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Posts tagged "regulatory capture"

Obama is no environmentalist. He’s helped increase fracking, expanded off-shore oil drilling, continues to stealthily approve parts the Keystone XL Pipeline, weakened endangered species protection, and will sign off on Alaska’s horrifying Pebble Mine gold mine.


ExxonMobil’s oil spill emergency response plan is redacted by the federal government. Not a joke.

Burst Pipeline’s Spill Plan Is None of Your Business, Suggests Regulator

Federal regulators have released ExxonMobil’s 2013 emergency response plan for the pipeline that ruptured in an Arkansas residential neighborhood on March 29, but the document is so heavily redacted that it offers little information about Exxon’s preparations for such an accident.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) completely blotted out more than 100 pages of the 290-page document, including Exxon’s worst-case scenario hypothesis and its plans to repair any damage caused by an accident. Via

Remember the oil spill in Arkansas neighborhood? People in the area were evacuated from their homes and the abutting wetland was “cleaned” up with paper towels.

Arkansas is suing.

More from InsideClimateNews

Another goofy article covering Obama’s to-be-announced climate change. In addition to regulating emissions, he’ll push a few adaptation (e.g., disaster preparedness) plans. One is called “Climate Adaptation Hubs,” which will serve to help the agriculture industry during drought and floods.

To me, the Climate Adaptation Hubs sound like mini-FEMAs for special interest groups looking for easy access to disaster money. Will there be Hubs for communities damaged by floods, storms, and sea-level rise, too??


“It is inconsistent with BLM’s position as a public agency and steward of our public resources that it continues to put up such a fight to withhold information about the corporations interested in extracting public resources.”

More fracking shenanigans from the Obama admin. National parks and public lands, managed by the Bureau of Land Management, are slated to be aggressively fracked for short-term gain. And the BLM’s policies aim to hide information from the public.

Clever tactic by captured politicians.

“The new rules are undemocratic. They attempt to restrict the public’s participation in these hearings and prevent a real dialogue about the environmental impacts of the Line 9 pipeline project,” said Adam Scott of Environmental Defence. “Canadians should not have to apply for permission to have their voices heard on projects that carry serious risks to their communities.”

Under the new rules, any Ontario resident who lives along the 639-km pipeline route who wants to send in a letter about their concerns must first apply to the NEB for permission to send in a letter. As of today, the public will have just two weeks to fill out a 10-page form which asks for a resume and references.

“Since when does someone’s resume determine if they have the right to be concerned about what’s happening in their home community?”

Shopping list of corporate giveaways, most skirt pollution regulations - even elimination of disclosing environmental harms. One anti-science measure was snuck in by Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. His amendment would defund (in part) the United States’s world renowned scientific research institute called the NSF (National Science Foundation, widely known as the NSF).

The NSF supports science in universities around the US and is a beacon/model for science around the world - from cancer research to climate change. It is speculated that Coburn has failed over the years to get his pet anti-science bill passed through regular procedural votes, so he’s attaching it to an emergency budget bill which will keep government running only temporarily.

None of the amendments promote economic stability or aim to create jobs.

(M)any of 110 amendments offered by Republicans to the Democratic-authored legislation would amount to giveaways to major industry groups. The amendments, unveiled Thursday, are expected to see floor action by Friday evening.

“Giant corporations are hoping to sneak provisions into the rushed Senate budget bill to undermine the core regulatory protections on which Americans rely to make our country stronger, better, safer, cleaner, healthier and more fair and just,” said Robert Weissman, who serves as co-chair of the coalition and president of Public Citizen.

“The American people aren’t so easily tricked, and they demand Senators vote down these corporate-gift amendments,” he added.

It seems a foreign oil company dictated to John Kerry and Mr. Obama how, when, and why they should approve the oil pipeline. For more, see here.

