• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Beyond the Headlines

Air Date: Week of

A development driller off the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico accounts for 15% of total U.S. crude oil production. (Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Barry Bena, U.S. Coast Guard, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

In this week's trip beyond the headlines, Environmental Health News Editor Peter Dykstra joins Host Jenni Doering to talk about how the Biden administration declined to appeal a January court decision that invalidated oil and gas leases sold during 2021. Then they go over a pro-fossil fuels bill in Kentucky calling for a divestment of divestment efforts. And from the history books, they celebrate what would be the 143rd birthday of Albert Einstein.


DOERING: And I'm Jenni Doering. It's time now for a look beyond the headlines with Peter Dykstra Peters, an editor with Environmental Health News. That's EHN.org and DailyClimate.org. And he's on the line now from Atlanta, Georgia. Hey Peter, how's it going?

DYKSTRA: It's going well, Jenni and I'm gonna try and confuse our dear listeners here a little bit because there's news out of Washington that the Biden administration's Justice Department told the federal court that they won't appeal a ruling revoking drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

DOERING: So the Biden administration wanted to drill offshore?

DYKSTRA: The Biden administration didn't want to drill offshore, they were compelled to do so because the Trump administration's Interior Department had signed off on a huge lease sale of 1.7 million acres of the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico. Which as we all know, remember is the home of the Deepwater Horizon disaster a dozen years ago.

DOERING: Yes. And as I recall, this federal court had said "hey, you didn't consider climate change when you actually decided to go forward with these leases". Is that right?

DYKSTRA: That's right. And the Interior Department under Donald Trump said climate schlimette, we're going to go ahead and do the lease sale anyway. The Biden administration has just decided to go in the opposite direction. Until the court acted they were compelled to pursue this lease by the subsequent court order they just found a way to quit as the Justice Department changed hands.

DOERING: So this is a chance for them to live up to that promise of no more federal oil and gas leasing, right, Peter?

DYKSTRA: That's right. But think about one other thing- there's a renewed push for US oil and gas leasing, because the price has gone so crazy and because Russia is a main source of natural gas for many countries around the world, particularly in Western Europe.

DOERING: So I guess we'll have to see how this plays out. Well, Peter, what else do you have for us this week?

DYKSTRA: Here's a really weird bill out of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This is a bill that passed their Senate's Natural Resources Committee. It would require the divestment of financial companies, banks, and lenders and others that boycott fossil fuels. In other words, if you stay away from fossil fuels, you will have to stay away from doing business in Kentucky. If the bill passes both houses and the Kentucky governor signs it.

DOERING: So let me get this straight. This is a boycott of a boycott?

DYKSTRA: It's a boycott of a boycott. It's a red state coming to the aid of black gold. The bill sponsors in the Kentucky Senate have basically wrapped themselves up in knots trying to make this sound like a morality play. They say that fossil fuel companies in Europe and the US are among the most socially responsible companies on Earth. They've also described financial institutions that won't do business with fossil fuel companies as engaging in discrimination against fossil fuels.

DOERING: Well, we certainly would not want to deprive them of their civil rights to exploit the planet Peter.

DYKSTRA: Those poor, poor multinationals.

DOERING: Hey, what do you have for us from the history vaults this week?

Albert Einstein was born March 14, 1879 in Ulm Germany. (Photo: Orren Jack Turner, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

DYKSTRA: A momentous birthday, March 14, 1879. Albert Einstein is born in Ulm Germany. Of course, his work provided the basis for many of the breakthroughs in physics in the early 20th century. Llate in life after those breakthroughs led to the development of the atomic bomb, Einstein expressed regret for his role in paving the way for nuclear weapons development.

DOERING: Gosh, I wonder what he would think about this shadow of nuclear war that seems to have fallen upon the world again.

DYKSTRA: Well, here's something he said before he died in 1955: “The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking. The solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind. If I had only known, I should have become a watchmaker”.

DOERING: Well, a very happy birthday to Albert Einstein, and I think he would be what 143?

DYKSTRA: That's right.

DOERING: Well, thank you, Peter. Peter Dykstra is an editor with Environmental Health News. That's EHN.org and DailyClimate.org. Thanks again, Peter, and talk to you next time.

DYKSTRA: Okay, Jenni, thanks a lot, and we'll talk to you next time.

DOERING: And there's more on the stories on the Living on Earth website. That's LOE.org.



The Hill | “Biden Administration Won't Appeal Invalidation of Offshore Oil Leases”

AP News | “Kentucky Senate Passes Bill Aimed at Energy Boycotts”

Learn more about Albert Einstein


Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Telephone: 617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth