August 24, 2010

AlternateReality: Biden, Chu Set to Release Report This AM Arguing Green Stimulus CashIs Actually Working, Notwithstanding Paucity of Jobs. The WhiteHouse announced the following in a recent (8/23) media advisory: Tuesday,August 24th,  Vice President Bidenwill hold an event unveiling a report with new analysis on the impact ofRecovery Act investments in innovation, science and technology.  The Recovery Act is investing over $100billion in innovative and transformative programs that span industries fromEnergy to Health Information Technology. These investments are accelerating the pace of innovation, helping toestablish the U.S. as a global leader in competitive, high-growth industries ofthe 21st century.  The VicePresident will be joined by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu as he discusses howthese investments will help make important technologies more affordable in themarketplace and build the nation’s infrastructure to enable further soundeconomic growth and job creation. This event will be pooled for TV cameras, andopen to print, online, radio and still photographers. An RSVP is required toparticipate. Watch this event live at 10:45 AM ET at

NewChief of Former MMS Agency Tells Spill Commission that Offshore Ban May BeLifted Before November – On Same Day Salazar (His Boss) Defends ItsContinuation. WallStreet Journal (8/23) reports, "The Obama administration’s chief offshoredrilling regulator said Monday the government could partially lift a moratoriumon new deep-water oil exploration before Nov. 30 if oil companies can persuadethe government their operations are safe. Michael Bromwich, the director of theBureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation, wrote in aletter to the special presidential commission investigating the BP PLC oilspill that the agency may decide that "certain categories of rigs presentfewer risks than others are and sufficiently safe to allow the moratorium to belifted with respect to those categories of rigs." The commission holds apublic meeting Wednesday. Members of the commission have questioned theadministration’s moratorium, which is also under attack in federal court. Thedrilling ban has been controversial in the Gulf Coast, where oil companies andlocal officials say it is crippling the region’s economy. The Obamaadministration says the ban is necessary while the government develops newsafeguards to lessen the chances of another giant oil spill like the one thatoccurred in the Gulf of Mexico after an April 20 well explosion that destroyeda floating oil rig and killed 11 workers.

CaliforniaPanhandle: SoCal Power Authority Set to Ask Ratepayers to Cough of $533 Millionto Help Underwrite Shift to Expensive, Unreliable Electricity. Bloomberg(8/23) reports, "Southern California Public Power Authority, provider ofelectricity to almost 5 million people, plans to sell $533.1 million ofmunicipal bonds in the biggest scheduled tax-exempt sale of the week. Theauthority expects to sell the biggest tranche, $40.8 million in 20-yearmaturities, at 40 basis points, or 0.40 percentage point, above AAA ratedmunicipal bonds, said Vernon Oates, finance and accounting manager.  "The fact that it’s a AA- issue, with alittle extra yield in a high-tax state, this is really going to dominate thecalendar," said Howard Cure, director of municipal bond research at EvercoreWealth Management in New York, which oversees about $1.5 billion. The proceedsfrom the authority sale will be used to prepay for power from the WindyPoint/Windy Flats Project, a 114- turbine wind-energy farm in Washington state.The Pasadena-based authority is purchasing the electricity on behalf of the LosAngeles Department of Water and Power and the city of Glendale.  California businesses, includingutilities, are required by state law to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissionssuch as carbon dioxide to 1990s levels, in part by purchasing more renewableenergy, Oates said. The authority lowers the cost by prepaying for theelectricity, he said.

