The midterm elections aren’t until next week, but Big Energy lobbyists have been in high gear for awhile now. They’ve been out there winning friends and influencing the people who can help them the most if the Republicans win the House. Like Doc Hastings.
That’s what friends are for: Hastings is a Republican representative from Washington state and, if Republicans take over, the likely next chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. Big Oil already loves the guy — he was railing against the deep water drilling moratorium in the Gulf even before BP’s oil stopped gushing. And he did all he could to slow Democratic efforts to impose new safety standards on offshore drillers. In short, Doc Hastings loves offshore drilling.
To make sure that he knows that the people who do the offshore drilling love him back, oil and gas interests have dropped $70,000 into his campaign coffers this election cycle compared to $10,000 last time around.
See, some things still work in Washington. [The New York Times]
And in other green news:
Gloom with a view: Republicans just got another piece of ammo in their upcoming campaign to reign in the EPA. The North American Electric Reliability Corp (NERC) released a report warning that if the EPA is too aggressive in regulating pollution and greenhouse-gas emissions and closes power plants, it could “significantly impact” the power grid. NERC is funded by the energy industry, but it carries weight for its role in setting grid-reliability standards. The EPA says it’s more industry doom and gloom and scare tactics. [The Hill]
Tales from the dark side: Before you start to buy into the notion that BP is a changed company, refresh your memory about how reckless the oil giant had been before the explosion in the Gulf last spring. A new ProPublica investigation paints the ugly picture:
The investigation found that as BP transformed itself into the world’s third largest private oil company it methodically emphasized a culture of austerity in pursuit of corporate efficiency, lean budgets, and shareholder profits. It acquired large companies that it could not integrate smoothly. Current and former workers and executives said the company repeatedly cut corners, let alarm and safety systems languish, and skipped essential maintenance that could have prevented a number of explosions and spills. Internal BP documents support these claims.
You will run and you will like it: The Germans have finally made a splash in the electric car business. The makers of an Audi electric car say they’ve set a new world record by having it run 375 miles without recharging the battery. [Space Daily]
No days in the park: California’s national parks could take a beating from climate change, from stunted redwoods to the disappearance of Joshua trees and Yosemite’s waterfall. [San Francisco Chronicle]
That old black magic: Much is being made of China’s big high-profile push into renewable energy. But is this a country that really believes it can get the coal monkey off its back? [Scientific American]
Going to shell: Scientists at the University of Calcutta have found that egg shells can absorb up to seven times their weight in carbon dioxide. And that’s making them wonder if they can play some kind of role in capturing carbon. [E! Science News]
Bottle fatigue: No more bottled water at Seattle University — not in cafeterias, not in concession stands, not in vending machines. Instead students are selling stainless steel water bottles with the goal of raising $2,000 to install a water-treatment system at a medical clinic in Haiti. [Seattle Times] And while we’re on campus, students can now rent from UCLA’s “Bike Library” a fully-equipped, eight-speed bike for only $35 a quarter. [Southern California Public Radio]