Seems like a case of regulatory capture:

Regulatory capture occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

Regulatory capture is a form of government failure, as it can act as an encouragement for firms to produce negative externalities. The agencies are called “captured agencies”. Via:



PBS Documentary Looks at Right-Wing Promotion of Ignorance Through Textbooks.

(Sierra Voices) - Texas textbooks determine what children learn nationwide.

“I believe that dinosaurs were on Noah’s Ark … somebody’s got to stand up to these experts.” (Don McElroy, former member of the Texas State Board of Education).


Well, no wonder the GOP wants to defund PBS. Where can I send them a donation??!

What is this?

(via upworthy)

North Carolina politician Buck Newton is bent on submitting to oil and gas companies. Local media has soured on the Republican, yet NC residents remain silent. The bill (in part) exempts oil and gas frackers from regular permitting procedures, such as avoiding pollution monitoring. Faster drill permits means faster fracking development for the state. (I also note that Duke Energy, which contributed to Buck Newton’s campaign, is lobbying to raise electricity rates. In other words, drillers want free money from two sources - free gas from drilling, and free money from residents’ electric bills. Clever.).

North Carolina hopes recent legislation introduced into its general assembly will send a “very clear signal” to oil and gas companies that the state wants shale gas exploration in the state, a state representative told Rigzone in an interview Monday.

State Sen. E.S. “Buck” Newton, the sponsor of Senate Bill (SB) 76, the Domestic Energy Jobs Act, told Rigzone that, while the ban on horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has been lifted, the state hopes to provide certainty to the energy industry by fixing a specific date in which permits for shale gas drilling can be pulled.

Newton, who represents Johnston, Nash and Wilson counties in eastern North Carolina, introduced the bill last week. SB 76, which would authorize the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources to issue permits for oil and gas exploration and production, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, on or after March 1, 2015.

North Carolina officials hope to send a signal in two ways – one, that the legislature is very serious about pursuing shale exploration, and two, that the state is working “with all deliberate and purposeful speed” to get itself ready to issue permits.

Early indicators show North Carolina to have shale gas reserves that may be on the order of the Fayetteville play in Arkansas, with approximately 1.4 million surface acres with shale deposits of an average thickness of 200 feet. North Carolina has three basins with shale potential. The Deep River Basin, the one that is most talked about, has wet gas reserves.

Via Rigzone

We have a situation where no significant reform can be enacted in our congress without getting approval from the special interests first.

Al Gore, talking to Brian Lehrer about money in politics, fracking, China, free trade and more. Listen (via wnyc)

Gore is plugging his new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. Much talk about China’s new carbon tax and carbon trading pilot programs. Worth listening to.

Imagine for every dollar you earn, 60 cents is thrown away. Literally wasted for no reason. Now imagine for every pound of coal burned to make electricity, 60 percent of that electricity is unused, literally burned for no reason. That’s America’s energy system in nutshell, a crazed succubus that has captured our politicians. Most climate activists think we can free ourselves from the succubus. I’m not so sure… 


U.S. Energy: Where It’s From, Where It Goes, and What’s Wasted

Breaking: Three mile oil slick in Gulf of Mexico. Could be from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well that blew up in 2010.

Update: See also regarding new federal investigation

The oil industry filed a lawsuit to overturn a U.S. rule mandating companies to disclose their payments to foreign governments, arguing the information hinders their competitiveness, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

The Securities and Exchange Commission in August narrowly approved the rule, mandated under Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act, intended to curb corruption and promote transparency among companies involved in resource extraction. Supporters say the provision will help people in resource-rich countries hold their governments accountable for the money they receive.

The rules for Section 1504 set a $100,000 threshold, below which companies would not have to report payments. The rules do not contain exemptions for reporting “confidential or competitively sensitive information” or exemptions for instances in which reporting the payments might violate foreign laws.

In papers filed Wednesday in Washington, D.C. federal court, the Journal reported that the American Petroleum Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and two other business groups argued that the SEC went beyond its authority when it adopted the rule, ignoring companies’ suggestions for limiting its cost.