Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 03:58 • Graham Readfearn
U.S. Capitol Building

There are lots of attributes that seem to work as reliable predictors that a person or group will reject the science of human-caused climate change and the risks that come from it.

In recent years, for example, being a Republican or a Tea Party member has gone hand in hand with branding the science of climate change as a giant scam.

If you’re one of those conspiracy theorists like Britain’s David Icke or Infowars founder (and apparent President Trump influencer) Alex Jones, then you’ll also be placing climate change into the file marked “illuminati hoax.”

But perhaps the largest, most active, and influential group pushing climate science denial is America’s collective of so-called free-market conservative “think tanks” that want to cut the size of government and claim to be defending your freedom and liberty — examples include the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 23:02 • Steve Horn
Mike Catanzaro
Mike Catanzaro

Mike Catanzaro, President Donald Trump's recently minted top energy aide, has officially begun his first week on the job at the White House. He was hired to move policy measures through federal energy and environmental agencies in a synergistic way.

A long-time oil and gas industry lobbyist who has spent his career passing in and out of the government-industry revolving door, Catanzaro actually got his start as a writer. Working for the conservative newspapers Human Events and Evans-Novak Political Report, Catanzaro's views on climate change — and climate denial — were on full display in articles published during his formative years as an up-and-coming conservative star.

DeSmog has reviewed articles found in the Human Events archives, no longer found on the publication's website, and they shed new light on Catanzaro and his views as Trump's right-hand man on climate, energy, and environmental policy.

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 07:17 • Mike Gaworecki
oil derrick in a field in Colorado
oil derrick in a field in Colorado

With the rise of new technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling, oil and gas development in the United States has exploded over the past 15 years. As development expands, it’s also pushing ever closer into areas where people live. It’s been estimated that today more than 15 million Americans live within one mile of oil and gas development.

The drilling process, of course, has the potential to emit toxic substances, including the carcinogen benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and diesel exhaust, into the surrounding air and waterways. But researchers have long been trying to determine to what extent oil and gas drilling operations may threaten public health, particularly around cancer risk.

However, new research suggests that childen living in areas of high-density oil and gas development may face increased risk of health impacts, namely a certain type of leukemia, as a result of their exposure to pollutants associated with this activity.

Thursday, February 23, 2017 - 05:58 • Guest
A woman holds a sign reading, "We can't drink oil! #NoDAPL."
A woman holds a sign reading, "We can't drink oil! #NoDAPL."

This is a guest post by Jesse Coleman of Greenpeace USoriginally published on Huffington Post

The Governors of three states involved in the Dakota Access pipeline are marching to the orders of a PR company hired by the Dakota Access pipeline’s builders.

On October 25th of last year, the Governors of North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa sent a letter to the Army Corp of Engineers demanding approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A Greenpeace investigation has revealed that the first draft of this letter was written by LS2Group, a PR firm contracted by Energy Transfer Partners, the Dakota Access Pipeline’s (DAPL) main builder.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 07:34 • Steve Horn

By Steve Horn, Sharon Kelly and Graham Readfearn

The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has published thousands of emails obtained from the office of former Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, who was recently sworn in as the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the Trump Administration. 

Housed online in searchable form by CMD, the emails cover Pruitt's time spent as the Sooner State's lead legal advocate, and in particular show a “close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry,” CMD said in a press release. CMD was forced to go to court in Oklahoma to secure the release of the emails, which had sat in a queue for two years after the organization had filed an open records request.

Among other things, the emails show extensive communication with hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) giant Devon Energy, with Pruitt's office not only involved in discussions with Devon about energy-related issues like proposed U.S. Bureau of Land Management fracking rules, but also more tangential matters like how a proposed airline merger might affect Devon's international travel costs. They also show a close relationship with groups such as the Koch Industries-funded Americans for Prosperity and the Oklahoma Public Policy Council, the latter a member of the influential conservative State Policy Network (SPN).

Wednesday, February 22, 2017 - 06:09 • Mat Hope
Donald Trump addressing the CPAC conference
Donald Trump addressing the CPAC conference

Two fringe British climate science deniers are heading to Maryland to see Donald Trump and his tea party pals this week, taking their Brexit-inflected anti-science agenda with them.

Trump’s golden elevator buddy and UKIP MEP, Nigel Farage, and far-right Breitbart London commentator, James Delingpole, are both due to appear at the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), starting today.

CPAC claims to be the “birthplace of modern conservatism”, and aims to “break through the resistance of Washington’s powerful elites” via four-days of talks and activist training. In recent years it has been seen as a breeding ground for Tea Party ideas and activism.

The conference will offer Farage and Delingpole an opportunity to network with other members of a US-UK climate science denial network linked to Brexit and Trump, previously mapped by DeSmog UK.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 16:42 • Larry Buhl
A woman looks out on fracking activities in Pennsylvania
A woman looks out on fracking activities in Pennsylvania

Soon after the Mariner East 2 natural gas pipeline received the green light from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), three environmental groups appealed to stop construction pending further review. The groups claimed the pipeline construction activities, including tree cutting and horizontal drilling, could cause “irreparable harm” to landowners and the watershed along the project route. 

Last Friday Judge Bernard Labuskes of the state’s Environmental Hearing Board denied the request of the Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Watershed Association to issue a temporary stay preventing Philadelphia-based Sunoco Logistics from starting construction.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 14:59 • Justin Mikulka
Dave Archambault II
Dave Archambault II

It’s time to do something and no longer sit back.” That was the message that David Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, delivered to an audience at Cornell University on February 16. His comments came just a week before the February 22 deadline set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and echoed by North Dakota governor Doug Burgum for those at the Standing Rock encampments to evacuate.

While the overflow crowd was certainly drawn there because of the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, the title of Archambault’s seminar was “Standing Rock: The Violation of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.” While he did discuss the months-long protests, the talk covered a wide range of topics, adding essential historical context to the tribe's modern struggle against the pipeline. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 14:05 • Guest
Sign at a rally showing "I heart science"
Sign at a rally showing "I heart science"

This is a guest post by Dave Anderson, cross-posted from Energy and Policy Institute 

A senior energy official at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently warned that there will be “hell to pay” if the Trump administration tries to rescind the EPA’s science-based endangerment finding for greenhouse gas emissions.  

In typical U.S. Chamber fashion, Christopher Guith dismissed current concerns about climate change as based on “religion” — not “scientific facts” — while speaking at a January 26th event in the coal state of Kentucky. Guith is the senior vice president for policy at the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 21:24 • Guest

By Kert Davies and David Halperin

Any analysis of Russiagate, and the fateful phone calls between Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States, must address the critical fact that U.S. sanctions on Russia are severely damaging Vladimir Putin’s economic power. In particular, these sanctions – imposed by Barack Obama, supported by Hillary Clinton, and repeatedly questioned by Donald Trump and Rex Tillerson – are blocking a lucrative long-term oil agreement between Russia and ExxonMobil, a deal whose value is underscored by a little-noticed 1988 declassified CIA document.

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