ExxonMobil

If you've ever turned on the TV and seen a charismatic, boyish, conservative looking man yelling at scientists in an animated fashion, there's a good chance it was Marc Morano.

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Crossposted from Checks & Balances Project.

ERMProposalIn yet another investigation into the Obama Administration’s activities, the State Department Inspector General is probing the conflicts of interest surrounding the contractor that performed the Keystone XL review,. The American public was supposed to get an honest look at the impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline. Instead, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a fossil fuel contractor, hid its ties from the State Department so they could green light the project on behalf of its oil company clients. Hiring an oil company contractor to review an oil pipeline that its clients have a financial interest in should be illegal - and it is.

The Federal Government has strict laws to avoid conflicts of interest and prevent the hiring of contractors who cannot provide unbiased services. Unredacted documents from the contractor’s proposal (revealed by Mother Jones) show that the company had worked for TransCanada, ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel companies that have a stake in the Canadian Tar Sands. But, ERM misled the State Department at least twice in its proposal (see C&BP's original post on ERM's conflicts of interest)– which may have led to its selection by the State Department to review the Keystone XL pipeline.

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Rarely do we meet those who have made careers selling us lies. Consider the oddball doctors who took tobacco money to deny a link between cigarette smoking and cancer, or the handful of scientists who take oil and coal money to discredit global warming science, or the people who have done both.

Last week, students in Wisconsin and Michigan stepped up to such an opportunity when CFACT Campus, the student arm of a well-known cabal of fossil fuel apologists, hosted climate change denier Willie Soon at several campus events around the country.

Dr. Willie Soon is a Smithsonian Institution astrophysicist paid by Charles Koch, ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute and coal utility Southern Company to write papers dismissing climate change, publish op-eds saying coal pollution won't affect our health, refute the seriousness of ocean acidification, and apparently anything else he can be paid to deny. Dr. Soon has misrepresented himself by repeatedly claiming affiliation with Harvard University and using his credentials as an astrophysicist to make people believe he's a climate expert, and he shows no sign of stopping. Indeed, he told students in Madison, "I am as as qualified as anyone on the planet on this topic."

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Research raises new concerns about fracking

A new study on gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale found that chemicals injected into the ground could reach drinking water more quickly that scientists previously thought. Via ProPublica,

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