When the Environmental Protection Agency abandoned its multimillion-dollar investigation, which found strong evidence of fracking contamination of water resources in Wyoming in June, industry groups cheered, and environmentalists fumed.
-- by Nick Surgey and Brendan Fischer
The Center for Media and Democracy filed a complaint yesterday with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission alleging that Nebraska Senator Jim Smith, a major proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, failed to disclose significant travel expenses paid for by the Government of Alberta, Canada during Smith's participation in an "Oil Sands Academy" organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The trip was sponsored by the operator of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, which may raise additional concerns under the ethics and lobbying code.
In October 2012, nine U.S. state legislators went on an industry paid trip to explore the Alberta tar sands. Publicly described as an "ALEC Academy," documents obtained by CMD show the legislators were accompanied on a chartered flight by a gaggle of oil-industry lobbyists, were served lunch by Shell Oil, dinner by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and that the expenses of the trip were paid for by TransCanada and other corporations and groups with a direct financial interest in the Alberta tar sands and the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently adopted a "model" bill from an oil-industry lobby group, that would limit the ability of states to negotiate regional "low-carbon fuel standards" (LCFS), a mechanism designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. If agreed by states, LCFS could have a significant impact on the sale of fuels derived from Canadian tar sands in the United States, regardless of any decision the Obama administration makes over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) suffered a big defeat in North Carolina today when a bipartisan group of legislators killed a bill to repeal the state's Renewable Portfolio Standards, which require utilities provide a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources. ALEC typically operates in the dark but has expressed rare public support for the North Carolina effort.
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is centrally involved with pushing environmentally destructive legislation on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, today complained that "Earth Day has been a largely somber event" when it should be "a celebration of the wonderful achievements humankind has made in cleaning and greening the planet," wrote Todd Wynn, ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Director.
The cleanup is still underway from a massive pipeline spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, but you don't hear anything about it at public hearings across the nation dealing with the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline. Resolutions supporting the controversial KXL pipeline have now been introduced in seven states, but while TransCanada, the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Chamber of Commerce have been lobbying in force for the bills to pass, there have been few opposing voices by either Democrats or environmentalists at public hearings dealing on the measures. The massive pipeline project will transport tar sands crude oil from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries for processing and export and once underway, the project will be a major contributor to global warming.
Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, who made headlines in December for an unprovoked attack on Kwanzaa, has set his sights on another imagined enemy: renewable energy standards. Although Sen. Grothman's latest move is just as ridiculous as his past efforts, this one is part of a national effort backed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.
An estimated 40,000 rallied on a cold day in Washington, DC yesterday to urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline and destructive energy extraction practices, such as fracking.
In Tuesday's State of the Union, five days before what is anticipated to be the largest climate rally in the U.S. history, President Obama made his message on climate change clear: "For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change." After touting the nation's success in producing more oil and natural gas than ever before, Obama outlined an "all-of-the-above" plan which involves reducing pollution and speeding up the transition to sustainable energy, including wind and solar.