July 19, 2010

Hot off thePress:  New AEA Study Finds that ObamaOffshore Moratorium to Cost $2.8 Billion. Politico MorningEnergy (7/19) has the scoop, "Lookfor the oil industry and friends to tout a study coming out today by LouisianaState University financial expert Joseph R. Mason. Mason’s paper, "The EconomicCost of a Moratorium on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration to the Gulf Region,"concludes that the U.S. will see a loss of about $2.8 billion in economicactivity – $2.1 billion of which will come from the Gulf coast region – as aresult of the first six months of the administration’s offshore drillingmoratorium. Mason is the LBA Chair of Banking at the Ourso School of Businessat LSU and a Senior Fellow at the Wharton School. However, the study is notsponsored by either institution, but by the American Energy Alliance, theadvocacy arm of the Institute for Energy Research, both of which are closelyaffiliated with the fossil fuel industry, and have been vocal advocates ofincreased drilling." Check out the AmericanEnergy Alliance website later this afternoon for the full report.

NewlyMinted Mountaineer Senator Comes out Swinging Against Carbon Caps. TheHill (7/16) reports, "West Virginia’s newlyappointed senator signaled Friday that he’s unlikely to support climate changelegislation, dealing a fresh blow to advocates seeking a spot for emissionscaps in a broader energy bill. Carte Goodwin – who West Virginia Gov. JoeManchin (D) appointed as an interim replacement for the late Sen. Robert Byrd(D) – said at a news conference that he was "reluctant" to discuss specificlegislation. But he added: "From what I’ve seen of the Waxman-Markey bill thatpassed the House of Representatives and other proposals pending in the Senate,they simply are not right for West Virginia." Waxman-Markey refers to thesweeping climate bill the House narrowly approved in 2009. His stance appearsto be a setback for Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), whoare shopping a scaled-back climate plan that would impose emissions curbs onelectric power plants. Byrd, while a longstanding defender of his state’s coalindustry, had in recent years moved to the left on climate and had been viewedas a swing vote on a global warming bill. Goodwin has close ties to Manchin,who opposes mandatory emissions curbs, and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), whohas also expressed skepticism and recently called on the Senate to abandon climatelegislation this year."

History.  China Passes USA as World’s LargestConsumer of Energy; Ends 100 Year Rein. WallStreet Journal (7/19) reports, "Powered by years of rapid economic growth,China is now the world’s biggest energy consumer, knocking the U.S. off a perchit held for more than a century, according to new data from the InternationalEnergy Agency,The Paris-based agency, whose forecasts are generally regarded asbellwether indicators for the energy industry, said China devoured a total of2,252 million tons of oil equivalent last year, or about 4% more than the U.S.,which burned through 2,170 million tons of oil equivalent.  The oil-equivalent metric representsall forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear, coal, natural gasand renewable sources such as hydropower. "Thefact that China overtook the U.S. as the world’s largest energy consumersymbolizes the start of a new age in the history of energy"," IEAchief economist Fatih Birol said in an interview.  The U.S. had been the biggest overall energy consumer sincethe early 1900s, he said. The IEA is an energy adviser to most of the world’sbiggest economies. China’s voracious energy demand helps explain why thecountry – which gets most of its electricity from coal, the dirtiest of fossilfuel resources – passed the U.S. in 2007 as the world’s largest emitter ofcarbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases." The WashingtonPost also reports.

Saw this cominga Mile Away:  With AmericansOpposed to Cap-and-Trade, Harry Reid Proclaims, "Those words are not in myvocabulary," Yet Presses Forward with Carbon Criminalization. Politico (7/19)reports, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played dumb last week when areporter asked him if the energy and climate bill headed to the floor wouldcome with a "cap" on greenhouse gas emissions. "I don’t use that," the NevadaDemocrat replied. "Those words are not in my vocabulary. We’re going to work onpollution." Moments earlier, Reid had confirmed he was trying to craftlegislation targeting the heat-trapping pollution that comes from power plants.But he’s determined to win the war of words when it comes to a carbon cap – andthat means losing the lexicon attached to past climate battles. Gone, in theDemocrat’s mind, are the terms "cap" and "cap and trade," which are synonymouswith last June’s House-passed climate bill as well as other existingenvironmental policies for curbing traditional air pollutants. In their placeare new slogans recommended by prominent pollsters (and even a neuroscientist)that Reid and allies hope they can use to overcome the long-shot prospects forpassing climate legislation."

Quick TicketHome: Freshman Dem Senator’s Come out in Support of a National Energy Tax. TheHill (7/16) reports, "Freshmen Senate Democrats are pushing legislationthat prices industrial greenhouse gas emissions as part of a broader package ofenergy and climate initiatives. All 12 in the current freshmen Democratic class- in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Friday – say aprice on carbon emissions is needed in order to provide market certainty andkeep pace with major developing countries like China and India. Their call fora "polluter pays" approach to climate change echoes that of Democratic leaderslooking to strike a deal on a first-time carbon-pricing program focusing onelectric utilities. Environmental groups and electric utility companies havebeen meeting to try to reach a consensus that could be used by SenateDemocratic leaders as a way to attract centrists in both parties. The Senatefreshmen do not specify the scope of a carbon cap but they do address concerns thathave been raised by manufacturers and other major industrial electricityconsumers about a utility-focused plan raising their production costs andsending jobs overseas."

Why rewrite agood Headline?  "Obama using oil spill to impose an energy tax." Senate Republican Leader MitchMcConnell writes (7/19) in the LexingtonHerald Leader. "The July 7 editorial hitsprecisely the wrong note once again. The tragedy of the gulf oil spill demandsthat our government’s top priority must be stopping the leak and cleaning upthe damage it has caused. But this paper, along with President Barack Obama andthe liberal Democrats who control Washington, see it as a chance to jam througha new national energy tax that has been at the top of liberals’ wish list foryears – long before the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank. Most Americansknow that this national energy tax – sometimes called "cap and trade"- will hit them every time they fill up their car or flip a switch to turn on alight bulb. And because Kentucky is rich in coal and other natural resources,most Kentuckians understand that a national energy tax will hit our state muchworse than most. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Take it fromKentuckians in every corner of the state, urban and rural, Republican andDemocrat, those directly impacted and those who would feel it indirectly aswell: A national energy tax would hurt their livelihoods, their businesses andtheir families."

New Report:Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation Denial of "Open Burn" Permits in ’89Valdez Accident Compounded Enviro. Damage.  Petroleum News(7/18) reports, "Exxon Corp. wanted to burn freshly spilled oil from the 1989tanker spill in Prince William Sound, but a slow response by the AlaskaDepartment of Environmental Conservation blew the opportunity to destroy almostall the oil and save thousands of birds and animals and 1,300 miles of pristineshoreline. "We wanted to burn it, and use dispersant around the edges," said along-time, reliable Petroleum News source who was working for Exxon in Alaskaat the time and has only recently agreed to go on the record. But in order toburn the oil Exxon needed an open burn permit from the Alaska Department ofEnvironmental Conservation, or ADEC. The longer the oil was exposed to thewater, however, the harder it would be to burn. Time was of the essence. PrinceWilliam Sound weather was known for being finicky and brutal. Weather reportsshowed a storm moving in. Exxon was in a race against the clock and the clouds.It asked ADEC for a permit to burn all the spilled oil. Rather than issuing anopen burn permit, ADEC Commissioner Dennis Kelso, part of Democrat Gov. SteveCowper’s administration, demanded Exxon conduct a test burn to demonstrate theeffectiveness of in-situ burning. "Kelso required test burning; Exxon did itand it worked," the source told Petroleum News in a June 2010 interview."


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