Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 19:19 • Steve Horn

At a February 21 hearing, a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the Trump administration must either fork over documents showing how the U.S. Department of State reversed an earlier decision and ultimately came to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or else provide a substantial legal reason for continuing to withhold them. The federal government has an order to deliver the goods, one way or the other, by March 21.

DeSmog has reviewed the court evidence from the environmental groups bringing the case, records which help illuminate their argument that the government is, in fact, withholding such documents. The judge will decide if those documents, legally, should be made public.

Friday, February 23, 2018 - 12:58 • Guest

By Dave AndersonCrossposted from Energy and Policy Institute

Emails sent and received by Travis Fisher, an outgoing senior Trump administration official at the Department of Energy, shed light on a murky anti-clean energy network with ties to the fossil fuel industry that operates in the Midwest and nationally.

The emails were obtained by the Energy and Policy Institute via a series of public records requests to Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz and other state legislators involved in campaigns to roll back Ohio’s renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, as well as bail out failing coal and nuclear power plants.

Friday, February 23, 2018 - 07:36 • Guest

A trans-Atlantic network of Conservative and Libertarian think tanks were caught creating ‘shadow trade deals’ which deregulate in favour of food and drug lobbies during Brexit. In this investigation for Insurge and Real Media, Kam Sandhu exposes the long history of this trans-Atlantic network, and its efforts to drag us towards corporate freedom at the expense of public safety since the birth of neoliberalism.

'I’m sure you all know the story of how you came to be here’, Brexiteer and Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan addressed a packed room at the Capitale, New York on November 8 as he delivered the Toast to Freedom for the Atlas Network:

Gallus Gallus Domesticus….the chicken should be the symbol of the global freedom movement.’

Surrounded by a room full of ‘freedom champions’, Hannan used his speech to attack EU regulations which prevent US food staples such as chlorinated chicken, hormone fed beef and Genetically Modified (GM) foods from sale to the UK.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 03:57 • Steve Horn

On the heels of Iowa and Ohio, Wyoming has become the third state to introduce a bill criminalizing the type of activities undertaken by past oil and gas pipeline protesters. 

One of the Wyoming bill's co-sponsors even says it was inspired by the protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access pipeline, and a sheriff involved in policing those protests testified in support of the bill at a recent hearing. Wyoming's bill is essentially a copy-paste version of template legislation produced by the conservative, corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 06:28 • Guest

by David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report

Oil giant ExxonMobil is engaged in unprecedented efforts to sue and harass in court the very people who are investigating and suing the company over global warming. Faced with determined efforts by states and localities to hold it and other fossil fuel companies accountable for contributing to, and concealing the evidence of, climate change, Exxon is crying foul, contending that it’s the victim of politically- and financially-motivated conspiracies.

But in reality there are no improper schemes behind the cases against Exxon. Instead, what’s troubling is an apparent effort by Exxon, one of the world’s wealthiest corporations, and its powerhouse corporate lawyers, to avoid a courtroom reckoning by making specious legal arguments and outspending their foes in the legal arena.

Monday, February 19, 2018 - 07:22 • Chloe Farand

The UK’s main climate science denier thinktank has seen its income from membership fees double over the last year, its latest accounts show.

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has consistently argued against the climate science consensus and was set-up by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson to combat what it describes as “extremely damaging and harmful policies” designed to mitigate climate change.

GWPF’s latest accounts published on Companies House last week show a rise in the income generated from membership fees from £5,479 in 2016 to £11,937 in 2017.

Donations were also reported to have increased from £257,044 in 2016 to £284,141 last year — raising the foundation’s total funds to £743,959.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 05:36 • Justin Mikulka

Sabine Pass, for now the only liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in the country, has reportedly been experiencing safety issues for the past decade, and yet federal safety officials were only informed of this history while investigating the terminal's latest leak in January. Owned by Cheniere Energy, Sabine Pass is located on the Gulf Coast on the border of Texas and Louisiana.

Sunday, February 18, 2018 - 05:02 • Justin Mikulka

A new technology has the potential to transform the transportation of tars sands oil. Right now, the already thick and slow-flowing oil, known as bitumen, has to be diluted with a super-light petroleum product, usually natural gas condensate, in order for it to flow through a pipeline or into a rail tank car. 

However, scientists at the University of Calgary's Schulich School of Engineering inadvertently found a way to make tar sands oil even more viscous, turning it into “self-sealing pellets” that could potentially simplify its transport.

Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 07:10 • Guest
By Simon Chapman, University of Sydney

People who oppose wind farms often claim wind turbine blades kill large numbers of birds, often referring to them as “bird choppers”. And claims of dangers to iconic or rare birds, especially raptors, have attracted a lot of attention.

Wind turbine blades do indeed kill birds and bats, but their contribution to total bird deaths is extremely low, as these three studies show.

Friday, February 16, 2018 - 03:03 • Steve Horn

On Friday, February 9, Lissa Lucas — a Democratic Party candidate for West Virginia's House of Delegates — was forcibly removed from a Senate hearing for calling out how many thousands of dollars legislators backing a pro-oil and gas industry bill have received from that very industry.

The video of Lucas's public comment and removal has gone viral and served as a launching pad for her campaign, which has raised more than $46,000 since the incident. Previously, she had raised just over $4,000. Coincidentally, Lucas supports a publicly funded campaign finance system. 

The bill (HB 4268) she opposed, however, has passed in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

That law, “forced pooling” legislation which makes it easier for the oil and gas industry to obtain mineral rights from private landowners as a precursor to drilling, has the support of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. It enables oil and gas companies to perform more hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) on private land in the state by mandating that, rather than securing land lease contracts from all landowners, companies only need 75 percent of those living in an area to sign leases and are granted the remaining 25 percent by default.

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