“Flaring in North Dakota hit 36% in December, a new record,” Logan told the subcommittee. “This means that more than 1/3 of all natural gas produced in the state is going up in smoke, at the same time as consumers around the country are seeing price spikes from natural gas in this cold winter, along with actual shortages of propane in many places.”
Logan also said that wasteful flaring is also a growing quagmire in Texas, which has seen a 10-fold increase in flaring permits since 2010.
At least one influential Subcommittee member has taken notice.
Ranking members of the House Committees on Natural Resources and on Energy and Climate released a joint report earlier this week that traces the imprints of climate change on recent extreme weather patterns.
With Going to Extremes: Climate Change and the Increasing Risk of Weather Disasters (pdf), Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) continue to forge ahead in their roles as the most outspoken and honest members of the House when it comes to climate change. Unfortunately, they stand alone even in the critical committees on which they sit: the report includes a front page disclaimer that it “has not been officially adopted by the Committee on Natural Resources or the Committee on Energy and Commerce and may not necessarily reflect the views of its Members.”
“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level. The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.”
It then proceeds to catalog the worst of the devastating weather trends of late, connecting the dots between these impacts and the greenhouse effect.
For those who missed the deep investigative piece published by InsideClimate News last week documenting a half-century of Koch Industries involvement in the destructive tar sands of Alberta, Canada, it has finally closed the coffin on a vicious round of lies straight from Koch Industries.
Through its aggressive KochFacts PR website, Koch lawyers, lobbyists and communications advisors hammered InsideClimate for its initial reports on the Koch connection to tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline, specifically attacking the outlet's publisher and calling the reporting “deceptive,” “untrue” and “utterly false,” among other claims that, ironically, are deceptive, untrue and utterly false.
A major indicator of InsideClimate's diligence is the response from KochFacts this time around, which mentions nothing of InsideClimate's damning new documentation of ongoing Koch operations in the tar sands, including the following points from the article:
• The company is one Canada's largest crude oil purchasers, shippers and exporters, with more than 130 crude oil customers.
• It is among the largest U.S. refiners of oil sands crude, responsible for about 25 percent of imports.
• It is one of the largest holders of mineral leases in Alberta, where most of Canada's tar sands deposits are located.
Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have gained a new ally in the fight to prevent this disastrous oil boondoggle from moving forward: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D–NV).
Earlier this month, Sen. Reid sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to abandon the pipeline and instead focus on renewable energy. The Washington Post provided an excerpt of Reid’s letter to Clinton:
The proponents of this pipeline would be wiser to invest instead in job-creating clean energy projects, like renewable power, energy efficiency or advanced vehicles and fuels that would employ thousands of people in the United States rather than increasing our dependency on unsustainable supplies of dirty and polluting oil that could easily be exported.
This is the first time that Reid has publicly addressed the Keystone XL issue, and that signals a very powerful friend to the opponents of the pipeline. Already, some labor unions and Democratic lawmakers have thrown their support in favor of the pipeline, maintaining that the project would create much-needed jobs, despite evidence to the contrary.
The fact that Reid chose to single out Clinton on the issue shows that he is paying attention to the issue very closely. DeSmogBlog has put together some excellent pieces detailing Clinton’s ties to the lobbyists pushing the pipeline.
The Senate and House have cast important votes to determine the future of carbon emissions regulations in the U.S. Thankfully the news is good.
Advocates for strong action on climate change and the nearly 3/4 Americans who believe the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should protect public health, are celebrating an important victory. Yesterday the Senate rejected multiple proposals to end the EPA climate authority. Now climate deniers and big polluters (including the Koch brothers) are mourning a significant defeat and blow to their dirty energy agenda.
Notably, four amendments to small business legislation, entirely for the purpose of limiting the EPA’s role in regulating carbon emissions, were defeated. Three were from Democrats, mainly Max Baucus (MT), Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Jay Rockefeller (WV), whose amendment to halt EPA use of the Clean Air Act for two years fell 88-12. The final blow (or fail) for polluter-friendly legislators came when Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) proposed an amendment to exempt power plants, refineries and other carbon polluters from oversight. His amendment was a precursor to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) and House colleague Fred Upton’s (R-MI) bill to end the EPA’s power to protect public health and the environment from the effects of climate change, known as H.R. 910 the “Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011”. Needing 60 votes to pass and securing only 50 votes in support.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), a senior member of Congress and chair of the powerful Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce has penned a public letter to the Secretary of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, in which he states strong opposition to a planned oil pipeline that would transport Canada’s controversial tar sands oil to the US Gulf Coast.
In the letter Waxman writes:
The State Department’s decision on whether to permit this pipeline represents a critical choice about America’s energy future.
This pipeline is a multi-billion dollar investment to expand our reliance on the dirtiest source of transportation fuel currently available. While I strongly support the President’s efforts to move America to a clean energy economy, I am concerned that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a step in the wrong direction. (hftsuuuttt)
Is 2009 the year of climate and energy legislation?
It is if you believe Speaker Nancy Pelosi who called the passage of such legislation “an inevitability” on a conference call this morning regarding a discussion draft (pdf) of The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) released today by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA).
Pelosi promised to support a process that would help “remove misconceptions”, i.e. combat big oil’s PR campaign against any meaningful cap on emissions, and at the same time, promising that legislation “won’t go as slow as the slowest ship”, i.e. Congress won’t wait around for Republicans like John Shimkus (R-IL) who absurdly claim that limiting CO2 will kills plants, to get on board.
The draft legislation could also be called a jobs bill, an economic stimulus package, an energy independence act and a public health bill. Brad Johnson over at the Wonk Room calls it Green Economy legislation, pointing out that investments in renewable energy will help restore American economic leadership at a time when only 6 of the top 30 solar firms globally are U.S. companies.
“The only way to grow the economy is to invest in new technologies and create new green jobs,” Speaker Pelosi said this morning, repeating President Obama’s refrain. One might also add that the only way to save the economy is to stop climate change, which will cost us untold trillions in mitigation, adaptation, health and security costs if it continues unchecked. Perhaps it’s time to call out those opposing clean energy and emissions reductions (and lying about the costs, too) as anti-growth, weak on security and actively working against maintaining public health.
There’s no doubt that it’s new day for climate policy in the United States with Representative Henry Waxman, a leading champion in Congress of laws to protect the environment and fight global warming, beating out Dingell who spent the last two years more interested in boosting the Big Auto lobby and fighting against higher fuel economy standards for cars.
The question for me is whether we will now see a sequel to the “Waxman Hearings” on Big Oil, like the ones he held on Big Tobacco.
Just got word that Rep. Henry Waxman has won the nod to head the Energy and Commerce Committee over Rep. John Dingell 137 to 122 in votes.
This is a new day for climate policy in the United States, Waxman is a leading champion in Congress of laws to protect the environment and fight global warming, while Dingell spent the last two years more interested in boosting the Big Auto lobby and fighting against higher fuel economy standards for cars.
Waxman is also well known the “Waxman Hearings” that took on the tobacco industry over their massive efforts in the 80’s and 90’s to fight and confuse the science around tobacco use and cancer rates.
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.