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Posts Tagged ‘environment’
July 18th, 2018 at 2:18 pm
Image of the Day: Trump Destroying the Planet, Cont’d
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From withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord to his administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Trump is obviously destroying the planet:

Trump Is Destroying the Planet

Trump Is Destroying the Planet

April 22nd, 2018 at 10:35 pm
Image of the Day: Another Blown Climate Alarmist Prediction
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From our friends at AEI in honor of Earth Day, another “inconvenient fact” refuting hysterical climate alarmist claims:

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Another Inconvenient Fact

Another Inconvenient Fact

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September 15th, 2016 at 10:05 pm
New York’s “Clean Energy” Bailout Scheme
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In an interview with CFIF, Ken Girardin, Communications and Marketing Manager at the Empire Center for Public Policy, discusses New York Governor Cuomo’s so-called Clean Energy Standard, how it will force electricity ratepayers to subsidize money-losing nuclear plants and costly windmills, solar panel farms, and why taxpayers outside of New York should be concerned as well.

Listen to the interview here.

May 10th, 2016 at 1:13 pm
CFIF Joins Massive Coalition Opposing EPA Ozone Standard
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The Center for Individual Freedom this week joined with a coalition of 60 conservative organizations, led by Americans for Prosperity, on a letter to the chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, urging them to take action against the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ozone Standard and change the rulemaking process under which it was adopted.

The coalition specifically endorsed the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016 (H.R. 4775, S. 2882), legislation that would force the EPA to consider the costs of tightening ozone standards when it proposes such rules and will soften the burden on states to comply with new standards now and moving forward, among other things.

The coalition letter reads in part:

On behalf of the 60 organizations listed below and the millions of Americans represented, we urge you to take action on the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for Ozone and to reform the rulemaking process for ozone and other pollutants regulated under NAAQS. Without changes to the ozone regulation and reform of the rulemaking process, economic activity could be brought to a standstill in many areas across the country.

Read the entire letter here.

July 3rd, 2015 at 8:13 pm
More Uses and Abuses of Laudato Si’
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In last week’s column about Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment and creation, I pointed out some of the ways climate change alarmists have appropriated the pontiff’s language to advance agendas quite different from that of the Catholic Church. (Population control? Seriously?)

Well, the hits just keep on coming. Actor/activist Robert Redford on Sunday cited Pope Francis in his case for doing something — anything — to address the threat of climate change. 

“As Pope Francis has told us, we have a moral obligation to be responsible stewards of the earth and all it supports,” Redford wrote, which is true as far as it goes. “That means protecting future generations from the dangers of climate change.” Well, maybe.

But what does Redford have in mind exactly? On that point — and as with so many others who share his point of view — he’s maddeningly vague. “Our best business minds grasp the historic opportunity for us to lead the world in the clean energy economy of tomorrow,” he writes. “And a new American generation understands the urgency of acting now.”

He may be referring to the U.N.’s stated desire to “decarbonize the economy” by the end of the century. Or he might be talking about covering the country with solar panels and windmills. Whatever it is that he means, it won’t be cheap and it will require plenty of coercion.

It’s one thing to point out how greens lean on the Pope’s encyclical for their pet causes, but in fairness, Francis hasn’t made himself easy to defend. The Pope’s latest choice in climate change advisors is enough to send the most devout Catholic or free market devotee into the slough of despond. As I mentioned in the column, Francis is hardly a friend of capitalism. But he looks like Milton Friedman compared to Naomi Klein.

April 21st, 2015 at 6:48 pm
What It Takes to Prove Global Warming Exists

Lost amid the charge of “inconvenient truths” and “hockey stick” graphs is a clear notion of what it would take to prove that global warming is real, man-made and alterable.

Robert Tracinski has an answer.

“We don’t know whether current warming departs from natural variation, nor have scientists proven the underlying mechanisms by which humans could cause such an increase,” writes Tracinski at The Federalist. “But even if we did know these things, we would have to be able to forecast with reasonable accuracy how big the effect is going to be. A very small warming may not even be noticeable or may have mostly salutary effects, such as a slightly longer growing season, whereas the impact of a much larger warming is likely to cause greater disruption.”

