Yesterday, President Trump left Midland, Texas, after arriving in the state’s Permian oilfield region for a $2,800 a plate luncheon and a “roundtable” that required each participant to pony up $100,000.
The west Texas Mr. Trump left behind bears little resemblance to the region as it was when he first took office in January 2017, as the shale rush resumed following 2016’s oil price plunge.
As classrooms start to reopen their doors to students in the face of the pandemic, coronavirus isn’t the only thing that has some Greeley parents worried. Their children will go back to a school that’s less than two city blocks away from an active oil and gas pad.
“I’m scared, I don’t know what to do. My kid has to go to school. I was happy that my kid could be home,” one mother said.
Her son goes to Bella Romero Academy 4-8 on the far east side of Greeley in Weld County, in one of the top oil and gas producing counties in the country. Small homes and open fields of farmland surround the campus, where Denver-based Extraction Oil and Gas’ tanks stand taller than the few trees on the landscape about 1,200 feet from the school’s playground.
William Perry Pendley, who once wrote that the “Founding Fathers intended all lands owned by the federal government to be sold,” last month was officially nominated by President Donald Trump to become the director of the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, which manages 247 million acres of public land, predominantly in western states.
The Three Percenters, a loosely organized group of far-right militants, appear to have established a significant presence in North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield, one of the most productive oilfields in the nation. “There is a lot of membership in the oil and gas industry up there,” says Matt Marshall, a Three Percenter running for state legislature in Washington. “The fact that you have a lot of Three Percenters working in the oilfields of North Dakota is not surprising.”
The Three Percenters are so named for the dubious historical claim that only three percent of American colonists took up arms in the Revolutionary War. Their adherents have frequently been involved with incidents of armed protests, hate speech, and threatening behavior across the U.S., and the group’s members have shown up prominently at recent protests related to both pandemic response measures and police brutality.
Thousands of workers in over 100 U.S. cities on Monday are on strike for Black lives and racial justice as demonstrations against the American economic and political system and the abuses of law enforcement continue into their second month since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
“The Strike for Black Lives is a moment of reckoning for corporations that have long ignored the concerns of their Black workforce and denied them better working conditions, living wages, and healthcare,” Tennessee-based Movement for Black Lives organizer Ash-Lee Henderson told the Associated Press.
Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and thousands of other advocates for climate action released an open letter Thursday demanding that European Union and global leaders #FaceTheClimateEmergency by pursuing bold and urgent changes to current economic and political systems that are essential to ensure a habitable future planet.
“It is now clearer than ever that the climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, neither from the politicians, media, business, nor finance,” says the letter. “And the longer we keep pretending that we are on a reliable path to lower emissions and that the actions required to avoid a climate disaster are available within today’s system—or for that matter that we can solve a crisis without treating it like one—the more precious time we will lose.”
Last month, as federal officials continued to expand their historic efforts to rescue American businesses from the economic chaos caused by the spread of COVID-19, Denver-based Extraction Oil & Gas announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy — and no one was less surprised than veteran environmental activist Phil Doe.
“We predicted it a long time ago,” said Doe, environmental director of advocacy group Be The Change and a former U.S. Bureau of Reclamation official. “You can’t have $1.5 billion in debt and ever expect to come out of it when you never make any money. You don’t have to be the Oracle of Omaha to figure that one out.”
Indigenous leaders on Thursday hailed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McGirt vs. Oklahoma as a victory for tribal sovereignty for affirming that the U.S. government’s treaty with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation must still be recognized by Congress and that nearly half of what is known as the U.S. state of Oklahoma is actually Native American land.
In the 5-4 decision, Justice Neil Gorsuch sided with the liberal-leaning justices and wrote the majority opinion, ruling that since Congress has not stated otherwise, the land promised to tribes in the 19th century remains a reservation for the purposes of federal criminal law.
Recent efforts by oil and gas giants to project an outward appearance of financial stability amid the Covid-19 pandemic by selling off assets or accumulating debt to continue paying out steady shareholder dividends represent strong evidence that the fossil fuel industry has reached its “endgame” and should not be bailed out with taxpayer dollars.
That’s according to a new report released Thursday by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a policy research and advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled late Tuesday that a lawsuit filed by three Colorado municipalities against two powerful fossil fuel companies will proceed in state rather than federal court in what was a blow to the oil giants.
Boulder County, San Miguel County, and the City of Boulder sued ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy in 2018 over the corporations’ decades of contributing to the climate crisis via fossil fuel extraction.