June 11, 2010

Deepwater-Gate: Salazar Forcedto Apologize for Misleading the Public on Whether Deepwater Moratorium  Was Supported by Panel of Experts,Engineers. FOXNews (6/11) reports, "The seven experts who advised President Obama on howto deal with offshore drilling safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion areaccusing his administration of misrepresenting their views to make it appearthat they supported a six-month drilling moratorium — something they actuallyoppose. The experts, recommended by the National Academy of Engineering, sayInterior Secretary Ken Salazar modified their report last month, after theysigned it, to include two paragraphs calling for the moratorium on existingdrilling and new permits. Salazar’s report to Obama said a panel of sevenexperts "peer reviewed" his recommendations, which included asix-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigsand an immediate halt to drilling operations. "None of us actuallyreviewed the memorandum as it is in the report," oil expert Ken Arnoldtold Fox News. "What was in the report at the time it was reviewed wasquite a bit different in its impact to what there is now. So we wanted todistance ourselves from that recommendation." Salazar apologized to thoseexperts Thursday.



Cathy Zoi Strikes Again: $126Million of Your Money Given to Florida by Federal Government to Spur Green Jobs- Guess How Many Were Created? NOT ONE. NYTimes (6/10) reports, "Is it possible to botch stimulus spending onrenewable energy projects? Florida and the federal Department of Energy havefound a way, according to the Energy Department’s inspector general. TheAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act authorized $3.1 billion in grants forthe state energy programs, and the Energy Department allocated $126 million forFlorida, a vast increase over the average of the previous few years, which was$1.4 million. In a report released on Thursday, the inspector general said thatFlorida had given $8.3 million in rebates "related to solar energy projectsthat had been completed prior to the passage of the Recovery Act." Florida hadhad its own rebate program, which ran out of money in early 2008, and it had abacklog of people waiting to collect. But the work had already been completed,so no jobs were created by Florida’s use of the money in this fashion. Stillthe Energy Department approved the expenditure. At least that money was spentquickly. The state had set itself a deadline of pinpointing where all of themoney would be spent by the beginning of this year, the audit said, but missedits deadline, partly because it chose projects that turned out not to beeligible.



A Full Year After Dept. of LaborAdmitted It Had No Idea What a Green Job Even Was, Comments in Federal RegisterConfirm THEY STILL DON’T. ByronYork writes (6/11) in the WashingtonExaminer, "Buried deep inside a federal newsletter on March 16 wassomething called a "notice of solicitation of comments" from the Bureauof Labor Statistics at the Department of Labor. "BLS is responsible fordeveloping and implementing the collection of new data on green jobs,"said the note in the Federal Register. But the notice said there is "nowidely accepted standard definition of ‘green jobs.’" To help find thatdefinition, the Labor Department asked that readers send in suggestions. Thenotice came only after the department scoured studies from government,academia, and business in search of a definition. "The common thread throughthe studies and discussions is that green jobs are jobs related to preservingor restoring the environment," the notice said. Duh! Beyond that, aprecise definition has eluded Labor Department officials. On Capitol Hill, astaffer for Sen. Charles Grassley, ranking Republican on the Senate FinanceCommittee, was poring through the Federal Register and spotted the note. Thenhe went to the Department of Labor Web site, where he found a number ofannouncements like these: ** U.S. Department of Labor Announces $100 Million inGreen Jobs Training through Recovery Act The Labor Department is shoving moneyout the door for "green jobs," yet at the same time is admitting itdoesn’t know what a "green job" is.



The Uniter: Communities Alongthe Gulf Coast Come Together to Support Families Who Lost Loved Ones, and ToPush Obama to Lift Offshore Ban. USAToday (6/11) reports, "The area’s entire economy is struggling in the wakeof the Gulf oil spill, and the trickle-down effect within the local economy hascost Merange’s T-shirt business $5,000 since the spill started. But the oilindustry still has her support, she says. "My husband works in oil.Everybody’s husband works in oil," says Merange, 38. "It’s thelifeblood of this town … (and) we’ve got to support it." The Gulfcommunities hit hardest by the spill are also the ones leading the charge forthe Obama administration to lift its six-month ban on deepwater oil drilling.President Obama says the ban is necessary for safety reasons until aninvestigation can be conducted into the USA’s worst-ever oil spill. Yet localofficials, including most Gulf state governors, say the ban is unnecessary andis magnifying the devastating economic effect of the Deepwater Horizondisaster. Charlotte Randolph, president of Louisiana’s Lafourche Parish, saidshe pleaded with Obama to reverse the moratorium when he visited the state lastweek. She told the state Legislature on Wednesday that Edison Chouest Offshore,which operates offshore equipment, could lay off 1,000 workers soon. MichelClaudet, president of nearby Terrebonne Parish, said that 60% of jobs in hisparish are related to the oil and gas industry.



