White House Plagiarizes Statement From Exxon Touting Plans for Expanded Fossil Fuel Projects
By Nika Knight
As if the ties between the Trump administration and oil and gas behemoth ExxonMobil weren't apparent enough, the White House on Monday issued a press release that lifted text wholesale from an Exxon press release published earlier that same day.
The Exxon release touted plans for expanded fossil fuel projects in the Gulf of Mexico, which the company itself described as "11 major chemical, refining, lubricant and liquefied natural gas projects at proposed new and existing facilities along the Texas and Louisiana coasts." (Despite repeated accidents and spills in the Gulf of Mexico—including the catastrophic BP oil spill in 2010—fossil fuel companies have continued to exploit the Gulf).
In fact, Exxon's new investments began in 2013, but that didn't stop the White House from giving credit to President Trump for what Trump himself described as "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS" on Twitter. In doing so, the White House simply copied most of the Exxon release verbatim.
Below are nearly identical excerpts from the two releases:
The Exxon press release was published Monday at 3:10 p.m. EST.
And the White House press release was published Monday at 3:43 p.m. EST.
Further demonstrating the cozy relationship between the White House and Exxon, former Exxon CEO and current Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Trump mere hours before the White House bragged about the oil company's investments, as Mother Jones' Rebecca Leber reported.
1:35 pm Trump/Tillerson scheduled to have lunch 3:43 pm @realDonaldTrump issues statement congratulating Exxon Mobil on $20 billion program— Felicia Schwartz (@Felicia Schwartz)1488833386.0
"Exxon has a lot to be pleased with so far in Trump's term," Leber noted. "In addition to seeing Tillerson become the nation's top diplomat, the company scored an important victory when Trump signed a bill overturning an Obama-era rule requiring it to disclose payments to foreign governments. And last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a rule that would require oil and gas companies to report their methane emissions."
It's Official: #Trump Gives Big Gift to Big Oil https://t.co/YwhpdONCon @billmckibben @climatehawk1 @SierraClub @NRDC @greenpeaceusa @350— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1487168328.0
Moreover, Politico's Ben Lefebvre observed that the "strategy of CEOs re-announcing old investments in the Trump era is not new. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son announced after a December meeting with Trump a tech fund that would invest $50 billion in the U.S. Trump publicized Son's plan despite the fact that the investment had been part of a previously announced plan."
Lefebvre also reported that the State Department has not confirmed whether or not Tillerson has liquidated his Exxon stock.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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