August 3, 2010

NRDCCo-Opts San Fran Chamber of "Commerce" in Bid to Generate News Stories on "Dissension"in Chamber Ranks on Carbon Criminalization – Nice Try. MotherJones (8/2) writes, "A new split over climate policy is brewing within theranks of the US Chamber of Commerce as a breakaway group of local chambers isgetting ready to publicly split with the business lobby’s hardline stanceagainst climate legislation. The new climate coalition, known as the Chambersfor Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE), will press Congress to take strongeraction on climate and energy issues. It has already signed up about a dozenchambers and will officially launch later this year. Local Chamber president Win Hallett writesto members, "This week, I learned that several state and local chambers ofcommerce have been approached by a group calling itself "Chambers forInnovation & Clean Energy". Your chamber may have been asked to join. Thegroup is being pitched as an organic movement led by the San Francisco Chamberof Commerce, with the express purpose of "putting a price on carbon" and "limitingcarbon and greenhouse gases". Ironically, their indirect purpose appears to beundermining the U.S. Chamber’s and the business community’s leadership on thisvital issue. Some very simple research reveals that this group is not anorganic movement; rather, this group was established by the Natural ResourcesDefense Council (NRDC), an environmental activist organization.

GoodThing Markey Knows No Shame: Or Else He Would Be Plenty Embarrassed By How EPAShellacked Him on Dispersant Science.TheHill (8/3) reports, "BP’s use of the dispersant Corexit 9500A with federalapproval is a politically charged issue. Environmentalists and some lawmakersallege officials allowed massive applications despite unknown risks to marinelife and cleanup workers. But Paul Anastas, who heads EPA’s Office of Researchand Development, said the decision to allow dispersant use was sound given thedangers posed by the oil that spewed uncontrolled for months from BP’s rupturedwell. He called the oil "enemy No. 1," and said that test results show thedispersant use "seems to be a wise decision and the oil itself is the hazardthat we are concerned about." Anastas spoke on a conference call with reportersabout newly released testing data. EPA said peer-reviewed tests using eightdispersants on two aquatic species – the mysid shrimp and a fish called theinland silverside – showed various oil-dispersant mixes were generally no moretoxic than oil alone, and Corexit mixed with oil is no worse than mixtures ofother dispersants and oil. "For all eight dispersants in both test species, thedispersants alone were less toxic than the dispersant-oil mixture," states anEPA summary of the results. EPA found Corexit is "is no more or less toxic thanthe other available alternatives."

ClotureVote on Reid’s Spill Bill Expected to Go Down in Flames Tomorrow – But That’sOK, Says Kerry; We Can Still Grill Up that Lame Duck. E&E News (8/3, subs.req’d) reports, "Several key Democrats expressed concern over language in theDemocrats’ bill (S. 3663), which would need at least 60 supporters attomorrow’s cloture vote in order to move forward. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.)yesterday said she would not vote for the Democrats’ proposal. "Not in thecondition that it’s in, no," she said. Likewise, Sen. Mark Begich(D-Alaska) said he would not vote for the Democratic bill as is. Both senatorswould like to see some form of revenue-sharing language in the bill. Begichsaid he would prefer the version of revenue sharing included in the Republicanbill. The two senators also are concerned about language that would eliminateoil companies’ liability caps in the case of a spill. "I wish thatsomebody would focus on helping the Gulf Coast instead of their focus ondestroying an industry and not caring about the consequences of unlimitedcaps," Landrieu said. The pair is working on compromise language that willlikely address the liability issue. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and others arealso helping craft the compromise, Begich said.

Landrieu,Begich, Precious Few Others in the Senate Dem Caucus Try to Find Third Way onSpill Bill – But Reid Not Interested in Solutions At this Stage. TheHill (8/3) reports, "Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) said Monday that it wouldaddress setting aside revenue from oil and gas production in federal waters forstates with production off their coasts. It also seeks to end a stalemate overhow much to increase the current $75 million liability limit oil companies facefor offshore spills, and could alter the Obama administration’s temporary banon deepwater drilling. Begich met Monday with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) andothers and staff worked over the weekend as well, he said. But time hasprobably run out, at least for now. "I don’t think we’re making much progress,unfortunately, so I don’t think the bill’s going to go anywhere," Sen MaryLandrieu (D-La.) said of a separate oil spill and energy strategy SenateDemocratic leaders have proposed. "But maybe when we come back, cooler headswill prevail." Landrieu said she is working with Begich and "the few reasonablepeople in my caucus on this issue. They’re not many of them." This includes "business-minded"Democrats like Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), she said.

