Politics

Inspector general’s report finds problems with royalty-collection program at Interior

A new report by the U.S. Interior Department’s inspector general points to a “profound failure” of the technology that the Minerals Management Service uses to monitor the roughly $10 billion in oil and gas royalty payments from energy companies each year. But it’s not just the technology. Higher-ups in the agency apparently decided that even after catching oil companies underpaying by over $1 million, it would impose too much of a “hardship” on the companies to require them to calculate the royalties owed, despite the fact that MMS’ own computers weren’t capable of making the necessary calculations. The report was …

You too can be John Dingell's legislative adviser

Dingell wants feedback on his carbon tax bill

Rep. John Dingell is going to put a draft of his carbon tax bill on his website this Thursday, to solicit feedback. (Did I say "tax"? I meant "emissions fee.") Reportedly, this marks the first time Dingell’s done something like this. I dunno. If he’s just introducing the tax to sabotage the rest of the climate legislation in the House, why do this? Why allow for public comment before introducing a bill if you mean the bill to fail? Inscrutable as usual. Regardless, when he opens it up for feedback, I’m going to head over (hopefully joined by lots of …

Greenspan vs. Naomi Klein and Amy Goodman

A remarkable bit of radio on Democracy Now

I agree with Joseph Romm that Alan Greenspan is way overrated. Sure, he declares in his new book that "I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows — the Iraq war is largely about oil." But he adds in his very next sentence, to paraphrase: And that’s a good thing. Yes, he supported the war because he saw it as essential to maintaining a smooth flow of oil. Everything else, for him, was political window dressing. And yes, he became a hero to certain liberals because he worked well with Bill Clinton. But what did the …

Do something already

Poll finds people ready for action on climate change

The BBC World Service just released the results of a poll they did of 22,000 people in 21 countries on attitudes toward global warming. Short story: large majorities believe that human beings are causing global warming, that urgent action needs to be taken to avert it, and that part of that action should be rich countries helping fund the efforts of poor countries. Says GlobeScan President Doug Miller, "The strength of these findings makes it difficult to imagine a more supportive public opinion environment for national leaders to commit to climate action." And yet, national leaders continue to dither and …

Senate approves water bill, Bush may veto, Senate may override

The Senate has approved a $23 billion water bill, which includes $3.6 billion for wetland and coastal restoration in Louisiana and $2 billion for restoration work in the Everglades. It would also create a new national levee safety program and calls for much-needed outside review of water construction projects undertaken by the Army Corps of Engineers. Critics of the legislation decry the earmarks for hundreds of water projects in nearly every state, and say the bill lacks good prioritization. President Bush has threatened to veto; the Senate may very well overturn said hypothetical veto with a two-thirds majority. Granted, the …

What to listen for during 'Global Warming Week'

On how the Bush administration creates an illusion of climate change progress

There's going to be a lot of hype around the Bush climate summit this week. The key buzzwords of the global warming delayers are "aspirational," "technology," and "intensity." The more someone uses those words, the less serious they are about stopping climate change. The bottom line is that any international global warming agreement must include prompt, binding, and enforceable greenhouse-gas reductions by the United States or else the agreement will fail and all nations will suffer the consequences. Some other key points:

Bloggers at the UN climate confab

If our own Brian Beutler’s blogging from the UN climate meeting isn’t sating your ravenous appetite for … blogging from the UN climate meeting, check out Hill Heat for a roundup of other bloggers at the event and what they’ve written.

Bush's climate summit: What's needed

Terry Tamminen and Stewart J. Hudson tell Bush how to make his climate meeting a success

The following is a guest post from Terry Tamminen and Stewart J. Hudson. Tamminen is the Cullman Senior Climate Policy Fellow at the New America Foundation. His latest book is Lives Per Gallon: The True Cost of Our Oil Addiction. Hudson is president of the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and co-chair of the U.S. Climate and Energy Funders Group. Preparations for President Bush's Sept. 27-28 summit of world leaders on climate change are underway and will determine how the president sets the tone for this historic meeting. He can restore American leadership by calling for mandatory reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, or he can shoot for the lowest common denominator as a means of sticking with the status quo. "Science has deepened our understanding of climate change and opened new possibilities for confronting it," the president said recently. In keeping with this new perspective, there are three steps he could take now to make this summit a success.

DOT officials lobbied against California’s vehicle-emission standards, Waxman says

According to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Bush administration has been quietly lobbying members of Congress and state governors to oppose California’s strict greenhouse-gas emissions rules for cars. In December 2005, the state submitted a request to the U.S. EPA for a waiver it needs to implement its standards. Since then, the EPA has been stalling, promising a ruling that’s been nearly two years in the making. Waxman’s committee uncovered emails between officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation and the White House Council on Environmental Quality and conducted interviews of …

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