September 28, 2010

EarlyDismissal? Bromwich Hints that Lifting of Obama Offshore Ban Might Come ThisWeek – But Reilly Admits Effect Will Still Be “De Facto Ban.” Politico (9/27)reports, “The Obama administration is edging closer to a decision to end themoratorium on deepwater oil and gas drilling that industry and Gulf Coastlawmakers have attacked since its imposition after the Gulf of Mexico oilspill. Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,Regulation and Enforcement, said Monday he expects to issue interim rules and akey report later this week – a month early – as the Obamaadministration weighs its next move on offshore drilling. "Even when themoratorium is lifted, you’re not going to see drilling come on the next day orthe next week," Bromwich told the administration’s Oil Spill Commission ata hearing Monday in Washington, D.C. "It’s going to take some time and I’djust be guessing." William Reilly, co-chairman of the Oil SpillCommission, told reporters he expects the moratorium to be lifted before theNov. 30 deadline. But he predicted business will stillnot return to normal in the Gulf of Mexico. "It’ll be a de factomoratorium going forward," said Reilly, the former EnvironmentalProtection Agency administrator.



HailMary: Sen. Begich Applauds Landrieu’s Passion in Fighting Gulf Energy Ban –Decides to Join the Fray Himself, This Time in Defense of Alaska Energy. TheHill (9/27) reports, “Begich said he’s looking at the procedural optionsthat the Senate rules allow too. He wants a clear signal from the Obamaadministration on allowing companies to move ahead with exploratory drilling.The Interior Department has delayed Shell Oil’s plans to drill in shallowArctic waters this year, even though they’re not covered by the drilling ban.Begich now fears that 2011 could also slip away and that industry investmentwill eventually migrate elsewhere. He applied gentler pressure earlier thismonth, sending President Obama a letter urging him to personally help create “reasonabletimelines” for development. Begich said Monday that he hopes to get a responsefrom the administration, but if the soft pressure doesn’t work, he will look attougher measures when Congress returns after the mid-term elections. “If I haveto use procedural measures, we will do it, because it is getting to a point wherewe have a period that is getting shorter and shorter to make decisions,” Begichsaid.  “Mary [Landrieu], in a lotof ways, kind of showed that there are certain avenues that are necessary toget some response,” he later added, although he did not provide any detailsabout his possible efforts.



EnvirosAre REAL Sensitive to Criticism that Their “Movement” Excludes Minorities –Which Is Why Their New Plan to Oust Obama from WH IsSo Hilarious. Politico (9/27)reports, “Obama’s environmental record has been dismal, especially on climate,oil and endangered species,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director at theTucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity. “His early appointment ofKen Salazar as secretary of the interior showed very poor judgment. So yes, apro-environment Democrat might find a surprising amount of support in a primarybattle.” “It pains me to say it, but success will require a new president,”wrote Hurowitz, now a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. “Andthat means that after the midterm elections, we need to start looking for aprimary challenger who has the heart and soul required to save the planet fromcatastrophe and rescue American [sic] from its economic morass.” Matt Pawa, aNewton, Mass.-based private environmental attorney, said he’s been talking tohis colleagues for six to eight months about the search for a seriousDemocratic primary challenger.  “Weare actively discussing candidates among ourselves and seeking the right personto carry the banner,” he said. “I don’t know if there is someone out there who’swilling to do it, who would be perfect in terms of fitting the bill. I think itshould not be a Ralph Nader-type person. It should be someone with asignificant political base and stature who could make a serious run.”



Bodesin Motion: Folks in DC Might Think WV Gov. Joe Manchin’s a Swell Dude forOpposing Cap-and-Raid – But Guess What? Manchin Loves Him Some RES. E&E News (9/28,subs. req’d) reports, “West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) spent the past weekgobbling up endorsements from conservative advocacy groups for his Senate bid,but Republican John Raese is hoping to turn the tide by linking Machin to aliberal environmental agenda. The developments come amid signs that the race isincreasingly competitive — which is bad news for Democrats who are desperatelytrying to hold on to their majority in the Senate. Raese, a business mogul andthree-time Senate candidate, is expected to launch TV ads today that warnvoters that sending Manchin to Washington would help Democrats implementcap-and-trade legislation. Manchin, the two-term governor, opposed thecap-and-trade bill passed by the House last year and similar drafts introducedin the Senate. But Raese is trying to tie Manchin to cap and trade byhighlighting his support for a state law that requires utilities to obtain aquarter of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. In an interviewSunday with RealClearPolitics, Raese called the law "cap and tradeManchin-style." "Do the people of West Virginia trust a governor inthe state of West Virginia who has already implemented cap and trade here inWest Virginia?" Raese said. "They’re a little concerned about sendinghim to Washington right now."



