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Which part of the SOTU was written by the oil industry? [quiz]

2:35 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

America Honors Leaders Not Politicians -- End Global Warming
Test your BS meter with this one question quiz:

Which part of Obama’s State of the Union was written by the oil industry?

a) “America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades”
b) “natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.”
c) fracking for oil and gas can be “sustainable”
d) all of the above

The answer is literally, “all of the above.”

During his State of The Union speech, President Obama said:

The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

The phrase “all of the above,” which the president used in his 2012 State of the Union address as well, is the creation of the oil industry’s most powerful lobbying and public relations arm, the American Petroleum Institute (API). According to the New York Times, the phrase was introduced in 2000 by API to advocate for oil drilling. API’s position at the time was “that an effective national energy policy must, at a minimum, allow for all of the above.” API, proud of the hegemony of their ideas, actually predicted the president would champion the pro-fossil fuel message in this most recent State of the Union address, the day before the speech was given.

After The American Petroleum Institute debuted the phrase in 2000, it was quickly picked up by republicans with wells to drill. John Mccain made it a central part of his 2008 campaign for president. Republicans in the house and senate used it to promote offshore drilling. The former governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, now under federal indictment for corruption, listed the phrase on his campaign website.

ExxonMobil, the most profitable corporation in world history, continues to use the phrase in advertisements today.

This isn’t just etymological trivia. The use of oil industry talking points by the president indicates how ingrained and powerful the fossil fuel industry is in the U.S’s energy conversation.

It also casts a revealing light on other pro-fossil energy comments made by President Obama in the speech, like promoting “Energy Independence.” The idea is, if we allow oil and gas corporations to exploit our land and water to extract fossil fuels, it will benefit the average citizen by lowering energy prices and reducing dependence of “foreign” energy supplies. This is completely false, as Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil will tell you. The oil industry wants to sell it’s product on an open market, to the highest bidder, no matter who that is. Currently there are plans for 25 Liquified Natural Gas export terminals in the US, and the American Petroleum Institute is spending millions of dollars to undo a decades old law that prohibits the export of crude oil. As more oil and gas is drilled from American soil and water, more gas and oil will be exported. We will continue to import oil and other goods from around the world, regardless of how much drilling happens in the U.S.

Another energy myth promoted by the Obama administration and the fossil fuel industry is natural gas as a bridge fuel to renewable energy.

The truth is that gas is primarily comprised of methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas. Some scientists believe that methane could be up to 105 times as destabilizing to the global climate as carbon dioxide. When fully burned, gas releases less CO2 than coal or oil, but currently huge amounts of methane are escaping unburned into the atmosphere. An increase in spending on gas infrastructure, like pipelines, Liquified Natural Gas export terminals, or vehicle refueling stations, is not a bridge to renewable energy. It is the same old fossil fuel infrastructure that poses serious threats to the earth’s climate and local environments. The U.S doesn’t need more spending on fossil fuels, it needs a real commitment to renewable energy, efficiency, and cutting carbon pollution.

Originally posted to Greenpeace by Jesse Coleman

“Serious” environmentalists suggest fracking China

12:27 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Richard Muller, an University of California Berkeley physicist known for renouncing his climate change “skepticism”, has recently released a report that positions fracking as a cure for air pollution concerns, especially in China. The report claims that shale gas, accessed by the fracking process, is a “Wonderful gift that has arrived right on time.”

Chinese pollution

“Expert” claims fracking will fix China’s pollution problem.

The report comes as Muller, along with co-author and daughter Elizabeth, are starting a new venture called the China Shale Fund, which seeks to promote shale drilling and fracking in China. The third member of China Shale Fund is Marlan Downey, a longtime Shell executive who specializes in opening up oil and gas operations in developing countries. Downey currently serves on the board of Roxana, a shale gas drilling company and Berkeley Earth, the nonprofit by whom Richard and Elizabeth Muller are currently employed. Through his connections with Downey, Richard Muller has made several trips to meet with Shell in Texas, and has visited Shell’s drilling sites in China.

The Mullers’ article, titled “Why Every Serious Environmentalist Should Favour Fracking,” posits that fracking China’s shale would allow China to burn more natural gas. Muller claims this would decrease dangerous levels of air pollution caused by coal. Muller is specifically concerned about PM2.5, air pollutants that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs. PM2.5 is a serious and deadly problem in China and the developing world. However, Chinese energy experts like Greenpeace’s Lifeng Fang do not agree that burning fossil fuels like gas are a solution. In response to the Mullers’ paper, Lifeng Fang commented:

“Burning coal is the biggest source of air pollution in China, the country is still highly dependent on coal. China must stop the coal rush, by cutting excessive capacity from the steel and cement industries. Renewable Energy is the proven solution for China for sourcing clean energy without air pollution, CO2 emission and intensive water use. But, shale gas is not even the transition energy for China.”

People living near fracking operations would be surprised to learn that fracking was beneficial to air quality. In Colorado, the industry recently admitted that fracking caused serious air quality problems. In areas of Colorado with shale drilling and fracking, the air quality is as bad as Los Angeles, twice the level that federal regulators say should exist. Families in Colorado have been uprooted and forced to move from shale drilling areas because of health concerns. In fact, levels of PM2.5 have skyrocketed in Colorado, due to the tens of thousands of diesel tractor trailers necessary to service fracking sites. The Mullers never addresses this in the paper.

The Muller paper also gives schizophrenic answers to the problem of climate change. Muller oscillates from claiming that global warming is “a serious long term threat” and that gas “can help address the global warming issue” to claiming that gas “will not halt global warming.”

Studies on the greenhouse impact of methane, the primary component of gas, have shown it to be up to 105 times as powerful as CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Furthermore, scientists have theorized that fugitive emissions of methane from fracking wells could make gas worse than coal pollution for the climate. A study in the Uintah basin in Utah found gas wells leaking up to 60 tons of methane per hour. When the entire lifecycle of gas is taken in to account, including the gas used for chemical feedstocks, as a recent report by the Environmental Integrity Project has done, it becomes clear that shale gas and fracking pose serious threats to the climate system.

The Mullers’ paper calls the issue of fugitive emissions and their global warming impact “mistaken,” because methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as CO2. However, the Mullers do not address the fact that continued increases in shale drilling and fracking lead to expanding levels of methane loss, thereby providing a constant stream of methane into the atmosphere for years to come.

The report was commissioned by the Centre for Policy Studies, a think tank started by Margaret Thatcher and based in the United Kingdom. The Centre for Policy Studies, which is funded in part by tobacco corporations, is known for its conservative, pro industry politics. The Centre has been a key booster of fracking in the United Kingdom, where drilling has met with massive protests.

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Proposed fracking regs in Colorado, industry admits dangerous air pollution

4:20 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Gov. John Hickenlooper

With approval from major drilling and fracking companies, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has proposed a set of regulations to reduce pollution from methane and other dangerous gases leaked by the oil and gas industry. The rules are focused on fracking wells, a mostly unregulated drilling technology that has allowed an unprecedented increase in fossil fuel extraction in Colorado and across the nation.

The proposed regulations address a serious hazard posed by the massive growth of fracking in Colorado. There are over 51,000 fracking wells in Colorado, most of which have been drilled in the last four years. These wells, which produce both gas and oil, also leak gases like methane, the primary component of natural gas and a potent greenhouse gas. Methane is up to 105 times as powerful as carbon dioxide as a greenhouse pollutant. Scientists have theorized that fugitive emissions of methane from fracking wells could make gas worse than coal pollution for the climate.

Fracking wells also leak volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which cause asthma, cancer, and severe illness. Oil and gas emissions are the main source of volatile organic compounds in Colorado and the third-largest source of nitrogen oxides. There have been many reported cases of illness from fracking pollution in Colorado since the boom began, causing families to uproot for the sake of the health of their children.

Smog caused by fracking emissions have already sent toxic ozone readings soaring in what was once pristine Rocky Mountain habitat. Ozone-forming air pollution measured along the Colorado Front Range by scientists is up to twice the amount that government regulators have calculated should exist. The researchers pinpoint oil and gas development as the main source.

Studies of fugitive methane emissions from fracking have found astounding levels of pollution. A study form the Uinta basin in Utah, found massive methane leaks from fracking wells. In Uinta, wells were estimated to be leaking 60 tons of methane per hour.

The response from fracking groups to the new rules has been tepid. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a group which claims fracking can be done safely, helped create the proposed legislation. Fracking has grown increasingly controversial as people in shale areas feel the environmental and health impacts of the hundreds of thousands of wells drilled each year. In the debate over fracking, EDF has played the role of the pro-industry “environmental” group. They have partnered with the oil industry to produce a series of studies on the dangers of methane pollution from fracking. Their first study, which was published in September of 2013, found surprisingly low methane pollution from specific parts of the fracking process. However, the sampling of fracking wells used in the study was controlled by the gas corporations who owned them, and many of those involved in the study were later found to have significant ties to the gas industry. EDF is involved in a congruent partnership with the industry called the Center for Susdainable Shale Development (CSSD). As part of this group, which includes Shell, Chevron and other major gas industry players, EDF wouldgive fracking wells an environmental seal of approval, in the form of a CSSD Certification.

The biggest fracking lobbyist groups, who generally oppose all regulation of the industry, do not support the new rules. A spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute said the group hadn’t taken a position on the proposed regulationsColorado Petroleum Association president Stan Dempsey questioned the state’s authority and the need for new rules.

As the fracking industry tacitly admits by supporting this regulation, fracking poses a serious and as yet unmitigated danger to air quality. It is unknown when these regulations would take effect and given the number of wells already drilled in Colorado and the cost associated with retrofitting all of them, it is unclear if old wells will be required to adhere to the new rules. Air and water pollution from fracking is already impacting people throughout the United States, and if air quality is in danger from tracking in Colorado, it is in danger wherever fracking is occurring.

Senator James Inhofe gloats over Google funding, fundraises off protests

10:41 am in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to Polluterwatch

James Inhofe, the Senator from Oklahoma, is one of the most outspoken and bombastic deniers of climate change and attackers of science, bar none. He tried to criminally investigate 17 climate scientists whose emails were hacked and leaked. He “wrote” a “book” called The Greatest Hoax, about climate change. He compares the EPA to the Gestapo. He also receives a huge percentage of his campaign money from the fossil fuel sector. Most of the rest comes from arms manufacturers. James Inhofe is exactly the kind of politician that has stopped any meaningful action of climate change in the United States.

And Google just threw him a fundraiser at their Washington DC Lobbying Headquarters.

Google has made lots of promises along their rise to global dominance of the internet. One of them is their motto “don’t be evil.” Another is to do their part to head off climate change. To that end, Google has invested in data centers powered by renewable energy and publicly promoted solutions to global warming.  Google’s Executive Chairman has made strong statements against climate change science deniers, saying “You can hold back knowledge. You cannot prevent it from spreading. You can lie about the effects of climate change, but eventually you’ll be seen as a liar.”

That’s why more than 12,000 people signed a petition asking Google not to fund Senator Inhofe. And when Google decided to hold the fundraiser anyway, people gathered outside of Google’s DC office. Activists even made it in to Google’s office, to ask Google employees their thoughts on funding such an outspoken enemy of the environment.

Inhofe’s response?

To fund raise off “upsetting the environmentalists” and Google’s support. See Senator Inhofe’s gloating email.

This is why we can’t let corporations like Google and the enormous wealth that they bring with them to continue to support politicians like Inhofe. Sign this petition and tell Google to stop funding Inhofe’s climate change lies.

The only thing the coal industry recycles: PR talking points

5:15 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to Grist by Joe Smyth, Greenpeace media Officer

Can coal be cleaned before its burned?

Among the highlights of President Obama’s climate change speech was an explicit recognition that polluting industries and the members of Congress who do their bidding will oppose climate action with the same talking points they have used for decades to try and block clean air standards.

Now, what you will hear from the special interests and their allies in Congress is that this will kill jobs and crush the economy and basically end free enterprise as we know it. And the reason I know you’ll hear those things is because that’s what they’ve said every time America sets clear rules and better standards for our air and our water and our children’s health. And every time, they’ve been wrong.

For example, in 1970, when we decided, through the Clean Air Act, to do something about the smog that was choking our cities — and by the way, most young people here aren’t old enough to remember what it was like, but you know, when I was going to school in 1979, 1980 in Los Angeles, there were days where folks couldn’t go outside. And the sunsets were spectacular — (laughter) — because — because of all the pollution in the air. But at the time when we passed the Clean Air Act to try to get rid of some of this smog, some of the same doomsayers were saying, new pollution standards will decimate the auto industry. Guess what? Didn’t happen. Our air got cleaner.

In 1990, when we decided to do something about acid rain, they said our electricity bills would go up; the lights would go off; businesses around the country would suffer, I quote, “a quiet death.”

None of it happened, except we cut acid rain dramatically. The problem with all these tired excuses for inaction is that it suggests a fundamental lack of faith in American business and American ingenuity.

