July 9, 2010

WSJEditorial Draws on IER Research to Expose Obama Spill Commission for What ItReally Is: A Few Activists, a Few Hacks, Every One of ‘Em a Dilettante. WallStreet Journal (7/9) editorializes, "As for the rest of the President’scommission, the Institute for EnergyResearch has compiled a summary of their views on oil exploration:"Offshore drilling is a needless risk," said Ms. Beinecke in 2008."We should be redoubling our efforts to get off oil," said fellowcommission member Donald Boesch in May. He wants "transportation notpowered by liquid petroleum." Appointee Terry Garcia of the NationalGeographic Society rapped the Bush administration in 2008 for not doing more to"protect" oceans from "commercial and recreational fishing, oiland gas exploration or deep-sea mining." The University of Alaska’s FranUlmer is on the board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, which wants theU.S. to curb its "oil addiction" by requiring that cars get at least42 miles to the gallon. This lineup is the equivalent of naming a panel ofAmish to win the war in Afghanistan. They have neither the knowledge nor theinterest in drilling down to learn the facts of what went wrong in the Gulf andhow to prevent future oil spills. Having had his drilling moratorium declaredillegal by a federal judge and now his drilling commission rebuked byDemocrats, Mr. Obama might want to liberate himself from Carol Browner andother antidrilling White House advisers before they cause him greater politicaldamage.

FederalAppeals Court Rejects Obama Admin Attempt to Enforce Capricious Ban on OffshoreEnergy – But Don’t Worry: New Ban Set to Be Released Later Today. NYTimes (7/8) reports, "A federal appeals court on Thursday turned down theObama administration’s effort to enforce a six-month moratorium on deepwaterdrilling in the Gulf of Mexico. A three-judge panel of the United States Courtof Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, ruled shortly after a hearingin a lawsuit filed by companies that claim they are being financially crippledby the suspension of drilling. The Interior Department said the moratorium wasnecessary because of the uncertainties about the cause of the BP oil wellblowout in April, a shortage of response equipment and a need to write strictnew drilling rules. The moratorium was struck down by a lower court on June 22by a federal judge who found it arbitrary and economically ruinous to industry.The appeals court found that the Interior Department failed to show the federalgovernment would suffer "irreparable injury" if the moratorium is lifted whileit appeals the trial court’s decision. A senior administration official said earlier Thursday that the InteriorDepartment would immediately issue a new moratorium if it lost the court case.Those new regulations, revising the earlier suspension, could come as early asFriday.

Brutal:Barney Frank – Yes, That Barney Frank- Calls on NOAA Chief Jane Lubchenco to Resign – She of All-Fishermen-Are-"Exploiters"-Fame.E&E News (7/8,subs. req’d) reports, "Rep. Barney Frank, a longtime defender of the fishingindustry, today called for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationchief Jane Lubchenco to resign in the wake of controversy over her agency’senforcement of fisheries regulations. Frank (D-Mass.) charged Lubchenco withfailing to rein in NOAA’s law enforcement branch, which has recently come undersharp criticism from the Commerce Department’s inspector general. Lubchenco"failed in her duty to fishermen" and has been unresponsive to concernsfrom a fishing industry that faces severe reductions in catch, Frank added."I think this just bespeaks of an absolute, to some extent hostility andat best an inattention, to the industry," Frank said on a radio talk showon Boston’s WBSM. "I think it’s time for Lubchenco to go."In astatement in response to Frank’s comments, Lubchenco noted that she has beenworking to address issues with fisheries law enforcement since the early daysof her tenure at NOAA. Lubchenco requested the inspector general report in June2009, three months after taking her new job.

Fla.Gov. Charlie Crist Wants to Call a $50,000/Day Special Session to Ban EnergyExploration Off FL’s Coast – Can Someone PLEASE Give This Man a Copy ofDomenici’s ‘06 Bill? St.Pete Times (7/8) reports, "Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday abruptly calledfor a special session of the Legislature to ask lawmakers to let votersconsider putting an offshore oil drilling ban in the state Constitution.  Crist said the July 20-23 session willbe devoted to one issue – "a rifle shot," he called it, intended totap into widespread disgust over the still-uncapped Deepwater Horizon blowoutoff the Louisiana coast, which is already decimating the Panhandle’stourist-dependent economy. But in doing so the governor is trampling on afundamental rule of Tallahassee politics: Don’t call a special session withoutan agreed-upon deal. "The rightness of this is so clear, especiallydealing with what we’ve experienced in the past 80 days or so in the Gulf ofMexico," Crist said. A special session costs about $50,000 a day, largelyfor travel for all 160 legislators. "Legislative action should be based on solid data and empirical analysis,rather than political contrivance," Senate President Jeff Atwater said ina letter to senators, adding that additional measures should be consideredduring the session to help taxpayers and business owners.

