November 19, 2014
LNG-Exports-Obama-macro

Revealing Washington’s Natural Gas Exports Revolving Door

Republic Report and DeSmogBlog released this report about natural gas lobbying on November 20, 2014. Co-authored by Lee Fang and Steve Horn, the report is the result of ongoing investigations into natural gas industry lobbying for LNG exports. Click the title to read the full PDF version, or read the series indexed online below. Natural Gas Exports: Washington’s Revolving Door Fuels Climate Threat (click to download PDF) Image credit: Simon Fraser University via Flickr

Part I

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The 2014 U.S. congressional mid-term elections are now complete, and the Republican Party controls both the House of Representatives and the Senate. …

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November 18, 2014
UBBMemorial

WV Activist to Senator Inhofe: Give Blankenship Campaign Money to the Community

Last week, Republic Report revealed that recently indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship had given campaign cash to only one federal politician this campaign cycle: Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.

Now, a prominent West Virginia activist, Vernon Haltom, the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, is writing to Sen. Inhofe to highlight that donation. In a letter he shared with Republic Report, Vernon says that Blankenship’s “reprehensible, inexcusable contempt for workers’ safety resulted in heartbreak for the families and community of 29 miners.” He goes on to call for the Oklahoma senator to “please consider returning that campaign donation …

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November 18, 2014
chevrontruck

Exxon-Backed Legislation to Increase Corporate Influence over EPA’s Scientific Board Passes

In the midst of congressional votes on the Keystone XL and NSA reform, the House of Representatives just passed a far-ranging bill to compel the EPA’s board of scientific advisors to include industry representatives. The bill, H.R. 1422, the Science Advisory Board Reform Act, is the latest attempt by the Republican-held Congress to manipulate the science underpinning environmental regulations.

The bill has been sharply criticized by scientists, environmental groups, and public health experts because it compromises the scientific independence of the EPA’s scientific advisors, noted Emily Atkins of ThinkProgress. The Union of Concerned Scientists explains that the bill “opens the door to more …

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November 18, 2014
Richard Verma, a consultant to Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart backed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety
Richard Verma, a consultant to Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart backed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

Madeleine Albright’s Consulting Firm Behind Effort to Undercut Bangladesh Safety Standards

The tragic Dhaka garment factory disaster in Bangladesh last year placed international pressure on global retailers to take responsibility and force their suppliers to increase safety standards. Though many North American and European brands signed onto a fairly strong safety agreement known as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, several companies with suppliers in Bangladesh refused, most notably, Wal-Mart and GAP.

Wal-Mart and GAP, rather than signing the Accord’s binding safety agreement, developed their own standard with fewer commitments and no legally binding promise to take financial responsibility for future disasters. While the Accord mandates that retailers help provide funds for safety …

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November 18, 2014
cea

Oil Companies Continue to Lavish ‘Grassroots’ Pro-Keystone XL Groups with Cash

As Republic Report has previously noted, a group called the Consumer Energy Alliance has led the grassroots-organizing efforts to pressure politicians to support the Keystone XL pipeline. The group has mobilized letters to Congress, petitions to the State Department, and maintains a website caleld “BuildKXLNOW.org,” among other efforts.

New disclosure information obtained by Republic Report reveals that CEA continues to receive big donations from the nation’s largest oil companies, including firms positioned to profit from the shipment of tar sands oil from Alberta to the gulf coast.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers — a trade group that represents Koch Industries, Continue Reading »

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November 17, 2014
Rep. Ed Whitfield, middle, poses with LaserLock executives at an event hosted by Georgetown University
Rep. Ed Whitfield, middle, at an event hosted by LaserLock. LaserLock's Brad Blakeman and Neal Alpert stand to the right of Whitfield.

Kentucky Congressman Goes to Bat for Wife’s Company on Capitol Hill

LaserLock Technologies, a firm that sells anti-counterfeiting products, won a powerful congressional ally on Capitol Hill after recruiting a Kentucky congressman’s wife.

Representative Ed Whitfield, a senior Republican lawmaker from western Kentucky, personally submitted company documents on behalf of LaserLock to the congressional record in support of legislation crucial to the firm’s business. Whitfield’s wife, Constance Harriman, a registered lobbyist, has come under scrutiny from Office of Congressional Ethics investigators for unduly influencing Whitfield and his staff for her client, the Humane Society. But new revelations about her role with LaserLock, a company in which she is an investor and where she serves as a board …

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November 14, 2014
Senator Jim Inhofe

Will Senator Jim Inhofe Return Don Blankenship’s Campaign Donation?

One of Senator Jim Inhofe’s (R-OK) most fervent supporters may soon end up behind bars. Yesterday, former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship was indicted by a federal grand jury for a range of alleged criminal acts relating to the disaster at Upper Big Branch mine, a 2010 explosion that killed 29 of Blankenship’s employees. Blankenship is charged with thwarting mine safety enforcement by misleading mine safety inspectors, conspiring to violate mine safety laws, and he is also accused of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission about his company’s safety practices.

Blankenship is a big fan of Senator …

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November 13, 2014
SNAP

Still More Scam For-Profit College Websites – Linked to Dallas Mystery Man

I reported yesterday and this morning on scam websites that promise people help with jobs, food stamps, heat assistance, Medicaid — things that low-income and working Americans want — but the sites are really just fronts to get people’s phone numbers, so workers at a call center in Utah can pitch them on enrolling in overpriced, low-quality for-profit colleges.

Within 90 minutes after I posted my story yesterday, one of the sites I discussed, localemploymentnetwork.org, had been shut down. Perhaps just caution by its operators, or perhaps some concern about suggestions I made that the site’s owner, Neutron Interactive, and the …

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