Enviros Mum on Kerry Meeting

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Leaders of a number of big environmental groups met Thursday evening with John Kerry (D-Mass.) to discuss details of their forthcoming legislation on climate and energy, but were tight-lipped about what they learned.

Kerry, Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) met with industry groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, who walked away from the meeting praising what they saw as “in sync” with industry requests. But enviros had little to say about what they think of the bill–and dashed away from the handful of reporters awaiting them outside Kerry’s office following the nearly two-hour meeting.

“We had a very encouraging meeting, and we’re looking forward to continuing to work together to pass a comprehensive bill this year,” said Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters. He didn’t offer much more than that.

“I’m not going to comment on any specific conversations or alleged leaks about alleged bills,” he continued. “We’re very encouraged, very promising, looking forward to moving forward as quickly as possible.”

Included in the meeting were representatives from LCV, the Center for American Progress, Sierra Club, Environment America, the National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, the Alliance for Climate Protection, and the Blue Green Alliance.

Other environmental groups not included in the briefing, however, had harsh words for what they’ve heard so far about the outline of the bill, which reportedly includes a number of incentives for offshore drilling and nuclear power in addition to a scaled back cap on carbon dioxide pollution. “Everything we’re seeing and hearing is dreadful,” said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity. “I think there’s some hard thinking that needs to go on by the big greens on what is a bottom line here.”

One thing enviros stressed even before the meeting is that the bill is still in the draft stages and may change significantly. “From what I understand, it’s not final. There are still things in flux,” said Dan Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, prior to the meeting.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

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