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[This diary was originally posted by my colleague Ellis Pepper @ NRDC Switchboard]

Tomorrow, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Water and Power will hold a markup on the “Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011,” or “TRAIN Act” (H.R. 2401). A markup by the full Energy and Commerce Committee is expected on Monday and Tuesday.

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Here at NRDC we're watching Oil execs from Chevron, Shell, ConocoPhilips, BP and Exxon testify before the Committee on Finance. We're live blogging and live tweeting. We've got 3 experts in the room responding to the absolute CRAZY coming out of this hearing. I'll be reposting the feed below. Hop in with questions if you've got questions, and please spread the word!

Our main blogger is Deron Lovaas.

Here we go!

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Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 10:16 AM PST

H.R. 1 Meat Axe 1-3

by apollogonzales

H.R. 1, or the Continuing Resolution, contains $100 billion in spending cuts, many which will harm or eliminate Federal agencies' ability to regulate or enforce properly. There is a lot in those 359 pages that the GOP is hoping people won't notice - and a lot they are counting on people to notice. We ( NRDC ) and others at the Save Our Environment partnership are working hard to find all of those things and bring them to light with some context, in a series of updates called the H.R. 1 Meat Axe. Below the break you'll find the first 3. We'll post 2 or 3 each day as we get them, and if something is really urgent we'll just update this post.

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I think it goes without saying that there is never a good time for an oil spill.  Certainly, the "drill baby drill" crowd would agree with me on that. Yesterday, sheltered from the pounding rain in his boat Capt. Kip Marquize tells us why this disaster couldn't have happened at a worse time for the fishermen and shrimpers of the Gulf Coast.

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Fri Apr 30, 2010 at 09:40 PM PDT

Deepwater Dispatches (Part 1)

by apollogonzales

The first thing you forget when you leave the Gulf Coast, where I grew up, is the humidity. It is also the first thing you are reminded of when you come home. When I got the call that I was to pack up and head out to New Orleans I loaded my bags with long sleeve shirts and ties, the uniform of DC. I am drenched just sitting here, and my coaster doesn’t stand a chance against the sweating glass of ice water. My ties are not going to see the light of day.

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It is 1 a.m., and for the first time in my life I have crossed the Atlantic. I am traveling at 625mph, fast approaching the island that my wife is named for. Somewhere below, Ireland like my wife and son, is sleeping. I’ve not slept a wink, which is no strange thing, my son has been the best training I could have asked for. Now, 5 hours from my final destination, my mind is finally turning to the two weeks ahead in Copenhagen, and the work that is coming. It occurs to me that the only two times I have left my country have been in the spirit of, and in search of, the very thing I seek on this trip - collaboration and creation.

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I'm a technician and a strategist. It is rare that I set that skill set aside and dust off my quill to enter the space that so many others occupy so elegantly and so passionately. This week, I feel compelled to take that step.

I am lucky enough to work with a great group of people who work on a range of issues from ocean acidification to toxics reform. No other issue has touched me, or meant more to me though, than the fight to end mountaintop removal. Perhaps it is because my boss is so passionate about it, sometimes writing 3 blog posts a day. Or perhaps it is because I stood on the edge of Kayford Mountain and looked down on the machines as they retreated to safety before a blast.

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At the end of Netroots Nation 2008 the organizers stood at the podium and asked who in the audience would be willing to help sponsor attendees for the 2009 conference. I'd was high on the energy of the previous few days, and I could feel my NRDC Action Fund credit card burning a hole in my pocket. I wanted to stand up and shout "I will!" Anyone who has ever worked for any large organization knows that very often those sorts of outbursts can get you in to hot water with the Accounting department. So I stayed in my seat, but started plotting for 2009.

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Originally posted @ http://wwww.apollogonzales.com/...

I’m pretty new to the world of organizing. In fact, the only time I can remember doing anything remotely like "community organizing" was during high-school when I helped a local business owner try to get on the ballot for the State Senate in Texas. I don’t remember his name, and have no memory of any actual canvassing. I do remember sitting a table with him and other elected officials eating  bar-b-q (he asked me to skip the canvass and come along because he thought I’d find it interesting). I remember that he and everyone at the table were big George H. W. Bush fans, and that for some reason I was too. And finally I remember the pizza party he threw for all the canvassers just before the election, and that he thanked us and said we were "terribly critical" to getting him on the ballot.

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I grew up in Houston, Texas. Maybe that made me more susceptible than most to the romanticized idea of being a Texas oil man. At the age of 18, the same summer I graduated high school, I went to work for a family friend selling oil field supplies to oil companies in West Texas and Mexico. It was a dream job for me. I met some very wealthy men and heard stories about growing up dirt poor and making a fortune by pulling oil from otherwise worthless ground. Every year I went to the famed Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), where they would erect an offshore drilling rig in the parking lot of the Astrodome. The oil rig was just the start though, because oil companies offered helicopter rides onto the rig. Spending time with these men meant eating $80 steaks, wearing $300 Stetson cowboy hats, and in the case of the oil men from Mexico, riding in Suburbans retrofitted with bullet proof glass. In those formative years I jumped at the opportunity to sit with the Bush family at the ballpark to watch the Houston Astros, although I don’t think we ever exchanged a word other than hello.

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