And therein lies the trillion dollar question: If meteorologists can’t consistently predict the weather from day-to-day, how on earth can humanity justify spending vast amounts of money on temperature predictions that fluctuate from “global cooling” to “global warming” only to settle on “climate change”?

As Tracinski says, “Given the abysmal record of climate forecasting, we should tell the warmists to go back and make a new set of predictions, then come back to us in 20 or 30 years and tell us how these predictions panned out. Then we’ll talk.”

January 6th, 2015 at 4:23 pm
Senate GOP Eyes Keystone XL Approval

Now in the majority, GOP Senators are moving quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, a transcontinental project that would link Canadian oil to refineries in American Gulf states.

“The president is going to see the Keystone XL pipeline on his desk and it’s going to be a bellwether decision by the president whether to go with jobs and the economy,” Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), said on Sunday.

President Barack Obama has played games with the approval process over the past few years. Initially, his State Department supported the project and was ready to go forward until environmental activists successfully lobbied for delaying tactics, such as additional feasibility studies.

Without a Democratic Senate running interference, Obama will now have to govern. Though it prefers to partner with the United States, Canada has said it will export its oil to China if the Obama administration remains beholden to the environmental lobby.

The truth of the matter is that the oil is being pumped and its $3.4 billion economic contribution will have to go somewhere. Ultimately, Obama’s decision boils down to whether he wants Canadian oil to boost the American economy or China’s.

December 29th, 2014 at 12:03 pm
Liberal Harvard Law Prof Calls Obama’s EPA “Lawless”

It’s not every day that the leading liberal law professor in America calls out the actions of the Obama Environmental Protection Agency as “lawless” and “unconstitutional.”

“After studying the only legal basis offered for the EPA’s proposed rule, I concluded that the agency is asserting executive power far beyond its lawful authority,” writes Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe.

The EPA is launching a “Clean Power Plan” that will require state governments to enact restrictions on local electrical power plants in an effort to fight global climate change. As Tribe sees it, the EPA “would effectively dictate the energy mix used in each state and leave the state with essentially no choice in implementing its plan.” Such an arrangement would violate numerous Supreme Court decisions that prohibit “federal commandeering of state governments” because it “defeats political accountability and violates principles of federalism that are basic to our constitutional order.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time President Obama has exceeded his constitutional authority to implement a controversial policy. It fits a pattern of executive action unrestrained by seemingly any qualms over violating clear statutory limitations.

And even though Tribe doesn’t make the obvious analogy to ObamaCare’s politically corrupt origin, he doesn’t pass up the opportunity to highlight what’s really motivating the EPA’s new regulatory scheme: “The brute fact is that the Obama administration failed to get climate change legislation through Congress. Yet the EPA is acting as though it has the legislative authority anyway to re-engineer the nation’s electric generating system and power grid. It does not.”

Change the author’s byline and this article easily could be written by any constitutional conservative. Realizing that it comes instead from one of the leading proponents of the “living constitution” school, and it’s obvious that Obama & Co. are far beyond the boundaries of what even the most celebrated liberal academic scholar considers lawful executive action.

May 2nd, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Video: The Special Interests President
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In this week’s Freedom Minute, CFIF’’ Renee Giachino discusses the special interest-driven politics that is to blame for the ongoing delays preventing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

November 12th, 2013 at 2:56 pm
The AP Condemns Government Ethanol Policy

You could almost hear environmentalists’ jaws hit the floor this morning when they opened their newspapers and took to their phones and computers for their morning news. In a fierce 4,150-word exposé, the Associated Press dispelled any notion that ethanol is the wonder cure for what ails the environment.

The AP points out that the explosion in corn farming as a result of government ethanol mandates have damaged land, polluted drinking water from fertilizer runoff, and killed aquatic life in rivers and lakes.

To top it all off, the article notes that, “The government’s predictions of the benefits have proven so inaccurate that independent scientists question whether it will ever achieve its central environmental goal: reducing greenhouse gases.”

At best, according to the article, ethanol is only 16% better than gasoline when it came to carbon dioxide emissions. And that small 16% benefit comes at a tremendous cost to the environment:

The consequences are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its benefits to the farming industry rather than any negative impact.