Meanwhile,Back on the Gulf Coast, Folks Continue to Lose Their Jobs – And Papers Continueto Report on AEA Study Explaining Just How Bad It Will Get. Bastrop(La.) Daily Enterprise (8/3) reports, "A recently released study by LSUeconomist Dr. Joseph Mason concludes the Obama administration’s six-monthmoratorium on deepwater oil drilling will have grave economic consequences forLouisiana and the nation. Following the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion onApril 20, the White House issued a moratorium on exploratory drilling on May30. Enforcement of the initial moratorium was blocked by a federal judge in NewOrleans on June 22, citing a lack of basis for the regulation. The Obamaadministration issued a second moratorium on July 12 which re-asserts thepolicies and timeframe of the May 30 moratorium — to be in effect until Nov.30 — and also includes all floating facilities. "The Economic Cost of aMoratorium on Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration to the Gulf Region" by Dr.Joseph Mason, a professor of finance and endowed chair of banking in LSU’s E.J.Ourso College of Business, was released in July. The study was sponsored bySave U.S. Energy Jobs, a project of the American Energy Alliance, and exploreshow the moratorium on offshore drilling will affect the economies of the Gulfstates — Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi — as well as the nation.

BobCasey Takes a Little Nibble from NRDC Cheese on Hydraulic Fracturing, thenDevours the Entire Wheel – Agrees to Prostrate Himself to EPA on Endangerment. E&E News (8/3, subs.req’d) reports, "Two Senate Democrats may attempt to bolster U.S. EPA’sauthority to regulate greenhouse gases if West Virginia Democrat JayRockefeller tries to hamstring the agency’s climate rules. Sens. Tom Carper(D-Del.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) for several months have been consideringoffering a countermeasure to Senate efforts to stymie EPA climate regulations.Their provision would exempt small sources from EPA climate rules whileallowing the agency to regulate the largest polluters. Carper yesterday saidtalks about the proposal so far have remained at the staff level but that couldchange now that Rockefeller is seeking a vote this year on a bill to limitEPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. "I’m not sure whatSenator Rockefeller is going to do, but if he’s intent on pressing for a vote,Bob Casey and I may have to finally have that conversation," Carper said.Rockefeller told reporters yesterday that there is a "100 percent"chance that he will seek a vote on the legislation this year. He has sixDemocratic co-sponsors for his bill, which would prevent EPA from regulatinggreenhouse gases from industrial facilities for two years.

Sen.Brownback Has a Shiny National Debt Clock on His Official Website – So Why DoesHe Support a Federal Mandate Ordering Utilities to Buy Expensive, UnreliableWind? Tom Stacy writes (8/1) on,"US Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) displays a national debt clock on his homepage and is a proclaimed conservative. Yet he supports wasteful governmentspending on deployment of impotent technologies like wind energy. I believe Samand his kind are the root cause of a failure for industrial windpower opponentsto gain the upper hand in Washington D.C. I further believe that in Brownback’scase, his faulty platform correlates to his committee membership, which showshis allegiance to the agriculture lobby, which represent the secondaryfinancial beneficiaries of wind energy deployment. It would be more fiscallyconservative and environmentally benign to simply hand the agri-community theequivalent taxpayer money Carte-Blanche which they stand to receive from windenergy leases. But I do not advocate this over the best course of action:removing special government favors and mandates for windfarms. While it isunfathomable to me that Sam Brownback can display a national debt clock on hisweb site while simultaneously calling for a national renewable energy standard(RES),  I cannot change Senator’sposition on wind energy in light of his allegiance to agriculture on my own.

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