Crazy Environmental Politics News of the Week
Good (or crazy) environmental politics stories from the past week or so.
American Electric Power announced that it would close 21 coal fired electricity units rather than makes investments to reduce their toxic air pollution under the forthcoming EPA reduction requirements.
AEP is threatening to shut down these plants to stoke Congressional opposition to EPA’s efforts to reduce toxic air pollution from coal fired power plants. So far, several legislators have risen to the bait, including Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV). Both have again attacked EPA for attempting to protect children and others from cancer causing air pollution….
A Brazilian rancher supplying sugarcane to a joint venture partner of energy giant Shell has reportedly issued a death threat against a political opponent. José Teixeira, who is also a state deputy, is said to have recently warned a political rival that, ‘If it were up to me, you’d be under the ground.’…
The Tea Party congress hates new energy, hates the idea that the nation could be weaned off its oil dependence, or fossil fuels. They hate renewable energy because their primary sponsors in the fossil fuel industry want above all to slow progress on that front, and drag the nation back into the 19th century.
We’ve seen a number of examples of this over recent months, now the anti-science crusade continues. Lead by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), 9 members of congress have now asked for the closure of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO….
The countries that have made the smallest contribution to climate change may be doing the most to address it. That would be Robin Hood in reverse — compounding the fact that we are all reverse Robin Hoods, maintaining our wealthy lifestyles by robbing our children of a livable climate and truly sustainable wealth (see “Is the global economy a Ponzi scheme?“)
A new report from Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) finds that developing nations are on track to reduce emissions more than their industrialized counterparts….
While officials throughout the U.S. Department of Homeland Security scramble to deal with a torrent of extreme climate disasters, the Tea Party-controlled House of Representatives has voted to cripple their response. In a nearly party-line vote of 242 to 180 on Thursday, the House adopted an amendment by Rep. John Carter (R-TX) to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security from participating in the Obama administration’s Interagency Task Force on Climate Change Adaptation. Carter justified his amendment by saying DHS — which includes the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) — should focus on the Mexican border instead of “duplicating the work” of agencies that monitor climate change and greenhouse pollution….
The Koch Industries front group Americans for Prosperity is preparing a tour across America “aimed at trying to put the blame for high gas prices on the Obama administration.” The tour will feature multiple campaign-style rallies, a website, and radio and television advertisements. The tour will demand that Obama increase domestic drilling — even though domestic oil production is at an all time high and further drilling will do nothing to affect prices.
Koch’s relaunch of Drill Baby Drill appears to be a crass attempt to distract Americans from a true driver of high prices: oil speculation, coming from companies like Koch. In fact, a new ThinkProgress investigation of Koch’s oil speculation business reveals that Koch is perhaps the most important player in distorting oil markets for private profit….
Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL), a Tea Party freshman, staged a media event at a gas station to highlight high fuel prices and to call for more oil drilling. “We have the largest deposits of natural resources than any other country,” said Southerland. According to WJHG News, Southerland called for increased drilling “particularly in the Gulf of Mexico.” Last year, BP’s oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon rig caused tar to wash up on several Florida beaches, including the vacation areas of Destin Beach, an area now represented by Southerland….
It is now more than ten years since I left public office. I am returning to the public stage today because I believe that this Congress, in its assaults on our environment, has embarked on the most radical course in our history. Congress, led by the House of Representatives, has declared war on our land, water and natural resources.And it is time for those of us who support our conservation tradition to raise our voices on behalf of the American people….
That’s precisely what they’re trying to do, and they’re not shy about it. Earlier this week, I pointed out the Politico article that spells out exactly how the Tea Party-affiliated group Americans for Prosperity plans on pushing the message that Obama’s to blame forhigh gas prices. Republicans have already been pushing pro-drilling bills using the argument that the president’s policies have strangled oil output. Of course, that’s simply not the case, as Josh Nelson’s graph nicely illustrates….
Our guest blogger is long-time commenter Richard Brenne. He teaches a NASA-sponsored on-line Global Climate Change class and serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Committee to Improve Climate Change Communication. Most relevantly for this post, he’s an award-winning screenwriter. At the end, watch William Shatner’s hilarious dramatic reading of Palin’s tweets….
Like the rest of the nation — and the entire planet — the state of Kansas is suffering in our carbon-polluted climate. Most of Kansas is in moderate to severe drought. Southwestern Kansas has Dust Bowl conditions, crippling its wheat crop. On Gov. Sam Brownback’s request, the federal government declared a drought emergency for about half the state in May. Now Brownback is again asking the federal government to provide taxpayer money to help his state’s farmers in more of the state: