By Coral Davenport, February 26, 2014. Source: New York Times
Obama spoke at the TransCanada Stillwater pipe yard in Cushing, Oklahoma about the Keystone XL pipeline and his energy policies on March 22, 2012. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images.
WASHINGTON — A State Department contractor who prepared an environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline did not violate conflict-of-interest rules, even though the contractor had previously done work for TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, a State Department inspector general’s investigation concluded on Wednesday.
The results of the investigation could further pave the way for the Obama administration to approve the 1,700-mile, $5.4 billion pipeline, which would move oil from forest in Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline has become a critical cause to environmentalists, who view President Obama’s ultimate decision as a reflection of his commitment to fight climate change. They have rallied, protested and been arrested by the thousands in an effort to pressure him to reject the project.
Supporters of the pipeline, particularly Republicans and the fossil fuel industry, hailed the new report, saying it further strengthened their case.
“Another day and another government report that finds no reason to continue blocking this common-sense, job-creating project,” Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, said in an email. “It’s long past time the president stop pandering to his extremist allies and just approve it so we can get people back to work.” Continue reading
Anne Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, discusses President Obama’s comments on energy and climate change in Wednesday’s State of the Union address.
You can read Anne’s blog post on the SOTU address here.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show on KPFK radio for a weekly Earth Minute and Earth Watch interview.
by Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project
During Obama’s State of the Union address last night the presence of the star of the reality TV show Duck Dynasty might have been the most real part of a very surreal evening.
Of particular note were Obama’s comments on energy and climate change.
While the US Southeast was being hammered by a highly unusual winter storm which stranded thousands in the metro Atlanta area, (no, this does not disprove climate change you nitwits, climate scientists have warned for years that a warming globe means extreme and unpredictable weather) Obama was proclaiming a desire to address climate change so that “when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, [we can say] yes we did.”
This sounds wonderful until we consider the “all of the above” energy strategy Obama touted earlier in the speech, which gives a nod to some of the dirtiest, most polluting and destructive energy sources. It includes shale oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota–the gas flares of which can be seen from space. This shale oil is so extremely volatile that in the past year two trains carrying bakken oil have exploded. It means more coal; it means more deep water offshore drilling of the type that caused the BP oil spill disaster. It means more nukes, even in the shadow of the ongoing catastrophe at Fukushima. And it means more fracking. Obama made a big show of his support for natural gas “if extracted safely,” which it is not.
Obama spent exactly one paragraph on climate change. He declared it a fact. That anyone even needs to do that in this day and age, decades after global warming was identified as a problem, after the Northeast US was smashed by not one but two hurricanes in two consecutive years, after Super-Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, after the record droughts in Australia, Africa and the US Midwest–to name just a few climate-related catastrophes of the past 8 years–is astounding. However, climate change is not only a fact. In my opinion it is the single greatest threat to future generations of humans and most other species. Yet it merited only a passing mention. One paragraph out of a 13 page speech.
Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Oil, Political Repression, Politics, Pollution, Posts from Anne Petermann
In commemoration of the day former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave to the notorious neoliberal economic pioneer Milton Friedman, we offer this video from the Biotic Baking Brigade. The BBB became famous for its targeted use of the tactic of pieing corporate and economic criminals.
The video is especially timely as a retort to President Obama’s State of the Union address, which incessantly emphasized the need to grow the economy in the face of escalating crises around the planet–which are directly connected to the Capitalist obsession with growth at any cost.
Enjoy! –The GJEP Team
Note: Watch the video here
-The GJEP Team
September 27, 2013. Source: RT
In his dramatic speech in New York, Bolivian President Evo Morales called for the UN to be moved out of the US and for Barack Obama to be tried for crimes against humanity. Speaking to RT, Morales explained his controversial proposals.
In his most controversial demand, Morales said that Obama should face an international trial with human rights watchdogs among the judges. The Bolivian president accused his US counterpart of instigating conflicts in the Middle East to make the region more volatile and to increase the US’s grip on the natural resources it abounds in. He gave Libya as an example of a country where “they arranged for the president to be killed, and they usurped Libya’s oil.”
“Now they are funding the rebels that fight against presidents who don’t support capitalism or imperialism,” Morales told Eva Golinger of RT’s Spanish sister channel, Actualidad. “And where a coup d’état is impossible, they seek to divide the people in order to weaken the nation – a provocation designed to trigger an intervention by peacekeeping forces, NATO, the UN Security Council. But the intervention itself is meant to get hold of oil resources and gain geopolitical control, rather than enforce respect for human rights.”
September 18, 2013. Source: Not 1 More Deportation
This morning seven undocumented migrants from across the country handcuffed themselves to the White House fence to push forward the demand the President stop deportations and tell him they won’t take ‘no’ for an answer despite his comments to Telemundo last night.
“The only ‘no’ we’ll accept, is no more deportations,” explained Tomas Martinez, a member of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights (GLAHR). “The President can’t deny he has the power and the responsibility to stop deportations. We’re being told to wait for reform but waiting is not an option when 1,200 of us are being deported each day?”
During the dramatic protest, the group announced plans for additional civil disobedience in Arizona next month. Maria Cruz Ramirez of Phoenix, Arizona shared, “When our community loses its fear, we’re capable of anything. My children have taught me that. Until the President stops deportations, we will begin to stop them ourselves. What other option do we have? What would you do if ICE came to take your loved one away?”
