September 29, 2010

Follow Us Here: SenateDemocrat Angry at Senate Republican Because Senate Republican Tried to PassSenate Democrat’s Bill to Delay EPA Carbon Criminalization.E&E News(9/28, subs. req’d) reports, “Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is gettingfrustrated that his Republican colleagues continue to seek votes on his bill todelay U.S. EPA climate rules without asking him first. Republicans Kit Bond ofMissouri and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have both sought votes in recent monthson Rockefeller’s bill to block EPA from regulating greenhouse gases fromstationary sources for two years, which Rockefeller says can likely pass theSenate this year. Last night, Bond tried to bring up for a vote Rockefeller’sbill to block EPA from regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources fortwo years but was thwarted when Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)objected. "He didn’t in any way let me know or our office know, and it’sjust a bad — it’s a bad thing to do," Rockefeller said today. Murkowskilaunched another attempt to bring up the legislation in August as an amendmentto a small business package but was not allowed a vote on the measure. "Iwould have liked to have known about it before she did it," Rockefellertold reporters last month. "But I like her, so I didn’t get mad."



Boy Who Cried “Gulf”:Sensing His Party’s About to Get Shellacked at the Polls, President Reaches Outto Enviros – Asks for Boots & Birkenstocks on the Ground. Politico (9/29) reports, “Obama’s pitch to tackle energy and climatenext year — “in chunks, as opposed to some sort of comprehensive omnibuslegislation,” he said — marked the first time the president has weighedin on the issue since this summer’s Senate stalemate. Democrats have severalother obvious environment-themed announcements and strategies in the works.Senate leaders still hope to hold a vote for a renewable-energy standard duringa lame-duck session. And the administration is looking at stronger protectionsfor Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and another round of fuel economyplans due later this week. Election observers say there’s an obvious linkbetween the president’s latest round of green policies and the get-out-the-votecampaign that starts and ends at the White House. “He has no choice,” saidJennifer Duffy, a senior editor at the Cook Political Report. “I thinkDemocrats can’t win without these voters, so they’ve got to make a play forit.” Democratic pollster Mark Mellman said Obama’s pitch cuts strongest towardDemocratic voters but also has resonance elsewhere in the electorate.



But That Support Comes witha Price – Here’s What Enviros Want First: Half of ANWR’s Already LockedAway Forever; Now Lock Up the Rest.E&E News (9/28, subs. req’d) reports, “Environmentalgroups are crowing while Alaska’s congressional delegation is condemning theObama administration’s announcement Monday that it will consider proposing newwilderness designations within the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Nearly halfof ANWR has already been declared wilderness, a designation that carries strictrestrictions on human activities to protect high conservation-value lands. TheInterior Department now will consider recommending designations on the rest ofthe area — including land above oil reserves on Alaska’s coastal plain.Interior does not have the power to create any new wilderness areas. That canonly be done through an act of Congress. Instead, Interior can recommendCongress consider certain lands for the designation. Murkowski called thereviews a "blatant political move by the administration" in anAssociated Press interview, and Begich said they were "a colossal waste oflimited resources." "We should use those resources to develop theenormous oil and gas reserves believed to be beneath the coastal plain,"Begich said.



King Kenneth a Jester in WHCourt: President Tells Rolling Stone that Mustang Sally Didn’t Act Quick Enoughto Rename MMS – WH Advisors Say He’s Gone by December. Politico (9/28) reports, “President Barack Obama isn’t exactly racingto the rescue of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. In an interview publishedtoday, Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner asked Obama: “Why does Ken Salazarstill have his job?” Rather than defending his Interior secretary, Obamaacknowledged that Salazar moved too slowly to clean up the scandal-plaguedMinerals Management Service — and said that he got a presidentialtongue-lashing as a result. “We are committed to making sure that that placeworks the way it is supposed to,” Obama told Rolling Stone. “But when I havesomebody like Ken Salazar, who has been an outstanding public servant, whotakes this stuff seriously, who bleeds when he sees what was happening in theGulf, and had started on a path of reform but just didn’t get there as fast onevery aspect of it as needed to be, I had to just let him know, ‘You’reaccountable, you’re responsible, I expect you to change it.’" White Houseinsiders say Salazar has fallen out of favor and speculate that he will be goneafter November’s midterms. Obama didn’t say directly whether Salazar wouldstill have a job, but he acknowledged the overhaul of the former MineralsManagement Service took too long.



