Appropriately Incensed

Ecuador, Permian Basin, CLEAN Future, and more


Congress and Hill Heat are mostly on vacation this week—here’s a quick overview of some stories of interest, at least to me, and I hope to you.

If, for some reason, your interest in non-violent civil disobedience has increased in the last few weeks, consider applying to Greenpeace’s three-day intensive Basic Actions Training in their Washington D.C Warehouse from July 15th-17th.

Ecuadorian protests. Credit: Veronica Lombeida

Spiraling commodity prices—driven by global warming, pandemic, war, and corporate profit-taking—are leading to rising political instability around the globe. Massive protests have shut down Ecuador for 15 days, with the “Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, which has been leading the mobilization against the right-wing president Guillermo “Ted” Lasso since June 13, is demanding that the government reduce fuel prices, address the problem of unemployment, regulate farm product prices, and fight crime, among other pleas.”

At least seven people have died during the unrest, and the country’s oil output has been halved, with the energy ministry saying production may be halted by Tuesday because of delayed supplies.

Our Senate gerontocrats are on break, while the House is in session just for hearings, primarily to get through the 2023 appropriations bills. Today, the appropriations committee is marking up Energy and Water Development and Commerce, Justice, and Science; tomorrow State, and Foreign Operations and Interior and Environment; and Thursday Transportation and Housing and Urban Development; Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. You can follow the links to find the lists of earmarks.

The other climate hearing of note this week is a virtual hearing on Thursday on recycling and climate legislation. The Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s Future Act (H.R. 1512), co-sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), subcommittee Chair Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) and Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.), would set a national clean electricity standard and require all federal agencies to develop a plan to cut greenhouse pollution by 50 percent by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

Last week, hundreds of Californians packed the California Air Resources Board meeting to speak out about its plan to slow-walk decarbonization of the state’s economy. “The hearing was temporarily interrupted when environmentalists and their supporters who were rallying outside entered the packed room, protesting the state’s plan and demanding environmental justice.”

Clean-tech is booming while as fossil-fuel industry hemorrhages jobs. A new report from the Department of Energy finds the oil industry lost nearly 32,000 jobs in 2021 even as 45,000 jobs were created for making electric and hybrid vehicles. Don’t worry, though, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm told reporters:

“No one is suggesting that fossil fuel jobs, the fossil fuel industry, is going to be eliminated even as the globe is transitioning to clean energy. We need to have supply meet demand. And that’s the bottom line, and it doesn’t at this moment, so we want to see an increase in supply.” 

Call me no one, then.

Activists have been raising the alarm that the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, where oil and gas extraction has exploded in the past five years, is a climate bomb. And the bomb is going off. Permian Basin methane pollution is skyrocketing—the pollution “in the first quarter of 2022 jumped 33 percent from the previous quarter, and soared by 47 percent from the first quarter a year earlier.”

And the fracked gas that is then pumped into people’s homes is contaminated by toxic compounds like benzene, hexane, toluene, heptane, and cyclohexane.

Hearings on the Hill

Tuesday, June 28

Wednesday, June 29

Thursday, June 30

The corporate-polluter-sponsored Politico Morning Energy newsletter is behind a paywall now, but we can now get Politico Power Switch from Arianna Skibell. This week it’s PRESENTED BY CHEVRON!

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