Vancouver city council’s unanimous decision to commit to running on 100 per cent renewable energy...
In what is becoming an annual tradition, Republican Representative Paul Ryan has put forth his budget plan for the coming fiscal year. Ryan’s previous budget proposals were approved by the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, but rejected along party lines in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
Not unlike his previous budget plans, the new Ryan budget would be a disaster for the environment. In addition to cuts to crucial environmental and health programs, the budget would mandate immediate approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Like other proponents of the pipeline, Ryan cites the “large” numbers of American jobs that would be created by the construction and maintenance of Keystone XL. However, the massive job boon from Keystone is an industry myth, as reports – even those from TransCanada – show that the pipeline would only create a few thousand permanent jobs, so few that it would have almost zero impact on the unemployment rate in America. Ryan claims that the pipeline will bring at least 20,000 new jobs to America, and an additional 118,000 in indirect jobs. The State Department says that, in the end, only 35 new jobs would be created from the pipeline.
As Ben Geman at The Hill points out, the inclusion of Keystone XL shows how entrenched the modern Republican Party has become with the oil industry, and how essential the pipeline is in the Party’s negotiations with Democrats.
While politicians in America have been slow to react to both the threat of climate change and the need for expanded renewable energy resources, the American public has made their priorities clear: Give us clean energy that protects our health, our environment, and our resources.
According to a new poll conducted by ORC International for The Civil Society Institute and the Environmental Working Group, strong majorities of Americans from both ends of the political spectrum believe that Congress should take public health and safety measures into consideration before giving a blank check for production to the dirty energy industry.
Among the major findings of the survey:
According to a Federal Election Commission complaint filed by the Democratic Party of Ohio, employees for coal mining company Murray Energy have been coerced by their bosses into not only voting Republican, but also helping to fund Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
From Eric Dolan of Raw Story:
Two Murray Energy managerial sources told The New Republic that the company pressures employees into giving money to the Murray Energy political action committee (PAC) and to Republican candidates. In addition, internal documents revealed that the company tracks which employees are and are not making contributions. Employees of the company allegedly fear that if they do not make the political contributions and attend fundraisers, they will face repercussions including demotions and being refused bonuses.
This is the second time that a FEC complaint has been filed against Murray Energy. The first occurred last month when Progress Ohio filed a complaint against Murray for allegedly forcing employees to attend a Romney rally in August of this year.
Jim Talent, a former Republican Senator and one of Mitt Romney’s top campaign advisors, has played an instrumental role in the Romney camp’s positions on energy. Specifically, Talent has pushed for greater consumption and mining of coal to meet America’s energy needs.
What the campaign failed to mention is that the lobbying firm that Talent is still on the payroll with lists one of the largest coal-producing companies in the country as one of its top clients.
And although Talent is not registered as a lobbyist in Washington, D.C. (thereby making it illegal for him to engage in lobbying activities,) his website clearly states that “lobbying” is one of the services he is able to personally provide for clients.
David Halperin has the story at Republic Report:
Republican Wyoming governor Matt Mead has some advice for the U.S. Interior Department: Back off your fracking rules.
Governor Mead was responding to a recent proposal by the Interior Department that would require energy companies who are fracking in the United States to disclose the chemical cocktails that they are pumping into the ground, posing a threat to our water supplies. Thanks to a law known as the “Halliburton Loophole,” these chemicals are currently protected as an “industry secret,” and therefore do not have to be revealed to the public.
Governor Mead says that the requirement is “duplicative” and “unnecessary,” as Wyoming already has laws on the books that require energy companies to disclose which chemicals they are using in their fracking fluid. Mead believes that the federal government should let the states take the lead and enact their own laws regarding fracking. Wyoming was the first state in the nation to require disclosure from fracking companies, and Mead believes that other states will follow Wyoming’s lead on the issue.
While Wyoming’s disclosure law appears to be a positive step on paper, it has completely fallen apart when put into practice. EarthJustice says that the state has already granted more than 50 waivers to energy companies so they can still keep certain ingredients a secret from the public. That’s hardly a step in the right direction.
Now that the Democratic convention is underway, and the Republican convention is history, both parties have released their respective “party platforms” for 2012, and both are bad news for the environment.
The Republican platform is exactly what we might expect from a party whose representatives have called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a “a job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices.” In their entire stated party platform, the phrase “climate change” only appears one time, and that mention is only to criticize President Obama’s (and other prominent leaders’) claims that climate change is a threat to our national security.
Their platform specifically calls for an “all of the above” energy approach, which primarily means dependence on fossil fuels. Here is what they say:
Over the next few days, Republican lawmakers, Party officials, delegates, and supporters will gather in Tampa, Florida for the Republican National Convention. During their weeklong convention, we can expect to hear a lot of debunked talking points, particularly about the need to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
For more than a year, Republican lawmakers in the U.S. have been pushing for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, while completely ignoring the environmental risks that would come along with the plan to pipe dangerous DilBit from the Alberta tar sands south to the Gulf Coast.
In addition to ignoring the risks, Republicans have vastly overstated the alleged “benefits” of the pipeline, which they claim would create thousands of jobs, lower energy prices, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. That last claim is ironic, as the pipeline would carry foreign fuel from Canada, already the largest exporter of fuel to the U.S. Americans certainly love Canada as a neighbor, but it's still technically a foreign country and its ultimate goal is to reach foreign markets in Asia and elsewhere, not the United States.
Bold Nebraska has compiled a list of the possible topic areas to be discusses regarding the pipeline, as well as the truth about the consequences of the pipeline. Here are some of the talking points they are expecting, as well as the fact-based counter arguments:
About the only positive thing you can say about industry-funded astroturf groups is that they at least base their misinformation campaigns on phony “studies” and “reports.” Their lies are based on SOMETHING.
The same cannot be said of Republican Ohio Governor John Kasich, who has come up with a whopper based on absolutely nothing. Kasich recently told the press that his state of Ohio is sitting on top of $1 trillion worth of natural gas that’s just ripe for fracking.
Obviously, this would be quite an economic boom for not just Ohio, but the entire United States. The only problem is that, again, Kasich isn’t basing his estimate on any studies, reports, documents, surveys, or anything even remotely credible. It appears that Kasich is telling reporters that this trillion dollar bonanza number is what he overheard from members of the natural gas industry.
With July 2012 officially behind us, the U.S. jobs report for the month has economists and politicians concerned about the employment situation in America. And even though the economy added 163,000 jobs (economists had predicted only 100,000 jobs to be added for July,) the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate both crept slightly upwards. And with national elections coming up in three months, poor jobs numbers could be bad for our health.
If history is any indicator, Conservative politicians and think tanks will use last month’s poor jobs report in an attempt to provide massive giveaways to their friends in the dirty energy industry. They attempted the same thing after below-average job growth in May of this year, claiming that approval of the Keystone XL pipeline would be the job boon that Americans desperately need.
But Republicans in Washington didn’t wait for a bad jobs report before they started planning their dirty energy bonanza, but its likely they will use it as a catalyst to gain more support for their disastrous plans.
In mid June of this year, Republicans on the “House Energy Action Team” (HEAT) proposed a set of bills that would destroy many of the safeguards that are currently in place to protect our environment and our personal health in order to make things “easier” for businesses to create jobs without worrying about those pesky safety standards. What the package of legislation is really about is repaying HEAT members’ financiers from the dirty energy industry who stand to save a ton of cash by destroying regulations.
The legislation package would remove many current existing safeguards for environmental and public health until the unemployment rate drops below 6%, a rate that hasn’t been seen since July 2008, when it was 5.8%. Since that month four years ago, the rate has stayed consistently above 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.