Federal Leasing of Gulf Waters for Fossil Fuels Meet Protests

by Max Breitbarth

While the United States publicly seeks to shift its energy usage to greener sources, a recent New Orleans federal auction—and the protests created in response—demonstrate that the United States is far from over its oil addiction. CNN’s John D. Sutter details the scene at an auction at New Orleans’ Superdome, where environmental protesters objected to the government’s lease of federal property in the Gulf of Mexico for fossil fuel development. Continue reading

Last Ditch Effort to Block Clean Power Plan

by Katy Schaefer

In August of 2015, the Obama Administration finalized what has come to be known as the Clean Power Plan. This controversial plan aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. Each site would have different requirements of how, and how much it needs to reduce, but plans for how to meet this goal must be submitted in 2016. If everything goes well, implementation is expected to begin by 2022. However, 27 states, led by West Virginia have a problem with this plan, and are doing everything they can to stop it in its tracks. Continue reading

Justice Scalia’s Death May Have Implications on US Clean Energy Plan

by Max Breitbarth

The Supreme Court lost its longest-tenured justice this February as Antonin Scalia, one of the most conservative justices in recent memory and a jurist best known for his engaging originalist decisions and dissents, passed away at the age of 79 at a West Texas Ranch. His passing may have huge ramifications for President Obama’s proposed Clean Power Plan, writes Eric Wolff in a February 2016 Politico article. Continue reading

How the Clean Power Plan May Actually Become America’s First Real Clean Energy Law

by Jesse Crabtree

The Clean Power Plan is an attempt by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Barack Obama to reduce carbon emissions from US power plants. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, power plants make up 40% of all U.S. carbon emissions—more than all our cars and planes combined. The plan seeks to cut energy carbon emissions 30% by 2030, a number that some are calling “ambitious” or as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says, a form of climate radicalism. On the other hand, many followers of the plan have argued that the plan is actually quite weak in its goals. According to Polito.com, market shifts towards renewable energy, towards low-carbon natural gas, and a general reduction in electricity demand have already brought the U.S. almost halfway to that goal of 30%. Continue reading

Protecting Alaskan Wilderness At What Cost?

by Abigail Wang

As President Obama finishes his last term, he’s rolling full steam ahead with his environmental and energy policies. In a move that left environmentalists, oil companies, and politicians upset, the president announced the Interior Department’s plans to prevent future oil and gas production in major parts of Alaska, but support development along the East Coast. The Obama administration wants to designate 12.28 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), including the coastal plains in Alaska, as “Wilderness”. Wilderness is the highest level of protection available for public lands; it prohibits mining, drilling, roads, vehicles, and the establishment of permanent structures in select areas. Over seven million acres are currently managed as wilderness because of the National Interests Lands Conservation Act of 1980, but more than 60% of the ANWR is not listed as such. Continue reading