Cat’sOut of the Bag: Markey Predicts His Enviro Allies Will Pound House ColleaguesWho Oppose Wind, Solar Hand-Outs with TV and Radio Ads Ahead of November. Greenwire (8/23, subs.req’d) reports, "Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) predicted last week that the Senatewill eventually clear the House-passed climate bill and blamed SenateRepublicans for hamstringing the effort. Markey, who co-authored the Houseclimate bill with Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), saidthat while the Senate missed an opportunity, soaring energy costs and theeffects of climate change will push the issue back into the politicalspotlight. "The conditions should have been right for us to act,"Markey said last week on C-SPAN’s "Newsmakers" program. "There’sno question about it, but those situations are going to arise again."Markey also predicted that candidates who oppose cap and trade will face apolitical backlash during November’s midterm election."I envision thatthere is going to be a reverse political takedown in many districts across ourcountry when the ads are run on wind, on solar, on biomass, on plug-in hybrids,contrasting the member who supports that with the member who opposes it,"he said. "Whichever Republicanshave decided to align themselves with that Kentucky coal and Oklahoma oilagenda are going to wind up with a very big surprise on Election Day."

Rank-and-FileEnviros May Have Zero In Common with Rank-and-File Union Workers, But ThatDoesn’t Stop UAW from Breaking Bread with Sierra Club. E&E News (8/23,subs. req’d) reports, "The United Auto Workers has announced that it will jointhe BlueGreen Alliance, a partnership of labor and environment groups pushingfor policies that create green jobs. The auto union said the announcement ispart of a larger effort for members to build more fuel-efficient cars and helprebuild the overall auto industry. "UAW members produce best-in-class carsand trucks, key vehicle components and top quality heavy-duty trucks, and weknow that we can rebuild the American auto industry by building cleaner, moreefficient vehicles — and developing the technologies that will get usthere," UAW President Bob King said. "We have enormous opportunitiesto revitalize this industry, and the American economy, by embracing the cleanenergy economy of the future." UAW — also called the International Union,United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America –represents more than 390,000 members primarily in the auto industry, althoughsome members work in gambling, health care and higher education. The BlueGreenAlliance was formed in 2006 by the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers.

NRDC-Backed"Republican" Enviro Group Calls on Congress to Dump Even More Cash into Landand Water Conservation Fund — $315M/Year Apparently Isn’t Enough. Jim DiPeso writes (8/24) in Politico, "In1977, Congress agreed to deposit $900 million, from offshore oil and gasroyalties, into the fund each year. Like fiscally responsible Couple A,Congress agreed to forgo some consumption today to be able to leave a bequestfor future generations.  Here’s thecatch. Money deposited into the fund is not automatically available for theintended purpose. Congress must appropriate it through legislation.  Like that fiscally irresponsible CoupleB, Congress has yielded to temptations to grab the money for other programs. Onaverage, Congress has appropriated only $313 million annually over the pastdecade – far below the $900 million per year authorized. The lack of fiscaldiscipline that has shortchanged investments in our natural heritage doesn’t squarewith what the public wants. Recent polling shows that 86 percent of voters -including 83 percent of Republicans – support using offshore oil and gasrevenues to protect open space and expand outdoor recreation opportunities.This conservation fund is a program that works. It has provided critical moniesto buy open space from willing sellers and to develop natural sites availablefor all citizens. This, in turn, pays dividends in good quality of life, healthand local economic activity.

Directorof the Titanic Knows a Thing or Two About Lost Causes – Which Is Likely Why HeDecided to Cancel Major Debate on Climate Change at Last Second. E&E News (8/23,subs. req’d) reports, "Cameron had been scheduled to debate climate changeskeptics yesterday, but the event was canceled at the last minute, according toMarc Morano, director of the skeptic website "Climate Depot" and aformer spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Morano said he and two otherskeptics — conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart and filmmaker Ann McElhinney– were planning to debate Cameron last night, but the director pulled the plugafter environmentalists warned him against participating in the forum. Moranosaid the cancellation was made while he was on his flight to Aspen. "Helet his friends in the environmental community spook him out of thisdebate," Morano said. "When he was warned that he was probably goingto lose and lose badly, he ran like a scared mouse." "Morano is notat James Cameron’s level to debate, and that’s why that didn’t happen,"Comins said. "Cameron should be debating someone who is similar to hisstature in our society." Morano was given a platform to speak in Aspen –a 90-minute event with a question-and-answer session, which he called his"consolation prize" and "an absolute joke." Comins saidMorano’s presentation was not an official summit event.

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