Ben Jervey's blog

Don Blankenship, Fresh Out of Prison, Begs Trump to Have Mercy on Coal Execs

Stone memorial with the outline of the 29 coal workers killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion

Don Blankenship, who just wrapped up a year in federal prison for criminal conspiracy to violate mine safety and health rules — a coordinated and concealed series of violations that lasted for at least 15 months leading up to the tragic Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal workers — emerged from his incarceration unrepentant, and none the humbler.

On Tuesday, the former CEO of Massey Energy released an open letter to President Trump urging the administration to ignore any legislation that would strengthen punishments for mining company executives and supervisors who knowingly flout safety rules.

Trump Taps Renewable Energy Antagonist to Run Renewable Energy Office

President Donald Trump has reportedly tapped a longtime renewable energy antagonist with ties to the Koch brothers to lead the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

House Science Committee Hearing Pits Three Fringe Climate Deniers Against Mainstream Climate Scientist Michael Mann

Michael Mann

Hearings of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology have officially turned into theater to stage climate science denial. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the committee’s Twitter feed, which has turned into “just another climate science denying troll” since President Trump’s election. 

Today, the committee chair, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), invited to a hearing a trio of fringe scientists with positions far out of whack with the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. Democrats on the committee filled the fourth seat with Penn State atmospheric scientist Dr. Michael Mann, who had to carry the weight of the 97 percent consensus, while being outnumbered three-to-one.

Electric Utility Executives Pony up for the GOP Roll Back of Environmental Protections

Paul Ryan

This week, as President Trump reportedly prepares to begin unwinding the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and as Congressional Republicans continue their systematic dismantling of environmental protections, the heads of electric utilities are showing up in Washington, D.C. to raise money for the GOP leadership.

On Tuesday night (March 14), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the major trade association for investor-owned utilities, hosted a big money fundraiser — the cheapest seats cost $1,000 and ran up to $25,000 for the dinner — to benefit Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. On the Senate side, Majority leader Mitch McConnell reaped the rewards of a benefit reception that cost attendees between $2,500 and $5,000.

States Ramp up Attacks on Incentives for Electric Vehicles

Nissan Leaf parked at an electric car charging station outside San Francisco City Hall

As federal support for electric vehicles (EVs) is expected to wither under the Trump administration, state-level policies will play the biggest political role in how quickly battery powered motors replace the internal combustion engine.

Yet, at this critical moment when state governments should be supporting zero-emission vehicles, many states are cutting their incentives, while others are penalizing EV drivers outright.

In a recent article for The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi explores a number of efforts underway in state capitals across the country that are making the transition to electric cars a steeper uphill climb.

Minority Communities in Virginia "Push Back on Koch Brothers," Call Fueling U.S. Forward a "Distasteful Effort"

Kids on a Richmond City Public Schools bus

Religious leaders and environmental justice activists in Richmond, Virginia, are “pushing back” against the Koch-funded Fueling U.S. Forward campaign’s efforts to target minority communities while promoting the “importance of domestic oil and natural gas to making people’s lives better.”

One element of the strategy to win the “hearts and minds” (as Alex Fitzsimmons of Fueling U.S. Forward put it) of minority communities was on display in Richmond, Virginia, last December, when the group threw a gospel concert that included pro-fossil fuel propaganda and a surprise award payment of four attendees’ electric bills.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Ben Jervey's blog