Energy

No Surprise: The Natural Gas Revolving Door

Those who follow energy politics closely should not be surprised. The government-industry revolving door constantly spins rapidly, and thus it is no different on the natural gas front within the United States. This is highlighted acutely by ProPublica in an article titled, "Some Appointees to Oil and Gas Commission Are Industry Execs, Lobbyists."

The article states, speaking about the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission,

No

T-Boone Pickens and the Truth about All that Drilling

T. Boone PickensThe home page of T. Boone Pickens' "Pickens Plan" is emblematic of the oil industry's aggressive push to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale basin. The page greets visitors with the blaring headline, "WE MUST BREAK AMERICA'S ADDICTION TO FOREIGN OIL. The Pickens Plan will do it, but we need your help."

In the age of the perpetual War on terrorism, politicians, pundits and other U.S. demagogues have successfully used fear as a bargaining chip. Fear-mongering is a method of Orwellian thought control. In this example, Pickens equates foreign oil with evil, similar to the Bush Administration's Orewellian logic regarding American's position in the world: "You're either with us, or you're with the enemy." Bush put forth a false paradigm of absolute good versus absolute evil. The Bush Administration used fear as a political tool after 9/11 to march the country into war, and convince citizens that we need to permit domestic spying to keep us safe domestically. (Think Patriot Act). Fear also led to the heinous crimes committed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib Detention Centers.

Tom Ridge Joins the Marcellus Shale Coalition's Natural Gas Gold Rush

Tom Ridge's bookFormer Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has, for the most part, been out of the spotlight for the past year since he wrote his book titled The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege...And How We Can Be Safe Again, which came out in September of 2009. In that book, Ridge confessed that, although unsurprising to anyone who understood the rampant fear-mongering and propaganda that took place in the post-9/11 Bush era, he was pressured by others in the Bush Administration to purposely manipulate the infamous color-coded National Security Alerts for political reasons, and in particular, during the run-up to former President George W. Bush's re-election in 2004.

Unsafe From Any Gulf

America's voracious oil consumption is criticized for many reasons in the media today, but three reasons seem to dominate the headlines. First, the Gulf oil disaster has galvanized public outrage at oil companies and led to questioning of our energy needs which push oil rigs out into treacherous deep waters. Second, climate change attracts significant attention, as academy award-winning films are made on the topic and the manufactured "Climategate"; scandal fills news articles with tales of espionage. Finally, as the Iraq War drags on and tensions with Iran remain high, every politician is giving lip service to the national security threat created by "our dependence on foreign oil." But what often gets ignored is perhaps the most obvious and persistent problem involved with oil use: air pollution.

Energy in Depth's Disinformation Freakshow

setting water on fireEnergy in Depth and the gas industry are deploying spin doctors to counter a new documentary being aired nationwide on HBO. This time around, the truths unearthed about what the impacts would be of methane gas drilling into the Marcellus Shale unveiled by the film Gasland, by scientists, and by investigative journalists, are all victims of a prolific oil industry smear campaign.

Quick refresher: Marcellus Shale is an extensive underground formation of shale in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and other states in the region that has received renewed attention both because of new estimates of the quantity of methane gas believed to be under these rocks, and because of the significant environmental concerns that have been raised about the method of extracting the gas from the shale. "Hydrofracking" is a process in which a fluid is injected at high pressure into oil or methane gas deposits to fracture the rock above and release the liquid or gas below. The process uses enormous amounts of drinkable water, along with toxic chemicals. It also releases radioactive materials and other hazardous substances within the shale deposits, a fact that has raised significant environmental and health concerns.

Creating A Constitutional Violation Out Of Thin Air

Rabbit out of a hatConservatives may have moved quickly to dissociate themselves from Representative Joe Barton's apology to BP, but many on the right still believe that the establishment of a $20 billion escrow fund violated the legal rights of the company. A frequent claim is that the Obama administration has violated BP's due process rights. Appearing on ABC's This Week, George Will stated the creation of the escrow fund amounted to a confiscation of assets that circumvents due process. Former Washington Times writer Robert Stacey McCain argued in his blog that Rep. Barton was rightly concerned about due process when he apologized to BP. Michael Barone in National Review Online quipped that, "the Constitution does not command 'no person ... shall .... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; except by the decision of a person as wise and capable as Kenneth Feinberg." The Framers stopped at "due process of law." It is to be expected that conservatives care less about the decimated lives along the Gulf Coast than they do about a multinational corporation losing $20 billion over several years, even when its cash flow for this year alone will reach $30 billion, according its own estimates. What is a slightly more surprising is that they would completely misconstrue a fundamental legal concept in the process.

Impeach the Oil-Investing Judge Who Declared Deep Sea Drilling Ban Void

Judge Martin Leach-Cross FeldmanA federal judge sitting in Louisiana struck down the Obama Administration's six-month moratorium on new deep water drilling, despite the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused by BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling operation. Who is the unelected man standing in the way of permitting a six-month review of this inherently dangerous activity?

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