- Executive branch
- 3.1 Executive Office of the President
- 3.2 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
- 3.3 United States Department of Commerce
- 3.4 United States Department of Defense (DOD)
- 3.5 United States Department of Education
- 3.6 United States Department of Energy
- 3.7 United States Department of Health and Human Services
- 3.8 United States Department of Homeland Security
- 3.9 United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
- 3.10 United States Department of the Interior
- 3.11 United States Department of Justice
- 3.12 United States Department of Labor (DOL)
- 3.13 United States Department of State (DOS)
- 3.14 United States Department of Transportation
- 3.15 United States Department of the Treasury
- 3.16 United States Department of Veterans Affairs
- 3.17 Independent agencies and government-owned corporations
- 4 Special Inspector General Office
- 5 Quasi-official agencies
Again-----I personally talked with EPA staff several years ago all of whom have said no environmental oversight and accountability has been allowed in that department since Clinton----the only use of EPA by Obama under the guise of GREEN ENERGY was expanding global infrastructure for health and education global industries and building SMART CITY CAPABILITIES which global Wall Street calls SUSTAINABILITY.
The Bush right wing builds on global oil and natural gas----the Clinton right wing builds on global technology and finance and both use all Federal agencies to do this INCLUDING ENERGY.
CLINTON NEVER CARED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE-----BUSH NEVER CARED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE---OBAMA NEVER CARED ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE ---TRUMP WILL NOT CARE.
There is nothing more USELESS THAN CARBON TRADING as a policy to fight GLOBAL WARMING---it was a far-right wing global Wall Street Clinton pretense to doing something environmental while we understand that entire CARBON TRADING IS CORRUPT as all banking is right now. So it doesn't matter if Trump kills that---the only real left environmental issue is
STOPPING THE EXPANSION OF FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES ESPECIALLY IN AMERICA.
Obama/Clinton neo-liberals created all policies needed for Bush/Trump oil and gas to expand their industries inside the US-----
Donald Trump's transition team is asking for a list of Energy Department workers who have attended any United Nations climate change conferences in the past five years. | Getty
Trump team’s demands fuel fear of Energy Department ‘witch hunt’
By Darius Dixon
12/09/16 06:42 PM EST
Updated 12/09/16 06:13 PM EST
Donald Trump’s transition team wants the Energy Department to provide the names of any employees who have worked on President Barack Obama’s climate initiatives — a request that has current and former staffers fearing an oncoming “witch hunt.”
The president-elect’s team sought the information as part of a 74-point questionnaire that also asked for details about how DOE’s statistical arm, the Energy Information Administration, does the math on issues such as the cost-effectiveness of wind and solar power versus fossil fuels. POLITICO obtained the document Friday, after Trump’s advisers sent it to the department earlier in the week.
The questions are just the latest sign that Trump is feeling out ways to undo Obama's environmental agenda, in which DOE has played a major role through actions such as issuing billions of dollars in loan guarantees to green-energy projects backed by companies such as Google and Tesla. Trump has derided the idea of man-made climate change as a “hoax,” and he’s announced plans to nominate one of the biggest critics of Obama's regulations — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
Coupled with calls by congressional Republicans to relax civil-service protections so that it’s easier to fire federal employees, the transition team’s demand that the Energy Department name names has some current and former workers fearing the worst.
“Sounds like a freaking witch hunt,” one former DOE staffer wrote in an email.
“It is a remarkably aggressive and antagonistic tone to take with an agency that you’re about to try to manage,” a current agency employee said. Another DOE staffer expressed the view that “some [of the questions] are harassment, some are naive, some are legitimate.”
“Why is that important for informing the transition team?” the person said of the list of people who worked on climate issues.
Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, denounced the questions as "environmental McCarthyism," calling them "a witch hunt and a loyalty test all rolled into one."
“The transition team should reconsider these apparent attempts to intimidate Energy Department employees who were simply working to fulfill the climate objectives of the Obama administration,” he wrote.
Trump transition officials declined to comment, as did the Energy Department.
Of the 74 questions posed by Trump’s advisers, two called for identifying the employees and contractors who worked on implementing the Obama administration's efforts to study and address climate change.
One question asks for the names of staffers who attended any United Nations climate change conferences in the past five years. Another requests the names of the personnel on any of the interagency working groups that calculated the “social cost of carbon,” a financial measurement of the damage imposed by climate change that the administration uses to help weigh the costs and benefits of some regulations.
Still, one DOE staff member suggested the worries might be overblown, saying Trump’s team has carried out a “very good transition” overall. But the person acknowledged that “those two or three questions where they asked for names is what caught people’s attention.”
Without knowing who the next energy secretary will be, people at the agency don’t know how high a priority those questions really are, the staff member said. “People read a lot into these things. It could be nothing.”
Trump has not yet announced a nominee to replace Ernest Moniz as the head of the department, which manages the nation’s nuclear arsenal, runs the network of national laboratories, funds basic science and oversees a strategic reserve of oil, but sources have said the leading candidates appear to be former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Ray Washburne, a member of Trump’s finance team.
Besides requesting specific names, Trump’s transition team directed a series of questions at the department’s Energy Information Administration, including some that appeared to challenge the agency’s ability to keep political bias out of its statistical analysis during Obama’s presidency.
“How has EIA ensured its independence in your data and analysis over the past 8 years?” one question asks, while requesting examples of instances where “EIA’s independence was most challenged.”
Other questions pressed EIA on why it had made certain assumptions about the costs of renewable energy, as well as whether its forecasts had given short shrift to “the shale gas and oil renaissance.”
The Trump team also raised other questions around DOE’s climate-related work. “Which programs within DOE are essential to meeting the goals of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan?” reads Question 29.
In fact, half of Obama’s targets for greenhouse gas reductions are tied to DOE’s rules-making on efficiency standards for appliances like water heaters and air conditioners.
Having been on the receiving end of investigations into science, Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann — himself a frequent target of attacks from climate skeptics — said he found some of the questions worrying.
"Normally I would ... withhold judgment, supposing for the time-being that this could just be legitimate information-gathering. However, this latest revelation hardly exists in a vacuum," he wrote in an email, referring to the role of prominent climate skeptics on Trump’s EPA transition team.
“[I]n my mind it raises real concerns that this transition team is planning to target people, including scientists,” Mann said.
Michael Halpern, a deputy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the questionnaire “reads more like a subpoena than a request for assistance.” To Halpern, a question on the list asking DOE’s national labs about their websites raised an eyebrow.
“During the Bush administration, there were a lot of webpages that either disappeared or were altered to put nonscientific information on them,” he said. Nevertheless, Halpern said, “We elected a president and not a dictator. He can’t just come and destroy entire departments by executive fiat.”
The questionnaire also asks the agency to identify which of its offices “owns” the work on international Clean Energy Ministerials, a program that helps connect the public and private sectors across several governments, and Mission Innovation, a multinational effort to develop clean technology.
One question, directed to the office of DOE’s undersecretary for science and energy, probes the agency about where it could cut if it had to reduce its budget by 10 percent starting in fiscal 2018.
The questionnaire appears to have circulated through DOE after the agency’s transition coordinator, a career employee, sent it by email on Tuesday. The document also indicates that the agency can provide only information that is publicly available.
“Since the review team wants answers quickly, please send us answers to individual questions as you complete them,” Ingrid Kolb, director of DOE’s Office of Management, wrote in an email that was read to POLITICO. “Please do not wait to finish all of them.”
She added: “We need to start feeding the agency review team answers ASAP. If you are concerned about a question, please contact me immediately. In some instances the answer to a question may involve information that is not available to the public or is information that we do not have."
Kolb has managed the last two transitions for DOE and has worked in the federal government for 37 years.
Bloomberg first reported on the questionnaire but did not release a copy of the document.
We have known since Clinton/Blair era that this supposed environmental policy was yet another way to defraud government agencies and people's pockets and yes, it was promoted by the UNITED NATIONS because they are filled with global 1% and their 2% all NAKED NEO-LIBERAL CAPITALISTS. Trump no doubt has played these markets bringing millions of dollars to his personal wealth so he is not against CARBON TRADING he is CONSERVATIVE POSING. Trump with his EXXON MOBILE Department of Energy is simply going into our NATIONAL PARKS----our aquatic green spaces-----our native lands and frack the heck out of them----Obama and Clinton neo-liberals simply staged fracking the heck AROUND THEM. Obama and Hillary worked hard to expand fracking all around the world----so will Trump----ergo his deals with Russia and Putin.
WHO PROFITED OFF OF WHAT ALL REAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS KNEW WAS ANOTHER WALL STREET SCAM? THE 5% TO THE 1% GLOBAL WALL STREET POLS AND PLAYERS.
Remember all those global Wall Street phony social benefit groups telling WE THE PEOPLE to invest in CARBON TRADING----well here is to where all that investment went----billions of dollars in just this one French deal.
Multi-billion euro carbon-trading fraud trial opens in Paris©
Loïc Venance, AFP | The trial of 12 people accused of involvement in a multi-billion euro carbon-trading fraud opened in Paris on May 2, 2016.
Text by Aude MAZOUE
Latest update : 2016-05-04
The trial of 12 people accused of involvement in a multi-billion euro carbon-trading fraud opened in Paris on Monday, a case that has been described by French authorities as “the heist of a century”.
Shady deals, offshore accounts, money laundering… The trial has all the hallmarks of a crime thriller and comes nearly seven years after French authorities cracked down on a carbon-trading scheme that cost the European Union €5 billion – including €1.6 billion in France – according to Europol.
The case dates back to October 2008, around the same time the European Commission introduced phase two of its EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), which was designed to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gases.
The EU ETS was a simple “cap-and-trade” system. Under it, EU member states set a cap on the amount of carbon companies in specific sectors could produce. This could then be traded on the European market as emission allowances. Companies that did not use their entire allowance could sell the surplus, while those that had exceeded the limit could buy more. It was also possible to purchase international credits from emissions-saving projects abroad.
A ‘flawed’ system
Despite the good intentions behind the EU ETS, it was an imperfect system that was easily exploited.
