June 15, 2010

TopBloomberg Reporter (And Head of White House Correspondents Assn) Set to Re-JoinNRDC Staff for Second Time in 4 Years.Politico (6/13) reports, "Bloomberg’sEd Chen is joining the Natural Resources Defense Council. Chen left the LosAngeles Times to join the NRDC in 2006, but then jumped back into the world ofjournalism in 2007 with a job at Bloomberg. In an email obtained by POLITICO’sMike Allen, Chen says: "My regret over leaving one of the world’s largest –and certainly the most ambitious — news organizations is offset by a sense ofurgency in resuming doing the Lord’s work, particularly after the BP oil spill.That debacle was a divine signal to redouble my efforts to help clean up theenvironment, help America kick its petroleum addiction, and help publicofficials find the wisdom and courage to do the right thing to combat climatechange before it’s too late. So, I’m returning to the Natural Resources DefenseCouncil." The ease with which reporters seem able to jump between reporting andadvocacy seems to be increasing and fewer people seem to be surprised orshocked within Beltway circles. Still, it is this ease and comfort that willlikely reinforce notions across the country that all journalists are bias andlargely towards Democratic-friendly organizations.

Speakingof NRDC: What Business Does Frances Beinecke Have Serving on A Technical PanelExamining Details of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion? CNN (6/14) reports, "A White House statementsaid Obama named Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources DefenseCouncil; Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center forEnvironmental Sciences; Terry Garcia, executive vice president for missionprograms for the National Geographic Society; Cherry Murray, dean of theHarvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; and Frances Ulmer,chancellor of the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Obama previously appointedformer U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, a Democrat, and former EnvironmentalProtection Agency administrator William Reilly as co-chairman of theseven-member commission. "These individuals bring tremendous expertise andexperience to the critical work of this commission," Obama said inMonday’s statement. "I am grateful they have agreed to serve as we work todetermine the causes of this catastrophe and implement the safety andenvironmental protections we need to prevent a similar disaster from happeningagain."

OutsourcingWorks: Far-to-the-Left DC Think Tank Has "More Influence on Spill Policy" withObama "Than the President’s In-House Advisors." Jonathan Weismanwrites (6/14) in the Wall Street Journal, "The liberal thinktank with close White House ties appears to have more influence on spill policythan the president’s in-house advisers. On May 4, for instance, the CAP’s energyand environment expert, Daniel Weiss, called on the president to name anindependent commission to look at the causes of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.On May 22, he did just that.  OnMay 21, CAP president, John Podesta, privately implored White House officialsto name someone to be the public point person for the spill response. A weeklater, the White House announced that Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen would holddaily briefings on the spill, wherever he would be on any given day.  On May 26, Weiss said the White Houseneeded to demand that BP immediately set up an escrow account with billions ofdollars from which claims for Gulf state residents would be paid out.  Monday’s headlines proclaimed thepresident’s latest get-tough stand: BP needs to set up a billion-dollar escrowaccount. What’s next, Mr. Podesta?

Kerry,Lieberman Set to Unveil EPA Analysis of Bill Today – Anyone Else Confused WhyEPA, Putatively an Independent Agency, Isn’t Releasing It Itself?E&E News (6/14, subs. req’d) reports, "The architects of aSenate climate and energy bill will release U.S. EPA’s long-anticipatedeconomic modeling results of their legislation tomorrow. Sens. John Kerry(D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are expected to unveil the analysis at anews conference tomorrow afternoon. "I hope they’ll say that our billwill, as other independent studies have done, will say that adoption of ourbill over time will create millions of good new jobs," Lieberman said lastweek, noting that a "modest" increase in energy prices is expected(E&ENews PM, June 9). EPA’s analysis of the bill was expected go to CapitolHill last week, but agency spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said the analysis wassent to Kerry and Lieberman today. Kerry and Lieberman are pushing to getpieces of their bill included in a broad Senate energy and climate bill thatSenate Democratic leaders hope to bring to the floor in July.

EnvirosCan’t Even Process All the Money Coming In Right Now – Decide to Spend Some ofIt  On Ads in Expensive DC Market Thanking Webb, Warner for Voting AgainstMurkowski.Washington Post (6/14) reports, "Virginia’stwo Democratic senators are getting some free praise on the airwaves. CleanEnergy Works, a coalition of liberal and environmentalist groups, has launchedan ad thanking James Webb and Mark Warner for their votes last week against abill that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency fromregulating greenhouse gases. Webb and Warner joined 49 fellow Democrats, plusthe Senate’s two Independents, in voting against proceeding to Sen. LisaMurkowski’s (R-Alaska) "resolution of disapproval" curtailing theEPA’s authority. Explaining his vote, Webb said he would instead support acompromise measure by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would suspend theEPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases for two years, but not block italtogether. "I do not believe that Congress should cede its authority overan issue as important as climate change to unelected officials of the ExecutiveBranch," Webb said. Warner’s office said he voted against Murkowski’s bill"because he believes removing this EPA authority removes any impetus toadopt a comprehensive energy bill."

StevenChu May Not Be the Only Obama Cabinet Secretary Using the Tragedy in the Gulfto Advance a Favored Political Agenda – But He’s Probably the Worst At It.Bloomberg (6/14) reports, "U.S.Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Monday the oil spill disaster in the Gulf ofMexico underscores the need to develop wind power and a national energy plan. Alongtime advocate of wind power, Chu toured the University of Maine’s AdvancedStructures and Composites Center to learn more about its plans to design andtest floating deep-water wind turbine platforms. Maine officials hope to have awind farm in operation off the coast within six years. Chu said the oil spillwas "a tragedy" that served to highlight the imperative for anational energy plan. "It’s another reminder to step back and say, ‘We doneed a comprehensive energy strategy in the United States for the comingdecades,’" he said. Habib Dagher, the center director, said a greater pushfor renewable energy could be something good to come out of the calamity in theGulf. "It’s a major disaster and the sooner we can find other ways to powerthe country, the better off we’re going to be," Dagher said.

AnEffort We Can Get Behind: President Strikes Optimistic Tone Ahead of OvalOffice Speech Tonight – Says Gulf Coast is Open for Business, Local Seafood "IsDelicious."E&E News (6/15, subs. req’d) reports, "President Obamayesterday took on a newly optimistic tone about the ongoing BP PLC oil spill,vowing that the Gulf Coast would recover from the disaster that has sullied itswaters, fishing grounds and beaches. "I promise you this, that things aregoing to return to normal," Obama said after touring the Theodore, Ala.,staging facility. Obama is visiting Mississippi, Alabama and Florida this weekon his fourth visit to the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in lateApril, prompting the massive spill. He made separate plugs for the region’sseafood and tourism industries, urging travelers to spend their tourism dollarson the Gulf Coast and proclaiming Gulf of Mexico seafood safe to eat. "Letme be clear, seafood from the Gulf today is safe to eat," he said. "Ihad some of that seafood for lunch and it was delicious." He announced astrengthened effort by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration andthe Food and Drug Administration to ensure Gulf seafood safety. And Obamaseemed positive his administration could come to an agreement with BP aboutformation of a hefty fund designed to compensate people and businesses affectedby the spill.


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