These dishonest industry attacks on clean air rules over the decades have taken many forms, from lobbying to public relations efforts. But a primary tactic for these efforts has been, and remains, well funded advertising campaigns. A collection of some of these ads highlights the pattern of scare tactics used by the coal industry to try and limit regulation since the 1970s.

In reality, these industry attack ads are more about spooking politicians in Washington DC than actually convincing voters – that’s why they show up so frequently in newspapers read on Capitol Hill, and at Metro stations and billboards in DC. In fact, the coal industry itself recognizes that its advertising efforts during the 2012 election failed to sway voters, as the National Mining Association’s Luke Popovich admitted:

Anyway, ‘war on coal’ never resonated with much conviction among ordinary Americans. For them, the EPA keeps the air and water clean, their kids safe.

It’s not surprising that Americans aren’t buying the coal industry’s PR – after all, polls show that most Americans don’t want more coal power, while huge majorities favor increased development of clean energy like wind and solar. To try and get around this, the coal industry runs much of its PR efforts through front groups with misleading names. For example, the claim that Obama mentioned, that businesses would suffer “a quiet death,” came from an industry group formed to fight the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments called the “Clean Air Working Group.” Today, the “American Coalition of Clean Coal Electricity” (ACCCE) leads the coal industry’s advertising efforts, while the “Electric Reliability Coordinating Council” lobbies against clean air rules on behalf of Arch Coal and a few coal heavy utilities. In the Pacific Northwest, where the coal industry hopes to build export terminals to ship taxpayer owned coal to Asia, the coal industry uses Edelman, the world’s largest PR firm, to push its agenda under a front group called the “Alliance for Northwest Jobs and Exports.” And again, despite the millions they’ve spent on ads, opposition to coal export proposals is growing.

The coal industry remains entrenched in the halls of Congress and K street lobby firms, and we can expect more of the same old tactics from this desperate industry as carbon pollution limits move forward, and communities continue to organize against coal plants and export proposals. And while their ads might be a little more sophisticated than in the past, it’s increasingly clear that its PR efforts still aren’t swaying many people outside Washington DC.

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Four Spills in One Week: Exxon’s Tar Sands Spill not an Isolated Incident

1:04 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to PolluterWatch

Cleanup crew wearing yellow jumpsuits

Cleanup crew in Mayflower, Arkansas. The Mayflower spill was just one of several recent environmental disasters.

As many people who watch the oil industry know, oil spills are not avoidable, preventable, or unlikely. From extraction to combustion, oil is a destructive and dirty business, based on sacrificing the health of environments and peoples for corporate profits.

This fact was especially evident last week, when Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline spilled over 150,000 gallons of toxic tar sands crude oil into Lake Conway and adjoining neighborhoods in Mayflower, Arkansas.

However, Exxon’s Mayflower spill is not an isolated incident. In fact, there were three other significant oil spills that occurred last week.

The spills, which were the result of both train derailments and pipeline ruptures, spilled many hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic crude oil in and around neighborhoods, marshes, and rivers.

March 26 – Train Derailment in Minnesota – 30,000 gallons of crude oil spilled

Last week’s cacophony of oil industry irresponsibility began with a train derailment in Minnesota, which spilled 30,000 gallons of crude oil. The oil was from Canada which has become a top exporter of crude to the United States because of their exploitation of the tar sands in Alberta.

In a fit of ill-timed opportunism, supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would pump tar sands oil from Canada to the gulf coast, used this this spill as a justification for building the tar sands pipeline. A spokesman for North Dakota Senator John Hoeven, who has been one of the chief political proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, had this to say:

“It should be clear that we need to move more oil by pipeline rather than by rail or truck…This is why we need the Keystone XL. Pipelines are both safe and efficient.”

March, 29 – Lake Conoway, Arkansas - 156,000 gallons of tar sands crude oil spilled

In an incident that should make anyone question the “safety and efficiency” of oil pipelines, Exxon’s Pegasus Pipeline spilled 157,000 gallons of tar sands crude into Lake Conway and surrounding neighborhoods in Arkansas. Since the spill, Exxon has limited press access to the spill site, oiled animals, and even the skies above the spill area. Exxon has even claimed that Lake Conway has been unaffected by the oil spill, though Arkansas Attorney General Dustin Mcdaniel has set that particular record straight.

“Of course there’s oil in Lake Conway”

Mcdaniels said.

