June 18, 2010

Mutiny: Senior Senate Dem.Demands  Majority Leader "Set Aside"Legislation to Ration Public and Private Use of Carbon-Based Energy. TheHill (6/18) reports, "Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) on Thursday said theSenate should abandon efforts – at least for now – to pass a sweeping climatechange bill and also urged adoption of his plan that would block some EPAgreenhouse gas regulations for two years. "The Senate should be focusing on theimmediate issues before us – to suspend EPA action on greenhouse gas emissions,push clean coal technologies, and tackle the Gulf oil spill," he said in a preparedstatement Thursday afternoon. "We need to set aside controversial and morefar-reaching climate proposals and work right now on energy legislation thatprotects our economy, protects West Virginia and improves our environment,"added Rockefeller, an ally of the his home state’s coal industry. Rockefeller’soffice circulated the comment Thursday afternoon, following a meeting of theSenate Democratic caucus on energy legislation.  It notes that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) plans toallow a vote this year on Rockefeller’s bill that would delay EPA regulation ofcarbon emissions from power plants and other stationary sources for two years.

Kish: Policymakers Who Lamentthat America’s National Energy Policy Is a Failure Are Right – But They’re theCause of that Failure, Notwithstanding Their Silly Affectation.  ICISNews (6/17, subs. req’d) reports, "Dan Kish, senior vice president forpolicy at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), an energy industry thinktank, contends that US energy policy has been nothing less than "death by athousand cuts" for US domestic energy production. Kish, who worked on CapitolHill for 25 years in both the House and Senate natural resources committees,charges that federal policymakers have consistently fired regulatory bulletsinto US energy interests, then reloaded and fired again, year after year. "Youalways hear members of Congress complaining about our failed energy policy, andthey’re right," he said, "but for reasons other than what they think." "Of thisnation’s offshore territory, 97% of it is not leased, and 94% of federalonshore lands remain unleased" for energy development, he points out. Thefederal government owns about one-third of all US territory, he noted, withmuch of that in the resource-rich US West, and almost all of it closed todevelopment. "If you take the US offshore OCS areas plus the federally ownedonshore lands and combined them, that territory is larger than all of the USdry land mass, including Alaska," Kish said. "If it were a country by itself,if would be the third largest in the world behind Russia and Canada."

Previously Silent on theCalamity Facing Offshore Workers Along the Gulf Coast, NY Times Reverses Course- Begins to Tell the Stories of the Folks Affected by Obama Ban. NY Times(6/17) reports, "In addition to the fishermen and hoteliers whose livelihoodshave been devastated by BP’s hemorrhaging undersea oil well, another group ofGulf Coast residents is beginning to suffer: the tens of thousands of workerslike Ronald Brown who run the equipment or serve in support roles on deepwateroil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Brown, known as Rusty to his friends, is a "shakerhand."In the rugged vernacular of offshore drilling, that means he monitors the mudflowing back from the drill hole thousands of feet below.  He works aboard the Ocean Monarch,which was idled along with 32 other oil rigs when the Obama administrationordered a six-month moratorium on all deepwater drilling after the April 20Deepwater Horizon disaster. The rig’s owner is now seeking customers in otherparts of the world. If the rig moves, Mr. Brown and his fellow motormen,roughnecks and roustabouts will be left behind, jobless, with few alternativesthat would pay anything close to the $3,500 to $4,000 a month typical for suchjobs.

Mutiny x 2: Arkansas DemocratRejects the Notion of Carbon Criminalization Passing the Senate Out-of-Hand – "MaybeSomething a Little Less Ambitious."ArkansasNews Bureau (6/16) reports, "The Senate is unlikely to pass comprehensivelegislation addressing climate change in the next couple of years, though aless ambitious bill may be achievable, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., saidtoday. "I think that the president would like to see a comprehensive energybill and climate change bill come through the Senate. My view is there’s notenough votes to get that done this year, and quite frankly I’m not sure therewill be next year," Pryor said in a conference call with reporters. "If thepresident tries to push an energy package with climate change provisions in it,I think it’s a really hard sell," Pryor said today. "I don’t think you’ll getany Republicans at all, or certainly not many. … My guess is, if it has climatechange in it, it will not go anywhere in the Senate." The Associated Presstoday quoted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as saying SenateRepublicans are unanimously opposed to a sweeping Senate climate bill by JohnKerry, D-Mass., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.

