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Coal barons, oil mouthpieces, electric buses, it's all here
PRESENTED BY BINGO GOATS
It’s a grab bag of news today! I apologize for the lack of thematic cohesion, but that’s Thursdays for you, a lot is going on, and it’s not even all bad!
The effort to blockade Joe Manchin’s coal plant is now only two days away! Join the hundreds of people heading to the Coal Baron Blockade at the Grant Town coal plant this Saturday.
Representatives Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have introduced the Energy Security and Independence Act, which would use and “all-of-government approach that engages environmental justice communities, manufacturers, scientists, engineers, planners, and labor unions to plan and implement a transition to 100 percent renewable energy.”
The bill is striking for joining the left-most flank of the Democratic Party with moderates like Crow, setting a clear marker of who is in the climate-hawk wing of the party. So far the bill has 27 House co-sponsors and six Senate co-sponsors.
In an epic thread, Ajit Niranjan breaks down how the United States and other top polluters watered down the top-level summary of the IPCC’s latest report. Good job, us!
At yesterday’s Big Oil CEO hearing, the executives were unapologetic about their profiteering, and pretty smug in their belief that their control over our government is sufficient to block any efforts to claw away their profits. Big Oil is on course for near-record $38 billion in share buybacks, on top of estimated $50 billion of dividends. $88 billion isn’t bad, but, c’mon dudes, let’s go for a $100 billion wealth transfer from the poor to the plutocrats!
Amusing: H.R. McMaster, who served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, was the GOP witness at the hearing. McMaster stumped for natural gas, because “national security.” The indefatigable Maxine Joselow reports:
“But when McMaster submitted his testimony to the committee, it accidentally listed an executive at Sempra Energy as the author.”
SHADOW DOCKET: “Conservatives on the Supreme Court on Wednesday reinstated for now a Trump-era environmental rule that limited the ability of states to block projects that could pollute rivers and streams, a decision more notable because Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joined liberals in calling it an abuse of the court’s emergency powers.” The ruling was made using the “shadow docket” powers, which allows a majority to make a decision without offering any justification. The radical-right court is now making use of the shadow docket with worrying frequency, because they just don’t care.
Let’s look at the Environmental Protection Agency! In good news, the EPA on Tuesday proposed a rule to finally ban chrysotile asbestos. And the EPA “proposed last week to scrap an exemption for accidental pollution releases, a step environmentalists insist is only one of many needed to close multiple emission shields for industry.”
Not so good: At a budget hearing yesterday, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) pressed Michael Regan “for regulatory inaction on venting and flaring of methane emissions or carbon emissions from chemical plants, refineries, cement plants, metal plants, and paper mills.”
Regan argued the Trump-gutted EPA is doing the best it can, and is worried about what the Supreme Court will allow it to regulate.
The EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics has developed a weirdly narrow “definition of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ that excludes some of their widely used compounds,” including those in pharmaceuticals and pesticides.
Julie Dermansky traveled to Cameron, Louisiana, to meet the people living in the shadow of the liquified natural gas boom.
Trying to make Joe Manchin look good by comparison, GOP billionaire West Virginia governor Jim Justice has consistently missed deadlines to pay the U.S. government the millions of dollars he owes in penalties for unsafe working conditions at his coal mines.
Genevieve Guenther writes a devastating critique of the carbon-dioxide-removal scam: “The whole idea of carbon removal was developed to keep the fossil fuel system going.”
Smoke up: It’s 420! Parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, that is. The world hit 419 ppm at its peak in May last year, and we’re chugging right along. “CO2 went up by about 80 ppm during 6,000 years. Yet now it’s increasing by more than 2 ppm every single year.”
Popular GOP climate-denier witness Alex Epstein is an ethnonationalist:
“Just compare New York to Chad. No benefit can be gained by focusing an education on anti-reason cultures, their only academic merit lies in contrasting them to Western civilization as models of inferiority.”
“He is slated to speak at a conference in June sponsored by the oil giant Chevron, and serves as a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission,” Maxine Joselow writes. As she was working on the article, Epstein went on the attack, trying harassing her and the Post. He’s a real piece of shit.
Michelle Wu, the Green New Dealer who is now mayor of Boston, has announced a plan to replace the city’s school buses with electric ones by 2030.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has sided with its Republican legislature to block governor Tom Wolf’s plan to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and require the state’s fossil fuel-fired power plants to pay for their carbon dioxide pollution.
Chevron estimates its methane leak at its Alaska oilfield has totaled 7.2 million cubic feet. Oops!
England’s Extinction Rebellion keeps blocking fossil-fuel infrastructure, this time the Navigator oil terminal in Essex.
Stand Together, the influential non-profit group run by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch, argues that the United States should seek to deliver a partial “victory” to Russia in Ukraine.
Hearings on the Hill:
9:30 AM: House Appropriations
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
FY2023 Member Day
10 AM: Senate Energy and Natural Resources
The Scope And Scale Of Critical Mineral Demand And Recycling