April, 3 – Houston, Texas – 30,000 gallons of crude oil spilled

Four days after Exxon’s Pegasus pipeline ruptured and seven days after Keystone XL pipeline proponents claimed “pipelines are both safe and efficient,” a Shell pipeline running through a bayou outside of Houston spilled 30,000 gallons of oil into the Texas marsh. The actual amount of oil spilled by Shell’s West Columbia Pipeline is still unknown, as the cause of the leak has not been released by Shell.

April, 3 – White River, Ontario – 16,642 gallons of crude oil spilled

At the same time that Shell was spewing oil into the wetlands of Texas, a train derailment in White River, Ontario was leaking oil in Canada. Most people know White River as the original home of Winnie the Pooh, but it is also a major train depot for shipping crude oil. The company responsible claimed that 4 barrels of oil were spilled, though the actual number turned out to be 10 times larger, at 400 barrels. That’s 16,642 gallons of toxic crude oil. Sorry Winnie.

As the oil industry proved this week, they are incapable of protecting people and the environment from their product. As Micheal Brune of Sierra Club said:

“In Ontario, the company said it spilled four barrels when it had actually spilled 400. In Arkansas, Exxon learned about the spill from a homeowner but kept pumping tar sands crude into the neighborhood for 45 minutes, and is bullying reporters who want to tell the public what’s going on. In Texas, a major oil spill came to light that Shell had been denying for days. Transporting toxic crude oil — and tar sands in particular — is inherently dangerous, more so because oil companies care about profit, not public safety. This is why Keystone XL, at nine times the size of the Arkansas Pegasus pipeline, must never be built.”

If built, the Keystone XL pipeline will spill. Stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Congressman and climate denier Chris Stewart faces the facts on climate change

2:05 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT) is the chair of the subcommittee on the environment, the congressional group in charge of the EPA, climate change research, and “all activities related to climate.” It is therefore extremely troubling that Stewart denies the basic findings of climate science. Stewart has said that he is “not convinced” that climate change is a threat, despite the fact that the EPA, NOAA, and all of the climate science and scientists that he now oversees, disagree with him. In fact 98% of actual climate scientists disagree with his views on climate science.

At a recent town hall meeting, a group of activists confronted Stewart on his ill-informed views on climate science. The activists, working with the group Forecast the Facts, presented Stewart with a 17,000 signature petition demanding “the Chairman of the Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment stop using his seat to promote climate denialism.” They also held up banners reading “Believe It Or Not Climate Change Is Not Going Away,” “97% of Say Climate Change is Human Caused. We Trust Them,” and “Stewart Denies While Utah Burns.”

The group of activists included high school student Sara Ma. “Many people think climate change is a future problem for my generation to solve later, but it’s not. The data shows that it is here, it’s happening and it has a cost,” said Ma, a 17-year-old senior at West High School. Utahns are particularly upset by Stewart’s ignorance on climate issues due to the record wildfire season they endured last year.  Wildfires did over $50 million dollars in damage to Utah in 2012.

Stewart’s climate denial is made more suspicious by his close ties to carbon polluting industries. His brother and campaign manager, Tim Stewart, is a Washington, DC lobbyist for fossil fuel corporations.  In addition, he has received more campaign donations from oil and gas companies than any other single source.

See more pictures from the confrontation with climate science denier Chris Stewart

Keystone XL Coverup: Department of State Hides Oil Industry Connections

5:38 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

originally posted to PolluterWatch

Keystone XL Pipeline Protest at White House

Keystone XL Pipeline Protest at White House

Mother Jones Magazine has uncovered a new twist in the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline. As it turns out, the authors who drafted the environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline worked for Transcanada, Koch Industries, Shell Oil, and other oil corporations that stand to benefit from building the Keystone XL. Not only did the State Department know about these conflicts of interest, they redacted this information from public filings in attempt to conceal the truth.

For background, the Keystone XL is a proposed oil pipeline that would ship sour crude oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf coast of Texas. The oil would then be refined and shipped abroad.

In order to build the pipeline, Transcanada, the company who proposed Keystone XL, must get the OK from the State Department. The State Department bases its decision on whether or not to approve the pipeline on an environmental review, conducted by a third party group overseen by the State Department and paid for by Transcanada.

This review, called the “draft supplemental environmental impact statement” was released earlier this month.  It has been widely criticized as downplaying the impact that building Keystone XL will have on the climate, and all but paving the way for approval for the project.

The review was conducted by a company called Environmental Resources Management (ERM). When ERM released its review of Keystone, it also released a 55 page filing claiming that there was no conflicts of interest in writing the report. However, the State Department redacted information from this filing, including the biographies of key experts involved in writing the report.

