August 5, 2010

MacArthur,Rockefeller, Park & Tides Foundations None Too Happy with Their EnviroFoot-Soldiers in Wake of Cap-and-Raid Collapse – "We Got Our Ass Kicked,"Admits One Group. Politico(8/5) reports, "They didn’t deliver a single Republican," an administrationofficial told POLITICO just hours after Reid pulled the plug on the climatebill. "They spent like $100 million, and they weren’t able to get a singleRepublican convert on the bill." How much money was spent is difficult to pin down. NRDC, the Sierra Cluband Clean Energy Works declined to open up their books to show how much theyspent on the climate campaign. EDF had spent $20 million on climate legislationsince October 2008. Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection pledged in 2006to spend $300 million, but it’s unclear how much it ended up using. Enragedenvironmentalists flooded the White House with phone calls after the quotationappeared in publication. Publicly, they decried the finger-pointing and insistedthey aren’t alone in deserving fault, saying President Barack Obama failed touse his bully pulpit and moderate Senate Republicans weren’t allowed by theirleaders to fully negotiate. "My sense is we did fail," said Kevin Knobloch,president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "I think there’s nosugarcoating it." "We really got our ass kicked in August during the townhalls," EDF spokesman Tony Kreindler said. Durbin insisted that environmentalgroups also still garner plenty of sway in the Senate. "A lot of us payattention," he said.

Meanwhile,Gov’t Report that Shows 75% of Spilled Oil No Longer in the Gulf Infuriates theGreens – In Their World, What’s Good for America is Bad for Fundraising. Politico (8/5)reports, "Speaking before the AFL-CIO Wednesday, President Barack Obama calledthe developments "welcome news." But green groups – irked by the administration’sinitial low-balling of the rate of oil billowing into the Gulf – were skepticalof the claim that three-quarters of the crude has been evaporated, dissolved,dispersed, skimmed or burned. They say the report actually accounts for only 25percent of the oil discharged into the sea since April 29, and as much as halfof the spill still lingers in Gulf waters in various concentrations. "My mainproblem is that this overstates what they know," said John Hocevar ofGreenpeace. "There really isn’t very much data to support this. It’s somewherebetween a wild guess, wishful thinking and spin to make these claims at thispoint." Wednesday’s report has some environmental groups feeling wary. Someeven look at the government’s own data and are drawing different conclusions.According to David Pettit, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources DefenseCouncil, the administration is using the report to suggest that "the worst isover." The truth, Pettit says, is that about a quarter of the oil has dispersed- meaning it still exists, but in microscopic particles in the ocean – and another26 percent of the oil is still unaccounted for.

AStory You’ll Never Read in Print: Sen. Reid Tried to Gut the Oil SpillLiability Trust Fund Earlier This Year – To Pay for the Damn HomeSTAR Program?! E&E News (8/5, subs.req’d) reports, "Reid proposed in his energy and spill bill to increase the feeto 49 cents per barrel. The additional tax would raise more than $18 billionover 10 years, which Reid would use to offset the $5 billion energy efficiency"Home Star" program, oil spill mitigation research and alternativevehicle incentives in the bill. Democrats attempted to use the oil spillliability trust fund to help offset billions of dollars in tax creditextensions earlier this year. It ultimately failed to pass the Senate,partially because of Republicans objecting to the use of the oil spill trustfund as an offset. A spokesman for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said whileissues with the offset provision of Reid’s legislation got lost among thedebate on the liability cap, they are still on the list of problems Republicanshad with the bill. "If you want to argue about the oil spill liabilityfund, that might be worth a discussion, but that money should be lock-boxed todeal with oil spills," spokesman Robert Dillon said. The fund should notbe used to pay for other programs that have nothing to do with oil spills andthat should be dealt with in an energy bill, Dillon added. But if the oil spillliability trust fund is eliminated or its funds are taken off the table innegotiations for the spill bill likely to be taken up in September, Democratshave no obvious pool of money to pay for any other energy measures they wouldlike to approve.

