July 30, 2010

West Wing Avoiding this New Poll: 82 Percent of Registered Voters OPPOSENew Energy Taxes. The Hill(7/29) reports, "Most Americans believe taxes on the oil industry would bepassed along to consumers at the gas pump, an industry-backed poll foundThursday. Eighty-two percent of registered voters believed increased taxes onthe oil industry would be passed along to consumers in the form of high pricesat the pump, according to a poll commissioned by the American Energy Alliance.The poll also said 81 percent agree new taxes on oil companies woulddisadvantage American companies over foreign-owned oil companies such as BP,while 76 percent said they believe a tax on American oil companies would hurtU.S. companies that are trying to compete against foreign government-ownedcompanies. The poll was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research on behalf of AEA,the advocacy arm of the conservative Institute for Energy Research, whichreceives donations from oil companies, among other funding source. The surveycomes as lawmakers mull an energy bill to respond to the Gulf of Mexico oilspill and to support increased alternative energy. AEA is hoping to mobilizethe public against new taxes for the oil industry and for the companies beingallowed to continue offshore drilling."

Family Feud Part II: 30 House Dems that Represent Energy ProducingDistricts Band Together to Oppose (Un) CLEAR Act. Real Question is: Will TheyStand Their Ground. The Hill(7/29) reports, "House Democratic leaders are facing resistance fromconservative and centrist members in the party over several provisions in oilspill response legislation that’s headed for a vote Friday, including theremoval of liability caps on offshore oil and gas producers. A group of about30 oil-patch Democrats share the concerns of their Senate counterparts thatremoving the liability cap for future spills would price smaller independentcompanies out of the offshore drilling business. "That’s a big one," said Rep.Gene Green (D-Texas), an ally of the industry. Green told House Speaker NancyPelosi (D-Calif.) Thursday that he was planning to vote against the bill overthe liability language and a provision setting federal authority overwastewater from wells that states currently regulate. "I know a number ofmembers that have said the same thing to her," he said in the Capitol Thursday.Some lawmakers have proposed fixing the problem by creating a spill fund thatall oil companies would pay into, akin to the shared cost plan the nuclearindustry uses to address potential accidents. Another idea, Green said, hasbeen to double or triple the existing $75 million liability cap for producers,but make it unlimited if a company is found to be grossly negligent."

Judgment Day. Do They or Don’t They Have the Votes to Pass MostOverreaching Piece of Anti-Energy Legislation in Recent Memory? We’ll Find out Today.E&E News (7/30, subs req’d), "Democrats may be holding their breath today whenthe House votes on a sweeping offshore drilling reform package. As they rush topass the legislation before leaving for a monthlong recess, Democrats may nothave enough support if oil-state and Blue Dog Democrats opposed to certainmeasures — like controversial language that would eliminate the $75 millionliability cap for companies involved in a spill — align with Republicans, whoare generally opposed to the bill. Still, Natural Resources Chairman NickRahall (D-W.Va.) thinks there are plenty of backers for his measure, H.R. 3534."I feel we do, yes," Rahall said yesterday when asked if Democratshad enough supporters to pass it. The legislation would formally codify areorganization at the beleaguered federal agency tasked with overseeingoffshore oil and gas drilling, give the presidential commission investigatingthe BP oil spill subpoena power, impose new ethics standards on federalregulators and beef up offshore drilling standards. It also would create arestoration program to coordinate efforts to rehabilitate the Gulf of Mexico,create a new industry-funded endowment to protect oceans and boost the Land andWater Conservation Fund, among other provisions."

The Economic Analysis That will Haunt Supporters of the Obama Offshore Moratorium in the Midterms Featured in theWSJ Today. Dr. Joesph Mason writes in the Wall Street Journal, "With each passing day, the Obama administration’s moratoriumon energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico costs the coastal region more jobsand increases the risk that those jobs will never come back. Now theadministration and some members of Congress want to revise the tax code in waysthat could irreparably harm the U.S. energy sector and threaten the industry’snine million jobs. Research I’ve recently published indicates that under theadministration’s six-month moratorium, set to last until Nov. 30, the GulfCoast region will lose more than 8,000 jobs, nearly $500 million in wages, over$2.1 billion in economic activity, and nearly $100 million in state and localtax revenue. Taking into account the effects outside of the Gulf Coast, themoratorium will cost the United States 12,000 jobs and nearly $3 billion,including almost $200 million in federal tax revenues. If the moratorium lastssix to 12 months longer, as many pundits expect, some 36,000 jobs could be lostacross the country. Under the worst case scenario-a permanent moratorium on alloil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico-nationwide economic losseswould exceed $95 billion and more than 400,000 jobs.This is bad enough. But earlier this week, both the House and Senate proposednew energy bills that will cost $25 billion and $15 billion, respectively-andthe government wants the energy sector to pay the tab. The administration andits congressional allies are considering two changes to the tax code that wouldput U.S. energy companies at a competitive disadvantage to foreign-owned behemothslike BP, China’s Sinopec and Hugo Chávez’s Citgo. These constraints on theenergy sector would handcuff domestic energy development, reduce futureresources, and kill even more jobs."