“The structure was poorly conceived from the start and had some real flaws,” Katheline Schubert, an environmental economics professor at the Sorbonne university in Paris, told FRANCE 24.
Investigators believe that a group of three men – Mardoché Mouly, Arnaud Mimran and Samy Souied – realised this, and devised a scheme to defraud billions of euros by purchasing emission allowances on the European market from abroad, using a complex network of shell companies and offshore accounts in Latvia, Cyprus and Hong Kong.
Because the allowances were purchased outside of Europe, they were not subject to the European Union’s 19.6 percent value-added tax (VAT). Front men acting as brokers then resold the allowances in Europe, taxes included. But instead of handing the VAT over to the authorities, they pocketed the cash to use in future trades. But the money needed to be laundered before it could be reinvested. This involved placing it in a bank in China, where it was then handed over to businesses or transformed into playing chips at casinos, among numerous other ploys.
It wasn’t long, however, before the scheme caught the attention of French regulators, who reported their suspicions to the country’s anti-money laundering unit Tracfin as early as the fall of 2008. Although both the budget and finance ministries were promptly informed of the situation, nothing happened. It would take another six months and €1.6 billion in lost tax revenue for France before the authorities finally cracked down on the fraud in June 2009.
“Fortunately, [the system] has since been fixed and the same sort of fraud is no longer possible. But it is still vulnerable to other schemes. A swindler’s imagination has no limits,” Schubert said.
Of the 12 people on trial, only five appeared in court on Monday. Among them were two of the three suspected masterminds of the scheme, Mouly and Mimran. Their alleged partner, Souied, was gunned down by two men on a scooter on September 14, 2010, and will be tried posthumously. The other six defendants in the case are believed to have fled to Israel.
The trial, which will run until May 30, is not expected to recover any of the money lost in the scheme. “It’s extremely difficult to identify the assets of those behind the [fraud],” an investigator in the case was quoted by French daily L’Express as saying. “They’ve spread [it] out among incorporated companies and tax havens”.
So Trump in this tag team CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL VS BUSH NEO-CON show now takes all that Federal funding thrown at this global Wall Street CARBON TRADING scam and moves it to DRILL BABY DRILL. Obama and Clinton neo-liberals did the heavy lifting on drilling for oil and natural gas by passing all the export terminal laws around natural gas and crude oil----they passed all the laws and funded for transportation of natural gas and crude oil to these export terminals---now all Trump and his EXXON MOBILE Energy guy needs to do is FRACK AND DRILL THE HECK OUT OF AMERICA.
Of course these East Coast sites will be front and center---Obama and Clinton neo-liberals funded research and development of these areas so Trump would know where to drill----ask Corey Booker of NJ he knows---he's the global Wall Street Clinton neo-liberal pretending to be against these offshore drillings with Menendez of NJ
Warren Buffett was allowed to have his RAILROAD MONOPOLY these several years of mergers and acquisitions under Obama just to be ready for this.
Trump election reignites 'drill, baby, drill' offshore oil debate
In this April 26, 2002, file photo, a section of a giant oil rig is docked after arriving at the Portland Ocean Terminal in Portland, Maine. The controversy over drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean has been reignited by the election of Donald Trump, and environmentalists and coastal businesses say it could be the first major fault line that divides them from the new president. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)
By The Associated Press
on November 22, 2016 at 11:17 AM, updated November 22, 2016 at 11:19 AMThe controversy over drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean has been reignited by the election of Donald Trump, and environmentalists and coastal businesses say it could be the first major fault line that divides them from the new president.
The Obama administration has moved to restrict access to offshore oil drilling leases in the Atlantic, as well as off Alaska. Commercial oil production has never happened off the East Coast -- and environmentalists consider that a major victory during Obama's administration.
But President-elect Trump has said that he intends to use all available fuel reserves for energy self-sufficiency -- and that it's time to be opening up offshore drilling.
While supporters say that expanded oil exploration is poised to become one of Trump's signature accomplishments, environmentalists and other opponents see oil drilling policy as a looming conflict. Jacqueline Savitz, vice president of the ocean conservationist group Oceana, said she fears a return to the hard-fought struggles environmentalists faced with the previous Republican administration.
"We're hoping we're not about to fall back into the 'drill, baby, drill' way of thinking," she said. "Offshore drilling in the Atlantic is not a good investment."
The American Petroleum Institute, a key voice of the oil and gas industries, has long said more aggressive drilling is needed for the U.S. to remain a world leader in energy production. The group accused Obama in May of lacking a long-term "vision" for fossil fuels extraction; its leaders say that Trump's presidency represents a new dawn and that they intend to hold him to his word about fossil fuels.
"As a candidate, President-elect Trump pledged to pursue an energy approach that would include opening federal lands for oil and gas production including offshore areas," said institute spokesman Michael Tadeo.
Early signs suggest Trump will make good on his plans for more aggressive drilling.
One of his favorites to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a prominent rejecter of the scientific consensus on climate change. He is a longtime ally of the petroleum industry and a critic of the agency he would lead.
Trump's favorites for energy secretary include Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm and drilling proponent Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.
The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment. Trump has said that it's "incredible that we're going slow on drilling," and that he supports coastal drilling when it "can be done responsibly."
Trump's stance threatens to put a political promise ahead of science, said Cascade Sorte, a professor of biology with a focus on marine systems at the University of California, Irvine.
"I'm concerned there might not be the data that we need about what we're destroying before we destroy it," she said.
The Gulf of Mexico is the main offshore area that the U.S. plumbs for oil and gas. But in March 2010, Obama's administration released a report that said the Gulf alone can't be expected to meet increasing energy demands. The report included the possibility of opening up offshore Virginia for oil and gas exploration, and the administration signaled leases in the middle and southern East Coast were possible.
The plan got immediate pushback from environmental groups, who feared it would damage ecosystems. A month later, the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico put a hold on plans for expanding drilling.
Environmentalists say any attempt to reverse Obama's restrictions on Atlantic and Alaskan drilling would galvanize resistance, as happened after the Gulf spill a" and before that, following the 1969 Santa Barbara, California, oil spill and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster in Alaska.
"If President-elect Trump tries to undo any of those measures, he will be rejecting both science and the people and he will meet opposition," said Greenpeace spokesman Perry Wheeler.
Democratic senators on both coasts have called for Obama to block any possibility of Pacific or Atlantic drilling before Trump takes office.
Many Alaska officials strongly back opening the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean to drilling. But Obama's administration last week announced a five-year offshore drilling plan that blocks the sale of new oil and gas drilling rights there.
The administration also has announced the Atlantic would not be included in the next round of offshore oil leases, available from 2017 to 2022. Connie Gillette, who oversees leases for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said that for now, the soonest any leases could be offered is 2023 to 2028.
Among those opposed to Atlantic drilling is Rep. Mark Sanford, a South Carolina Republican, who says his opposition dovetails with the conservative value of local control, including of natural resources. He said he is waiting for Trump to settle in before engaging him on the issue.
Many coastal business owners and residents have taken stands against Atlantic drilling, saying it would endanger key industries, such as commercial fishing and tourism. Frank Knapp, a South Carolina businessman who is the co-founder of the 12,000-member Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, said they'll fight any attempts to drill once Trump takes over.
"I don't know what his personal convictions are, but I do know ... a Republican Congress wants to drill every place they can, including off the Atlantic Coast, and we're very concerned that they will push Trump to accomplish that," he said.
As we listened to Obama backtrack on environmental issues as these Atlantic Coast oil drilling policies as he did XL Pipeline in 2016 just as he was leaving office----remember all this east coast oil drilling research was funded by CONGRESS and has been MOVING FORWARD these several years----Maryland does the same thing---it calls exploratory research for fracking in Western Maryland as ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION when all they are doing is using state funds to find the best real estate for fracking and making sure the connected people get it......well that is what these several years under Obama and Clinton neo-liberals has been about.
Here we see Virginia all ready to drill off Virginia Eastern Shore as is Maryland off its Eastern Shore---as Georgia---as South Carolina ALL OCEAN TOURISM SITES. Know what? The 99% of people wanting nice beaches has never won globally with global oil drilling---they mess up every environment allowed to.
This article show yet again the SALES OF OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING----it is jobs jobs jobs revenue for cities and communities---know what?
NO CORPORATION PAYS NO TAXES LIKE OIL CORPORATIONS IN FACT THEY ARE THE MOST TAX SUBSIDIZED INDUSTRY.
There's always a global Wall Street player pretending to oppose these policies----wonder if this LT GOV has sights on running for GOV OF VA!
'From Raleigh to Richmond, state house denizens see new jobs and billions of dollars from royalty revenues to improve roads, schools, and public salaries. Among the highest-profile politicians in the capitals, at least one, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Ralph S. Northam, is opposed, although his voice is lonely. Last Thursday, he sent a letter to Obama administration officials asking them to exclude Virginia’s waters from the offshore drilling plan'.
The global oil industry has had a global labor force for the longest of any industry so it will move existing employees around to these new drilling sites-----
Plan for oil wells off East Coast appall beach lovers
By Coral Davenport New York Times March 04, 2016
KURE BEACH, N.C. — On a recent frigid night, anxious residents, many in “Protect Our Coast” sweatshirts, packed the town hall, spilled onto the lawn, and then erupted in cheers as their town government gaveled in a resolution urging President Obama to block oil drilling off their shoreline.
“Some things are just too precious to risk,” Mayor Emilie Swearingen said.
That afternoon, 140 miles inland in Raleigh, the state capital, Obama administration officials and oil company representatives had outlined plans to move forward with the drilling before a very different crowd, and state lawmakers liked what they heard.
“You’re talking about creating over 100,000 jobs,” said Michael Hager, the House Republican leader. “You’re doggone right this is good for the state.”
Within weeks, the Obama administration is expected to release a proposal to open up vast tracts of federal waters in the southern Atlantic to oil and gas drilling for the first time, and a divide is growing between the Southeast’s coast and its landlocked capitals. The plan, written by the Interior Department, is expected to delineate the waters that would eventually be auctioned and leased to energy companies, which in turn would bring the drilling industry to the banks of Georgia, Virginia, and North and South Carolina, along with thousands of oil rigs well over the horizon from the beach.
