June 9, 2010

Rocky KOs Jackson: EternallyJunior Democratic Sen. from West Virginia Says He’ll Stand with HisConstituents and Vote For Murkowski Resolution. DowJones (6/8) reports, "Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D., W.Va.) on Tuesday brokeranks with Democratic party leaders and indicated that he would support aneffort by Senate Republicans to overturn new rules to curb greenhouse-gasemissions. The defection on the Obama administration’s cornerstoneenvironmental policy represents a blow to the White House, which on Tuesdaythreatened to veto any measure to overturn the first-ever EnvironmentalProtection Agency greenhouse-gas rules. The measure, a "disapprovalresolution," is being pushed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) and isscheduled for a Senate vote on Thursday. "I have long maintained that theCongress-not the unelected EPA-must decide major economic and energypolicy," said Mr. Rockefeller, who represents a coal state that could behit hard by greenhouse-gas regulations. "EPA regulation will have anenormous impact on the economic security of West Virginia and our energyfuture."

 WH Starting to Sweat Bullets onThis EPA Resolution – Decides to Fire Off Fairly Outlandish Statement LinkingGulf Spill to Supporters of Murkowski.E&E News (6/8,subs. req’d) reports, "The White House today threatened to veto a Senate effortto block federal climate rules as Democrats continue to link Thursday’s vote tothe ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "The measure would undo EPA’scarefully constructed approach to reducing pollution generated by the largestoil companies, oil refineries, and other large-scale polluters," thedocument adds. Murkowski and her supporters fired back. "There have been alot of statements of late about the intent of this legislation — somehow or otherthat this is now tied to Big Oil in view of what we’re seeing with the spill inthe Gulf," Murkowski said. "But ultimately, this resolution is aboutprotecting the economy and preventing agency overreach, it’s as simple asthat." "It was very clear there were not the votes in the Senate todo a cap-and-trade bill and that the whole process was going to die,"Bennett said. "Then we got the oil spill, and all of a sudden, somehowthere is some connection between the EPA and the oil spill."

Meanwhile, All the LCV, SierraClub Money in the World Couldn’t Help Greens Take Down Blanche Lincoln inArkansas. E&E News (6/9, subs.req’d) reports, "Lincoln captured 52 percent of the vote in a runoff electionagainst Democratic Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who attacked the incumbent from theleft and had the backing of national labor and environmental groups. The Leagueof Conservation Voters was one of those groups that went after Lincoln in theclosing days of the campaign, going on the air with an ad campaign that blastedLincoln for accepting large campaign contributions from oil companies andattempting to link her policy positions to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Otherliberal groups also charged that the incumbent was too closely linked tovarious corporate interests. Lincoln, however, made little effort to move toher left and instead built her campaign around a message that she was willingto buck Democratic leaders and was a strong advocate for Arkansas interests. Aspart of that message, Lincoln touted her opposition to cap-and-tradelegislation and that her chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee gaveher unique power to deliver for her home state. 

If You Happen to Be in AlbanyToday, Make Sure to Stop By and Lend Some Support to the 500 Folks Rallying forResponsible Natural Gas Development in New York. IthacaJournal (6/8) reports, "400 to 500 Southern Tier landowners are expected torally in Albany today, where they will ask legislators to stay out of the wayof DEC’s environmental review of hydraulic fracturing and halt allindustry-thwarting legislation that’s threatening to delay drilling evenlonger. The rally is being organized by the Joint Landowners Coalition, a groupof area landowners who have signed, or are hoping to sign, leases with naturalgas companies. At least 10 buses, each carrying up to 50 people, are expectedto head to the rally from Broome, Tioga, Chenango and Sullivan counties.Landowners will be joined by members of the pipefitters, laborers and teamstersunions who are interested in the jobs drilling could bring to the region.Although a blowout on a rig in Clearfield County, Pa., on Friday explosions ona Texas pipeline and a West Virginia drilling pad Monday, and another Texasexplosion on Tuesday have been cause for alarm, Fitzsimmons said human errorsmade on a few rigs out of thousands shouldn’t stand in the way of an industrythat has proven to be safe and could bring tens of thousands of jobs to theregion. "We just had a scaffolding accident at a construction site ….Are we going to stop building now?" Fitzsimmons said. "We can’t dothat. We have to see what these mistakes are, learn from them, and thenadjust." Clickhere to access a comprehensive rebuttal of the anti-natural gas propaganda filmGasLand. 

