September 20, 2010

Nutty:Sen. Feinstein Calls Approps-Led Attempt to Prevent EPA’s Criminalization ofCarbon "Very Squirrelly" – Even Though She Wants to Use Same Approps Bill toBlock Offshore Energy. Politico (9/20)reports, "Just last week, environmentalists and the Obama administration dodgeda bullet when the Senate Appropriations Committee canceled a markup of EPA’sspending bill, in which agency foes could have the votes to cut off climatefunds for at least one year.  "That’sa vulnerability – and a significant one," said an environmentalist of thespending committee’s composition. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the subpanel thatoversees EPA’s budget, refused to handicap the prospects for any climate rider."It’s very squirrelly," she said Thursday. "That’s all I’m going to say."Dozens of industry trade groups are leaning on the Senate to clamp down on EPAand leave the legislative heavy lifting on climate change to a future sessionof Congress. "A vote to delay pending EPA greenhouse gas emissions [rules] willprovide Congress the opportunity to develop sound policy approaches to addressgreenhouse gas emissions, rather than default to a poorly designed EPAregulatory approach," Michael Morris, CEO of American Electric Power and arepresentative of the Business Roundtable, said last week in a letter tosenators.

Enviros’Chili Already Running Hot Thanks to Downfall of Cap-and-Raid – Now Those SameDems Who Couldn’t Deliver Want Greens to Knock Doors for ‘Em. Politico (9/20)reports, "Stung by a series of recent legislative setbacks and facingemboldened and financially flush opponents, environmentalists are hunkeringdown in the lead-up to November’s midterm elections. The focus on playingdefense is a distinct shift from past years, when greens and like-mindedprogressives poured their resources into knocking out industry-friendlyincumbents in a bid to clear the way for a sweeping energy and climate victorythat never happened. Environmentalists refute the idea that they’re no longerplaying offense. They point to a number of competitive races across the countryin which they say they can pick up seats, such as in Missouri, where DemocratRobin Carnahan hopes to fill the Senate seat of retiring Republican KitBond.  But ask environmentalists toname their top priorities for this fall, and they sound very much like adefensive-minded team.  "Our toppriority is defeating Proposition 23," said Tony Massaro, senior vice presidentof political affairs for the League of Conservation Voters.

16Months After National Ozone Limits Were Slashed by 15%, EPA Wants to Slash ‘EmAgain by Another 20% — With Absolutely ZERO Science to Back It Up. WallStreet Journal (9/20) reports, "In 2008, the George W. Bush administrationtightened the ozone standard from 84 ppb to its current level of 75. The EPAnormally waits at least five years before revising the standards. A spokesmanfor Ms. Jackson says the standard set by the Bush administration doesn’tsufficiently protect public health and that the administrator "isdetermined to set a standard that protects all Americans."  Congressional Republicans have attackedthe new standard as a threat to economic growth and job creation.  Two of the top Republicans on the HouseEnergy and Commerce Committee-Reps. Joe Barton and Michael Burgess, both ofTexas-called the proposal "extraordinarily expensive and unworkable."A group of senators led by George Voinovich and Evan Bayh recently urged Ms.Jackson in a letter to reconsider the proposal, saying it would "have asignificant negative impact on our states’ workers and families and willcompound the hardship that may are now facing in these difficult economictimes." West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, the party’s candidate for the U.S.Senate seat long held by Robert Byrd, wrote to Ms. Jackson last month andaccused the EPA of "adding an unnecessary element of confusion" byproposing to change the standards "prematurely."

Meanwhile,In the Senate, Tom Carper’s "3E’s" Emissions Bill Laid to Rest – Turns Out ItHad Liability Protections, Which Made the Trial Lawyers Balk. E&E News (9/20,subs. req’d) reports, "Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is no longer asking the SenateEnvironment and Public Works Committee to vote on his proposal to setnationwide limits on air pollution from coal-fired power plants, he announcedlate Friday. Carper, the chairman of EPW’s Clean Air and Nuclear SafetySubcommittee, had been seeking a markup for a bill (S. 2995) that would setnationwide limits on sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and mercuryfrom coal plants. The bill would require more reductions than U.S. EPA’sproposed Clean Air Transport Rule but would allow more interstate trading thanthe agency’s proposal. And while the Carper-Alexander bill’s emissions caps arestricter than the ones that EPA proposed in July, the legislation would providemore certainty for businesses by fending off potential legal challenges,supporters said. Utilities ended up spending billions of dollars on emissionscontrols to prepare for CAIR before it was struck down in 2008.Environmentalists wanted the emissions limits in the bill to be stricter. Theyalso opposed any amendments that would make the bill weaker than theregulations coming out of EPA.

