The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
'Keystone Clones' Animation Mocks Dirty Tar Sands Cronies
By Steve Horn
Mark Fiore—the Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist satirist—has a new video out that in two-minutes pokes fun at the perverse conflicts of interest that have prevailed throughout debate over the prospective Keystone XL northern half.
It's these conflicts of interest that DeSmogBlog has focused on in the past several months since the March 2013 release of the sham U.S. State Department Keystone XL environmental review. Some of the conflicts of interest covered in Fiore's 2-minute video titled "Keystone Clones" now up on Moyers and Company's website include the following controversies.
Anita Dunn/Robert Bauer Scandal
Described as a "Power Couple" by Newsweek, Anita Dunn is President Barack Obama's former communications director and was a top-level communications advisor for Obama's 2008 run for president and Secretary of State John Kerry's 2004 run for president. Through her PR firm SKDKnickerbocker, she does communications work for TransCanada, owner of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Her husband Robert "Bob" Bauer is Obama's personal attorney, former White House Counsel under Obama, and served as the election law attorney for Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 and 2012. Infamous in election law reform circles for his attempts to bend election law in such a way as to flood the electoral system with more money, Bauer's law firm Perkins Coie also has an attorney-client relationship with TransCanada.
ERM Group Scandals
Obama's State Department chose a Big Oil-connected contractor named Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group) to do the environmental review for Keystone XL's northern half. ERM—which historically also did contract work for Big Tobacco—has rubber-stamped ecologically hazardous projects in the Caspian Sea-area, Peru, Delaware and now the Keystone XL.
Given this shady track record, it's unsurprising it also said the pipeline's northern half—if built—would have negligible climate change impacts.
Fiore also explains the "other ways to skin the cat" and get tar sands to Gulf Coast export markets via pipeline—what he coins as the "Keystone Clones." In the main, he focuses on Enbridge's Flanagan South Pipeline, which requires little review and oversight because it's not a border-crossing pipeline like Keystone XL's northern half.
Running from Missouri to Cushing, OK and then to the Gulf, little has been said about this "Keystone Clone." Fiore busts the conversation on this pipeline—or rather, lack thereof—wide open.
Check out Fiore's short video—which draws heavily upon DeSmogBlog's reporting for its "News Behind the Toons"—and pass it along to your friends. And stay tuned for DeSmogBlog's continuing coverage both of the "Keystone Kops" and of "Keystone Clones," as well.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."