Goodbye Big Oil: Opposition to Coastal Drilling/Pipelines is BiPartisan and Big Money

January 17, 2018

What my prescient and well informed friend Keith Schneider says about pipelines is doubly true for offshore drilling.
Trump administration and Republicans want to give oil companies free reign to despoil and poison every available landscape – as recent decisions opening up coastal areas to drilling show – but Americans are pushing back, and the economics increasingly do not pencil out.


Chicago Tribune:

Environmental groups opposed to allowing offshore drilling near the Maryland coast picked up bipartisan support Tuesday ahead of an open house by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

Officials in Mississippi, however, where a similar meeting was held on the issue Tuesday, are expressing support for President Donald Trump‘s proposal to open the way for greatly expanded U.S. offshore oil and gas drilling.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, and a leading environmental official in Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration, attended a news conference to voice opposition, not far from the waters of the Chesapeake Bay — the nation’s largest estuary.

“We’re going to fight this plan with everything we’ve got,” Frosh said.

It’s one of a number of events that are being held around the country on offshore drilling. An open house held in Jackson, Mississippi was attended by barely a handful of people in a hotel ballroom, as a light snow shut down much of the state. In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant, a strong supporter of Trump, said Tuesday that he supports the plan and won’t seek an exemption.

Mark Belton, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, reiterated Maryland’s “steadfast opposition to any potential or proposed development, exploration, leasing or production of oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean as proposed by the Draft Five Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.”

The officials joined members of a variety of environmental groups, who highlighted the bipartisan opposition.

“We all say, ‘thank you’ because we’re all aligned on the same page,” said Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “How cool is that?”

And not just citizens, big money investors pulling out of fossil fuels before the big carbon crash hits.

Business Insider:

The world’s largest institutional investors are going green.

Over 200 firms, managing a combined $81.7 trillion, pledged earlier this month to regularly report the risk climate change poses to their business, and make progress on initiatives to reduce their impact on the planet.

These reports — much like quarterly-earnings reports — will include climate-related topics like water and energy use, and will help shareholders and investors make decisions about which companies are actively managing their climate risks.

The recent pledge is part of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, a group that aims to develop a consistent framework for firms to disclose climate-related financial risks. Led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, the group includes institutional investors like BlackRock and JP Morgan Chase, mutual fund managers like Vanguard, and massive pension funds like Denmark’s $40 billion PKA and California’s Public Employees Retirement System.

During French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit earlier this month, held on the 2-year anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, Carney emphasized that top investors want businesses to report this kind of climate data. He said the number of companies that have signed on to the task force has doubled in the past five months, to 237.

“You now have the mass of the financial sector saying, ‘We want to distinguish between those who can see the opportunities, those who can manage the risks, and companies that just don’t know the answers,” Carney said. “It’s going to be more awkward to be in that last group.”

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $6 trillion under management, sent letters earlier this month to 120 companies that it invests in and has identified as exposed to climate risk. The letters urged the companies to report climate data in line with the task force’s recommendations.

Shell, one of the companies that received a letter, pledged earlier this month to reduce its net carbon emissions 20% by 2035, and 50% by 2050 below current levels.

Vanguard, which is a major shareholder in many public energy companies, is pushing those corporations to disclose how climate change affects their business as well.

“For many companies across sectors like the material sector, the energy sector, the industrial sector, the topic of climate risk is going to be very relevant,” Rob Main, who sits on Vanguard’s investment stewardship team, told Yale Climate Connections’ podcast in November. “Given our duty to steward our shareholders’ long-term investments, we must be aware of this risk, where it’s most relevant, and ensure companies are addressing it in an appropriate manner.”


7 Responses to “Goodbye Big Oil: Opposition to Coastal Drilling/Pipelines is BiPartisan and Big Money”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    This Tramp is trying to transform your US and A into a 3rd world country.

    Shell’s pledge is less than insufficient. According to scientists humans have to stop emitting CO2 by 2021 to keep warming below 1.5°C

  2. mboli Says:

    What we need to understand is that oil production is not the main driver. The US is producing enough oil.

    The motivation is to assert dominance. To tangibly despoil something, to urinate on the landscape, to show they are in charge and they won. They own it. The liberals and environmentalists and Democrats lost. Nyah.

    This is why oil leases in ANWR keeps coming up in Congress. It has long not made any economic sense. But every year or two a bill comes up, this year it almost was part of the tax bill. They lost on this issue forty years ago. It still smarts. But if they manage this, then there is permanent despoilation of the landscape to show they are top dog.

    • Sir Charles Says:

      BTW, Methane is a greenhouse gas which is 86 times as potent as CO2.

    • mboli Says:

      “Oil production is not the main driver” of the new policy to sell more oil production leases.

      The main reason that Zinke is doing this is that the Republicans want to make their mark on the landscape to show they own it. Not because the US needs more offshore oil wells in those areas.

      There is a LOT to say regarding methane. The Interior dept is cancelling a bunch of rules that would require the companies to monitor and somewhat regulate methane releases.

      There were votes in the House for some amendments that would further deregulate methane releases. I wrote to my Republican Congressman praising him for his votes to Liberate the Methane and help restore America’s Greatness as a leader in Greenhouse Gas Production! I think my sarcasm is the reason they didn’t write back like the usually do.

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