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Author Topic: Fossil Fuels: Degraded Democracy and Profit Over Planet Pollution  (Read 7072 times)

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AGelbert

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Fracking Rule Text Disappears From Interior Department Website 

SNIPPET:

Also removed was text within a section on the Interior Department's hydraulic fracturing rule, Obama's primary attempt to limit the impacts of the controversial oil and gas extraction method. The page still notes that the rule exists but it no longer describes what it does.

The deleted text stated that the regulation was meant "to ensure that when operations are undertaken on lands where a BLM permit is required, steps are taken to ensure wellbore integrity, proper waste water management and greater transparency about the process, including information about the composition of fracturing fluids."

http://www.ecowatch.com/fracking-rule-disappears-blm-2263527541.html





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AGelbert

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Agelbert NOTE: The Fossil Fuel Crooks and Liars Front Man (Pruitt for the castration of the EPA) has now been rushed through the Senate to ensure that the he is IN before the e-mails from his Fossil Fuel partners in crime are made public next Tuesday (Court Order of an Oklahoma Judge). This Senate move is the latest bit of in-your-face corruption on behalf of the polluters.

 

DENIER ROUNDUP
Senate Debates and Likely Confirms Pruitt for EPA Admin. Next Up, Red Queen for Head of Neurology;)

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealingwax, of cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings.”


...

“O Oysters,” said the Carpenter, “You’ve had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?” But answer came there none-- and this was scarcely odd, because they’d eaten every one.” 

A little over two months after the Walrus nominated the Carpenter to disassemble the EPA, it looks like finally, the time has come. Barring something truly frabjous, the Senate will confirm Scott Pruitt as Administrator of the agency he has sued 14 times. His nom comes despite the fact that he appears to have lied under oathabout his (lack of) action as Oklahoma Attorney General to fight pollution.

 Suffice to say that the oysters of the EPA, generally happy as clams to fight pollution, are none too pleased about new leadership. Nearly 800 former EPA employees signed a letter to the Senate in opposition to Pruitt and are otherwise protesting and calling their senators.

 In addition to rolling back regulations to safeguard the sea becoming boiling hot (okay maybe not literally boiling, but perhaps oxygen-less…), what else are they worried about?

 For one, there’s the return of David Schnare, former lawyer and analyst at the EPA. Marianne Lavelle at InsideClimate News’s feature on Schnare provides a window into the staffing decisions being made by whatever Cheshire cat is calling Trump’s shots at this point. Once an EPA oyster but now quite rotten, Schnare’s more recent work has been misleading courts to get climate scientists’ emails on behalf of coal-funded EELI.

 Speaking of emails, as the Senate was “debating” Pruitt’s nomination yesterday, a judge ruled that Pruitt’s correspondence with industry and lobby groups have to be turned over either to the Center on Media and Democracy or the court by Tuesday. As of the time of writing, the Senate vote is still today.

 Meanwhile, at the mad tea party of a Heritage Foundation Event on climate models, we saw the same performance we’ve seen for years: models are unreliable, social cost of carbon is bad, we won’t see much warming in the future anyway, we should use a 7% discount rate instead of the 3% many experts already consider too high, etc.

 Ironically, during one speaker’s presentation of how they know better than real scientists, the laptop shut off. Over the next seven minutes, panelists had to walk away from their chairs so the laptop could be plugged in, computer restarted, password entered, and presentation reloaded. They filled the down time with questions from the audience.

 No one asked the obvious question of Heritage’s Tweedle Dees and Dums: “Why should we trust you to run complex computer models to help us plan for the future, when you didn’t even plan far enough ahead to plug in your laptop?”

But you know who is thinking ahead? The EPA. Yesterday, in response to the many FOIAs for its online content, they uploaded a mirror of their pre-Trump website, as it was before we went through the looking glass.


/i]
It appears that God has responded to the Senate's confirmation of Fossil Fuel Friend Pruitt.   

Pruitt, you see, was the Attorney General of Oklahoma that fought tooth hand nail to allow the frackers to run wild, which caused the increase in earthquakes there. But ALSO, he sued the EPA several times to allow he frackers to "regulate themselves". He didn't want the EPA "interfering"" with frackers by making them undertake "costly and unnecessary" safety measures according to EPA REGULATIONS.   

Well, Oklahoma just reaped some more of what Pruitt and his fossil fuel pals sowed:

Oklahoma rocked by natural gas well explosion
By John Siciliano • 2/16/17 4:36 PM

SNIPPET:

A natural gas well exploded in Oklahoma Thursday afternoon, with reports of multiple injuries in Pittsburg County.
 