Farmers planted 15 million more acres of corn last year than before the ethanol boom, and the effects are visible in places like south central Iowa.

The hilly, once-grassy landscape is made up of fragile soil that, unlike the earth in the rest of the state, is poorly suited for corn. Nevertheless, it has yielded to America’s demand for it.

‘They’re raping the land,’ said Bill Alley, a member of the board of supervisors in Wayne County, which now bears little resemblance to the rolling cow pastures shown in postcards sold at a Corydon pharmacy.

All energy comes at a cost. The environmental consequences of drilling for oil and natural gas are well documented and severe. But in the president’s push to reduce greenhouse gases and curtail global warming, his administration has allowed so-called green energy to do not-so-green things.

The AP’s stunning article should send a strong message to Washington about the failure of federal ethanol policies.

About 17,500 newspapers and websites are currently featuring the piece, according to a web search.

October 4th, 2013 at 7:20 pm
Feds Mandate Non-Existent Solution for Non-Existent Problem
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In my column last week, I wrote about how rapidly predictions of catastrophic global warming are unraveling. Despite the fact that the case for skepticism is probably better than ever, the Obama Administration is still proceeding with new EPA regulations to cap carbon emissions, which will have the practical effect of crippling the coal industry.

What’s perhaps most remarkable about this crusade is that the EPA claims the problem can be handled through carbon sequestration — a technology that’s not commercially viable (though this should come as no surprise coming from the same people that think solar and wind power are the wave of the future). As Larry Bell notes at Forbes:

EPA’s latest climate battle plan is to prohibit construction of new coal-fired power plants that can’t achieve 1,100 pound per megawatt hour carbon emission limits. To accomplish this will require plant operators to capture and store (“sequester”) excess CO2, something that cannot be accomplished through affordable means, if at all. [The Institute for Energy Research estimates] that this “regulatory assault” will eliminate 35 gig watts of electrical generating capacity…10% of all U.S. power. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute observes, “If the carbon dioxide emissions standard for power plants proposed by the EPA today is enacted, the United States will have built its final coal-fired power plant.”

The liberal environmental establishment wants to bankrupt the coal industry. That’s their prerogative. But they should at least be honest about it instead of acting like they’re simply helping the industry transition to the next best thing. Perhaps they could take a page out of this fella’s book:

September 19th, 2013 at 8:11 pm
The Unspooling Global Warming Narrative
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The more time passes, the more global warming’s apostles begin to look like members of a doomsday cult. You can only predict the end incorrectly so many times, after all, without losing your credibility amongst all but the true believers. After early leaks of the upcoming report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change showed that the (Nobel Prize-winning, mind you) IPCC had dramatically erred in calculating global temperature changes, a study in the journal Natural Climate Change found that:

Out of 117 predictions [made during the 1990s], three were roughly accurate and 114 overestimated the amount of warming. On average, the predictions forecasted two times more global warming than actually occurred.

More damning still is this news:

A peer-reviewed climate change study released Wednesday by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change finds the threat of man-made global warming to be not only greatly exaggerated but so small as to be “embedded within the background variability of the natural climate system” and not dangerous.

A more thorough summary is here.

April 20th, 2013 at 9:37 am
Calif.’s High Speed Rail Barrels through another Barrier

This won’t make California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown happy.

On the same day a state court blessed a settlement between Brown’s high-speed rail authority and Central Valley farmers that clears the way to begin construction on a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bullet train, the federal Surface Transportation Board announced it is claiming jurisdiction over the multi-billion dollar project, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

California officials have filed for an exemption, but that might not be an easy sell since the state has angered environmental activists by seeking exemptions from several state regulations already. I wouldn’t be surprised if the assertion of jurisdiction by STB is the result of some closed door lobbying at the federal level to slow down Brown & Co.’s runaway rail project.

Either way, California taxpayers may get an unexpected ally if STB maintains a presence. Originally approved by voters in 2008 with an advertised price tag of $10 billion, the proposed rail line is now estimated to cost at least $68 billion. If the project is made to comply with the federal versions of state regulations California has exempted itself from, the cost of the program will climb higher still.

Further cost overruns and delays could become California’s version of ObamaCare – an idea with a cost structure too big to work that gives partisans on both sides something to hate.

