national security

Thu, 2013-09-26 05:00Sharon Kelly
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Shale Gas and Foreign Policy: A "Highly Uncertain" Gamble for America

The Obama administration has systematically ignored the environmental risks of fracking and on several occasions it has even suppressed science to pave the way for increased shale drilling, according to a recent report by the environmental group Earthworks. The report focuses on Karnes County, TX, in the heart of the Eagle Ford shale region, where state regulators found levels of airborne contaminants so high that inspectors evacuated themselves – but failed to fine the companies involved or warn residents living nearby.

From the regulators in Texas to the United States EPA, government agencies are running away from their own data showing that fracking pollution is harming communities,” said Jennifer Krill, Executive Director of Earthworks. “We are seeing a pattern from Karnes County TX to Dimock PA to Pavilion WY - where oil and gas is being produced, oil and gas impacts are being ignored.”

For the past several years the oil and gas industry has enticed Republicans and Democrats alike with promises that shale reserves can offer the U.S. renewed energy independence. The hope is that vast and newly-tapped supplies of domestic gas and oil will help shift the geopolitical balance, lessening American and European reliance on Russia and countries in the Middle East. This newly perceived leverage has even emerged recently as a bargaining chip in trade talks and negotiations with gas-importers like Japan.

The Obama administration has hailed the drilling boom, sending strong signals about its support for continued fracking. “The natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence,” President Obama said in his 2013 State of the Union address. “We need to encourage that.”

But banking on the continued shale boom is a major gamble, as productivity has already fallen in shale gas plays across the U.S.

Tue, 2013-06-11 13:00Farron Cousins
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D.C. Court Rules Against Environmental Transparency, Threatening Public Health and Democracy

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that trade deals can be exempted from federal disclosure laws. The case revolved around a classified document related to an FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) that contained information about environmental and public health and safety concerns.

The suit was filed by EarthJustice and the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), with CIEL President Carroll Muffett issuing the following statement after the ruling:  “It is with great irony that at a time when reports about government intrusion into individual privacy are escalating by the day, the U.S. government would go to such lengths to protect the confidentiality of its trade negotiations—the terms of which will have real impacts on its citizens. By denying the public access to these negotiations, the US has created a fundamental barrier to the development of democracy. Most troubling, we have already seen the US aggressively pushing information in a similar black box in other trade negotiations, like the recently announced Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union.

EarthJustice has more:

Fri, 2011-11-18 05:15Steve Horn
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ExxonMobil and Shell Eyeing North American LNG Export Deals

Yesterday, LNG World News reported that ExxonMobil Vice President Andrew Swiger announced, at a conference hosted by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, that it was actively seeking LNG (liquefied natural gas) export terminals throughout North America, including, but not limited to, in British Columbia and on the Gulf Coast.

In terms of exports from North America, whether it is the Gulf Coast or whether it is Western Canada, it’s something we’re actively looking at,” said Swiger.

So, where are these prospective export terminals located, what are the key pipelines carrying the unconventional gas produced from shale basins, and what are the key shale basins in the mix? Hold tight for an explanation.

Golden Pass LNG Terminal and Golden Pass Pipeline

The LNG World News article explains that ExxonMobil “has a stake in the Golden Pass LNG Terminal in Texas,” but does not explain exactly what the “stake” is.

A bit of research shows that ExxonMobil is a 17.6% stakeholder in the Golden Pass LNG Terminal, according to a March 2011 article publshed by Platts. It is co-owned by ConocoPhillips and Qatar Petroleum, who own a 12.4% and 70% stake in Golden Pass LNG, respectively.

Thu, 2011-10-27 13:34Brendan DeMelle
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Massive Natural Gas Export Deal Inked by BG Group, So Much for Industry's "Domestic Energy" Claims

The natural gas industry's favorite public relations ploy about the necessity of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the process through which “clean natural gas” is now procured, is that the patriotic gas industry is championing the shale gas boom for domestic consumption and for “national security purposes.” We now know definitively that this is pure propaganda.

Enter the smoking gun, a 20-year $8 billion agreement signed between BG Group, short for British Gas Group, and Houston-based Cheniere Energy.

The deal calls for BG Gas to export liquefied natural gas, or LNG (natural gas that has been converted temporarily to liquid form for ease of storage or transport), from Cheniere's Sabine Pass LNG export terminal, located on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, out to the highly profitable global market, chiefly in Asia and Europe. 

