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Lisa Hymas' Posts


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.


Court hands EPA a victory in fight against mountaintop-removal mining

mountaintop-removal coal-mining site
SouthWings / Appalachian Voices
Mountaintop-removal coal mining: It's damn ugly.

Score one for the EPA -- and everyone else who doesn't like the idea of a coal company blasting the tops off mountains and dumping the waste into streams.

From The Wall Street Journal:

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 bashes State Department’s ‘insufficient’ Keystone report

protest banner: "Keystone XL pipeline not in our national interest"
Fibonacci Blue
The EPA kind of said this, but with a lot more words.

The EPA has a special Earth Day message for the State Department: You still haven't done your homework on the Keystone XL pipeline's potential environmental effects.

That's the gist of the EPA's official comments [PDF] on the State Department's draft environmental impact statement for the proposed pipeline, submitted on the final day of the comment period. (Procrastination: It's not just for college students.) State's report found that Keystone would not have significant environmental impacts, but EPA says the report included “insufficient information” to reach a conclusion on the impacts.

From The Hill:

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.


Koch brothers want to buy L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, six other papers

Charles and David Koch
Charles and David Koch, aka the Kochtopus.

Charles and David Koch -- the billionaire oil-baron brothers who've poured mega-millions into climate denial and right-wing causes and candidates -- are looking to get into the media business. Watch out.

From The New York Times:

Koch Industries, the sprawling private company of which Charles G. Koch serves as chairman and chief executive, is exploring a bid to buy the Tribune Company’s eight regional newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, The Orlando Sentinel and The Hartford Courant.


This bipartisan energy-efficiency bill might actually be able to pass Congress

Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman
U.S. Senate
A Democrat and a Republican, working together. Weird.

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have come up with an energy-efficiency bill that they think has a real chance of passing the U.S. Senate. And then the U.S. House. In this Congress. Really!

From Politico:

The legislation, known as the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, focuses on improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings, the manufacturing sector and the federal government.

Among other things, the bill strengthens building codes to make new homes and buildings more efficient, creates a new Energy Department program called SupplySTAR to improve the efficiency of companies’ supply chains and requires the federal government — the country’s largest energy user — to adopt strategies to conserve the electricity used for computers.

It's a scaled-back version of a bill they introduced last year. To preempt conservative objections, it drops a provision that would have expanded a Department of Energy loan program. After Solyndra, "Department of Energy loan program" is not a phrase Republicans are warm to.

A bipartisan duo -- Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) -- will be pushing a similar bill in the House.