politics

EPA's Fracking Study Edited at Last Minute, Downplaying Risks, Newly Uncovered Documents Show

Just before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its high profile study on fracking, the agency planned to announce that the draft “study shows potential vulnerabilities to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing process.”

But that wasn't the message the public heard the next day.

Instead, the EPA's press release highlighted a statement that the $29 million “[a]ssessment shows hydraulic fracturing activities have not led to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources…”

Planet Earth Is The Real Loser Of The US Elections

During the U.S. presidential debates, there was not one single question devoted to the topic of climate change. And it appears that the results from the election have only amplified the silence that Americans seem to have on the subject of the environment.

In a stunning turn of events, US voters elected conservative businessman Donald Trump as the next President of the United States. Trump will now become the only world leader to actively deny that climate change is real, which means that the environment is about to suffer an enormous blow.

The World Has Passed A Dangerous CO2 Pollution Threshold, But Climate Deniers Still Push U.S. Inaction

The month of September 2016 marks the first time in human history that CO2 levels in the atmosphere topped 400ppm in all recorded areas. In fact, CO2 levels have not been that high since dinosaurs ruled the earth. And that’s not even the bad news. According to scientists, the human race may never see carbon dioxide levels drop below this dangerous threshold.

Just three years ago, CO2 levels passed the 300ppm threshold, and predictions suggested the 400ppm level was many, many years down the road. Sadly, they were very wrong.

Obama Takes Action, Says Climate Change Must Be Factored Into National Security Assessments

Nearly eleven months ago, Senator Bernie Sanders stated plainly in the first Democratic Presidential debate that climate change was the number one national security threat to the United States (every other Democratic contender said ISIS). Sanders took an incredible amount of heat from the Republican Party following his claims, but both Republican and Democratic administrations and military leaders have made it clear that climate change is a top security threat.

While discussion of climate change has all but disappeared from the United States Presidential race following Sanders’ exit, in a “blink and you’ll miss it” moment on September 21st, President Obama signed a directive ordering federal agencies to begin factoring climate change into their national security plans. Every federal agency, from the FDA to the EPA to the Pentagon, has a national security plan to address a threat to the specific area of regulation, and thanks to Obama’s new directive, combatting the effects of climate change are now required in those plans.

Conservative Organizations Pushing Republican Politicos And Media Outlets To Accept Climate Change As Reality

The Republican convention in Cleveland has come to a close, and the official platform of the Party for 2016 maintains the Party’s continued refusal to act on climate change. The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, openly admits that he believes climate change is a “hoax.”

As easy as it is to forget, it is important to remember that political affiliation and Party platforms don’t always coalesce, and the platforms don’t always reflect the will of the Party members. And that’s certainly the case with climate change and Republicans.

It turns out that the majority of self-identified Republicans actually do accept climate science, and they understand that climate change is a very real threat. The views of Republican elected officials in Washington, D.C. and those funding the Republican Party do not reflect the attitudes of the voters on this issue anymore, and that’s a phenomenal step forward.

But the partisan denial problem goes further than just one political part. It stretches all the way through conservative media outlets, particularly those owned by Rupert Murdoch (Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and countless others.) This right wing echo chamber has played a major role in shaping Republican policy towards the environment, and has helped to keep Republican voters in the dark about the realities of climate change.

Koch-Funded Groups Slapped With Fines By Federal Election Commission

Charles and David Koch, the nefarious Koch Brothers, have vowed to spend as much as $889 million on the 2016 elections in the United States. This money will be funneled through a massive network of faux grassroots organizations, lobbyists, and direct candidate donations. This $889 million is the single largest sum ever committed by individuals, meaning that Charles and David will have more financial sway over the 2016 elections than any other individual, or group, in the history of American politics.

Of course, the Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions, if not billions, on political activities in recent years, and their seemingly unlimited spending finally drew the ire of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). This week it was announced that three Koch-linked groups are being fined a combined total of $233,000 for violating campaign finance laws by concealing the sources of their funds. The three groups are the American Future Fund, 60 Plus Association and Americans for Job Security.

