Much of the public discourse denying the science of climate change and the need to take action to slow it seems to be funded by shadowy oil companies and conservative billionaires funneling hundreds of millions of dollars secretly through dummy organizations, according to a new report.
- SEJ Publication Types:Visibility:
The report documents the startling breadth of corporate spying on nonprofit groups that oppose corporate policies — especially environmental groups. Much of the spying is done by contractors using former government security agency employees — and some is done with complicity or help from the FBI or CIA.Topics on the Beat:
A New Jersey chemical company, Elementis Chromium, will have to pay a $2.6 million fine for failing to disclose information about the toxicity of hexavalent chromium to workers, in violation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
News broken this month by Politico revealed the existence of a Koch brothers fund that quietly handed out some $250 million to conservative causes during the 2012 elections. Under U.S. law, such groups are tax-exempt, can raise unlimited amounts of money, and do not have to disclose their donors.
In 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) required publicly traded companies to disclose to their stockholders (and the public) what business risks they might face from climate change. Almost three-quarters of the companies are still ignoring the rule, and their shareholders are flying blind.
Here's more evidence of why documents should be leaked to reporters: a Powerpoint obtained by LA Times' Neela Banerjee shows EPA's Region 3 staff argued a year ago for continuing its investigation of fracking pollution around Dimock, PA — as EPA HQ announced it was ending its study of Dimock wells. Now there's an echo in Pavillion, WY.Region:
Journalists who worried about a cover-up during the April 2010 blowout of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico got some vindication this month when Halliburton admitted to destroying evidence. The company agreed to pay $200,000 in fines and donate $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
A doughty, Pulitzer-winning publication is insisting the public has a right to know when pipeline companies are profiting by endangering people's lives, health, and property. InsideClimate News is pushing back against oil companies and federal regulators who say reports on pipeline flaws and hazards are trade secrets.Region:
If you are looking for yet another category of environmental information that the U.S. public is not allowed to know about, try international trade agreements. A recent court decision — one that got little attention from the news media — upheld the federal government's authority to keep secret some information about the health and environmental impacts of trade treaties.
The fracking industry loves to argue there's no proof its gas-extraction methods cause pollution. But it works hard in Pennsylvania to keep secret any evidence that might prove the question — one way or the other. Existence of its database was reported by Marie Cusick of WITF in Harrisburg, via NPR's StateImpact Pennsylvania.Region: