By Sue Sturgis for Facing South – President Donald Trump kicked off this week with a Monday morning tweet hailing — and seeming to wrongly take credit for — Exxon Mobil’s plan for a $20 billion expansion of its refineries, chemical plants and liquefied natural gas operations along the U.S. Gulf Coast. “We are already winning again, America!” Trump tweeted after the Texas-based company released the latest details of a plan first announced in 2013 in response to rising natural gas supplies. He went on to tweet, “Buy American & hire American are the principals at the core of my agenda, which is: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.” The company says the expansion, which includes projects at 11 proposed and existing sites in the region…
By Shaun Murphy for Global News – OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma-based Native American tribe filed a lawsuit in its own tribal court system Friday accusing several oil companies of triggering the state’s largest earthquake that caused extensive damage to some near-century-old tribal buildings. The Pawnee Nation alleges in the suit that wastewater injected into wells operated by the defendants caused the 5.8-magnitude quake in September and is seeking physical damages to real and personal property, market value losses, as well as punitive damages. The case will be heard in the tribe’s district court with a jury composed of Pawnee Nation members.
By Gina Coplon-Newfield and Maggie Newsham for Join The FIght – States across the U.S. have been introducing legislation that would punish people for switching to electric vehicles. Since the start of 2017, six states (Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire, and Montana) have introduced legislation that would require EV owners to pay a fee of up to $180 a year. Sadly, this isn’t the first time people have been penalized for driving green. Wyoming, Colorado, Virginia, Nebraska, Missouri, Washington, North Carolina, Idaho, Georgia, and Michigan have all implemented yearly fees on electric and hybrid vehicles that vary from $50 to $300 per driver per year. Arizona’s and Arkansas’ respective Department of Transportations are also suggesting legislators cast a fee for EV ownership. Georgia, formerly the state with the second most EV sales, used to offer a tax credit of up to $5,000, but replaced the program with a $200 yearly fee that led to an 80 percent drop in EV sales.
By Nina Chestney for Reuters – The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade.
By Derek Royden for Nation of Change – At the best of times, Mexico is barely on the radar of its wealthier NAFTA partners, a trend that has continued even as the new American President denigrated the country and its people over the past year. While millions marched in the United States and throughout the world to show their outrage at the election of a wannabe strongman and chauvinist who reportedly called a breast-feeding woman “disgusting”, Mexico was seeing its largest protests since 43 students from a rural teaching college went missing in 2014. These protests are receiving almost no coverage in the mainstream media in either the United States or Canada.
By Richard Luscombe for The Guardian – At first glance the quiet town of Live Oak seems an unlikely venue for a stand against Big Energy. But in recent weeks it’s become a centre of opposition A north Florida river that attracted the state’s first tourists a century before Walt Disney’s famous cartoon mouse is emerging at the centre of a fight against a contentious 515-mile natural gas pipeline that many are calling America’s next Standing Rock. One section of the so-called Sabal Trail pipeline is being laid beneath the crystal waters of the Suwannee river, whose pure mineral springs were once fabled to cure anything from marital strife to gout.
By Phil McKenna for Inside Climate News – The Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin voted not to renew an easement for a major oil and gas pipeline that passes through its reservation. In the wake of the successful protest against the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota, this decision is the latest example of Native American tribes using sovereignty rights to oppose fossil fuel projects. The Bad River tribal council voted unanimously in early January to revoke rights-of-way that pass through the roughly 200-square-mile reservation and the decision could prove difficult to overturn. Pipeline companies often take ownership of private land through the use of eminent domain.
By Sharon Kelly for Desmog Blog – Fueling U.S. Forward, an oil industry PR group, has spent the second half of 2016 running an on-the-ground campaign targeting African-American communities and spreading a message focused on energy prices, a front-page New York Times investigation reported on January 5. The organization’s tactics included sponsoring a Richmond, VA gospel show where a few lucky families could win up to $250 off their household energy bills — though the music was paused mid-concert for a panel discussion about fossil fuels. “[A Fueling U.S. Forward rep] discussed what high energy costs could mean for households in Richmond, which has a large African-American population,” Times reporter Hiroko Tabuchi wrote.
By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – During his confirmation hearing, former Exxon Mobil CEO and nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, refused to answer questions about what the fossil fuel corporation knew about climate change. He also refused to talk about Exxon Mobil’s funding of outside organizations in order to create doubt about climate science. Environmental groups are terribly alarmed by the prospect of having Tillerson at the helm of the United States State Department, especially as the threat of climate disruption caused by humans intensifies. Activists organized a “Reject Rex” campaign that includes protests at Tillerson’s confirmation hearing. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine asked Tillerson about journalism…
By Bill McKibben for The Guardian – In one of the futile demonstrations that marked the run-up to the Iraq war, I saw a woman with a sign that read “How Did Our Oil End Up Under Their Sand?” In nine words she managed to sum up a great deal of American foreign policy, back at least as far as the 1953 coup that overthrew Mossadegh in Iran and helped toss the Middle East into its still-boiling cauldron. If the Senate approves Rex Tillerson after his testimony on Wednesday, they’ll be continuing in that inglorious tradition – in fact, they’ll be taking it to a new height, and cutting out the diplomats who have traditionally played the middleman role.
By David Hasemyer for Inside Climate News – “Rex Tillerson seems determined to run US foreign policy like he ran Exxon: deny, evade, and even lie, in order to defend power and certainly without regard to any ‘moral compass’. “The first morning of Rex Tillerson’s testimony showed that Rex Tillerson’s 41 years at ExxonMobil have prepared him for one thing only: to be CEO of ExxonMobil. Tillerson filibustered, dodged, and floundered through questions about Aleppo, Russia, and other imminent global threats. He appears to have lied under oath about Exxon’s lobbying against Russian sanctions. The Boy Scouts should demand that Tillerson return his Honesty Badge.
By Kim Brown for The Real News Network. During the past week, protests took place throughout Mexico in reaction to a 20% price increase for gasoline. The protests have so far resulted in four deaths and the arrests of over 700 people. Also, over 300 stores are said to have been looted throughout the country. The gasoline price increase is part of a plan by President Enrique Peña Nieto to eliminate subsidies in the wake of the partial privatization of the country’s oil industry. On Wednesday, President Peña Nieto vowed to continue with the price increases despite the protests. Well, joining us today from Mexico City to analyze the situation in Mexico, we’re joined by John Ackerman. John is a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He’s also Editor-in-Chief of the Mexican Law Review and a columnist with both La Jornada newspaper and Proceso magazine.
By Staff for Tele Sur – Petrobras has decided to go to court with a request for conciliation to continue the negotiation with the unions. Oil workers in Brazil began a strike Friday that has paralyzed all activities at Petrobras’ refineries and maritime platforms, union leaders say. According to the Federation of Petroleum Workers, or FUP, the largest trade union in the sector, workers rejected the salary increase proposed by the state-owned company and affiliated unions have already approved the federation’s calls for the use of strikes. The FUP also called the adjustment in salaries “insufficient,” and said Petrobras is in breach of the 2016/2017 Collective Work Agreement.
By Alex Steffen for Medium. It is not hyperbole to say that swelling the Carbon Bubble is not only not in the interests of the United States, it increases threats to our economy and national security, puts Americans at risk, undermines our prosperity and weakens our nation. It’s hard to call defending high carbon interests anything but unpatriotic. People who are looking to understand what the Trump gang is up to would do well to consider his gang’s actions through the lens of the Carbon Bubble. Understand that the amounts of money at stake are vast, nearly inconceivable to most of us, and highly concentrated in the hands of the people in Trump’s cabinet and their close friends and business allies. We need to focus: The most serious political fight on the planet — the need to end use of coal, oil and gas — is at the center of America’s current political crisis.
By Caleb Maupin for NEO – Way back in January of 2008, Donald Trump was interviewed by MSNBC’s Jim Cramer. At the time, oil prices were hovering between $90 to $100 per barrel. The man who is set to become the next President, 8 years later, explained why, saying, “The illegal monopoly raises the oil prices. So the monopoly, that’s what it is, it’s a total illegal monopoly. If businesses ever formed OPEC, everybody would be put in jail… It’s a disgrace…. They lower it, they raise it. They lower it, they raise it. Now you have oil that’s going to be close to a hundred, and nobody in this country calls and says ‘get that goddamn oil price down, you get it down.’ And they can do it!