September 15, 2010

SmallWonder: Mike Castle Had Been Winning Statewide Elections in Delaware for 30Years — Then Came Cap-and-Raid; He Said Yes, His Voters Said No. SeattleTimes newswire (9/15) reports, "O’Donnell’s triumph, though, is the moststriking yet, because Castle, 71, has been winning statewide elections inDelaware for 30 years, while O’Donnell was making her third Senate bid in fouryears. She lost badly the other two times. Castle raised about $3.2 million andhad a seasoned staff behind him; O’Donnell had few resources and raised only$376,000. Castle supporters stood in stunned silence as returns rolled in athis election party but erupted into cheers when he took the stage. "Thevoters in the Republican primary have spoken, and I respect thatdecision," he said. The race took a sharp turn for the negative threeweeks ago after the Tea Party Express announced it would come to O’Donnell’said. Castle, a former two-term governor and veteran of 18 years in the House,repeatedly was assailed as a liberal, a Republican in name only. What set meoff was the stimulus bill," said Chris Shirey, a respiratory therapist andthe state’s tea-party coordinator. "I’d be for it if it was muchsmaller." She found like-minded people with other complaints. They wereangry at Castle’s support of the 2008 bank bailout and of the Democrats’cap-and-trade legislation last year. He was one of eight House Republicans tosupport the bill.

Toughto Blame the Corporate Interests for Backing Enviros’ Efforts to CriminalizeCarbon – It’s Good for Business, Especially If You’re in the Business ofSeeking Rents. Amanda Careywrites (9/14) for the DailyCaller, "In the words of Dan Kish, senior vice president at the Institute for Energy Research: "At theend of the day, the stuff they want us to buy is just more expensive." "Energyruns the world," said Kish. "It is directly linked with wealth and economicoutput … The question here is whether these are just good people who happen tobelieve in saving the earth." "They all go to the government to try and changethe underpinning of our economic society," Kish continued. "But at the end ofthe day the dial stops and everybody’s dancing together." Meanwhile, Obama’sgreen industrial complex continues to grow. But as the web of influentialplayers stretches, it is not by accident that environmentalists are usingcorporations to advance their agenda. "GE and others have signed up to be BigGreen’s PR outfits, though they don’t even realize whose pocket they’re in,convinced they’re the ones using the greens," said Horner. "When politiciansand activists not typically fans of private enterprise suddenly boast thatAmerica’s biggest  corporationssupport the green industry lobbying for these schemes, it is quietly assumed tobe virtuous. No one asks the basic question, ‘why is that, precisely?’"

SpeakingOf: Folks Pushin’ for a National Mandate on Expensive, Intermittent EnergyUnleash Unprecedented PR/Lobbying Effort to Sneak It Thru Before Nov. Politico’s Morning Energy (9/15)reports, "You can add a [national unreliable energy mandate – "RES"] to thegrowing list of things the Senate isn’t going to touch this work period. TheCousins Udall, two of the chamber’s strongest advocates for the renewablestandard, told reporters yesterday that, try as they might, their effort haslittle chance of gaining traction in the near term. Tom (D-N.M.): "I don’tthink we’re going to get there. I just don’t hear it on the list." Mark(D-Colo.) went one better: "The clock is running for the next three to four weeksand there’s no realistic chance of an energy proposal coming to the floor."While their concession is a blow to the RES crowd who is in the midst of anadvocacy blitz, Mark Udall was quick to provide them with a glimmer of hope. "Iknow it’s very much in discussion for the lame duck," he said, adding that SamBrownback and a handful of other GOP votes would likely be in play. Brownbackwarned that his vote isn’t guaranteed. "I’m not going to go along with justanything [Reid] throws in there…. I believe in it, I think it’s the right thingto do, but I can’t be cute with it." RES advocates will hold a press call at 10a.m. in order to continue to beat the drum for passage of a renewable standardthis year. Organizers are billing the call as a "major announcement," and oneadvocate tells Morning Energy that environmentalists, the clean energy crowdand labor will show "unified support for a specific, viable RES for the firsttime."

Easyto Offer Up an Amendment Seeking to Raise Taxes on Energy When You’re Not Upfor Re-Elect This Cycle, Right Bill Nelson? Amazed Your Colleagues FeltDifferently. Energy Guardian (9/14, subs.req’d) reports, "The Senate on Tuesday defeated a tax-reporting proposaltargeted at a group of oil and gas producers that could have increased theindustry’s operating costs. The amendment offered by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.,to the small business jobs bill sought to repeal the Section 199 manufacturingdeduction for oil and natural gas companies. It was defeated 56 to 42, fallingshort of the 60 votes needed to end debate on the proposal. API previouslywarned Senate leadership the tax proposal would kill jobs. "We are pleased theSenate failed to approve this shortsighted amendment that sought to unfairlyrepeal a job-creating tax provision for a handful of oil and natural gascompanies. Had it passed, the provision would have raised taxes and killedjobs, something the nation cannot afford, especially when so many Americans areout of work," said API’s Stephen Comstock. The Section 199 tax law wasimplemented in 2004 to allow companies to deduct a portion of their income fromdomestic production and manufacturing activities. API chief executive JackGerard told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the oil and gasindustry created two million jobs between 2004 and 2007, which he called anindicator of the industry’s ability to assist in economic recovery.  "We believe at this time it is veryimportant not to do anything to discourage job creation, and to bring energycreation to the marketplace," Gerard said. "Section 199 is a perfect example."

