Environmentalist Foundations Fund Anti-Fossil Fuel Echo Chamber

Nonprofit news venture shares donors with green groups it routinely cites
Offshore fracking in California

Wealthy foundations fighting oil and gas extraction around the country have incorporated ostensibly dispassionate news outlets into their grant-making portfolios, creating what some describe as a self-sustaining environmentalist echo chamber.

Watchdog Sues CPSC For FOIA’d Buckyballs Docs

Group decries administration secrecy surrounding legally suspect prosecution

A government watchdog group filed a lawsuit against the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Tuesday to force the commission to release documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

DOE Contractor’s Husband Bills Taxpayers for Opera Visit

Contractor failed to disclose conflict of interest as spouse won DOE contract
A performance at the Santa Fe Opera / AP

The Department of Energy awarded a sole-source contract to a senior DOE official’s husband, who did not disclose the conflict of interest and billed taxpayers for time spent at the opera, according to agency watchdogs.

Environmentalists Hyped False Fracking Fears Ahead of Elections

Colorado regulators find water contamination concerns that led to fracking bans were ‘unfounded’
Oil and gas workers after the flood in Erie, Colo. / AP

Environmental activists ginned up false fears about flood-induced contamination from hydraulic fracturing operations in Colorado shortly before voters in the state weighed in on moratoria on the practice, a new report from state regulators shows.

A Tale of Two Cities

Texas oil town has lowest unemployment rate in the nation; site of world’s largest solar plant has highest
Midland, Texas / AP

The U.S. metro area with the lowest unemployment rate is a shale oil boomtown. The one with the highest unemployment rate houses the world’s largest solar plant.

U.S. Groups Push Ex-Im Bank to End Russian Subsidies

Federal agency has financed Russian energy projects and companies with Putin ties
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as Crimean leaders signing a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia / AP

Free market groups are pushing for the federal government to cease financial support for Russian companies in light of the country’s continued occupation of Crimea.

Mary Landrieu’s Koch Problem

Super PAC hits Republican for Koch ties, despite company’s donations to Dem incumbent
Sen. Mary Landrieu

A Democratic Super PAC is attacking a Republican Senate candidate for his supposed ties to libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch even though their company’s political arm has donated tens of thousands to the Democrat in the race.

Refinery Fight

Domestic oil refineries stocking up on lobbyists to fight lifting of ban on exporting crude oil

Some domestic oil refiners are fighting new measures that would be economically beneficial for the country as a whole but decrease their profitability, experts said.

Federal Support for Anti-Tobacco Advocacy Raises Legal Questions

Grant money supports efforts to enact anti-smoking laws in possible violation of federal law
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks at anti-smoking event / AP

Funding provided by federal grants appear to have supported efforts to lobby state and local governments for greater restrictions on tobacco sales and usage in violation of restrictions on the use of federal funds for political or policy advocacy.

Congressman Urges SXSW to Cancel Snowden Speech

Intel Committee member says 'traitor' NSA leaker endangered American lives
Edward Snowden

A member of Congress on Thursday called on organizers of the technology conference South by Southwest (SXSW) to cancel a planned speech by National Security Agency leaker and fugitive Edward Snowden.