Reuters referred to the deal as “a new chapter in the shale gas revolution that has redefined global markets.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that BG is thrilled that it will now be able to “buy gas comparatively cheaply and sell it for much higher prices in Europe and Asia.” The deal is just the beginning of a huge industry rush to export U.S. gas, according to the paper:

 Energy companies in the U.S., Canada and Australia are planning or have already begun building more than a dozen projects to liquefy and export natural gas as they seek to capitalize on growing demand for liquid-gas imports. Asia is the hottest market: its demand for liquefied gas is expected to grow 68% between 2010 and 2020, according to advisory firm Poten & Partners.

Tue, 2011-08-30 13:52admin

Reliance on Canadian Tar Sands Threatens U.S. Energy Security

This is a guest post by Glenn Hurowitz, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. It originally appeared on Grist.org, and is reprinted here with permission.

Everything you’ve heard about the tar sands and energy security is wrong
by Glenn Hurowitz

If there’s a single idea that the oil industry has peddled to persuade the Obama administration to approve the controversial Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline, it’s this: Tar-sands oil might be more polluting than even dirty old regular oil, but it’s better to get our energy from our ally Canada than from unstable oil suppliers in the Middle East or elsewhere.

In practice, the opposite is true: Drilling in North America is the single greatest threat to our nation’s energy security.

Fri, 2011-06-17 04:45Farron Cousins
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Pentagon Releases New Clean Energy Strategy

The U.S. Department of Defense has released a new strategy for how the U.S. military will address growing concerns over energy consumption. The military remains the single largest consumer of energy in the world, and accounts for 1% of total consumption in the United States. As concerns continue to mount over oil prices and the instability of oil-rich countries in the Middle East, the Pentagon is looking for new methods to continue to meet the energy demands of the military.

The U.S. military currently relies on fossil fuels for almost all of their energy needs, spending more than $13 billion annually just on fuel. Military operations accounted for 121 million barrels of oil alone, which does not include the amount used for domestic activities such as military housing operations and transports. But the Department of Defense has known for years that their current path is not sustainable, and raised the alarm over peak oil long before the U.S. Department of Energy. Their new report shows that they are actively working to switch to renewable energy sources, and away from dirty oil sourced from unstable parts of the globe.

Mon, 2011-06-06 07:38Chris Mooney
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Will Republicans Attack Climate Preparedness Even at the Cost of National Security?

Recently, House Republicans—constantly trying to frustrate all manner of climate change measures by the administration—took a clear step too far. Here’s the June 2 story, from E&E News:

The House voted today to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from participating in the Obama administration’s Interagency Task Force on Climate Change Adaptation.

The amendment by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) was added to the House’s fiscal 2012 Department of Homeland Security spending bill. The vote was 242-180.

The Carter amendment would likely prohibit DHS staff from coordinating with staff from other agencies to assess the risks climate change poses to domestic security and to find ways to adapt to it, an administration aide said.

The alleged justification for this measure is to save a few bucks. But honestly, if climate change is a potential threat to our homeland security, do Republicans really want to prevent the department of Homeland Security from assessing that risk?

Thu, 2011-05-12 17:05Mike Casey
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Lessons from PFC Restrepo’s Mother

Cross-posted from The Great Energy Challenge.

The incredibly brave work of the U.S. Special Forces team that killed Osama bin Laden brought some badly needed, uplifting news. It gave Americans welcome, if temporary, relief from steady news of American lives lost in the Middle East.

You can really feel that weight of the sacrifice our people are making to defend America watching Sebastian Junger’s moving film, “Restrepo.” The film documents the service and sacrifice of the U.S Army’s Second Platoon, Battle Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley. The film is named after Private First Class (PFC) Juan Sebastián Restrepo, one of the first in the unit killed after arriving in Afghanistan.

Wed, 2009-10-07 12:50Brendan DeMelle
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Bipartisan Report Claims Solving the Climate Crisis “Depends on Tropical Forests”

The bipartisan Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests released an extensive report today calling on the Senate to consider tropical forest preservation as a central necessity in the climate bill in front of Congress.  The group suggests that solving the climate crisis will be “nearly impossible without urgent efforts to stem tropical deforestation.”

Thu, 2009-08-20 11:30Kevin Grandia
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Iraq and Afghanistan War Vets Denounce ‘Energy Citizens’ Campaign As “Oil Dependence Tour”

Operation Free, a coalition of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and national security organizations, today slammed the ‘Energy Citizens’ Astroturf campaign orchestrated by the American Petroleum Institute and other Big Oil interests as a detriment to America’s energy security.

“Veterans understand the connection between energy security, climate change and national security,” said Jon Powers, Chief Operating Officer of the Truman National Security Project and an Iraq war vet.

Describing climate change as a “threat multiplier” for the armed forces, Powers denounced the ‘Energy Citizens’ campaign, stating that Big Oil does not have America’s best interests at heart.  “Veterans do not want to see America’s national security in the hands of Big Oil,” said Powers during the press teleconference today.

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