September 14, 2010

Soundthe Alarm: AEA Study Laying Out Consequences of Obama Energy Tax Hikes (154KJobs Lost!) Generates Headlines from La Jolla to Leo Carillo, and Up to Pismo.GrandRapid (Mich.) Press (9/13) reports, "President Obama’s proposed energy taxchanges could cost up to 154,000 jobs, according to a new study released today.The report, "Regional and National Economic Impact of Repealing theSection 199 Tax Deduction and Dual-capacity Tax Credit for Oil and GasProducers," comes from economist Joseph R. Mason at LSU. His report wassponsored by Save U.S. Energy Jobs – a project of the American Energy Alliance,a nonprofit organization that engages in public policy advocacy and debateconcerning energy and environmental policies. The AEA is the advocacy arm ofthe Institute for Energy Research (IER), a research group that advocates for"freely-functioning energy markets." According to Mason’s report,Obama’s proposed changes, which would end certain deductions and exemptions forU.S. gas and oil companies, would raise the cost of doing business in the U.S.and result in 154,000 lost jobs by the end of 2011. "Though politiciansthink they are selectively targeting ‘Big Oil’ with these energy tax proposals,they would actually devastate thousands of small American businesses nationwideas well as the workers who depend on them," Mason writes.

ShallowThinking: Interior Continues to Play Hide-the-Permit Shell-Game with EnergyOperators in Shallow Gulf – Leading to Lost Jobs, Squandered Revenue. TheHill (9/13) reports, "Oil-and-gas companies that drill in shallow Gulf ofMexico waters on Monday said they’re at an "impasse" with the InteriorDepartment over permitting policies they allege are bringing the industry to astandstill. The Shallow Water Energy Security Coalition met Monday morning inLouisiana with Michael Bromwich, who directs Interior’s Bureau of Ocean EnergyManagement, but the meeting failed to produce reassurances about speeding uppermits the group is seeking. "With 15 of the total of 46 available shallowwater rigs now idle without permits, and only five permits for new wells issuedsince April, we are clearly at an impasse with the regulators. While we shareDirector Bromwich’s commitment to safety, BOEM must recognize that it cannot continueto shove a square peg into a round hole by treating all offshore drillingoperations the same, disregarding history and geological facts," said Jim Noe,the group’s executive director who is also a top executive with Houston-basedHercules Offshore Inc.

EPAForum on HF was Supposed to Draw 8,000 Protestors, NRDC Told Us – Instead,About 300 Showed Up; And Most Didn’t Even Stay for Lunch. Reuters(9/13) reports, "More than 1,600 officials and citizens were due to testifyover two days at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stakeholder meeting inBinghamton, in upstate New York. Critics and supporters of drilling turned outto voice their opinions as part of the EPA’s two-year study on possible impactsof high-volume horizontal gas drilling on drinking water. Across the road, acrowd held signs reading "Yes to science, No to Paranoia" anddescribed themselves as the "true environmentalists." "We’re notgoing to let some gas company come in and ruin our property," said MarthaKirby, who owns 122 acres in Chenango Forks, New York, that she hopes to leaseto a gas company. "The folks that keep asking for studies, there willnever be enough studies for them," said Travis Windle, a spokesman for theindustry group the Marcellus Shale Coalition. He said deep water oil drillingand shale gas drilling had nothing in common. Asked if he worried the publicwas turning against drilling, he said: "A well-educated landowner is ourstrongest ally." By some estimates, the Marcellus shale holds enough gasto meet U.S. demand for at least a decade. Environmental groups were initiallysupportive of gas drilling, describing it as a domestic "bridge fuel"to renewable sources and away from foreign oil and coal.

LittleHelp from Her Friends: Head of Interstate Gov’t Agency with Quasi-Authorityover Marcellus Activities Attends Fundraiser for Anti-Shale Group. E&E News (9/13,subs. req’d) reports, "It seemed like an innocent request. In the spring, CarolCollier, executive director of the little-known but powerful Delaware RiverBasin Commission (DRBC), accepted an environmental group’s invitation to serveon a panel about natural gas drilling. She saw it as a way to explain what heragency was doing on gas drilling. But to supporters of drilling, it looked liketaking sides, because the panel was part of a fundraiser for an environmentalgroup fighting Marcellus Shale drilling. "They are raising money to bringa lawsuit against you," Marian Schweighofer, head of a pro-drillinglandowners’ group, warned her in an e-mail. She also blasted an urgent bulletinto her organization’s 1,500 members. Collier at first defended her attendance,then backed out, acknowledging to her critics that it presented a"perception problem." "I was not aware [at first] it was reallya fundraiser," Collier said in an interview. It was a taste of thehigh-stakes, high-dollar battle playing out in front of DRBC about the breadthand scope of Marcellus Shale drilling in Pennsylvania and New York.

