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Follow The money: Three Energy Export Congressional Hearings, Climate Undiscussed
In gentle of ongoing geopolitical tensions in Russia, Ukraine and hotly contested Crimea, three (sure, three!) U.S. Congressional Committees held hearings this week on the U.S. using its newfangled oil and gas bounty as a blunt tool to fend off Russian dominance of the worldwide gas market.
Although 14 mixed witnesses testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Power and Natural Assets, the U.S. House Vitality and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Power and Power and U.S. Senate Committee on International Relations, not a single environmental voice received an invitation. Climate change and environmental concerns had been solely voiced by two witnesses.
Utilizing the continuing regional tumult as a rationale to debate exports of U.S. oil and gas obtained mainly through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), the lack of discussion on climate change does not imply the problem is not important to nationwide safety sorts.
Indeed, the Pentagon’s not too long ago printed Quadrennial Defense Evaluate coins climate change a “menace force multiplier” that might lead to useful resource scarcity and useful resource wars. Although directly related to rampant useful resource extraction and world oil and fuel advertising and marketing, with fracking’s accompanying climate change and ecological impacts, “risk pressure multiplication” impacts of local weather change went undiscussed.
With another LNG (liquefied natural gasoline) export terminal approved by the U.S. Division of Vitality (DOE) in Coos Bay, Ore. to non-Free Commerce Settlement nations on March 24 (the seventh so far, with two dozen nonetheless pending), the heat is on to export U.S. fracked oil and gas to the worldwide market.
So, why wasn’t the LNG climate trump card discussed in a loud and clear approach Effectively, simply consider the supply: ten of the witnesses had ties in a technique or one other to the oil and gas trade.
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Headed by just lately named chair U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), the March 25 U.S. Senate Vitality and Pure Resources Committee hearing featured four of five witnesses with industry ties, all of which went undisclosed. It was titled, “Importing Energy, Exporting Jobs. Can it be Reversed “
“The very last thing Putin and his cronies needs (sic) is competitors from the United States of America in the vitality race,” Landrieu declared in her opening statement. “Tyrants and dictators throughout historical past have had many causes to fear revolutions, and this U.S. power revolution is one they should all keep their eyes on!” More on that later.
Given the enthusiasim conveyed in her statement, perhaps it’s unsurprising Landrieu — whose state of Louisiana is an oil and gasoline trade hub like few others — also has shut business ties.
Up for re-election in 2014, Landrieu has already taken close to half a million dollars from the industry to the chagrin of environmentalists. Committee Ranking petroleum refining mcqs Member Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has taken $40,600 throughout this campaign cycle, as effectively, even though she isn’t up for re-election till 2016.
Daniel Adamson, senior counsel for the committee, labored as a lobbyist for natural gas utility company Avista Company from 2004-2010.
And now for the witnesses:
– Adam Sieminski: Earlier than taking the seat as head of the U.S. Vitality Info Administration (EIA) in 2012, Sieminski labored in the fossil gasoline finance sector.
“From 2005 until March 2012, he was the chief power economist for Deutsche Bank, working with the bank’s global analysis and buying and selling items,” explains his EIA biography. “From 1998 to 2005, he served as the director and vitality strategist for Deutsche Financial institution’s international oil and gasoline equity team.”
– W. David Montgomery: Testifying at each this committee listening to and the U.S. Home Power and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Power and Energy hearing, Montgomery is the senior vice president of NERA (Nationwide Financial Analysis Associates) Financial Consulting.
NERA penned a research on behalf of the DOE printed in December 2012 concluding LNG exports shall be economically beneficial to the U.S. It not too long ago published an updated follow-up study funded by Cheniere — the primary company to obtain a permit to export fracked U.S. gasoline in Sabine Pass, La. in 2012 — concluding “unlimited LNG exports profit U.S.”
W. David Montgomery; Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot
Author of a 2009 paper titled, “Organized Hypocrisy as a Tool of Climate Diplomacy,” commissioned by the fossil gas funded American Enterprise Institute, Montgomery isn’t a climate change denier. He simply doesn’t think something should be accomplished to tackle climate change.
“Trying to bribe or coerce unwilling nations into curtailing their GHG emissions threatens to trigger extra harm than good,” he wrote within the American Enterprise Institute paper.
Montgomery sang an analogous tune during a March 2011 U.S. Home Committee on Science, House and Expertise hearing:
“First, if the U.S. had been to act [on local weather change] with out strong assurance of comparable efforts by China, India, and other industrialized international locations, its efforts would make nearly no distinction to international temperature, particularly if industrial manufacturing and related emissions are merely exported to other international locations. Second, even international action is unlikely to yield U.S. advantages commensurate with the prices it would incur in making steep GHG emission cuts. Third, globally, even with moderate emission reductions, benefits wouldn’t be a lot higher than prices, and, fourth, conflicting financial interests will make worldwide agreements on obligatory limits unstable.”
He has additionally finished work for the local weather change denying think-tanks like the George Marshall Institute and the Heritage Foundation. Because of his observe report, Skeptical Science has labeled him a “climate misinformer.”
