Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 13:45 • Itai Vardi

A recent intensification in protests against Williams Partners’ planned Atlantic Sunrise pipeline in Pennsylvania prompted a state senator to propose legislation aimed at limiting demonstrations.

Last month, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Scott Martin announced his intention to introduce legislation that would pass the costs of law enforcement responding to protests onto the demonstrators. Martin also helped introduce a different bill that would criminalize protests at natural gas facilities. 

A DeSmog investigation has found, however, that Martin is intimately tied to an obscure group of lobbyists recently hired by Williams Partners.

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 07:59 • John Mashey

“Medieval Warm Period was warmer”  is not only irrelevant to future climate, but was known wrong within science by the early 1990s. In 2017, it is still repeated by climate deniers.  They have long misused some version of an IPCC(1990) curve, whose abuse is the focus of this MedievalDeception series. The first known promoter now seems to be Richard S. Lindzen.

He was featured in The Greening of Planet Earth (produced 1991, published 1992), a 28-minute video,*  widely promoted by the coal group Western Fuels Association (WFA), which funded many climate disinformation efforts, such as those by Pat Michaels and Robert Balling, Jr. For more, see Western Fuels Association's Decades Of Dollars For Doubt And Denial.

Friday, June 23, 2017 - 07:58 • John Mashey

Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy have filed bankruptcies, incidentially revealing payments to cllimate anti-science groups. The Western Fuels Association (WFA) may be smaller and less known, but its long history of funding climate denial is already better exposed. It was called out by Senator Tom Udall in his #WebOfDenial remarks in July 2016.  Its earliest well-known disinformation effort is detailed in MedievalDeception 1991: Lindzen Hijacks Curve For Western Fuels Video - Early Fake News.

Its front group Greening Earth Society (GES) claimed “sound information” following the “sound science” theme of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), started as front for Philip Morris in 1993, but like WFA, also involved Pat Michaels.

Newly-assembled information adds evidence that #WesternFuelsKnew the science was against them, decades ago.

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 22:01 • Mat Hope
Brexit artwork

On June 23 2016, 46 million voters merrily skipped to the polls to have their say about whether the UK should remain in the European Union. Early the following morning, it was revealed that 52 percent of the population had voted Leave.

Most were shocked, a small majority were joyous, the rest were dismayed — including many who were concerned Brexit would mean the UK’s climate policy and environmental regulation coming under attack.

One year on, the negotiations have formally started and things have progressed… a bit.

Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 07:58 • Connor Gibson

As part of President Donald Trump’s effort to “drain the swamp” directly into his cabinet, a revolving door coal lobbyist is now poised to take a top position at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the second time in his career.

According to Axios, President Trump is expected to appoint Jeffrey Holmstead to second-in-command at the EPA, where he will be in charge of overseeing the coal companies that he spent the last decade lobbying for.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 17:11 • Guest

By Dan Zegart, originally published at Climate Investigations Center

In a historic vote this morning, Mississippi state regulators slammed the brakes on the Kemper coal power plant, saying they will refuse to ask utility customers to pay anything for Kemper's non-functional multi-billion dollar “clean coal” gasification technology and will re-designate the plant as a natural gas facility.

In a joint press release explaining their unanimous decision, the three Mississippi Public Service commissioners said they seek a solution that “eliminates ratepayer risk for unproven technology and assures no rate increase to Mississippi Power customers,” and that they want Mississippi Power, the Southern Company subsidiary that built Kemper, to consider rolling back existing rates.

“I think it's high time we finally turn the corner on this project and also strongly protect our ratepayers, who should only have to pay for what actually delivers electricity,” said PSC chairman Brandon Presley in an interview. Presley was, until recently, the lone opponent of a bloated, runaway project that saw costs jump from $2.3 billion in 2010 when work began to $7.5 billion now. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 15:28 • Steve Horn
Militarized law enforcement lined up and in armored cars at Standing Rock

By Steve Horn and Curtis Waltman

On June 19, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law which will enter his state into the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

EMAC is the compact which last year gave out-of-state cops the legal authority to flood into North Dakota during the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer PartnersThe Louisiana bill, SB 151, was signed as Energy Transfer Partners has another pipeline proposed to run through Louisiana, the Bayou Bridge pipeline. Bayou Bridge is an extension of Dakota Access, set to run from Nederland, Texas, to refinery markets and export terminals in Louisiana.

The compact, signed into existence by President Bill Clinton in 1996, was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew with the intent of expediting and bolstering natural disaster response efforts. But the federal legislation creating the compact also has language allowing for a governor of a state to issue an emergency order in the case of the rise of an “insurgency or enemy attack.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 13:52 • Justin Mikulka
Rex Tillerson

In a 2013 interview about the risks and rewards of oil exploration, Charlie Rose asked then Exxon CEO (and now Secretary of State) Rex Tillerson if his philosophy was “Drill, baby, drill!” 

Tillerson replied that his philosophy was “to make money.” At the same time, during his tenure as CEO of ExxonMobil, he also discussed how energy companies are eager to help lift the developing world out of poverty — a slightly different perspective.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:14 • Guest
We Stand For Energy Ad cropped

This is a guest post by Matt Kasper crossposted from Energy and Policy Institute.

The nation’s largest electric utilities have been relying on a political consulting shop to portray their efforts to attack rooftop solar as having support from the “grassroots” for at least the past year.

The consulting group, DDC Consulting, has carved out a niche for itself at conjuring up “astroturf” — or faked grassroots efforts. Indeed, the firm’s website says that it specializes in designing, managing, and executing advocacy campaigns that “shape public opinion, sway decision-makers, and affect outcomes in the legislature, the press, the board room, and the public eye.” DDC was just exposed as the PR firm behind an effort to portray imagined support for natural gas pipelines, this time funded by the American Gas Association.

Monday, June 19, 2017 - 23:01 • Guest
March for Science sign reading 'Science matters bigly'

By Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan

When politicians distort science, academics and scientists tend to watch in shock from the sidelines rather than speak out. But in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” we need to step into the breach and inject scientific literacy into the political discourse.

Nowhere is this obligation more vivid than the debate over climate change. Contrary to the consensus of scientific agencies worldwide, the president has called climate change a “hoax” (though his position may be shifting), while his EPA administrator has denied even the most basic link to carbon dioxide as a cause.

It’s another sign that we, as a society, are drifting away from the use of scientific reasoning to inform public policy. And the outcome is clear: a misinformed voting public and the passage of policies to benefit special interests.

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