A number of state and local emergency agencies responded to the well explosion, which occurred near the town of Quinton, about 150 miles east of Oklahoma City.
 
The Quinton Police Department said the explosion in the major fossil fuel-producing state happened when the top of a natural gas well blew off, according to local channel News 9.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/oklahoma-rocked-by-natural-gas-well-explosion/article/2615085

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AGelbert

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Pruitt WORKS for the Fossil Fuel Industry  , NOT we-the-people   

Published on Feb 17, 2017

On tonight’s Big Picture, Thom discusses Scott Pruitt’s confirmation to head the EPA and what it means for environmental protections in the United States with Naomi Ages of Greenpeace.

Then, Thom talks to Scott Greer of the Daily Caller and political strategist Sam Bennett about Trump’s bizarre press conference and interaction with the media, and a House vote paving the way to defund Planned Parenthood.

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Agelbert NOTE: Pruitt will now proceed, with the help of the Trumper now running the DOJ, to make sure these Pruitt e-mails never affect his planned destruction of the EPA. 

February 17, 2017

Court Rules Newly Confirmed EPA Head Must Release Thousands of Emails

Republicans pushed to confirm Scott Pruitt before his communications with fossil fuel companies could be made public, says Nick Surgey of the Center for Media & Democracy



KIM BROWN: Welcome to the Real News Network in Baltimore. I'm Kim Brown.

   Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt was confirmed and sworn in as the Fourteenth Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, according to the EPA's press office.

   The EPA runs on an annual budget of about $8 billion with 15,000 employees. As the key U.S. agency dealing with climate change, this may be the most consequential of all of Donald Trump's cabinet appointments as the world enters a period of uncharted global warming. The U.S. Senate voted 54 to 46 to advance Scott Pruitt's nomination to head up the EPA on Friday after a 30-hour debate. Two democrats and one republican broke ranks but otherwise the vote was split along party lines with a Republican majority supporting the nomination.

   Now Pruitt has sued the EPA more than a dozen times in his role as former Attorney General of Oklahoma, against environmental regulations. Democrats tried to block the vote stating that senate members did not have all of the information to make an informed decision due to the nominee blocking access to his communications with the fossil fuel lobby, in what could be construed as a conflict of interest.

   Here is Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley along with other democratic senators, including Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, calling for a delay in the senate's vote on Scott Pruitt's nomination to be the EPA administrator.

JEFF MERKLEY: For two years now the Attorney General of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, has stonewalled attempts to make public, the record of over 3000 e-mail communications with members of the fossil fuel industry. Two years ago, the Center for Media and Democracy requested those e-mails through the Oklahoma Open Records Act. And the person who decides to release those records, the Attorney of Oklahoma, Scott Pruitt, our nominee for the EPA. When Democrats on the Environmental and Works Committee requested those records from Mr. Pruitt, during his confirmation process, his answer was, and I quote, “I would direct you to make a request of the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office, under the Oklahoma Open Records Act.” There is something particularly strange about the nominee who controls the records, saying, “Ask me in my official capacity as AG.” Knowing that he has not responded to those requests, year after year.

KIM BROWN: Also on Friday the Oklahoma County Court found Scott Pruitt in violation of the State's Open Records Act as Senator Merkley mentioned, the Centre for Media and Democracy filed a lawsuit against Pruitt for improperly withholding public records. And the court ordered his office to release thousands of e-mails in a matter of days.

   And with us to discuss this victory for transparency and open democracy, we're joined by Nick Surgey, who is the Centre for Media and Democracy's, Director of Research, and an investigative reporter. His work has been featured in The Guardian, New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and in The Washington Post and many other places, including The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Nick was previously Staff Council at Common Cause, where he led the research in legal work on their ALEC and Supreme Court Ethics Projects.

   Nick, welcome back to The Real News. It's been a long time since we've had you on.

NICK SURGEY: Thanks, Kim.

KIM BROWN: So, Nick, basically congratulations on the legal victory. So is this bittersweet for you in that Scott Pruitt is still going to be confirmed. By the time this interview airs he will be sworn in as head of the EPA?

NICK SURGEY: Yeah, it is somewhat. Pruitt's set to be sworn in this afternoon. You know, we had this victory in our court case and we will get to see Scott Pruitt's e-mail communications, adding any appeals that they may try and bring. But today was also a big win for the fossil fuel industry. It's really a bad guy going to be heading up the Environmental Protection Agency. I think if you have asked the collective oil, coal and gas industries who they would want to have at the Environmental Protection Agency, somebody who would have their back, they might want to pick Scott Pruitt. He probably would have been on their list. He's been a leading opponent of the Environmental Protection Agency, leading opponent of rules that the EPA has brought, in order to try and protect the environment over the last several years. And now he finds himself heading up that agency and that's very troubling.

