Paris Exit Was 'Victory Paid and Carried Out' by Republican Party for the Koch Brothers
The 22 Republican senators who sent a letter to President Donald Trump last week urging the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement received more than $10 million dollars in campaign funds from fossil fuel interests.
The two-page letter was signed by a number of Republican heavyweights from coal/gas/oil-rich states, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma and Ted Cruz of Texas.
The Guardian calculated that the 22 senators received a total of $10,694,284 from oil, gas and coal money in just five years. (See the breakdown below.)
However, that sum does not even come close to the amount of undisclosed funds coming from the deep pockets of Charles and David Koch's coal, oil and gas conglomerate, Koch Industries, and other outside groups.
As the Guardian explains:
"Visible donations to Republicans from those industries exceeded donations to Democrats in the 2016 election cycle by a ratio of 15-to-1, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And that does not include so-called dark money passed from oil interests such as Koch industries to general slush funds to re-elect Republicans such as the Senate leadership fund.
"At least $90m in untraceable money has been funneled to Republican candidates from oil, gas and coal interests in the past three election cycles, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics."
Jeffrey Sachs, professor of economics and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, shared recently his views on Trump's climate walkout.
In an interview with Bloomberg Surveillance, Sachs referenced the senators' letter and specifically cast blame on the billionaire oil barons for pulling the strings of Republican party leaders such as McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who both supported exiting the Paris accord.
"This is the victory paid and carried out for 20 years by two people, David and Charles Koch," Sachs said. "They have bought and purchased the top of the Republican party. Trump is a tool in this."
Notably, most of the Republican signatories of the letter do not support the belief that human activity contributes to climate change.
During an appearance on MSNBC, Democratic Sen. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts explained why he thinks his Republican colleagues do not believe in the science of climate change.
"This Conservative party in the United States is funded by the Koch brothers [and] it's funded by the coal industry," Markey said. "[They] insist that Scott Pruitt—the Attorney General of Oklahoma that actually sued the EPA 19 times on clean air, clean water, soot, mercury issues—becomes the head of the EPA in our country."
The 22 Republican signatories' funding from Big Oil, Gas and Coal in the past three election cycles (2012, 2014 and 2016):
James Inhofe, Oklahoma
Oil & gas: $465,950 + Coal: $63,600 = $529,550
John Barrasso, Wyoming
Oil & gas: $458,466 + Coal: $127,356 = $585,822
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky
Oil & gas: $1,180,384 + Coal: $361,700 = $1,542,084
John Cornyn, Texas
Oil & gas: $1,101,456 + Coal: $33,050 = $1,134,506
Roy Blunt, Missouri
Oil & gas: $353,864 + Coal: $96,000 = $449,864
Roger Wicker, Mississippi
Oil & gas: $198,816 + Coal: $25,376 = $224,192
Michael Enzi, Wyoming
Oil & gas: $211,083 + Coal: $63,300 = $274,383
Mike Crapo, Idaho
Oil & gas: $110,250 + Coal: $26,756 = $137,006
Jim Risch, Idaho
Oil & gas: $123,850 + Coal: $25,680 = $149,530
Thad Cochran, Mississippi
Oil & gas: $276,905 + Coal: $15,000 = $291,905
Mike Rounds, South Dakota
Oil & gas: $201,900 + Coal: none = $201,900
Rand Paul, Kentucky
Oil & gas: $170,215 + Coal: $82,571 = $252,786
John Boozman, Arkansas
Oil & gas: $147,930 + Coal: $2,000 = $149,930
Richard Shelby, Alabama
Oil & gas: $60,150 + $2,500 = $62,650
Luther Strange, Alabama (Appointed in 2017, running in 2017 special election)
Orrin Hatch, Utah
Oil & gas: $446,250 + Coal: $25,000 = $471,250
Mike Lee, Utah
Oil & gas: $231,520 + Coal: $21,895 = $253,415
Ted Cruz, Texas
Oil & gas: $2,465,910 + Coal: $103,900 = $2,569,810
David Perdue, Georgia
Oil & gas: $184,250 + Coal: $0 = $184,250
Thom Tillis, North Carolina
Oil & gas: $263,400 + Coal: $0 = $263,400
Tim Scott, South Carolina
Oil & gas: $490,076 + Coal: $58,200 = $548,276
Pat Roberts, Kansas
Oil & gas: $388,950 + Coal: $28,825 = $417,775
Santa Barbara Becomes First California City to Pass Resolution Against Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling
The Santa Barbara City Council approved a resolution Tuesday opposing new drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells. The resolution is the first in a new statewide campaign to rally local governments against proposals to expand offshore fossil fuel extraction in federal waters.
The vote—which makes Santa Barbara the first California city to oppose both fracking and new offshore drilling—follows President Trump's April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to expand oil and gas leasing in federal waters. The order could expose the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than 30 years.
Starting Wednesday, the vast majority of Americans can learn about every potentially harmful chemical in their drinking water and what scientists say are the safe levels of those contaminants. The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) new national Tap Water Database is the most complete source available on the quality of U.S. drinking water, aggregating and analyzing data from almost 50,000 public water systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The organization has earned a reputation for ambitious data-mining research projects that shake up policy debates and consumer markets. EWG's online Farm Subsidy Database, listing millions of subsidy recipients, and its Skin Deep guide to more than 70,000 personal care products, draw tens of millions of visitors every year.
By Stacy Malkan
Ever since they classified the world's most widely used herbicide as "probably carcinogenic to humans," a team of international scientists at the World Health Organization's (WHO) cancer research group have been under withering attack by the agrichemical industry and its surrogates.
In a front-page series, The Monsanto Papers, the French newspaper Le Monde described the attacks as "the pesticide giant's war on science," and reported, "to save glyphosate, the firm [Monsanto] undertook to harm the United Nations agency against cancer by all means."
The lengthy report from the Energy and Policy Institute uses reams of archival documents to demonstrate that utility industry representatives knew as far back as 1968 that burning fossil fuels could trigger "catastrophic effects" on the climate.
By Sharon Kelly
The Pennsylvania's Environmental Hearing Board ordered Sunoco Pipeline LP Tuesday to temporarily halt some types of work on a $2.5 billion pipeline project designed to carry 275,000 barrels a day of butane, propane and other liquid fossil fuels from Ohio and West Virginia, across Pennsylvania, to the Atlantic coast.
On July 19, three environmental groups presented Judge Bernard Labuskes, Jr. with documentation showing that the project had caused dozens of drilling fluid spills and other accidents between April and mid-June.
By Andy Rowell
The UK has followed France in banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as part of its plan to tackle chronic air pollution in cities. The government has been coming under intense pressure to act, with an estimated 40,000 people dying prematurely a year from air pollution.
By Colleen Curry
People traveling across America today can, if they're lucky, pitch a tent in the same exact spot that early American explorers and map-makers Lewis and Clark did, amid the jagged rocks and sweeping plains of the Upper Missouri River Breaks in central Montana.
Brent Rose, a journalist and filmmaker who has been traveling around the U.S. in a van for two years, was one of the lucky ones.
Kyara, a killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio just three months ago, died Monday at the park, as reported in this video from Newsy. Kyara is the last orca to be born in captivity under the SeaWorld breeding program, which shut down in 2016.
In a statement, SeaWorld said the cause of death was "likely pneumonia" and that "Kyara had faced some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week."