Most Senators May Have a LawDegree, But Only a Handful Appear to Understand the Legal Issues thatRetroactively Re-Writing Offshore Liability Laws Create. E&E News (6/9, subs.req’d) reports, "While Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) has proposed raising thelimit to $10 billion and other Democrats have called for unlimited liability,Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has suggested eliminating the cap for the DeepwaterHorizon spill but leaving it at $75 million for future accidents. "Theyare the responsible party," said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). "Theyare liable for the damages up to the extent of their very financial existence,and they are not too big to fail." But Sessions, the Judiciary Committee’sranking member, said he is skeptical about the constitutionality of imposing anew liability limit on all offshore drilling leases. Doing so could expose thegovernment to $10 billion in breach-of-contract claims from leaseholders, plusany claims for lost profits, oil industry consultant Jack Coleman told thecommittee yesterday. He cited the Mobil v. U.S. case, in which the SupremeCourt ruled that the Interior Department breached its contracts with oilcompanies by restricting drilling off the coast of North Carolina. "Thelessees had a right to rely on the law as it existed at the time that the leasewas issued, and therefore, the lessees recovered all their expenses," saidColeman, a former attorney at the Interior Department. 

Lotta Grumbling About theThousands of Jobs Being Lost along the Gulf Coast Thanks to Obama Moratorium -But At Least One Company’s Trying to Do Something About It. Bloomberg(6/8) reports, "Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. sued the U.S. InteriorDepartment to lift the six-month ban on deepwater drilling in the Gulf ofMexico triggered by the deadly explosion of a drilling rig and subsequent oilspill. Hornbeck, whose supply boats serve almost all 33 drilling rigs that wereoperating in the deepwater gulf, said one customer has already said it willcancel a contract as a result of the moratorium. President Barack Obamaannounced the ban May 27, after receiving a report by government officials incharge of exploration on the nation’s outer continental shelf, or OCS. TheDeepwater Horizon oil rig, operated by BP Plc, exploded April 20 off ofLouisiana, killing 11 workers. Since then, oil has been gushing from the wellinto the Gulf of Mexico. Hornbeck, based in Covington, Louisiana, hasn’t beenimplicated in the explosion or spill. "There is nothing in the report thatsuggests OCS drilling is more dangerous today than it was on the dayimmediately preceding the tragic incident involving the Deepwater Horizon,"Carl Rosenblum, an attorney for the company said in a complaint filed in NewOrleans federal court. Hornbeck is seeking an injunction stopping themoratorium. 

In First Appearance Since theSplit, Al Gore Tells Audience in Philippines, Where More than 1/4 of People Don’tHave Electricity, that Cap-and-Raid is a "Moral" Issue. ManilaTimes (6/9) reports, "Climate change is much more than just anenvironmental or political concern, according to Al Gore, who called it a moralissue that threatens humanity unless drastic action is taken within a decade.Gore, former United States vice president and Nobel laureate for hisdocumentary "An Inconvenient Truth," was in the country on Tuesdayfor a one-time appearance. The audience of about 4,000 people includedPresident Gloria Arroyo, newly arrived US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. and othermembers of the diplomatic corps in Manila, Henry Sy Sr. and his family, whosecompany, SM Prime, organized the event. "Climate change is not only a naturalor a technology issue," he said. "It is indeed a single, reckless and immoralact if one fails to take his part in addressing this problem." Climate changewas a moral issue, "because the decisions made by the current generation willhave such a profound effect on all future generations." He even quoted from theBible, saying, "Love thy neighbor." Gore, who was once congressman of Tennesseein America’s so-called Bible Belt, quoted from the Good Book several times,even though he noted that he was not proselytizing.


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