If conservatives want to make headway in Golden State politics, cheering on the train wreck that is Governor Brown’s high-speed rail boondoggle could be one of the ways to start.

September 24th, 2012 at 1:28 pm
Elizabeth Warren and the Truth about Environmental Hoaxes

Last week, in her first debate with U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA), Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren tried to nationalize their contest in terms designed to solidify her support from Bay State environmentalists:

“Senator Brown has been going around the country, talking to people, saying, you’ve got to contribute to his campaign because it may be for the control of the Senate.  And he’s right.  …  What that would mean is if the Republicans take over control of the Senate, Jim Inhofe would become the person who would be in charge of the committee that oversees the Environmental Protection Agency.  He’s a man that has called global warming ‘a hoax.’  In fact, that’s the title of his book.”

To be fair to Senator Inhofe, who, as the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is in line to lead the panel if Republicans become the majority, the full title of his book is The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

The hoax Inhofe describes is the use of Climategate-manipulated science to legitimize massive increases in taxes and regulation.

In its war on coal, the EPA has been at the forefront of the environmentalists’ push to tax and regulate an entire industry out of existence; most specifically by requiring coal operators to adopt expensive and experimental manufacturing techniques that are already making it necessary to lay off workers and close down plants.

By parsing Inhofe’s insight about how global warming alarmists politicize science to justify liberal policies, Warren was trying to substitute Inhofe’s complete rejection of global warming for Brown’s position on the issue.  In fact, Brown thinks global warming/climate change/something is happening.  But like Inhofe, he thinks that getting the job market growing again trumps spending billions of dollars on policies built in part on scientific fraud.

Brown shouldn’t shy away from this issue so long as he frames it correctly.  The environmental activists that Warren was playing to won’t be voting for him anyway.  But the independents that put Brown in office two years ago know that job-killing taxes and regulations don’t make sense; especially in an era of chronic unemployment.

June 22nd, 2012 at 10:35 am
Environmental Extremist Group ForestEthics Plays Corporate Sabotage
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Most Americans are unfamiliar with the environmental activist group ForestEthics.  But its recent activities reaffirm that something you don’t know can hurt you.

More specifically, ForestEthics has commenced a sabotage campaign against something called the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).  SFI, which was established back in 1994, essentially certifies that forest products are environmentally sustainable.  ForestEthics, however, alleges that SFI is some sort of corporate ruse, and has undertaken a sustained effort to pressure private companies not to use SFI’s green certification program or apply its labels on products.   As detailed by a letter from eight members of Congress, such efforts can result in punishing American industry.  Specifically, products from such countries as Brazil, China and Russia would be certified, but enormous amounts of U.S. areas certified by SFI would be eliminated.  Moreover, it can have such perverse effects as harvesting 600-year-old Russian trees.

While we don’t necessarily take sides in this sort of intra-environmentalist debate, ForestEthics illustrates once again the recurring and inherent contradictions of environmental activism.  In this case, the price paid in terms of American jobs and old-growth forests in the name of ForestEthics dogma.

April 27th, 2012 at 7:55 am
Podcast: The Foolishness of Gov’t Bans on Plastic Bags and Make-up
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Angela Logomasini, senior fellow for the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, discusses how misguided and oftentimes foolish some activists are in calling for bans on plastic bags and certain cosmetics.  Logomasini makes the case for why the use of junk science must be stopped.

Listen to the interview here.

February 1st, 2012 at 5:44 pm
Who Killed the Electric Car? The People Who Made It
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Over at RealClearMarkets, the American Enterprise Institute’s Kenneth Green has a wonderful take-down of California’s delusional alternative energy mandate, which would “require that 15.4 percent of all vehicles sold by 2025 must be electric cars, plug-in hybrid cars, or (currently non-existent) fuel cell cars.” Green notes that this is the second time the Golden State has gone down this road, after a similar mandate — imposed back in 1990 — had to be scrapped due to its total infeasibility.

