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Emails: ND Ethics Law Potentially Broken on Petraeus Fracking Trip

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

DeSmogBlog has obtained emails via North Dakota's Open Records Statute revealing facts that could be interpreted as indicating that North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt broke State Investment Board ethics laws.

Photo Credit: Office of North Dakota State Treasurer; Obtained via ND Open Records Statute

Talking with National Climate Assessment Vice Chair Gary Yohe: Telling It Like It Is, Not Like It Will Be, On Climate Change

By Dave Lindorff

 

Dr. Gary Yohe, Huffington Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University, and vice chair of the just-released third National Climate Estimate, talks about this latest report, which instead of looking out at a grim future of flooded coastlines, epic droughts and floods and soaring temperatures, looked at the evidence already confronting Americans in every state of the union.

Commander Behind Bin Laden Killing: FBI/DHS Wasting Time Tracking Environmentalists

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Dave Cooper, Command Master Chief SEAL (Retired) for the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), has authored a threat assessment concluding TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is potentially at-risk of a terrorism attack. 

Days Before Obama Announced CO2 Rule, Exxon Awarded Gulf of Mexico Oil Leases

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On Friday May 30, just a few days before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced details of its carbon rule proposal, the Obama Administration awarded offshore oil leases to ExxonMobil in an area of the Gulf of Mexico potentially containing over 172 million barrels of oil.

ND Treasurer: Red Carpet Rollout for Gen. Petraeus Fracking Field Trip "Not Unusual"

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

North Dakota Treasurer Kelly Schmidt has responded to DeSmogBlog's investigation of the Bakken Shale basin fracking field trip her office facilitated for former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, who now works at the Manhattan-based private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR)

David Petraeus Kelly Schmidt

Imperialist Wars & Global Ecological Degradation

Join us at the Left Forum, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th St, New York City on Saturday 5/31/2014 at 5:00 to 6:45pm to hear this panel on imperialism and ecological devastation. It not only will provide historical background and context to these issues facing us and the world today, it is action-oriented, grappling with how to challenge how people think. Share this with your friends, family, and colleagues!

Revealed: Former Energy in Depth Spokesman John Krohn Now at EIA Promoting Fracking

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

For those familiar with U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) work, objectivity and commitment to fact based on statistics come to mind. Yet as Mark Twain once put it, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

That's where John Krohn comes into play. A former spokesman for the gas industry front group Energy in Depth (EID), Krohn now works on the Core Team for EIA's "Today in Energy!

Documents: Petraeus Fracking Field Trip Reveals ND Government, Oil, Private Equity Nexus

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

DeSmogBlog has obtained hundreds of documents portraying the blurred lines between North Dakota's government, the oil and gas industry and the private equity world. They also offer one of the first looks inside the professional life of former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus after he resigned from the agency in 2012.

Southwestern Energy Executive Mark Boling Admits Fracking Link to Climate Change

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

An Executive of a major shale gas development company has conceded what scientists have been saying for years: global shale gas development has the potential to wreak serious climate change havoc.

Best known for his company's hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") activity, Southwestern Energy Executive Vice President Mark Boling admitted his industry has a methane problem on the May 19 episode of Showtime's "Years of Living Dangerously" in a segment titled, "Chasing Methane."

“No Turning Back”: Mexico’s Looming Fracking and Offshore Oil and Gas Bonanza

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

After generations of state control, Mexico’s vast oil and gas reserves will soon open for business to the international market.

In December 2013, Mexico’s Congress voted to break up the longstanding monopoly held by the state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos — commonly called Pemex — and to open the nation’s oil and gas reserves to foreign companies.

For First Time, TransCanada Says Tar Sands Flowing to Gulf in Keystone XL South

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

TransCanada admitted for the first time that tar sands oil is now flowing through Keystone XL's southern leg, now rebranded the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project. The company confirmed the pipeline activity in its 2014 quarter one earnings call.

Gulf Stream: Williams Nixes Bluegrass Gas Export Pipeline, Announces New Export Line

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog 

Right before the champagne bottles began popping for activists engaged in a grassroots struggle to halt the construction of Williams Companies' prospective Bluegrass Pipeline project — which the company suspended indefinitely in an April 28 press release — Williams had already begun raining on the parade.

TransCanada Charitable Fund: Keystone XL South “Good Neighbor” Charm Offensive

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

TransCanada has taken a page out of former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's playbook and deployed a public relations "charm offensive" in Texas, home of the southern leg of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline now known as the Gulf Coast Pipeline Project.

Mayflower: 1st ExxonMobil Tar Sands Pipeline Spill, Now Deadly Tornado Destroys Arkansas Town

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

On March 29, 2013, ExxonMobil's Pegasus tar sands pipeline ruptured in Mayflower, Arkansas, sending hundreds of thousands of gallons of diluted bitumen ("dilbit") pouring down the town's streets.

