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Tue, 2011-02-15 09:46Mike Casey
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Top EIA Energy Trends Watcher: No Definitive Count on Dirty Energy Welfare

The national conversation about wasteful welfare for highly profitable dirty energy corporations has gone from the dramatic statement by the Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency that fossil fuel subsidies are one of the biggest impediments to global economic recovery (“the appendicitis of the global energy system which needs to be removed for a healthy, sustainable development future”), to a speech by Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch (in which he called the fossil fuel industry “grotesquely oversubsidized”), to a call by President Obama to cut oil company welfare by $4 billion. Not to be outdone, House Democrats are now calling for a $40 billion cut.

Dirty energy welfare defenders have, predictably, responded with ridiculous, Palin-esque denials of reality, but the voter demands that wasteful spending be cut begs the question: just how much of our tax money is going to ExxonMobil, Massey, etc.? With the new deficit hawks in Congress going after insignificant items like bottled water expenses, you’d think they’d want to know the size of the really wasteful stuff, right?

Mon, 2011-02-14 13:16Brendan DeMelle
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BREAKING: Chevron Guilty of Amazon Rainforest Destruction, Judge Issues $8 Billion Fine

Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network just announced a major victory for the Amazon rainforest. An Ecuadorean judge today found Chevron guilty of one of the largest environmental crimes in history and ordered the company to pay a whopping $8 billion to clean up its damage in the Amazon. 

Chevron immediately issued a statement condemning the judgement as “ilegitimate and unenforceable” and announced plans to appeal.  This ruling clearly has Chevron riled up, as the statement suggests the ruling is “the product of fraud” and included this ominous line: “Chevron intends to see that the perpetrators of this fraud are held accountable for their misconduct.”

Chevron apparently fails to see the irony of the phrase “held accountable for their misconduct” since today was a major slapdown of the company’s destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador.

As the L.A. Times notes in its piece about the verdict,

“Residents of Ecuador’s Amazon region have said that faulty drilling practices by Texaco, which was bought by Chevron in 2001, caused damage to wide areas of jungle and harmed indigenous people in the 1970s and 1980s.”

Head over to The Understory blog of the Rainforest Action Network for more details.

Mon, 2011-01-17 13:47Brendan DeMelle
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Oil Supermajors Desperately Chasing a Tar Sands Pipe Dream

The six major oil companies that for decades enjoyed phenomenal profits and power over the world’s oil supply now find themselves fighting over the dirtiest and most dangerous oil left - Alberta’s climate-wrecking tar sands and the dangerous deepwater deposits in the Arctic, Gulf of Mexico and other difficult to reach areas. Geoff Dembicki reports today in The Tyee that the oil supermajors once known as the “Seven Sisters” now control a tiny fraction of the world’s dwindling oil reserves - just seven percent - while state-owned oil companies and national governments control 93 percent.

That shift in power has left the six Anglo-American oil majors sparring fiercely for control of the remaining dregs to feed our oil addiction.  Dembicki writes that:

“aggressive oil sands development appears to be one of the few viable growth strategies left for ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Total, ConocoPhillips and Chevron. These six energy giants are among the top-earning private companies on Earth. Yet their continued corporate existence, at least in its current form, is far from assured.”

In their race to the bottom, these six oil companies are all vying for control of Canada’s dirty tar sands. Dembicki notes that:

“all the supermajors own – or plan to develop – huge operations in Alberta’s oil sands. Canada is one of the few countries left on Earth offering unbridled private sector access to major known oil reserves (in this case, the planet’s second-largest).”

Wed, 2010-10-20 12:04Emma Pullman
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Big Oil Goes to College: Report Explores the Corporate Control of University Energy Research

The Center for American Progress released a comprehensive analysis and independent expert review examining the implications of the confirmed $833 million in corporate funding from Big Oil to energy research at universities over the last decade. The report examines 10 recent university-industry agreements involving as many as 43 companies, 13 leading universities, and two federal research labs. 

B
ig Oil Goes to College: An Analysis of 10 Research Collaboration Contracts between Leading Energy Companies and Major U.S. Universities explores the growing phenomenon of academic-corporate partnerships at universities, and the findings demonstrate why everyone ought to be concerned. As these partnerships are only likely to proliferate and expand, how universities manage knowledge for the public good - particularly research that has considerable ramifications for how we deal with the climate crisis - must be addressed.