The move has the backing of the Republican governors of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, and the Democratic governor of Virginia, along with Republican majorities in all those state legislatures.
From Raleigh to Richmond, state house denizens see new jobs and billions of dollars from royalty revenues to improve roads, schools, and public salaries. Among the highest-profile politicians in the capitals, at least one, Virginia’s lieutenant governor, Ralph S. Northam, is opposed, although his voice is lonely. Last Thursday, he sent a letter to Obama administration officials asking them to exclude Virginia’s waters from the offshore drilling plan.
Coastal residents in such towns and cities as Norfolk, Charleston, and Kure Beach share his concerns — and see potential disaster, even if the rigs are no less than 50 miles offshore and well out of sight. Fearful of a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which killed 11 workers and spewed 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, at least 106 coastal towns in the Southeast have passed resolutions urging the Interior Department not to move ahead. More than 80 East Coast state legislators and the owners of about 1,000 coastal businesses have signed letters to Obama opposing the drilling.
“For an uneducated guy who needs a job, it’s a good opportunity,” allowed John Hicks, a retired tool and die worker, fishing off the pier in Kure Beach. “But I also think about what it means for my 11-year-old daughter. An accident that messes up the coast could destroy her future.’’
Some opponents fear the transformation of the quiet Outer Banks into bustling oil towns.
“Our area has a billion-dollar tourist industry,” said Monica Thibodeau, a member of the Town Council in Duck, N.C. “The risk of drilling isn’t worth losing that.”
The split is more regional than partisan. Coastal Republicans fear the destruction of their tourist industries as much as seaside Democrats, while landlocked members of both parties envision new revenue for schools and highways.
The fight is playing out as a global oil glut has driven down prices to more than 10-year lows and depressed domestic exploration and extraction.
The Atlantic Coast states’ interest in pursuing drilling off their shores is relatively recent, as is the legal authority to do that work. Although offshore drilling has been an integral part of the coastal economy of the Gulf of Mexico since the 1940s, lawmakers from both parties in the Atlantic Coast states resisted the push by oil companies to explore Atlantic waters, supporting a longstanding legal moratorium on Pacific and Atlantic coastal drilling. That calculus changed after a 2006 law, written by former Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, which for the first time required oil companies to pay a portion of offshore drilling royalties directly to Gulf Coast states.
‘Our area has a billion-dollar tourist industry. The risk of drilling isn’t worth losing that.’
Until passage of that law, oil companies drilling in federal waters were required to pay royalties only to the United States Treasury. Since passage, Louisiana alone has taken in more than $10 billion in new royalty revenue.
Coastal lawmakers persuaded Congress to lift the offshore drilling ban in 2008, hoping the Landrieu legislation could be expanded to include their states, and they have since pressed Obama to lease the coastal waters for drilling.
REAL left environmentalists shouted that the amount of energy generated from offshore wind farms being built by a Clinton/Obama will end in POSING GREEN ENERGY====why did we say this? Because they only invested in very few of these wind stations and handed operations over to foreign corporations. It will prove to be our wind mills and stations were EXPLORATORY OIL DRILLING SITES-----surveying coastal ocean bottoms in anticipation of bringing oil drilling. So, these pols along the coast FIGHTING WIND MILL OR OIL DRILLING as POSING. Watch as the energy grid tied to wind energy almost disappears----it was never really developed under Obama and Clinton neo-liberals----especially here in Maryland.
How do Clinton/Obama global Wall Street neo-liberals move forward with east coast oil drilling when they knew most Democratic voters hate this---they PRETEND they are investing in wind power. When we have a raging global Wall Street neo-liberal like O'Malley pushing wind mills----which wins out PROFIT-WISE----WIND OR OIL DRILLING?
Energy & Environment
Off Long Island, Wind Power Tests the Waters
By DIANE CARDWELLJAN. 21, 2017
Wind turbines off Block Island, R.I. A larger wind farm, planned off Long Island, is up for approval this week.
Credit Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times
Only a few years ago, the long-held dream of harnessing the strong, steady gusts off the Atlantic coast to make electricity seemed destined to remain just that. Proposals for offshore wind farms foundered on the shoals of high costs, regulatory hurdles and the fierce opposition of those who didn’t want giant industrial machinery puncturing the pristine ocean views.
Now the industry is poised to take off, just as the American political landscape and energy policy itself face perhaps the greatest uncertainty in a generation.
Last fall, five turbines in the waters of Rhode Island — the country’s first offshore farm — began delivering power to the grid. European energy developers like Statoil and Dong Energy are making big investments to bring projects to American waters. Last year in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, signed into law a mandate that is pushing development forward.
And in New York, after years of stymied progress, the Long Island Power Authority has reached an agreement with Deepwater Wind, which built the Rhode Island turbine array, to drop a much larger farm — 15 turbines capable of running 50,000 average homes — into the ocean about 35 miles from Montauk. If approved by the utility board on Wednesday, the $1 billion installation could become the first of several in a 256-square-mile parcel, with room for as many as 200 turbines, that Deepwater is leasing from the federal government.
“We’re developing this first offshore wind project in federal waters, but it’s really a gateway project to other locations around Long Island,” said Thomas Falcone, the power authority’s chief executive. “We’re now at a point where developers can build projects at prices where utilities are willing buyers, and to me that is a very big deal.”
Harnessing Power Offshore
Parcels identified for wind power development along the Eastern Seaboard.
Source: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
By The New York Times
These projects could also become an important test case in establishing just how far states can go to to pursue their clean energy agendas under the Trump administration. Before putting steel in the water, the project would need federal approvals and policies that are in doubt amid Washington’s changing of the guard.
Wind power has finally become viable for a number of delicately interlaced reasons. It has taken favorable state policies and technological and economic advances to spur the current level of activity, as well as interest among developers and investors, including foreign oil and gas companies that see offshore wind as an important part of their corporate strategies. In Europe, where the offshore wind industry is far ahead of the United States’, costs have plummeted to roughly half of what they were five years ago, said Thomas Brostrom, who runs United States operations for Dong Energy, the Danish oil and gas giant and a leading offshore wind developer.
As the industry has grown, manufacturers have been able to take advantage of economies of scale and cut their prices. At the same time, turbines have grown ever larger, allowing them to capture and produce more energy on the same site.
Dong hopes to help foster similar developments in the United States. The company bought leases in Massachusetts and New Jersey and opened an office in Boston. “We are here to create an industry,” Mr. Brostrom said. “There’s still a ways to go, but everything that we hoped would happen has happened.”
Dong has plenty of company. Statoil, the Norwegian fossil-fuel giant, has been aiming to get into the offshore business in the United States for years, and proposed in 2011 to build a farm off the Maine coast using floating platforms it had designed. The company withdrew the project two years later amid uncertainty over changing state policies, eventually deciding to build off the Scottish coast.
Now it is back, having won a 33-round auction to secure a 79,000-acre site south of Jones Beach on Long Island. Statoil beat out several other bidders, including the state’s energy agency, Dong and a subsidiary of Iberdrola, a leading energy company based in Spain. Statoil pledged $42.5 million for the lease, which still awaits final approval from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, far more than the $16 million generated by all earlier offshore wind auctions combined.
“There’s a lot of companies starting to invest that had been wary of the U.S. offshore wind market and some of the initial lease sales,” said Walter Cruickshank, acting director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “They have been coming to the table in a big way more recently.”
The appeal of offshore winds as an energy source goes beyond their potential role in efforts to slow global warming. As people flock to coastal cities, where land is scarce and expensive, and conventional power plants are moving toward retirement, states have looked to add new forms of power production. Moving it out to sea has become more attractive, proponents say.
The country’s coasts, home to over half the population, offer some of the strongest wind resources in the world, creating, in theory, enough energy to provide roughly four times the power the nation now produces.
Though it is easier and cheaper to construct turbines on land, the East Coast in particular offers opportunity because of its strong winds and shallow waters, which means turbines can operate farther out to sea, and out of sight. The potential of offshore wind power converged with rising demand on Long Island’s South Fork, where in areas like the Hamptons, commercial activity was rising and property owners were building larger houses, calling for more air-conditioning and more pool pumps.
Turbines in the Block Island Wind Farm off Rhode Island, seen from a fishing boat. Future projects, like Deepwater Wind’s plan off Long Island, could be test cases for how far states can pursue clean energy agendas under the Trump administration. Credit Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times
In New York, the Long Island farm is part of a plan to meet Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s goal of drawing 50 percent of the state’s power from renewable sources by 2030. That includes developing 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind, he said in his State of the State address this month, by far the nation’s highest target, equaling the capacity of the Niagara Falls generating station.
The wind array would not be visible from Montauk Point, and difficult to see from Martha’s Vineyard, some 15 miles away, said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater’s chief executive. That makes it unlikely to stir the kind of public opposition that all but sank Cape Wind, the ambitious development that would have positioned 130 wind machines just five miles off Cape Cod but stalled in a political storm over blighted vistas.
The Rhode Island project allowed Deepwater to work through many of the obstacles that had been holding back the industry, Mr. Grybowski said, including the lack of an established permit process and acceptance on the part of the public and the electric companies. “The Block Island project made offshore wind a reality in the United States,” he said, “so the conversations changed with utilities, who want to know that you can actually deliver on a project that you’re proposing to them.”
Indeed, officials at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which approved the Cape Wind site in 2010, have spent years clarifying rules and identifying marine parcels suitable for wind power development in an effort to balance several often-competing concerns. Those include the needs of marine life and of industry, along with those of coastal communities. They also include the demand for economic development and clean energy sources, from states concerned about both job losses and climate change. Since 2013, the agency has conducted six competitive auctions of long-term leases for parcels from New England to Virginia, and in the past week it announced a seventh, for North Carolina, scheduled to take place in March.
Deepwater Wind first proposed the South Fork wind farm in response to a Long Island Power Authority solicitation for projects, but it was ultimately rejected by the authority’s board in favor of several solar farms. The wind developer returned the next year with a new proposal that came close to approval a number of times, but fell short.
