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 scandal-ridden federal Minerals Management Service is gone, at least in name."
"California headed for a high-stakes battle over global warming Tuesday, as an oil industry-backed measure to suspend the state's aggressive climate-change law qualified for the November ballot." "The battle over the initiative, launched by Texas oil giants Valero and Tesoro, will pit that industry against environmentalists and the state's clean-tech businesses."
A new report makes the myth-busting assertion that the coal industry costs the state of West Virginia more in expenses than it brings in economic benefits.
"The Louisiana judge who struck down the Obama administration's six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has reported extensive investments in the oil and gas industry, according to financial disclosure reports. He's also a new member of a secret national security court."
Despite public statements of open media access to Gulf response operation by the Coast Guard and BP, local police are still prohibiting photography. They say BP directed them to do it.
"'Expert Credibility in Climate Change,' a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that 97-98% of climate researchers examined who are most actively publishing in the field support the IPCC conclusions, i.e., are convinced by the evidence for human-caused climate change, and that the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of researchers questioning the findings is significantly below that of convinced researchers."
"Overwhelmingly, Americans think the nation needs a fundamental overhaul of its energy policies, and most expect alternative forms to replace oil as a major source within 25 years. Yet a majority are unwilling to pay higher gasoline prices to help develop new fuel sources."
The UK's Murdoch-owned Sunday Times in January 2010 published an article that seemed to discredit science suggesting the Amazon was vulnerable to drought as a result of trends linked to climate change. The article came at a time when climate change deniers were concertedly attacking peer-reviewed science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Now the Times has published a correction and apology for that January article -- discrediting yet another smear in the deniers' widely reported attack on climate science.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) turned a hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward on its head Thursday by apologizing to BP for what he called a "$20 billion shakedown." Democrats made political hay. Republicans scrambled to distance themselves. Under threat from GOP leaders of losing his job as top House Energy Republican, Barton returned to the hearing to apologize for apologizing. It later emerged that Barton's "shakedown" talking point had been crafted by the Republican Study Committee, a conservative faction that includes 115 of the 178 GOP House members. Barton got more than $100,000 in campaign contributions from the oil industry during this election cycle -- and his top single corporate contributor is Anadarko, which is a 25% stakeholder in the gushing Macondo well. Hayward, while apologetic himself, dodged the panel's questions.
"Nearly 30 members of the congressional committees overseeing oil and gas companies held personal assets in the industry totaling $9 million to $14.5 million late last year. That included at least $400,000 in the three companies at the heart of the Gulf of Mexico oil-drilling disaster, according to a Washington Post analysis of financial disclosure forms released Wednesday."
"President Obama urged the nation Tuesday to rally behind legislation that would begin changing the way the country consumes and generates energy, saying the expanding oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is 'the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now.'"
WDSU, the NBC affiliate in New Orleans (Channel 6) find that BP's highly publicized statement that it is not barring news media from witnessing the cleanup, or its failure, are in fact not true. Without any legal authority, BP "security" contractors aggressively seek to intimidate and drive away reporters trying to cover the spill and response on public beaches.
"The man appointed Tuesday by President Obama to oversee offshore oil drilling has no experience with oil and gas issues, but he has a reputation for cleaning up embattled organizations."
"Federal agencies responding to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster should do a better job of targeting communities that have historically been underrepresented in disaster response, including people of color and Native Americans, members of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council said Tuesday."
"The oil spill spreading through the Gulf of Mexico has been declared the worst environmental catastrophe ever in the United States. But for American environmentalists, the distress may also bring opportunity."