But back to Greenpeace. As their report points out, the main culprit for rampant coal production is the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which leases out huge swaths of land to the coal industry. Greenpeace says this is occurring in defiance of Obama's Climate Action Plan and have called for a moratorium on leasing public land for coal extraction.
“[S]o far, the Bureau of Land Management and Interior Department have continued to ignore the carbon pollution from leasing publicly owned coal, and have failed to pursue meaningful reform of the program,” says the report.
“Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and others in the Obama administration should take the President’s call to climate action seriously, beginning with a moratorium and comprehensive review of the federal coal leasing program, including its role in fueling the climate crisis.”
In fact, Texas Governor Rick Perry, who once dismissed climate change as a “contrived phony mess that is falling apart,” led a group of Republican governors in blasting the EPA's regulation, which assigns states greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and mandates that they devise a plan for achieving those cuts.
The group sent a letter to President Obama decrying the regulations as bad for the economy. “This is such a dangerous overreach in terms of the potential threat to our economy,” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said.
The study… concluded that the regulation would cut demand for electricity from coal — the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution — but create robust new demand for natural gas, which has just half the carbon footprint of coal. It found that the demand for natural gas would, in turn, drive job creation, corporate revenue and government royalties in states that produce it, which, in addition to Oklahoma and Texas, include Arkansas and Louisiana.
States like Wyoming and Kentucky that have economies still largely dependent on coal production will certainly take a hit. But these are the growing pains of the emerging clean energy economy, and polls show not only that a “lopsided and bipartisan majority of Americans support federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions” but also that Americans are “willing to stomach a higher energy bill to pay for it.”
“As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, BOEM…today announced that the bureau will offer more than 21 million acres offshore Texas for oil and gas exploration and development in a lease sale that will include all available unleased areas in the Western Gulf of Mexico Planning Area,” proclaimed a July 17 BOEM press release.
“There was no opposition to the other three proposals only because we weren't aware they were in formal permitting,” he said
The same thing unfolded in Albany, N.Y., where there is an ongoing battle over expansion of the major oil-by-rail facility set to process tar sands crude sent by rail from Alberta. The initial permits for the oil rail transfer facility, which would allow two companies to bring in billions of gallons of oil a year, were approved with no public comment.
One of highest hopes that environmentally-minded Americans had for President Obama when he first entered office was that he would finally put an end to the secrecy that marred the former Bush administration when it came to environmental policy.
Sadly, those hopes for a policy change were dashed before the end of Obama’s first year. He talked a big game on the campaign trail, but when it came to acting on those promises, that rhetoric proved to be just as hollow as his predecessor’s.
Recently, a federal judge expanded a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that was filed against the Small Business Administration (SBA), which claims that officials within the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has been working to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) power plant pollution standards. The administration has been dragging its feet in providing the information requested, even after the court ruling, which has led environmental groups to file a complaint against the White House.
At issue is the EPA’s failure to update standards for existing power plants as required by the Clean Air Act — a move that the U.S. Supreme Court had previously said was required of the agency. The current rules have not been updated since 1982, and environmental groups say that the lack of updating is due to influence from the White House itself.
Shannon Rainey lives in a house that was built on top of a Superfund site in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
“I bought my house when I was 25, and thirty years later, I still can't get out,” she told DeSmogBlog.
Rainey’s home in Gordon Plaza is part of a subdivision developed by the city in 1981 on top of the Agriculture Street landfill. No one disclosed to the buyers that their new homes were built on top of a dump that was closed in 1965.
Rainey has a view of two other city-owned properties also built on the landfill: the shuttered Morton Elementary School and Press Park, an abandoned housing project developed by the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO).
“If it were white folks back here, this would be all gone,” Rainey says bluntly.
Heather Zichal, former Obama White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, may soon walk out of the government-industry revolving door to become a member of the board of directors for fracked gas exports giant Cheniere, who nominated her to serve on the board.
The class-action lawsuit was filed by plaintiff and stockholder James B. Jones, who alleges the board gave stock awards to CEOCharif Souki in defiance of both a stockholders' vote and the company's by-laws.
Among the audit committee duties: “Prepare and review the audit committee report for inclusion in the proxy statement for the company's annual meeting of stockholders,” which is now set for September 11 after the push-back following the filing of the stockholder class-action lawsuit.
“The audit committee’s responsibility is oversight, and it recognizes that the company’s management is responsible for preparing the company’s financial statements and complying with applicable laws and regulations,” Cheniere's audit committee charter further explains.
“[President Barack] Obama’s administration is changing the game,” Steven Faraher-Amidon said during a question period.
Faraher-Amidon also told the meeting that five schools in Delta and Surrey are within 700 metres of the contentious Fraser Surrey Docks coal handling proposal while medical studies in the U.S. have found that living within five kilometres of coal dust and diesel particulates presents significant health risks. A former Port Metro Vancouver environmental impact assessment that looked at the Fraser Surrey Docks terminal was criticized for being limited in scope and failing to adequately address public health concerns.
The 64-year-old retired Surrey teacher added a proper health impact assessment needs to be done before the Fraser Surrey Docks coal facility — which could eventually handle eight million tonnes annually — can be approved.
It has been less than a week since the EPA announced new rules for carbon emissions — rules that are being heralded as the most comprehensive effort to tackle climate change by any sitting U.S. president — but big business groups have been spreading misinformation about these new rules for weeks.
Leading the charge against the administration’s proposals is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the largest business interest group in the country, and arguably the most well-funded.
Just days before the new rules that will limit the amount of carbon that existing power plants can release were made public, the Chamber released a report predicting that any form of carbon regulation would result in economic chaos for the United States. And this all happened before the Chamber even know what the rules would actually say.
Their study determined that it would cost American industry $28.1 billion annually to comply with EPA’s new regulations, that as many as 224,000 jobs would be lost between now and 2030, that the economy would average $50.2 billion lower a year, that Americans would cumulatively pay $289 billion more for electricity over that period, and that they’d lose $586 billion in disposable income.
The U.S. Chamber is attempting to strike at the heart of American fears that it will cost them dearly. Whether it is their job or their hard-earned money, the Chamber wants Americans to be afraid of losing everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve in life.
On Friday May 30, just a few days before the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency announced details of its carbon rule proposal, the Obama Administration awarded offshore oil leases to ExxonMobil in an area of the Gulf of Mexico potentially containing over 172 million barrels of oil.
The U.S. Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proclaimed in a May 30 press release that the ExxonMobil offshore oil lease is part of “President Obama’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to continue to expand safe and responsible domestic energy production.”
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.