Now, however, executives have negotiated a contract that they expect the board to approve. Under it, the utility will purchase all of the electricity delivered from the turbines by an underwater transmission line to a substation in East Hampton, paying a price comparable to what it would pay for other utility-scaled renewables like onshore wind and solar, according to the utility. Those prices have run around 16 cents a kilowatt-hour, higher than its average wholesale price of 7.5 cents.
Deepwater plans to finance the project with a mix of loans and equity investments, though it is unclear if it will be able to benefit from federal tax credits that have spurred investment in wind farms and helped reduce the price of the power they produce. Until this year, a federal investment tax credit worth 30 percent of the development cost could be claimed. That has dropped to 24 percent for projects that begin this year and is set to be phased out by the end of 2019. To qualify, the project would need to demonstrate construction activity by then, which could be open to interpretation by the Treasury Department.
But wind developers and advocates say the credit is also important to red states in the middle of the country, where it has helped drive the spread of land-based wind farms. Nurturing an offshore wind industry would meet the stated goals of many Republican lawmakers and the Trump administration, including the pursuit of an “all of the above” energy program. Building and installing the wind machines could create thousands of new jobs, as it has in the land-based wind business, in manufacturing and construction. The project would also require special vessels and large onshore staging areas to assemble the components of the platforms and turbines, which could help the shipbuilding and port industries.
“We’re a heavy industry that’s poised to build, employ and invest,” said Nancy Sopko, who manages advocacy and federal legislative affairs at the American Wind Industry Association.
That momentum may be difficult to slow, even if new federal policies put a stop to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s leasing activities for wind energy, its proponents say. The active leases alone, if developed, are enough to create an industry, they say. And the commitments of states like New York and Massachusetts, and experienced multinational developers, show that the struggle to harness Atlantic breezes is no longer the same as tilting at windmills.
“It is a sign of something that’s inevitable, which is the addition of offshore wind into the energy mix,” said Erik Gordon, a clinical assistant professor at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. “It’s just going to be too appealing. In the end, the economics trump Trump.”
Here we see just that posing on offshore wind -----I would ask our Sierra Club who pushes Clinton global Wall Street pols as environmental this----why were they not shouting these several years that all this offshore wind was mostly OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING EXPLORATION? They may keep a few offshore wind mills going but the need for density in making wind VIABLE ENERGY SOURCE will not occur in the US.
'The Sierra Club accused Dominion of essentially inviting federal officials to pull the money, however, and said the utility is signaling that it has no intention of seriously pursuing offshore wind energy'.
Atlantic City Wind Farm Project Loses Government Funding ...www.offshorewind.biz/2017/01/05/atlantic-city-wind-farm-project-loses-government-funding/ Jan 5, 2017 ... U.S. offshore wind developer Fishermen's Energy has lost ... The company had already spent USD 10.6 million in federal funding in the ...
They never lose that Federal funding-----it is diverted to other projects as occurs here in Baltimore all the time------seems they use enough to research and develop the ocean floor and drilling needs!
Dominion loses $40 million federal grant for Virginia offshore wind project
- By Dave Mayfield
- May 27, 2016
Mary Doswell, senior vice president of the company’s Dominion Energy Solutions unit, said in a statement that the utility was disappointed in the Department of Energy decision “because we still believe that offshore wind has a great potential to deliver clean, renewable energy to Virginia.”
Dominion, Virginia’s largest electric utility, said it will evaluate options for the project without the funding.
The Sierra Club accused Dominion of essentially inviting federal officials to pull the money, however, and said the utility is signaling that it has no intention of seriously pursuing offshore wind energy.
Dominion has proposed building two 6-megawatt turbines about 27 miles off the Virginia Beach coast, and recently has been evaluating a second set of bids for the project that would put its total cost between $300 million and $380 million. The first bid round yielded an estimate of $375 million to $400 million. Dominion’s initial projection was $230 million.
The turbines would help Dominion demonstrate the potential for a commercial wind farm off the Virginia coast that could sprout hundreds of turbines generating 2,000 megawatts, enough to power 500,000 homes. Dominion beat out several other bidders for a federal lease to develop the larger farm in Atlantic waters.
The utility has won broad, bipartisan political support for the project, and the state created an offshore wind development authority and has invested in research to help move it along. A report last month from a group called the American Jobs Project predicted the potential for as many as 14,000 Virginia jobs in offshore wind energy over the next 15 years if the industry takes off as many have hoped.
But Doswell said in Dominion’s statement Friday that “unique regulatory and cost challenges involved in our project” have complicated the utility’s plans. She said the Energy Department has a “desire to support other projects that may have an earlier opportunity for fruition.”
Dominion originally had proposed a startup date for the two turbines in 2017, then pushed that back a year. In the utility’s statement Friday, Doswell said federal officials balked at continuing the grant to Dominion because the utility could not guarantee a startup earlier than 2020.
Doswell said there are too many unknowns to meet that request, including the higher-than-projected cost, difficulty in obtaining firm construction contracts and the “increasing complexities of gaining regulatory approval” for such projects.
Dominion officials have previously said they are concerned that the State Corporation Commission, which regulates utility rates, might reject the demonstration project as too costly.
Bob Matthias, a Virginia Beach city official who chairs the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, said the loss of federal backing won’t help the utility make its case with the SCC. Now Dominion would face asking for ratepayer reimbursement for $300 million, assuming that it could nail down the project at the low end of its latest cost estimate, he said. That would have been $260 million with the Energy Department funding, he said.
Still, Matthias said he believes Dominion should pursue the project, and that the SCC should allow the utility to recover its cost from ratepayers. He cited estimates that it could add about $1 to the monthly bill of an average residential customer, and said that’s a justifiable cost given the promise of new jobs and the potential of cleaner energy.
Matthias said he believes Dominion has pursued offshore wind energy in good faith.
Glen Besa, the Sierra Club’s former Virginia director, argued otherwise. He said Dominion’s loss of the federal money is a major blow and a result of the utility’s foot-dragging.
“Dominion has really blown it on this thing,” he said in an interview.
The Sierra Club later issued a statement accusing Dominion of “sabotaging offshore wind” and being “disingenuous about their intentions.”
It said the utility has instead put its focus on building a third nuclear-powered unit at its North Anna plant and developing new natural-gas-fired plants that would be supplied by the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline.
Dominion has been slower than many other utilities to make big commitments to alternative energies like wind and solar. At one time, it was positioned to potentially be the first out of the gate in developing U.S. offshore wind energy. But a project off Block Island, R.I., now is to set to claim that distinction. Meanwhile, Maryland, New York and several other East Coast states are ramping up efforts. A large Danish wind company called DONG Energy last month took over development rights for a commercial wind farm off New Jersey. It also owns the rights for a large farm off Massachusetts.
If anything, Besa argued, Dominion is moving backwards on wind. He noted that the utility’s 2016 “integrated resource plan,” its annually updated long-term strategy document, doesn’t include a commercial offshore wind farm as an alternative. Last year’s plan did.
Nevertheless, David Botkins, a Dominion spokesman, warned against writing the utility out of the offshore energy story. Despite the latest setback, he said in an email: “The wind is not out of the sails (for this project).”
FINALLY HAS ITS FIRST OFFSHORE WIND FARM------
All that Federal funding designated for offshore wind and this may be the only real project ----know why that may be? BLOCK ISLAND is Cape Cod home of HYANNIS----the vacation land of rich so they really did not want oil drilling but allowed some wind mills.
11/03/2016 09:15 am ET | Updated Jan 05, 2017
North America Finally Has Its First Offshore Wind Farm
Five turbines in the waters near Block Island, Rhode Island, could kickstart a stalled industry.
By Alexander C. Kaufman
OFF THE COAST OF RHODE ISLAND ― Frigid, briny winds whip tiny Block Island each autumn, stripping the ash trees of their leaves and driving home the hordes of vacationers who increase its population twentyfold during the summer.
This year, those gusts are also spinning the blades of five wind turbines that now tower 589 feet above the sea and power the homes of the island’s 1,000 year-round residents.
North America’s first offshore wind farm, Block Island Wind Farm, started operations last Wednesday and is expected to be in full swing by Thanksgiving. When it is running at full capacity, the farm will generate enough electricity to power 17,000 homes, or about 4 percent of all households in Rhode Island.
It’s a modest U.S. launch for an industry that has been booming in Europe. But it’s a big win after 15 years of trying to get offshore wind power off the ground.
“This has taken a lot of perseverance,” Tom Kiernan, chief executive of the trade group American Wind Energy Association, told The Huffington Post during a boat tour of the turbines last week. “It’s been a long road to get here.”
Steven Senne/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski, center, in 2006, when he served as a deputy chief of staff to then-Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri (R). Grybowski’s government connections helped him bring the wind farm to fruition.
Cape Wind, a 130-turbine offshore wind farm planned five miles to the north off the coast of Massachusetts, was supposed to be the first in the country. That project was proposed in 2001 ― but for numerous reasons, has never actually gotten started and probably never will. Cape Wind’s struggles provided an instructive example of what not to do for Deepwater Wind, the Providence-based developer behind Block Island farm.
Where Cape Wind’s blueprints went big with 468 megawatts of power, Deepwater aimed for a more modest 30 megawatts. Cape Wind estimated its costs at $2.5 billion, while Deepwater came in at about $300 million. Block Island Wind Farm also had a smaller footprint and fewer, less powerful opponents to win over. Cape Wind has famously drawn opposition from people with surnames like Kennedy and Koch, who didn’t want windmills obstructing their beachfront views. Environmentalists, too, feared noise from the construction could disturb migrating whales.
Deepwater Wind also had another advantage over Cape Wind: Its CEO, Jeff Grybowski, was previously chief of staff to former Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri (R) and had access to state officials he’d later court for his wind project. It took seven years to complete the project, and Grybowski said he spent six of them navigating the Byzantine web of government agencies whose approval he needed.
We never cared about being first. We just cared about getting it right. Bryan Martin, D.E. Shaw & Co., Block Island Wind Farm’s majority shareholder
Grybowski did have obstacles. Environmentalists had some of the same concerns about Block Island Wind Farm that they had about Cape Wind, and the project was halted for weeks to avoid harming right whales swimming north in the early spring months. Some on Block Island still complain that the turbines, roughly twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, are an eyesore.