“Hippes,” Students Wielding “Mandolins” Arrested inCoal Protest at WH – Jim Hansen Too; Apparently on an Extended Lunchbreakfrom His Gov’t Job. AssociatedPress (9/28) reports, “Around 100 people have been arrested outside theWhite House while protesting against mountaintop removal mining. The protesterswere arrested Monday after refusing orders from U.S. Park Police to leave thesidewalk outside the White House. They staged a rally at nearby Freedom Plazaearlier in the day. The crowd of mostly youthful ralliers carried signs like"Blowing Up Mountains for Coal Poisons People" and "Mountainecosystems won’t grow back." Some carried small white crosses adorned withmessages such as "water pollution" and "corporate greed."The ralliers had a hippie, counterculture vibe, with some sporting facepiercings and many of the young men bearded. Some stood in circles holdinghands, and folk music played from the stage. Jeremy Cherson, a senior atAmerican University in Washington, had a mandolin around his neck and held acarrot and stick in his hand. He said the carrot was a plea for clean energyand the stick was actions like Monday’s rally. He said he skipped a class oncritical social thought to attend the rally. "My professor said that wasfine — this is critical and social," he said. James Hansen was amongthose arrest. Clickhere to see a picture of him wearing a sweet hat.



NewPush-Poll Intended to Lend Support to Pro-Cap-and-Raid Crowd Produces OppositeResult  — Turns Out Americans DON’TWant to Pay Extra for Enviro Mandates. TheHill (9/28) reports, “The poll also concludes that on average Americanswould pay at most about $20 extra per month in electricity bills if it meantmaking the U.S. less dependent on energy imports, $13 more per month if itwould mean the creation of lots of “green jobs,” and $15 per month if theirenergy use would be more environmentally friendly. The biggest percentage ofthose polled for each scenario, however, would want to pay nothing more toreach those goals. The dollar figures are smaller if those scenarios are notframed within the context of global warming, with still the highest percentageelecting not to pay anything more per month.  The telephone poll was conducted from Sept. 16-19 and polled1,161 adults, with a margin of error of 2.9 percent. Those identifyingthemselves as Democrats outweighed Republicans, 46 percent to 40 percent, with the rest labeled as independents or notleaning toward either party. Clickhere to download the Ipsos poll memo.



ThisIs Disgusting: Trial Lawyers Looking to Be Selected to Lead the LitigationAssault in the Gulf Cite Experience in Bringing Down Doctors, Rx Drugs,Businesses. WallStreet Journal (9/28) reports, “The chosen few could collect millions ofdollars in attorneys’ fees. Their peers who aren’t selected will be required tochip into a fund to have the committee members represent their points of viewbefore the judge. Louisiana attorneys James P. Roy and Stephen Herman alreadyhave secured the leadership posts of co-liaison counsel for plaintiffs. Inmultidistrict litigation such as this, judges typically cite criteria for leadattorneys, including experience handling mass torts and ability to work well asa team. Because so many attorneys tend to apply for lead roles in big cases,the applications often are laced with hubris.  The deadline for applications in the oil-spill litigationwas Monday, and the federal docket lit up throughout the day with applications."I criss-crossed the country twenty-two times in eleven months and had asubstantial role in fashioning the most complex of settlements" in Vioxxlitigation, noted Los Angeles attorney Thomas Girardi in making his case forwhy he qualified for a lead post. In an interview, Mr. Girardi said, "I’ma lot smarter now," after handling that case. In another application,attorney Scott Weinstein of Fort Myers, Fla., cited his famous clients. "Undersignedis currently Lead Counsel…representing Florida Governor Charlie Cristpersonally," he wrote.



Howa Bill Really Becomes a Law: Wash Exam Piece Tells the Tale of Wendy Van Asselt’sEffort to Use House Resources Cmte to Lock Up Land Out West. Ron Arnold writes (9/28) in the WashingtonExaminer, “Environmental activist Wendy Van Asselt was at the WorldResources Institute in 2003 when officials from the Wilderness Society made heran offer she couldn’t refuse. They wanted her to lead a huge project to remove26 million acres of federal land in the National Landscape Conservation System(NLCS) from oil and gas production, grazing, timber harvesting, mining forstrategic minerals, off-road recreation, and providing rural jobs. Van Asseltwas a logical choice for the job since she had shown in her position at WRI —and previously at the Mineral Policy Center, with its shrill “No Dirty Gold”campaign — that she had a decided preference for stopping naturalresource development, especially on federal lands. The Wyss Foundation wouldfund the new project, thanks to a Wilderness Society board member, HansjorgWyss, a Swiss entrepreneur whose net worth was estimated at $6 billion. TheHewlett Foundation would also give $1 million to the project.



ReadThis: LOGA’s Briggs Takes to the Pages of the Shreveport Paper to Provide aQuick History Lesson on the Safety, Performance of Hydraulic Fracturing. LOGA’s Don Briggs writes (9/28) in the ShreveportTimes, “Environmentalists argue that the fracturing process can contaminatewater supplies and should be regulated by the federal government under the SafeDrinking Water Act. Currently, hydraulic fracturing is closely and effectivelyregulated by state agencies. Bob Anthony, Oklahoma Corp. commissioner, said inan address to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners inJuly, "In my 20 plus years as a commissioner, I can’t think of anythingthat can compare to the all-out assault on hydraulic fracturing by groups thatare obviously using it to put a stop to the tapping of America’s abundantnatural gas supplies." Over the more than 60 years of use and nearly 1million wells that have been drilled in the United States with this process,hydraulic fracturing is a technology that has been proved by experience to besafe and effective. The Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatorshave studied the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on undergrounddrinking water sources and have found no confirmed evidence of anycontamination of drinking water wells in connection with hydraulic fracturingoperations.


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