KIM BROWN: So, talk about why your organization filed the lawsuit and why it's important that we see the contents of thousands of e-mails with energy companies and the fossil fuel lobby and Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt.

NICK SURGEY: Sure. I mean, we've been trying to get records from Scott Pruitt's office now for more than two years. We filed our first Public Records request which were seeking e-mails between Scott Pruitt and a couple of his senior staffers, his chief of staff and a list of coal, oil and gas companies and some organizations that they fund. We have been told that they found thousands, more than three thousand e-mails between Pruitt's office and these companies. And they have been dragging their feet really to not release them. They released a partial set of 411 but that's a lot less than more than three thousand. In fact, it means that they held back about 85% of the e-mails that they'd identified and it seems that they held back some pretty embarrassing e-mails. And the reason that we know that is because two and a half years ago, they had released some records to The New York Times... somewhat different request that they made, but there's some overlap in what we were asking for. And there are e-mails that The New York Times got that ended up in a series of stories that won the Pulitzer Prize for The New York Times, that was looking at Scott Pruitt's relationship, in particular with Devon Energy, a big fracking company, based in Oklahoma. And they showed Scott Pruitt, willingly putting his name to letters that were drafted by Devon Energy, almost completely with just changing a few words and then submitting them to federal agencies on issues that effects Devon's bottom line. Putting the Attorney General of Oklahoma's letterhead on those letters and willingly being a mouthpiece for companies, as Attorney General and even more so, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, that he's supposed to be regulating. He should have a distance from those companies. And so, we think it's really important that these e-mails are released but just too late in order for it to factor in his confirmation process. And that was obviously intentional on the part of the Republicans. They were really pushing his votes to take place this afternoon. Because we're talking about just Tuesday. Tuesday next week is when we're going to get those e-mails and the Republicans, against the objections of the Democrats were like, "No. We have to take a vote today. We cannot wait 'til weekend. We have to immediately do so." Because, of course, we assume because they're afraid of what these e-mails are going to show.

KIM BROWN: Now Nick, you have done research and legal work on the American Legislative Exchange Council otherwise known as ALEC which is an organization which we know to heavily influence state law and has powerful ties to the fossil fuel billionaires, Charles and David Koch, as outlined in The Real News's documentary, The Koch Brothers War on Climate Science. So, based on your research, how deep are the ties between Scott Pruitt and the fossil fuel interests?

NICK SURGEY: Well, they're very deep. And we know that because of several years ago, this award winning investigation by the New York Times. And we know that because he raises a very large amount of money from those industries. We know that because he regularly attends industry conferences. We know that because he has said that he is going to change the policies in the Environmental Protection Agency, in order to stop the war on fossil fuels. There hasn't been a war on fossil fuels, there's been sensible regulations that puts a check on pollution which effects people's lives. But he has consistently been on the side of these industries and he's attended meetings of groups like ALEC. He's attended meetings and he spoke at one particular breakfast conference at ALEC, at which he was railing on the over-reach of The Environmental Protection Agency. And that breakfast meeting, I think it should come as no surprise, was sponsored by a coal company, Peabody Energy.

So, he's consistently been very, very close to industry. He's been close to groups like ALEC and it's now very difficult to imagine that he's going to distance himself from his close friends, the companies that have backed his campaigns, that have put him where he now is, when he's head of The Environmental Protection Agency.

KIM BROWN: So, what's next after the e-mails are made public? I mean, if a clear conflict of interest can be made of Scott Pruitt's heading up the EPA, couldn't there be legal repercussions?

NICK SURGEY: Well, you know, a case may be made that he has to recuse himself from certain positions. I mean that's possible. It's hard to know until we get these e-mails. Of course, the problem is that who's going to force him to recuse himself? That's the problem. But it would be up to the EPA to determine when he should recuse himself. There's a designated agency ethics office and there are certain agreements that have been made already about scenarios when Pruitt might have to recuse. But the problem is that we haven't got the full facts. There were questions that were asked throughout his confirmation process by democrats on the Environment Public Works Committee that were not answered. There were questions that were asked about his ties to Koch industries. To groups like ALEC, to big fracking companies like Devon Energy. And Pruitt didn't want to answer those questions. And, in fact, the democrats objected, they said, "We cannot take a vote on Scott Pruitt," this was at the committee stage, "We can't take a vote as to whether he should move forward for a full vote of the senate until he's answered these questions. And the republicans suspended the rules so that they could push him through without him having answered any of these questions. And then the republicans, today, pushed through the objections of democrats, mostly, Susan Collins and one Republican who voted against Pruitt to push his vote through when there were a lot of calls for not a significant delay, a slight pause so that these e-mails could come out and they could adequately vet his record.

KIM BROWN: So, we should mention, that there has been an unprecedented show of resistance on the part of the EPA scientists, environmental lawyers and policy experts in both public demonstrations and in calling their senators across the country to block Scott Pruitt's nomination. So, if normally quiet bureaucrats and scientists are risking their jobs to speak out, it seems that we should all be paying attention. So how far could Pruitt go to undo Environmental Protection?

NICK SURGEY: Well, he could do a lot. You know, there's some executive orders that have been rumored to be coming from the Trump administration. But, Pruitt is going to be setting the direction of the organization of the agency. And it's not just repeal of regulations. He could slow walk them. He could have a significant influence over enforcement. There are enforcement officers of the EPA that distribute it all around the country. And what direction are they going to get from the agency about enforcement? And if they're not going in and checking on these crimes, either reports from whistleblowers or from individuals or their regular routine investigations, if that's not taking place then there will not be prosecutions brought forward. And if that's the case then industry will have an excuse to not abide by the regulations. So there's possibility of regulations that will get repealed by congress. There are executive orders that could be issued by the president. And there could be a slow-walking of enforcement and direction that is set by Pruitt, as head of the agency that could really stall all of the advances that have been taking place over decades.

   You know, this used to be bipartisan. The EPA was set up by Nixon, it was set up under Republican, it was renewed under a republican congress and this didn't used to be a purely partisan issue and democrats were in favor of environmental protections, republicans were opposed to them. And we really have to return to that if we're going to tackle these big problems that we really have to face now. There's been too many years of inaction on big problems like climate change. And I don't think that we're going to get to see a solution when we have somebody like Scott Pruitt, who's a climate change denier, and a consistent thorn against the EPA, running that agency,

KIM BROWN: Indeed. We've been speaking with Nick Surgey. He is from the Centre for Media and democracy. He's the Director of Research, also an investigative reporter. The Centre for Media and Democracy scored a court victory in Oklahoma, getting a judge to agree to have Scott Pruitt’s, thousands of his e-mails while he served as Attorney General of that state, to be disclosed. However, that won't happen until next week. And on Friday, today, Scott Pruitt was confirmed by the Senate, to be the Head administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

   So, Nick, congratulations. I'm sorry this is a bittersweet victory for you but we definitely appreciate the work that you and your center do. So best of luck and good luck.

NICK SURGEY: Thanks, Kim. It's good to be on here.

KIM BROWN: Thanks. And thank you guys for watching The Real News Network.

http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=18427
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AGelbert

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Pruitt   Ignored Cries to Regulate Fracking in Oklahoma. Now Residents Face Big Oil on Their Own

 Sunday, February 19, 2017 

By Adam Lynch, YES! Magazine | Report

SNIPPET:

Valerie Branyan is thankful that she and her husband were together with their two children when the 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck the city of Cushing, Oklahoma, early in November. The couple clutched their kids, eyed the ceiling, and waited. While there were no injuries and only minor damage to their home, properties they own near downtown didn't fare so well. The brickwork of one building toppled to the street, while a third building housing their family business suffered more than $100,000 in ruined walls and structural damage.

Then, a few days later, residents reported another tremor. And then another, and another.
More than 2,350 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater rocked Oklahoma between 2010 and 2016, making the state the most seismically active in the U.S., outpacing even California.

This isn't tectonics. This is tampering.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39544-pruitt-ignored-cries-to-regulate-fracking-in-oklahoma-now-residents-face-big-oil-on-their-own
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AGelbert

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The Intercept

February, 22, 2017

Quote
Methane Regulation

On May 2, 2013, Scott Pruitt and 12 other attorneys general sent a letter to the EPA urging the agency to avoid regulating methane emissions.

The emails released Tuesday make clear that Devon Energy had a hand in drafting the letter, which argued that voluntary ;) industry efforts to restrict emissions were sufficient , that federal emissions estimates were inaccurate, and that regulating methane fell outside the purview of the law.

The letter was meant to counter threats by northeastern states that they would file a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to regulate methane. “In sum,” the letter reads, “regulation of methane emissions from oil and gas facilities is not ‘appropriate’ under the analysis contemplated by [the Clean Air Act].”

