Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 19:48 • Sharon Kelly
Mariner East 2 pipeline path

Pennsylvania's Environmental Hearing Board today ordered Sunoco Pipeline LP to temporarily halt some types of work on a $2.5 billion pipeline project designed to carry 275,000 barrels a day of butane, propane, and other liquid fossil fuels from Ohio and West Virginia, across Pennsylvania, to the Atlantic coast.

On July 19, three environmental groups presented Judge Bernard Labuskes, Jr. with documentation showing that the project had caused dozens of drilling fluid spills and other accidents between April and mid-June.

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 22:35 • Graham Readfearn

Marc Morano — one of world’s most notorious climate science deniers — is heading to Australia to push his discredited documentary Climate Hustle.

Morano is the communications director at the mistitled Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) – one among a suite of US-based conservative “free market” groups that helped convince President Donald Trump to pull the country out of the international Paris climate agreement.

Climate Hustle, first screened in late 2015 in Paris, claims human-caused climate change is a scare story and that scientists actually disagree that humans are causing global warming.

In reality, climate scientists and campaigners say the documentary is a rehash of long-debunked talking points, cherry-picked claims and misrepresentations promoted by a “fossil fuel salesman.”

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 16:10 • Guest

By Dan Zegart, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center.

Clean coal officially died in Mississippi today as state regulators voted unanimously to issue an official order denying further money for the Kemper coal plant and beginning a settlement process with its builder, Southern Company.

The order provides a legal framework for the state Public Service Commission's June 21st vote proposing the plant continue to operate on natural gas, as it has since August 2014, instead of spend additional money to try to use Kemper's non-functional multi-billion dollar gasifier to generate power from lignite coal.

“The commission today is taking firm steps towards resolving all substantive matters associated with the Kemper Project,” says the 35-page PSC order.

Thursday, July 6, 2017 - 09:38 • Farron Cousins

The current leadership in the United States — the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House — have a hostile relationship with climate change science. Not only has current President Donald Trump suggested that the entire concept is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, but the Legislative Branch of government is populated with a majority of representatives who do not accept the scientific consensus regarding climate change. Not only are these views dangerous for the future of the planet, but a new poll shows that these views are entirely out of sync with a majority of the U.S. population.

According to a new report by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, a majority of people in the United States believe that climate change is real and that it is mostly the result of human activities. The survey shows that 58% of the public now accepts that climate change is mostly caused by human activity, which is the highest level ever recorded of public acceptance of the human role in climate change since Yale began conducting these studies in 2008.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 18:32 • Steve Horn
James 'Spider' Marks

By Steve Horn and Curtis Waltman

Retired Major General James “Spider” Marks chairs the advisory board for TigerSwan, a private security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners to help police protests of the Dakota Access pipeline — an approach for which Marks has shown vocal support.

DeSmog has found that Marks also headed up intelligence efforts for the task force which brought over 10,000 U.S. military troops to police the 1992 riots following the acquittal of Los Angeles Police Department members involved in beating Rodney King. In addition, Marks, a long-time military analyst for CNN, led intelligence-gathering efforts for the U.S. military’s 2003 “shock and awe” campaign in Iraq, which was dubbed “Operation Iraqi Liberation.”

In recent months, Marks has endorsed Dakota Access and its southern leg, the Bayou Bridge pipeline. He has shown this support by writing op-ed pieces published in various newspapers and on the website of a pro-Dakota Access coalition run by a PR firm funded by Energy Transfer Partners.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 11:26 • Graham Readfearn
Tim Huelskamp

A former Republican congressman with a history of rejecting action on climate change while accepting funding from the fossil fuel industry has been picked as the new president of the Heartland Institute.

Tim Huelskamp, a prominent Tea Party figure, will take over from current president and institute founder Joseph Bast, who said he would stay on as CEO until some time in 2018.

Despite financial backing from groups affiliated with the Koch brothers, Huelskamp lost his March 2016 primary race, ending almost 20 years in Kansas state and federal politics.

According to Federal Election Commission disclosures, the oil and gas industries and groups affiliated with Koch Industries have been among Huelskamp’s most enthusiastic financial supporters.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017 - 08:07 • Kyla Mandel
Kemper coal project

The concept of “clean coal” was dealt a significant blow as Southern Company announced last week that it was suspending its coal gasification project in Mississippi.

The project was meant to be America’s flagship example for commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. It was going to be a way to keep burning coal, except without the polluting carbon dioxide emissions.

The failure of this “clean coal” experiment has impacts beyond the US though as the world continues to wait for CCS technology to take off at scale.

Monday, July 3, 2017 - 06:48 • Ben Jervey
Tesla electric car

A few months ago, early in the state legislative sessions, we reported on how lawmakers in nine states had introduced bills that would penalize electric vehicle (EV) drivers by charging higher registration fees. Now that the state legislative sessions have mostly wrapped up, it’s time for a review of how these bills fared, and how many states have implemented this extra financial burden on anyone who buys or leases an electric car.

Saturday, July 1, 2017 - 07:07 • Guest
Oil rig pumpjack
By Daniel Raimi, University of Michigan

In recent weeks, a new energy buzzword has taken flight from Washington, D.C., making stops in Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and more: “American energy dominance.” Taking a cue from a 2016 speech by then-candidate Donald Trump, top federal officials including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have begun to trumpet the notion of energy “dominance.”

Although no Cabinet official has offered a precise definition, it’s a recurring theme in a set of administration events organized around energy policy, including a speech by Trump emphasizing exports of coal, natural gas, and oil.

So what does this new energy catchphrase mean, and how should we think about it?

Friday, June 30, 2017 - 11:22 • Julie Dermansky
Jackie Dill at her home in Oklahoma

Jackie Dill, 64, a renowned Oklahoman wildcrafter of Cherokee descent and environmental activist who spoke out against the government’s failure to hold the fracking industry responsible for Oklahoma’s earthquakes, died on June 28, a few days after suffering a heart attack. 

I met Dill in January 2016 while reporting on Oklahoma’s earthquake swarms. She told me that she feared she would be killed by her house falling in and crushing her and her husband. Dill’s home in Coyle, Oklahoma, is on one of the state’s active fault lines and was so badly damaged by the constant earthquakes that she moved out a couple months before her death. 

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