Mutiny:Two Senate Dems Tell Reporters They’ll Support Effort in Approps Committee toMake Clear that EPA Has No Authority to Unilaterally Dismantle US Economy. E&E News (9/14,subs. req’d) reports, "Two Senate Democrats yesterday said they may support anamendment to block U.S. EPA climate rules, increasing the odds of its successwhen the Senate Appropriations Committee votes Thursday on EPA’s budget. Thepotential supporters of an appropriations rider are Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), both of whom are co-sponsors of a bill from Sen. JayRockefeller (D-W.Va.) that would freeze EPA’s ability to regulate emissionsfrom stationary sources for two years. "I’d like to see what amendmentsare offered, and I’ll make a judgment about that," Dorgan said. "I dothink that it makes sense to have some time here to have Congress make theultimate decision rather than EPA." Chris Gallegos, a spokesman forAppropriations Committee ranking member Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), yesterday saidhe expects to see amendments related to greenhouse gas regulations and offshoredrilling. It remains to be seen who would propose the measures and how broadtheir scope would be.

ThatWas Quick: One Week After Enviro Group Clean Energy Works Says It’s Closing UpShop, Influx of Tides Cash Allows It to Keep Churning Out the Garbage. Greenwire (9/13, subs.req’d) reports, "A coalition thwarted in its effort to secure climatelegislation will launch a campaign this week aimed at protecting what it seesas a last line of defense: U.S. EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution.Clean Energy Works, an alliance of about 80 environmental, labor, religious,veteran and other groups, plans a host of strategies including television ads,petitions and town hall meetings. "If we’re going to do this in ameaningful way at the federal level, it’s got to happen through EPA," saidSteve Cochran, vice president of Environmental Defense Fund’s climate and airprogram and a member of Clean Energy Works. "There’s no other way to dealwith greenhouse gases at the federal level." The group insists that it’snot disappearing. Politico last week reported that the group planned to shutdown. "They won’t talk about climate change, it will just be ‘pollutioncontrol,’" said Ken Green, resident scholar with American EnterpriseInstitute think tank in an e-mail. "They’ll move to state and local levelsand claim that greenhouse gases are pollutants that need regulating under statelaw, local law, laws affecting waterways, laws affecting species, laws affectingzoning, etc."

ActivistsWant WH to Install Carter-Era Solar Panels on Roof – And Can’t for the Life ofThem Understand Why Obama Political Advisors Don’t Want Anything to Do with It. E&E News (9/14,subs. req’d) reports, "But last week, White House officials essentially shotdown the idea, telling co-founder Bill McKibben that they woulddeliberate about future possibilities and releasing a vague statement onObama’s commitment to renewable energy. "It’s one thing after the midtermsto compare yourself to Bill Clinton, the comeback kid," said StuartRothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, a nonpartisan tip sheet."It’s another thing to compare yourself to someone who was, as president,a failure." Other theories exist as to why the White House is so touchyabout solar panels. Some say the panels would not be effective enough tojustify installing them; others blame it on bureaucracy. The New York Times’Andrew Revkin hypothesized that putting solar panels on the roof would come upagainst difficult security hurdles in a post-9/11 world. McKibben said WhiteHouse officials "wouldn’t give us a reason" for their apprehension."They said only that the WH had ‘a deliberate process’ for deciding, butwhile it may be deliberate it’s also a little obscure since they wouldn’t tellus what it was," he said in an e-mail. As for the touchy Carterconnection, McKibben maintained that while "legend has him as ineffective… clearly in this case he was fairly able" when it came to promotingsolar power.

MatchMade In … : Duke Energy, Long-Sufferer of WH Stockholm Syndrome, AnnouncesPlans to Team Up with Communist China on Solar and Wind. Bloomberg(9/13) reports, "Duke Energy Corp., owner of utilities in the U.S. Southeastand Midwest, may cooperate with Chinese companies on power projects outside ofthe Asian country, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Rogers said. TheCharlotte, North Carolina-based company seeks joint investment in wind power,solar energy and utilities in the U.S., as well as hydro power in SouthAmerica, Rogers said at the World Economic Forum Summer Davos meetings inTianjin, China. "Our focus is really on partnering and going out together as aChinese-American consortium to develop opportunities outside of China," Rogerssaid, without identifying the possible companies. "I say to our partners, let’spartner, we’ll conquer the world. We bring capital, we bring expertise, webring scaling." Duke gets 90 percent of its revenue from the U.S. and about 9percent from South American countries including Peru, Ecuador and Argentina.

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