Peabody Energy

Who’s Behind Trump’s Claim the Green New Deal Will Cost $100 Trillion?

Read time: 8 mins
President Trump at CPAC 2018

By Dave Anderson, Energy and Policy Institute. Originally posted on Energy and Policy Institute.

President Trump’s claim that the Green New Deal would cost $100 trillion can be traced back to the Manhattan Institute, a think tank backed by fossil fuel investor Paul Singer and companies like ExxonMobil. 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Edward Markey made waves at a press conference in February when they rolled out a Green New Deal resolution that called for the nation to transition to 100 percent clean energy in ten years

Brian Riedl, a senior fellow at the New York-based Manhattan Institute, attempted to “cost out the Green New Deal” in a Twitter thread the next day. Riedl admitted he had “No idea” how much things like “Installing renewable energy everywhere” would cost. 

As Cleanup Dispute Looms, Peabody-Linked Group Pushes Navajo Nation to Buy West's Largest Coal Plant

Read time: 12 mins
Navajo Generating Station coal power plant in Arizona

In September 2018, two prospective buyers announced they were dropping out of negotiations to purchase the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), the American West’s largest coal-fired power plant.

Avenue Capital Group and Middle River Power had sought to keep the aging coal plant in business, but “said they could not get anyone to commit to buying power from the plant, delaying the start of an environmental review,” the Associated Press reported. The plant, located in northern Arizona near the Utah border, is currently scheduled to shut down in December, after its current owners concluded in 2017 that its power was too costly to be competitive.

The two firms had progressed further in talks with the coal power plant’s owners than any of the 15 others identified as potential buyers by a consulting firm hired by Peabody Energy, which for decades has mined the coal burned at the plant.

A think tank that’s been backed by Peabody Energy is pushing the sale of the ailing plant and coal mine — and is now finding an audience in the Navajo Nation with the help of a Heartland Institute policy advisor.

Mapped: Cambridge Analytica’s Ties to the Fossil Fuel Industry

Read time: 3 mins
Network map

Revelations continue to emerge about Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that has found itself embroiled in a scandal around data privacy and electoral manipulation.

Three whistleblowers have gone public in the Guardian and Observer to outline how Cambridge Analytica used Facebook data to influence the outcomes of the US presidential election and Brexit referendum.

DeSmog UK has previously mapped how the company ties to climate science denial through its Brexit and Trump connections. Now, Nafeez Ahmed over at Motherboard has outlined how Cambridge Analytica has ties to the fossil fuel industry.

Wyoming Now Third State to Propose ALEC Bill Cracking Down on Pipeline Protests

Read time: 12 mins
A Lakota man locked himself to construction equipment building the Dakota Access pipeline

On the heels of Iowa and Ohio, Wyoming has become the third state to introduce a bill criminalizing the type of activities undertaken by past oil and gas pipeline protesters. 

One of the Wyoming bill's co-sponsors even says it was inspired by the protests led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access pipeline, and a sheriff involved in policing those protests testified in support of the bill at a recent hearing. Wyoming's bill is essentially a copy-paste version of template legislation produced by the conservative, corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

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

Read time: 6 mins
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

Read time: 8 mins
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

Read time: 8 mins

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

Read time: 4 mins
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

Read time: 3 mins
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

Read time: 9 mins
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.

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