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Powder Puffing the Climate Crisis

A look at Lichtenstein, moose mortality, and Poupon in peril


Today’s top story: It’s 90 degrees in Lichtenstein.

If the Biden administration was truly serious about “tackling the climate crisis,” then Jessica Reznicek would be free and oil CEOs would be prosecuted as terrorists.

Instead, since the beginning of 2022, US oil companies have announced $46 billion in stock buybacks and $8.3 billion in special windfall dividends. That’s enough to buy Twitter! And in Concord, N.H., four climate activists who blockaded a coal train in 2019 were fined and forbidden from engaging in civil disobedience for five years with the threat of jail time.

I’m glad to report the fossil-fueled drive to block the House gas price-gouging bill (H.R. 7688) ran out of gas yesterday. The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act passed comfortably 217-207, with only four Democrats joining the Republicans in opposition. Notably, the extremely oil-loyal Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), the corrupt anti-abortion legislator, voted for the bill. Guess who is facing a strong primary challenge on Tuesday from Green New Dealer Jessica Cisneros!

As mentioned, I can’t say the White House is truly tackling the climate crisis, but they do deserve credit for at least trying to beat the climate crisis in flag football.

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled out its $5 billion Clean School Bus program, financed by the Biden infrastructure bill, to help electrify a fraction of the nation’s fleet of 480,000 school buses and spur the domestic EV industry. The program unfortunately offers some subsidies for propane and methane buses, but they are much, much lower than those for electric buses, which could cover 100% of the cost. Also unfortunately (unless you are in the bus-manufacturing business), this program does not support retrofits, which are half as expensive as new buses. Vice President Kamala Harris, EPA Administrator Michael Regan, and White House Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu announced the program at Meridian (formerly George Mason) High School in Falls Church, Va.

Kudos are deserved for U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, whose department has given Texas ten days to fix its blatantly racist allocation of $2 billion in Harvey recovery funding.

And Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stood up to a few hours of haranguing at yesterday’s budget hearing in Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.V.) energy committee. She let the senators know that Interior will release a new five-year oil and gas lease schedule next month, but notably “declined to say whether it will authorize any new drilling or development.”

Reps. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) have introduced legislation to overhaul the bankrupt National Flood Insurance Program to reflect the relentless rise in fossil-fueled flooding, and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) is holding a hearing on NFIP reform next week.

Team climate crisis is still steaming toward the end zone.

The record-shattering, killer global heat of 2022 has finally reached the mid-Atlantic, so global warming is now something that people in the Acela Corridor like me worry about again. Don’t worry, though, the Boston Globe’s Dave Epstein won’t connect the dots.

The results of Saturday’s elections in Australia could hinge on voter anger over Down Under’s apocalyptic wildfires, floods, and dying oceans from the burning of their massive reserves of coal.

The warming winters have led to an explosion of moose ticks in Maine, which have killed nearly 90% of moose calves in the state that year.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved three more fracked-gas projects at its monthly open meeting yesterday.Chair Rich Glick:

“People said, ‘Oh, if you consider climate change, if you consider the greenhouse gas emissions impact on the pipeline, you're going to kill the pipeline ... we know that FERC is going to try to kill these pipelines. And that's simply not true. And I think this case is a good example of that.”

The same day, FERC released a report on how extreme heat, wildfires, hurricanes, and drought threaten the electric grid this summer, without mentioning that the threats are fossil-fueled.

Pollution financiers of last resort: Power plants in the United States owned by private equity have a larger carbon footprint than the entire nation of Argentina, according to a new report from Americans for Financial Reform. And a lot of that ownership is invested on behalf of public pension funds.

It’s hot out there. Be good to each other.

Hearings off the Hill:

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