August 4, 2010

Send this Clip to Every Energy Reporter and Producer You Know. MichaelBromwich, Head of the "New" MMS said this Yesterday about the Obama Moratorium:"I have seen enough to know that people are hurting." E&E News (sub’s req., 8/3)reports, "The man in charge of overseeing the Obama administration’s deepwaterdrilling moratorium says it could be lifted well before its expiration inNovember. "We might be able to cut short the moratorium before November 30if that’s what the facts support," said Michael Bromwich, director of theBureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Thefact-gathering process to see if that is possible, Bromwich said, beginstomorrow at Tulane University in New Orleans with the first in a series offorums about offshore drilling. Bromwich said he will report back on thoseforums to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to see if they can "develop alevel of comfort" that would allow them to end the moratorium in a"principled way." Bromwich is in charge of overhauling the agencylong known as the Minerals Management Service in the wake of the DeepwaterHorizon oil spill that has fouled the Gulf of Mexico. One factor that couldspeed lifting of the moratorium is BP PLC’s capping of its blown-out well atthe site last month. "All available spill response was soaked up byresponse to the Deepwater Horizon," Bromwich said. "That’s no longerthe case." And he said that the administration does have to consider theeconomic consequences of the moratorium. "These decisions are not beingmade in a vacuum," Bromwich said. "Ihave seen enough to know that people are hurting."

Meanwhile,Dozens of Energy Industry Employees Fly to DC to Rally Against ObamaMoratorium, as Wash. Post and BP Team Up for Hit Piece on Pro-Energy JobsCampaign/AEA. Washington Post (8/4) reports, "Daysafter the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico, a conservativenonprofit group called the Institute for Energy Research asked BP to contribute$100,000 for a media campaign it was launching in defense of the oil industry.Although BP took a pass, the group’s advocacy arm went ahead with a campaign –only instead of defending BP, it vilified the company as a "safetyoutlier" in an otherwise safe industry. The campaign’s Web site featuresdozens of images of the burning rig, oil-smeared birds and other environmentaldevastation from the spill. "BP is a victim of its own carelessness,"the group’s president, Thomas Pyle, wrote as part of the campaign’s kickoff inearly July. "The rest of us should not be." To backers of BP who werefamiliar with the discussions and spoke on the condition of anonymity, itseemed an awful lot like a shakedown. The initial proposal contained nocriticism of the British oil giant or its handling of the spill. A BP spokesmandeclined to comment. But Pyle, previously an oil-industry lobbyist and an aideto former congressman and Texas Republican Tom DeLay, said the anti-BP messagewas part of a separate campaign and was not intended as retaliation. "Alot of people were trying to lump the industry together as one cohesiveunit," Pyle said in an interview. "Our point was to not judge thewhole industry by one incident and one actor."

Senate Dems See Writing on the Wall with "Spill Bill;" Hope that GreenGroups Call Off the Dogs so They Can Hold a Few Seats in November. Politico (8/3) reports, "SenateDemocrats on Tuesday punted their oil spill response bill to next month, butthe extra time doesn’t guarantee the measure will pass – far from it. The delayvirtually ensures that strategists from both parties will use the congressionalrecess to hone their plans, talking points and poison-pill amendments for anyfloor debate, all with an eye toward the midterm elections. Majority LeaderHarry Reid’s decision to pull the plug on offshore drilling is the latest blowto Democratic efforts to move energy legislation, beginning with the deaths ofa sweeping climate change bill and then a scaled-down renewable energy bill. Itinitially appeared that the slender offshore drilling package was a must-passbill with political momentum, but it became evident over the past week that theNevada Democrat lacked the votes within his own caucus to force the issue asthe Republicans held firm against it. Some Democrats and environmentalists saidthey are optimistic the extra time will allow them to revisit the broaderrenewable energy provisions they had to jettison earlier, in hopes of foldingthem into the drilling bill."

