August 31, 2010

TrustUs, You Won’t Feel a Thing: EPA Chief Characterizes UpcomingCommand-and-Control Carbon Criminalization Rules over Entire US Economy as "ModestIn Scope." TheHill (8/30) reports, "EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said over the weekendthat upcoming climate regulations are modest in scope, comments that come amidCapitol Hill efforts to scuttle the rules, EPA is set to begin regulatinggreenhouse gases from power plants and other large emissions sources in 2011,but vows to phase in the requirements slowly and shield small businesses. "They[the rules] will be modest, each and every one, because business needs time tounderstand the regulations that are coming at them. There won’t be any hugeshocks to the system," Jackson told National Public Radio in an interviewbroadcast Sunday. Some Capitol Hill lawmakers hope to derail EPA’s ability toregulate greenhouse gas emissions; regulations also face court challenges. Criticsof the regulations allege they will harm the economy, while defenders call thefears overblown and say the rules are needed to help slow global warming. Sen.Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) has said that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) haspromised him a vote this year on his bill to block EPA rules governingstationary emissions sources for two years. Opponents have also eyedappropriations bills for riders to scuttle EPA’s authority. Jackson also saidshe remains hopeful Congress will return to climate.

Haley’sComment: Mississippi Gov. Gets Another Top Interior Official to Go On theRecord Predicting Premature End to Obama’s Failed Offshore Ban. AssociatedPress (8/30) reports, "Alabama Gov. Bob Riley and Mississippi Gov. HaleyBarbour used the Southern Governors’ Association convention in suburbanBirmingham to press the funding issue with two officials of the Obamaadministration: senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and assistant secretary ofInterior Wilma Lewis. The convention offered Barbour an opportunity to air hisfrustration with the administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling,particularly after President Obama did not discuss it Sunday in his visit toNew Orleans. Lewis said people must remember that 11 workers lost their livesin the April accident. She said a six-month pause to Nov. 30 was needed to makesafety changes and make sure a future spill can be contained. But she said somerigs that are deemed to be safer than others might be allowed to return to workbefore Nov. 30. Barbour said the moratorium had worsened the spill’s economicimpact on the Gulf states and caused oil companies to increase their interestin drilling in areas far beyond the Gulf. "I don’t know how to describe itother than pouring salt in a wound," he said. Barbour and Riley alsocomplained about a lack of information about the administration’s recovery planfor the region, headed by former Mississippi Gov. Ray Mabus.

ThatShould Do It: New BOEMRE Chief Thinks He’s Found the Cure to All that AiledFormer MMS: Prevent BOEMRE Inspectors from Eating Lunch with Industry. The HoustonChronicle (8/31) reports, "The Obama administration on Monday imposed anunprecedented conflict-of-interest policy on federal drilling regulators in abid to put greater distance between inspectors and the offshore platforms andrigs they police. The rule is aimed at strengthening oversight of the offshoredrilling industry following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and reports thatofficials at the former Minerals Management Service – now the Bureau of OceanEnergy Management, Regulation and Enforcement – sometimes were too cozy withenergy companies. Bureau Director Michael Bromwich announced the new policy,which takes effect immediately, in an e-mail to employees late Monday. Bureauemployees now must tell supervisors about any potential conflict of interestand submit formal requests not to be assigned inspections or other officialduties when those conflicts arise. The employees also must ask to step downwhen their inspections or official duties involve a company employing a familymember or close personal friend. And for at least two years, they cannot perform inspections or otherwork involving former employers in the industry. Lawmakers in the House andSenate have advanced proposals for a similar two-year timeout.

