New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties

February 23, 2017 by  
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Email already hobbled one politician; could it prove to be the downfall of another? The writing might be on the wall for Scott Pruitt , longtime foe of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , as well as its newest administrator. While serving as attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt regularly colluded with oil and gas producers and electric utilities with ties to billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch to oppose federal environmental regulations, according to 7,500-plus pages of email that were made public on Wednesday. “The newly released emails reveal a close and friendly relationship between Scott Pruitt’s office and the fossil fuel industry, with frequent meetings, calls, dinners and other events,” said Nick Surgey, research director at the Center for Media and Democracy , which sued to obtain the documents. Indeed, the correspondence portrays a rapport that isn’t just amicable, but downright cozy. Devon Energy , an oil and gas exploration firm based in Oklahoma City, for instance, drafted—and redrafted—letters for Pruitt to sign and send to federal officials in opposition of regulations designed to limit greenhouse-gas emissions and ozone pollution. “Attached is a potential first-cut draft of a letter a (bipartisan if possible?) group of AGs might send to the acting EPA administrator and some others in the Administration in response to the NE states’ notice of intent to sue for more E&P emission regulation,” William Whitsitt, executive vice president for public affairs at Devon, wrote in 2013. Related: Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of Months later, Clayton Eubanks, a deputy solicitor general, asked Whitsitt for advice on a draft the letter was preparing to send to the EPA regarding proposed regulations of methane emissions. “I would like to get the letter out in the morning,” Eubanks wrote. “Any suggestions?” Whitsitt was quick to respond. “Here you go. Please note that you could use just the red changes, or both red and blue (the latter being some further improvements from one of our experts) or none,” he wrote back. Hope this helps.” “I sent the letter today,” Eubanks emailed the next day. “Thanks for all your help on this.” Communications reveal a similar fraternity between his office and Koch Brothers-funded conservative political groups such as Americans for Prosperity , which emailed the offices of Pruitt and an Oklahoma congressman thanking them for helping “push back against President Obama’s EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states.” The emails’ release comes just days after Pruitt was promoted from EPA critic to EPA overseer. The road to his appointment was a rocky one, to say the least. Senate Democrats, environmental groups, and former and current members of the EPA staff launched a vociferous campaign against Pruitt, even calling for a delay on his confirmation vote until after the emails were made public. It was mostly for naught, however. Susan Collins from Maine was the sole Republican who voted against him, and Pruitt was confirmed by a 52-to-46 vote on Friday. Making his first speech at EPA headquarters in Washington on Tuesday, Pruitt told employees that he was here to “listen, learn, and lead.” Related: Scott Pruitt attacks critics and EPA employees in first speech Pruitt said the EPA needed to respect states’ roles in enforcing standards, and that “regulations ought to make things regular.” He also insisted that there shouldn’t be a disconnect between environmental protection and energy production. Nor should regulations hamper job creation. “We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment,” Pruitt said. “That we don’t have to choose between the two. I think our nation has done better than any nation in the world at making sure we do the job of protecting our natural resources and protecting our environment while also respecting the economic growth and jobs our nation seeks to have.” Pruitt’s words did little to smooth staffers’ hackles, however. “Pruitt’s talk [was] as bad as expected,” one anonymous employee told Mother Jones . “Not one word about public health. And talking about the rule of law as if we didn’t do everything with the realization that it will end up in court. It was condescending and hypocritical.” + Center for Media and Democracy Photos by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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New EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s emails reveal troubling oil-industry ties

COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives

November 7, 2016 by  
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Days after the historic Paris climate deal went into effect, world leaders have again convened to discuss tactics for fighting climate change , this time in Marrakech, Morocco. The COP22 climate talks will offer an opportunity for government leaders from nations around the globe to cooperate in devising goals to reduce the effects of climate change. As Morocco takes advantage of the summit’s timing to launch new nationwide food security programs, controversy ensues following the inclusion of coal and oil interests in the international discussions. Morocco—which relies heavily on local agriculture—has been uniquely impacted by climate change, experiencing highs and lows in the same year as a result of shifting weather patterns. While this year’s regular El Niño season drenched croplands, producing above-average yields, it was followed by an intense dry period during which there was no rain for more than two months. The uncertainty of agricultural yields prompted Moroccan leadership to develop programs to address food security issues, and the nation is launching its Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) initiative, timed with the kickoff of the COP22 conference. Related: UN warns of 3C global temperature increase without swift and aggressive global leadership Morocco’s AAA plan involves improving soil management, as well as water and irrigation management, combined with better weather forecasting and insurance for drought-impacted farmers. Each of these efforts is designed to help support continued agriculture while maximizing its output with efficient methods that can, hopefully, endure some of the unstable weather conditions the nation will see in years to come. Taking swift action to address food security seems like a bold and positive move, but it’s not quite so simple. In addition to world leaders, Morocco’s climate summit also involves representatives of corporate interests —namely coal and oil giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Peabody, BP, Shell and RioTinto. Critics claim their presence equates to a conflict of interest, while others interpret their involvement as a brave step forward in attempting to partner with fossil fuel industries for cooperative change. It remains to be seen what influence these companies will have on delegates working to construct international climate change plans, as they will have “observer status” to nearly every official conversation as part of the global summit. Via The Guardian Images via Richard Allaway/Flickr and Pixabay

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COP22 kicks off in Morocco with controversial presence of fossil fuel industry representatives

