FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

David Petraeus’ Biased Keystone XL Endorsement

by STEVE HORN

Former CIA-head David Petraeus’ City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College seminar readings include several prominent Big Oil-funded “frackademia” studies, a recent DeSmogBlog investigation revealed.

Further digging into records obtained via New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) also reveals “a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course” – as stated in an email from Petraeus to an unknown source due to redaction – utilizes the U.S. State Department’sKeystone XL environmental review written by Environmental Resources Management (ERM Group) to argue that Transcanada’s tar sands export pipeline deserves approval.

“[Redacted], atttached is a document that my Harvard researchers and I put together for the seminar I’ll lead at Macaulay Honors College of CUNY,” wrote Petraeus in the email. “It is intended to be a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course…[It] will have considerable value, I think, for the undergrads in the course.”

The “Global Economy” survey was penned on behalf of Petraeus by Vivek Chilukuri, one of Petraeus’ researchers at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Public Policy, where Petraeus sits as a Non-Resident Fellow. Chilukuri serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics & Policy, and worked for Obama for America before the 2008 election.

It was at the Harvard Kennedy School where all of Petraeus’ troubles began. His biographer, Paula Broadwell, whom he had an affair with, met Petraeus while a Harvard graduate student, a scandal that ultimately drove him out of the CIA.

His CIA departure landed Petraeus his current gigs on Wall Street at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and as an adjunct professor at CUNY Honors College and University of Southern California – and coming full circle – back at Harvard, where the spool began to unravel.

Petraeus’ seminar survey includes an implied endorsement of industry-written fracking chemical disclosure via President Obama’s industry-stacked Energy Department Fracking Subcommittee, and the mythical “clean coal” – otherwise known as carbon capture and sequestration, as well as a cap-and-trade scheme that would include carbon trading of emissions from dirty coal plants for even dirtier shale gas production.

Petraeus’ Keystone XL Endorsement: No Mention of Men Behind Curtain

A call for the approval of Keystone XL’s northern half – the southern half is almost fully built via a March 2012 Obama Administration Executive Order – appears in the “Proposed Policies, Programs, Practices, Laws & Regulations” portion of Petraeus’ seminar survey. One of the proposed policy prongs: “accelerate domestic energy production consistent with environmental concerns.”

Prong “A” of “energy production consistent with environmental concerns,” according to the syllabus? “Authorize Keystone XL project given State Department’s favorable report,” states the survey.

Key context about the “favorable report” completely lacking from the course survey: it was written by API dues-paying member Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM Group). Since the June 2008 proposal of Keystone XL, API has spent over $22 million lobbying for it.

ERM Group was chosen by TransCanada to do the report with the blessing of the State Department, and may have committed a federal crime by lying on its conflict-of-interest form when it said it did not have an ongoing business relationship with Transcanada. In fact, ERM has ongoing business ties with Transcanada in Alaska, contrary to what it said on its conflict-of-interest form, and is helping the company’s attempt to recieve approval of its South Central LNG pipeline project.

Beyond its claims that Keystone XL will have negligible environmental impacts, ERM has also given the “environmentally sound” rubberstamp to a Delaware tar sands refinery project, a Caspian Sea-area pipeline project and a Peruvian pipeline project. All of these projects ended up having negative impacts on the environment.

None of this information of “considerable value” will likely be included in Petraeus’ seminar, but ERM’s Keystone XL environmental review for the State Department will be one of the readings on his syllabus.

FracFocus Façade, “Embedded Environmentalists”

Prongs “B” and “C” of the energy portion of Petraeus’ overview of the global economy pertain to the controversial and ecologically toxic hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) process for oil and gas embedded deep within shale rock basins.

Prong “B” calls to “require disclosure of fracking contents,” which already exists in the form of standards written by Big Oil as part of the DOE Fracking Subcommittee, which consisted almost entirely of individuals with ties to Big Oil.

That Subcommittee created the loophole-ridden standards adopted by the Council of State Governments (CSG) and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as “model bills” passed by statehouses nationwide. In May, those same standards were adopted by the Obama Interior Department for fracking on public lands.

Directly connected to this is prong “C,” calling for “embedded environmentalists at each phase of shale gas production.”

Enter the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and its Executive Director Fred Krupp, the “embedded environmentalists” member of the DOE Fracking Subcomittee. EDF’s “point person on policies relating to natural gas development,” according to its website, is Scott Anderson.

Anderson is a member of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which opposes extending the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as it applies to fracking. He is also the former executive vice president and general counsel for the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

Anderson was also the only “embedded environmentalist” to speak at the now-infamous 2011 Houston shale gas industry public relations conference featured in “Gasland Part II,” in which Anadarko’s Matt Carmichael admitted he has his employees read the “Counterinsurgency Field Manual,” co-written by none other than David Petraeus.

Range Resources’ Matt Pitzarella also revealed that his fracking company utilizes psychological warfare operations (PSYOPs) tactics and personnel in Pennsylvania communities, with PSYOPs being a key counterinsurgency tactic.

Cap and Trade for Fracked Gas, Promotion of Mythical “Clean Coal”

Prongs “G” and “H” offer more of the same.

“G” calls for the “use [of] government revenue from the license fees and royalties taken from…oil and coal to finance tax credits for natural gas, renewables and energy R&D.” In what’s essentially an endorsement of “cap and trade,” Petraeus has chosen to teach Wall Street’s favorite false climate solution, explained succinctly by the “Story of Cap & Trade“.

And then there’s the fact that “natural gas” means fracked shale gas, which aCornell University study demonstrated is actually dirtier than coal over its entire lifecycle.

Lastly, “H” says the U.S. should “invest in carbon capture and storage [CCS] demonstration projects,” a key piece of President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, also sometimes referred to as illusory “clean coal.”

The problem with that plan? CCS – referred to by DeSmog’s Kevin Grandia in a recent article as “Obama’s technicolor dream” –  is not scientifically proven to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

In fact, sequestering huge amounts of carbon under the ground could be the next mega-disaster waiting to happen, as happened in Democratic Republic of Congo in 1986 when carbon trapped under the ground escaped and asphyxiated 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock in nearby towns.

“Setting the Stage” for Corporate Mis-Education

Coming full circle, the “survey of the global economy” will “set the stage for the course,” as described by Petraeus, and it will also have “considerable value.”

But for whom?

First and foremost, dirty energy industries and their Wall Street financiers, on whose behalf Petraeus will be working at his full-time job at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, where this piece originally appeared.

 

Steve Horn is a Madison, WI-based freelance investigative journalist and Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, where this piece first appeared.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 30, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?
W. T. Whitney
Why Does the United States Beat Up On Capitalist Russia?
Patrick Cockburn
We Can’t Let Britain to Become a Vast ISIS Recruiting Station
Michael J. Sainato
Leaks and Militarized Policing: Water Protectors are Proven Right
Ted Rall
What Do the Democrats Want? No One Knows
David J. Lobina
The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Political Activism
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again, Mainstream Media Does Pharma’s Bidding
David L. Glotzer
Social Security: Clearing Up the Financial Nonsense
Edward Hunt
If They are Wrong the Planet Dies
Lawrence Wittner
How Business “Partnerships” Flopped at America’s Largest University
Michael J. Sainato
Leaks and Militarized Policing: The NoDAPL Water Protectors Keep Getting Proven Right
Guillermo R. Gil
Poems Must Never be White
Martin Billheimer
Strategies of Rose and Thorn in Portland
Tony Christini
What isn’t Said: Bernie Sanders in 2020
Chandra Muzaffar
Fasting for Palestinian Justice and Dignity
Clancy Sigal
Even Grammar Bleeds
May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail