Environment

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.

Chronic Wasting Disease on the Rise in Wisconsin Deer; Will it Infect Humans?

CWD DeerThe rate of chronic wasting disease (CWD) is on the rise among deer in Iowa County, Wisconsin and elsewhere across the state. CWD is a fatal, transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) similar to what is commonly known as mad cow disease that is caused by twisted proteins, or prions. For hunters, writes outdoors reporter Patrick Durkin, this means the disease might be affecting the herd now. For anyone who eats venison, this means greater chances that the disease could conceivably make the species jump and infect humans

Over a Million Comments Filed on GE Salmon as New Evidence Emerges of Deeply Flawed Review

Genetically engineered salmonThe extended comment period on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review and approval of AquAdvantage genetically engineered (GE) salmon ends April 26. As more comments flood in, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) reports that documents disclosed through a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) "raise serious questions about the adequacy of the FDA's review of the AquAdvantage Salmon application."

On Earth Day, ALEC Bemoans “Somber” Environmentalists

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which is centrally involved with pushing environmentally destructive legislation on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, today complained that "Earth Day has been a largely somber event" when it should be "a celebration of the wonderful achievements humankind has made in cleaning and greening the planet," wrote Todd Wynn, ALEC Energy, Environment, and Agriculture Task Force Director.

Bayer and Syngenta Lobby Furiously Against EU Efforts to Limit Pesticides and Save Bees

Bee populations have been declining rapidly worldwide in recent years -- in the U.S., they have declined by almost 50 percent just since October 2012, according to The Ecologist. The problem is complex, with possible culprits including certain parasites (like Varroa mites), viruses, pesticides, and industrial agriculture. But two studies published in early 2012 in the journal Science suggested a particularly strong connection between the use of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids and the decline of both bumble bee and honeybee populations.

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