Vice President Joe Biden Promotes U.S. as Fracking Missionary Force On Ukraine Trip

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

During his two-day visit this week to Kiev, Ukraine, Vice President Joe Biden unfurled President Barack Obama's "U.S. Crisis Support Package for Ukraine."

Robert Musil's "Rachel Carson and Her Sisters"

Despite the central role of women in environmental activism, surprisingly little is known about them.  Furthermore, what is known is usually limited to the work of Rachel Carson, whose powerful call to action, Silent Spring (1962), is widely credited with jump-starting the modern environmental movement.  Fortunately, Robert Musil’s new book, Rachel Carson and Her Sisters (Rutgers University Press, 2014), remedies this situation.

Musil notes that, as the nineteenth century progressed, increasing numbers of American women obtained better education and the ability to travel, write, and take action.  Hiking and botanizing, they observed the encroachment of manufacturing and urban life on the countryside.  Eventually, they produced a flood of books, magazine articles, journals, and children’s stories about nature.

Talk Nation Radio: Charles Komanoff: We Need a Carbon Tax

https://soundcloud.com/davidcnswanson/talk-nation-radio-charles-komanoff-we-need-a-carbon-tax

Charles Komanoff is an activist, economist and policy-analyst. He directs the Carbon Tax Center and develops traffic-pricing modeling tools for the Nurture Nature Foundation. His work includes books (Power Plant Cost Escalation, Killed By Automobile, The Bicycle Blueprint), computer models, scholarly articles, and journalism. He discusses the need for a carbon tax. See http://carbontax.org

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download from Archive or LetsTryDemocracy.

Pacifica stations can also download from AudioPort.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Please embed the SoundCloud audio on your own website!

Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at
http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Earth Day Greenwash: API Front Group Iowa Energy Forum Sponsors Pro-Keystone XL Event

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

War Destroys Environment

Costs of War

The impact of the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can be seen not only in the social, economic and political situations of these areas but also in the environments in which these wars have been waged. The long years of war have resulted in a radical destruction of forest cover and an increase in carbon emissions. In addition, the water supply has been contaminated by oil from military vehicles and depleted uranium from ammunition. Along with the degradation of the natural resources in these countries, the animal and bird populations have also been adversely affected. In recent years, Iraqi medical doctors and health researchers have called for more research on war-related environmental pollution as a potential contributor to the country’s poor health conditions and high rates of infections and diseases.

27 Water & Soil Pollution: During the 1991 aerial campaign over Iraq, the US utilized approximately 340 tons of missiles containing depleted uranium (DU). Water and soil may be contaminated by the chemical residue of these weapons, as well as benzene and trichloroethylene from air base operations. Perchlorate, a toxic ingredient in rocket propellant, is one of a number of contaminants commonly found in groundwater around munitions storage sites around the world.

The health impact of war-related environmental exposure remains controversial. Lack of security as well as poor reporting in Iraqi hospitals have complicated research. Yet, recent studies have revealed troubling trends. A household survey in Fallujah, Iraq in early 2010 obtained responses to a questionnaire on cancer, birth defects, and infant mortality.  Significantly higher rates of cancer in 2005-2009 compared to rates in Egypt and Jordan were found.  The infant mortality rate in Fallujah was 80 deaths per 1000 live births, significantly higher than rates of 20 in Egypt, 17 in Jordan and 10 in Kuwait.  The ratio of male births to female births in the 0-4 age cohort was 860 to 1000 compared to the expected 1050 per 1000. [13] 

Toxic Dust: Heavy military vehicles have also disturbed the earth, particularly in Iraq and Kuwait. Combined with drought as a result of deforestation and global climate change, dust has become a major problem exacerbated by the major new movements of military vehicles across the landscape. The U.S. military has focused on the health effects of dust for military personnel serving in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.  Iraq service members’ exposures to inhaled toxins have correlated with respiratory disorders that often prevent them from continuing to serve and performing everyday activities such as exercise.  U.S. Geologic Survey microbiologists have found heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cobalt, barium, and aluminum, which can cause respiratory distress, and other health problems. [11] Since 2001, there has been a 251 percent rise in the rate of neurological disorders, a 47 percent increase in the rate of respiratory problems, and a 34 percent rise in rates of cardio-vascular disease in military service members that is likely related to this problem.[12]

Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution from Military Vehicles:  Even setting aside the accelerated operational tempo of wartime, the Department of Defense has been the country’s single largest consumer of fuel, using about 4.6 billion gallons of fuel each year.[1] Military vehicles consume petroleum-based fuels at an extremely high rate: an M-1 Abrams tank can get just over a half mile on a gallon of fuel per mile or use about 300 gallons during eight hours of operation.[2]  Bradley Fighting Vehicles consume about 1 gallon per mile driven. 

