Federal Subsidies Favor Taxpayer-Owned Oil, Gas, and Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Hill:President Trump’s energy policies have established a wide-spread effort to rig the economy in favor of big energy and mining companies at the expense of the American public, while burying the evidence in secrecy.Early on, the Trump administration and Congress acted to keep its energy giveaways secret by repealing requirements that fossil fuel companies disclose publicly their tax, royalty and lease payments to federal and state governments. The rule, which had bipartisan support when it was included in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, was part of a 50-plus nation anti-corruption movement — an effort Zinke has announced the U.S. will abandon.For other countries, disclosing government payments by oil, gas, and coal companies is aimed at detecting bribes. In the U.S., the overturned rule would have revealed how little those companies pay in taxes, public royalties and lease payments. Researchers and reporters could have tracked the hidden subsidies to fossil fuel companies — information those companies do not want the public to know.This first step by the Trump administration to keep subsidies secret was a setup for enormous actions to convert public lands into profit centers for oil, gas and coal corporations at great cost to the public and with a reckless disregard of the law. These actions include:Interior, conferring secretly with fossil fuel companies, repealed rules closing loopholes that have cost American taxpayers tens of billions in lost revenue.To replace those rules, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke appointed a royalty policy committee beset with conflicts of interest including companies that — having incurred half of Interior’s fines — are among the worst violators of royalty rules.Zinke cut the royalty rate on offshore oil to 12.5 percent from the 18.75 percent rate set in the George W. Bush administration.Interior is vastly expanding oil, gas, and coal leasing when energy prices are low — guaranteeing bargain basement prices for public resources and short-changing American taxpayers, states and communities.Interior has targeted for elimination or reduction virtually every effort to identify and mitigate environmental damage caused by energy development, shifting costs to the public that should be paid by industry.Trump, following a blueprint prepared in secret by Zinke, is shrinking several national monuments and seemingly turning these sensitive lands into oil and gas fields, coal and uranium mines to be sold under lax lease and royalty policies.Fossil fuel subsidies cause real harm. In October, the magazine Nature published a major study showing that at $50 a barrel for oil, nearly half of the oil production would be unprofitable except for federal subsidies. Simply put: oil production is propped up by public welfare.While unjustified subsidies for fossil fuels have long existed, their expansion in the Trump administration in the face of climate change is a disgraceful scandal. Keeping the subsidies secret is unconscionable. For years, public interest groups have worked separately on parts of these problems. Some focused on bribery and influence peddling by energy companies. Tax justice groups fought to end unjustified tax breaks. Conservation groups resisted giveaways of public lands and minerals. Meanwhile, not enough has been done to create sustainable opportunities for communities and workers.The separate efforts have yielded too little progress. It is time for citizen groups and concerned officials to launch coordinated efforts to end the hidden subsidies to fossil fuel companies, stop Trump and Zinke’s giveaways, and develop a better future for public lands and the people who depend on them.Trump’s looming scandal of fossil fuel subsidies on federal lands
November 20, 2020
“Every piece of equipment, including Wi-Fi and computers, was paid for by the campaign, and no White House staff is involved,” he added. “The arrangement has been approved by White House counsel.”Previous administrations have monitored elections from the White House, although some of have been mindful of avoiding having campaign staff involved.For instance, according to a person involved in the operation, when former President George W. Bush ran for re-election in 2004, his team had a setup in the White House residence with a screen allowing officials there to monitor campaign data. It was approved by the White House Counsel’s Office.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – President Trump’s campaign has set up two election night “war rooms” in the White House complex, raising questions anew about the intermingling of the governmental and the political in the Trump administration.One war room is in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is adjacent to the White House, campaign and White House officials confirmed. White House officials also said there is a separate, smaller room in the White House building.- Advertisement – Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement that the war room “needed to be in close proximity to the president and there is no expense whatsoever to American taxpayers for the use of a room in the EEOB, where events like prayer services and receptions for outside groups frequently occur.”- Advertisement – But in that case, campaign staff were not present, and officials involved had to demonstrate they’d worked a certain number of government hours in order to participate, the person involved said. The use of government property for political purposes has been a recurring practice of the Trump administration over the past year. Mr. Trump held the final night of the Republican National Convention on the South Lawn of the White House at the end of August, after plans were repeatedly altered because of the coronavirus pandemic.In the final months of the race for president, Mr. Trump has also increasingly relied on political appointees and government agencies to bolster his re-election campaign.
September 17, 2020
For the first time since Nov. 28, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team will be entering a series without the top ranking in the country. After a crushing defeat at the hands of St. Cloud State last Saturday, the Badgers dropped one spot, despite having more wins than the current No. 1 squad, New Hampshire.Unfortunately, the Badgers (24-3-1, 19-2-1 WCHA) don’t have time to worry about rankings this weekend as they prepare for their Border Battle against No. 5-ranked Minnesota. The Golden Gophers (19-8-1 overall, 14-7-1 WCHA) are coming off back-to-back overtime thrillers against in-state rival Minnesota State. However, despite the two game win streak by Minnesota, there is no doubt that the Badgers will be entering this weekend’s series with a world of confidence following their road sweep of the Gophers in mid-November.”Well the confidence level should be high, we’ve had a good season up to this point, we’ve only lost three games and we were on a pretty good streak there until we ran into a hot goaltender against St. Cloud,” head coach Mark Johnson said. “We should be confident but at the same time be ready to understand that Minnesota will be looking to take back what we took from them in Minneapolis.” Adding more sensation to this weekend’s match up is the possibility of the Badgers clinching their first ever WCHA regular season crown — a feat that will only be accomplished if the Badgers sweep the Gophers.”It’s funny, the word ‘if’ has only got two letters, but yet you can take it in a lot of directions, so I leave that up to the fans,” Johnson said. “We need to be concerned with playing well and winning Friday night. When that game is over we analyze, we prepare and get ourselves ready for Saturday.”When comparing the overall statistics of the WCHA rivals, the similarities are staggering. Both Minnesota and Wisconsin average over 30 shots per game and both are committed on the defensive end — holding their opponents to under two goals per contest.However, defenders of both squads will not have an easy task this weekend as Minnesota and Wisconsin both have prolific offensive attacks led by some of the nation’s elite scorers. Minnesota sophomore Erica McKenzie is sixth in WCHA scoring with 25 goals, while the Badgers have four forwards, Sharon Cole, Angie Keseley, Jinelle Zaugg and Sara Bauer among the top fifteen. While this weekend’s series will surely be a test for both squads, Johnson feels that the X-factor will be a struggling Wisconsin power play that went 0-7 last weekend against St. Cloud.”One area that needs to come through for us more is the power play,” Johnson said. “We had some chances up there and we did a pretty good job on most of the power plays but the object is to get the puck in the net because that’s what wins games.”While the coveted border battle has a longer history in other sports programs, women’s hockey is no stranger to the intensity that results from a Minnesota-Wisconsin showdown.”The rivalry has always been around,” assistant captain Nikki Burish said. “Since I started my freshman year, they have always been a good team and we have always been a little behind, but I think sweeping them earlier in the year makes it even more meaningful because they’re going to come fired up and we will be waiting for them.”Also noteworthy, Johnson needs one win to reach 100 career victories — a feat he would certainly like to accomplish against Minnesota.”I know when I was on the men’s side and I remember when I was a player, when you came to practice Monday and that weekend you were playing Minnesota the pace was a little bit quicker and the intensity was a little bit higher,” Johnson said.”In our profession numbers add up for and this one has come upon us playing against Minnesota, it would be nice. It would be real nice.”