Sunday, August 13, 2017 - 03:54 • Sharon Kelly an...
Ray Kemble

Cabot Oil and Gas Corporation has filed a $5 million civil lawsuit in county court against Dimock, Pennsylvania, resident Ray Kemble, who claims Cabot severely contaminated his water after drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) activity.

The company, scrutinized in the film Gasland and subject of an ongoing federal class action lawsuit since 2009, has also sued a handful of lawyers representing Kemble. Cabot’s lawsuit claims that Kemble harmed the fracking giant by attempting to “attract media attention” over pollution to his water, which the company claims breached an earlier 2012 settlement agreement as part of the ongoing federal class action lawsuit.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 16:02 • Sharon Kelly
Southern Company CEO Tom Fanning

Southern Co. is accused of fraudulently misrepresenting the prospects for its troubled “clean coal” project in Kemper County, Mississippi in several legal filings this summer.

Southern announced in late July that it was shuttering the troubled “clean coal” part of Kemper after construction ran years behind schedule and the company spent $7.5 billion on the 582 megawatt power plant — over $5 billion more than it first projected.

In a lawsuit filed today, Brett Wingo, a former Southern Company engineer, alleges he warned the company's top executives that it would not be possible to meet key construction deadlines. Management responded by retaliating against him, the complaint asserts, and Southern continued to assure investors and the public that Kemper's schedule and budget targets would be met, then blamed unpredictable factors like the weather when those goals were missed.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 17:11 • Guest

By Dan Zegart, originally published at Climate Investigations Center

In a historic vote this morning, Mississippi state regulators slammed the brakes on the Kemper coal power plant, saying they will refuse to ask utility customers to pay anything for Kemper's non-functional multi-billion dollar “clean coal” gasification technology and will re-designate the plant as a natural gas facility.

In a joint press release explaining their unanimous decision, the three Mississippi Public Service commissioners said they seek a solution that “eliminates ratepayer risk for unproven technology and assures no rate increase to Mississippi Power customers,” and that they want Mississippi Power, the Southern Company subsidiary that built Kemper, to consider rolling back existing rates.

“I think it's high time we finally turn the corner on this project and also strongly protect our ratepayers, who should only have to pay for what actually delivers electricity,” said PSC chairman Brandon Presley in an interview. Presley was, until recently, the lone opponent of a bloated, runaway project that saw costs jump from $2.3 billion in 2010 when work began to $7.5 billion now. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 15:28 • Steve Horn
Militarized law enforcement lined up and in armored cars at Standing Rock

By Steve Horn and Curtis Waltman

On June 19, Louisiana’s Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law which will enter his state into the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC).

EMAC is the compact which last year gave out-of-state cops the legal authority to flood into North Dakota during the protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer PartnersThe Louisiana bill, SB 151, was signed as Energy Transfer Partners has another pipeline proposed to run through Louisiana, the Bayou Bridge pipeline. Bayou Bridge is an extension of Dakota Access, set to run from Nederland, Texas, to refinery markets and export terminals in Louisiana.

The compact, signed into existence by President Bill Clinton in 1996, was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew with the intent of expediting and bolstering natural disaster response efforts. But the federal legislation creating the compact also has language allowing for a governor of a state to issue an emergency order in the case of the rise of an “insurgency or enemy attack.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 13:52 • Justin Mikulka
Rex Tillerson

In a 2013 interview about the risks and rewards of oil exploration, Charlie Rose asked then Exxon CEO (and now Secretary of State) Rex Tillerson if his philosophy was “Drill, baby, drill!” 

Tillerson replied that his philosophy was “to make money.” At the same time, during his tenure as CEO of ExxonMobil, he also discussed how energy companies are eager to help lift the developing world out of poverty — a slightly different perspective.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:14 • Guest
We Stand For Energy Ad cropped

This is a guest post by Matt Kasper crossposted from Energy and Policy Institute.

The nation’s largest electric utilities have been relying on a political consulting shop to portray their efforts to attack rooftop solar as having support from the “grassroots” for at least the past year.

