from coal-fired power plants are greater than the value added to the economy by the industry. The study concluded that coal may be 'underregulated' since the price we pay for coal-fired power doesn't account for its costs.

According to a Nexis search, not a single major newspaper or television network has covered the study. By contrast, an industry-funded report on the cost of EPA regulations of these air pollutants has received considerable media attention.

By contrast, the mainstream media have flocked like vultures to an American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) “study,” reporting it as gospel, even though ACCCE is merely a coal industry front group. That “study” concluded that two Clean Air rules would result in the loss of 1.4 million job-years by 2020 and increase electricity rates by over 23 percent in some areas.

Only 13 per cent of Republicans believe humans cause global warming in new poll

Despite last week’s UN report attributing some 90 per cent of global warming to human activity, the latest “Congressional Insiders Poll” of 113 members of Congress has found a sharp decline in the percentage of Republicans who believe it.

Big Oil Has Big Bucks for Image War

The PR blog Potomac Flacks reports that the American Petroleum Institute (API) is planning a $100-million “image and education effort” to counteract the change in policy direction that the fossil industry (sorry, fossil fuel industry) acticipates from the new Democratically dominated Congress.

Quoting a very short piece in the National Journal, PFlacks reports that the campaign “much of which will be coordinated by the PR firm Edelman, will include expensive television, radio, and print ads, tours of oil patch facilities for lawmakers and opinion elites, and financial contributions to sympathetic think tanks and industry-friendly organizations.

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