Widows of Men Who Were Killed inthe Gulf Come Face-to-Face with President Obama, Implore Him to Lift theOffshore Ban – Reports Say He Politely, Cerebrally  Declined. FOXNews (6/10) reports, "Family members of the 11 victims killed in theDeepwater Horizon Oil Rig disaster came to the nation’s capitol Thursday tomeet with the president and lawmakers to make sure another catastrophe likethis one never happens again, but another concern for them was saving theirlivelihoods. One widow of the victims thought that President Obama wasreceptive to raising the moratorium on offshore drilling. "He (Obama)understood where we were coming from, and I believe that the drilling willcommence one day," said Courtney Kemp, wife of Roy Wyatt Kemp, said at apress conference on Capitol Hill. In the president’s conversations with thefamilies Thursday, according to the families, Obama defended his decision tohalt drilling, saying he wanted time to put more safety measures in place tomake sure something like the Deepwater Horizon explosion doesn’t happen again."Our loved ones were not lost for nothing. They were doing their job, andtheir job was to keep the flow of oil going for this country, so everyone inthis room and everyone watching this could go to their corner store and filltheir gas tank up. That was their job and they are very good at it, they arevery good at it," said Anderson through his tears.



In Aftermath of MurkowskiResolution Vote, Some Good News for Affordable Energy Proponents: All theSquishy Rs Voted the Right Way for Once. E&E News(6/11, subs. req’d) reports, "Scott Segal, an industry attorney at Bracewell& Giuliani, said the fact that the three moderate Republicans voted for theMurkowski measure signals that they won’t blindly support climate policies."What I think it shows is that any environmentalist who believes that SenatorsBrown, Snowe and Collins are going to vote for legislation merely because theenvironmental community says that it’s politically expedient are wrong,"Segal said. Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said the Republicans’vote on the climate bill is not necessarily a signal that they would oppose aclimate bill. "It’s going to depend on the specifics of thelegislation," he said. "Of those three, the only one that’s steppedout on this issue in a positive way is Collins." Kerry said he has beenordered to work with Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Energy andNatural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) over the coming weeks"to try to see what we can help do to work through some of the issuespeople have." Advocates face an uphill climb in pulling together thevotes.



Smart Senate Dems Take NoComfort in Win on Murkowski Vote – They Understand Well that the Job of Passinga Carbon Criminalization Bill Just Got Harder. Politico (6/10)reports, "Senate Democrats on Thursday stopped an attempt by Republicans torestrict the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate carbonemissions, but during a leadership meeting could not agree on how to proceedwith a comprehensive energy bill. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that no finaldecisions were made in the meeting. Reid said in a statement that there are "avariety of opinions within our caucus" and that he is committed to passing abill this year. "He wants to get something that will get 60 votes. I don’tthink that’s real easy," Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said after themeeting. Rockefeller – a coal-state senator who embodies the challenge Reidfaces in striking a balance on energy – noted that most of the 11 senators inthe strategy session thought there would not be enough votes for the billintroduced recently by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).Rockefeller said many senators in the closed meeting expressed "real worryabout cap and trade" – a provision in the bill that sets up a system ofemission trades opposed by many elements of the energy industry.



Shale Gas Exploration in AmericaSingle-Handedly Reshaping the Geopolitics of the Entire World – Just Ask Putinand Ahmadinejad. George Wittmanwrites (6/11) for the AmericanSpectator, "Gazprom, the Russian energy giant, has had to rethink itsentire future operational development and export revenue plan. It is not aloneamong the major gas suppliers such as Qatar and Algeria. (Iran is second onlyto Qatar in proven gas reserves, but it is not one of the top suppliers.) TheUnited States has returned as one of the world’s major gas producers throughthe unlocking of the technological mysteries of shale rock gasexploitation.  The key to thegrowth of natural gas availability has been the development of horizontaldrilling. This system allows deep vertical drilling literally to turn horizontallyto penetrate the layers of shale. A mixture is injected of water, chemicals,and small amounts of fine sand, fracturing ("fracking") the gas-ladenshale rock deposits. This action releases the gas that then pools and isrecovered.  In recent years theUnited States has ceased being a net gas importer and is now on the brink ofself-sufficiency, with the expectation of being export capable in ten years.Internationally the impact of domestic gas development through shaleexploitation has created the potential of serious alteration of strategiccircumstance.



Sensing an Opportunity, DeGetteand Markey Demand Companies Take Time from Clean-Up to Furnish Them withDetailed Lists of Materials Used in Response Effort. E&ENews/NY Times (6/11) reports, "House Democrats who have led the charge forgreater regulation of a natural gas production technique are taking theirchemical-disclosure rhetoric to the Gulf of Mexico. Markey called on BP to"release immediately the chemicals included in that drilling mud so therecan be complete, immediate, scientific analysis of what those chemicals are andwhat harm they are causing not only to ocean animals and fauna, but also humanbeings." He also promised to help pinpoint more details about thedispersants BP has used both on the surface and below the surface of the Gulfto break apart the slick. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), the driving forcebehind an effort to require drillers to disclose the ingredients of theirfracturing fluids, also expressed concern about dispersant use in a separateHouse Natural Resources subcommittee hearing. Industry experts say the muds BPused in the top kill attempt were safe. Bill Eustes, a petroleum engineeringprofessor at the Colorado School of Mines, said they were "environmentallybenign."




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