There was also deep skepticism from Rhode Island’s fishing industry. Overfishing and climate change had already hammered local populations of winter flounder and lobster ― leading to strict new catch limits to preserve the future of those species and new struggles for the industry. The proposed wind farm seemed like another unwelcome development that could interfere with fishing.
“Initially we were scared to death at the idea of a wind project because we were afraid what might happen,” said Bill McElroy, a lobsterman and chairman of the Fisheries Advisory Board for Rhode Island’s Coastal Resources Management Council, in an interview with the nonprofit Ocean Conservancy last year. “We saw this as just another possibility of bad news for the industry, but then when Deepwater Wind assured [us] that they would do everything they could to avoid taking over prime fishing grounds and work with us ― it allayed those fears.”
Indeed, a lone fishing trawler sat anchored a few miles north of the farm last Thursday. Twice during the tour, pods of dolphins surfaced as they fed near the site. The dark yellow platforms the turbines sit on are already encrusted with layers of mollusks.
“Most of the commercial fishermen who fish near the farm are now comfortable with what we’re doing,” Grybkowski told HuffPost. “The foundations are actually acting as natural reefs. The mussels on them go two to three inches deep.”
Wind industry leaders hope Block Island Wind Farm signals the beginning of a boom offshore. There are already 13 other projects in various stages of development around the country, most of them in federal waters far offshore rather than in areas under state control. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) signed a bill in August that requires utilities in that state to buy up to 1,600 megawatts of power from offshore wind developers. That same month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced plans for his state to draw half of its power from renewable sources by 2030. Both of those policies are expected to help the offshore wind industry take off.
Deepwater Wind is already leasing two more parcels of land totaling 164,750 acres off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, which it plans to develop into a much larger, utility-scale farm with up to 200 turbines. By next spring, it also plans to send oceanographers to survey an area off the coast of Long Island where they hope to build a 15-turbine, 90-megawatt farm.
The firm wants to connect the Long Island farm to its bigger farms to the north through a transmission cable, creating a wind energy network along the Northeast coast. Unlike Block Island Wind Farm, which is nestled close to Block Island, the other farms will be located up to 25 miles offshore, where winds tend to be much stronger and more reliable.
“The wind resource off Block Island is excellent, but 15 to 20 miles offshore is even better,” Grybowski said. “Plus, the best way to avoid controversies is to push farther offshore.”
Unlike in Europe, where largely urbanized countries have long looked to the sea for areas open enough to harvest wind, the U.S. has big, sparsely inhabited swaths of land in the middle of the country, where the wind industry has focused most of its development so far. But the potential for offshore wind is huge, particularly in the more densely populated Northeast.
“We didn’t have the infrastructure in the U.S. to build the large projects we were starting to see in Europe,” said Bryan Martin, head of the private equity division of hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co., which is Block Island Wind Farm’s majority shareholder, in a speech onboard a ferry last week. “We never cared about being first. We just cared about getting it right.”
“When you’re going to learn how something works, things go wrong,” he said. “When things go wrong, they get nixed. With large projects, little things go wrong and they can kill the project.”
The biggest obstacle to developing offshore wind energy may be its price. Deepwater Wind chose the site three miles off Block Island in part because of the island’s high energy prices. Residents had relied on electricity produced from burning diesel, paying upward of 50 cents per kilowatt hour in the summer ― 287 percent more than the average American.
Deepwater Wind estimates that drawing from their power will lower residents’ power bills 40 percent. But that’s partly because mainland Rhode Islanders are footing the bill.
The company brokered a 20-year deal to sell National Grid wind power at 24.4 cents per kilowatt hour ― more than twice the price the utility pays for energy now. What’s more, the deal is written to allow a price increase of 3.5 percent per year. By the time the agreement expires, National Grid will be paying a rate of 50 cents per kilowatt hour to Deepwater Wind, a cost likely to be passed on to ratepayers in the state as a price increase.
For Deepwater Wind and its chief investor, that means a handsome payday. The project could generate more than $900 million in profit, according to calculations by Forbes, and that’s before you factor in $100 million in federal tax credits allotted to clean energy projects.
“It is a legally guaranteed, risk-free money machine,” Forbes reporter Christopher Helman concluded.
Another challenge may be the supply chain for turbine components, most of which did not come from Rhode Island. For these five turbines, Deepwater Wind enlisted General Electric to build the 240-foot blades in Denmark, while the nacelles, which house the gears and engines, are built in France. About 300 laborers from Rhode Island were joined by offshore rig workers from Louisiana, where the steel bases for the towers were built. The cable that connects the farm to shore came from South Korea.
Still, tiny Rhode Island — and its total population of 1 million; eight times smaller than New York City ― wants to be a pioneer in the U.S. offshore industry.
“If more companies come here, they know they’ll find top talent here,” Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) told HuffPost. “We beat New York and Massachusetts. We were able to work through the opposition. As a result, the thing didn’t fall apart because of politics.”
When the American people see this has been a tag team hand off with rigged elections then we see why every time a Clinton neo-liberal pretends to do something environmental they are followed by a Bush team ready to dismantle it. So here is Bush with Rick Perry-----as Energy Secretary ---and EXXON MOBILE TILLERSON as Secretary of State.
Hillary as Secretary of State sold fracking----sold Monsanto -----so Tillerson will be off selling all that offshore drilling crude and natural gas
OH REALLY DORGAN------HOME OF TAR SAND CRUDE OIL --------IT'S ALL SO PERPLEXING-
“The Rick Perry choice is so perplexing,” said former Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, who for years led the committee that oversees the Energy Department’s budget.
Rick Perry, Ex-Governor of Texas, Is Trump’s Pick as Energy Secretary
By CORAL DAVENPORTDEC. 13, 2016
Rick Perry, a former governor of Texas, in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York on Monday. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald J. Trump plans to name Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas, to lead the Energy Department, an agency far more devoted to national security and basic science than to the extraction of fossil fuels that is Mr. Perry’s expertise.
In choosing him to be secretary of energy, the president-elect is elevating him to a cabinet post that Mr. Perry once said he wanted to eliminate, a proposal that led to one of the most famous gaffes in recent presidential politics.
“Oops,” Mr. Perry said in 2011 as he racked his brain during a nationally televised Republican primary debate, trying to remember the three departments he wanted to dismantle. He mentioned the Commerce and Education Departments but could not recall the third: the Energy Department.
Texas is rich in energy resources, and Mr. Perry is an enthusiastic supporter of extracting them. But it is not clear how that experience would translate into leading the Energy Department.
Despite its name, the department plays the leading role in designing nuclear weapons, thwarting their proliferation, and ensuring the safety and reliability of the nation’s aging nuclear arsenal through a constellation of laboratories considered the crown jewels of government science.
“The Rick Perry choice is so perplexing,” said former Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, who for years led the committee that oversees the Energy Department’s budget.
“I think very few people understand that the Energy Department, to a very substantial degree, is dealing with nuclear weapons,” he said. “And Rick Perry suggested the agency should be abolished. That suggests he thinks it doesn’t have value.”
Still, the former energy secretaries Spencer Abraham, a Republican, and Bill Richardson, a Democrat, said they could envision Mr. Perry adapting.
“There’s a lot of elements to the department that people don’t necessarily know about until you get there,” said Mr. Abraham, who, as a senator from Michigan, also frequently called for the abolition of the Energy Department. He said his views evolved after he was named its leader in President George W. Bush’s first term. “You find yourself surprised by what it really entails,” he said.
About 60 percent of the Energy Department’s budget is devoted to the National Nuclear Security Administration, which defines its mission as enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. Under President Obama, the Energy Department helped secure an agreement with Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and took on a larger role in efforts to combat global warming, particularly through scientific research. It also established the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to support breakthrough research on clean energy technology.
The last two energy secretaries, Ernest J. Moniz of M.I.T. and Steven Chu of Stanford, brought to the office their doctorates in physics, academic credentials and, in Dr. Chu’s case, a Nobel Prize.
Mr. Perry, 66, would bring a different set of credentials. He is the longest-serving governor of Texas — in office from 2000 to 2015 — and before that was the Texas agriculture commissioner. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University.
In his 2010 book, “Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America From Washington,” Mr. Perry called the established science of human-caused climate change a “contrived, phony mess.” His views align with those of Mr. Trump, who has called climate change a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese.
More recently, Mr. Perry was a contestant on the television show “Dancing With the Stars,” but was eliminated in an early round.
He was briefly a front-runner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but his Energy Department “oops moment,” as he called it, is widely seen as having sunk his candidacy. His run for the 2016 nomination ended in late 2015, but not before he called Mr. Trump a “barking carnival act” and a “cancer on conservatism.”
Mr. Perry did campaign energetically for Mr. Trump later.
Mr. Trump’s selection of Mr. Perry appears to line up with his appointment last week of the Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt, to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Pruitt — who, like Mr. Perry, is skeptical of climate change — has built a career out of suing the agency he is now set to lead and seeking to dismantle its rules and authority.
Mr. Abraham noted that current events often dictate the energy secretary’s role. When he took the job in 2001, he said, his focus was on rolling blackouts in California and the Enron electric utility scandal. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, his attention shifted to counterterrorism and nuclear weapons and nonproliferation programs.
Mr. Chu was brought in by Mr. Obama to focus on climate change programs, but in the summer of 2010, he became consumed with personally helping to engineer a way to stop the oil gushing from a blown BP well in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Moniz’s tenure centered on brokering the Iran deal.
In November 2011, the former governor of Texas famously forgot that the U.S. Energy Department was one of the agencies he had pledged to eliminate if he were to become president.
“The thing about the department is its diversity, and no one can have a foot in every single department door,” Mr. Abraham said. “You’ve seen people with a science background, a military background. Rick Perry has background running a big bureaucracy, the state of Texas. I think he’ll do a great job.”
And Mr. Richardson, a former governor of New Mexico who served as Bill Clinton’s energy secretary, said Mr. Perry’s experience leading a state with a diverse energy economy could serve him well — with one major caveat.
