Today on The BradCast I'm joined by investigative journalist Steve Horn of DeSmogBlog to discuss his new article investigating the federal judges who oversaw the case that allowed the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline to move forward.
That KXL southern leg is now operational, despite the unusual way in which the Army Corps of Engineers seems to have helped TransCanada, the pipeline's owners, avoid the normal type of environmental review process that has otherwise been in place for similar projects since the 1970s. Horn's investigation looks into the question of whether two federal judges actually stood to profit from their rulings, whether they should have recused themselves from the cases in question, and how "a game of Orwellian rhetoric" allowed the Administration to approve the project without standard environmental scrutiny.
The process "happened behind closed doors," Horn tells me, creating a "horrible precedent" in the bargain. "Basically it happened without public hearings. That was the entire premise of the lawsuit." That suit, however, brought by the Sierra Club, was ultimately rejected with the help of two federal judges --- U.S. District Court Judge David Lynn Russell and 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Bobby Ray Baldock (both Reagan nominees) --- who Horn finds, each stood to gain financially from the pipeline being built.
Horn describes the Southern portion of the KXL pipeline as "extremely important", as "it connects to the rest of the Keystone pipeline system," allowing for "the highest amounts of oil in recorded history now flowing from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast." He charges that a disturbing precedent has now been set that allows Big Oil "to usurp long-standing [environmental] processes."
Horn also raises a very interesting possibility concerning Obama's upcoming trip to The Arctic --- the first such visit by a sitting President --- amid his Administration's recent final approval for Shell Oil to begin drilling off shore there.
Also today --- cuz I could use some laughs --- the "patriotic" gun owner who accidentally shot himself while volunteering to guard a racist gun shop in Oklahoma; The Republicans in Maryland hoping to relax lead paint regulations; More on Donald Trump's 'military advisers' (or laughable lack thereof); And some actual accountability for the executives of "Freedom Industries," the chemical company that poisoned WV's drinking water in 2014...
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(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)