September 13, 2010

Collateral Damage: New AEA StudySheds Light on Real Targets of Obama "BigOil" Tax Hike: 154,000 US Jobs Lost, $68 Billion in Lost Wages. AEA announces (9/13) new study on,"LSU professor and renowned economist Dr. Joseph R. Mason estimates thatPresident Obama’s proposed energy tax changes would trigger grave economicconsequences. In the newly released "Regional and National Economic Impact ofRepealing the Section 199 Tax Deduction and Dual-capacity Tax Credit for Oiland Gas Producers," Dr. Mason finds the resulting fallout over the next tenyears would include: Initial losses of over 154,000 jobs by the end of 2011,not only in the energy sector but across the whole economy;  More than $341 billion in lost U.S.economic output; and  In excess of$68 billion in lost wages nationwide. "As we’ve seen in its 2011 budget and newly unveiled ‘stimulus’ plans,the Obama administration aims to single out U.S. oil and gas firms and raisethe cost of energy for consumers by eliminating crucial tax credits to whichall taxpayers are entitled," Dr. Mason said. The discriminatory energy taxincreases proposed by the administration will destroy American jobs and raisethe price of energy for consumers," president and CEO of the American EnergyAlliance Tom Pyle said. "President Obama’s proposed changes – which would applysolely to oil and gas companies – have little to do with the debate over offshoredrilling safety or even energy policy in general. This tax grab merelyrepresents punitive policies that are now finding a place in the sun in thepost-BP oil spill crisis political environment."

Bayou Bengal: Sen. LandrieuContinues to Hold WH to Account for Devastation Wrought by Offshore Ban – WillHold Hearing This Week Demanding Admin Defend Its Policy. E&E News (9/13,subs. req’d) reports, "Gulf Coast senators will continue their efforts to chipaway at the Obama administration’s deepwater drilling moratorium Thursday.Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has calleda hearing of the committee to receive a report from the administration aboutthe effect the moratorium has had on small businesses. She demanded theeconomic impact data in July after administration officials failed to have itfor a previous hearing. Landrieu said Christina Romer, chairwoman of thePresident’s Council of Economic Advisers, told her outside the hearing that theadministration did not have such data but could assemble it by mid-September.The moratorium has been unpopular among political leaders on the Gulf Coast,because oil production is a significant part of the local economy. Thecommittee includes two of Landrieu’s fellow Gulf Coast lawmakers, Sens. DavidVitter (R-La.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Vitter and Landrieu shared centerstage at the July hearing and an August field hearing in Lafayette, La. In bothinstances they heard from a string of witnesses who said the moratorium wasseverely damaging Louisiana’s petroleum-dependent economy. Several smallbusiness owners testified that the effects of the moratorium were tricklingdown to them.

Bombshell: Federal Gov’t ShelledOut $216,625 in Taxpayer Dollars for "No-Bid" Contract to Defenders of Wildlife to Do a Study It Had No Capability to Do. AssociatedPress (9/13) reports, "The federal government hired a New Orleans man for$18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oilspill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, which was keenlysensitive to comparisons between its response and former President George W.Bush’s much-maligned reaction to Hurricane Katrina. The government also spent$10,000 for just over three minutes of video showing a routine offshore riginspection for news organizations but couldn’t say whether any ran the footage.And it awarded a $216,625 no-bid contract for a survey of seabirds to anenvironmental group that has criticized what it calls the "extremeanti-conservation record" of Sarah Palin, a possible 2012 rival toPresident Barack Obama. The contracts were among hundreds reviewed by TheAssociated Press as the government begins to provide an early glimpse atfederal spending since the Gulf disaster in April. While most of the contractsdon’t raise alarms, some could provide ammunition for critics of governmentwaste. The group, Defenders of Wildlife, received a $216,625 noncompetitivecontract from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a seabird survey in the BPspill area. Both Defenders of Wildlife and its political arm, the DefendersAction Fund, have criticized Palin, a former Alaska governor, for supportinguse of low-flying airplanes to hunt wolves and other wildlife in winter.

