FROM Steven Mufson
ExxonMobil management is at odds with shareholders over climate change Shareholders of ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil and gas producer, voted to break with management on the issue of climate change. They want the company to share more information on the potential impact of global warming and the policies designed to keep it in check.
Trump proposes a boost to defense, cuts everywhere else In advance of his speech to Congress tomorrow, President Trump said he wants a budget that slashes expenses for various agency budgets at the same it substantially increases defense spending. Speaking of his budget, the President told reporters, "We must ensure that our courageous service men and women have the tools they need to deter war, and when called upon to fight in our name, only do one thing: win. We have to win. We have to start winning wars again." Steve Mufson, financial writer covering energy and infrastructure for the Washington Post , says the President's plan includes a 10% increase, offset by cuts to non-defense discretionary spending and a redistribution of authority to state governments.
Obama Meets with Netanyahu to Discuss Security At the White House today, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time in more than a year. Despite their well-known disagreements, they pledged to get along . Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to the US-Israeli alliance and Obama acknowledged that, although there is disagreement over the Iran deal, there is consensus in "making sure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon… and about the importance of us blunting destabilizing activities that Iran maybe taking place. Steven Mufson, White House correspondent for the Washington Post , has more on the story. Photo by Haim Zah
Obama Addresses Iran Nuclear Deal, Urges Congressional Support President Obama today went to American University in Washington, DC, where President John F. Kennedy urged support for the nuclear test-ban treaty during the Cold War. Mr. Obama made a connection to the nuclear deal with Iran, "The agreement now reached between the international community and the Islamic Republic of Iran, builds on this tradition of strong principled diplomacy.... Every nation in the world, that has commented publicly, with the exception of the Israeli government, has expressed support." Steven Mufson is White House correspondent for the Washington Post .
Will Obama Say 'Yes' or 'No' to the Keystone XL Pipeline? The Keystone XL Pipeline would bring oil from Canadian tar sands to North Dakota. There, it would connect to an existing pipeline that runs to the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Because it would cross an international border, the State Department must file a statement on the environmental impact. That report came down last week, and while it downplays the impact on global warming, it's just uncertain enough to add fuel to both sides. Republicans see a green light for energy independence. Environmentalists warn of climate disaster. Democrats are divided, with the President caught in the middle -- and control of the Senate might be at stake. Where would the pipeline go? Who would be affected along the route? How has it come to symbolize the conflict between global warming and the economy?
Stray Monsanto GMO Strain Causes Halt in Wheat Trade The European Union wants tests on some shipments from the United States. Japan and South Korea have already suspended some imports. It's all about genetically modified wheat by Monsanto they haven't approved, but which turned up in a field in Oregon. Monsanto says it hasn't grown Roundup Ready wheat in Oregon in 12 years, so if the recent finding is determined to be valid, its presence is "very limited." Opponents of GMO's aren't buying that, and the Center for Food Safety says , "It's highly doubtful that it's just on one farm. If it's out there, it's out there." That's according to today's Washington Post in a story by Steven Mufson.
What Can Presidents Do about High Gas Prices? Despite improvements in employment and the economy, President Obama's poll ratings are slipping again. Is it the increasing cost of gasoline? Gas prices can make a big difference in presidential campaigns. Just ask Jimmy Carter. As prices soar toward $4 a gallon, Newt Gingrich claims he can bring them down to $2.50. How much power does the President have over the price at the pump? Steven Mufson reports on energy for the Washington Post .
Energy Secretary Stephen Chu Faces Congress on Solyndra Energy Secretary Steven Chu — a Nobel Prize-winning physicist — was interrogated by Republican congress members today about Solyndra. The California maker of high-tech solar panels, which had been personally endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Biden, received a half-billion dollar federally guaranteed loan from Chu's department before going bankrupt and firing all of its 1100 employees. Was Solyndra an Obama boondoggle or the kind of risk government has to take to encourage "clean energy?"
Was Solyndra a "Clean Energy" Boondoggle? As "Occupy" protesters filled streets in New York, Los Angeles and other cities, Congress was bearing down on the federally guaranteed loan to Solyndra . At a Congressional hearing , House Republicans interrogated Energy Secretary Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, about the half-billion federal dollars spent on the solar-panel company before it collapsed. Solyndra, a California maker of high-tech solar panels, was personally endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Biden. It received a half-billion dollar federally guaranteed loan from Chu's department before going bankrupt and firing all of its 1100 employees. Did a billionaire fundraiser have undue influence with the Obama Administration? Is it a bad idea for government to pick winners? Are Republicans hypocritical to attack Solyndra when they've asked federal support for similar projects in their own Congressional districts?
BP Resumes Work to Kill Well, Awaiting Haywood Decision AP is reporting that Tony Hayward will step down as the CEO of BP in October and take over operations in Russia. Meantime, efforts to stop the Gulf oil leak have resumed without any serious damage from Tropical Storm Bonnie. Steven Mufson is energy correspondent for the Washington Post .
Oil Spill Work Stops as Looming Storm Approaches With a major storm on its way into the Gulf of Mexico, relief workers are preparing to evacuate and the containment cap on BP's damaged well may have to be taken off, allowing oil to gush into the ocean once more. Steven Mufson reports for the Washington Post .
Global Warming and the Energy Bill Federal law requires comprehensive reports on global warming every four years. Last year a lawsuit forced the Bush Administration to issue its first such document since it took office in 2001. Yesterday, the Obama White House updated that draft report with stronger language and ten "key findings."
Global Warming and the Energy Bill Federal law requires comprehensive reports on global warming every four years. Last year a lawsuit forced the Bush Administration to issue its first such document since it took office in 2001. Yesterday, the Obama White House updated that draft report with stronger language and ten "key findings." The report comprises dire warnings from thirteen federal agencies about the increasing impact of global warming. It's already changing ocean levels and weather patterns in the United States, with dramatic effects on water supplies, agriculture and human health. The report comes as Congress tackles a massive energy bill designed by supporters to slow and reduce the consequences of climate change. Is it too complex and expensive or too little to late? Will Republicans — and Democrats — water it down?
White House to Adopt California's Auto Tailpipe Standards The Obama Administration will grant California's request to impose the state's tailpipe emission standards nationwide and auto companies have dropped their opposition, as we hear from Steven Mufson, energy correspondent for the Washington Post .
Energy Security versus Environmental Stability Just over 15 months ago, OPEC was worried that the price of oil would drop below $50 a barrel. Now, it’s $110. With record-high oil prices overseas supplies increasingly uncertain, Vice President Cheney is expected to ask Saudi Arabia next week to help push the price down by producing more from its massive reserves. In the interests of energy security, the United States is looking to tar sands in Canada and development of domestic coal. But both alternatives are devastating to the environment, creating some agonizing questions. Can the US have energy security at the same time it tries to cope with global warming? Can wind, solar and other renewables be developed in time, or will there be a trade-off between economic growth and environmental destruction? We look at some of the contradictions that result as the US gropes toward a coherent energy policy. (An extended version of this discussion aired earlier today on To the Point.)
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?