Environment

WI Senate Fast-Tracks Bill to Close Forest to Benefit Out-of-State Mining Firm

A controversial out-of-state mining company is closer to gaining control over a 3,600-acre swath of publicly available forest near where it is planning a massive open-pit iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin. The Florida firm, Gogebic Taconite, has begun test drilling in the area and has already stirred controversy by hiring out-of-state armed security with automatic assault weapons to guard their activities. The Arizona firm was kicked out of the state after the media uncovered they were not licensed here. Now Gogebic Taconite is attempting to shut down whole forests to keep its controversial mining activities from protestors and curious eyes.

A Side of Climate Change Denial with Your Coffee? ALEC Dishes up Some Hard to Swallow Spin with the Heartland Institute

Heartland global warming Unabomber billboardThis morning in Chicago hundreds of primarily Republican state legislators are getting more indoctrination against doing anything about climate change from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

This year, ALEC has chosen its long-time partner, the Heartland Institute, to help host the session. Heartland is so extreme on the issue of climate change that it sought to equate people who believe the climate is changing with the Unabomber, through a billboard campaign that featured a mugshot of Ted Kaczynski with the line: "I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?" Heartland lost numerous funders in response to a citizens campaign about the ad last year.

Dirty Hands: 77 ALEC Bills in 2013 Advance a Big Oil, Big Ag Agenda

At least 77 bills to oppose renewable energy standards, support fracking and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and otherwise undermine environmental laws were introduced in 34 states in 2013, according to a new analysis from the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of ALECexposed.org. In addition, nine states have been inspired by ALEC's "Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act" to crack down on videographers documenting abuses on factory farms.

CMD Calls for Nebraska Ethics Investigation over ALEC Keystone “Academy” Junket

-- by Nick Surgey and Brendan Fischer

Nebraska State Senator Jim SmithThe Center for Media and Democracy filed a complaint yesterday with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission alleging that Nebraska Senator Jim Smith, a major proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, failed to disclose significant travel expenses paid for by the Government of Alberta, Canada during Smith's participation in an "Oil Sands Academy" organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The trip was sponsored by the operator of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, which may raise additional concerns under the ethics and lobbying code.

Keystone Academy: Where Legislators Learn the Etiquette of Serving Special Interests

In October 2012, nine U.S. state legislators went on an industry paid trip to explore the Alberta tar sands. Publicly described as an "ALEC Academy," documents obtained by CMD show the legislators were accompanied on a chartered flight by a gaggle of oil-industry lobbyists, were served lunch by Shell Oil, dinner by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and that the expenses of the trip were paid for by TransCanada and other corporations and groups with a direct financial interest in the Alberta tar sands and the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline.

ALEC Tours Tar Sands, Works with Industry Groups to Block Low-Carbon Fuel Standards

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently adopted a "model" bill from an oil-industry lobby group, that would limit the ability of states to negotiate regional "low-carbon fuel standards" (LCFS), a mechanism designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. If agreed by states, LCFS could have a significant impact on the sale of fuels derived from Canadian tar sands in the United States, regardless of any decision the Obama administration makes over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

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