NYSenate Resolution Demands Year-Long Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing – Wonder IfThese Clowns Know that HF’s Been Used Up There for 50 Years, on 14,000Different Wells. Bloomberg(8/4) reports, "New York moved closer to a temporary state ban on drilling fornatural gas from shale. The state Senate approved a measure late yesterday thatwould prohibit new drilling permits until May 15 in the New York portion of theMarcellus Shale formation pending further environmental studies. The moratoriumpassed 49-9. The Assembly has yet to take up the measure. Bloomberg(8/3) reports,  "The measure wouldsuspend drilling until May 15 in New York’s portion of the Marcellus Shaleformation for further study, said Kate Sinding, senior attorney with the NewYork- based Natural Resources Defense Council. The drilling moratorium may comeup during a special session weighing legislation to close a $9.2 billion gap inthe state’s $135.6 billion budget. "We have strong indications from Senateleaders they will bring the moratorium bill to the floor for a vote, hopefullytoday," Sinding said in an interview. "There’s no way that they’re not feelingthe pressure from all of the public opposition." "Fundamentally this is thesame process we’ve used up there for generations," Chris Tucker, a spokesmanfor Energy In Depth, a Washington-based industry group, said in a statement. "Theselegislators are badly informed, and apparently unmoved by the idea ofconverting these resources into tens of thousands of jobs in a state wherenearly a million folks are currently unemployed."

Dukeand Xcel Love them Some NRDC in DC – But Find Themselves on Other End of Roomin Court Case Over Whether Their Emissions Are "Nuisances" Under the Law. E&E News (8/4,subs. req’d) reports, "American Electric Power Co. Inc., Duke Energy Corp., SouthernCo. and Xcel Energy Inc. filed a petition Monday asking for review of thedecision. Climate change is the type of political question that must beanswered by Congress, they say, and if EPA is moving forward with regulationsunder the Clean Air Act, courts have no reason to step in. "Theramifications of this holding, if it is allowed to stand, are staggering,"the petition says. "Virtually every entity and industry in the world isresponsible for some emissions of carbon dioxide and is thus a potentialdefendant in climate change nuisance actions under the theory of thiscase." Nuisance claims are a long-standing fixture of common law, used forcenturies to settle disputes with neighbors over annoyances such as overgrowntrees and foul smells. In the absence of congressional action on climatechange, environmental groups argue, nuisance cases will allow affected peopleto recoup their losses from those whose emissions are responsible. In theirpetition, the four utilities said the potential for nuisance-based lawsuitswould add another element of uncertainty as EPA crafts climate regulations andCongress mulls over legislation. Because each of the companies is subject tonew EPA rules on greenhouse gases from stationary sources, they say, thefederal government is already starting to outline their responsibility forglobal warming.

Speakingof Xcel, Largest Investor-Owned Wind Provider, Don’t Ya Know: Turns Out TheyDon’t Have Enough Juice to Service N.M. and Texas Right Now. Clovis (N.M.)News-Journal (8/4) reports, "Unexpected problems had Xcel Energy declaringan energy alert Wednesday in its Texas and New Mexico service territory, urgingcustomers to cut back their use of electricity. Wes Reeves, a spokesman forXcel, said the recent heat is only part of the reason for high energy demand. "Itis, but we also have some maintenance on power generators we didn’t expect tohave to do this week," Reeves said. "We’re not able to bring all of ourgenerators to bear. We could be really close to dipping into our reserves. "Xcel Energy declares an energy alert only when a reduction in electricity useis urgently needed to maintain the electricity system and service to customers.The company suggests: Turn off air conditioning or increase your thermostatsetting to 85 degrees, slowly lowering the setting after 7 p.m. to a morecomfortable setting. This does not apply to customers who depend on airconditioning for health reasons. Put off household chores that involveelectrical appliances until after 7 p.m. (dishwashers, washing machines,clothes dryers, vacuum cleaners, etc.) If energy demand exhausts Xcel’s abilityto produce, Reeves said there will be outages of roughly 30 minutes to an hourat a pre-selected group of locations. The outage would take place too quickly,Reeves said, for the company to alert individuals.

Shakeand Bake: Not Every Day You See NRDC Quoted in a Story on NASCAR, But News of aRacetrack Installing Sun Catchers on the Infield Gets a Nice Adda-Boy fromGreens. AssociatedPress (8/4) reports, "Racing relies on tens of thousands of litres of fueleach year to power cars, but when Pocono Raceway flipped the switch on its10-hectare solar farm last week for the Pennsylvania 500, a NASCAR track becamethe world’s largest solar-powered sports facility. "Hopefully we can bethe catalyst for something big in American sports," said track presidentBrandon Igdalsky. "We can show this is the right way to do it, and is agood thing to do." Sports teams have been pursuing more environmentalinitiatives in recent years as "going green" becomes a marketingcatch phrase – and a way to save on utility bills. "Sports have atremendous opportunity to create both action on the ground with environmentalfootprint changes … and a real opportunity to help educate people onrenewable energy options," said Darby Hoover, a San Francisco-based seniorresource specialist with the National Resources Defence Council. Theenvironmental group advises Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLS.While NRDC does not advise NASCAR, Hoover praised Pocono’s solar installation"as a way where fans can see genuine effort by the league." Shecommended sports leagues in general for efforts in promotingenvironmentally-friendly messages.

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