TheUntouchables: Italian Mafia Uses "Green Pork" Hand-Outs, Wind Mandates toLaunder Nearly $2 Billion – US Mafia, Run By GE and Google, Look to Do the SameHere. LondonTelegraph (9/14) reports, "Police in Italy have seized Mafia-linked assetsworth $1.9 billion – the biggest mob haul ever – in an operation revealing thatthe crime group was trying to "go green" by laundering money throughalternative energy companies. Investigators said the assets included more than40 companies, hundreds of parcels of land, buildings, factories, bank accounts,stocks, fast cars and luxury yachts. Most of the seized assets were located inSicily, home of the Cosa Nostra, and in southern Calabria, home of its sistercrime organisation, the ‘Ndrangheta. Investigators said Nicastri’s companiesran numerous wind farms as well as factories that produced solar energy panels.The cupola, or hierarchy, of the Sicilian Mafia has been in freefall since themid-1990s, when police began arresting its most enigmatic and charismaticbosses. Salvatore "The Beast" Riina, who had declared war on thestate and ordered a string of killings, bombings and kidnappings, was arrestedin 1993 after nearly a quarter of a century on the run. His successor, BernardoProvenzano, was captured in 2006 after 43 years on the run. Both Riina andProvenzano hailed from Corleone, the hill town near Palermo made famous by theGodfather movies.

TheLast Thing Rick Boucher Wanted to Hear: Waxman Promises Resurrection ofCap-and-Raid Should Dems Hold Onto the House – Even By a Single Seat. Politico (9/14)reports, "The campaign to pass climate legislation will continue on CapitolHill in 2011 – if Democrats are still in charge, that is. That’s the wordTuesday from a top House Democrat who led the charge over the last two years topass a major cap-and-trade bill. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman won narrow passageof his global warming bill through committee and on the floor during the firstsix months of the Obama administration in 2009. But the legislation haswithered in the Senate ever since, with Republicans and many moderate Democratsbalking at a floor vote during an election year.  Republican congressional candidates have pledged to blockcap-and-trade legislation next year if they are in the majority. Democrats havebeen a bit more circumspect about their agenda plans if they can hold on to theHouse, Senate, or both.  Asked ifhe’d push climate legislation next year if he’s still in a majority leadershipposition, Waxman told POLITICO, "If we haven’t done the job completely thisyear, we’ll continue to fight it next year through the House and the Senate."  Some of the House Democrats from heavyindustrial districts who voted for the Waxman-led climate bill are now underfire on the campaign trail, a point that the congressman from Beverly Hillsalso bemoaned.  "I think we’ve gotto get away from looking at this issue as a partisan issue," Waxman said.

Di-FiNeeds Wi-Fi; Maybe Then, Sen. Feinstein Would Know that Her Approps RiderSeeking to Ban Offshore Energy Along Pacific OCS Is Superfluous.  TheHill (9/14) reports, "The Interior Department spending bill slated formarkup in the Senate Appropriations Committee will re-impose oil-and-gasdrilling bans off the Pacific Coast that lapsed after decades in 2008, Sen.Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. Obama administration offshore leasing plansdo not contemplate oil-and-gas development off the coasts of California, Oregonor Washington. But Feinstein – who chairs the subcommittee that crafts Interiorspending bills – said in the Capitol Tuesday that the measure would re-instatethe bans to provide extra protection. Offshore drilling bans that Congress hadlong imposed on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts were allowed to lapse in thefall of 2008 during a feverish election-year fight over oil-and-gasoline pricesthat hit record highs that summer. Then-President George W. Bush removedoverlapping White House bans that summer as well. But the measure thatFeinstein has inserted into the fiscal year 2011 spending bill – if successful -will be a sign that the political pendulum has swung away from expandeddrilling in the wake of the BP oil spill. Congressional drilling bans werefirst imposed in federal waters off the central and northern California coastin 1982, and were later expanded to include southern California and the coastsof Washington and Oregon.

ConsiderYourself Bromwich’d: New BOEM Director Says that No New Offshore Reforms WillBe Implemented Unless Congress Appropriates Him a Ton of Cash. DowJones/WSJ (9/14) reports, "Michael Bromwich, the head of the agency thatregulates offshore drilling, pleaded his case Tuesday. "If we don’t getthe additional resources, we won’t be able to do the job effectively," hesaid in a call with reporters. "I think it’s that simple." Mr.Bromwich also said it was "highly unlikely" that the administrationwould extend its moratorium on deep-water oil drilling beyond its scheduledexpiration date of Nov. 30. He said the industry has made progress on measuresto contain and respond to spills. The moratorium is under attack in court fromthe oil and gas industry.  A reportlast week by the Interior Department said the bureau’s inspectors operate"with minimal resources" and noted that the bureau has just 55inspectors in the Gulf of Mexico to inspect about 3,000 oil and gas facilities.While there is broad support in Congress for overhauling Mr. Bromwich’s agency,it isn’t clear whether lawmakers will go along with some of theadministration’s ideas for paying for the reorganization. The White House hasproposed paying for the agency’s budget increase in part by increasing fees onoil and gas companies.  Theproposed fee increases drew criticism Tuesday from the American PetroleumInstitute, which noted that the oil industry already pays the governmentbillions of dollars each year in bids for drilling leases, rental fees,royalties on production and taxes on income.

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