By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 20, 2011 at 4:59 pm
BP has broken a self-imposed moratorium on political donations to make big contributions to key Republican congressional leaders and the party’s electoral campaigns. Think Progress has the story in thisrepost.
Its first round of political contributions for the 2012 cycle total $29,000 and it “went almost entirely to the campaigns of a handful of House Republican leaders.” BP North America’s PAC gave $5,000 each to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), along with $10,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which are tasked with electing more Republicans to Congress.
In a setback for environmentalists, the Supreme Court signaled Tuesday that it would throw out a huge global warming lawsuit brought by California and five other states that seeks limits on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants in the South and Midwest.
Sad. Doubly sad that he Obama administration’s support for the dismissal seemed to have a big impact:
Our guest blogger is Michael Conathan, Center for American Progress Director of Oceans Policy.
One year ago, the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon erupted in a torrent of oil, gas, drilling mud, and flames, claiming the lives of 11 men and setting off an 87-day environmental nightmare. The explosion also triggered an equally ferocious barrage of rhetoric in the nation’s capital. A frantic burst of congressional hearings emerged as the immediate oversight response. As usual, they were full of sound and fury—sadly but not surprisingly—signifying nothing.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that 101 oil-spill-related bills were introduced in the 111th Congress, which came to a close in 2010. Exactly zero were enacted into law. Another 15 have been introduced so far this year—none of which has been acted upon by its committee of jurisdiction.
This is an abject failure on the part of the legislative branch when obvious fixes remain on the table. Mandated liability limits for economic damages incurred by local residents are shamefully low and no mechanism is in place to ensure any fines BP or other responsible parties are forced to pay would actually be returned to a region still devastated by the companies’ negligence.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 20, 2011 at 9:36 am
Daniel J. Weiss and Valeri Vasquez provide more data on why we need to move to safer energy sources in this CAP repost.
On the one-year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia, we are reminded how dangerous our dependence on fossil fuels can be. A large cost of our reliance on these energy sources is the death or injury of workers in these industries. Transitioning to cleaner energy technologies such as solar and wind is safer for workers as well as better for public health, economic competitiveness, and the environment. We can take steps to make fossil fuel industries less dangerous while we transition to cleaner energy.
The toll of fossil fuels on human health and the environment is well documented. But our dependence on fossil fuels exacts a very high price on the people who extract or process these fuels. Every year, some men and women who toil in our nation’s coal mines, natural gas fields, and oil rigs and refineries lose their lives or suffer from major injuries to provide the fossil fuels that drive our economy.
One year ago the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster caused immeasurable damage to the Gulf Coast and the people who live and work there. Unfortunately on the first anniversary of the spill those ecosystems and communities are still suffering. Solutions from both Congress and the parties responsible for the spill are slow moving or nonexistent. It is time for action to restore this vital region in the short term and start building lasting solutions to bring economic and ecological stability to the Gulf Coast over the coming decades.
At a congressional hearing on Friday designed to lay the groundwork for an effort to delay critical EPA toxic pollution standards, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) claimed that reducing emissions of toxic mercury, sulfur dioxide and soot would not bring health benefits. Though conceding he is “not a medical doctor,” Barton offered the “hypothesis” that EPA estimates of the benefits of its proposed air toxics rule are “pulled out of the thin air” because there is no “medical negative” to the pollution:
To actually cause poisoning or a premature death you have to get a large concentration of mercury into the body. I’m not a medical doctor, but my hypothesis is that’s not going to happen! You’re not going to get enough mercury exposure or SO2 exposure or even particulate matter exposure! I think the EPA numbers are pulled out of the thin air!
The new power plant toxics rule will put over 30,000 people to work upgrading plants to dramatically reduce toxic mercury and other chemicals that cause neurological damage to fetuses and babies. Those upgrades will also cut enough particulate pollution to prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths, 11,000 heart attacks, 120,000 cases of childhood asthma symptoms, 11,000 cases of acute bronchitis among children, 12,000 emergency room visits and hospital admissions and 850,000 days of work missed due to illness.
Barton blasted the testimony of NRDC Clean Air Director John Walke, asserting “you’re not having the medical negative” from mercury, sulfur dioxide, or particular matter pollution.
Barton denied decades of science and the experience of anyone who has ever lived downwind of a polluting facility, noting the factory and plant owners on the panel didn’t know of any workers inside their plants that have gotten sick from the pollution.
“I guess he forgot that the people most in risk of getting poisoned — babies — don’t work in factories,” Clean Air Watch’s Frank O’Donnell responded. “This is pretty appalling stuff, since Barton and colleagues will probably soon be voting on legislation to delay toxic pollution cleanup.”
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