Energy

The Partnership to Fool America

Partnership to Fuel America logoThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Washington, D.C.-based pro-drilling front group, the Institute for 21st Century Energy, has spawned yet another front group of its own to push for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would expand an existing oil pipeline to carry crude oil from the Athabasca Tar Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the American midwest and on to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The Chamber set up its new sub-front group, the Partnership to Fuel America, in Nebraska to address growing opposition to the pipeline in that state. Nebraska's conservative Republican Governor, Dave Heineman, came out against the project, since 254 miles of the proposed pipeline would run through Nebraska and overlie the Ogallala Aquifer -- a crucial source of water for the state. A Minnesota-based lobbying firm called Public Affairs Company set up the Partnership for Fuel America, and a Minneapolis-based Republican consultant named Stacy Thompson runs the astroturf group. Among the businesses the group lists as "partners" are some that give the group a down-to-earth, grassroots feel, like "Phil's Farm Repair," "Rowdy's Steakhouse" and "Pizza Etc." One of the proposed pipeline's major beneficiaries would be Koch Industries, which is responsible for close to 25 percent of the oil from tar sands imported into the U.S. Koch Industries also owns Koch Exploration Canada, L.P., an oil sands-focused exploration company based in Calgary that acquires, develops and trades petroleum properties.

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Since 9/11, Koch Industries Has Fought Against Tougher Government Rules on Chemical Plants

By John Aloysius Farrell, Ben Wieder and Evan Bush

The Center for Media and Democracy is re-posting this article from John Aloysius Farrell, Ben Wieder, and Evan Bush at iWatch News, a project of the Center for Public Integrity, as part of our effort to track Koch Industries and ALEC via our ALECexposed.org project and to expose corporate spin. The original can be found here. For more, see Farrell's April 2011 article "Koch's web of influence" and Cole Goins' August 2011 article "What's it like living near a chemical plant?," both also on iWatch. To find out about chemical plants near you, download the spreadsheet of data gathered from the risk management plans that Koch files with the EPA.

General Electric's Jim Cramer Heads to Midwest to Cheerlead for Fracking

CramerToday, CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Cramer's "Invest in America" series will take the show to a seemingly unlikely locale. The crew will head to a place many would consider the middle of nowhere -- the state of North Dakota.

Why North Dakota? Four words: The Bakken Shale Formation.

Referred to as "Kuwait on the Prairie" by The New Yorker in an April 2011 feature story and located predominately in northwest North Dakota, the shale formation possesses a vast amount of both oil and methane ("natural") gas, gathered via the notorious fracking process. Recognizing the economic opportunities that the formation would present to fossil fuel corporations, the U.S. Energy Information Administration penned a report in November 2006 titled "Technology-Based Oil and Natural Gas Plays: Shale Shock! Could There Be Billions in the Bakken?", highlighting them in some depth.

Tar Sands Action to Commence Saturday at White House

Tar Sands ActionSaturday marks the commencement of the Tar Sands Action, which will take place in front of the White House.

It is a two-week long civil disobedience campaign, planned to last through September 3, demanding that the Obama Administration turn down the proposal to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.

The 1,980-mile pipeline is slated to transport the dirtiest oil in the world from Alberta's tar sands down to southeast Texas. The pipeline's route overlaps with the Ogallala Aquifer, which supplies 82 percent of the people that live within the aquifer's boundary their drinking water. It would also snake through the Nebraska Sand Hills, which is a vital wetland ecosystem, containing a diverse array of plant and animal life.

Chesapeake "Declaration of Energy Independence": NAT GAS Act Embodied

On July 11, Chesapeake Energy, the second largest methane gas corporation in the United States, announced its "bold new plan": a "Declaration of Energy Independence" for America's energy future. ("Natural gas" is the public relations term the industry uses for methane gas, because it sounds so much more appealing than the real name.)

The plan is double-pronged and will no doubt lead to increased levels of fracking, the process drilling companies use to extract methane gas in areas like the Marcellus Shale and other shale deposits throughout the country. Fracking is a dirty process, as indicated by the Center for Media and Democracy's ongoing look into the state-by-state and federal legislative push for domestic gas drilling.

Largely Symbolic: New Jersey Senate Bans Fracking

On June 29, the New Jersey Senate banned fracking within state boundaries in a 33-1 vote. Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is the environmentally-hazardous process through which methane gas companies extract what the industry touts as "America's Clean Energy Future," methane gas. The drilling industry's public relations term for methane is "natural gas."

While the ban is cause for celebration for those truly in favor of a "clean energy future," it is largely symbolic because only a tiny sliver of the Marcellus Shale actually touches the state. There is actually some truth to the statement made by Energy in Depth's Chris Tucker, who stated that the ban, by-and-large, is "irrelevant."

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