Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus

Big Energy companies with criminal records given billions in stimulus funds to wreak havoc on our public lands and wildlife.

The Center for Public Integrity has issued a stinging report on how the Obama Administration has bypassed the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when issuing permits for energy and other projects which involve federal lands or funds. Over and over we have seen that projects are rushed through without any public oversight and in areas where they have severe environmental impacts. Wind farms on public lands without analysis of their impacts on bats, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, and other wildlife; solar plants on public lands without sufficient analysis on endangered desert tortoise and other imperiled wildlife; power lines and other utilities permitted outside of established corridors without analysis of impacts on wildlife; offshore oil rigs in deep water without proper understanding of how to deal with catastrophic failures. All of these uses are being given a pass under NEPA.

Salazar = Extractive Industries' 'BFF'

What is the problem with this you might ask. Well, I’m sure you remember what happened in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The Deepwater Horizon was permitted under a categorical exclusion.

In contrast livestock grazing permits are not even renewed under categorical exclusions, they require at least an Environmental Assessment that must undergo public review and can be appealed, in fact I do it all of the time.

These projects also only benefit those with existing power and money while projects, such as rooftop solar and energy efficiency improvements on existing structures which would benefit real people and not come at the expense of irreplaceable wildlife and land resources, are being forgone. It’s all about keeping the wealthy in control of our resources at the public expense.

What is next? Well in Nevada, the scourge of ranchers and water mining entities like the Southern Nevada Water Authority, ancient forests made up of old growth pinyon pine and junipers are being eyed by the energy companies as a source of biomass to fuel turbines. More on that later.

Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus
The Center for Public Integrity

Washington State biologist accused of steering donations to his nonprofit organization

Alleged actions are a violation of state law.

“A state ethics board alleges that William Weiler repeatedly used his position as a state biologist involved in permitting wind-power projects in Southwest Washington to influence turbine developers to donate money to the Columbia Gorge Ecology Institute, a nonprofit that he led.”

State biologist accused of steering donations to his nonprofit organization
By Hal Bernton – Seattle Times staff reporter

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At U.S. dinner tables, food may be a fraud

Food and Drug Administration pressured to combat rising ‘food fraud’-

This is a little bit marginal to what we usually discuss (well maybe not), but it is certainly irritating to the consumer. Fraud also puts pressure on the honest producer to cut corners or worse.

“Organic foods” are also of no guarantee if fraud is allowed to flourish.

FDA pressured to combat rising ‘food fraud.‘ By Lyndsey Layton. Washington Post Staff Writer