EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"The National Oil Spill Commission continues its investigation into the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, but the president's panel remains hampered by its inability to compel key witnesses to testify and turn over documents. Senate Republicans blocked a bill to grant the commission subpoena power in July. Now the Senate has gone home once without moving the measure forward."
If you are wondering why climate legislation was defeated during the 111th Congress and expanded offshore drilling won -- it may have something to do with over $500 million spend by fossil energy companies on lobbying, campaign contributions, and other forms of political influence.
FBI agents during the Bush administration "investigated members of the environmental advocacy group Greenpeace over their protest activities 'with little or no basis,' [a Justice Department Inspector General's] report said. Agents kept the case open for more than three years, even though no charges were filed, and put the activists on a terrorist watch list, it said."
The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday, September 22, will hold a hearing on the National Flood Insurance Program, which is teetering under some $19 billion in debt. The NFIP is set to expire Sept. 30, just as the hurricane season reaches its height. Congress has allowed the NFIP to expire four times already this year.
"Italy Tuesday seized Mafia-linked assets worth $1.9 billion -- the biggest mob haul ever -- in an operation revealing that the crime group was trying to 'go green' by laundering money through alternative energy companies."
"According to recently leaked documents, the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security has been tracking anti-gas drilling groups and their meetings — including a public screening of the film 'Gasland,' a documentary about the environmental hazards of natural gas drilling."
"U.S. Department of Agriculture experts found growing sanitary problems including bugs and overflowing trash earlier this year on the Iowa farm at the center of the national egg recall, but didn't notify health authorities, according to government documents and officials."
"Last night, Michael Bromwich, the new director of the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (formerly known as the Minerals Management Service), circulated an email to staffers outlining new ethics policies for employees who deal with offshore drilling, an attempt to reform his run amuck division's rep for being too cozy with oil and gas interests."
"The BP oil spill was a massive 'failure' in government oversight and administrations should be forced to consult with experts in the field before making expansive drilling policy, top officials of the White House's oil spill commission said on Wednesday."
"Another BP employee is refusing to testify in the investigation into the cause of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to not produce testimony that could incriminate him."
"Volunteering in state parks has long been a staple of the Boy Scouts experience. But in Georgia this year, as the Boy Scouts celebrate their 100th anniversary by building bridges and park benches, maintaining trails and cleaning up waterways, the ongoing event is unusual in one respect: It’s sponsored by Verizon Wireless."
"The opponents of Pebble, the giant copper and gold prospect in Southwest Alaska, have asked the federal Environmental Protection Agency to invoke its potent and rarely used power to block the potential mine. But U.S. Rep. Don Young late last month filed legislation seeking to strip the EPA of that authority."
"President Obama could invoke strong climate policies, like gasoline carbon limits, without congressional input before world leaders convene this fall to negotiate an international global warming treaty, a research group says in a plan provided to the administration."
"Dozens of environmental and conservation groups were pleased Thursday as Solicitor General Elena Kagan won confirmation as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice on a Senate vote of 63-37, largely along party lines."
"Three out of every four lobbyists who represent oil and gas companies previously worked in the federal government, a proportion that far exceeds the usual revolving-door standards on Capitol Hill, a Washington Post analysis shows."