Peabody Energy

State Leaders Diss Trump Coal Revival as US Pushes 'Cleaner' Fossil Fuels at Climate Talks

Jay Inslee, Jerry Brown, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

BONN, GERMANY – From the United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany, Arnold Schwarzenegger declared he wasn’t worried about Donald Trump — not his threats to withdraw from the Paris agreement or his plan to bring back coal.

Imagine bringing back coal,” laughed the former California governor. “In a time when coal is plummeting in the United States and all over the world … It’s like bringing back Blockbuster or something.”

But that is exactly in line with the plan embraced by the Trump administration at these climate talks — where coal deals are even rumored to be a possible outcome. Today the administration held its only organized event of the summit, a “side event” which promoted “cleaner and more efficient” fossil fuels and nuclear power as “vital” ways to reach the goals of the Paris accord.

This Is the Drilling Method for Most US Oil But Regulators Offer Almost No Oversight

Oil pump jacks drilling in California

Hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and offshore drilling garner a lot of news headlines when it comes to oil and gas issues in America, but they're far from the only game in town, with those two drilling techniques not even constituting the majority of U.S. oil and gas production.

For that, look to enhanced oil recovery (EOR), an under-regulated drilling method that has been around for over a century and could be threatening drinking water sources — if only regulators and the public had enough information to determine that danger, according to a new 63 page report published this week. Environmental group Clean Water Action, with graduate students from Johns Hopkins University, plumbed the academic and professional literature on EOR and its associated regulatory issues in order to lay out the potential environmental and public health risks posed by EOR. They also detail how the drilling method came to be handled with such a light touch by regulators at both the state and federal level.

The report details that the almost non-existent regulatory treatment for EOR, which makes up 60 percent of U.S. oil and gas production, may be further watered down due to proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) budget cuts by the Trump administration. In addition, oil, gas, and coal companies are pushing for two Senate bills offering tax incentives for this drilling technique which cast it as a supposed climate change solution.

Western Fuels Association's Decades Of Dollars For Climate Science Doubt And Denial

Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal and Peabody Energy have filed bankruptcies, incidentially revealing payments to cllimate anti-science groups. The Western Fuels Association (WFA) may be smaller and less known, but its long history of funding climate denial is already better exposed. It was called out by Senator Tom Udall in his #WebOfDenial remarks in July 2016.  Its earliest well-known disinformation effort is detailed in MedievalDeception 1991: Lindzen Hijacks Curve For Western Fuels Video - Early Fake News.

Its front group Greening Earth Society (GES) claimed “sound information” following the “sound science” theme of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), started as front for Philip Morris in 1993, but like WFA, also involved Pat Michaels.

Newly-assembled information adds evidence that #WesternFuelsKnew the science was against them, decades ago.

Exxon, Peabody Coal Lobby for Bill Poised to Load EPA Science Board With Polluters

A scientist looks through a microscope

A bill which would prohibit scientists who had received research grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from serving on its Science Advisory Board (SAB) and potentially welcome more industry and corporate representatives to the board has passed through the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The SAB is an independent council charged with reviewing the science EPA uses as the foundation for regulations, in addition to providing other scientific advice and expertise. Congressional Republicans have been taking aim at changing how SAB members are chosen for several years. The bill was first introduced in 2014, re-introduced again in 2015, and has taken its latest form as H.R.1431

Critics of the bill say it will give a seat at the table to corporate executives who would benefit from weakening EPA regulations and shut the door to many qualified researchers. And it has powerful corporations pushing it, including coal giant Peabody Energy, ExxonMobil, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and others, according to lobbying disclosure forms reviewed by DeSmog.

Exclusive: Climate Science Denial Group Heartland Institute is "Reaching Out" to Fossil Fuel Industry for Funding

Fred Palmer

One of the world’s most notorious climate science denial groups is “reaching out to the fossil fuel community” to raise cash in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election.

Coal industry veteran and new Heartland Institute senior fellow Fred Palmer believes the election of Donald Trump will transform the energy industry in the United States by leaving the science of climate change behind.

And in a wide-ranging interview with DeSmog, Palmer claimed there was nothing wrong with fossil fuel companies secretly funding groups that push climate science denial.

I am reaching out to the fossil fuel community right now and raising money for Heartland,” he said.  “Of course that’s acceptable.”

“God Bless Trump”: 25 Years Ago This Man Kick Started the First Fossil Fuel–Funded Campaigns to Attack Climate Science

Fred Palmer

In July 1988, on page 11 of Sports Illustrated magazine, one story caught the eye of Fred Palmer.

Under the headline “The Foul, Hot Summer,” the article lamented that year’s scorching heat and drought.

We have only ourselves to blame for this midsummer's nightmare. Burning fossil fuels has created many of these environmental ills,” the story read.

Palmer was worried. As the boss of Western Fuels Association (WFA), a co-op of coal power generators and haulers, this self-confessed “prairie populist” could see the writing on the wall for his industry.

Fred Palmer

Fred Palmer

Credentials

  • Palmer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966 and Juris Doctorate with honors in 1969 from the University of Arizona. [1]

Background

That Awkward Moment When Donald Trump's EPA Aide Christopher Horner Didn't Want to Talk About His Coal Funding

Chris Horner

There are two things that have happened only once in my 20 years of interviewing people as a journalist and while neither were traumatic, they were both odd.

Only once has someone turned and fled to avoid answering my questions.

Only once have I ever resorted to just shouting questions at someone when a polite conversation would have made life much easier.

What makes these two moments memorable, though, was that they both happened on the same night in Paris, and they both involved the same person — Christopher Horner.

Ken Bone, Internet Sensation from Presidential Debate, Works for Coal Company Opposed to Climate Regulations

Screenshot of Ken Bone from presidential debate.

After Kenneth Bone asked a question about energy to presidential nominees Donald Trump and Secretary Hillary Clinton at the presidential town hall debate on October 9, he quickly became a viral internet sensation.

That evening at Washington University in St. Louis, Bone asked, “What step will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?”

Trump responded by touting “clean coal” and bashing what he described as President Barack Obama's war on energy. Sec. Clinton responded by promoting hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) for oil and gas as a “bridge” to renewable fuels while also citing climate change as a “serious problem” and that she wants “to make sure we don't leave people behind.”

Lost in the shuffle of the viral memesinternet jokes, and a Facebook fan page is a basic question: Who is Ken Bone and what does he do for a living? 

Australia Appoints “Mr Coal” As New Climate Change Minister

Australia’s new climate change minister is an MP once dubbed “Mr Coal” who believes the climate polluting fossil fuel is the secret to lifting the world's poorest countries out of poverty.

Re-elected conservative Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has put Liberal Party MP Josh Frydenberg, the former resources minister, in charge of the country’s climate policy.

Frydenberg replaces MP Greg Hunt who, as environment and climate change minister, was responsible for approving the largest coal mine in Australian history — the giant Adani Carmichael mine in the country’s Galilee Basin.

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