Tuesday, February 13, 2007
By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report, Tuesday 13 February 2007
Two weeks ago, a devastating report by the world's leading climate scientists warned that global warming is no longer a threat, but is a manmade disaster that has already impacted the environment. The report confirmed that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases were to blame for severe heat waves, floods and an increase in more-intense hurricanes and tropical storms. Climatologists predict the temperature will rise by two to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit, and sea levels are expected to increase by seven to 23 inches by the year 2100. Yet, hours after the report was released, Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the Bush administration would continue to oppose mandatory reductions in greenhouse gases in the form of CO2 caps. Mandatory caps could financially ruin some of the energy companies responsible for polluting the air, he said.
"There is a concern within this administration, which I support, that the imposition of a carbon cap in this country would - may - lead to the transfer of jobs and industry abroad (to nations) that do not have such a carbon cap," Bodman said. "You would then have the US economy damaged, on the one hand, and the same emissions ... potentially even worse emissions." The problem with that logic is that it is being peddled by a Bush appointee who for a dozen years ran a Texas-based chemical company that spent years on the top five lists of the country's worst polluters.
It's not just a few clouds of smoke emanating from an oil refinery or a power plant that got Bodman's old company, Boston-based Cabot Corporation, those accolades. It was the 54,000 tons of toxic emissions that his company's refineries released into the air in the Lone Star state in 1997 alone that made Cabot the fourth-largest source of toxic emissions in Texas. Cabot is the world's largest producer of industrial carbon black, a byproduct of the oil refinery process.
Bodman personally contributed $1,000 to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and $20,000 to Republican committees in the 1999-2000 election. Bodman is the wealthiest member of the Bush administration. His net worth is estimated to be between $42 million and $164 million, the bulk of it in Cabot stock, deferred compensation and other benefits. In 2000, the year Bodman left Cabot to join the Bush administration as deputy commerce secretary, Cabot accounted for 60,000 of the more than half a million tons of toxic emissions released into the Texas air, according to report by the Texas State Summary of Emissions. A loophole created in the 1972 Texas Clean Air Act exempted or "grandfathered" industrial plants built before 1971 from new and stricter pollution controls. But in the mid-1990s, companies such as Cabot were supposed to curb the pollution coming from their refineries. Environmentalists demanded that then-Governor George W. Bush rein in the polluters and close the so-called grandfather loophole as the air in Texas became smoggier. Instead, in 1997, Bush asked two oil company executives to outline a voluntary program that allowed the grandfathered polluters to decide on their own exactly how much to cut the pollution at their plants. The oil execs summoned a meeting of two dozen industry reps at Exxon offices in Houston and presented them with the program.
In a memo obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, one executive wrote that "clearly the insiders from oil and gas believe that the Governor's Office will 'persuade' the (Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission) to accept what program is developed between the industry group and the Governor's Office." And the program was accepted. "And two years later, this joke of a program was enacted into law by a bill written by the general counsel for the Texas Chemical Council, who also lobbies for energy and utility companies. The bill was denounced by newspapers across the state," according to a March 5, 2000, report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
According to people familiar with the legislation, Sam Bodman was part of the original working group that drafted legislation that Bush signed into law. That legislation basically permitted Cabot and other companies to continue to emit the same level of - and in some cases more - toxic emissions as they had been emitting years earlier.
Bodman's response to Friday's global warming report ensures that companies like Cabot can continue to emit carbon black at an accelerated rate. Moreover, as long as he is energy secretary, Bodman said Friday, he will continue to oppose federal measures to force a reduction in greenhouse gases. Doing so, Bodman said, will save jobs.
Jason Leopold is a former Los Angeles bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswire. He has written over 2,000 stories on the California energy crisis and received the Dow Jones Journalist of the Year Award in 2001 for his coverage on the issue as well as a Project Censored award in 2004. Leopold also reported extensively on Enron's downfall and was the first journalist to land an interview with former Enron president Jeffrey Skilling following Enron's bankruptcy filing in December 2001. Leopold has appeared on CNBC and National Public Radio as an expert on energy policy and has also been the keynote speaker at more than two dozen energy industry conferences around the country.
Excerpt from email to an Anonymous Contributor from Senator Bingaman. -->
"I certainly do not condone recent statements by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Bodman blaming 'arrogant' scientists for the Lab's security problems. I believe that any comprehensive evaluation of security situation at LANL should include assessments of the respective roles played by DOE , National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and Los Alamos National Security (LANS), and should not unduly focus on a handful of employees at any one of these agencies. I believe that the organizational relationship between NNSA and DOE may be to blame for recent incidents at LANL as much as any other factor."
--Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
(No word from the other, R-NM, Senator. Yet.)
Guess when it rains in NNSA, it pours!
I am interested in finding out more about this as well. These people have ruined LANL worker's lives and yet seem to follow double standards. I think LANL people need to find out how our "Legal eagles" get away with breaking the rules ...
If exposing the fact that the number 2 manger of the lab took a classified laptop home is not enough cause for the LANS contract to be canceled, doesn't that tell you that DOE, NNSA, and Congress are happy with LANS?
Deal with it! Leave, or adjust to working in that corrupt environment.
"I certainly do not condone recent statements by Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Bodman blaming "arrogant" scientists for the Lab's security problems. I believe that any comprehensive evaluation of security situation at LANL should include assessments of the respective roles played by DOE , National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and Los Alamos National Security (LANS), and should not unduly focus on a handful of employees at any one of these agencies. I believe that the organizational relationship between NNSA and DOE may be to blame for recent incidents at LANL as much as any other factor."
And there won't be because Domenici has lost it. He has not supported LANL staff for a number of years against the backstabbing actions of Nanos/NNSA, and he can't bring himself to acknowledge that the County, and by extension much of the LANL staff, that supported him in every one of his Senate races is being sold down the river, in large part because of his support of NNSA.
"Bodman personally contributed $1,000 to Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and $20,000 to Republican committees in the 1999-2000 election. Bodman is the wealthiest member of the Bush administration. His net worth is estimated to be between $42 million and $164 million."
So let's take your $100 bill and divide it by 0.0000001%: That's $100,000,000,000 !! That's getting up to HALF what we've already spent the last four years in Iraq, and about 10 times what we've lost in the cracks to Halliburton.
You, Dear Reader, cannot read and you cannot do math. I dismiss you from the class.
And don't tell me that the Dog ate your homework!
--Pat, the literate, mathematical Dog
(Ad hominem attacks, my a$$ !!)