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Lisa Hymas' Posts


California’s San Onofre nuclear plant gets final death blow

San Onofre nuclear plant
San Onofre nuclear plant -- now just a blight on the seashore.

Southern California Edison is officially giving up on the San Onofre nuclear power plant -- and it's about time. When workers have to resort to masking tape and broomsticks to patch up a leaky pipe, you know things are bad. And that's just one of many reasons why the name of the plant is usually preceded by the word "troubled."

Speaking of which, from CBS News:

The troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant on the California coast is closing after an epic 16-month battle over whether the twin reactors could be safely restarted with millions of people living nearby, officials announced Friday.


Keystone backers hire lobbyists with ties to John Kerry

John Kerry
State Department
Will John Kerry be swayed by former colleagues who are now pushing the Keystone pipeline?

The fight over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline is getting personal -- or should that be personnel?

Pipeline company TransCanada and the Canadian province of Alberta have been hiring lobbyists and consultants who previously worked with Secretary of State John Kerry, hoping they'll help convince him that Keystone XL deserves a thumbs-up.

After the State Department finishes environmental and other reviews of the pipeline plan, Kerry will make a recommendation to President Obama about whether it should be approved. Obama will then make the final call.

From The Boston Globe:

In mid-March, about six weeks after Kerry was confirmed as secretary of state, the province of Alberta hired new consultants — some with ties to Kerry — to help them ensure the project wins approval.


Obama may delay Keystone decision until 2014

foot kicking can
Jim Barber
Kick ... kick ... kick ...

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.


GOP throws tantrum over Obama’s EPA nominee

Gina McCarthy
Reuters/Jason Roberts
Gina McCarthy -- she's just too EPA-ish.

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.

From Politico:

“This has nothing to do with Gina McCarthy,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who charged that the boycott has more to do with a desire to obstruct EPA’s role in climate change regulations. ...


Joe Biden kinda sorta maybe opposes Keystone XL pipeline

Joe Biden and Elaine Cooper
Sierra Club
Sierra Club activist Elaine Cooper with Joe Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden told an activist on Friday that he doesn't support the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, according to a post on the Sierra Club website.

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.

Environmental leaders seized on the news, BuzzFeed reports:


Why haven’t the big green groups divested from fossil fuels?

dollar bill dripping with oil
Dirty money.

Colleges and universities have started to do it. Cities like San Francisco and Seattle have started to do it. But many of the biggest environmental and conservation groups in the U.S. still haven't made any moves to dump their investments in oil, gas, and coal companies, reports Naomi Klein in The Nation:

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.”

Read more: Climate & Energy


Mitt Romney tells college grads to have lots of babies

Mitt Romney's got a solution to Republicans' demographic woes. It's not to embrace immigration reform, or stop putting misogynistic nut jobs on the ballot, or pursue economic policies that would benefit groups other than rich, old, white people.

Romney family portrait
Mitt knows whereof he speaks.

No, Mitt Romney's big idea is that conservatives need to have more kids.

During a commencement address he gave this past weekend at Southern Virginia University, a predominately Mormon college, Romney urged new grads to get married young and start poppin' 'em out.

Read more: Politics


Mark Zuckerberg’s political group funds ads promoting Keystone and ANWR drilling

Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

ThinkProgress has the story:

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.


Sierra Club comes out in favor of immigration reform

Sierra Club logoIt was notable when Bill McKibben of and Philip Radford of Greenpeace recently came out in support of immigration-reform legislation.

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.

Read more: Politics


Obama’s group Organizing for Action finally takes up climate change … sort of

"Organizing for Action" buttonIt'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.

From The Huffington Post:

Organizing for Action, the advocacy arm pushing the Obama administration's agenda, will begin its next big policy push on Thursday with a focus on climate change.