War accelerates fuel use.  By one estimate, the U.S. military used 1.2 million barrels of oil in Iraq in just one month of 2008.[3]  This high rate of fuel use over non-wartime conditions has to do in part with the fact that fuel must be delivered to vehicles in the field by other vehicles, using fuel.  One military estimate in 2003 was that two-thirds of the Army’s fuel consumption occurred in vehicles that were delivering fuel to the battlefield.[4]  The military vehicles used in both Iraq and Afghanistan produced many hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and sulfur dioxide in addition to CO2. In addition, the allied bombing campaign of a variety of toxics-releasing sites such as ammunition depots, and the intentional setting of oil fires by Saddam Hussein during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 led to air, soil, and water pollution.[5]

War-Accelerated Destruction and Degradation of Forests and Wetlands: The wars have also damaged forests, wetlands and marshlands in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.  Radical deforestation has accompanied this and the previous wars in Afghanistan.  Total forest area decreased 38 percent in Afghanistan from 1990 to 2007.[6]  This is a result of illegal logging, which is associated with the rising power of the warlords, who have enjoyed U.S. support.  In addition, deforestation has occurred in each of these countries as refugees seek out fuel and building materials.  Drought, desertification, and species loss that accompany habitat loss have been the result.  Moreover, as the wars have led to environmental destruction, the degraded environment itself contributes in turn to further conflict.[7]

War-Accelerated Wildlife Destruction: Bombing in Afghanistan and deforestation have threatened an important migratory thoroughfare for birds leading through this area. The number of birds now flying this route has dropped by 85 percent.[8]  U.S. bases became a lucrative market for the skins of the endangered Snow Leopard, and impoverished and refugee Afghans have been more willing to break the ban on hunting them, in place since 2002. [9] Foreign aid workers who arrived in the city in large numbers following the collapse of the Taliban regime have also purchased the skins.  Their remaining numbers in Afghanistan were estimated at between 100 and 200 in 2008.[10](Page updated as of March 2013) 


[1] Col. Gregory J. Lengyel, USAF, Department of Defense Energy Strategy: Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks. 21st Century Defense Initiative. Washington, DC:  The Brookings Institution, August, 2007, p. 10.

[2]Global Security.Org, M-1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m1-specs.htm

[3] Associated Press, "Facts on Military Fuel Consumption," USA Today, 2 April 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-04-02-2602932101_x.htm.

[4] Cited in Joseph Conover, Harry Husted, John MacBain, Heather McKee. Logistics and Capability Implications of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle with a Fuel Cell Auxiliary Power Unit. SAE Technical Papers Series, 2004-01-1586. 2004 SAE World Congress, Detroit, Michigan, March 8-11, 2004. http://delphi.com/pdf/techpapers/2004-01-1586.pdf

[5] United Nations Statistics Division. "United Nations Statistics Division - Environment Statistics." United Nations Statistics Division. http://unstats.un.org/unsd/environment/Questionnaires/country_snapshots.htm.

[6] Carlotta Gall, War-Scarred Afghanistan in Environmental Crisis, The New York Times, January 30, 2003.

[7] Enzler, S.M. "Environmental effects of war." Water Treatment and Purification - Lenntech. http://www.lenntech.com/environmental-effects-war.htm.

[8] Smith, Gar. "It's Time to Restore Afghanistan:  Afghanistan's Crying Needs." Earth Island Journal. http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/its_time_to_res... Noras, Sibylle. "Afghanistan." Saving Snow Leopards. snowleopardblog.com/projects/afghanistan/.

[9] Reuters, "Foreigners threaten Afghan Snow Leopards," 27 June 2008. http://www.enn.com/wildlife/article/37501

[10] Kennedy, Kelly. "Navy researcher links toxins in war-zone dust to ailments." USA Today, May 14, 2011. http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2011-05-11-Iraq-Afghanistan-dust-soldiers-illnesses_n.htm.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Busby C, Hamdan M and Ariabi E. Cancer, Infant Mortality and Birth Sex-Ratio in Fallujah, Iraq 2005-2009. Int.J Environ.Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 2828-2837.

[13] Ibid.

"Russia with Love": Alaska Gas Scandal is Out-of-Country, Not Out-of-State

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

A legal controversy — critics would say scandal — has erupted in Alaska's statehouse over the future of its natural gas bounty.

It's not so much an issue of the gas itself, but who gets to decide how it gets to market and where he or she resides.

The question of who owns Alaska's natural gas and where they're from, at least for now, has been off the table. More on that later.

Interview: "Big Men" Director Rachel Boynton on Oil, Ghana and Capitalism

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

The subtitle of the newly released documentary film Big Men is "everyone wants to be big" and to say the film covers a "big" topic is to put it mildly.

