Sep 18, 2009 | 31
At least some members of the Obama administration plan to call for an end to fossil-fuel subsidies as part of next week's G20 economic leaders summit, citing positive impacts ranging from improved energy security to combating climate change. But how much does the U.S. government pay? Well, according to a new analysis from the Environmental Law Institute released today, roughly $72 billion between 2002 and 2008.
More than $54 billion of that was in the form of 23 different tax credits for oil, coal and natural gas producers, including those overseas, most of which are permanent provisions of the U.S. Tax Code. Just $18.3 billion was grants and other direct cash for research and development and other pursuits, such as the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Aug 18, 2009 | 13
Mining is the second most dangerous occupation in the U.S., averaging roughly 27 deaths for every 100,000 workers per year. That's nearly nine times higher than the overall fatality rate for U.S. industry as a whole, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau (pdf).
So it stands to reason that energy derived from renewable resources such as the sun and wind might cause fewer workplace deaths than energy industries—coal, oil and natural gas—that rely on mining, drilling and otherwise extracting fossil fuels. And that's exactly what doctors from Medical College of Wisconsin and Duke University Medical Center found in an analysis published in JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association on August 19.
Feb 10, 2009 | 4
The Obama administration today shelved a Bush administration plan to allow drilling off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, delaying a final decision on the controversial policy for at least six months to give states, enviros and others time to weigh in on it.
In announcing the move, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar said that more time was needed to mull offshore renewable energy alternatives "torpedoed" by Bush officials in favor of oil and natural gas. "To establish an orderly process that allows us to make wise decisions based on sound information, we need to set aside" the plan, he said in a statement, "and create our own timeline."
Salazar also ordered the Interior Department to report on potential renewable energy sources such as wave and wind on the Outer Continental Shelf (where the feds oversee 1.7 billion acres), noting that the Bush policy was based on data that is "thin" and at least 20 to 30 years old.
Dec 18, 2008
Environmentalists are worried that President-elect Barack Obama’s pick for Interior secretary is too cozy with oil and mining interests and isn’t committed enough to conservation.
Obama yesterday named first-term Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, a Democrat, to head up the department, which regulates U.S. natural and cultural resources.
"I will do all I can to help reduce America's dependence on foreign oil,” Salazar said yesterday at a Chicago press conference where Obama introduced him as his pick. Salazar added that he hoped to “take the moon-shot on energy independence” as Obama develops a combination of green and traditional sources of energy, including wind, coal and natural gas, according to the New York Times.
Sep 10, 2008 | 5
How do you get permission to drill for oil or natural gas on federal lands? There are a lot of crude (not oil) answers to that question, according to a new report from the Interior Department's Inspector General.
Between 2002 and 2006, members of the 55-person Denver office of the Minerals Management Service received gifts, such as ski trips and dinners, as well as straight-up cash tips while the head—Gregory Smith—used "illegal drugs and had sex with subordinates." The MMS awards and oversees the ability to take oil, natural gas, minerals and other goods from properties controlled by the federal government, such as offshore waters or federal lands in the West.
The scandal is not just confined to Denver, either, the report says. At least 12 other Interior Department employees rigged contracts in favor of particular oil companies, were employed by said companies as consultants and/or had sex with oil company employees.
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