Mutiny: Even DemocraticGovernors Starting to Join the Fray in Fighting Back Against Usurpation of EPAand Carbon Criminalization – Wyoming the Latest to Say No. Greenwire (9/10, subs.req’d) reports, "EPA is planning to take over permitting programs for statesthat can’t or won’t comply with the Obama administration’s climate rules bynext year, but some officials are arguing that the agency has not given themenough time to align with the federal program and that it is premature to forcestates to comply with regulations that are being challenged in court. DemocraticWyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal yesterday became the latest state official tocriticize EPA’s plans to bring states into alignment. Freudenthal said hisstate will not have the authority to implement the agency’s "tailoringrule" for greenhouse gases — which would require some large facilities tolimit their greenhouse gas emissions — by EPA’s Jan. 2 deadline. Wyoming wouldfirst need to amend state law, which could not occur before the 2011legislative session, he said. "I have serious concerns about EPA’simplementation timelines," Freudenthal wrote in comments to EPA."Given that there are dozens of petitions concerning not only theTailoring Rule but also the foundation for that rule, there is a highlikelihood that any permitting strategy imposed on the states at this junctureis premature." Dozens of groups including states, industries and advocacygroups have asked a federal appeals court to review EPA’s tailoring rule,endangerment finding and other climate policies in cases that are pending.

This Is Rich: Cal-Berkeley "Scholars"Say Efforts to Delay Job-Killing AB 32 from Taking Effect Would Be Bad forEconomy – Since It Might Lead to "Legal Confusion" (!) ClimateWire (9/10,subs. req’d) Suspension of California’s climate law would lead to regulatoryuncertainty and likely cause a domino effect in other states looking to limitgreenhouse gas emissions, argues a new analysis from prominent faculty membersat the University of California, Berkeley. The study on what effect Proposition23 — which will ask California voters this fall to delay the climate law –might have on the state’s legal system and economy was conducted by UCBerkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment. The conclusion wasessentially this: Don’t vote for Prop 23. "Since most significant climatepolicy efforts in California are linked to [the climate law], its suspensioncould lead to legal and regulatory confusion," said UC Berkeley lawprofessor and co-author of the analysis Daniel Farber, who believes thereferendum would freeze climate regulations indefinitely because it is tied tounemployment dropping to 5.5 percent for a full year. Also on board theanalysis were Daniel Kammen, a UC Berkeley professor of energy and formeradviser to President Obama (who this week was appointed to lead the WorldBank’s clean energy strategy), and Michael Hanemann, an environmental economistand professor at the college. Both said suspending the climate law, A.B. 32, isbad idea.

This Is Even Better: SeparateReport Says AB 32 Will Help Mitigate Price Shocks at Pump – Since It WillEnsure Gas Prices Remain High All theTime. LATimes (9/13) reports, "California’s 2006 global warming law would save thestate’s consumers as much as $670 per household in 2020, in the event of aglobal surge in the price of crude oil, according to a report released Mondayby economists for alternative energy advocacy groups. The U.S. economy hasexperienced five price shocks over the past three decades in which crude oilprices rose an average of 179% in one year. The study is aimed at countering aNovember ballot initiative, Proposition 23, which would delay implementation ofthe global warming law. Its analysis is based on projections for 2020, andconservatively assumes only a doubling of crude oil and natural gas prices. The55-page report was authored by economists from three organizations: Energy IndependenceNow, the Center for Resource Solutions and the Environmental Defense Fund.Proponents of Prop 23, however, say the global warming law, which promotessolar, wind and alternative fuels to replace oil, gas and coal, will increasethe price of energy. They project up to a 60% rise in electricity rates, up to57% higher natural gas rates, and a $3.7 billion annual increase in the cost ofgasoline and diesel fuel.

Bode’s In Motion: AWEA BurningThru Every Dollar It’s Got This Week to Put Full-Court Press on Lawmakers -Demand They Pass Expensive Energy Mandates Before They Leave. Govs. Chet Culver and Don Carcieri write (9/13)in Politico,"We are the leaders of the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, a bipartisan grouprepresenting citizens across the nation. We convened to address some of America’smost pressing needs – job creation, secure energy supplies and cost-effectivecarbon emissions reductions. Governors from California and Oregon to Minnesotaand Maine agree that among the best ways to address these issues is to harnessthe economic and environmental benefits of domestic renewable electricityproduction. The way to do that is by passing a strong RES – to ensure rapidgrowth of the nation’s wind and other renewable electricity sources. We aretoday sending a letter to Senate leadership, urging the prompt adoption of astrong national RES. A strong RES must be the cornerstone of our nation’s newclean energy economy. It won’t mean just wind farms in Iowa or off the coast ofRhode Island – though it would expand job opportunities in both our states. TheRES remains the most economically efficient way to create opportunity all overthe country and throughout the supply-chain in energy manufacturing; newproject construction and associated transmission, and continuing operation andmaintenance of these facilities. We all agree that creating jobs must be a national priority.

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