Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action.
Wednesday, May 1st:
Exxon Blows Their Load on Another Unsuspecting Rural Area: The Pegasus Pipeline that dumped thousands of barrels of oil in Mayflower, Ark., has spilled again in Ripley County, Mo. The pipeline — which can carry more than 90,000 barrels of crude a day at max capacity from Illinois to Texas — left a barrel in a Missourian’s backyard. Exxon officials promise the clean up is almost done. No word yet on when Pegasus will start pumping oil through the pipeline again. Read Reuters’ coverage here.
Still No Answers On Mayflower Spill: When the Pegasus Pipeline started to leak, when ExxonMobil found out and precisely what they did when they found out remain unanswered questions. InsideClimate News — as well as government officials and residents of Mayflower, Ark. — are still looking for answers about a 22-foot-long gash that dumped a yet unknown amount of oil onto the rural town. We’ll see if Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and U.S. Rep. Ed Markey — two officials who’s pledged to bring a fight against the oil giant — can help bring these veils of secrecy down. Read more here.
GOP: Background Checks Died Because Obama Wanted Them: Sen. Pat Toomey sponsored a measure to put gun purchases behind background checks, which failed because just three Republican lawmakers voted with the overwhelmingly popular measure. The reason: the GOP didn’t want to “be seen helping the president,” the representative disclosed in an interview. Right. Because not liking Obama is a reason to form a policy opinion. Oh, wait: it isn’t. Read more here.
Tuesday, April 30th:
Holt County Rejects Keystone XL Pipeline: In a landmark first in the fight against the pipeline, the Holt County Supervisors have passed a resolution opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline. They are the first elected body in the state to take action against TransCanada’s tarsands oil development project. Reps from the oil giant were in fact at the meeting and failed to stop its passage. Read more here.
Facebook CEO Backs Pro-KXL Ad: The social network’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has recently found himself in a crossfire for his political group FWD.us’s ad supporting the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The group is billed as a bipartisan committee which includes Bill Gates and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman who are working together for reform on education and immigration, but also praising Sen. Lindsey Graham for his support of the KXL Pipeline and Sen. Mark Begich’s willingness to consider drilling in ANWR. But wait, Mark: didn’t you say you supported developing green energies in the past? Separately, FWD.us is running ads attacking the Affordable Care Act calling it “wasteful stimulus spending.” Hm. Read Think Progress’ coverage — which includes YouTube links to both ads — here.
“CEOs Switched from … ‘how much is enough’ to ‘how much can I get’: Fortune 500 CEOs make 204 times what regular workers do on average, Bloomberg finds. The ratio was 20-to-1 in 1950, then climbed to 42-to-1 in 1980, and then came to 120-to-1 in 2000. The Securities and Exchange Commission has tried to enforce a Dodd-Frank financial reform law provision requiring publicly traded companies to disclose these ratios, but has gotten significant resistance from U.S. companies. Read more here.
Monday, April 29th:
New No-KXL Ads: Residents of Mayflower Arkansas are saying “tar sands and water don’t mix” in new ads that are dotting the D.C. metro. They have also launched a new commercial (watch it here) that powerfully demonstrates what it is like to go through a tar sands spill, and commends Arkansas Congressman Griffin for speaking out against a tar sands pipeline going through their water. Griffin has been a long-time supporter of the KXL, and we hope that he will also start speaking out against the KXL going through the water supply of the Midwest. Read here
Health At Issue in Mayflower: An independent study released today reveals that “in the aftermath of ExxonMobil’s Pegasus tar sands pipeline spill of over 500,000 gallons of dilbit into Mayflower, AR, air quality in the area surrounding the spill has been affected by high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.” The clean up efforts on the spill leave much to be desired, as “the spill clean-up in Mayflower has more closely resembled a PR image clean-up than on-the-ground clean-up.” These cancer-causing agents are an integral part of the substance called dilbit, but TransCanada, and all other pipelines pumping this substance, do not have to divulge what exactly is in it, which is a major issue we have been pushing against. Read here
Anti-Environment Consumer Behavior: A new study shows that messaging the environmental benefits of an energy saving product actually turns some consumers away from buying it. The paper suggests that wording that emphasizes energy efficiency and financial savings are the better way to go if the goal is to get more people to use CFLs or other energy saving products. While it is unfortunate that some people would intentionally not buy a product solely because it has environmental benefits (and pretty mind-boggling, actually), this study will hopefully help spread the use of these goods by informing producers how to effectively market their product for all buyers. Read here