July 28, 2014
Don Blankenship receives a shoe shine at the Mandalay Bay hotel.
Don Blankenship receives a shoe shine at the Mandalay Bay hotel.

Disgraced Coal Baron Don Blankenship Rebrands As A Libertarian Activist

Among visitors to Freedom Fest, a libertarian convention in Las Vegas, you might miss the aging Don Blankenship amid other middle aged attendees and a swarm of college students in three piece suits. Blankenship, wearing a bowling shirt and tan slacks, moves from panel to panel carrying a tote bag filled with free schwag — of which there was a lot to choose from, including this “water bottle” from the Charles Koch Institute — like anyone else. The former CEO of Massey Energy became the most feared man in West Virginia for his ruthless control over his mines and for …

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June 16, 2014
tscott

Senator Tim Scott Attempts to Build Support for Offshore Oil Drilling Legislation With Pictures of Windmills

How do you sell offshore oil drilling to a public that has grown skeptical after years of spills and deadly disasters?

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has a website promoting the four pillars of his policy agenda. On energy, the Scott site features the Southern Energy Access Jobs Act (SEA Jobs Act), which would reverse “the Obama administration’s moratorium on offshore Atlantic energy production and create one single ‘South Atlantic’ offshore energy planning area, comprised of South Carolina, North Carolina Georgia, and Virginia.” Offshore drilling lobbyists, including National Ocean Industries Association president Randall B. Luthi, have called Scott’s effort …

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May 12, 2014
pipeline

Pro-Keystone XL Consulting Firm May Have Violated Ethics Laws

One of the many consulting firms retained to build support for the Keystone XL, a controversial pipeline to bring oil sands in Canada to gulf coast refineries, failed to disclose its activities as federal appears to have required. Through a records request, Republic Report has found that the Alberta government hired a public relations company called Feverpress to promote the pipeline last year.

Feverpress, run by Hilary Lefebvre and David Press, was retained for $65,000. In a memo to David Manning, Alberta’s lobbyist in Washington DC, Feverpress said they had reached out to “producers and reporters to gauge level of interest in the Keystone …

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April 30, 2014
bast1

VIDEO: Heartland Institute Reluctantly Stands by Denial of Cigarette Smoking Risks

Before the Heartland Institute became famous for its leading role in climate change denial, the group spent many years working to defend the tobacco industry. Just as the group is now known for its over the top attacks on climate scientists, Heartland once played a large role in criticizing public health experts and others calling attention to the dangers of cigarette smoking.

At a mining conference in Denver earlier this month, Republic Report spoke to the Heartland president Joe Bast about his past support for the tobacco industry. In an opinion column titled “Five Lies About Tobacco,” …

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April 25, 2014
mduncan

VIDEO: Chief Coal Industry Lobbyist Won’t Say If Coal Causes Climate Change

Does burning coal, one of the most carbon-intensive fuel sources on the planet, contribute to climate change?

That simple question stumped the industry’s most prominent advocate, Robert “Mike” Duncan, at a Colorado mining conference last week. Asked twice by Republic Report, Duncan first said that a “lot of people believe” that coal causes climate change, before replying, “I’m not answering your question.”

Duncan, the president and CEO of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), gave a talk to a room filled with mining industry executives about the dangers of new EPA rules concerning greenhouse emissions. ACCCE, which represents the …

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April 16, 2014
Sen. Joe Manchin

Sen. Manchin Defends Law Firm Accused of Concealing Black Lung Medical Evidence

Only one day after the Center for Public Integrity’s reporting series on denials of black lung benefits to coal miners was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) defended the controversial law firm at the center of the investigation.

As he stepped to the podium of the National Western Mining Convention in Denver on Tuesday, Manchin heaped praise upon Jackson Kelly, a sponsor of the event and the law firm implicated in unethically concealing medical evidence of miners dying of black lung.

“I want to thank my dear friends at Jackson Kelly,” exclaimed the senator. In his remarks, …

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March 19, 2014
Vladimir Putin embraces his business partner, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson
Vladimir Putin embraces his business partner, ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson

Pundit, Politician Demands to Solve Crimean Crisis Fueled by Gas Lobby

A small group of pundits and politicians with close ties to the fossil fuel industry are using the crisis in Crimea to demand that the United States promote natural gas exports as a quick fix for the volatile situation. But such a solution, experts say, would cost billions of dollars, require years of development, and would not significantly impact the international price of gas or Russia’s role as a major supplier for the region. Rather, the move would simply increase gas prices for American consumers while enriching companies involved in the liquified natural gas (LNG) trade.

On Capitol …

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February 27, 2014

Obama Nominates SOPA Lobbyist for TPP Trade Post

This morning, President Obama nominated Robert Holleyman as deputy U.S. trade representative. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Holleyman will help lead the effort to pass the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Notably, Holleyman is a former lobbyist who led efforts to pass the Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, better known as SOPA, when he was leader of the Business Software Alliance. The SOPA debate (along with its sister legislation, PROTECT-IP, in the Senate) brought a spotlight on industry efforts to undermine Internet freedom through what many considered to be draconian intellectual property policy.

Critics have pointed out, …

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