Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 03:00 • Sharon Kelly

The Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery was —until last year — the largest and oldest gasoline refinery on the East Coast. The week it was sold began with a community rally that also served as a makeshift memorial service.

On Monday, June 22, as Black Lives Matter protests continued nationwide, members of Philly Thrive, a local grassroots group, arrived outside the perimeter of the refinery complex in South Philadelphia. They posted “in memorium” placards bearing the names of deceased Philadelphians along the facility’s chainlink borders, handwritten fenceline memorials for departed members of the refinery's fenceline community. Speakers that day recalled less the fiery explosion that tore through the plant one year earlier and more the long-term harms caused by decades of fossil fuel production in the majority Black neighborhood.

Thursday, May 7, 2020 - 15:22 • Dana Drugmand
Read time: 6 mins

A gas industry union leader and chair of a group funded by California’s largest gas utility threatened to protest with “no social distancing” a vote last month on a city policy in San Luis Obispo that would support electrification in new buildings, according to emails obtained by Climate Investigations Center and first reported in the Los Angeles Times. That threat to bus in hundreds of protesters, “potentially adding to this pandemic,” apparently worked as San Luis Obispo city officials have postponed the April 7 vote on its Clean Energy Choice Program indefinitely.

And while the March 16 protest threat preceded right-wing reopen groups protesting stay-at-home orders across the country, both have something in common — an appearance of grassroots organizing with underlying ties to big funders including fossil fuel interests.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 16:27 • Guest
Read time: 6 mins

By Emily Holden, The Guardian. This story was originally published by The Guardian, and is republished here as part of the Covering Climate Now partnership to strengthen the media's focus on the climate crisis.

U.S. fossil fuel companies have taken at least $50 million in taxpayer money they probably won’t have to pay back, according to a review of coronavirus aid meant for struggling small businesses by the investigative research group Documented and the Guardian.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 13:37 • Dana Drugmand
Read time: 4 mins

Colorado is moving ahead with a plan to get nearly 1 million electric vehicles (EV) on its roads by 2030 and, for the first time, has adopted a long-term goal of transitioning to 100 percent electric and zero-emission vehicles.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - 10:08 • Dana Drugmand
Read time: 5 mins

On Tuesday, May 5, several Democratic members of the House Natural Resources Committee hosted a virtual discussion calling out how far the Trump administration has gone to cater to fossil fuel interests during the COVID-19 crisis and how that favoritism affects average Americans. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - 14:58 • Guest
Read time: 5 mins
By H. Christopher Frey, North Carolina State University

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown have temporarily produced clearer skies across the U.S. Meanwhile, however, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been busy finding reasons not to pursue long-lasting air quality gains.

On April 30, 2020, the agency published a proposed new rule that retains current National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter without any revisions. It took this action after a five-year review process, in which scientific evidence showed unequivocally that these standards are not adequate to protect public health.

Monday, May 4, 2020 - 04:41 • John Gibbons
Read time: 4 mins

It is increasingly unlikely that Ireland will develop new infrastructure to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced from fracked wells in the US, after the plans suffered a series of potentially fatal legal and political setbacks.

First, the European Court of Justice advocate general, Juliane Kokott, ruled that An Bord Pleanála, Ireland’s planning appeals body, erred in not requesting an up-to-date environmental impact study for the proposed Shannon LNG terminal before extending planning permission for a planned project. The decision means the case would have to be referred back to Ireland’s High Court.

Meanwhile, the political climate regarding the project has turned distinctly hostile, with the two major centrist parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil this week signing a joint letter that appears to signal the death knell for the LNG project.

Friday, May 1, 2020 - 14:40 • Dana Drugmand
Read time: 6 mins

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration is run by fossil fuel allies determined to do polluters’ bidding, U.S. senators are telling the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The group of Democratic senators calls out this extensive fossil fuel industry influence in a recent friend-of-the-court brief filed in a lawsuit challenging the Trump EPA’s replacement of the Clean Power Plan meant to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.

Friday, May 1, 2020 - 09:54 • Richard Collett...
Read time: 11 mins

Climate science deniers and long-time opponents of renewable energy, many with ties to oil and gas companies, have seized on Michael Moore’s latest documentary to argue the case for continued fossil fuel dependence.

Planet of the Humans investigates the environmental footprint of renewable technologies such as wind, solar and biomass, and argues that the green movement has sold out to corporate interests. The documentary has been viewed over five million times on YouTube since its release last week to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

But the film, produced by Moore and written and directed by his long-time collaborator Jeff Gibbs, has been widely criticised by energy and climate experts, who say it fails to provide context on the benefits of renewable energy and the negative impacts of fossil fuels, and is based on out-of-date information.

Thursday, April 30, 2020 - 15:56 • Dana Drugmand
Read time: 11 mins

While fossil fuel companies defend against mounting climate liability lawsuits in court, their surrogates are working in parallel to target the attorneys, academics, and institutions supporting these lawsuits. This defensive strategy involves vigorous public records requests, and in some cases legal action or intervention, to try proving a supposed conspiracy by those working to hold polluters accountable.

ExxonMobil has itself argued that attorneys general and municipal officials that have sued the company are engaged in a conspiracy to take down Big Oil. That argument hasn’t gained traction in court, but this hasn’t stopped operatives tied to fossil fuel funding from trying to take up that charge.

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