Putting Petro Pete on the SPOT

Speaker of the House, empty as a hat!


“Stop Petro Pete!” Credit: Kirk McCoy

On Tuesday, youth activists with Climate Defiance protested Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg at a conference in Baltimore, challenging him to reject permits for the 2-million-barrels-per-day Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) and the 85-mbd Texas GulfLink crude export terminal off the coast of Brazoria County, near Houston. Buttigieg’s department approved SPOT last November, and Texas GulfLink’s application is nearing completion. One of the protesters challenged Pete:

“Your department just approved the Sea Port Oil Terminal, a project that will have 80 coal plants worth of greenhouse gas emissions and will worsen air quality in areas that already live in cancer clusters. This is about environmental racism and it’s about the climate impacts this project will have. Will you commit to stopping this project?”

When asked by the host if he was able to explain what and where these projects are, Pete replied only, “I don’t want to say anything off the cuff.

After that cowardly non-response about his carbon bombs, the protesters shut down the event. “Stop SPOT and GulfLink!” they chanted. “Stop Petro Pete!”

There is news, of a sort, emerging from the unproductive halls of Congress: House Majority Leader Steve “My ‘I’m Not David Duke’ Shirt Has People Asking a Lot of Questions Already Answered By My Shirt” Scalise (R-Exxon) won the private GOP ballot 113-99 to be the nominee for Speaker of the House on Wednesday. He then dropped out last night, because there are “still some people that have their own agendas.”

Next up for the meatgrinder, Rep. Jim “Gym” Jordan (R-Ohio), who has Donald Trump’s blessing because he’s a complete ass, tries again. Jordan was challenged for the nomination by Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), spurring several “Who is Austin Scott?” articles.1 Jordan easily won the nod, but there’s no particular reason to believe he has the full caucus behind him to be elected speaker, because, again, he’s a complete ass. As the shit show continues, the nation lurches closer to the November 17th government shutdown deadline, with wars and climate disasters piling up.

I fully recognize this is a pipe dream, but it’s fun to imagine President Joe Biden and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) working behind the scenes to discreetly let five swing-district Republicans know they could join the Democrats.

The fossil-friendly billionaire wing of the Democratic Party (No Labels, Mainstream Democrats, DMFI, etc.) spends a lot of time and money kneecapping eco-socialism. Why not put them to work bringing the House back under Democratic control with a few calls to California’s John Duarte and New York’s Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams, and Anthony D’Esposito, all of whom squeaked out wins in strongly pro-Biden districts? There are 11 Republicans representing districts won by Biden in the so-called Climate Solutions Caucus. If you’re a clean-tech billionaire (D) reading this, here’s an easy climate solution!

Funny how instead we get “bipartisanship” arguments that Democrats need to help keep Republicans in control.


I keep meaning to write a review worthy of Naomi Klein’s new book Doppelganger, and maybe the words will come.2 But you could also simply trust that it’s essential reading—or listening (she reads the audiobook). The deeply personal book, which has a Tremendous Mouthful of wisdom for the climate movement, also includes a tragically relevant investigation of Jewish identity and the state of Israel. Laura Kipnis’s review in The Nation quotes this haunting line:

“So much of modern history is a story of pools of trauma being spatially moved around the globe like chess pieces made of human misery, with yesterday’s victims enlisted as today’s occupying army.”

In a recent piece for The Guardian, Klein responds to the inhuman violence of Hamas and Benjamin Netanyahu’s government with the call to “side with the child over the gun every single time”:

“True solidarity. Humanism that unites people across ethnic and religious lines. Fierce opposition to all forms of identity-based hatred, including antisemitism. An international left rooted in values that side with the child over the gun every single time, no matter whose gun and no matter whose child. A left that is unshakably morally consistent, and does not mistake that consistency with moral equivalency between occupier and occupied. Love.”

Thanks for subscribing and spreading the word. If you’ve got job listings, event listings, or other hot news, I want to hear it. Connect with me@[email protected] and @climatebrad.hillheat.com on BlueSky

1 It’s not worth finding out. In case you’re wondering, he “absolutely” rejects climate science.

2 Though procrastinating on a reviewing a book that delves into Klein’s struggles with writer’s block seems apt.

Subscribe to Hill Heat

Climate science, policy, politics, and action

Join the conversation

or to participate.