August 17, 2010

Know Your Audience: Obama VeryCareful on Where Drops a Line for Cap-and-Raid During Trip Out West – Waits ‘Til$1 Million Fundraiser in Los Angeles to Let ‘Er Rip. LATimes (8/17) reports, "Onlookers lined Olympic Boulevard, snappingcellphone photos. One person held a small sign declaring, "We needjobs." "I was an Obama supporter, but … was stopped by police fromcrossing Olympic to get home … during my daily dog walk," Amy Christinesaid on the website. "I’ve lost all belief in his judgment. Can he reallythink he’s more important than the tens of thousands of people trying to gethome to their families?" Obama told the crowd that he and congressionalDemocrats, through the economic stimulus measure, had "made the biggestinvestments in clean energy in our history – building solar panels and windturbines and advanced batteries." Reaching out to Republicans – andevoking his message at a stop he made earlier in the day – Obama said, "Onenergy, we’re willing to compromise on a whole bunch of issues, but we’ve gotto have a strategy that starts to limit carbon, because we want thoseclean-energy jobs here in the United States. Not in China. Not in Germany."On his way west, the president visited Wisconsin, where he told workers at ZBBEnergy Corp. that his administration had helped jump-start "a homegrownclean-energy industry." At the Los Angeles fundraiser, Obama called foremissions limits – the first time he had mentioned them all day.

Fake It ‘Til You Make It (Up):President Just Pulling Numbers Out of the Ether at This Point – Says Green JobsStimulus Cash will Create 800,000 New Jobs (!) in 18 Months. ABCNews (8/16) reports, "Speaking at advanced battery and electricity storageplant outside Milwaukee, President Obama to push his administration’scommitment to a "homegrown clean-energy industry" to jumpstart manufacturingand create jobs. "For years, we’ve heard about manufacturing jobs disappearingoverseas. Well, companies like this are showing us how manufacturing can comeback right here in the United States of America, right back here to Wisconsin,"Obama said at ZBB Energy Corporation in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.  The White House said that ZBB Energy isexpanding its battery production through a $1.3 million Recovery Act loan. Theloan will help fund a factory renovation that the company says will triple itsmanufacturing capacity, help retain several dozen workers and allow it to hire80 new workers. Obama said that the new commitment to clean energy could leadto more than 800,000 new jobs by 2012. "That’s not just creating work in the short term; that’s going to helplay the foundation for lasting economic growth," he said. 

Meanwhile, Investment BankersWho Had Banked on Guaranteed Prices, Markets Thanks to Cap-and-Raid DownrightPetulant Over Congress’s "Inaction" on Artifiically Pricing Carbon. Reuters(8/17) reports, "Alternative energy investment prospects have shriveled in theUnited States after the U.S. Senate was unable to break a deadlock overtackling global warming, a Deutsche Bank official said. "You just throwyour hands up and say … we’re going to take our money elsewhere," saidKevin Parker in an interview with Reuters. Parker, who is global head of theFrankfurt-based bank’s Deutsche Asset Management Division, oversees nearly $700billion in funds that devote $6 billion to $7 billion to climate changeproducts. Amid so much political uncertainty in the United States, Parker saidDeutsche Bank will focus its "green" investment dollars more and moreon opportunities in China and Western Europe, where it sees governmentsproviding a more positive environment. "They’re asleep at the wheel onclimate change, asleep at the wheel on job growth, asleep at the wheel on thisindustrial revolution taking place in the energy industry," Parker said ofWashington’s inability to seal a climate-change program and other alternativeenergy incentives into place. Besides failing to set a policy dealing with climatechange, Parker also complained that on-again, off-again tax incentives forrenewable energy contributes to the poor outlook for investment in the UnitedStates.

