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Energy & Oil
  • Congress Uncovers Green Pentagon Conspiracy

    Constantly looking for new ways to destroy all that is well and good with America, hippies have recently taken to disguising themselves as top ranking military brass. Out are Birkenstocks and hemp skirts, in are polished shoes and chestfuls of distinguished service medals.

    But have no fear, Republican members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees, and a few Democratic allies, are wise to these tricks. The conservative magazine Human Events explains

    The Senate markup of the 2013 National Defense Appropriations Act late last month dealt a grave blow to the liberal green agenda that has taken hold of the Defense Department.

    Like the version of the bill that passed the Republican-controlled House, the Senate version censures military plans to invest heavily in costly biofuels to power ships and aircraft…The Democratic-controlled Senate Armed Services Committee voted 13-12 in late May to include two amendments sponsored by Inhofe and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that would prohibit the military from purchasing alternative fuel in the next fiscal year if it cost more than traditional fuel sources.

    It's the military-green energy industrial complex Dwight Eisenhower didn't warn us about!

    I guess it's worth offering up the generals' and admirals' side of the story, since they're the "experts" on security policy, so here goes: The military isn't interested in renewable energy because they speak for the trees, they're invested in green technology because it helps them to blow shit up while reducing the risk of their own soldiers getting blown up.

    The Army's investment in energy efficient tents and trailers? It has something to do with the reality that oil tankers have a nasty habit of coming under enemy fire as they traverse the scenic byways of Central Asia on their way to  forward operating bases in Afghanistan. For those bad at math, fewer tanker trips = less American casualties.

    The Marines' interest in solar panels? Has to do with the fact that Marines operate in small units, away from resupply points, and carrying pounds of batteries reduces the amount rations, weapons and ammunition that can brought to bear on the bad guys.

    With this is mind, do we think that the Navy is invested in biofuels because a) diesel makes baby Al Gore cry, or b) because the ability to make algal biofuel while underway reduces the need for port visits where U.S. warships are especially vulnerable, a la the U.S.S. Cole?

    Though, perhaps I'm wrong and the Congressional oversight committees are doing the military a favor. If only they can harness the power of snake oil peddled by oil and gas industry lobbyists, our ships would never have to refuel again.

    Photo by Song Kyung-Seok — Pool/Getty Images/Getty Images

    Tags: Department of Defense, Energy & Oil, Environment, House of Representatives, Military, Senate
  • Don't Frack My Beer, Bro

    The policy and environmental blogosphere is deep into a discussion of an International Energy Agency report weighing the benefits and drawbacks of expanded natural gas production.

    On the plus side, natural gas is abundant, inexpensive and less carbon-intensive than coal. At the same time, the process of extracting gas from shale, known as fracking, is fraught with danger. Industry groups refuse to release the contents of fracking fluid, even though a "we could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you basis" response would be persuasive, considering the likely toxicity of fracking chemicals.

    But even as environmentalists whine about fracking-induced earthquakes and methane seeps, they're neglecting one key issue that could turn public opinion on this matter

    The brewmeister of Brooklyn Brewery says toxic fracking chemicals like methanol, benzene, and ethylene glycol (found in anti-freeze) could contaminate his beer by leaking into New York's water supply. Unlike neighboring Pennsylvania, New York state has promised to ban high-volume fracking from the city's watershed. But environmentalists say the draft fracking regulations are weak and leave the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States — not to mention the beer that is made from it — vulnerable.

    Perhaps not coincidentally (but probably totally coincidentally), the state with the highest number of breweries per capita, Vermont, recently enacted the first statewide ban on  fracking. Unfortunately, banning fracking in Vermont is like banning jungle deforestation in Alaska or deep sea fishing in Kansas. Still, it's nice that someone is trying to not frack with our beer.

    Photo by Irish Government – Pool /Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Alcohol, Energy & Oil, Environment, Vermont
  • The Daily Show on Technology: Energy

    "We're addicted to oil, as you know. Black gold, Texas tea, dinosaur love juice." – Jon Stewart

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    The Daily Show airs Monday through Thursday at 11/10c.

    Tags: Energy & Oil, Jon Stewart, Rob Corddry, Science & Technology, Steve Carell, The Daily Show, Video
  • Texas Republican Will Not Pee on an Electric Fence [VIDEO]

    Since Newt Gingrich's imminent departure from the Republican primary field will leave us bereft of his personal natural gas reserves and Barack Obama's fascist environmental regulators are unlikely to approve the permits necessary to exploit the oil field in Mitt Romney's hair, the task of providing us with precious hydrocarbons will likely fall to state and local politicians.

    Politicians like Roland Sledge, a conservative Republican running for Texas Railroad Commissioner, a position tasked with not really regulating the state's oil and gas industry. Sledge's myriad qualifications include thirty five years of service in the industry he will regulate cater to and a last name that lends itself to "Sledgehammer" imagery. There's one thing Sledge won't do, according to a new web video — pee on an electric fence…

    The ad raises a couple questions. First, who does political video auteur Roland Sledge think he is, Herman Cain?  More seriously, why does Texas need to elect a Railroad Commissioner, along with a Commissioner of the General Land Office (don't ask), and a Commissioner of Agriculture?

    The unfortunate reality is that creating more elective offices, instead of placing executive authority in the hands of a high profile elected official like the governor, undermines democratic accountability. Voters don't have the wherewithal to learn about the candidates running for General Land Office Commissioner or monitor the performance of their Agriculture Commissioner, so these posts become subject to the control of special interest groups who they're supposed to regulate. If Texas voters had a dollar for every time they were asked to vote for a candidate they can't possibly know anything about, they'd almost have enough oil & gas industry money to run for Texas Railroad Commissioner.

    (Video h/t Buzzfeed)

    Tags: Advertising, Energy & Oil, Texas
  • EPA Official Resigns After Mixing Fracking with Jesus

    Talking about Jesus is usually a surefire ways for Republican politicians to drum up support from the conservative base.

    But, as one top Environmental Protection Agency official recently learned, using Jesus imagery can be helpful, unless you're a Democrat defending environmental regulation

    The Obama administration's top environmental official in the oil-rich South and Southwest region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word "crucify" to describe how he would go after companies violating environmental laws.

    In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words… A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, told The Associated Press that Armendariz has since received death threats…

    Republicans in Congress had called for Armendariz' firing, after Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe highlighted the May 2010 speech last week as proof of what he refers to as EPA's assault on energy, particularly the technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

    OK, so Armendariz didn't talk about his personal relationship with Jesus, so much as his personal relationship with the Roman officials who ordered his death. Close.

    It was very brave of Sen. Inhofe to bring this old speech into the public eye. He's such a mythbuster. First, he used the Bible to definitively prove that global warming is a hoax. And now, he's finally shown that the possibility of having an apolitical discussion about the environment is as real as a unicorn.

    Tags: Christianity, Energy & Oil, Environment, EPA, James Inhofe, Religion