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Louisiana’s War over the Drilling Moratorium

President Obama’s deep-water drilling moratorium has touched off a political war because it threatents the empires of two families at the heart of Louisian’s Republican oligarchy – the Bollingers and the Choests. Bobby Jindal is fighting to protect the wealth of his biggest benefactors – as well as his job.

July 6th

BP Bans Media Access – Coast Guard Helps

(From Important Media’s newest blog: FailDrill, covering the Gulf Oil Disaster.)

So much for the First Amendment.

Corporations spending money to influence elections… that’s free speech, protected by the First Amendement, according to our Supreme Court.

But reporters talking to oilfield workers? Or taking pictures of booms? Sorry, that’s a felony.

Yobie Benjamin of the SF Gate is outraged:

…Allen has issued a blanket order that bans anyone from getting close to any spill clean up site, boom site, areas where there are clean up workers or any other oil disaster related area or persons effectively shutting down the first amendment rights of the media. The zone of exclusion is 65 feet. There was rumor that Coast Guard bosses wanted to impose a 300 feet exclusion zone but later relented to a 65 feet no trespass and exclusion zone.

This is despite assurances from Thad Allen that there will be full transparency on all clean-up operations. Allen claims local officials were asking the Coast Guard to create a media-free buffer zone. However no media outlet — television, print, Internet or radio could find a single local official who requested the Coast Guard to ban media access to oil sludge sites on land or water. Since no local official requesting a no media zone can be found, it can only be assumed that the ban was requested by BP.

July 3rd

Sen Robert Byrd is Dead; What Does That Mean for the Environment?

The longest-serving member of Congress in US History, Sen Robert Byrd (D-WV), is dead at 92. He was first elected to the Senate in 1958, 52 years ago.

Byrd will be remembered for taking courageous stands against the Gulf War (at a time when most other Democrats were jumping on the Bush bandwagon), and more recently for going against the power structure of his state of West Virginia by saying “Coal Must Embrace The Future”.

June 28th

Climate Bill Not Dead Yet – Senate Democrats Going For It

Just last week, it looked like the climate bill was as dead in the water as a gulf-coast sea turtle. But as of today, it looks like Senate Democrats are going to start acting like a majority party, and pass one of the central pieces of legislation that they ran on. Politico is calling it “Harry Reid’s High-Stakes Climate Gamble.”

Reid’s strategy? Finally doing some of the “horse-trading” that successful majority leaders (like Lydon Johnson) do. Instead of a stand-alone climate bill that Republicans (and some Democratic faint-hearts) are happy to take pot-shots at, he’s going to put forward an omnibus bill that includes energy policy, climate change, and reforms to deepwater drilling.

June 25th

After the Gulf Oil Disaster You Should be Asking: How Much Safer is the Nuclear Industry?

Just as deregulation of the oil industry was a key factor leading to the BP oil spill, energy experts are warning that we may be setting ourselves up for a disaster in the nuclear energy field by deregulating it.

“Even as tens of thousands of gallons of oil continue to erupt each day from BP’s botched oil well, federal lawmakers are weighing legislation that includes BP-style deregulation of new nuclear reactors, which are the only energy source where the damage from a major accident would dwarf the harm done by a ruptured offshore oil well,” experts from The Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Safe Energy program wrote yesterday.

June 25th

Billions in Annual Taxpayer Subsidies Paid to Fossil Fuel Industry

At last year’s G20 Summit in Pittsburgh, the world leaders committed to “phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and increase energy market transparency” and their Energy and Finance Ministers are to “report on their implementation strategies and timelines at the next meeting of the G-20,” which begins in a couple of days.

So will the world leaders stay true to their commitments? Apparently, some countries may be waffling…

June 24th

Senate Dems Meet on Climate Bills, Accomplish Nada

The US Senate, the world’s greatest high school debate squad, continues to fiddle on the climate and energy bills. And while oil gushes into the Gulf, and we enjoy the warmest spring in recorded history, and prepare for a heavy hurricane season, our esteemed Senators are concerned that we’re moving… too fast. Jay Rockefeller (D-Coal Country), actually wants to roll back what little HAS been done.

June 18th

Expert: Sand Berms Aren’t Enough to Keep Oil off La. Coast

The pressure is on to deal with the problems associated with the biggest US oil spill in history. While President Obama pressures BP and dispatches the National Guard, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) has been pushing – hard – for a plan to construct 45 miles of sand berms off the coast to block oil from hitting his shores. The plan was finally approved May 27, but scientists are questioning whether it’s going to work.

June 16th

Obama Spells out Battle Plan for the Gulf Disaster

President Obama made his first Oval Office address to the nation tonight, an 18-minute talk aimed at addressing critics and moving the country forward in the wake of the Gulf Oil Disaster.

This speech laid out President Obama’s battle plan to clean up the mess, help those affected, and make sure it will never happen again.

Here’s a quick outline of the rest of what he said…

June 15th

Bill Maher on Offshore Drilling: “F*ck Your Jobs!”

Wow. Bill Maher weighs in on the debate over offshore drilling, and specifically the issue of whether or not a deepwater offshore drilling ban will be a job-killer.

“You know, maybe your job needs to go when it starts killing things. Maybe this whole mess is a sign that people who work in the oil industry should look into producing something else that’s less immediately harmful… Yes, the oil industry creates jobs. So does the kiddie porn industry.”

June 14th

Ronald Reagan, Environmentalist

Although not generally credited with a strong environmental record, Reagan signed 43 wilderness bills into law designating a net total of 10.6 million acres, and was instrumental in U.S. ratification of the Montreal Protocol — which has dramatically reduced emissions of gases that deplete the upper atmosphere’s protective ozone layer.
This is the first in a series of articles that demonstrate that Conservatism and Conservation really do go hand in hand.
“What is a conservative after all but one who conserves, one who is committed to protecting and holding close the things by which we live…And we want to protect and conserve the land on which we live — our countryside, our rivers and mountains, our plains and meadows and forests. This is our patrimony. This is what we leave to our children. And our great moral responsibility is to leave it to them either as we found it or better than we found it.”

June 14th

Support for Offshore Drilling is Tanking, Post-Gulf Spill

While Republicans continue their mantra of “Drill, Baby, Drill,” support for offshore drilling appears to be tanking.
Only 25 percent of Americans now support increased offshore drilling, a new CBS News/Washington Post poll reports. 31 percent want to see it decreased, with 41 percent saying “keep it the same.”
Those numbers have been in free-fall since drilling support peaked earlier in the year.
But so far, Democrats have failed to capitalize on the public anger.

June 11th

Senate Takes up Murkowski Bid to Block EPA

The EPA has found, based on the scientific evidence (everyone from academics to strategic planners at the Pentagon agrees on this), that CO2 output is hazardous and needs to be regulated. Senator Murkowski wants to strip the EPA of authority to do that, saying it’s SOOO important that Congress needs to handle it. But is that really what’s going on? We take a look at the reality behind the hype.

June 10th

Graham Won’t Vote for his Own Climate Bill

The Washington Independent reports that Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) won’t support his own climate bill, that he’s spent months developing with John Kerry (D-MA) and Joe Lieberman (?-CT).
Why not? He says it’s because it’s too restrictive on drilling.
Will his opposition break the Climate Bill? Or light a fire under Democrats who have delayed moving on the bill for months?

June 8th