Pogo Sticks for Everyone: NewStudy on Low-Carbon Fuel Standards Finds National Mandate Would Cost 4.5Million Jobs – Send Gas Prices Past $7. HoustonChronicle (6/17) reports, "Low carbon fuel standards like those beingrolled out in California and planned in some Northeastern States could lead tosteep spikes in fuel prices and the loss of millions of U.S. jobs by 2025,according to a report being released today with funding from the ConsumerEnergy Alliance. Just as tighter fuel economy standards are meant to spurchanges in vehicle design and urban planning policies meant to change consumerbehavior, the LCFS is supposed to hurry up the development of new fueltechnologies, according to the study (authored by Charles RiverAssociates).  But the LCFS willdrive major changes "because the targets are beyond reach with foreseeablefuel technology," the study says. Some of the effects of the fuelstandards, according to the study, include: A 90 to 170 percent jump in fuelcosts by 2025; A nationwide net loss of 2.3 million to 4.5 million jobs by2025, including the addition of "green jobs" that would be created bythe fuel standard; A reduction in annual household purchasing power of $1,400to $2,400 relative to 2010 income levels by 2025; A 2 to 3 percent reduction ingross domestic product by 2025.

Anti-Natural Gas PropagandaPiece Getting Lots of Love from the Avant-Garde Film Press – But MainstreamPapers Starting to Wonder Whether Anything In It Is Actually True. AssociatedPress (6/18) reports, "Gasland has won critical acclaim, but the industryhas challenged its veracity. A 4,000-word rebuttal by a coalition of gas andoil producers asserts that Fox botched the facts, misstating the drillingprocess and the regulations that govern it, and spotlighting citizens whoseclaims have already been investigated and debunked."The object of the filmis to shock, and not to enlighten," said Chris Tucker, spokesman for theEnergy in Depth coalition. "If that’s the kind of project you’re trying todo, you’re not going to let a few silly facts get in the way."Wilkes-Barre TimesLeader (6/18) reports, "On the same day as a special screening of the filmin Montrose earlier this month, Energy in Depth released an alert on itswebsite entitled "Debunking Gasland," pulling out numerous quotes from themovie and disputing them. Energy In Depth claimed that Fox was "misstating thelaw" when he said that a 2005 energy bill exempted the oil and gas industryfrom the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, andthe Superfund law. The industry is regulated under every single one of thoselaws, said Energy In Depth spokesman Chris Tucker.

Here’s the Problem withCantwell/Collins Cap-and-Raid Bill: It Doesn’t Matter Where You Send the Loot;For It to "Work" – You Need to Loot. Sens.Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Collins (Maine) write (6/19) in the WashingtonPost, "Our concept is simple: Instead of cap-and-trade, our approach is"cap-and-dividend," with the dividends going where they belong: intothe pockets of hardworking Americans. The legislation would set up a mechanismfor selling "carbon shares" to the few thousand fossil fuel producersand importers through monthly auctions. Seventy-five percent of the auctionrevenue would be returned to every citizen and legal resident of the UnitedStates through equally divided rebate checks — averaging $1,100 for a familyof four each year. The remaining 25 percent would finance clean-energy researchand development; help reduce emissions in agriculture, forestry andmanufacturing; and provide transition assistance for workers and communities incarbon-intensive regions. The legislation aims to reduce greenhouse gasemissions 20 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050.

EPA Informs Farm Lobby that Its Decisionon Whether Cars "Can Handle" an Increase in Ethanol Blend Wall Will Have toWait ‘Til the Fall – Engine Blocks the World Over Rejoice. AssociatedPress (6/18) reports, "The Environmental Protection Agency says it willwait until this fall to decide whether U.S. car engines can handle higherconcentrations of ethanol in gasoline. The agency had been expected to decideby this month whether to increase the maximum blend from 10 to 15 percent. TheEPA said Thursday that initial tests "look good" and should becompleted by the end of September. A decision will come after the EnergyDepartment completes the testing of the higher blend on vehicles built after2007. The ethanol industry has maintained that there is sufficient evidence toshow that a 15 percent ethanol blend in motor fuel will not harm theperformance of car engines. But the refining industry, small enginemanufacturers and some environmental groups have argued against an increase.Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the announcement is good news forethanol producers and that the EPA is taking "a significant stepforward" by discussing their timeline.


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