Watch the livestream here: http://www.notonemoredeportation.com/2013/09/18/white-house-handcuffed/
Note: The following investigative piece by Steve Horn highlights the importance of supporting frontline struggles to shut down oil and gas extraction at the source. While fights to stop new pipeline construction are important pieces of a broader strategy to end oil and gas development, the grassroots environmental movement will be caught in an endless game of whack-a-mole if the source of the pipelines – the tar sands, the Bakken, and various shale deposits across the continent – continues to flow.
On the Keystone XL, it is clear that Obama is talking out of both sides of his mouth. What is even more apparent – and troubling – is that when it comes to extraction, Obama is all straight talk. Obama’s mantra is the same as his predecessor’s: drill baby, drill.
It is up to grassroots environmental movement, led by frontline communities, to fight to keep the oil in the soil, no matter what it takes.
-The GJEP Team
By Steve Horn, September 7, 2013. Source: Mint Press News
While President Obama made a big deal out of delaying the northern half of the Keystone pipeline’s construction, he compensated by signing an executive order to expedite similar infrastructure projects everywhere else. Photo: Matt Wansley via Flickr
Large segments of the environmental movement declared a win on Jan. 18, 2012, the dawn of an election year in which partisan fervor reigned supreme.
On that day President Barack Obama kicked the can down the road for permitting TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline’s northern half until after the then-forthcoming November 2012 presidential election.
“Northern half” is the key caveat: just two months later, on March 22, 2012 – even deeper into the weeds of an election year – President Obama issued Executive Order 13604. Among other key things, the order has an accompanying memorandum calling for an expedited review of the southern half of Keystone XL stretching from Cushing, Okla. to Port Arthur, Texas.
The day before, March 21, Obama flew on Air Force One to a pipe yard in Cushing – the “pipeline crossroads of the world” – for a special stump speech and photo-op announcing the executive order and memorandum.
Dubbed the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project by TransCanada – 95 percent complete and “open for business” in the first quarter of 2014 – the 485-mile tube will ship 700,000 barrels of tar sands crude per day from Cushing to Port Arthur, where it will then reach Gulf Coast refineries and be exported to the global market. It will eventually have the capacity to ship 830,000 barrels per day.
By Steve Horn, July 29, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
A must-read Los Angeles Times story by Neela Banerjee demonstrates that – once again – the Obama administration put the kibosh on a key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study on hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) groundwater contamination, this time in Dimock, Pennsylvania.
Though EPA said Dimock’s water wasn’t contaminated by fracking in a 2012 election year desk statement, internal documents obtained by LA Times reporter Neela Banerjee show regional EPA staff members saying the exact opposite among friends.
“In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation…staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production,” writes Banerjee.
“The presentation, based on data collected over 4 1/2 years at 11 wells around Dimock, concluded that ‘methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality.’ The presentation also concluded that ‘methane is at significantly higher concentrations in the aquifers after gas drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking [hydraulic fracturing] and other gas well work,” Banerjee further explained.
Note: Of course, by ‘unlikely ally’ we mean a crucial investor in new fracking wells, coal and gas exports, and dangerous, unproven false solutions like Carbon Capture and Storage.
A joint climate strategy between China and the US, including CCS, increased gas burning and more industrial manufacturing, surely represents the ultimate totalitarian economic regime needed to force the Green Economy on communities across the world. Not to mention the below article appears to be written in Newspeak: China and the US seriously addressing climate change…together? Is anyone paying attention anymore?
-The GJEP Team
By Josh Lederman, July 21, 2013. Source: The Japan Times
Dirty job: Chinese workers clean up the heavily polluted Nanming River in Guiyang, Guizhou province, last November. China has long been perceived globally as an unabashed polluter, but has recently started to change its tone. Photo: AFP-JIJI
President Barack Obama has stumbled on an unusual partner in his quest to combat climate change: China.
The world’s two biggest emitters of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are finding common cause in efforts to reduce global warming, cooperation the U.S. says could clear the way for other developing, heavily polluting nations such as India and Brazil to get on board, too.
While skeptics question whether either nation will follow through on lofty aspirations, the budding agreements are nevertheless allowing the two rivals to present a positive front at a time when tensions are running high over espionage, alleged cybertheft and fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Earlier this month, top American and Chinese officials announced new joint initiatives, including cutting emissions from heavy-duty vehicles and upping the energy efficiency of buildings, transport and industry.
They also agreed to team up on large-scale experiments with “carbon capture” — a technology that isolates carbon dioxide from power plant emissions so it can be safely stored.
By Steve Horn, July 8, 2013. Source: DeSmog Blog
The State Department’s decision to hand over control to the oil industry to evaluate its own environmental performance on the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline has led to a colossal oversight.
Neither Secretary of State John Kerry nor President Barack Obama could tell you the exact route that the pipeline would travel through countless neighborhoods, farms, waterways and scenic areas between Alberta’s tar sands and oil refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
A letter from the State Department denying an information request to a California man confirms that the exact route of the Keystone XL export pipeline remains a mystery, as DeSmog recently revealed.
Generic maps exist on both the State Department and TransCanada websites, but maps with precise GIS data remain the proprietary information of TransCanada and its chosen oil industry contractors.