NERA’s roots return to operating defense for Massive Tobacco, as revealed here on DeSmogBlog.
– David Goldwyn: Goldwyn at the moment wears many hats. A member of the DOE’s National Petroleum Council, he is also a company attorney for the agency Sutherland, a non-resident fellow on the Brookings Institution and president of oil and fuel business consulting firm Goldwyn Global Strategies LLC.
Earlier than opening up his new consulting agency, Goldwyn labored as Particular Envoy for International Power Affairs at U.S. Division of State from 2009 to 2011.
While working for the State Department, Goldwyn created the worldwide Shale Gas Initiative (now identified as the Unconventional Gasoline Technical Engagement Program) and its cousin, the Energy Governance and Capacity Initiative. These programs, in essence, are the State Department’s shale gasoline “missionary power,” in which the Division teams up with U.S. fracking companies to show “best practices” to countries world wide.
David Goldwyn; Photo Credit: U.S. Division of State
A State Division cable obtained by Wikileaks via whistleblower Chelsea Manning reveals Goldwyn also helped Canadian oil firms develop speaking points to advertise tar sands during his time working as State Department Particular Envoy.
Prior to working for the State Department, Goldwyn owned one other consulting firm referred to as Goldywn International Strategies LLC. It was throughout petroleum refining mcqs his time working for this consultancy that he did some of his most ugly work with the exact same “tyrants and dictators” decried in Landrieu’s opening statement.
In 2008, Goldwyn lobbied on behalf of the U.S.-Libya Business Group on the time the nation was under the dictatorial rule of Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed in October 2011. Goldwyn scrubbed this element from his biography as soon as he acquired a job on the State Division.
He additionally scrubbed out his former gig as an unregistered lobbyist for Turkmenistan, another U.S.-friendly fuel-rich and oppressive dictatorship. Goldwyn did so as the former executive director of the U.S.-Turkmenistan Business Council, which was “primarily funded by American oil companies (Chevron, ExxonMobil, Marathon) hoping to do business within the country,” in line with investigative journalist Ken Silverstein.
Although dictatorships akin to those in Libya and Turkmenistan are “often a menace to their own individuals, they do not harbor or finance teams that threaten U.S. pursuits,” Goldwyn as soon as stated in a Congressional listening to in speaking to human rights issues of doing enterprise in these countries.
And Goldwyn’s latest push: opening up the floodgates for U.S. oil and gas firms to operate inside of Mexico.
– Edward Chow: A senior fellow at the middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research’ (CSIS) Energy and National Security Program, a conservative think-tank, Chow worked for 2 many years at Chevron.
“While he was Chevron’s principal worldwide consultant in Washington, he labored intently with the White Home, Capitol Hill, federal departments and agencies, foreign governments, international financial establishments, and the overseas coverage neighborhood on international economic policy affecting worldwide energy investments,” explains Chow’s CSIS biographical sketch. “Between 1989 and 1991, he was based in Beijing as Chevron’s nation supervisor for China.”
Edward Chow; Picture Credit: YouTube Screenshot
Like Goldwyn, Chow has maintained close ties with Turkmenistan. Wikileaks cables reveal he visited from March to April 2009 to offer “his evaluation of Turkmenistan’s oil and gas prospects” and focus on “coverage perspectives on improvement of the nation’s oil and gas sector” with the country’s Deputy International Minister Wepa Hajiyev.
As he disclosed in an August 2013 Congressional testimony, Chow additionally serves as an advisor to the State Division on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) Pipeline. TAPI, stalled for years as a consequence of Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan, is ready to pump Turkemenistan’s gas to Fazilka, India, located close to the Pakistan-India border.
ExxonMobil, which has an office in Turkmenistan, “has expressed interest in financing and working the pipeline project,” in response to the Oman Tribune.
Rounding the circle, in 2011 ExxonMobil gave CSIS a $4 million grant.
U.S. House Power and Energy Subcommittee
The U.S. House Power and Commerce Subcommittee on Power and Energy listening to honed in on the proposed H.R. 6, colloquially recognized because the “Home Prosperity and Global Freedom Act.” With 40 co-sponsors (38 Republicans, 2 Democrats), the bill mandates expedited approval of LNG permits with World Trade Organization nations.
The invoice was proposed on March 6 within the midst of ongoing events between Ukraine and Russia and roughly one month after the Vitality and Commerce Committee revealed its report titled, “Prosperity at House and Strengthened Allies Abroad — A global Perspective on Pure Gas Exports.”
“Passing this laws sends the clear signal that America intends to take full benefit of our vitality resources…to make sure the lifeline of U.S. fuel supplies shall be available to our allies, and that we will stand agency to Putin and supplant Russia’s affect,” mentioned U.S. Home Vitality and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) in a press release announcing the legislation.
U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI); Photograph Credit score: Wikimedia Commons
Upton’s Public Disclosure forms for 2012 reveal he invested $1,000 to $15,000 in BP, $15,000 to $50,000 in Chesapeake, $16,000 tp $sixty five,000 in GE and $a hundred and fifteen,000 to $300,000 in ExxonMobil.