90%of World’s Largest Businesses See "Significant Opportunity" in Climate Change -And Guess What? All They Need Is Taxpayer Money to Seize On It. Bloomberg(9/20) reports, "More companies foresee business opportunities that may offsetthe market risks of climate change, a survey by institutional investorsfound.  Almost 90 percent of thoseresponding in the survey of 500 of the world’s largest public companiesidentified "significant opportunities" from climate change, up from 80 percentlast year, the Carbon Disclosure Project said in a report today. Siemens AG,Europe’s largest engineering company, and Texas Instruments Inc., the U.S.chipmaker, were among those citing new markets for sustainable products andmore demand for energy- efficient appliances. "We’re seeing a segregation goingon between companies that have a strategy to control costs and to profit from acarbon-constrained world, and other companies — a lot of them are in theUnited States — that are being held back by a government that’s not addressingthis issue," Dickinson said in an interview. Almost half of companies surveyedsaid they are "embedding" climate change and carbon management into theirbusiness strategy, and 85 percent reported senior executives had responsibilityfor climate policy.

ThisIs Why We Love the Greens: With Their Political World Crumbling Around Them,They Decide to Spend Millions on Campaign Targeting Detergent Soap. NYTimes (9/20) reports, "Consumers are not always thrilled about theperformance of environmentally friendly cleaning products. Some consumer andenvironmental organizations even argue that many cleaning products marketed asenvironmentally beneficial are not green enough. One group, Women’s Voices forthe Earth, advocates the use of homemade products because most manufacturersstill use potentially harmful ingredients like dyes, fragrances andpreservatives – their formulas undisclosed, as trade secrets – in productscertified by third-party green labels. "There’s still toxic chemicals in thesesupposedly green products, and unless the company discloses all ingredients,consumers are still in the dark," said Cassidy Randall, program and outreachcoordinator for the group. She said the main concern for many consumers,especially mothers of young children, is "whether the product is safe, not howit’s going to work." Detergents for commercial dishwashers, which operate athigher heat levels than the residential types, are exempt from the new law fornow because manufacturers need time to research how to make those formula workwithout phosphates.

BananaRepublic: Trail Lawyers in Chevron Case Want TRIPLE the Amount They RequestedBefore – $113 Billion for Damages The Gov’t Already Settled on Earlier. WallStreet Journal (9/19) reports, "Plaintiffs suing Chevron Corp. in Ecuadorhave increased their damages claim to a possible $113 billion, raising it morethan four times a previous estimate. Pablo Fajardo, the lawyer leading Ecuador’slegal team on behalf of people from the country’s Amazon region, said Fridaythe damages range was now between $40 billion and $113 billion. The newassessment was submitted to the Lago Agrio Court in the Amazon region onThursday, when the 45-day period given by the Lago Agrio court for both partiesto submit their own damages assessment finished. In November 2008, RichardCabrera, a court-appointed expert, told the Lago Agrio Court that the companyshould pay $27.3 billion in compensation for environmental damages in theAndean country. On Thursday, Chevron submitted expert testimony to the samecourt from scientists, "demonstrating that there is no evidentiary basisfor the lawsuit against the company," according to a company statement.  Chevron also has renewed its motion fordismissal of the case, saying there is no evidence of liability.

DanBeard’s Nightmare: Pelosi’s Penchant for Spending Millions on BoondoggleCapitol Greening Initiatives May Come to an End Under New Majority. Politico (9/19)reports, "Boehner has long been at odds with several parts of Pelosi’senvironmental push, calling them "a waste of money." "It reminds me of theCatholic Church in the Middle Ages, when we had indulgences," Boehner said ofPelosi’s initial plan to buy carbon offsets to atone for the House’s energyuse. And when the cafeterias started offering more exotic, healthful fare,Boehner had a laugh. "I like real food – food that I can pronounce the name of,"Boehner told media outlets after the House initiated a three-year diningcontract with Restaurant Associates, which immediately began incorporatinglocally grown and organic foods like bok choy and jicama into the menus. TheHouse’s food contract with Restaurant Associates, which is part of the Greenthe Capitol program, expires this fall, and it would be up to a new regime inCongress to renew it. As it stands, key parts of the Green the Capitol projectare not complete, including a more than $1 million initiative to revamp theCapitol dome with energy-efficient lighting, which could easily be dismissed ina transition to a Speaker Boehner, said aides close to the project who askednot to be identified.

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