Los Angeles Times on a desert showdown over solar Times reporter Julie Cart reminds us that environmental advocates come in many shades of green, often not seeing eye-to-eye on key issues. The latest involves the development of the Southwest for solar energy. "Small environmental groups are fighting utility-scale solar projects without the support of what they refer to as 'Gang Green,' the nation's big environmental players." Big green players, such as the Sierra Club, support the development of many renewable energy projects in the sunbaked Southwest that some smaller groups argue will destroy the habitats of native desert species. Cart runs down some of the current controversial solar projects being developed today, giving us an uncomfortable reminder that there aren't easy answers in balancing environmental preservation and clean energy development.
The New Yorker on how ExxonMobile bought Congress Most political observers are vaguely aware of the insidious financial connections between ExxonMobile and some (mostly Republican) members of Congress, but few may have suspected that the oil giant invests so precisely in political campaigns that it uses an algorithm to do so. In this week's New Yorker, Steve Coll runs down the history of the world's largest oil company and methodical ways it courts politicians and donates to political campaigns (subscription required). "About ninety per cent of ExxonMobile's PAC giving during the 2010 election cycle went to Republicans,' writes Coll, a disproportionate percentage compared to other mega-corporations like GE, Ford, and Bank of America, which give about half to Democrats. Despite having the support of only one of the two parties, ExxonMobile has successfully pursued a strategy of using the GOP to block legislation unfavorable to its interests, such as a 2010 bill ending subsidies to Big Oil.