Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 22:57 • Steve Horn
Todd Wynn

Todd Wynn, former Director of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)'s Energy Environmental and Agriculture Task Force, was recently hired by President Donald Trump to work as a senior-ranking official in the U.S. Department of the Interior. 

DeSmog discovered the hire via LinkedIn, and Wynn says on his profile page that he began at Interior in October.

Wynn worked at ALEC from 2011 to 2013 and then became Director of External Affairs for Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a trade association representing electric utility companies nationwide. Prior to his position at ALEC, Wynn served as Vice President of the Cascade Policy Institute, a part of the State Policy Network (SPN), a national chain of state-level conservative and corporate-funded think-tanks which was started as an ALEC offshoot.

ALEC's critics have described the organization, a national consortium of mostly Republican Party state legislators and corporate lobbyists, as a “corporate bill mill.” That's because its lobbyist members convene several times a year with legislators to produce what it calls “model bills” which have ended up as actual legislation thousands of times since the organization's founding in 1973.

Monday, September 18, 2017 - 09:22 • Farron Cousins

The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to protect its bases and operations from rising seas and other impacts of climate change, despite an order by President Trump to halt climate planning.

On March 28th, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order that rescinded all climate change actions within federal agencies. These actions had been mandated by a rule from the former Obama administration that required federal agencies to take the necessary steps to protect their respective agencies from climate threats. The original Obama order required military bases to factor climate change into their planning operations for expansions, existing structures, and future developments.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 22:16 • Itai Vardi

A contractor hired by the state of Michigan to independently review an aging oil pipeline running under the Great Lakes was simultaneously working for the pipeline company, documents obtained by DeSmog suggest. The documents contradict the contractor’s earlier claim that it had effectively stopped working for Enbridge once hired by Michigan.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 19:08 • Farron Cousins

In the last 30 days, the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean have played host to four hurricanes, three of which reached category 3 or higher, with Hurricane Irma claiming the title as the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 11:52 • James Wilt
Canada's missing electric vehicles

The race is on for electric vehicle supremacy.

Last week, China — the world’s second largest economy and consumer of about one-third of new cars — announced it will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, in a move that is expected to accelerate the global push into the electric car market.

China joins Norway, France and the U.K. in announcing plans to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Goldman Sachs recently estimated that electric vehicles will make up 32 per cent of global auto sales by 2040.

So, as the world moves toward the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, where is Canada in all of this?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 10:30 • Guest

By Kert Davies, crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

Q: What does spending tens of millions of dollars supporting climate denial organizations over a twenty year period buy you?

A: Donald Trump, abdication of U.S. leadership on climate and increased risk of damage from climate change.

The Washington Post’s Bob O’Harrow just penned the most complete treatment to date on what has happened over the past year and the past twenty years starting in 1997, resulting in the June 2017 Rose Garden party to ditch the Paris Climate Agreement. This story contains a sequence of key events and history, ending in the Trump White House.

Monday, September 11, 2017 - 12:26 • Ben Jervey

There’s a war being waged against electric cars, the frontlines of which are dug in on Facebook feeds and embedded Youtube videos. The ammunition, supplied by the Koch brothers and their most loyal, PR savvy affiliates, are talking points meant to sow doubt in the minds of American drivers about the quality, costs, reliability, and even environmental-friendliness of electric cars.

Though many automotive experts—including some Big Oil majors—see the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) as inevitable, this war is being waged to keep the gas-guzzling internal combustion engine king for as long as possible. They are fighting to keep oil demand high enough to justify drilling, refining, and selling petroleum.

In the face of this war, Plug-In America, the country’s leading EV advocacy organization, and its partners are organizing the seventh annual National Drive Electric Week. And in the context of these PR attacks, this year’s week long event—running from September 9-17th—might be more important than ever.

Sunday, September 10, 2017 - 06:57 • Steve Horn
A police officer stands near protesters with signs against Dakota Access blocking the entrance to an Army Corps building

Energy Transfer Partners, owner of the Dakota Access pipeline, has filed a federal lawsuit against Greenpeace and others for alleged racketeering in their anti-pipeline activism related to Standing Rock. The company’s legal support comes from the firm Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, whose attorneys also represent President Donald Trump in the ongoing Russia-U.S. election investigation.  

However, federal court rules require that, in addition to the New York-based team at Kasowitz, Energy Transfer Partners must retain local legal counsel in North Dakota, where the lawsuit was filed. The bottom of the 187-page legal complaint filed on August 22 reveals that the corporation chose Vogel Law Firm, with offices in both Minnesota and North Dakota, for that job.

However, by serving as a law firm for Energy Transfer Partners, Vogel may have a potential conflict of interest. That's because, at the same time, the firm is representing the North Dakota Private Investigation and Security Board in its ongoing lawsuit against TigerSwan. This private security firm worked on behalf of Dakota Access during the months-long protest movement at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Saturday, September 9, 2017 - 09:03 • Guest
Stephen Schwarzman

This is a guest post by  and originally appeared on Eyes on the Ties.

By now, many people have heard of Stephen Schwarzman.

Some may know him as the billionaire founder and CEO of the Blackstone Group, a mammoth private equity firm that has its tentacles spread across numerous subsidiaries and companies.

Others may know Schwarzman as a close ally and advisor of Donald Trump, the chair the president’s recently disbanded Strategic and Policy Forum, who is set to profit handsomely from his relationship with the president.

Some may even know Schwarzman as the thrower of lavish, self-glorifying birthday parties — his last one included fireworks, acrobats, live camels, celebrity performers, and a slew of high-profile guests, from David Koch to Jared Kushner, as well as several Trump cabinet members.

But fewer people know about Schwarzman the fracking profiteer, with billions invested in the fossil fuel industry that is fueling the climate crisis.

Friday, September 8, 2017 - 12:07 • Farron Cousins
Smokestack

Less than two years ago, documents surfaced showing that in the 1970s ExxonMobil knew about the damage that fossil fuel emissions were causing to the environment and how they were contributing to global warming. Just a few weeks ago, these reports surfaced again when a recent study led by Harvard researcher Naomi Oreskes showed how the global oil giant had engaged in a decades-long misinformation campaign to cover up the damage that it and other fossil fuel companies were inflicting on the planet.

One of the immediate questions asked by climate-concerned citizens was whether or not this cover-up could result in lawsuits against the oil giant. However, due to the amount of unknown variables in the legal equation, any lawsuit filed against the company appears to be a long shot, at best.

Still, a new peer-reviewed study from the Union of Concerned Scientists and its collaborators may give us some of the missing variables in the legal equation.

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