Republican Climate Activist Funding Environmentally Conscious Conservatives

For too long, climate change has been a partisan issue in American politics. In spite of the overwhelming scientific data about the role that human beings have played in the warming of the planet, the Republican Party of the United States has consistently refused to acknowledge the scientific consensus, and even their presumptive nominee for the presidency this year has outright denied the existence of climate change and repeatedly referred to it as a “hoax.”

But here’s where things get interesting: The Republican denial of climate change is far more prevalent in elected Republicans than average conservative voters. In fact, the latest round of polling shows that close to half of Republican voters accept the scientific consensus on climate change, which is an increase of nearly 20% over the last 2 years on this issue. So there is obviously a sharp divide between the views of the voters and the views of Republican politicians.

Has The Fracking Industry Already Won The 2016 Election?

June has been a fantastic month for the fracking industry.

On June 21st, a federal judge ruled that the Interior Department does not have the authority to regulate fracking on federal lands because the agency lacks the overall authority to regulate fracking. The judge said that his decision was based on the fact that Congress had not given the agency that power, and therefore they overstepped their authority in attempting to regulate natural gas fracking activities.

A few days after that court ruling that gave the industry free rein over our federal lands, the Democratic Party handed them an even larger gift. At a DNC platform committee meeting on Friday, June 24th, the committee voted to NOT include a ban on fracking as part of the Democratic Party’s platform for the 2016 election.

The moratorium on fracking was proposed by 350.org founder Bill McKibben who was selected to join the Party’s platform committee by Senator Bernie Sanders. McKibben also introduced resolutions to support a carbon tax and prohibit new fossil fuel leases offshore and on federal lands, but these items were also nixed by a majority of the committee members.

The decision by the committee to roll over for the fracking industry is not only dangerous for the environment, but it also goes against the will of voters who identify as Democrats.

Court Documents Show Coal Giant Peabody Energy Funded Dozens Of Climate Denial Groups

According to a new analysis by The Guardian, Peabody Energy, the U.S.’s largest coal mining company, has been funding dozens of different climate change-denying organizations for years.

The analysis is based on recently released court documents that came to light as a result of the company’s bankruptcy filings. In April, Peabody filed for bankruptcy as the global demand for coal continued to plummet.

DeSmog readers will recognize many names revealed to have received funding from Peabody, including climate deniers Willie Soon, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer and Richard Berman. All three of these men have gained notoriety from the fossil fuel industry for publishing works and promoting the idea that climate change is just part of natural “warming and cooling” cycles that the earth goes through.

Then there are the familiar front groups revealed: Americans for Prosperity, American Legislative Exchange Council, CFACT, Institute for Energy ResearchState Policy Network, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens more.

From The Guardian report:

These groups collectively are the heart and soul of climate denial,” said Kert Davies, founder of the Climate Investigation Center, who has spent 20 years tracking funding for climate denial. “It’s the broadest list I have seen of one company funding so many nodes in the denial machine.”

Donald Trump Lays Out Disastrous Energy Plan, Denies Climate Science Again

News flash: Donald Trump has proven again that he would be a disastrous President who would let our planet fry. Today, he added further insult to existing injury, launching a jaw-dropping energy speech that defies reality.

April 2016 set a record as the hottest April on record since temperatures were first recorded. Unfortunately, this was not a fluke; This has become the “new normal.” April was the 12th consecutive month that broke monthly high-temperature records. In other words, the last twelve months have been the hottest months ever recorded for each respective month.

The Democratic candidates that have run for Party’s nomination have all been on the same page in terms of accepting the scientific consensus that the atmosphere is warming up and that human activity is the biggest cause. But the Republican candidates, a pool that has been whittled down to include only Donald Trump, have consistently declared that climate change is a hoax.

The New York Times explains Donald Trump’s previous comments about climate and energy as follows:

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