Energy

California's Electricity Company Has Two Faces

angel / devil graphicCalifornia's biggest utility, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has two starkly different faces: the one it shows Californians, and the one people see nationally. On the national scene, PG&E has appeared to be a strong advocate for renewable energy, and backs climate change legislation in Washington, D.C.

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BP Hires Dick Cheney's Former Campaign Press Secretary

Former Vice President Dick CheneyBP, now officially responsible for the worst oil spill disaster in U.S. history, has hired former Vice President Dick Cheney's campaign press secretary, Anne Womack-Kolton, to head its American public relations efforts. Womack is a former employee of the PR firm APCO Worldwide, perhaps best known for its work on behalf of the tobacco industry. In 1995, Philip Morris hired APCO to orchestrate a massive national "tort reform" movement, and in 1993, PM hired APCO to organize the front group The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition to attack the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after it rated secondhand smoke a Group A Human Carcinogen, the same rating the agency gives asbestos and radon gas. Womack also served as a White House spokesperson, defending Bush's White House Office Of Faith-Based Initiatives. In announcing Womack-Kolton's hiring, BP only mentioned that she had been director of public affairs for the Department of Energy (DOE) under George W. Bush, but a DOE press release boasts about her links to Cheney.

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Shifting BP's Clean Up Costs to Consumers? Say It Ain't So!

Who is going to pay to clean up BP's disastrous oil spill, besides BP? After all, they made $14 billion in profit last year alone. BP has asserted it will pay all "legitimate claims" for damages -- talk about a lot of wiggle room there -- but beyond actual cleanup costs, BP's economic damage liability is legislatively, and outrageously, capped at $75 million, a pittance to a company that made 186 times that amount in profit in 2009. Senate Democrats attempted to increase the liability cap to $10 billion by proposing and passing a bill, but their efforts were thwarted by Senate Republicans. The current tally for the cleanup cost stands at $760 million, but that is surely understated.

Obama's Offshore Drilling Moratorium -- Not!

greasy birdOn April 30, President Obama announced that he was slapping a moratorium on drilling permits for new offshore wells, and would stop handing out the kind of controversial environmental waivers the Administration gave the ill fated Deepwater Horizon rig -- but those prono

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Corn Ethanol Industry Trying to Butter Up Congress, Public

corn ethanolJust as Congress is set to begin debating ethanol-related subsidies, Growth Energy, a lobbying group for the ethanol industry, is starting a $2.5 million, 6-month national television ad campaign aimed at defending ethanol, and portraying it a way to break the country's addiction to foreign oil.

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Burning Tires: Illinois' "Renewable Energy"?

A Democratic Illinois state representative quietly slipped five words into the definition of renewable energy in a bill that would clear the way for a power company to burn tires as a way to reap green energy credits. Representative David Miller, who is running for state Comptroller, inserted the words "incineration of burning tires" into the definition of renewable energy in a measure that was intended to promote wind and solar energy.

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