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As Dead as Fred la Marmotte
Defunders of wildlife, carpenter ants, and better Emilys
PRESENTED BY FAIENCE HEDGEHOGS
The incompetent GOP staff on several House committees haven’t been letting the Clerk’s office know about their hearings, so they weren’t listed at Congress.gov. So I failed to let you, my faithful reader, know about the House Energy and Commerce hearing on Tuesday celebrating frackers, or the House Natural Resources organizational meeting on Wednesday.
At Energy and Commerce, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) now runs the full committee, nuclear-industry advocate Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) chairs the energy and climate subcommittee, and oil-CEO-apologist Bill Johnson (R-Ohio) chairs the environment subcommittee. They led Tuesday’s hearing on Restoring American Energy Dominance with Trump energy official Paul Dabbar, who is now simping for the fracking industry at Columbia University; Bob McNally, a fossil-fuel industry executive also tied to Columbia; and Donna Jackson, a political operative at the climate-denial shop National Center for Public Policy Research. The Democratic witness was Ana Unruh Cohen, the top staffer for the now-disbanded Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
During the hearing, Cohen cited Eunice Newton Foote, the suffragist scientist who measured the radiative absorption of carbon dioxide in 1856.1 The Republican witnesses, in contrast, praised the glory of extracting and burning every last hydrocarbon buried in the lands and waters under the aegis of the United States of America. That’s how we can beat China and Russia!
The Natural Resources meeting, chaired by Rep. Bruce Westerman2 (R-Ark.) devolved into the Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) gun show, as members argued about Boebert’s insistence on being allow to pack heat in the committee rooms. It was dumb, it’s performatively fascist, you can read Anthony Adragna’s writeup if you want to see Boebert gesticulating next to a blown-up photo of Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) wearing a tin-foil hat. The committee established the ban on firearms in the previous session under Democratic control; during that debate two years ago, Huffman donned the foil hat while being harangued by Boebert’s pro-insurrection conspiracy theories and “gun fetish.”
Also on Thursday, new House Oversight Committee Chairman James “Hunter Hunter” Comer (R-Ky.) sent a letter to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, demanding all of his files, and complaining that he negotiates about climate with Communist China.
BETTERIDGE’S LAW: In a powerful article, environmental lawyer Katie Horner asks “Does the First Amendment Protect Fossil Fuel Companies’ Public Speech?” Emily gives away the answer: “Big Oil’s false advertising is not free speech.”
SHELL GAME: “This week, advocacy group Global Witness filed a groundbreaking complaint with the Securities Exchange Commission that documents Shell’s wildly misleading claims to investors about its renewable energy investments.” Emily interviews Global Witness’s Zorka Milin and Anna van Niekerk about their action.
Speaking of excellent publications: the latest issue of American Prospect, “Implementation: Policy Made Concrete,” is a banger. If you can’t get hold of a copy of the magazine:
I already promoted Lee Harris’s piece on the Ithaca’s private-equity-run Green New Deal; but there’s also
Editor-in-chief David Dayen’s sweeping review of the progress made on Biden’s economic-competition executive order;
The slow-drip effort to replace lead pipes by Ramenda Cyrus;
Joan Fitzgerald’s wildly good piece on how Maine is speeding deployment of heat pumps;
Bob Kuttner’s look at Biden’s Green-New-Deal-lite industrial policy.
Almost like it’s Groundhog Day all over again! BP’s “high-profile push into renewable energy,” announced in 2020, is as dead as Fred la Marmotte. Its 2002 “Beyond Petroleum” greenwashing lasted longer, only getting axed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
At the behest of local environmental justice organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency has begun an “informal investigation” into the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s failure to protect control water pollution. “If the EPA concludes that TCEQ is not enforcing the Clean Water Act, then the federal agency can proceed with a formal investigation and could revoke TCEQ’s authority to regulate water quality,” Alejandra Martinez writes. “The TCEQ would have 90 days to fix the problems or lose its authority.”
If you’re a Democrat and a corrupt hack, the fracking industry wants you! Maxine Joselow writes about the natural-gas front group Natural Allies for Clean Energy, which is using Democratic pollster Impact Research, and just hired former Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who lost the U.S. Senate race to fascist-billionaire stooge J.D. Vance, to replace polluter lobbyist and former Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) as their mouthpiece.
Also on the corrupt hack job front: have you considered Defenders of Wildlife? The org is still fighting unionization, even though workers won a union election in September 2021. The union is rallying next week as their case is considered by the National Labor Relations Board.
“This tragedy is an obscene escalation in the decades long war the United States has been waging on climate activists.”
As you probably noticed, I shared the text of the Scientific American article Cohen found in my newsletter yesterday; I was working on this post, got to the point of discussing Cohen’s testimony, and decided to share the Foote article instead. I figured the rundown of this week’s climate hearings could wait; I sincerely hope you didn’t mind.
Who is from Hot Springs, home to the only urban National Park,* protected by federal legislation since 1832, decades before Yellowstone, which is why it got the first America the Beautiful quarter.
*Almost: for reasons unknown the Gateway Arch National Monument was upgraded into a national park in 2018.