Emails Reveal EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s Dirty Dealings With Oil and Gas Industry



https://theintercept.com/2017/02/22/emails-reveal-epa-chief-scott-pruitts-dirty-dealings-with-oil-and-gas-industry/

Agelbert NOTE: As you will learn in the article, even those e-mails that have been released ARE NOT the whole story because they have been redacted along with a bunch others that have NOT been released because the holy A.G. office of Oklahoma considers them "privileged". These fossil fuel TOOLS never stop prevaricating and double talking to cover their crimes and corruption. Prison is too good for those destroyers of our biosphere.

The Fossil Fuelers   DID THE Climate Trashing, human health depleteing CRIME,   but since they have ALWAYS BEEN liars and conscience free crooks, they are trying to AVOID   DOING THE TIME or     PAYING THE FINE!     Don't let them get away with it! Pass it on!   

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AGelbert

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Feb. 23, 2017 8:12 pm

Has Big Oil Staged A Coup Of Our Government?

Farron Cousins, Ring of Fire Radio/DeSmog Blog/Trial Lawyer Magazine. When Scott Pruitt gave his first official speech as EPA administrator earlier this week - he didn't even mention global warming once.

Apparently - the fate of the planet isn't something the nation's top environmental regulator thinks he should be worrying about. Instead, he's spent a good portion of his career SUING the agency he's now leading - and to put it bluntly - is a basically glorified lackey for the fossil fuel industry.   >:(

That has now been made abundantly clear thanks to the Center for Media Democracy - which this week secured the release of around 7,500 previously withheld emails from Scott Pruitt's time as Oklahoma Attorney General.


Agelbert NOTE: With Trump and Pruitt and Tillerson , EVERY operation on the following map of Federal lands that the fossil fuelers drill for and extract hydrocarbons has NOW been "freed" from any environmental regulations. IOW indiscriminate POLLUTION from flaring, leaks and spills is NOW the "incentive" that Trump just gave them to INCREASE production more, uh "profitably". Have a nice day.

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Trump  Promises To Bring Back Coal...: Speaking at a rally in Kentucky Monday night, President Trump told the crowd his administration is "preparing new executive actions to save our coal industry and to save our wonderful coal miners from continuing to be put out of work." The president also promised to "turn the EPA from a job-killer into a job creator." The timing of the executive order in question, which reportedly includes ordering a rewrite of the Clean Power Plan and threats to the social cost of carbon, was pushed back again by the White House on Monday. The president will reportedly sign the order by the end of this month. Speaking of job killers versus job creators, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed vowed Saturday to oppose the Trump budget's proposed cuts  :o  ;D to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which helps with economic revitalization in areas devastated by coal's decline. (Trump rally: Reuters. EO: Politico Pro $, The Hill, Washington Examiner. McConnell: AP, E&E $. Commentary: The Hill, Dan Cohan op-ed)

...But Coal Hasn't Gotten the Message: Hours before Trump's rally, electric company Dayton Power & Light announced plans to close two of its coal-fired plants in Ohio by next June. The company announced in a statement that, "without significant changes in market conditions," the J.M. Stuart and Killen plants would not be "economically viable beyond mid-2018." The plants, which sit at the heart of a region Trump promised to revitalize, generate 3,000 MW of energy and employ nearly 500 workers. In a settlement reached earlier this year with groups including the Sierra Club, the company will invest in 300 MW of solar and wind projects by 2022 and provide a $2 million fund for the communities affected by the plants' closures. (Reuters, The Hill, Dayton Daily News, Dayton Business Journal. Commentary: Axios, Shane Savitsky analysis)

Where Are Your Emails, Wayne? The Massachusetts attorney general's office sent ExxonMobil a letter Monday ordering the company to preserve all executive emails, including emails sent from "alias" addresses. The letter specifically calls out the emails sent by then-CEO Rex Tillerson under the "Wayne Tracker" moniker, reminding the company that "Exxon is required to preserve all potentially responsive documents" under the subpoena issued last year by New York and Massachusetts AGs seeking information on how much the company knew about the link between fossil fuels and climate change. In a separate order, lawyers for the 21 children and teens suing the government over climate policy also asked the company to turn over the Wayne Tracker emails Monday. Exxon admitted last week that Tillerson's emails under the Wayne.Tracker@exxonmobil.com address may have been deleted. (MA AG: AP, InsideClimate News. Climate kids: Reuters. Deleted emails: Buzzfeed)
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