A senior House Democrat launched an open-ended inquiry yesterday into the finances of seven climate researchers following revelations that Willie Soon accepted $1.2 million from fossil fuel interests before publishing articles related to global warming.
U.S. EPA’s effort to curb air pollution drifting across state lines was under siege in federal court again today, and it appeared vulnerable to the challenge from states and industry despite emerging victorious last year from the Supreme Court. More than a dozen states are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to throw out all or part of EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, or CSAPR, a regulatory regime for 28 Eastern states.
A golden eagle was found dead Feb. 9 near a wind turbine at the Spring Valley Wind Energy facility 260 miles northeast of Las Vegas, prompting new calls for regulatory action. The wind farm’s operators, San Francisco-based Pattern Energy, reported the death to the Fish and Wildlife Service, as required under federal law, and collected the carcass of the juvenile bird so it could be examined.
Senate and House Republicans today resurrected legislation aimed at boosting transparency in the science that U.S. EPA uses in rulemaking. House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said their “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015” would compel EPA to make its science more publicly available.
As part of an ongoing facelift of the iconic structure, a New York company this month installed two wind turbines about 400 feet up on the tower, above the second level. They are expected to produce 10,000 kilowatts hours of electricity per year, enough to power the tower’s first floor. The wind turbines are part of the tower’s goal of reducing its ecological footprint as part of the City of Paris Climate Plan. Along with the turbines, the tower renovation includes LED lighting and roof-mounted solar panels that will meet 50 percent of the water heating needs of two visitor pavilions.
U.S. federal investment in energy research, development and deployment “condemns future generations to fewer options” and is one-third of what is necessary for the nation to stay economically competitive, according to a new report from the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC). The federal government’s energy RD&D investments have been stagnant for the past five years at around $5 billion — less than one-half of 1 percent of the annual nationwide energy bill, the report says. The figure is nowhere near the doubling of investment AEIC said was necessary for U.S. leadership in its original 2010 report on the state of U.S. energy RD&D.
Over the years, Soon has received at least $273,611 from the American Petroleum Institute; $230,000 from the Charles G. Koch Foundation; $234,799 from Donors Trust, a think tank that advocates for limited government; $335,106 from Exxon Mobil; and $349,945 from Southern Co., according to information provided to ClimateWire by Davies in January.
Backers of the Pacific Coast Collaborative said that the group and its goals will withstand the controversy and gubernatorial turnover. “I don’t think that what’s happened in Oregon changes anything around the Pacific Coast Collaborative,” said Susan Frank, director of the California Business Alliance for a Clean Economy. “I don’t see that the PCC in any way hinged on Governor Kitzhaber or any governor.”
For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity. One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.
A group that represents property owners and a utility have appealed Illinois Commerce Commission approval of plans to build an electricity line designed to bring wind energy from Iowa to Illinois.