September 16, 2010

Coal MinersStand Up to Obama Admin., EPA; Rally on Capitol Hill to Save Their Jobs.  AP (9/15) reports, "Hundredsof coal miners rallied on Capitol Hill Wednesday against the Obamaadministration’s attempts to rein in mountaintop removal mining, accusing theEnvironmental Protection Agency of trying to wipe out the coal industry."This administration is trying to shut down coal and fire all ofyou," said Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., adding that the EPA was practicing"strangulation by regulation." The industry-backed group Faces ofCoal said it paid for most of the travel and lodging expenses for the coalminers, who came from West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Ohio.Speakers included politicians from both parties and country music singer StellaParton. Ralliers wore blue Faces of Coal T-shirts, and some sported hard hats.They hoisted signs that said, "Coal Keeps the Lights on," and"Coal Miners ‘Dig’ Their Jobs." When an opening prayer was given, itincluded thanks to God for natural resources such as coal. "They’re tryingto take our jobs," yelled Haven King, a 65-year-old retired coal minerfrom Hazard, Ky. "We have to stand up." West Virginia Gov. JoeManchin, a Democrat, said that the EPA is blocking jobs. "West Virginiawill fight back and every coal state must fight back," he said.

With CongressBack in Session, Some Call for Offshore Moratorium, Others Bring Facts to theDiscussion. Tom Pyle (9/15)writes for the DailyCaller, "This week, Congress holds hearings to discuss what is widelyseen as a politically-motivated moratorium on deepwater drilling. The Presidentis fully aware that an extended drilling ban would cost thousands of jobs;energy officials within Obama’s own administration have predicted that anextended drilling ban would reduce domestic oil production by 82,000 barrelsper day in 2011. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association statesthat nearly 80% of the oil produced in the Gulf comes from wells in the deeperwaters. They estimate that the costs of the exploration suspension rangebetween $8.25 million and $16.5 million per day in rig costs; $1 million perday in costs for support boats; and $165 million to $330 million per month inlost wages for all 33 deepwater rigs. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R) hasstipulated that the ongoing economic devastation of the spill may be surpassedby the impacts of the moratorium. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) recently statedthat "the result of this Administration’s decision will still be a substantialloss of jobs – jobs that may not return to the Gulf for years." The expansivedisconnect between voters and their elected representatives is particularlynoticeable with respect to energy policy. A recent Rasmussen poll revealed that61% of those surveyed rank finding new sources of energy as more important thanreducing the amount of energy Americans now consume. Survey after surveyindicates that Americans overwhelmingly support domestic energy development,from oil or natural gas. However, this Administration and its Congressionalallies remain convinced that making domestic energy more expensive and harderto produce is what’s best for American families.

Sure theNatural Gas Industry Created over 44K Jobs in Pennsylvania Last Year; How DoesGov. Rendell Reward the Industry? How ‘Bout a Big Fat Tax. Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason (9/16) writefor Politico,"Over the next three weeks, the front lines of the energy policy debateare likely to shift from Capitol Hill to Harrisburg, Pa. For Gov. Ed Rendellhas launched an assault on domestic energy production unrivaled by any otherlawmaker or chief executive in the country, President Barack Obama included.Pennsylvania is on the verge of what many policy experts are calling amodern-day gold rush, thanks to the Marcellus Shale formation, a natural gasdeposit that spans most of the state. It only recently, because oftechnological advances, became a viable source of clean-burning natural gas. Infact, Marcellus may turn out to be the second-largest gas deposit in the world.It promises great potential for economic expansion and job creation in a stateand region sorely in need of both. Development of the Marcellus Shale was oneof the few bright spots in Pennsylvania’s economy last year, according to arecent Penn State study, creating 44,000 new high-paying jobs and generatingnearly $1.4 billion in additional federal, state and local tax revenue.

New Poll: 62%of Americans Oppose New Taxes on Oil and Natural Gas; 60% Say Such a Tax WillCost Jobs. Oiland Gas Journal (9/15) reports, "Nearly two thirds of America’s votersoppose raising taxes on the oil and gas industry in the US and believe it coulddestroy jobs, the American Petroleum Institute announced on Sept. 14. API saida telephone survey it commissioned by Harris Interactive found that 62% of therespondents opposed increasing oil and gas taxes, and 60% said it could costthe nation jobs. "Voters fear that raising taxes on an industry that providesmost of their energy and supports more than 9.2 million jobs would hurt themand damage the economy," said API Pres. Jack N. Gerard. "They think it couldcost jobs, and that’s exactly what two recent studies show." Gerard noted thatbased on a Wood Mackenzie analysis in August of production impacts fromeliminating the manufacturing and intangible drilling cost tax deductions forthe oil and natural gas industry, API calculated 58,800 jobs would be put atrisk in 2011 and 165,000 in 2020. A separate study of the impacts of ending themanufacturing tax deduction and increasing taxes on the industry’sforeign-earned income by Louisiana State University finance professor Joseph R.Mason concluded that 154,000 jobs could be lost in 2011, Gerard said. Mason’sstudy, which was released on Sept. 13 by the American Energy Alliance, anInstitute for Energy Research affiliate, also indicated that excluding the oiland gas industry from the manufacturers’ tax deduction and repealing dualcapacity foreign tax credits would reduce US economic output by $341.3 billion,tax revenue by $83.5 billion, and workers’ wages by $67.8 billion between 2011and 2020.

