The Obama administration has been procrastinating on its decision on the Keystone XL pipeline for years -- and now comes word that it may kick the can even further down the road. From Reuters:
The Obama administration is unlikely to make a decision on the Canada-to-Nebraska Keystone XL pipeline until late this year as it painstakingly weighs the project's impact on the environment and on energy security, a U.S. official and analysts said on Friday.
Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee refused to show up for work Thursday morning, basically because they really don't like the EPA.
The committee was scheduled to vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy, President Obama's pick to head the EPA. The vote had already been delayed three weeks to accommodate grumbling Republicans, according to committee chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). Then, this morning, right before the scheduled committee hearing, the eight GOP members sent a letter saying they were going to boycott.
While the veep was working the crowd at an event in South Carolina, Elaine Cooper got a moment with him:
I asked him about the administration’s commitment to making progress on climate and whether the president would reject the pipeline. He looked at the Sierra Club hat on my head, and he said “yes, I do -- I share your views -- but I am in the minority,” and he smiled. ...
I know that this vice president is a man who isn’t afraid to speak from his heart, and who sometimes gets out in front of the rest of the administration on moral issues. It was nearly a year before, on May 6, 2012, that Biden said that he was “absolutely comfortable” with marriage equality. What the vice president said to me on Friday was equally brave and equally right.
One would assume that green groups would want to make absolutely sure that the money they have raised in the name of saving the planet is not being invested in the companies whose business model requires cooking said planet, and which have been sabotaging all attempts at serious climate action for more than two decades.
But in some cases at least, that was a false assumption. ...
Conservation International, notorious for its partnerships with oil companies and other bad actors (the CEO of Northrop Grumman is on its board, for God’s sake), has close to $22 million invested in publicly traded securities and, according to a spokesperson, “We do not have any explicit policy prohibiting investment in energy companies.” The same goes for the Ocean Conservancy, which has $14.4 million invested in publicly traded securities, including hundreds of thousands in “energy,” “materials” and “utilities” holdings. A spokesperson confirmed in writing that the organization does “not have an environmental or social screen investment policy.”
Mark Zuckerberg’s new political group, which bills itself as a bipartisan entity dedicated to passing immigration reform, has spent considerable resources on ads advocating a host of anti-environmental causes — including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and constructing the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
The umbrella group, co-founded by Facebook’s Zuckerberg, NationBuilder’s Joe Green, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Dropbox’s Drew Houston, and others in the tech industry, is called FWD.US. ...
FWD.US is bankrolling two subsidiary organizations to purchase TV ads to advance the overarching agenda — one run by veteran Republican political operatives and one led by Democratic strategists.
But it's really notable that the Sierra Club has now joined them. Over the past decade and a half, the club has had vicious leadership battles over immigration and population. But now the board of directors, which is elected by the group's 1.4 million members, is unanimously agreed. From Politico:
The Sierra Club's board voted Wednesday to support comprehensive immigration reform ...
The decision is a major shift for the group, which has a storied past over the issue.
It's about time. So far this year, President Obama and his advocacy nonprofit Organizing for Action have been making big pushes for gun control and immigration reform, while largely ignoring climate change. Today that's starting to change.
The Environmental Protection Agency won an important legal victory Tuesday in a long-brewing battle with Arch Coal Inc. over a coal mining project in West Virginia known as Spruce No. 1.
The case tests whether the EPA can revoke a permit for the controversial practice known as mountaintop mining after another federal agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has already approved it.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA can indeed revoke such a permit, acting under the authority of the Clean Water Act. (Turns out that dumping tons of dirt and rock into streams does not promote clean water.)
EPA said [the State Department] failed to fully consider alternative routes for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline. ...
Further, EPA urged the State Department to revisit its suggestion that Keystone would not expedite production of Canada’s carbon-intensive oil sands or significantly ramp up greenhouse gas emissions — two major assertions made by the pipeline's critics.