In 1992, Oklahoma passed a ballot initiative saying that the state could only raise taxes with a three quarters majority in the state assembly, creating a one-way ratchet where every tax cut becomes effectively permanent, including the sweetheart deals cut for frackers and the deep cuts to taxes on the wealthiest residents of the state.
Read the rest
It's a political no-brainer for Trump, who gets to clobber the renewables market, rattle his saber at China, extend the viable economic life of climate-destroying hydrocarbon fuels (like coal) and rile up the libs.
Read the rest
Google has long maintained that it must keep the workings of its search and ad-placement algorithms a secret, lest they provide a roadmap to the kinds of bad actors who'd like tweak the results and give their bad ideas (or sleazy products) pride of placement on its pages.
Read the rest
Five years ago, it looked like big oil and big coal were finally acknowledging the reality of climate change, shifting from the early posture of outright denial and the intermediate strategy of sowing confusion, and moving into an endgame of "clean coal" and monopolizing renewables, but the think tanks they had funneled hundreds of millions in dark money to were not having any of it -- and it's they, not the hydrocarbon barons, who've got the ear of the conspiracy-theorist-in-chief, Donald Trump.
Read the rest
The American Legislative Exchange Council is a big-business-backed think tank whose funders run the gamut from oil companies to Tesla motors; they specialize in drafting insane, racist, voter-suppressing laws and getting them enacted at the state level, primarily by Republican state governments.
Read the rest
...But California keeps green-lighting more natural gas plants, thanks to hydrocarbon industry pressure on state regulators, who operate at cross-purposes to the legislature and its targets for renewables. Read the rest
Last week's John Oliver segment on Robert E. Murray, CEO of the coal mining Murray Energy Corporation, noted that Murray had a history of litigation against his critics in the news media, including the New York Times, and predicted that Murray would go on to sue Oliver (Murray's lawyers had sent Oliver a letter warning him about this possibility, and promising to pursue litigation to the nation's highest courts). Read the rest
On Wednesday, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin signed HB1123, a new "trespass" law that declared an immediate "state of emergency" allowing prosecutors to charge protesters with felonies for "trespassing" on any property containing a "critical infrastructure facility," impose fines of up to $10,000 for acts that "damage, vandalize, deface, impede or inhibit operations of the facility", and fines of up to $100,000 or up to ten years in prison for "tampering" with the facility. Read the rest
Despite Trump's denial of climate change the the ghastly attacks on climate science and mitigation in the new proposed budget, the Carbon Bubble -- which overprices hydrocarbons and the industries that rely on them, as though we'll be burning all of them with impunity -- is about to pop. Read the rest
Canada's tar sands -- rebranded in this century as "oil sands" -- are the source of some of the world's filthiest and most expensive oil, which can only be extracted by burning tons of already-refined oil to boil tons of sand, producing a product that sells at a global discount because it is so adulterated. Read the rest
Former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson will get a $180 million parting gift from his former employers when he takes the Secretary of State job, thanks in part to four Senate Democrats who voted with the GOP to confirm him for the job, despite his extensive ties to regimes hostile to the US. Read the rest
Canadian "kinder, gentler" Prime Minister Justin Trudeau loves the oil industry, just like his mean old predecessor, the petro-Tory Stephen Harper: not only has he approved two new pipelines for Canada's worst-in-class tar sands oil, he's also expressed his eagerness to work with Donald Trump to reinstate plans for the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring Canada's planet-busting tar sands oil to US ports for processing and export. Read the rest
It's been a year since the Law and Justice Party won the Polish election, on familiar-sounding promises to drain the swamp and restore Poland to its former greatness: now school textbooks are being redesigned to downplay evolution and climate change and to recount a fanciful version of Poland's history; the government is mooting giving hoteliers the right to turn away customers based on sexual orientation or skin-color; a minister rejected an international accord against wife-beating because it subverted traditional gender roles; Parliament is about to get the right to choose which journalists may report from its debates; the guy in charge of national sex-ed curriculum believes that condoms give women cancer; a proposed law will virtually end opposition protests; and disloyal journalists at the "independent" state broadcaster have been purged. Read the rest
During the Standing Rock confrontations, the Electronic Frontier Foundation got reports of police use of IMSI Catchers -- secretive surveillance devices used to gather data from nearby cellphones, often called Stingrays or Dirtboxes -- so it dispatched lawyers and technologists to monitor the situation, and filed 20 public records requests with law enforcement agencies. Read the rest
It's been a week since the Army Corps of Engineers announced that they would not grant a permit for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the river that the indigenous Sioux people relied upon for their drinking, farming and washing. Read the rest