Rep. Nunes and Co. Out with New "Energy Roadmap" Today; Real Questionis, Will Affordable Energy Advocates Line up in Support. We Sure Hope so, ForWhat It’s Worth.Kim Strassel (7/30) writes inthe Wall Street Journal, "Out of the most tedious congressional debate sometimescomes a little ray of policy sunshine. The GOP got a glimmer this week. Ascongressional Democrats plotted how to make their "oil-spill"legislation a political liability for Republicans, and as Republicans flappedover how to avoid that fate, one GOP member excused himself from the circus.California Rep. Devin Nunes instead unveiled his "Energy Roadmap," acompanion bill to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan for tax and spending reform.Mr. Nunes wants to get his party thinking about a modern, principled energypolicy. Lord knows the GOP could use the help. Republicans have spent the pastdecade staying largely true to their belief in cheap fossil fuels, but the riseof the climate debate and "green energy" flummoxed them. Unwilling tobe seen as against "clean" energy, they embraced green subsidies.Some excused it as the political price of continued drilling; others just likedthe pork. Mr. Nunes’s interest is how to answer these concerns in a morefree-market way. The Californian’s road map is the product of years of work,most recently with Mr. Ryan and a handful of Republicans with energy expertise-Illinois’sJohn Shimkus, Utah’s Rob Bishop, and Idaho’s Mike Simpson. It’s a bill designedto produce energy, not restrict it. It returns government to the role of energyfacilitator, not energy boss. It costs nothing and contains no freebies. Itinstead offers a competitive twist to government support of renewable energy."

Shocker. Remember ThoseClimatgate Emails that Falsified Temperature Data to Further a PoliticalAgenda? EPA Dismissed them Yesterday, "No Reason to Reconsider the Science ofGlobal Warming."Politico (7/29) reports, "TheEnvironmental Protection Agency Thursday rejected an effort to keep it fromregulating greenhouse gas emissions, saying that e-mails released in last fall’s"Climategate" scandal gave it no reason to reconsider the science of globalwarming. In a sternly written opinion, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said shedidn’t agree with requests from the GOP attorneys general from Texas andVirginia, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other conservative groups thatquestioned the underlying science linking humans to global warming and alsowarned of the potential economic burdens from new climate rules. EPA lastDecember concluded that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health andwelfare, a decision clearing the way this spring for climate-based regulationsfor new cars and trucks. Next year, the agency is expected to write standardsfor power plants and other major industrial sources of heat-trapping gases. Intheir petitions, EPA’s opponents had highlighted stolen e-mails from prominentclimate scientists that they allege showed collusion to hide contraryinformation debunking global warming. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hadalso warned that the EPA rules would lead to "unprecedented bureaucraticlicensing and regulatory burdens on farmers, ranchers, small businesses,hospitals and even schools."

As Anti-AffordableEnergy Advocates Ramp up Their Propaganda Campaign, Those That Actually Produce Energy Head to The Hill andSpell Out Consequences if  CongressImposes New Taxes on Domestic Oil and Nat Gas Production. Houston Chronicle (7/29) reports, "Evenbefore crude began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, the oil industry was wagingan uphill fight against $36.5 billion in proposed taxes and new regulations ondrilling techniques. But now the collision of election-year politics and theoil spill is fueling dozens of proposals to clamp down on drilling – and hasinspired the industry to ramp up its defense game in the nation’s capital.Industry leaders say they are trying to cut through emotions stirred by imagesof oil-soaked birds and tar balls on Gulf Coast beaches by asking lawmakers fora deliberative response to the disaster. So far, the oil spill has providedfodder to longtime offshore drilling foes and is being used to leverage aflurry of spill-inspired bills and other unrelated energy measures in Congress."There’s this sense of blood in the water," said Lee Fuller, vicepresident of government relations for the Independent Petroleum Association ofAmerica. "The way the politics of this thing is playing out, the oil spilllegislation is being used as a mechanism to try to broadly address a lot ofother energy-related issues."Environmentalists argue that the oil spillhas provided a dramatic and costly illustration of the dangers of offshoredrilling and the need to step up regulation. The House is set to vote today on sweepinglegislation that would stiffen well design standards, impose new oil and gastaxes and get rid of the liability limits that cap what energy companies mustpay after similar incidents."



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