Friday, January 20, 2017 - 10:22 • Steve Horn

Today, the peaceful transition of power took place, with President Barack Obama passing the White House baton over to President Donald Trump. 

Behind the glitz and glamor and pomp and circumstance came another key White House transition: the Trump White House has gotten rid of the climate change section of the White House website. The URL www.whitehouse.gov/energy/climate-change now takes those surfing the internet to a page which “could not be found.”

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 20:57 • Steve Horn
Rick Perry
Rick Perry

Compared to many other Senate confirmation hearings for potential Cabinet members, the hearing for U.S. Energy Secretary proved much faster and less rocky for nominee and former Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry. 

Perry's hearing lasted about three and a half hours and included only two rounds of questioning. That was far shorter than either Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's nearly six hour hearing for Environmental Protection Agency head, in which he faced four rounds of questions, or the eight and a half hour hearing for Secretary of State nominee and retired ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson. Before this hearing, Perry was on the record as an enthusiastic climate change denier who previously failed to come up with either the name or the functions of the agency he could soon run.

It seems unclear why Perry, a just-departed board member of Energy Transfer Partners — owner of the Dakota Access pipeline — skated through with far less turbulence than his peers. One potential explanation: some senators from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources found themselves busy with another task, besides questioning Perry, today. That is, they were in a rush to get to the “Leadership Luncheon” put on by the Trump Inaugural Committee, the latter funded by major corporate sponsors, including Chevron, J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and others. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 14:17 • Steve Horn
Rex Tillerson
Rex Tillerson

During his Secretary of State confirmation hearing, recently retired ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson came under questioning by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) about his stance on Saudi Arabia's awful human rights record, a country which contains the biggest oil reserves on the planet and is a long-time ally of the U.S.

While Tillerson offered mild criticism of Saudi Arabia's treatment of women, LGBQT people, and others, several Senators found his response far from full-throated and said as much. A DeSmog investigation shows that Exxon has long been involved in Saudi Arabia's oil and gas industry. Not only did the company, through its predecessor Standard Oil, help launch the industry there and co-owned the country's first major export pipeline, but to this day it maintains deep business ties with Saudi Arabia and the industry in a variety of sectors, both there and in the U.S.

Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 10:51 • Mike Gaworecki
Caricature of Rex Tillerson
Caricature of Rex Tillerson

Update 1/19/2017: Our Children's Trust, a legal NGO helping represent the youth case, posted that Rex Tillerson's deposition is being delayed while the case's lawyers meet to resolve a dispute.

Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, is set to be deposed today by lawyers for a group of 21 young plaintiffs, aged 9 to 20, who filed a lawsuit claiming the U.S. government failed to protect their rights to life, liberty, and property by not taking action to halt global warming.

The deposition comes just one day before Trump is to be inaugurated as U.S. president — and a little more than a week after a Massachusetts judge ruled that Exxon must hand over more than 40 years of its internal research on climate change, denying the oil giant’s request for a protective order that would have blocked Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's subpoenas.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - 11:54 • Ben Jervey and ...
Scott Pruitt
Scott Pruitt

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sat down before the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee for his confirmation hearing as a nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Senator John Barrasso, the Wyoming Republican who newly chairs the committee, opened the hearing with a number of compliments for Pruitt. Just after, the ranking Democrat, Tom Carper of Delaware, used his introductory remarks to say that he's never opposed an EPA nominee before, from either party, and strongly indicated that Pruitt wouldn't get his vote.

The rest of the more than three hour morning session proceeded in turn, with Republican members complimenting the attorney general and lobbing him softball questions, and the Democrats grilling him on his stance on climate science, his ties to the fossil fuel industry, and his perspective on what role the EPA has in actually, well, protecting the environment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 11:33 • Sharon Kelly an...
Ryan Zinke
Ryan Zinke

Rep. Ryan Zinke, Republican from Montana and President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to head the Department of the Interior, will appear before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for a confirmation hearing today.

If confirmed, Zinke, a former Navy SEAL turned politician, will head a federal agency whose actions will have major implications for the environment — and specifically for climate change.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 10:21 • Julie Dermansky
Keystone pipeline in Texas
Keystone pipeline in Texas

In the coming months, TransCanada will likely receive a green light to build the final leg of its Keystone pipeline network, which would carry Canadian tar sands to Gulf of Mexico refineries. President-elect Trump has said that, during his first 100 days in office, he will reverse President Obama’s decision to block the Keystone XL Pipeline.

If built, TransCanada maintains that the Keystone pipeline will be the safest pipeline ever built. But an ongoing DeSmog investigation into the Keystone network’s safety record continues to raise questions about the veracity of TransCanada’s claim.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 03:58 • Julie Dermansky
A woman holds a sign protesting the Bayou Bridge pipeline before a permit hearing in Louisiana
A woman holds a sign protesting the Bayou Bridge pipeline before a permit hearing in Louisiana

At a permit hearing for the Bayou Bridge pipeline held January 12 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, opponents warned that if a permit is granted, the battle to stop the pipeline could turn the Atchafalaya Basin into the next Standing Rock. 

The reason is that Energy Transfer Partners’ proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline, if built, isn't just any pipeline; it would be the tail end of the controversial Dakota Access route, cutting through the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun Country.

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 04:58 • Larry Buhl
Sections of the Trans-Pecos pipeline
Sections of the Trans-Pecos pipeline

Beneath the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, a 42-inch diameter pipeline will snake from Northern Pecos County to the U.S.-Mexico boundary near the border town of Presidio, Texas. There, the Trans-Pecos pipeline (TPP) will deliver natural gas derived by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) to Mexico.

The goal, as the consortium building it publicly states, is to “serve Mexico’s energy grid.” 

Yet that purpose has environmentalists and a coalition of Texans asking the following: Why was the consortium able to seize ranchlands in its path and avoid a stringent environmental review for a pipeline that critics claim offers more risks than benefits for the Lone Star State?

Monday, January 16, 2017 - 00:00 • Kyla Mandel
US-UK Climate Science Denier Network
US-UK Climate Science Denier Network

On Friday, 20 January, fossil fuel lobbyists and climate science deniers from both sides of the Atlantic will step out of the shadows and into the White House as Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

DeSmog UK has mapped this new US-UK climate science denier network, held together in large part by conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, to shed light on this growing group of influencers. 

Since November, the president-elect has been gathering his team together; the men that will form the top positions of influence and decision making within his government.

Rather than ‘draining the swamp’, Trump has chosen to surround himself with the same actors who have long been pushing climate misinformation and lobbying against environmental protection.

Front and centre are individuals linked to well known funders of climate science denial, the Kochs, the Mercers, and the Heritage Foundation. And as our new map shows, this isn’t limited to the United States.

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