Executive produced by Brad Pitt and directed by Rachel Boynton, the film cuts to the heart of how the oil and gas industry works and pushes film-watchers to think about why that's the case. Ghana's burgeoning offshore fields — in particular, the Jubilee Field discovered in 2007 by Kosmos Energy — serve as the film's case study.

The Climate Is Invading the Earth!

If an alien invader with a face were attacking the earth, the difficulties that governments have getting populations to support wars on other humans would be multiplied a thousand fold.  The most common response to officials calling some petty foreign despot "a new Hitler" would shift from "yeah, right" to "who cares?" The people of the world would unite in common defense against the hostile alien.

If only it had a face.  And what's a face anyway?  Doctors can create faces now.  You'd still love your loved ones if they lost their faces.  And I hear there's a movie in which a guy falls in love with his faceless computer.

The point is that there is an alien invader attacking the earth.  Its name is climate change.  And Uncle Sam wants YOU to fight it, as does Uncle Boris and Aunt Hannah and Cousin Juan and Brother Feng.  The whole family is in agreement on this one, and we are a family now all of a sudden.

Climate change breathes fire on our land and roasts it, killing crops, drying up water supplies, breeding dangerous diseases and infestations.  Climate change circles over the oceans and blows tidal waves toward our coasts.  It melts the icebergs in its evil claws and sinks our beach resorts beneath the sea.

How do we fight back?  We organize quickly, as only humans can.  We grab the $2 trillion that we spend on wars among ourselves each year, plus a few trillion more from some multi-billionaires who suddenly realize they don't have another planet to spend it on.  We start coating the rooftops with solar panels, aimed right at the face of the monster.  We put up windmills that will turn his nasty breath against himself. 

And we hit him where it really hurts, we cut off his supplies with crippling sanctions: we stop buying and making and consuming and discarding such incredible piles of crap every day.  Consumerism becomes rapidly understood as planetary treason, support for the Evil One.  We put a stop to its worst excesses and begin reining it in systematically -- working together as we never have before.

Ah, but the dark lord of the heat is subtle.  He has cells of loyalists among us.  They push fossil fuels on us and tell us comforting lies.  No longer!  We will drag them before the House UnEarthly Activities Committee.  "Are you now or have you ever been a promoter of oil, gas, or coal consumption?"  They'll crumble under the pressure.

Imagine how we could unite for this battle, what wits and courage and self-sacrifice we could put into it, what inspiring acts of bravery, what stunning creations of intellect!

Ah, but climate change is not a person, so forget the whole thing.  Did you ever notice what a funny grin Vladimir Putin has?  It's beginning to get on my nerves.

ThisCantBeHappening! interviews Prof. Harold Wanless on PRN.fm: Climate Change is Much Worse than Even the IPCC Predictions

By Dave Lindorff


Dave Lindorff, host of the Progressive Radio Network program "ThisCantBeHappening!", interviews Professor Harold Wanless, chair of the Geology Department at the University of Miami and a leading climate change expert. Wanless talks about the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, explaining that as scary as that organization's latest predictions are concerning accelerating global warming, it is far too conservative.

New TCBH! Poem by Gary Lindorff: 'Shanghai Smog'

There is a man reporting on how bad the smog is in China.
He is saying,
“See, right there,
at the end of this street that you don’t see
is the second tallest building in China.”
I squint. . . I don’t see anything!
“In fact”, he’s saying,
“the smog is so bad,
I’m actually standing right here in front of this camera,
so you wouldn’t have seen the building anyway,
but you can’t even see me!”
This guy is good!

Then he says, “Watch this.”
He says,
“Now, I’m taking off my pants.”...

 

ANR Pipeline: Introducing TransCanada's Keystone XL for Fracking

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

When most environmentalists and folks who follow pipeline markets think of TransCanada, they think of the proposed northern half of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. 

Flying beneath the public radar, though, is another TransCanada-proposed pipeline with a similar function as Keystone XL. But rather than for carrying tar sands bitumen to the Gulf Coast, this pipeline would bring to market shale gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking").

Meet TransCanada's ANR Pipeline System.

"Our Energy Moment": The Blue Engine Behind Fracked Gas Exports PR Blitz

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Behind nearly every major corporate policy push there's an accompanying well-coordinated public relations and propaganda campaign. As it turns out, the oil and gas industry's push to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") plays the same game.

"Our Energy Moment": The Blue Engine Behind Fracked Gas Exports PR Blitz

Cross-Posted from DeSmogBlog

Behind nearly every major corporate policy push there's an accompanying well-coordinated public relations and propaganda campaign. As it turns out, the oil and gas industry's push to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) obtained via hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") plays the same game.

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