As investigative journalist Lee Fang revealed, subcommittee “workers counsel Patrick Currier is a former lobbyist for gas and energy firms, including the Gas Processors Affiliation, FirstEnergy Corp, and the CCS Alliance…[and] chief counsel Tom Hassenboehler is a former lobbyist for America’s Pure Gas Alliance, some of the vocal trade groups pushing to construct more LNG export capacity.”
Fang additionally discovered Subcommittee chair Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) holds between $250,000 and $500,000 in stock with both ExxonMobil and Chevron.
Whitfield has taken $70,500 from the oil and gas business throughout this election cycle and took $126,500 from the industry throughout his 2012 race for workplace.
U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield; Photograph Credit score: Wikimedia Commons
Witnesses with oil and gas business ties included:
– Paula Gant: Gant is the DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for oil and natural gas. She got there by passing by means of the federal government-business revolving door. She formerly labored as senior vice president for policy and planning for the American Gas Affiliation, a gasoline trade commerce association which supports LNG exports.
Paula Gant; Photograph Credit score: YouTube Screenshot
– Anita Orbán: Creator of the guide “Power, Vitality, and the brand new Russian petroleum refining mcqs Imperialism,” Orbán sits as Hungary’s Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security. She also testified in October 2013 in entrance of the subcommittee in a listening to titled, “The Geopolitical Implications and Mutual Benefits of U.S. LNG exports.”
Anita Orbán; Photo Credit score: YouTube Screenshot
Orban worked at business-funded assume-tanks Heritage Foundation and Hudson Institute while working towards her PhD at Tufts College.
– Kenneth Ditzel: A principal at Charles River Associates, Ditzel formerly worked as a manufacturing engineer at Dow Chemical.
Dow is a part of the chemical industry-funded coalition referred to as America’s Vitality Advantage, which has rallied towards the rampant push to export U.S. oil and fuel. However, given the corporate’s personal toxic legacy, it is removed from an environmental voice and local weather change isn’t amongst its issues.
Kenneth Ditzel; Picture Credit score: YouTube Screenshot
Ditzel authored a Dow Chemical-funded report in February 2013 titled, “US Manufacturing and LNG Exports: Financial Contributions to the US Economic system and Impacts on US Natural Gasoline Costs.”
America’s Energy Advantage — which also got here out towards the approval of the Jordan Cove LNG export facility in Coos Bay, Ore. — advocates for the State Department’s “missionary power” approach for shale gasoline diplomacy, because it opined in a press launch in regards to the Power and Energy subcommittee’s hearing.
“To weaken Putin and strengthen our European allies, the Committee needs to be targeted on the export of American drilling expertise and know-the right way to allies so they can develop their very own home shale gasoline resources,” reads the press launch. “It’s much better to teach a man to fish than to offer him a fish.”
– Dave Schryver: Govt vice president of the American Public Fuel Affiliation, which can also be a member of America’s Power Advantage.
U.S. Home Committee on Overseas Affairs
The U.S. House Committee on Overseas Affairs additionally held a hearing titled, “The Geopolitical Potential of the U.S. Vitality Growth.”
Committee Chair U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) took $10,500 from the oil and fuel industry for the 2012 elections and has already taken $thirteen,000 in the run-as much as the 2014 elections.
Additional, three of the 4 witnesses have business ties:
– Harold Hamm: The chairman and CEO of Continental Assets, Hamm served as Republican Occasion presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s energy adviser throughout his race in opposition to President Barack Obama in 2012. He’s additionally the chairman of the lobbying and campaign contribution powerhouse Domestic Power Producers Alliance and broke marketing campaign contribution giving restrict guidelines throughout the 2012 marketing campaign.
Harold Hamm; Photograph Credit score: Wikimedia Commons
– Elizabeth Rosenberg: Rosenberg is a senior fellow and director of the energy, surroundings and security program for the middle for a new American Safety (CNAS). CNAS receives business funding aplenty, from the likes of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, ConocoPhillips, Common Electric and Chevron.
Elizabeth Rosenberg; Photo Credit: U.S. Home Committee on Overseas Affairs
While far from a strong analysis of local weather change and environmental considerations, Rosenberg did point out “considerations concerning the environmental and community results of the energy increase and further growth in unconventional energy globally” during her testimony.
– Michael Levi: The David M. Rubenstein senior fellow and director of this system on power security and climate change for the Council on International Relations, Levi’s fellowship is named after and funded by the CEO of private equity firm large, the Carlyle Group.
Michael Levi; Picture Credit score: YouTube Screenshot
“Energy is without doubt one of the investment fields Carlyle makes a speciality of, and it not too long ago escalated its power holdings by shopping for a $424 million stake in NGP Vitality Capital Management (for ‘Natural Fuel Partnership’),” explained Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.
Carlyle additionally co-owns a significant oil refinery in Philadelphia, Philadelphia Power Options, a joint enterprise with Sunoco. That refinery is a serious recipient of oil fracked from North Dakota’s Bakken Shale basin, which is delivered to the refinery by way of freight rail.