Oil

Oil traders illegally inflated oil prices in 2008, commodity watchdog says

In 2008, two commodities traders conspired to drive up the price of oil, says the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The two traders, one of whom is named Nicholas Wildgoose, the other of whom is Australian, bought up two-thirds—4.6 million barrels—of the crude oil available in Cushing, Okla., the delivery hub that sets prices for American oil. According to the CFTC's suit, the traders weren't planning on using the oil. They knew that if they bought up a whole bunch of oil, other people would see a shortage, freak out, and start paying more for it. But these guys knew that …

Denmark calls in armed commandos to fend off Greenpeace

Hippies near an oil rig! Send in the SWAT team! The Guardian is reporting that armed Danish commandos have been helicoptered onto an oil rig off Greenland, out of fears that Greenpeace activists will interfere with the rig’s deepwater drilling. Apparently Greenpeace has sent two ships to monitor the rig, owned by Scottish company Cairn Energy. The group is concerned because if Cairn experiences a spill in the deep Arctic waters, it would be nearly impossible to clean up. The Danish government, in turn, has sent two WARships to monitor Greenpeace. And now, there are armed commandos. In a just …

Are the Kochs pushing for an international oil pipeline?

House Republicans are trying to speed up the review process for Keystone XL, the controversial pipeline that would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands all the way down to Texas. This is potentially very dangerous, probably overpriced, maybe unnecessary, and almost certainly advantageous for certain corporate bigwigs. In other words, it stinks of unwashed Koch. That’s what Rep. Henry Waxman thinks, anyway. He’s asked the House Energy and Commerce Committee to demand more documentation about exactly how the Kochs stand to benefit from Keystone XL. In a letter to the committee, Waxman and Rep. Bobby Rush laid out their reasons for suspecting …

Politics

L.A. Times: Obama is throwing ‘the environment and public health under a bus’ to get reelected

Photo: The White HouseThe L.A. Times has delivered a blistering editorial that everybody in the White House should read: In the 2012 campaign, environmentalists don’t matter That’s the message President Obama is sending as the administration caters to smokestack and other industries. Ouch. Here’s the whole thing: Shortly after his party’s “shellacking” in the midterm election, President Obama ordered government agencies to ensure that new regulations took economic growth into consideration and that old ones be revoked if they “stifle job creation or make our economy less competitive.” Five months later, it’s becoming pretty clear what he meant: The environment …

Oil

Me, talking politics and oil subsidies [VIDEO]

Yesterday, I was on The Alyona Show, a sharp public affairs talk show run, oddly enough, by Russia Today. The topic was the politics around oil subsidies. Here’s the clip: I don’t have a ton to add, but here’s one point I was pondering on the bus this morning. You often hear people (like me!) say that there’s not much point in ramping up domestic drilling since we wouldn’t get substantial oil for 10 or 20 years and even then we wouldn’t get enough to substantially affect the price of oil or gas. Their reply is, “If it takes 20 …

Will gas prices turn America into Europe?

If you thought driving sporty little fuel-efficient vehicles and living a reasonable distance from work was strictly an affectation of Continentals who kiss their ladies down there, we've got news for you: Turns out these behaviors can be induced in any population, whatever the likelihood that its colors will run, simply by increasing the cost of fuel. Probably. Here's the evidence, as reported by the Times. Gas prices are forcing consumers to: – Live closer to work – Repair their tools instead of buying new ones – Use mass transit – Consolidate shopping trips – Buy less gasoline overall (down …

Learn about oil prices through the magic of rap

Kids these days, with their "emo" and their "MySpace" and their "sexting"! How do you "get down" verbally to show you're "hep"? How about a rap music song! Actually, while the apparent vogue of rap-based explainers is a little weird, we can't complain too much about this one, since it brought us the line "oil's fungible, fool!" It brings up and dispenses with a lot of the main fallacies about oil prices, with only a little bit of oversimplification and a solid helping of hideously tortured cadence. If you have a friend who likes to wave around Atlas Shrugged while …

Critical List: Reid, enviro groups talk air quality; DDT in Africa

Harry Reid met with Big Environment last night to strategize a defense of the Clean Air Act. Politico says a key point of debate was whether enviros should go after errant, but potentially vulnerable Dems on green issues during the next election cycle. Senators rejected a bill that would have sped up oil drilling, then patted themselves on the back for being awesome about the environment. Meanwhile, 53 new shallow-water drilling permits have been issued under post-spill laws. Flooding in the Mississippi basin: bad for humans who live there, good for humans who like to eat crawfish and shrimp. Expected …

Senate refuses to sign ‘We Heart Offshore Drilling’ petition

Well, here's one piece of good news coming out of D.C.: The Senate — including five Republicans — voted to reject a bill that would have expanded offshore drilling. Of course, that might be because there are already plenty of new drilling permits being issued (53 shallow-water permits under the new post-Gulf spill regulations), so it's not like we're halting the practice here. Still, we like anything that makes Mitch McConnell go red in the face, and this bill was one of his babies. The rejected bill would have made it easier to push permits through hastily, according to the …

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