According to Mother Jones, those redactions were meant to keep ties between the report authors and Transanada a secret from the public. Here is what the State Department was covering up:

  • ERM’s second-in-command on the Keystone report, Andrew Bielakowski, had worked on three previous pipeline projects for TransCanada over seven years as an outside consultant. He also consulted on projects for ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips, three of the Big Five oil companies that could benefit from the Keystone XL project and increased extraction of heavy crude oil taken from the Canadian tar sands.
  • Another ERM employee who contributed to State’s Keystone report—and whose prior work history was also redacted—previously worked for Shell Oil;
  • A third worked as a consultant for Koch Gateway Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Shell and Koch* have a significant financial interest in the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. ERM itself has worked for Chevron, which has invested in Canadian tar sands extraction, according to its website.

However, this is not the first time that the State Department has been criticized for conflicts of interests involving TransCanada and Keystone XL.

From Mother Jones:

In October 2011, Obama’s reelection campaign hired Broderick Johnson, who had previously lobbied in favor of Keystone, as a senior adviser. Emails obtained by Friends of the Earth, an environmental group that opposes the Keystone pipeline, revealed a cozy relationship between TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliott and Marja Verloop, an official at the US Embassy in Canada whose portfolio covers the Keystone project. Before he lobbied for TransCanada, Elliott worked as deputy campaign manager on Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. Clinton served as secretary of state until recently.

The question is, how can the State Department get away with routinely ignoring or burying connections between the oil industry and regulators responsible for Keystone XL?
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Chris Stewart, climate science denier, now chair of congressional climate change science committee

3:33 pm in Uncategorized by Jcoleman

Originally posted to PolluterWatch

Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart is a climate change denier, newly elected to the house committee on science.

Chris Stewart, a republican from Utah, was recently appointed Chair of the House subcommittee on Science.

This means that Congressman Stewart now has dominion over the EPA, climate change research, and “all activities related to climate.” According to the House Science Committees website, the chair of the energy subcommittee oversees:

“all matters relating to environmental research; Environmental Protection Agency research and development; environmental standards; climate change research and development; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including all activities related to weather, weather services, climate, the atmosphere, marine fisheries, and oceanic research;…”

Unfortunately for the EPA, NOAA, and anyone worried about climate change, Chris Stewart is a climate science denier. Mr. Stewart believes there is “insufficient science” to determine if climate change is caused by humans. He believes this in spite of the fact that the EPA, NOAA, and all experts in the field (which he now oversees), disagrees with him.

For the record, Chris Stewart has no advanced degrees in science. However, before running for congress he was owner and CEO of Shipley Group, a company that trains government workers on environmental issues. Shipley Group actually runs a training on climate change science, and according to the Shipley Group website “Upon completion of the workshop, participants will be able to understand basic climate change science.” Clearly Mr. Stewart has never taken his company’s training.

Ties to Fossil Fuels

Though Stewart seems to ignore climate change science (while his company profits by teaching it), he does not ignore the fossil fuel industry. In fact he is quite sympathetic to the plight of oil and gas companies. His campaign website claims:

“I am the CEO of a company that works extensively with independent energy producers. I understand how difficult it is to get a drilling permit on federal lands. It is painfully slow, incoherently arbitrary, and always expensive.”

Stewart’s “extensive” knowledge of the fossil fuel industry is not a surprise.  His brother, Tim Stewart is a lobbyist for American Capitol Group, a washington DC lobbying firm. American capitol Group lobbies for fossil Fuel interests, like the Western Energy Alliance, a group mainly comprised of fracking and oil companies. Tim Stewart also lobbied for EnergyNorthAmerica, a company he cofounded to lobby for the Fossil Fuel Industry. One EnergyNorthAmerica slide presentation reads:

“The fact that fossil energy and mining are viewed by political “elites” with disfavor, a view driven by acolytes of radical environmentalism, has resulted in damaging laws and regulation and general neglect”

Unsurprisingly, the fossil fuel industry does not ignore Chris Stewart either. One of Stewart’s books (which were published and praised by Glenn Beck), is recommended reading at Koch Industries.  Stewart received the maximum possible campaign contribution from ExxonMobil and Koch Industries during his last campaign. He also received considerable support from several Koch and Exxon funded SuperPACs. All told, he received more funding from dirty energy companies and their superPACs than any other single source.

See Chris Stewart’s PolluterWatch profile for more information.

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