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Denying the Truth


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View Ted Zukoski's blog posts
19 August 2009, 9:41 AM
Fraud, misinformation cloud climate and energy debate
Development on an oil shale research lease in Western Colorado. Copyright Peter Hart, 2009.

Climate change deniers like to say there's no proof of global warming, or no proof that it's human caused, or no proof that's it's a bad thing.

But it's those who are hoping to torpedo efforts to do something about global warming that have recently been exposed as liars and frauds. Last month, media reports confirmed that opponents of the cap and trade bill resorted to just making stuff up, sending in forged letters to Congress on behalf of advocacy groups who did not, in fact, oppose the House legislation.  

And this week, Congressional investigators found a new batch of forgeries prepared by the same lobbying firm representing the oxymoronically-named "Clean Coal" coalition.

For a group of folks unconvinced by mountains of data, global warming deniers certainly are good at creating their own alternative reality.

Climate change deniers like to say there's no proof of global warming, or no proof that it's human caused, or no proof that's it's a bad thing.

But it's those who are hoping to torpedo efforts to do something about global warming that have recently been exposed as liars and frauds. Last month, media reports confirmed that opponents of the cap and trade bill resorted to just making stuff up, sending in forged letters to Congress on behalf of advocacy groups who did not, in fact, oppose the House legislation.  

And this week, Congressional investigators found a new batch of forgeries prepared by the same lobbying firm representing the oxymoronically-named "Clean Coal" coalition.

For a group of folks unconvinced by mountains of data, global warming deniers certainly are good at creating their own alternative reality.

To be fair, the coal lobbyists say the forgeries were the work of a rogue employee who has since been fired. Still, "mainstream" conservative groups are not averse to a little misrepresentation to support a "drill, baby, drill" energy policy.

A recent example is an issue paper from the flagship right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation. A memo entitled "Five Things Congress and the President Are Doing to Bring Back Sky-High Gas Prices," accuses the Obama administration of taking action that "blocked the leasing program for oil shale."  (NOTE - whatever Congress and the President are doing, it hasn't worked. Gas prices are more than 30% lower today than they were a year ago.)

It's true that we're suing the Obama administration to put the brakes on giving away public lands to oil shale companies because of the illegal, shoddy environmental review performed by the Bush administration.  But the Heritage Foundation is wrong that the Interior Department has stopped oil shale leasing. 

Yes, Interior Sec. Ken Salazar did ask for more time to give the new administration and the public a chance to weigh in on an 11th hour Bush proposal to permit additional oil shale research and development leases on public lands.  (Four oil companies already have leases on BLM lands in Colorado and Utah.) 

But Salazar made clear that the Obama administration intends to "push forward aggressively with research, development and demonstration of oil shale technologies," and set up a procedure for future leasing.  That's a far cry from blocking leasing and trying to raise gas prices.

Let's also not forget that oil shale development companies control hundreds of thousands of acres of private land where they could be developing oil shale, but for the most part they aren't doing so.  This fact undermines the assertion that millions of barrels of gasoline from oil shale would suddenly gush into the market were it not for Obama denying the industry the subsidy of cheap access to America's public lands.

There's plenty of room for debate on the nation's energy policy.  It's too bad that some would rather forge and misrepresent than stick to the facts.

 

Our Nation is the people who have current custody of our Country, which is the land on which succeeding generations of peoples of several Nations have lived. I believe that we have a duty to ourselves and to our descendants as well as to all the people of our shared planet to use all resources in a mindful way to provide maximum benefit for the future.
Destroying species and habitat for personal whim is evil.

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