The Department of Energy authorized long term (20+ years) contracts to Freeport LNG Expansion and their various partners in crime to export and basically do anything they want, with liquefied natural gas (LNG) on an increasingly global scale. This, at a time when the climate is being cooked and locked in to lethal levels of warming.
The Department of Energy has gone so far as to allow Freeport to do this environmentally damaging and unnecessary business with not only our existing Free Trade partners, but, in a feat of greed and overconfidence that exemplifies that their power will never, ever be enough for them, DOE is granting them permission to do business with countries who do NOT have Free Trade agreements with the US, but who may, at some point, enter into agreements with the US. Does that include aliens from another planet? You bet. Just so long as it is looped into the Free Trade Agreement, it is automatically “in the public interest.”
Various free trade agreements provide cover for all kinds of nefarious activities, because once attached to whatever you want to get away with, by definition, those activities are instantly deemed ‘in the public interest,” and therefore, impossible to “disprove” as actually NOT in the public interest. If it sounds childish (it’s like “calling dibs,” right?), please look through this ThinkProgress article from about a year ago and I know you think, “Why on earth should I care about something as distant and obscure as a free trade agreement, NAFTA, etc. How does it impact anything I actually see and feel?” But, it’s important:
Okay, now that you’ve read the ThinkProgress article above, let’s see how, on a hypothetical level, this might work. I say “hypothetical,” but what I really mean is that I’m going to make up a similarly absurd situation where a) the groundwork has been laid (remember the Deutch example) by key players…in this case, let’s remember our MIT “charlie foxtrot,” and imagine THIS kind of report being issued by this fictitious group, way back in 2012:
So, maybe this little sliver of a report doesn’t really garner much attention. It lies dormant, like a few cancer cells in the body, until the time is right. Now, insert the perfect storm in the Department of Energy, which allows for dangerously long term agreements which the public had ZERO say in authorizing and no chance of stopping and which lock us in to catastrophic warming well into the future:
How does that even happen in what is supposed to be a democratic society?
Let’s go back to our hypothetical 2 year old MIT murder study, led by someone who would ultimately be the head of the Department of Resource Management (which doesn’t really exist, of course) who would be the one either approving (or disapproving) the application.
Again, here is the cover letter of a fictitious application to do something absurd and dangerous:
Here is an example of an application, very similar to the kinds that come the desk of the real Department of Energy, but in this case, we are creating a similarly ridiculous confluence of bad agreements and dangerous people in policymaking positions:
So, we see a) a report written for an industry, by an industry which then aligns with the same people making the ultimate decisions about safety, common sense, the public interest and what is or is NOT a conflict of interest.
This is but one small example of how things get done, literally under our noses, which lock us into horrifically bad policies for years to come.
The thousands of real “public comments” sent to the Department of Energy saying this was a bad idea meant NOTHING to them because no one could “significantly prove it wasn’t in the public’s interest.” They made up a bunch of justifying reports (here is an example of a real one by Moniz before he was Secretary of Energy) which are then cited endlessly in applications such as this one, and please notice that they never say who wrote the MIT report they are using as their evidence.
Now, who doesn’t believe that there is ZERO chance of real reform within these broken systems, so rotted to their core, so incestuous and riddled with conflicts of interest, from the bottom to the top. We Americans need bigger institutions outside ourselves if we have ANY hope of pruning away the detritus of greed gone mad.