The consulting group, DDC Consulting, has carved out a niche for itself at conjuring up “astroturf” — or faked grassroots efforts. Indeed, the firm’s website says that it specializes in designing, managing, and executing advocacy campaigns that “shape public opinion, sway decision-makers, and affect outcomes in the legislature, the press, the board room, and the public eye.” DDC was just exposed as the PR firm behind an effort to portray imagined support for natural gas pipelines, this time funded by the American Gas Association.

Monday, June 19, 2017 - 23:01 • Guest
March for Science sign reading 'Science matters bigly'

By Andrew J. Hoffman, University of Michigan

When politicians distort science, academics and scientists tend to watch in shock from the sidelines rather than speak out. But in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” we need to step into the breach and inject scientific literacy into the political discourse.

Nowhere is this obligation more vivid than the debate over climate change. Contrary to the consensus of scientific agencies worldwide, the president has called climate change a “hoax” (though his position may be shifting), while his EPA administrator has denied even the most basic link to carbon dioxide as a cause.

It’s another sign that we, as a society, are drifting away from the use of scientific reasoning to inform public policy. And the outcome is clear: a misinformed voting public and the passage of policies to benefit special interests.

Sunday, June 18, 2017 - 04:58 • Itai Vardi
Terry McAuliffe

Dominion Energy, the lead company behind the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline, last year hired SKDKnickerbocker, a powerful communications and Democratic consulting firm that previously produced campaign ads for Virginia’s Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe, according to a DeSmog investigation. 

McAuliffe, a long-time ally of the Clinton family and former head of the Democratic National Committee, has been a staunch supporter of the controversial natural gas pipeline since it was first proposed in 2014.

Saturday, June 17, 2017 - 07:56 • Guest
Arctic researchers taking an ice core

This post originally appeared on Climate Feedback.

A June 12 Winnipeg Free Press story titled “U of M climate change study postponed due to climate change” describes a climate study delayed by unusual sea ice conditions around Newfoundland that necessitated the reassignment of an icebreaker vessel. (Similar stories were run by CBC NewsThe Guardian, and others.)

It might seem to you that unusually thick local sea ice contradicts scientists’ predictions of declining Arctic sea ice cover, but that would be an overly simplistic and incorrect assumption. That misconception of both climate science and the behavior of sea ice has surfaced in the past when polar research vessels encountered difficulties with sea ice, and this time is (sadly) no exception.

Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:06 • Guest
Climate March protest sign with polar bear stating 'Let us now pause for a moment of science'

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

It goes without saying that peer review is an important safeguard against shoddy pseudoscience. Peer reviewers are so vital to the scientific endeavour that they recently got their own monument!

But peer review is not a perfect process. It’s necessary to ensure quality science, of course. But sometimes peer review goes wrong. For example, a journal whose editor is a climate denier with ties to Heartland recently published a paper claiming to refute the greenhouse theory. The paper is so bad that one scientist told DeSmog it is “laughable,” in part because the paper takes issue with the fact that greenhouses have glass roofs, and the atmosphere does not.

Seriously.

So although deniers try to downplay the importance of the consensus to claim that a vast global conspiracy keeps their work out of peer-reviewed journals, it’s not impossible for their shoddy science to get published.

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 16:07 • Guest
Nissan Leaf electric vehicles in the city of Seattle fleet

By Daniel Cohan, Rice University

President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris climate agreement reaffirmed what was already clear: The federal government is no longer leading American efforts to shrink our carbon footprint. But many state and local governments — along with businesses and consumers — aim to help fill this policy void.

At least a dozen governors have joined the United States Climate Alliance, committing their states to achieve emissions reductions consistent with President Barack Obama’s Paris pledge. More than 200 mayors are promising their cities will follow suit.

My research with my former student Shayak Sengupta about how cities can benefit from buying electric cars suggests that fuel-free municipal fleets can cut urban carbon footprints while improving public health and saving taxpayers money.

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