Exclusive: Koch Industries Lobbying Europe on Environment, Energy, and Free Trade

Koch Industries, the largest privately owned energy company in the United States, is lobbying European policymakers on the environment, energy markets and EU free trade agreement negotiations, according to the recently updated Transparency Register set up by the European Commission.

The company, known for funding climate denial groups, has declared on the voluntary Register that it has spent between €200,000 and €299,999 ($223,634–$335,449 or £142,464–£213,695) on its European lobby efforts in 2014. This is similar to the amount declared for 2013 (€200,000–€250,000) and more than that declared in 2012 (€150,000–€200,000), which was the first year for which the Kochs entered data into the EU registry.

As the Transparency Register shows, the main focus for Koch lobbying in Europe last year relates to “all initiatives on the areas of environmental protection, trade and internal market, such as the recast of the fertilizer regulation, REACH [the EU's regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals], and EU’s free trade agreement negotiations.”

Discover The Hidden Oil Wells of Los Angeles

Big Oil will stop at nothing to pump every last drop of oil out of the ground, from paying scientists to say that oil spills, fracking and other routine matters of oil development projects aren’t harmful to the environment or human health, to deliberately poisoning the debate about how best to rein in climate change and bribing politicians to weaken environmental standards and other regulatory hurdles.

But this is still somehow shocking: An oil well on a high school campus? Outside a mall? At a farmer’s market?

Have You Read Rolling Stone's Coverage On High Rate of Stillbirths in Frack-Heavy Vernal, Utah?

Uintah basin gas field
Rolling Stone magazine published a comprehensive exposé on June 22 about the continuing high rate of stillborn and neonatal deaths occurring in drilling-heavy Vernal, Utah. The excellent article is titled “What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah? A fracking boomtown, a spike in stillborn deaths and a gusher of unanswered questions.” 
 
DeSmogBlog first published information about this spike in neonatal deaths in a May 16, 2014 article about Donna Young, the Vernal midwife who first brought the problem to the attention of Utah public health officials.

Defra Fracking Report ‘Vindicates’ Lancashire Vote to Reject Cuadrilla Planning Applications

Revelations that shale gas extraction could lower property values, increase insurance costs, and damage the environment – according to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) report – have served to reinforce the Lancashire County Council’s decision to reject Cuadrilla’s planning application at Preston New Road.

The fracking report was released this week following a lengthy battle and appeal by Greenpeace to the Information Commissioner which ruled at the end of June that Defra must release the report in full. On Wednesday evening ministers complied with the order and quietly sneaked the report out, two days after the Lancashire vote refusing fracking in the area.

This report gives the lie to the shale lobby and ministers’ claim that there’s no evidence of negative impacts for fracking whilst questioning many of the arguments made in favour of it,” said Daisy Sands, Greenpeace UK energy and climate campaigner. “It’s a complete vindication of Lancashire County Council’s decision to reject Cuadrilla’s bid to frack in the region, and provides other councils with compelling reasons to do the same.”

A Bad Week For Coal Mining Industry, Even Worse for Peabody Energy

It's been a really bad week for major U.S. coal companies as we head into the July 4th holiday weekend. 

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) closed today at $1.87 a share, down from a high of $84 per share in mid-2008. The company's chief financial officer Michael C. Crews resigned abruptly on June 28 amidst the freefall.

Another major U.S. coal company, Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) hit a new all-time low yesterday at just 27 cents per share, and sank as low as 24 cents that morning.

Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) also hit its all-time low of 33 cents per share as well, down from its all-time high of $73.42 in 2008.

All three companies' 
stock values are down roughly 80% from the beginning of 2015.

California Regulators Find Several “Significant And Unavoidable Impacts” Of Fracking, Approve Nine Offshore Frack Jobs Anyway

California regulators released a final environmental review yesterday that found fracking has “significant and unavoidable impacts” — less than a week after they approved nine new offshore frack jobs.

The state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) released its final report on the environmental impacts of extreme oil extraction techniques like fracking and acidization, and found multiple impacts to air quality, public safety and the climate that “cannot be mitigated.”

Thomas Donohue Sells US Chamber Of Commerce To Big Tobacco

The US Chamber of Commerce's fossil-friendly climate policies have driven away members, but like many think tanks, the Chamber has also helped Big Tobacco in its efforts to stay in business, i.e., by addicting adolescents.

The New York TImes' U.S. Chamber of Commerce Works Globally to Fight Antismoking Measures  and U.S. Chamber Fights Smoking Laws While Hospitals and Insurers Sit on Its Board exposed the Chamber's worldwide tobacco promotion efforts, featuring its President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue.

Remember When Lord Lawson Brought Climate Denial to the House of Lords?

Lord Lawson would command the admiration and gratitude of the sceptic cause when he raised the economics of climate change in the House of Lords. DeSmog UK’s epic history series continues.

Lord Nigel Lawson delivered the coup de grâce in June 2005 when he persuaded his fellow peers on the economic affairs committee of the House of Lords to examine the economics of climate change.

As a committee member, Lawson persuaded the House of Lords to launch a powerful and high profile Parliamentary inquiry examining allegations that the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had based its analysis on poor statistics and economics.

Hillary Clinton State Department Emails Contain Redacted Job Description for Top Energy Diplomat

The U.S. State Department released a batch of 3,000 searchable documents formerly stored on the private hard drive and in a private email account of Democratic Party presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Among them: a fully redacted job description for State Department International Energy Coordinator/Diplomat-At-Large.

David Goldwyn — now a fellow at the Atlantic Council, fellow at the Brookings Institution and head of Goldwyn Global Strategies — would eventually come to assume that role as head of the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources, a Bureau that premiered under the watch of then-Secretary Clinton.

Groups Encourage Transparency, Ask Obama For Honesty About Corporate Spending

The Sierra Club sent a letter to President Obama this week, urging the President to make good on his promise of increasing transparency in Washington. Specifically, the environmental group wants the administration to be forthright about the political spending of mega-polluters and their government contracts.

Pages