Ben Jervey

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Ben Jervey has been covering and working in the climate, energy, and environmental fields for a decade. He is regular contributor to DeSmogBlog. He was the original Environment Editor for GOOD Magazine, and wrote a longstanding weekly column titled “The New Ideal: Building the clean energy economy of the 21st Century and avoiding the worst fates of climate change.” He also contributes to National Geographic News, Grist, OnEarth Magazine, and many other online and print publications. His book–The Big Green Apple: Your Guide to Eco-Friendly Living in New York City–has been called the “bible of green living for NYC.” A bicycle enthusiast, Ben has ridden across the United States and through much of Europe.

Don Blankenship, Fresh Out of Prison, Begs Trump to Have Mercy on Coal Execs

Stone memorial with the outline of the 29 coal workers killed in the Upper Big Branch explosion

Don Blankenship, who just wrapped up a year in federal prison for criminal conspiracy to violate mine safety and health rules — a coordinated and concealed series of violations that lasted for at least 15 months leading up to the tragic Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 coal workers — emerged from his incarceration unrepentant, and none the humbler.

On Tuesday, the former CEO of Massey Energy released an open letter to President Trump urging the administration to ignore any legislation that would strengthen punishments for mining company executives and supervisors who knowingly flout safety rules.

Trump Taps Renewable Energy Antagonist to Run Renewable Energy Office

President Donald Trump has reportedly tapped a longtime renewable energy antagonist with ties to the Koch brothers to lead the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).

House Science Committee Hearing Pits Three Fringe Climate Deniers Against Mainstream Climate Scientist Michael Mann

Michael Mann

Hearings of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology have officially turned into theater to stage climate science denial. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has followed the committee’s Twitter feed, which has turned into “just another climate science denying troll” since President Trump’s election. 

Today, the committee chair, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), invited to a hearing a trio of fringe scientists with positions far out of whack with the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change. Democrats on the committee filled the fourth seat with Penn State atmospheric scientist Dr. Michael Mann, who had to carry the weight of the 97 percent consensus, while being outnumbered three-to-one.

Electric Utility Executives Pony up for the GOP Roll Back of Environmental Protections

Paul Ryan

This week, as President Trump reportedly prepares to begin unwinding the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and as Congressional Republicans continue their systematic dismantling of environmental protections, the heads of electric utilities are showing up in Washington, D.C. to raise money for the GOP leadership.

On Tuesday night (March 14), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the major trade association for investor-owned utilities, hosted a big money fundraiser — the cheapest seats cost $1,000 and ran up to $25,000 for the dinner — to benefit Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. On the Senate side, Majority leader Mitch McConnell reaped the rewards of a benefit reception that cost attendees between $2,500 and $5,000.

States Ramp up Attacks on Incentives for Electric Vehicles

Nissan Leaf parked at an electric car charging station outside San Francisco City Hall

As federal support for electric vehicles (EVs) is expected to wither under the Trump administration, state-level policies will play the biggest political role in how quickly battery powered motors replace the internal combustion engine.

Yet, at this critical moment when state governments should be supporting zero-emission vehicles, many states are cutting their incentives, while others are penalizing EV drivers outright.

In a recent article for The New York Times, Hiroko Tabuchi explores a number of efforts underway in state capitals across the country that are making the transition to electric cars a steeper uphill climb.

Minority Communities in Virginia "Push Back on Koch Brothers," Call Fueling U.S. Forward a "Distasteful Effort"

Kids on a Richmond City Public Schools bus

Religious leaders and environmental justice activists in Richmond, Virginia, are “pushing back” against the Koch-funded Fueling U.S. Forward campaign’s efforts to target minority communities while promoting the “importance of domestic oil and natural gas to making people’s lives better.”

One element of the strategy to win the “hearts and minds” (as Alex Fitzsimmons of Fueling U.S. Forward put it) of minority communities was on display in Richmond, Virginia, last December, when the group threw a gospel concert that included pro-fossil fuel propaganda and a surprise award payment of four attendees’ electric bills.

Trump's Team Tells EPA "Changes Will Likely Come" as Leaked Plan Highlights "Problems with EPA Science"

A woman works in an EPA lab

Earlier this week, staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received their first official email from the new administration. “Changes will likely come, and when they do, we will work together to implement them,” wrote Don Benton, a senior White House adviser who is now leading the so-called “beachhead” team for the EPA’s transition, in the email published by E&E News.

DeSmog dives into what we know about the EPA beachhead team (including what it is and who is on it), whom its members are connected to, and what the EPA should expect from the Trump team.

Climate Science Denier Myron Ebell Explains How the Trump Team Will Gut the EPA, Abandon the Paris Agreement

Myron Ebell holds a chart.

As senators get set to vote Wednesday on the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee to run the EPA, the man who was charged with leading the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team gave some clues as to how it might be run.

Myron Ebell is one of the country’s most prominent climate science deniers, is the Director of Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and until inauguration day was leading the EPA transition team at the behest of the then president-elect.

Mapping EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt's Many Fossil Fuel Ties

Map of Scott Pruitt's connections to fossil fuel interests

On Thursday, January 12, Senate Democrats raised another set of conflict of interest concerns about Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In a letter to the Office of Government Ethics, members of the Senate's environment panel requested more background on Pruitt's dealings with the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), which Pruitt led for two years while coordinating with other state AGs to combat the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

“During his tenure as Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has blurred the distinction between official and political actions, often at the behest of corporations he will regulate if confirmed to lead EPA,” the letter said. “Public reporting based on documents produced by Freedom of Infomation Act requests illustrate how Mr. Pruitt and members of his staff have worked closely with fossil fuel lobbyists to craft his office's official positions.”

New York Times Examines Fueling U.S. Forward, the Koch-Funded "Exploitative, Sad and Borderline Racist" Campaign

Back in August at the Red State Gathering in Denver, Fueling U.S. Forward President Charles Drevna revealed that one of the campaign's major strategies would involve targeting minority communities. A remarkable article just published by The New York Times reveals how the group is enacting this strategy, hosting and supporting events in minority communities while promoting the “importance of domestic oil and natural gas to making people’s lives better,” as Drevna put it.

Eddie Bautista, executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, called the Fueling U.S. Forward campaign “an exploitative, sad and borderline racist strategy.”

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