The oil industry knew about dangerous climate change in the 1960s

April 14, 2016 by  
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It turns out the oil industry has known about climate change for decades. The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) republished a 1968 document written by two scientists at the Stanford Research Institute. The study presented to the American Petroleum Institute detailed the environmental dangers associated with burning fossil fuels , but, as we all know by now, the industry chose to keep those dangers to themselves. Read the rest of The oil industry knew about dangerous climate change in the 1960s

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As oil plummets to $30 a barrel, renewable energy soars

January 15, 2016 by  
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Over the course of a year, the value of a barrel of oil fell from $110 to around $30 at the start of 2016. Over this same period, global annual investment in renewable energy continued to demonstrate strong growth, rising 4 percent over the previous year to reach an all-time high of $329.3 billion in 2015. “These figures are a stunning riposte to all those who expected clean energy investment to stall on falling oil and gas prices,” says Michael Liebreich , founder of the London-based research arm of Bloomberg LP. “They highlight the improving cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power.” As the world works to implement the Paris climate agreement, they’ve got the wind at their back as market forces seem to finally be working in the planet’s favor. Read the rest of As oil plummets to $30 a barrel, renewable energy soars

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As oil plummets to $30 a barrel, renewable energy soars

Broken Pipeline Spills Over 20,000 Barrels of Oil in North Dakota Wheat Field

October 11, 2013 by  
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A farmer in North Dakota noticed something funny going on in his wheat field in late September. At first, he could only smell what he suspected was crude oil , but within a few days it began gushing up out of the ground, spreading across over 7 acres of his property. The pipeline, owned by Tesoro Corp, is estimated to have spilled 20,600 barrels over the course of a few short days. The spill is among the largest ever recorded in the state. Read the rest of Broken Pipeline Spills Over 20,000 Barrels of Oil in North Dakota Wheat Field Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: broken oil pipeline , environmental cleanup , midwest , north dakota , oil industry , oil spill , oil spill cleanup , wheat field        

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Broken Pipeline Spills Over 20,000 Barrels of Oil in North Dakota Wheat Field

America’s National Parks Closed to Citizens (But Still Open for Oil & Gas Companies)

October 10, 2013 by  
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Glacier Park photo from Shutterstock Want a good example of political hypocrisy and blatant favoritism? The government shutdown mandates that all national parks and monuments be closed to visitors – however the oil and gas industry has been allowed to waltz right in . While veterans and other citizens are forced to “break in” to national parks paid for with their own tax dollars, it seems that our public lands are always open for business with the fossil fuel industry – government shutdown or not. Read the rest of America’s National Parks Closed to Citizens (But Still Open for Oil & Gas Companies) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: fracking , gas drilling , gas industry , gop , government shutdown , National Monuments , national parks , oil drilling , oil industry , public lands        

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America’s National Parks Closed to Citizens (But Still Open for Oil & Gas Companies)

615 Dead Dolphins Discovered on Peruvian Coast, Oil Exploration Thought to be Responsible

April 4, 2012 by  
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Researchers from ORCA Peru and BlueVoice .org have discovered 615 dead dolphins along a 135km stretch of the coast of Peru, according to a statement from BlueVoice. While the research, sanctioned by the Peruvian Ecological Police has not determined a definitive cause for the horrific “Unexplained Mortality Event”, Dr. Yaipen Llanos of Orca Peru fears that the fatalities may have been caused by sonic blasts used in oil exploration. Read the rest of 615 Dead Dolphins Discovered on Peruvian Coast, Oil Exploration Thought to be Responsible Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Blue Voice , dolphin death , Hardy Jones , Oil environment , oil exploration , oil industry , ORCA Peru , Peru Dolphins , Sonic Blasts , Unexplained mortality event , western gray whale , whale death , Yaipen Llanos

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615 Dead Dolphins Discovered on Peruvian Coast, Oil Exploration Thought to be Responsible

Heller Manus & Hornblower Win Niagara Falls Landing Competition

April 4, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Heller Manus & Hornblower Win Niagara Falls Landing Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “sustainable architecture” , boat tours , eco design , green architecture , Green Building , green design , heller manus , heller manus architects , hornblower , landing facilities , leed certification , New York. , niagara , niagara falls , niagara falls boat tours , Sustainable Building , sustainable design

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Heller Manus & Hornblower Win Niagara Falls Landing Competition

George H.W. Bush Goes ‘Rogue’ and Buys His Son a Chevy Volt

April 2, 2012 by  
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Former prez  George H.W. Bush recently gave the gift of the Chevrolet Volt to his son Neil for his 57th birthday. A Houston dealership took delivery of the gift to Bush’s fourth son, who ironically has spent much of his career holding positions within the oil industry . Bush Sr.’s purchase adds the 41st president to a growing list of prominent Republicans going ‘rogue’ and publicly rethinking conservative criticism of the car. Read the rest of George H.W. Bush Goes ‘Rogue’ and Buys His Son a Chevy Volt Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Bob Lutz , chevrolet volt , chevy volt , electric cars , general motors , george h.w. bush , green transportation , neil bush , oil industry , plug-in hybrid , volt controversy

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George H.W. Bush Goes ‘Rogue’ and Buys His Son a Chevy Volt

48 Facts You Should Know About The Gulf of Mexico, From Sunken Ships to Ancient Corals

October 11, 2011 by  
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Photo by Calsidyrose via Flickr CC Did you know that the Gulf of Mexico is the ninth largest body in the world, and supports some of the largest fisheries in the world? The Gulf is a spectacular space with an astonishing diversity of species, and yet it may also be one of the most imperiled. Here’s some of the most interesting facts about the Gulf of Mexico that will inspire you to learn more about this unique place. … Read the full story on TreeHugger

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48 Facts You Should Know About The Gulf of Mexico, From Sunken Ships to Ancient Corals

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