A Win for theGood Guys. Federal Judge Sides with Railroad Industry, Interstate Commerce overGreenies on Emissions in SoCal.  LATimes (9/16) reports, "Air quality watchdogs in Southern Californiacan’t impose limits on emissions from idling trains because they couldinterfere with interstate commerce that the federal government regulates, afederal appeals court ruled Wednesday. The decision dealt a blow to attempts byair quality regulators in the Los Angeles region, who have been attempting tolimit emissions in the densely populated areas around San Pedro Bay ports,through which 40% of the nation’s containerized cargo flows. The U.S. 9thCircuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous decision from the U.S. DistrictCourt for the Central District of California. The lawsuit filed by the Assn. ofAmerican Railroads and the BNSF and Union Pacific railroad companies challengedrestrictions imposed in 2005 and 2006 by the South Coast Air Quality ManagementDistrict, which covers Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardinocounties. In cities along the Los Angeles river corridor, activists have takenaim at diesel pollution from four rail yards, including BNSF Railway’s Hobartfacility, the world’s busiest "intermodal" yard, which transfers 1.2million containers a year between trucks and trains. Diesel exhaust from trainsand trucks is blamed for high cancer rates in several cities along thecorridor. But the air quality district’s rules are preempted by the InterstateCommerce Commission Termination Act of 1995, which says state and local lawscannot unreasonably burden interstate commerce, a three-judge panel of the 9thCircuit said in its ruling.

Rent-SeekingCorporations, Unions, Expensive-Energy Lobbyists Cobble Together 21 Groups toSign Statement in Support of Pinwheel and Sun Catcher Mandate. Newsworthy?ToSome. Reuters (9/16)reports, "Congress must pass a national renewable electricity standard(RES) this fall to stop the dramatic downslide in the American clean energysector, 21 companies, think tanks and trade and advocacy organizations said. Afederal edict would protect thousands of jobs threatened by a sector slowdownand stop capital from flowing out of the U.S. and into China, according to theRES Action Statement, whose signatories include Iberdrola Renewables, theUnited Steelworkers Union, the Union of Concerned Scientists and GE Energy."The jobs and the investment are going to China," said Don Furman, asenior vice president for wind company Iberdrola Renewables, in a conferencecall with reporters. "If we wait another year, we’re going to lose alot." It is the first time such a large cross-sector coalition hasendorsed a specific national clean power standard. The groups, sponsored by theRES Alliance for Jobs, are rallying behind the "Bingaman RES," aweaker option than proposals previously backed by many signatories to theaction statement. Described as "anemic" not long ago, the near-suddenenthusiasm for the policy reveals the dire state at which advocates have arrived,after Congress punted on cap and trade and other climate policies to curtailgreenhouse gas emissions. 

AffordableEnergy Battleground: California and New Jersey. AB32 Campaign Heats up in Cali,NJ Gov. Under Pressure to Drop Out of RGGI. Politico(9/15) reports, "The nation’s premier state-led climate programs are underattack by a growing coalition of industry, tea party and conservativeactivists. Opponents to limits on greenhouse gas emissions see the fights inCalifornia and New Jersey as the next step in the fight over global warmingpolicy after the demise of federal cap-and-trade legislation on Capitol Hill. "Thisis definitely a new battlefield worth reconsidering in light of threat No. 1being shelved," said Clint Woods, energy, environment and agricultural directorat the American Legislative Exchange Council, a free market advocacy group. InCalifornia, Texas oil giants Valero and Tesoro are spearheading a Novemberballot initiative to derail the Golden State’s landmark 2006 law capping itsgreenhouse gas emissions. In New Jersey, conservatives are leaning onRepublican Gov. Chris Christie to drop out of a 10-state regional cap-and-tradecompact and show his true political stripes as he raises his national profilewith an endorsement tour this fall. Similar efforts could follow in otherstates, depending on how November gubernatorial races shake out.

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