Interior Dept. Doubles Down onOffshore Assault – Will Require New EIS and NEPA’s Every Time Someone Throws aDip In Offshore From Now On. E&E News (8/16,subs. req’d) reports, "Full environmental assessments will be required for allnew deepwater drilling, the Interior Department announced today. The move comesas a new federal report outlines flaws in the government’s process in approvingthe well that caused the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The department will curtailthe use of a provision it had been employing to streamline offshore drillingapplications, including the BP PLC well. For deepwater drilling, the departmentwill no longer use "categorical exclusions," which allowed it toapprove projects without preparing new environmental analyses that wouldnormally be required by the National Environmental Policy Act. A new WhiteHouse Council on Environmental Quality report says the categorical exclusionsused to approve the BP plans were established in 1981 and 1986, long beforedeepwater drilling became widespread. The decision also will affect newdrilling closer to shore. All shallow-water plans will require acategorical-exclusion review to examine whether any factors would trigger anenvironmental assessment — such as the use of unusual technology or a locationnear biologically sensitive areas — and whether the plan’s worst-case spillvolume is greater than accounted for in oil spill response plans.

Lehman, PA’s About as Rural AsIt Gets – Folks Out There Love Their Land, Love Their Country, and Love ThemSome Marcellus Shale Exploration As Well. Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) TimesLeader (8/17) reports, "Despite negative feedback in recent months fromanti-"fracking" groups concerning Marcellus Shale gas drilling, supervisors onMonday night expressed their support for the industry, as did several townshipresidents. Fracking refers to the drilling process of hydraulic fracturing,which uses water and chemicals under pressure to liberate natural gas from theshale deposits. Many have expressed concern that the process could impactdrinking water wells. Carl Kern, who owns trucks that service drillers inBradford County, said the public should listen to the positive side of drillinginstead of the protest.  Forexample, he said the companies are maintaining the roads they use. In LehmanTownship, if a road repair is necessary, the supervisors can call the companyand it will fix it, he said. Board Chairman Dave Sutton concurred, adding thatif the township must repair a road in an emergency situation, it will bereimbursed by the drillers. "It’s nice to hear something positive," Suttonsaid. Kern discussed his support with state Sen. Lisa Baker and believes she isdoing what she can to ensure the drilling "is done right."

EPA Jumps the Shark (Again):Agency Gets Set to Issue New CAFE Rules for Huge Industrial Work Trucks – Can’tWait to See What a Hybrid Caterpillar Looks Like. Greenwire (8/16, subs.req’d) reports, "The Obama administration is preparing to issue new fueleconomy standards and the first-ever greenhouse gas limits for large trucks andbuses. U.S. EPA and the Transportation Department sent draft rules Friday tothe White House regulatory review office that would limit heavy-duty vehicles’emissions under the Clean Air Act and boost fuel economy standards for medium-and heavy-duty trucks, according to a federal website that tracks new rules.President Obama announced the latest initiative during a Rose Garden speech inMay, where he directed officials at EPA and DOT to expand on a joint rulemakingfinalized earlier this year for cars and light-duty trucks for model years 2012through 2016. Obama issued a memorandum directing the agencies to expand theprogram to include medium- and heavy-duty trucks for model years 2014 through2018. "While the federal government and many states have now created aharmonized framework for addressing the fuel economy of and greenhouse gasemissions from cars and light-duty trucks, medium- and heavy-duty trucks andbuses continue to be a major source of fossil fuel consumption and greenhousegas pollution," Obama wrote in the memo.

Sierra Club Chooses College inVermont as "Greenest University" — For the 321st Consecutive YearThat the Survey Has Been Around. SierraMagazine, the Club’s monthly rag (8/16), writes, "Green Mountain College;Poultney, VT | Score: 88.6; GMC excels in most categories, and it’s the MVPwhen it comes to creativity. The campus gets power and heat from biomass andbiogas (a.k.a. cow power) and plans to be carbon-neutral by next year.Intercollegiate rivalry is a long and hallowed tradition. That was theoperating premise, anyway, behind our fourth annual Coolest Schools survey. Wesent out 11-page questionnaires to 900 colleges and universities across theUnited States, asking them to detail their sustainability efforts. We received162 responses, nearly all of them painstakingly thorough. Justin Mog, who workson sustainability initiatives at Kentucky’s University of Louisville, was oneof several respondents who confirmed our original idea, thanking us for"keeping up the competitive pressure on universities to push thesustainability envelope." Although we worked hard to apply rigorous,objective standards when evaluating the questionnaires, a certain amount ofsubjectivity was inevitable, and we hope that readers (and the growing legionof college sustainability officers) will bear that in mind. The point, afterall, is to create competition, to generate awareness, and to celebrate that somany colleges even have a sustainability officer.

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