As you may recall, it used to be fashionable amongst conspiracy-minded greens to posit that the electric car had been undermined by some nefarious cabal of big oil, the auto industry, and hydrogen fuel cell advocates. They even made a film about it: 2006’s “Who Killed the Electric Car?”, which included the contributions of such noted experts in transportation economics as Martin Sheen, Mel Gibson, and Phyllis Diller. As Green points out, however, the electric car and its alternative fuel cousins have never taken the market by storm for a much simpler reason — they’re just not economically viable:

The GM Volt sells for a non-competitive $40,000, and is barely selling despite federal tax subsidies up to $7,500, and some state subsidies that further sweeten the pot. Plug-in hybrid technology is more expensive to manufacture, more expensive to repair, more expensive to insure, and, after 22 years, they still have overheating and fire problems.

As Robert Bryce points out in his book Power Hungry, electric cars are the “Next Big Thing. And they always will be.” Bryce observes that EV-boosters have been flogging electric cars since 1911, when the New York Times declared that “the electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical.”

Scan the hard data on any alternative energy source being promoted as a panacea and you’ll find much the same thing: Too little performance for too much money and too little convenience. And that’s the real tragedy of mandates like California’s or federal handouts to firms like Solyndra. The reality is that we probably will shift away from our reliance on conventional sources of energy like coal and oil in the future. But in order to do so, alternative energy sources will have to be scalable, affordable, and efficient. Providing subsidies for those technologies before they reach that point only delays their viability by reducing the financial incentive to get a better product to market.

The upshot? Reliable green energy may indeed be on the horizon for California. But if it does arrive, it will be because of the efforts of businessmen, not bureaucrats.

October 4th, 2011 at 1:27 pm
EPA Stacked the Deck on Endangerment Finding

Don’t bother me with the facts; we’re trying to save the world here!

That’s essentially what Patrick Michaels of the CATO Institute says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did when it decided that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger the environment and must be regulated.

The problem for EPA is that its own Inspector General recently stated that the process EPA used to justify its decision violated both federal law and scientific integrity.  According to Michaels, federal law requires any endangerment finding that is “highly influential” to be rigorously peer-reviewed to ensure that economy-altering regulations are based on the best science available.

EPA violated that standard when it based its endangerment finding on a facially biased United Nations report favorably reviewed by at least one federal climatologist who worked for EPA – a clear conflict of interest.

The stakes are high.  EPA’s endangerment finding is the legal basis for the agency to dictate energy regulations down to the kind of light bulb Americans can use in their homes.  By cooking the books that authority rests on, EPA has destroyed any credibility it may have had.

Let the legal challenges begin (again).

July 1st, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Feds Take a Side in “Owl Wars”

Well, isn’t this a hoot?  Ever since the spotted owl was listed as an endangered species in 1990, the federal government has gone out of its way to limit timber companies from diminishing its wooded living spaces.  But while the Feds were concentrating on keeping dreaded homo sapiens at bay, another creature swooped in threatening to kill-off spotted owls: barred owls.

It turns out that barred owls are bigger and meaner than their spotted cousins.  According to Reuters, barred owls “have made steady gains in displacing spotted owls, which are being disrupted during nesting and are losing out in the competition for mice and other food.”

Some questions come to mind.  Who’s protecting the mice these owls are hunting mercilessly?  Surely, the mouse “and other food” constituencies are being impacted negatively by the increase in predator supply.

Also, isn’t the barred owl vs. spotted owl contest really a matter of survival of the fittest?  If human societies always evolve toward higher, better, more progressive outcomes, why not members of the animal kingdom?

Maybe this bird-on-bird fight has another dimension that liberals don’t want to contemplate.  Perhaps the spotted owls got fat and happy with government removing competition for resources.  As it nested quietly, maybe the species forgot how to fight for food.

There’s one other point to make: The barred owls are from the East Coast.  They only began settling in the spotted owl’s Pacific Northwest territory in the 1970’s.  In only a few decades, the barred owls have multiplied faster and staked out more territory than the native spotted owls.  If the Feds let nature and demography continue there will be no spotted owls left in a few years.

Partisans for the spotted owl want the Feds to take “decisive action” against the barred owl to save the spotted owl’s way of life.  The Feds are contemplating doing just that, even though it probably means capturing and killing owls who are just trying to scratch out an existence.  The real problem here seems to be letting a situation get out of control through either ignorance or incompetence.  Now, there are no good options for getting the genie back in the bottle.

