Enviro Links: Wetlands Astroturf, Big Coal Loves Citizens United, and More

| Fri Jul. 30, 2010 4:00 AM PDT

Today in BP-related news:

America's Wetland Foundation might sound like your regular old conservation group, but it's actually a front-group funded by BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Citgo, Chevron, the American Petroleum Institute, and other polluters, Brendan DeMelle reports. The teamed with a Louisiana women's group called Women of the Storm to propagate the idea that taxpayers should pay to restore the Gulf Coast after the oil disaster. Sandra Bullock managed to get caught up in the greenwash by agreeing to be in their ads, but has now asked that they be taken down after the industry funding was revealed.

My personal favorite line from BP's SEC filing: "The incident has damaged BP’s reputation and brand, with adverse public and political sentiment evident. This could persist into the longer term, which could impede our ability to deliver long-term growth."

Turns out there have been a whole lot of spills in the Gulf over the past five decades.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill this week that would require better testing of oil dispersants and confirmation that the chemicals are not hazardous to humans and the environment.

And in other environmental news:

The Hill reports that coal-friendly Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate want to protect the industry from the EPA's plans to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste. They worry that doing so would be a "crippling blow" to industries that benefit from reuse of the byproduct, which happens to contain hazardous materials like arsenic and mercury.

One big beneficiary of the Citizens United ruling: Big Coal. Major coal companies are planning to pool their cash in a to defeat "anti-coal" Democrats, the Kentucky Herald-Leader reports. Forming a 527 means companies like Massey Energy won't have to disclose how much they've spent until next year's tax filings.

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