“Over all, Governor Perry is a sound choice, because you need a strong leader with political stature and a megaphone for the job, and Rick has both,” he said, noting that he and Mr. Perry had often worked together as governors of adjoining southwestern states. But “as a big fossil fuel advocate, my concern is that Perry will get sucked in by the Trump climate deniers and try to dismantle the valuable renewable energy and climate change programs that the department manages.”
Already, Mr. Trump’s transition team has raised fear that he will target the agency’s climate change programs and the people who run them. This month, the transition team circulated an unusual 74-point questionnaire at the Energy Department that requested the names of all employees and contractors who had attended climate change policy conferences, as well as emails and documents about the conferences.
Former department employees and presidential transition officials said a request for lists of specific people involved in shaping climate policy was irregular and alarming. Employees said Tuesday that the choice of a secretary who has vowed to eliminate the agency compounded those fears.
An Energy Department spokesman, Eben Burnham-Snyder, said the agency had refused to give the names. “Some of the questions asked left many in our work force unsettled,” he wrote in an email.
“We are going to respect the professional and scientific integrity and independence of our employees at our labs and across our department,” he wrote. “We will not be providing any individual names to the transition team.”
When the US plans to surround all its US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE coast lines with oil drilling one of the most pressing issues for global oil is SECURITIZING THESE OIL ZONES----and that is what a Tillerson of EXXON MOBILE has been doing globally for decades---this is why he is STATE DEPARTMENT. He will work with CIA, NSA in building more and more global militarized security structures this time off our coastlines addressing specifically the oil drilling rigs.
OH, LOOK THE STATE DEPARTMENT ALSO CREATES DATA AS TO WHETHER ENERGY PROJECTS CAN PROCEED!
'The State Department has cited rail as a reason why blocking the pipeline would not slow oil sands development, although a spate of oil train derailments — including a derailment Friday in southeast Mississippi — has highlighted the dangers of that alternative'.
So Tillerson will be the one signing off on the PUBLIC INTEREST behind the coming fracking and oil drilling DEBACLE as Hillary did on the XL Pipeline.
Trump Taps ExxonMobil CEO To Lead State Department
December 13, 2016 11:20 PM
NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) — President-elect Donald Trump has tapped ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State touting him to be “among the most accomplished business leaders and international deal makers in the world.”
“Rex Tillerson’s career is the embodiment of the American dream. Through hard work, dedication and smart deal making, Rex rose through the ranks to become CEO of ExxonMobil, one of the world’s largest and most respected companies,” the billionaire real estate mogul said in a predawn news release from Trump Tower in New York.
“Rex knows how to manage a global enterprise, which is crucial to running a successful State Department,” Trump said of his latest — and much-discussed — Cabinet pick.
In an accompanying statement, Tillerson said he was “honored” by his selection and shares Trump’s “vision for restoring the credibility of the United States’ foreign relations and advancing our country’s national security.”
Trump also said that as the nation’s top diplomat, Tillerson would be a “a world-class leader” working on behalf of the American people.
Tillerson, however, has close ties to Russia, and his selection sets up a potential Senate confirmation fight.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman said that Beijing was looking forward to working with the new secretary of state.
“No matter who will become U.S. secretary of state, China is looking forward to working together with him to push forward greater progress of the bilateral relationship on a new starting point,” the spokesman, Geng Shuang, said Tuesday at a regular briefing.
Trump brushed aside concerns about Tillerson’s close ties to Moscow in bringing the long secretary of state audition process to an end.
Tillerson has connections with Russian President Vladimir Putin. And on Capitol Hill, leading Republicans have already expressed anxieties about Tillerson, as they contend with intelligence assessments saying Russia interfered with the U.S. presidential election to help Trump.
But two meetings with the oil executive impressed Trump, who called Tillerson a “world class player” in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” In the Sunday interview, Trump pointed to Tillerson’s deep relations with Moscow as a selling point. As ExxonMobil’s head, he maintained close ties with Russia and was awarded by President Vladimir Putin with the Order of Friendship in 2013, an honor for a foreign citizen.
If confirmed by the Senate, Tillerson’s test will be whether his corporate deal-making skills translate into the delicate world of international diplomacy. He would face immediate challenges in Syria, where a civil war rages on, and in China, given Trump’s recent suggestions that he could take a more aggressive approach to dealing with Beijing.
A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Tillerson came to ExxonMobil Corp. as a production engineer straight out of the University of Texas at Austin in 1975 and never left. Groomed for an executive position, Tillerson came up in the rough-and-tumble world of oil production, holding posts in the company’s central United States, Yemen and Russian operations.
Early in the company’s efforts to gain access to the Russian market, Tillerson cut a deal with state-owned Rosneft. The neglected post-Soviet company didn’t have a tremendous amount to offer, but Exxon partnered with it “to be on the same side of the table,” Tillerson said, according to “Private Empire,” an investigative history of Exxon by Steve Coll.
Tillerson, who became CEO on Jan. 1, 2006, is expected to retire in 2017. Tillerson’s heir apparent, Darren Woods, was put in place a year ago, so there would be virtually no additional disruption to Exxon’s succession plans if Tillerson were to become secretary of state.
You mean Hillary's State Department had already been given the OK to MOVE FORWARD on XL Pipeline with Obama's blessing when all these issues started just before the 2016 election? YES! And media allowed a Hillary and Obama pretend they had any interest in stopping this pipeline---OR THE NATIVE AMERICAN PIPELINE ISSUE.
If the American people keep using only national media as their news source---we will march right over the cliff to third world living conditions.
If the American people keep using only national media as their news source---we will march right over the cliff to third world living conditions.
JOHN KERRY HAVING AN ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD---OH, REALLY???? League of Conservation Voters is a CLINTON GLOBAL WALL STREET NEO-LIBERAL POSING GROUP----why do we allow them to represent the 99% of Americans on issues of environment????...
“To some extent, Secretary Kerry has gotten a pass to date,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, the League of Conservation Voters’ senior vice president for government affairs. “Now that changes. This is a really a pivot point, and this is a real opportunity for him to live up to the climate record he has established through his very accomplished career.”
THIS IS THE PIVOT POINT our environmental posers----maybe that is because Kerry is ready to retire.
State Department releases Keystone XL final environmental impact statement
Eight things you should know about the Keystone XL pipeline
A big issue before President Obama is a proposal to approve a pipeline carrying fuel from Canada’s oil sands through America’s heartland to Texas. What’s at stake? Here’s a quick overview from “Down the Line: A Journey Along the Controversial Pipeline and Into America’s Energy Frontier.’’
By Juliet Eilperin and Steven Mufson January 31, 2014
The State Department concluded in its final environmental assessment issued Friday that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would be unlikely to alter global greenhouse gas emissions, but officials cautioned that they are still weighing whether the project would meet the test of President Obama’s broader climate strategy.
Though the report acknowledged that tapping the Canadian oil sands for the pipeline would produce more greenhouse gases, the assessment also said that blocking the project would not prevent development of those resources.
The report “is not a decision document,” said Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs. “This document is only one factor that will be coming into the review process for this permit” sought by TransCanada, an energy giant based in Calgary, Alberta.
The $5.4 billion pipeline, which would transport heavy crude from Canadian oil sands in Alberta into the heart of the U.S. pipeline network, has become the focus of intense controversy. Foes say it will contribute to climate change; supporters say it will secure U.S. oil supplies from a friendly neighbor and create U.S. construction jobs.
The release of the long-awaited Final Environmental Impact Statement is certain to trigger an avalanche of lobbying aimed at Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who has made climate change a central focus of his career and will now begin preparing a decision.
Map of the Keystone XL pipeline.President Obama said in June that he would sign off on the proposal only if it “does not significantly exacerbate the climate problem.”
The State Department report “includes a range of estimates of the project’s climate impacts, and that information will now need to be closely evaluated by Secretary Kerry and other relevant agency heads in the weeks ahead,” White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said in a statement Friday.
The decision remains politically fraught for Democrats. Environmental activists fiercely oppose it, arguing that the pipeline could leak, would accelerate development of the greenhouse gas-intensive oil sands in Alberta and would increase the nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.
Wendy Abrams, founder of the Chicago-based nonprofit group Cool Globes and a major Democratic campaign contributor, said she felt a “gut-wrenching pain for my kids” when she read the report. She said it made her question her past support of Obama and Kerry. “If they can’t get it done, what am I hoping for?”
The State Department’s report includes 11 volumes of analysis on how the proposed pipeline would affect heavy-crude extraction in Canada’s oil sands and reaches the same conclusion as its draft report did in March: No single infrastructure project will alter the course of oil development in Alberta.
The report said that “the proposed Project is unlikely to significantly affect the rate of extraction in oil sands areas (based on expected oil prices, oil-sands supply costs, transport costs, and supply-demand scenarios).”
Last week, TransCanada began shipping oil through the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline, which runs from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Tex. But the company is still waiting for a State Department permit for the 1,179-mile northern leg that would carry heavy crude from Canada into Montana and run to the small town of Steele City, Neb.
The U.S. State Department issues an environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, that played down the impact it would have on climate change. (Reuters)“We’re very pleased with the release and about being able to move to this next stage of the process,” said Russ Girling, chief executive of TransCanada. “The case for the Keystone XL, in our view, is as strong as ever.”
He said it would take about two years to construct the northern leg, but he cautioned that summer is best for construction and that a long permit process could further delay the project.
Jones, the State Department official, said the report “presents considerable analysis, but it does not answer the broader question about how a decision on the proposed project would fit into the broader national and international efforts to address climate change or other questions of foreign policy or energy security.”
She added that the study relied on assumptions about pipeline capacity, oil prices and transportation and development costs that were “uncertain and changeable.”
Oil industry officials welcomed the fact that the department had affirmed the idea that the pipeline decision did not have a major climate impact.
“Time and time again, State reaches the same conclusion despite the unprecedented and thorough environmental review,” said Cindy Schild, the American Petroleum Institute’s senior manager for oil sands policy. She said that “it is hard to figure out how they could conclude that it is not in the national interest.”
The report estimated the project would generate about 1,950 annual construction jobs in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas over a two-year period and contribute about $3.4 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product. It would generate about 50 jobs once in operation.