Lessthan a Week After Being Embarrassed by Spain in World Cup, Germany Decides toPart with Spanish Energy Policy and Slash Subsidies for Solar – Coincidence? Bloomberg(7/9) Germany’s upper house of parliament backed reductions in solar-powersubsidies of as much as 16 percent after offering the industry an extra threemonths to adjust to the cuts. The measure trims so-called feed-in tariffs forsolar power fed into Germany’s electricity grid by 16 percent for rooftopequipment, 15 percent for farmland and 11 percent for spaces such as formerindustrial or military sites, effective July 1.  Shares of manufacturers in Germany, the world’s biggestmarket for photovoltaic panels, have suffered this year amid uncertainty abouthow much the tariffs would be reduced. The Bloomberg Global Leaders SolarIndex, with 38 members including Q-Cells, First Solar Inc. and Solarworld, hasdeclined 23 percent this year. After some German state governments objected,the planned eductions were scaled back by three percentage points for eachcategory until Sept. 30, when the full cuts kick in.

Speakingof Spain: Germans Can’t Ditch the Spanish Green Jobs Model Fast Enough – OnlyFolks Who Seem to Be Enamored of It These Days is Obama Admin. CEI’s Chris Horner writes (7/8) on PajamasMedia.com,"So the Spaniards’ enterprise carries a per-job cost of $860,534, even though95% of those jobs are temporary (we learned they likely all are in the same waythat census jobs are: the job disappears when the federal support ends). Wow.And proponents even embarrassingly boast that solar power requires more workersthan any other energy source. This could get expensive. Also using White Housefigures, if you assume the actual cost to the taxpayer for the loan guaranteeis 10% of the loan, there is a per-job subsidy of $86,000. This project bringsto life the reason that both the president of Spain’s renewable energyassociation and the communist trade union called Professor Gabriel Calzada "unpatriotic"for revealing that these schemes are uneconomic drains: Spain needed the UnitedStates, Uncle Sucker, to buy into the scheme just to keep them afloat, as Idetail in Power Grab. The administration’s latest line in pushing this waste -it has merit because it would produce jobs – is vacuous. Everything you robfrom Peter to pay Paul to do "creates jobs." That’s not an argument. You candig ditches and fill them back up for less. And that, believe it or not, isless economically harmful by far, as also detailed in PowerGrab.

Newsflash:Berkeley Professor Supports Subsidizing Solar by Forcing Utilities to PurchaseIt at a Rate 10 Times the Market Price for Electricity – Also Known As "Theft." ClimateWire (7/9,subs. req’d) reports, "A new paper from a leading climate policy expert makesthe case that California should have a feed-in tariff like the ones in Germanyand Spain that have been credited with creating unprecedented demand for solarpower. Dan Kammen is a professor of energy, policy and nuclear engineering atthe University of California, Berkeley, and was an adviser to President Obamaon energy policy during the 2008 campaign. He is backing a state-set price forrenewable energy fed back to the electricity grid. The price guarantee, knownas a feed-in tariff, would promote the development of wholesale distributedgeneration — mainly solar, but also some wind, biogas, biomass and geothermalpower. Wholesale distributed generation is key to meeting California’s existingrenewable portfolio standard of 33 percent by 2020, Kammen says. The state’sthree investor-owned utilities have missed the 2010 target of 20 percentrenewables and are not on track to meet the 2020 target, either. Californiaalready has a feed-in tariff of sorts: 2006’s A.B. 1969 has provisions forprojects between 1 and 1.5 megawatts. It also has the California SolarInitiative and the Small Generator Incentive Program, which provides incentivesfor projects under 1 MW.

Here’sHow You Know You’ve Become Irrelevant: You’re the Secretary of Energy, There’sa Massive Oil Spill in the Gulf, and You’re Submitting Articles to NatureMagazine About How Gravity Slows Time.AssociatedPress (7/8, subs. req’d) reports, "Some people relax by doing crosswordpuzzles, watching movies or reading a good book. In his down time, often whileflying somewhere, Energy Secretary Steven Chu relaxes by tackling a scientificconundrum and stretching the limits of technology. The result: Chu has a denseresearch paper being published online Wednesday in the prestigious scientificjournal Nature. The title: "Subnanometre single-molecule localizationregistration and distance measurements." Chu’s scientific colleagues call hisstudy a major advancement in how tiny an object optical microscopes can see.Chu came up with a system using existing technology to see objects, such asmolecules and parts of cells, as small as half a nanometer. This is Chu’ssecond such meaty scientific paper in recent months, both published in thejournal Nature. The first, published in February, was following AlbertEinstein’s general relativity theory and better measuring how gravity slowstime. Both were published while he has been energy secretary, but started longbefore he took the job in January 2009. A third study is in the pipeline, Chusaid. None of this is the sort of thing Cabinet secretaries usually read, letalone write. For the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, it’s how he takes a breakfrom the problems of a devastating oil spill, global warming and high gasprices. "I just consider it my equivalent of … vegging out in front ofthe TV," he told The Associated Press.

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