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If a protest happens in West Virginia, and corporate media ignore it . . .
Shh...we mustn't annoy Joe Manchin (who is not a skunk)
PRESENTED BY RED SPRITES
Hello! I’m popping into your inbox with a brief email today because I wanted to make sure you knew about a few good events this week — today the World Resources Institute1 is speaking with authors of the latest IPCC report, and Ceres2 has a briefing on the proposed Securities and Exchange Commission climate disclosure rule, featuring a keynote by SEC chair Gary Gensler.
And tomorrow, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute3 has a presentation on the global-warming science of the polar vortex, featuring the renowned climate scientist Jennifer Francis.
So nerd it up!
COAL BARON BLOCKADE
This weekend, hundreds of activists, mostly local West Virginians, blockaded Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) cash cow, the Grant Town coal plant, leading to 16 arrests. They were joined by the Poor People’s Campaign and Rev. William Barber II, who led a Palm Sunday Service outside the plant:
“We’re here in this cold because we want everybody to live, we believe everybody has a right to live. Everybody has a right to exist. And so folks today are blocking what’s happening here because they are tired of the blocking that he’s done.”
Local West Virginia media did a good job, with strong reporting from WBOY’s Heather Hale, WDTV, and the Times West Virginian’s Eric Cravey. The piece from Mike Tony at the Charleston Gazette-Mail delved into the deadly catastrophe of Manchin’s plant:
The Grant Town plant annually consumes 550,000 tons of waste coal, low-quality coal mixed with rock, clay and other material. It’s a particularly dirty source of energy.
The plant emitted more tons of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour generated than any other coal-fired power plant in West Virginia in 2020, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.
Emissions from Grant Town resulted in 18 deaths, eight heart attacks, 169 asthma attacks and 860 work-loss days in 2019, according to an analysis of data from a federal health risk assessment tool derived by the Clean Air Task Force, an environmental group.
Unfortunately, as expected, coverage by the corporate political media was very scant, despite the action being less than a four-hour drive from the nation’s capital. There was an Associated Press piece that appeared to have been reported remotely, and which failed to mention how much money Manchin makes by selling gob to the coal plant. Newsweek and Fox Business compiled tweets and local reporting in good pieces. And that’s it, nothing more! How about my esteemed competitors, the industry-presented daily climate and energy politics newsletters?4 Zippo, nada, zilch.
Politico Morning Energy by Matthew Choi: crickets.
Bloomberg Green: nothing
Morning Consult Energy by Matt Bracken: silence
Axios Generate by Ben Geman and Andrew Freedman: not a chirp
And in case you're wondering, the two Matts managed to mention other Manchin stories, like the White House strategy of total appeasement. By the way, our shadow president Manchin is currently on a tour of Canada’s tar sands. But it would be wrong to call him a skunk.5
Remember, the D.C. climate consensus isn’t just formed by quoting the same few industry-funded experts time and again—it also requires shutting out the people of District 12.
Robert Brulle’s new paper is a deep dive into the dark and dirty history of the Global Climate Coalition, the broad-based corporate conspiracy to kill climate action in the 1990s. The GCC conducted a character assassination campaign against climate scientist Ben Santer, the 1995 IPCC lead author of the Detection of Climate Change and Attribution of Causes chapter, wielding stories in the right-wing Washington Times and Wall Street Journal. Key PR agencies who did the dirty work include Shandwick PA (now Weber Shandwick), Ruder Finn, and First Tuesday. Hell of a job!
The Environmental Protection Agency’s External Civil Rights Compliance Office is investigating environmental racism by the Louisiana government.
Duncan Campbell explains why “generating power is getting cheaper while delivering it becomes more expensive”—simply put, it’s monopoly power.
Upcoming Climate Action:
Tuesday, April 12
10:30 AM: World Resources Institute
Keeping 1.5 C Alive: Responding to the IPCC Report on Mitigating Climate Change
Wednesday, April 13
12 PM: Environmental and Energy Study Institute
Living with Climate Change: The Polar Vortex
WRI’s corporate funders include DuPont, Exelon, Cargill, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, IKEA, Walmart, and Tyson Foods.
Ceres’s board includes the heads of the New York, Illinois, and California pension funds, and several top investment bankers.
EESI, founded as a bipartisan energy and environmental policy think tank in 1984, is primarily supported by foundations.
The Washington Post’s Climate 202 was off Monday. Upon Maxine Joselow’s return today, she did not mention the protest, but she did link to this story about climate scientists participating in nonviolent civil disobedience.
Only because skunks are great.