In an interview this week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said members of his labor federation back the project. “We think that anything that’s going to create jobs, help the country and do it in an environmentally sound way ought to be done,” he said.
The high-profile decision now enters a new phase, in which Kerry and his deputies will field public comments and internal feedback from eight agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Defense and Energy. The State Department will open a 30-day comment period on Feb. 5, and the agencies will have 90 days to weigh in. After a decision is issued, other agencies have 15 days to object. If one does, the president must decide whether to issue the permit.
“It is hard to imagine how the president could justify rejection without turning the United States into a poster child for what the energy industry terms ‘above-ground’ risk,” said Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan Group consulting firm. “I don’t see how logically the president can reject it if he applies the criteria he laid out at Georgetown last year, i.e. whether or not the pipeline would severely exacerbate climate change.”
The EPA has questioned whether the State Department has given sufficient weight to the project’s negative environmental impact. The final environmental impact statement notes that bitumen, the substance that is extracted in Canada and diluted in order to be transported to U.S. refineries, is more difficult to clean up than lighter crude if it spills.
The report concludes that crude extracted from the oil sands results in 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the average barrel of crude used in the United States but only 2 percent to 10 percent more than the heavy crude it would likely replace at Gulf Coast refineries.
The assessment also said that a variety of rail transportation options would result in 28 percent to 42 percent more emissions than the pipeline. The State Department has cited rail as a reason why blocking the pipeline would not slow oil sands development, although a spate of oil train derailments — including a derailment Friday in southeast Mississippi — has highlighted the dangers of that alternative.
Now that the State Department has finished its environmental analysis, it has some flexibility on timing. It could issue a decision either before the end of the 105-day agency comment period or long afterward.
“Secretary Kerry is just really beginning his involvement in this process,” Jones said. “There is no timeline for his deliberations.”
Environmental groups are organizing a “Day of Action” on Tuesday during which they plan to flood Kerry’s office with phone calls and e-mails.
“To some extent, Secretary Kerry has gotten a pass to date,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, the League of Conservation Voters’ senior vice president for government affairs. “Now that changes. This is a really a pivot point, and this is a real opportunity for him to live up to the climate record he has established through his very accomplished career.”
For those not knowing fracking and natural gas is an extension of BIG OIL----it was oil men and corporations who developed these processes and own the global corporations going to take all fracking operations inside US and overseas. Hillary and Obama sold fracking as hard as they could---not because they are environmentalists---but because they are the same global Wall Street pols. A Tillerson as Secretary of State will do the same.
Whenever I approach members of these right wing phony environmental groups with real gorilla-in-the-room environmental issues they always say-----THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING---THEY BEING GLOBAL WALL STREET.
TRumka with the AFL-CIO says ANYTHING FOR JOBS-----even exporting US natural resources especially energy sources like we are a third world nation? Oh yes says TRUMKA we are that third world nation!
How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World
A trove of secret documents details the US government's global push for shale gas.
Mariah BlakeSeptember/October 2014 Issue
Illustration by John Ritter
One icy morning in February 2012, Hillary Clinton's plane touched down in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, which was just digging out from a fierce blizzard. Wrapped in a thick coat, the secretary of state descended the stairs to the snow-covered tarmac, where she and her aides piled into a motorcade bound for the presidential palace. That afternoon, they huddled with Bulgarian leaders, including Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, discussing everything from Syria's bloody civil war to their joint search for loose nukes. But the focus of the talks was fracking. The previous year, Bulgaria had signed a five-year, $68 million deal, granting US oil giant Chevron millions of acres in shale gas concessions. Bulgarians were outraged. Shortly before Clinton arrived, tens of thousands of protesters poured into the streets carrying placards that read "Stop fracking with our water" and "Chevron go home." Bulgaria's parliament responded by voting overwhelmingly for a fracking moratorium.
Clinton urged Bulgarian officials to give fracking another chance. According to Borissov, she agreed to help fly in the "best specialists on these new technologies to present the benefits to the Bulgarian people." But resistance only grew. The following month in neighboring Romania, thousands of people gathered to protest another Chevron fracking project, and Romania's parliament began weighing its own shale gas moratorium. Again Clinton intervened, dispatching her special envoy for energy in Eurasia, Richard Morningstar, to push back against the fracking bans. The State Department's lobbying effort culminated in late May 2012, when Morningstar held a series of meetings on fracking with top Bulgarian and Romanian officials. He also touted the technology in an interview on Bulgarian national radio, saying it could lead to a fivefold drop in the price of natural gas. A few weeks later, Romania's parliament voted down its proposed fracking ban and Bulgaria's eased its moratorium.
The episode sheds light on a crucial but little-known dimension of Clinton's diplomatic legacy. Under her leadership, the State Department worked closely with energy companies to spread fracking around the globe--part of a broader push to fight climate change, boost global energy supply, and undercut the power of adversaries such as Russia that use their energy resources as a cudgel. But environmental groups fear that exporting fracking, which has been linked to drinking-water contamination and earthquakes at home, could wreak havoc in countries with scant environmental regulation. And according to interviews, diplomatic cables, and other documents obtained by Mother Jones, American officials—some with deep ties to industry—also helped US firms clinch potentially lucrative shale concessions overseas, raising troubling questions about whose interests the program actually serves.
Geologists have long known that there were huge quantities of natural gas locked in shale rock. But tapping it wasn't economically viable until the late 1990s, when a Texas wildcatter named George Mitchell hit on a novel extraction method that involved drilling wells sideways from the initial borehole, then blasting them full of water, chemicals, and sand to break up the shale—a variation of a technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Besides dislodging a bounty of natural gas, Mitchell's breakthrough ignited an energy revolution. Between 2006 and 2008, domestic gas reserves jumped 35 percent. The United States later vaulted past Russia to become the world's largest natural gas producer. As a result, prices dropped to record lows, and America began to wean itself from coal, along with oil and gas imports, which lessened its dependence on the Middle East. The surging global gas supply also helped shrink Russia's economic clout: Profits for Russia's state-owned gas company, Gazprom, plummeted by more than 60 percent between 2008 and 2009 alone.
Clinton, who was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, believed that shale gas could help rewrite global energy politics. "This is a moment of profound change," she later told a crowd at Georgetown University. "Countries that used to depend on others for their energy are now producers. How will this shape world events? Who will benefit, and who will not?…The answers to these questions are being written right now, and we intend to play a major role." Clinton tapped a lawyer named David Goldwyn as her special envoy for international energy affairs; his charge was "to elevate energy diplomacy as a key function of US foreign policy."
"Countries that used to depend on others for their energy are now producers," said Clinton. "How will this shape world events? Who will benefit?…The answers to these questions are being written right now, and we intend to play a major role."Goldwyn had a long history of promoting drilling overseas—both as a Department of Energy official under Bill Clinton and as a representative of the oil industry. From 2005 to 2009 he directed the US-Libya Business Association, an organization funded primarily by US oil companies—including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Marathon—clamoring to tap Libya's abundant supply. Goldwyn lobbied Congress for pro-Libyan policies and even battled legislation that would have allowed families of the Lockerbie bombing victims to sue the Libyan government for its alleged role in the attack.
According to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, one of Goldwyn's first acts at the State Department was gathering oil and gas industry executives "to discuss the potential international impact of shale gas." Clinton then sent a cable to US diplomats, asking them to collect information on the potential for fracking in their host countries. These efforts eventually gave rise to the Global Shale Gas Initiative, which aimed to help other nations develop their shale potential. Clinton promised it would do so "in a way that is as environmentally respectful as possible."
But environmental groups were barely consulted, while industry played a crucial role. When Goldwyn unveiled the initiative in April 2010, it was at a meeting of the United States Energy Association, a trade organization representing Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and ConocoPhillips, all of which were pursuing fracking overseas. Among their top targets was Poland, which preliminary studies suggested had abundant shale gas. The day after Goldwyn's announcement, the US Embassy in Warsaw helped organize a shale gas conference, underwritten by these same companies (plus the oil field services company Halliburton) and attended by officials from the departments of State and Energy.
In some cases, Clinton personally promoted shale gas. During a 2010 gathering of foreign ministers in Washington, DC, she spoke about America's plans to help spread fracking abroad. "I know that in some places [it] is controversial," she said, "but natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel available for power generation today." She later traveled to Poland for a series of meetings with officials, after which she announced that the country had joined the Global Shale Gas Initiative.
"We are very firm on this," insists the State Department's Paul Hueper. "We do not shill for industry."That August, delegates from 17 countries descended on Washington for the State Department's first shale gas conference. The media was barred from attending, and officials refused to reveal basic information, including which countries took part. When Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) inquired about industry involvement, the department would say only that there had been "a limited industry presence." (State Department officials have since been more forthcoming with Mother Jones: In addition to a number of US government agencies, they say attendees heard from energy firms, including Devon, Chesapeake, and Halliburton.)
During the cursory press conference that followed, Goldwyn, a short, bespectacled man with a shock of dark hair, argued that other nations could avoid the environmental damage sometimes associated with fracking by following America's lead and adopting "an umbrella of laws and regulations." A reporter suggested that US production had actually "outpaced the ability to effectively oversee the safety" and asked how we could be sure the same wouldn't happen elsewhere. Goldwyn replied that attendees had heard about safety issues from energy companies and the Groundwater Protection Council, a nonprofit organization that receives industry funding and opposes federal regulation of fracking wastewater disposal.
Goldwyn and the delegates then boarded a bus to Pennsylvania for an industry-sponsored luncheon and tour of some shale fields. Paul Hueper, director of energy programs at the State Department's Bureau of Energy Resources, says the tour was organized independently and that energy firms were only invited to the conference itself to share best practices. "We are very firm on this," he insisted. "We do not shill for industry."
While the meeting helped stir up interest, it wasn't until 2011 that global fracking fever set in for real. That spring, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its initial estimate of global shale gas, which found that 32 countries had viable shale basins and put global recoverable shale gas at 6,600 trillion cubic feet—enough to supply the world for more than 50 years at current rates of consumption. This was a rich opportunity for big oil and gas companies, which had largely missed out on the US fracking boom and were under pressure from Wall Street to shore up their dwindling reserves. "They're desperate," says Antoine Simon, who coordinates the shale gas campaign at Friends of the Earth Europe. "It's the last push to continue their fossil fuel development."