Before Congress releases billions of dollars in federal funding for R&D of alternative and renewable energy and energy efficiency through these public-private partnerships, it should take a good look at the CAP report’s findings and recommendations.  

Tue, 2010-10-19 11:19Richard Littlemore
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It's good that the Yes Men punked Chevron - We Agree!

If you missed it, the Yes Men spent the day yesterday rendering (even more) ridiculous a new Chevron ad campaign that purports to show an oil company acting responsibly. There’s a great Fast Company account of how events unfolded here.

I have to say, each time the Yes Men pull one of these counter campaigns, I find myself longing for the content to be true - wishing that an oil company (in this instance) really would own up to its failings and indicate a real willingness to move on. Naive in the extreme, I know, but if the bad guys can live in denial, why can’t I enjoy the occasional delusion?

Fri, 2010-06-04 10:45Brendan DeMelle
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Christopher Monckton Brings His Brand of Crazy To Bonn Climate Talks

Climate deniers often like to talk about “global warming profiteers,” some mysterious breed led by Al Gore who, so the story goes, are out to make the big bucks off scaring people about climate change.  But if there’s anyone making money off lying about global warming these days, it is “Lord” Christopher Monckton, who continues his globetrotting tour to hawk confusion and misinformation at the Bonn climate talks this month. 

Monckton led a “delegation” (nice attempt to sound official) from the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (C-FACT), a conservative think tank that has received money from Exxon, Chevron, and the Scaife and Carthage foundations.

Monckton and the C-FACT gang held a “seminar” in Bonn “on the use of the internet to provide ordinary people with fact and opinions that have received scant attention by much of the mainstream media.”

Thu, 2009-08-20 14:52Kevin Grandia
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Texas and New Mexico ‘Energy Citizens’ Events Are Really “Energy Employees” Rallies

Oil industry employees continued their ‘Energy Citizens’ tour today in conservative towns in New Mexico, after holding a “glorified company picnic” in Houston on Tuesday.  Local New Mexico blog FBIHOP reports that the API/NAM/Chamber of Commerce/FreedomWorks/Big Oil astroturf rallies will take place today in Roswell and tomorrow in Farmington - “they will hold their meetings before going out and claiming these were grassroots efforts.”

Wed, 2008-02-27 08:31Ross Gelbspan
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Alaskans Sue Oil, Coal Firms for "Conspiracy" to Hide Truth About Warming

Lawyers for the Alaska Native coastal village of Kivalina, which is being forced to relocate because of flooding caused by the changing Arctic climate, filed suit in federal court arguing that 5 oil companies, 14 electric utilities and the country’s largest coal company were responsible for the village’s woes.

The suit is the latest effort to hold companies like BP America, Chevron, Peabody Energy, Duke Energy and the Southern Company responsible for the impact of global warming…In an unusual move, those five companies and three other defendants — the Exxon Mobil Corporation, American Electric Power and the Conoco Phillips Company — are also accused of conspiracy.

“There has been a long campaign by power, coal and oil companies to mislead the public about the science of global warming,” the suit says

Mon, 2007-08-06 12:23Bill Miller
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U.S. energy bill clears House, but still faces White House opposition, Senate tussle

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed energy legislation that would extract $16 billion in annual subsidies from oil companies while supporting ‘clean’ energy sources like biofuels, wind, solar and geothermal. But the bill, opposed by President Bush, must be merged with Senate measures before it can become law.

Wed, 2006-11-01 11:58Sarah Pullman
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Sweetheart Chevron deal raises heat under Bush administration

The recent US Interior Department decision to drop claims against Chevron Corp. for unpaid natural gas revenues is a good illustration of how the rich get richer while exacerbating climate change. The department had ordered the company to pay $6 million in additional royalties for gas produced from federal property in the Gulf of Mexico, but could have sought tens-of-millions more had it prevailed.

The case involved Chevron’s accounting of natural gas sales to a company it partly owned. The decision likely sets a precedent for oil and gas companies to slash their royalty payments instead of having a portion of those revenues go to public health, environmental and citizen organizations for use in the battle against climate change. It also has renewed criticism the US government is reluctant to confront oil and gas companies and collect royalties – instead leaving more money in the hands of its cohorts in industry.

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