Repeal AB32 Campaign in California Scores Huge Victory in Court, JudgeForces Sec. of State to Rewrite Ballot Description to Accurately ReflectInitiative.E&E News (sub’s req., 8/3) reports, "Interest groups behinda ballot measure that would suspend California’s climate change law scored alegal victory today when a court ordered Secretary of State Debra Bowen torevise how the referendum will appear before voters this fall. SacramentoCounty Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley ruled that a title and summaryattached to the ballot measure by Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) was misleadingbecause it used the word "polluters" to describe those subject togreenhouse gas emissions regulations under the state’s climate law, A.B. 32.Brown, as required by law, had drafted a title to the November referendum thatwas meant to quickly highlight and summarize its intent. But those behindProposition 23 said his title was biased and might sway voters to reject it.The wording Brown chose said the measure "Suspends Air Pollution ControlLaws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas EmissionsThat Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level forFull Year." The judge struck "Polluters" and replaced it with"Sources of Emissions." He also ordered a rewrite of the summary forProp 23 that would replace the word "abandon" with"suspend" in describing the effects of the ballot measure on A.B. 32.Prop 23, if approved, would suspend A.B. 32 until unemployment in Californiadrops to 5.5 percent or lower for a full year."

Markey’s Not Going to Like This: Gov. Report Finds Most Oil From SpillPoses Little Additional Risk to Environment. New York Times (8/4) reports, "Thegovernment is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oilfrom the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, beencaptured or otherwise eliminated – and that much of the rest is so diluted thatit does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm. A government reportfinds that about 26 percent of the oil released from BP’s runaway well is stillin the water or onshore in a form that could, in principle, cause new problems.But most is light sheen at the ocean surface or in a dispersed form below thesurface, and federal scientists believe that it is breaking down rapidly inboth places. On Tuesday, BP began pumping drilling mud into the well in anattempt to seal it for good. Since the flow of oil was stopped with a cap onJuly 15, people on the Gulf Coast have been wondering if another shoe was goingto drop – a huge underwater glob of oil emerging to damage more shorelines, forinstance. Assuming that the government’s calculations stand scrutiny, thatlooks increasingly unlikely. "There’s absolutely no evidence that there’s any significantconcentration of oil that’s out there that we haven’t accounted for," said JaneLubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, thelead agency in producing the new report."

Sorry, Markey, No More Live Video of Oil Spilling into the Gulf. After100 Days, Looks Like BP Finally Successful in Killing Run-Away Well.Houston Chronicle (8/4) reports, "BPclaimed a key victory Wednesday in its effort to plug its blown-out oil well inthe Gulf of Mexico while the government said the vast majority of oil from theworst offshore spill in U.S. history was already gone. Declaring it amilestone, BP PLC said mud that was forced down the well was holding back theflow of crude and it was in a "static condition." Also, White Houseenergy adviser Carol Browner said on morning TV talk shows that a newassessment found that about 75 percent of the oil has either been captured,burned off, evaporated or broken down in the Gulf. "It was captured. Itwas skimmed. It was burned. It was contained. Mother Nature did her part,"Browner told NBC’s "Today" show. In the Gulf, workers stopped pumpingmud in after about eight hours of their "static kill" procedure andwere monitoring the well to ensure it remained stable, BP said. "It’s amilestone," BP PLC spokeswoman Sheila Williams said. "It’s a steptoward the killing of the well." The next step would be deciding whetherto cement the well, Williams said."

Hey New York, You See the Job Creation and Economic Development TakingPlace in Pennsylvania? It’s Because of the Marcellus – and You Could Get a Cutof the Action with Commonsense Policy.Bloomberg (8/3) reports, "Companiesled by Chesapeake Energy Corp. would be banned temporarily from drilling fornatural gas in shale in New York under state legislation proposed because ofdisputes over environmental risks. The measure would suspend drilling until May15 in New York’s portion of the Marcellus Shale formation for further study,said Kate Sinding, senior attorney with the New York- based Natural ResourcesDefense Council. The drilling moratorium may come up during a special sessionweighing legislation to close a $9.2 billion gap in the state’s $135.6 billionbudget. To get gas from shale, companies use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking,in which water, sand and chemicals are injected deep underground to break uprock and allow gas to flow. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is planninga study to determine whether fracking fluids have contaminated drinking water. "Fundamentallythis is the same process we’ve used up there for generations," Chris Tucker, aspokesman for Energy In Depth, a Washington-based industry group, said in astatement. "These legislators are badly informed, and apparently unmoved by theidea of converting these resources into tens of thousands of jobs in a statewhere nearly a million folks are currently unemployed."



Speak Your Mind


Anonymous says:
Your email has been received. Thank you for signing up.