The industry began fighting hard for access to shale fields abroad, and promoting gas as the fuel of choice for slashing carbon emissions. In Europe, lobbyists circulated a report claiming that the European Union could save 900 billion euros if it invested in gas rather than renewable energy to meet its 2050 climate targets. This rankled environmentalists, who argue fracking may do little to ease global warming, given that wells and pipelines leak large quantities of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. They also fear it could crowd out investment in renewables.
By early 2011, the State Department was laying plans to launch a new bureau to integrate energy into every aspect of foreign policy—an idea Goldwyn had long been advocating. In 2005, he and a Chevron executive named Jan Kalicki had published a book called Energy and Security: Toward a New Foreign Policy Strategy, which argued that energy independence was unattainable in the near term and urged Washington to shift its focus to energy security—by boosting global fossil fuel production and stifling unrest that might upset energy markets. Goldwyn and his ideas had played a key role in shaping the bureau, so some observers were surprised when he quietly stepped down just before its launch.
When I approached Goldwyn following a recent speaking engagement in Washington, DC, to ask about his time at the State Department and why he left, he ducked out a side door, and Kalicki blocked the corridor to keep me from following. Goldwyn later said via email that he had simply chosen "to return to the private sector."
Around the time of his departure, WikiLeaks released a slew of diplomatic cables, including one describing a 2009 meeting during which Goldwyn and Canadian officials discussed development of the Alberta oil sands—a project benefiting some of the same firms behind the US-Libya Business Association. The cable said that Goldwyn had coached his Canadian counterparts on improving "oil sands messaging" and helped alleviate their concerns about getting oil sands crude to US markets. This embarrassed the State Department, which is reviewing the controversial Keystone XL pipeline proposal to transport crude oil from Canada and is under fire from environmentalists.
After leaving State, Goldwyn took a job with Sutherland, a law and lobbying firm that touts his "deep understanding" of pipeline issues, and launched his own company, Goldwyn Global Strategies.
In late 2011, Clinton finally unveiled the new Bureau of Energy Resources, with 63 employees and a multimillion-dollar budget. She also promised to instruct US embassies around the globe to step up their work on energy issues and "pursue more outreach to private-sector energy" firms, some of which had generously supported both her and President Barack Obama's political campaigns. (One Chevron executive bundled large sums for Clinton's 2008 presidential bid, for example.)
As part of its expanded energy mandate, the State Department hosted conferences on fracking from Thailand to Botswana. It sent US experts to work alongside foreign officials as they developed shale gas programs. And it arranged for dozens of foreign delegations to visit the United States to attend workshops and meet with industry consultants—as well as with environmental groups, in some cases.
US oil giants, meanwhile, were snapping up natural gas leases in far-flung places. By 2012, Chevron had large shale concessions in Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, and South Africa, as well as in Eastern Europe, which was in the midst of a claim-staking spree; Poland alone had granted more than 100 shale concessions covering nearly a third of its territory. When the nation lit its first shale gas flare atop a Halliburton-drilled well that fall, the state-owned gas company ran full-page ads in the country's largest newspapers showing a spindly rig rising above the hills in the tiny village of Lubocino, alongside the tagline: "Don't put out the flame of hope." Politicians promised that Poland would soon break free of its nemesis, Russia, which supplies the lion's share of its gas. "After years of dependence on our large neighbor, today we can say that my generation will see the day when we will be independent in the area of natural gas," Prime Minister Donald Tusk declared. "And we will be setting terms."
But shale was not the godsend that industry leaders and foreign governments had hoped it would be. For one, new research from the US Geological Survey suggested that the EIA assessments had grossly overestimated shale deposits: The recoverable shale gas estimate for Poland shrank from 187 trillion cubic feet to 1.3 trillion cubic feet, a 99 percent drop. Geological conditions and other factors in Europe and Asia also made fracking more arduous and expensive; one industry study estimated that drilling shale gas in Poland would cost three times what it does in the United States.
By 2013, US oil giants were abandoning their Polish shale plays. "The expectations for global shale gas were extremely high," says the State Department's Hueper. "But the geological limitations and aboveground challenges are immense. A handful of countries have the potential for a boom, but there may never be a global shale gas revolution."
"They're desperate," says Antoine Simon of Friends of the Earth Europe. "It's the last push to continue their fossil fuel development."The politics of fracking overseas were also fraught. According to Susan Sakmar, a visiting law professor at the University of Houston who has studied fracking regulation, the United States is one of the only nations where individual landowners own the mineral rights. "In most, perhaps all, other countries of the world, the underground resources belong to the crown or the government," she explains. The fact that property owners didn't stand to profit from drilling on their land ignited public outrage in some parts of the world, especially Eastern Europe. US officials speculate that Russia also had a hand in fomenting protests there. "The perception among diplomats in the region was that Russia was protecting its interests," says Mark Gitenstein, the former US ambassador to Romania. "It didn't want shale gas for obvious reasons."
Faced with these obstacles, US and European energy companies launched a lobbying blitz targeting the European Union. They formed faux grassroots organizations, plied lawmakers with industry-funded studies, and hosted lavish dinners and conferences for regulators. The website for one industry confab—which, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, featured presentations from Exxon Mobil, Total, and Halliburton--warned that failure to develop shale gas "will have damaging consequences on European energy security and prosperity" and urged European governments to "allow shale gas exploration to advance" so they could "fully understand the scale of the opportunity."
US lobbying shops also jumped into the fray. Covington & Burling, a major Washington firm, hired several former senior EU policymakers—including a top energy official who, according to the New York Times, arrived with a not-yet-public draft of the European Commission's fracking regulations.
In June 2013, Covington staffer Jean De Ruyt, a former Belgian diplomat and adviser to the European Commission, hosted an event at the firm's Brussels office. Executives from Chevron and other oil and gas behemoths attended, as did Kurt Vandenberghe, then one of the commission's top environmental regulators. These strategies appeared to pay off: The commission's recently released framework for regulating fracking includes recommendations for governments but not firm requirements. "They chose the weakest option they had," says Simon of Friends of the Earth Europe. "People at the highest level of the commission are in the industry's pocket."
Goldwyn was also busy promoting fracking overseas—this time on behalf of industry. Between January and October 2012, his firm organized a series of workshops on fracking for officials in Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine, all of them funded by Chevron. The events were closed to the public—when Romanian journalist Vlad Ursulean tried to attend the Romanian gathering, he says Goldwyn personally saw to it that he was escorted out.
David Goldwyn at a 2006 NATO conference NATO photos
Goldwyn told Mother Jones that the workshops featured presentations on technical aspects of fracking by academics from the Colorado School of Mines and Penn State University. Chevron, he maintains, had "no editorial input." But all of these countries—except Bulgaria, which was in the midst of anti-fracking protests—would later grant Chevron major shale concessions.
In some cases, the State Department had a direct hand in negotiating the deals. Gitenstein, then the ambassador to Romania, met with Chevron executives and Romanian officials and pressed them to hand over millions of acres of shale concessions. "The Romanians were just sitting on the leases, and Chevron was upset. So I intervened," says Gitenstein, whose State Department tenure has been bookended by stints at Mayer Brown, a law and lobbying firm that has represented Chevron. "This is traditionally what ambassadors do on behalf of American companies." In the end, Romania signed a 30-year deal with Chevron, which helped set off massive, nationwide protests.
When the government began weighing a fracking ban, it didn't sit well with Gitenstein, who went on Romanian television and warned that, without fracking, the nation could be stuck paying five times what America does for natural gas. He added that US shale prospectors had "obtained great successes—without consequences for the environment, I dare say." The proposed moratorium soon died.
A few weeks later, Chevron was preparing to build its first fracking rig near Pungesti, a tiny farming village in northeastern Romania. According to a memo from the prime minister's office, a Romanian official met with Chevron executives and an embassy-based US Commerce Department employee to craft a PR strategy for the project. They agreed to organize a kickoff event at Victoria Palace in Bucharest. As a spokesman, they would tap Damian Draghici, a charismatic Romanian lawmaker who was a "recognized personality among the Roma minority," which had a "considerable presence" around Chevron's planned drilling sites. "It was really extraordinary—the level of collaboration between these players," says Ursulean, who has written extensively about Chevron's activities in Romania. "It was as if they were all branches of the same company."
"The Romanians were just sitting on the leases, and Chevron was upset," says former US ambassador to Romania Mark Gitenstein. "So I intervened."The strategy did little to soothe the public's ire. When Chevron finally did attempt to install the rig in late 2013, residents—including elderly villagers who arrived in horse-drawn carts--blockaded the planned drilling sites. The Romanian Orthodox Church rallied behind them, with one local priest likening Chevron to enemy "invaders." Soon, anti-fracking protests were cropping up from Poland to the United Kingdom. But Chevron didn't back down. Along with other American energy firms, it lobbied to insert language in a proposed US-EU trade agreement allowing US companies to haul European governments before international arbitration panels for any actions threatening their investments. Chevron argued this was necessary to protect shareholders against "arbitrary" and "unfair" treatment by local authorities. But environmental groups say it would stymie fracking regulation and point to a $250 million lawsuit Delaware-based Lone Pine Resources has filed against the Canadian province of Quebec for temporarily banning fracking near a key source of drinking water. The case hinges on a similar trade provision.
Despite the public outcry in Europe, the State Department has stayed the course. Clinton's successor as secretary of state, John Kerry, views natural gas as a key part of his push against climate change. Under Kerry, State has ramped up investment in its shale gas initiative and is planning to expand it to 30 more countries, from Cambodia to Papua New Guinea.
Following the Crimea crisis, the Obama administration has also been pressing Eastern European countries to fast-track their fracking initiatives so as to be less dependent on Russia. During an April visit to Ukraine, which has granted concessions to Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell, Vice President Joe Biden announced that the United States would bring in technical experts to speed up its shale gas development. "We stand ready to assist you," promised Biden, whose son Hunter has since joined the board of a Ukrainian energy company. "Imagine where you'd be today if you were able to tell Russia: 'Keep your gas.' It would be a very different world."