August 27, 2010

EtTu, Grumet? Fmr. Obama Energy Advisor Drops Heavy Political Ordnance on WhiteHouse in Form of New Report Calling for Obama Offshore Ban to Be Lifted.Bloomberg(8/26) reports, "President Barack Obama’s moratorium on deep-water drilling isno longer needed because new rules reduce the risk of an uncontrolled spill,according to a report for a panel investigating BP Plc’s blowout. Rules issuedin June by the Interior Department "provide an adequate margin of safety toresponsibly allow the resumption of deep-water drilling," according to thereport today from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based researchgroup. The rules, if followed by BP, Apache Corp. and other drillers, andenforced by regulators, "will achieve a significant and beneficial reduction ofrisk." "It confirms what we’ve been saying in Louisiana, that a six-monthmoratorium is arbitrary and capricious," Louisiana Lieutenant Governor ScottAngelle, a Democrat, said today in an interview. The rules "have created anenvironment where a bipartisan, independent group says we can get back to work.We need to start issuing permits." Contributors to the report issued today alsoinclude Elgie Holstein, senior director for strategic planning at the NewYork-based Environmental Defense Fund. Grumet’s report can be found here.

EtTu, Bob Gates? Obama Defense Department Also Poking the Administration in theEye on Energy – This Time, Expressing Concerns on Wind Mills in the Mojave. NYTimes (8/26) reports, "The United States military has found a new menacehiding here in the vast emptiness of the Mojave Desert in California: windturbines. Moving turbine blades can be indistinguishable from airplanes on manyradar systems, and they can even cause blackout zones in which planes disappearfrom radar entirely. Clusters of wind turbines, which can reach as high as 400feet, look very similar to storm activity on weather radar, making it harderfor air traffic controllers to give accurate weather information topilots.  Although the military saysno serious incidents have yet occurred because of the interference, the windturbines pose an unacceptable risk to training, testing and national securityin certain regions, Dr. Dorothy Robyn, deputy under secretary of defense,recently told a House Armed Services subcommittee. Because of its concerns, theDefense Department has emerged as a formidable opponent of wind projects indirect conflict with another branch of the federal government, the EnergyDepartment, which is spending billions of dollars on wind projects as part ofPresident Obama’s broader effort to promote renewable energy.

SeeHow They Run: If You’re a Public Official in Appalachia with the Letter "D"After Your Name, "Obama" and "EPA" Aren’t Things You’re Associating YourselfWith Right Now. Greenwire/NYTimes (8/26) reports, "Democrats in Appalachia are running away from the Obamaadministration’s coal record like their political lives depend on it. They maybe right. After decades in Democrats’ hands, much of the mountain corridor hasdrifted toward Republicans in national elections. Energy issues have driven theswitch, particularly since 2000, when Al Gore came to West Virginia touting acarbon-free future and became the fourth Democratic presidential candidate tolose the state since the Great Depression. Along with the president’s push forlimits on greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. EPA in April singled out the sixstates for special restrictions on mountaintop removal coal mining. EPA alsostopped the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from issuing permits for 79 surfaceand mountaintop mines in the region, saying they would have violated the CleanWater Act. To date, six of those permits have been approved. "I thinkthere is a danger for Democrats that being seen as a Democrat means being seenas being a supporter of Obama’s EPA," said Phil Smith, a spokesman for theUnited Mine Workers of America. "There is a risk for Democratic candidatesto be tied to it, if they let themselves."

Deloitte:Shale Gas, Other Not-So-Unconventionals Primed for Enormous Expansion Over Next20 Years – Will Double Their Share of the Market, All Thanks to HF. Greenwire (8/26, subs.req’d) reports, "Unconventional natural gas sources will double their share ofthe U.S. market in the next 20 years, say analysts at Deloitte in a new report.Abundant supplies of gas from huge shale deposits in the United States and theexpanding international market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) should also keepprices depressed for years to come, the company says. At the same time,Deloitte’s survey of evolving trends in the industry shows shale gas productionis getting cheaper and more cost-effective, enticing the world’s largest oilcompanies to creep into a sector long dominated by smaller independent producers.Deloitte sees low pricing as the norm for some time but does not see it as aproblem for shale gas developers as companies have undertaken impressive costreductions. Gas at $3.38 per million Btu is the "break even point"for producers at the Eagle Ford shale formation in south Texas, the firm pointsout. The relative success of independent oil and gas producers, driven largelyby shale exploration, is now causing larger producers to enter the fray in anincreasingly big way.

DevonChief: Reid Tried to Pull a Fast One with Sweet-and-Sour Approach to NatGas inEnergy Bill – But Be Advised: Helluva Lot More Vinegar in There Than Molasses. Devon CEO Larry Nichols writes (8/27) in the Oklahoman,"The [Reid] bill would have had the Environmental Protection Agency requirenatural gas producers to identify chemicals added to water used to fractureshale natural gas formations. Environmental groups have been campaigning foryears to move hydraulic fracturing oversight from states to federaljurisdiction, where it would be subject to a host of new regulatory burdensthat could discourage exploration, slow production, reduce gas supplies, raiseenergy costs and erode high-paying jobs. The Reid bill would have been a firststep. Reid’s bill presented some difficult choices for Inhofe and Coburn. Bothsenators support the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Natural gasis the cleanest fossil fuel, it is abundant and Oklahoma is the nation’sthird-largest producer. The bill would also have encouraged energy efficiencyand, perhaps, created manufacturing jobs in Oklahoma. The problem is thenegatives far outweigh the positives. Because of Inhofe, Coburn and others whoput our nation’s economy before ideology, Reid’s bill never made it to thefloor. For the time being, we are relieved. Meanwhile, we are still waiting foran energy policy that will promote all of our energy resources, create jobs,strengthen our economy and ensure our nation’s energy security.