Much like mice, food for thought.

May 13th, 2011 at 1:15 am
Chevron/Ecuador Judge Smacks Down Lawyers

Yesterday I blogged about new developments in the Ecuadorian environmental case against California-based Chevron Corp., and said I would have a second part of the blog ready today. Well, here it is.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, who has been giving fits to the plaintiffs’ lawyers who have so, uh, creatively pursued this case for years, refused plaintiffs’ demands that he recuse himself. What was particularly devastating in his answer was the fact that the Second Circuit Court of Appeals had praised to high heaven his handling of the case:

“[I]n light of the complexity of this case and the urgency of its adjudication, we wish to note the exemplary manner in which the able District Judge has discharged his duties,” the appellate court stated. “There is no question but that all concerned, not least this Court, are well served by the careful and comprehensive analysis which is evident repeatedly throughout the many memoranda and orders of the District Court, many of which were produced with rapidity in the context of the District Court’s daunting schedule in this and other important cases.”

That’s about as effusive an endorsement from a higher court as I’ve ever seen. It’s also, effectively, a total smack-down (in advance) of the plaintiffs’ recusal motion.

Also:

Kaplan also denied ever having “urged” Chevron to file racketeering suit.
     The Ecuadoreans contend that Kaplan made the suggestion by asking during a hearing: “Now, do the phrases Hobbs Act, extortion, RICO, have any bearing?”
     But Kaplan said he posed the question after Chevron made its accusations known.
     “Chevron had laid out its RICO, Hobbs Act and extortion claims well before the motion to quash was argued and well before the Court even posed its question,” Kaplan wrote. “In short, the chronology is flatly inconsistent with the LAP Representatives’ contention.”

What has gone unsaid in all this is the irony (or hypocrisy) in the plaintiffs’ whining about supposed “bias” against them in U.S. courts, where the alleged bias involved no allegations of financial wrongdoing by the judge and no other conflict of interest — in other words, no real ethical conflict, but merely a glorified difference of opinion — while the plaintiffs’ lawyers have utterly belittled and denounced the importance of manifold evidence of actual ethical conflicts in the Ecuadorean courts that have been raking Chevron over the coals.

(Sorry for such a long sentence.)

When one key judge was videotaped participating in what looked to all the world like a bribery scheme in favor of the plaintiffs, “The Washington D.C.-based Amazon Defense Coalition, which supports the plaintiffs, said in a statement on Tuesday that the video showed Nunez had resisted the attempts to bribe him.” Well, not exactly. Even the judicial system of Ecuador, panned internationally as being corrupt or unreliable, was forced to remove Judge Nunez from the case. Yes, internationally.  As in:

On Feb. 2, a German newspaper featured a lengthy report headlined “Ecuador emerges as hub for international crime.” This follows actions in recent years in which the U.S. State Department, the United Nations, the International Bar Association and six major American business organizations all have denounced Ecuador’s court system as unreliable or corrupt.on Feb. 2, a German newspaper featured a lengthy report headli major American business organizations all have denounced Ecuador’s court system as unreliable or corrupt.”

So we have an American judge with no direct conflict of interest and a record praised by the courts above him being blasted by the same outfits who are perfectly happy with a corrupt Ecuadorean system that they themselves have said is all about graft. Chevron has noted:

On film, Donziger declared, “the only language that I believe, this judge is gonna understand is one of pressure, intimidation and humiliation.  And that’s what we’re doin’ today.  We’re gonna let him know what time it is . . . .  We’re going to scare the judge, I think today.”  These tactics were employed because, according to Donziger, judges in Ecuador “make decisions based on who they fear the most, not based on what laws should dictate.”  When it was suggested to Donziger that no judge would rule against them because “[h]e’ll be killed,” Donziger replied that, though the judge might not actually be killed, “he thinks he will be…  Which is just as good.”

This is not, repeat not, just a question of one company fighting off a lawsuit. This is a question of American companies being badly abused by a foreign court system, at the urging of American lawyers about whom several judges have raised the specter that they have acted fraudulently. This should be a matter where the U.S. government, through the White House and State Department, should weigh in diplomatically to protect American interests. That they have not done so should be a mark of shame for the Obama administration.