August 9, 2010

From Small Mom and Pop Shop inHouston, to Fast Growing Washington Powerhouse, IER Quickly Becoming a Force inWashington Energy Policy Circles.Human Events (8/8) reports, "For an organization that opposescap-and-trade legislation and bans on offshore drilling, promoting free-marketenergy principles comes naturally. Praised by Rush Limbaugh as the "energyequivalent" of the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Energy Research seeksto educate the public, legislators, academia and the media on free-marketsolutions to the world’s energy challenges. IER was founded in 1989 by RobertL. Bradley Jr. in Houston. Leading a small group of volunteers at first,Bradley worked nights and weekends to grow IER into an effective educationalorganization. In establishing itself as a respected research institute, IERbegan distributing quarterly reports to a small but growing list of donors inthe early 1990s and eventually expanded its publishing capabilities to includehighly publicized studies. Despite having an impressive media presence, IER’sability to influence lawmakers was limited due to the organization’s distancefrom Washington, D.C. This all changed in 2007 when IER opened its Washingtonoffice, transforming itself into a formidable energy think tank offeringresearch and analysis on global energy markets. Recently, IER has been involvedin a number of campaigns to influence public policy. The organization was thefirst to call for the removal of President George W. Bush’s ban on offshoreenergy exploration. In 2008, IER experts conducted analysis on theWarner-Lieberman Climate Security Act, creating an online map that projectedthe legislation’s potential cost to each state. Most recently, IER staffcreated a website where homeowners can go to calculate how much they will haveto pay for the Kerry-Lieberman cap-and-trade bill."


With Unemployment Nearing 10Percent, There’s Hope in Appalachia; It’s Called the Marcellus Shale, and He’sHiring. West Virginia Public Broadcasting (8/9) reports, "Marcellus Shaledrilling is still in its infancy in West Virginia, but the industry is alreadycontributing millions of dollars to the state’s economy. It may be awhilebefore the gas industry’s economic impact rivals that of coal in West Virginia.Mike Shaver, clad in a hard hat and muddy boots, surveys a gas drilling rig ona site in Upshur County. As a crew drills towards the Marcellus Shale, a pipepumps water and dirt out of the hole in the earth and into a huge pit of muddy,rock-filled water. Shaver looks at the water, trying to determine how muchfarther the drill has to go before reaching shale gas. Shaver is the owner ofMountain V Oil and Gas, based in Bridgeport. His company started drilling inthe Marcellus Shale two years ago. He says the Marcellus hasn’t changed hisbusiness-he’s still drilling for gas, after all-but now things are done on abigger scale. He drills fewer wells to get the same amount of gas, but they’redeeper and more expensive to drill. "Instead of drilling 60-100 conventionalwells, we’re looking at only drilling 15 Marcellus wells due to the cost," hesaid. "The production on the Marcellus has proven to be worth changing ourbusiness model. Basically, the way we’re looking at it, it takes 10conventional wells to equal the production of one Marcellus well, based on ourresults in Upshur County." When gas drillers began tapping the West VirginiaMarcellus Shale in 2002, only two wells were drilled. In 2008, that number hadskyrocketed to 299, according to a report sponsored by the federal government.Though gas has been drilled in the state for years, with the Marcellus Shalethe industry is booming."


CanAnyone Name One Industry (Other than Ethanol) that Receives Guaranteed MarketShare? Well, That’s What an RES will Accomplish, and Senate Dems are Lining up BehindLame-Duck Strategy to Make it Happen.  E&E News (subreq’d, 8/5) reports, "Fivemore senators have signed onto a growing push — which now includes more thanhalf the chamber’s Democrats — to convince their party’s leaders to include arenewable electricity standard in an energy bill that could come to the floorin September. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stripped language dealingwith an RES from his pared-down energy package that was slated to come to thefloor this week, saying it did not have enough support. But plans to debate thebill were scuttled, as Democratic leaders were unable to garner 60 votes.Yesterday, Reid indicated he was considering bringing a larger energy packageafter recess. That news likely will please the 32 Democrats who signed onto a letter yesterday urging him to includean RES in an energy package. "We write today to express our support forincluding a national renewable electricity standard (RES) in any energy legislationthat is brought to the floor this summer and want to work with you to ensurethat the strongest possible RES passes in the Senate," the letter says.The group, led by Sens. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Tom Udall of New Mexicoand Mark Udall of Colorado, also urges Reid to "ensure that the strongestpossible RES passes in the Senate."

Recognizing That They GotTheir Clocks Cleaned by the American People in the Cap-and-Trade Debate, EnviroMovement Going on Defense to Protect EPA Endangerment. Politico(8/8) reports, "When it comes to global warming, the environmental lobby isgoing on defense. Stung by the failure to secure a Senate vote on climate and energylegislation and wary of a possible GOP-led Congress, leaders of some of thecountry’s most influential green groups are moving cash and staff away from capand trade. Environment America, the Sierra Club and the Union of ConcernedScientists, with more than 2.5 million members combined, now consider it theirtop job to defend the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to writeclimate rules against attacks in the courts and on Capitol Hill. "The era ofthe big bill I think is over," said an environmentalist whose group has not yetcome out publicly on the issue. The groups also are hoping to defend and expandon state and regional climate laws and compacts, including a carbon market forpower plants operating in the Northeast and emerging systems in the West. Andthey will work at the state public utility commission level to make carbondioxide emissions a crux in reviewing permits for new and existing coal-firedpower plants. The Sierra Club is spending $18 million and has 100 people acrossthe country working on challenges to coal-fired electricity, said MichaelBrune, the group’s executive director. He hopes to increase the budget to $25million next year."

Meanwhile, Top "Energy" Advisor Over at the White Housegoes on Meet the Press, says President is Open to Lame-Duck Strategy onNational Energy Tax.The Hill (8/8) reports, "White House Energy Adviser CarolBrowner said Sunday that while the Obama administration is "deeplydisappointed" that an energy bill was unable to make its way throughCongress, the president has not given up hope that it can get done this year.In an exclusive interview on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Browner wasasked whether the president has conceded defeat on energy legislation."Not yet," Browner said. "The Congress is coming back and wewill continue to see if we can get legislation. We passed it in the House andwe will continue to work in the Senate." Asked if Democrats couldpotentially get it done in a lame-duck session, Browner responded,"Potentially."

With Obama Moratorium Entering Third Month, DeepwaterRig Workers on Standby – Waiting on WH to give Green Light. The Times-Picayune (8/6) reports, "Despiteuncertainty about when the federal moratorium on deepwater oil exploration inthe Gulf of Mexico may be lifted, drilling companies say they are readying toreturn to work, maintaining their full complement of rig workers at full payand making improvements in their rigs to meet new federal safety standardsrequired by the Interior Department. "Most of the discussions we’ve hadabout the readiness to resume work during this period of suspension has beenaround … maintaining crews and the capability of equipment to go back to workas quickly as possible," Steven Newman, president and CEO of Transocean,the largest offshore drilling contractor in the world and in the Gulf, saidThursday. "So setting aside the process we are going through to complywith NTL-05 (Notice to Lessee), the rigs are ready to go back to work and thecustomers are similarly in a position where they have kept all their capabilityintact as well. So I would think it would be a relatively timely resumption ofactivity." Newman spoke Thursday in a conference call the day afterTransocean, which has 14 rigs in the Gulf, released its second quarter earnings.His status report was consistent with that made in a July 20 conference call byDavid Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Noble Corp., the second biggestdrilling contractor in the deepwater Gulf, with seven rigs, including onerecently purchased from Frontier Drilling."

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