JohnDoerr Made a Billion Dollars the Right Way – Now He’s Trying to See if He CanMake a Billion More Through Rent-Seeking, Crony Capitalism, "Green" Hedging. Amanda Carey writes (8/26) for the DailyCaller, "Doerr has been responsible for the firm’s successful investmentsin companies like Compaq, Intuit, AOL, Amazon, Netscape and Google. No onewould argue that Doerr hasn’t earned his spot on Forbes magazine’s annualrichest people in the world list. However, in recent years, Doerr hasredirected his talent from picking out successful start-up companies tosuccessfully lobbying the Obama administration into supporting "green"initiatives. While Doerr considers himself "a raging capitalist," what he hasbeen doing the last few years may be more akin to crony capitalism. With hislobbying, political advising and picky investing, Doerr has been one of themain movers behind green policy initiatives in Washington D.C, creating a webof players within a new industrial complex of green initiatives and renewableenergy. He’s also been one of the biggest profiteers from it. "I think Doerr,like most, supports people he knows will support him," Chris Horner, seniorfellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller. "He[Doerr] is invaluable to them as a committee hearing witness. And, because they[politicians] are promoting the coercive transfer of wealth to ‘investments’ ofhis – investments that he made on the cheap because they’re uneconomic, but canreap tremendous ‘rents’ if their agenda of taking effective control of theenergy sector is affected – they are invaluable to him," said Horner. He added,"I don’t know if he has been trading tit for tat, but it is clearly a mutualbenefits society."

Here’sHow Much Greens Hate Coal: So Much, That They’d Rather Keep 80 Million Peoplein India in the Dark than Allow Them Access to Coal-Fired Electricity.  TheHill (8/26) reports, "I’m pleased with the unanimous vote of approval tobuild an Indian power plant, which will lead to hundreds of jobs forMilwaukee-area residents. I hope this vote symbolizes a new direction for theObama Administration, where policies promote American economic growth ratherthan ship jobs overseas. Next, the President should acknowledge the harmfulconsequences cap-and-tax will impose on American workers," said Sensenbrenner,the ranking member of the Select Committee for Energy Independence and GlobalWarming, in a statement. But several environmental groups are bashing thefinancing. Three groups – Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club and PacificEnvironment – said in a statement Wednesday that the project alone wouldproduce carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to one-fifth of the coal plantsproposed in the United States. "The fix is in at Ex-Im Bank. The Bank’s boardbowed to political pressure and in so doing wastes public financing to worsentheir fossil fuel binge," said Doug Norlen, policy director of PacificEnvironment. The bank board’s decision to approve the financing Wednesday is areversal of the bank’s earlier rejection of the project, according to multiplepress accounts.

It’sClearly Not About the Carbon, Friends: Same Enviros – Same Damned Ones! – WhoOppose Coal in India Oppose Emissions-Free Nuclear Power in South Carolina. ClimateWire (8/26)reports, "The five NRC commissioners are scheduled to announce a decision on achallenge raised by the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth against twoproposed nuclear reactors planned for the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station inFairfield County, S.C. The two environmental activist organizations contendthat the project’s sponsors — South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. (SCE&G)and the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper) — did notseriously consider "greener" alternatives to the proposed reactors,such as offshore wind and demand response programs. And that violates theNational Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which the NRC is obliged to uphold,the Sierra Club and FOE insist. An NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board paneldismissed the environmental groups’ objections to the utilities’ environmentalplan for the Summer project last year, calling the challenge "vague andgeneralized." In its environmental statement to the NRC, SCE&Gprojected that its baseload capacity would increase by 24 percent between 2007and 2021, due to growing demand for power it anticipates in the state from anexpanding population and business base (South Carolina also exports power toother states).

MusiciansSay They Won’t Play a Horse Show Because It’s Sponsored by a Local Coal Company- No Problem Using Those ELECTRIC Guitars Though, Huh Fellas? Lexington(Ky.) Herald-Leader (8/24) reports, "At least four entertainment acts haverefused to perform during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games because a coalcompany is one of the major sponsors. Acts who won’t be appearing as part ofthe Kentucky Experience Pavilion include the musical groups Reel World StringBand, Kentucky Wild Horse and Randy Wilson, and storyteller Octavia Sexton. Allare performers with strong Appalachian ties, who often incorporate coal mines andminers into their performances. Reel World String Band, for example, wouldlikely have performed The Taking, which includes a line about stopping"the greed of the coal companies." The artists were selected by theKentucky Arts Council several months ago as part of an effort to showcase thestate’s tourism, businesses and arts and crafts in a group of large structuresat the Kentucky Horse Park. While the arts council was choosing performers, thestate Department of Tourism was lining up sponsors. John Harrod, a member ofthe group Kentucky Wild Horse, said that was something he could not do. "Icould not in good conscience allow myself to be used as an advertisement for anindustry that has bought and corrupted our legislature and consistently blockedall efforts by our state to move ahead on sustainable energy," Harrod saidMonday.

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