Who’sDown for a Rally? Lots of Pro-Energy Folks All Across Texas This Week, and AllAcross Ohio, Illinois, N.M, and Colo. over the Next Few Weeks. HoustonBusiness Journal (8/30) reports, "A group led by the American PetroleumInstitute is simultaneously holding a "Rally for Jobs" in three Texas cities,including Houston, on Sept. 1. The rallies, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., will takeplace in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center, in Port Arthur atthe Port Arthur Civic Center and the American Bank Center Convention Center inCorpus Christi. The rallies will focus on the energy industry’s impact on thestate’s economic development. The oil and natural gas industry supports morethan 1.7 million jobs in Texas and accounts for almost 25 percent of the state’seconomy, according to API. "The focus of the rallies will be jobs and theeconomy," said Jack Gerard, API president and chief executive, in a statement. "U.S.unemployment is high, and Americans have growing concerns over the economicrecovery." The Texas rallies will be the first in a series to take place inOhio, Illinois, New Mexico and Colorado during the congressional recess period,according to the organizers.

InvestigatorsRecommend a Bit Less Political Cheerleading in the Future from UN’s IPCC Panel -No Need to Cut the Hackery Out Completely, But Moderation would be Prudent. LondonTelegraph (8/31) reports, "A group of leading scientists from around theworld said on Monday that the leaders of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel onClimate Change had left themselves open to the accusation that they had"gone beyond IPCC’s remit". In March the Amsterdam-based InterAcademyCouncil (IAC) was called in after a number of errors were found in the IPCC’slandmark 2007 Fourth Assessment Report into man-made climate change. On Mondaythe IAC announced its recommendations on how to strengthen the IPCC, saying it"needs fundamental reform" to convince an ever more skeptical publicthat its science was solid. The report also recommended that a "rigorousconflict-of-interest policy" should be drawn up for senior IPCC leadershipand authors of its reports. In the future no individual should chair the IPCCfor more than one six-year term, it stated.  Additionally, "formal qualifications for the chair andall other Bureau members need to be developed", the IAC said. The IAC alsosaid the IPCC should tighten up on its use of so-called "grayliterature" – that which has not been peer-reviewed. Prof Shapiro said:"IPCC has guidelines for the use of such sources, but these guidelines arevague and have not always been followed."

SoYou Have an Extra $35,000 Sitting Around and a Hankering for a 100-HP ElectricCar that Dies After 100 Miles of Sputtering Along? Nissan’s Got You Covered. VentureBeat magazine (8/30) reports, "Word on the street is that Nissan will starttaking orders tomorrow for the hotly anticipated Leaf, the world’s firstmass-produced electric vehicle priced low enough for the general consumer. Theautomaker has been accepting reservations for a refundable fee of $99, andalready has 18,000 pre-orders, according to John Schilling, Nissan spokesman -with a goal of reaching 20,000 by December. More than half of the reservationsare from people in the five states where the Leaf will have its initialrollout. The rollout will be staggered. The first vehicles will go to driversin Arizona, Tennessee, California, Washington and Oregon, then in January toTexas and Hawaii. The car maker expects the Leaf to be available everywhere inthe U.S. by the end of 2011. Officially, Nissan declined to comment on the dateorders will start, saying only that it "will happen soon," but it’s beingreported that a Washington dealership has posted on that tomorrow’sthe big day. Nissan says it can take the car 100 miles in a single charge.

RememberWhen Germans Made Cars? Now They Make Ridiculous Promises about How Much Windand Solar They’ll Use 40 Years from Now – Achtung! Dow Jones(8/30) reports, "Most of Germany’s energy demand can be met through renewablesources by 2050 but this is dependent on agreeing ambitious, multi-billion euroexpenditure, according to the conclusions of a government-commissioned reportinto the country’s future energy policy. Environment Minister Norbert Roettgenand Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle, who jointly presented the findings ofthe report in Berlin Monday, said all of the several scenarios the report hasdrawn up project that Germany can meet its climate protection targets if itincreases the use of renewable energies, improves energy efficiency andmodernizes its energy infrastructure. To achieve the goals, however, massiveinvestments by both private and public sectors will be required.  Germany plans to reduce greenhouse gasemissions 40% by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.Roettgen and Bruederle also said the study argues for the longer use of nuclearenergy to assist in reaching these goals. "The appraisal shows thatextending the lifespan will lower CO2 gas emissions," said Bruederle.

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