Meanwhile, WH Efforts toBring Landrieu to Heel on Agency Hold Rebuffed – Lift the Ban, Make ItReal, Or You Don’t Get Your OMB Nominee.Bloomberg (9/28) reports, “U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said she plans toextend her hold on Jack Lew’s confirmation to lead the White House budgetoffice until the administration lifts or modifies its moratorium on deep-waterdrilling. President Barack Obama’s decision to halt exploration after BP Plc’sGulf of Mexico spill is causing more harm in her state than damage from thespill, Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, told reporters today in Washington.Landrieu said she met during the weekend with Interior Secretary Ken Salazarand today with Michael Bromwich, director of the U.S. office that overseesoffshore oil exploration. “We’re making slight progress but not enough for meto change my position,” Landrieu said after testifying to a national commissioninvestigating the spill. “I’m getting pushback but I didn’t expect they wouldbe happy about it so I’m not surprised.” Lew’s nomination was approved 22-1last week by the Senate Budget Committee, clearing the way for a vote by thefull chamber. The Senate lets lawmakers block action on presidentialnominations, a power they sometimes wield to get concessions from the executivebranch on unrelated issues.



Energy In Depth Exec. DirectorHits the Pages of NYT with Some Much Needed Facts, Context, History Related toHydraulic Fracturing. IPAA/EID’sLee Fuller writes (9/29) in The New York Times, “A recent editorial rightly suggests thecontinued development of clean-burning natural gas in America “is vital to ourenergy future.” Unfortunately, it also betrays a shallow understanding relatedto the history of hydraulic fracturing, which has been used for more than 60years to stimulate the flow of oil, natural gas and water, and more recently,geothermal energy. The Times wonders aloud if fracturing can be used “safely,”but dismisses out-of-hand a 2004 EPA study confirming that it can, and is. Itssolution? Another study from EPA. That’s fine with us, actually, so long as thestudy is based on the science and draws on technical insights of experts, notthe political wishes of activists. Hydraulic fracturing has been used safelyin New York State for 50 years. The Marcellus won’t change that. But it mightjust change New York’s economic future for the better.



You Know It’s Bad When:Even Folks Like Patty Murray and Ron Wyden Tell EPA to Slow Its Roll on NewBoiler Rule – And Yet, Agency Trudges On.E&E News(9/28, subs. req’d) reports, “In a sign of growing bipartisan opposition to aproposed crackdown on air pollution from industrial boilers, 18 SenateDemocrats have joined a slew of Republicans in asking EPA Administrator LisaJackson to scale back the agency’s plans. According to the new letter, whichwas circulated by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), therule could also hold back progress on environmental protection. The boiler rulehas prompted opposition from trade groups for the forestry industry and otherbusiness sectors, who say the rule would be too costly to implement during aneconomic downturn. According to a recent study from the Council of IndustrialBoiler Owners, every $1 billion spent on compliance with the rules for boilerswould threaten an additional 16,000 jobs. "For 40 years we have heardpredictions of doom and gloom from business groups every time EPA proposestougher clean air controls," said Frank O’Donnell, president of advocacygroup Clean Air Watch, in an e-mail responding to the study. "Thesepredictions are invariably exaggerated.” Still, the letter could signal abroader lack of support for the rule among the Democratic base. Many of theDemocratic senators who signed it — Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon;Patty Murray of Washington; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Mark Begich of Alaska– are typically regarded as EPA boosters.



You Know It’s Worse When:Not Even EPA Can Say How Businesses Will Be Able to Comply with New CarbonRules Slated to Take Hold 3 Months From Now. Bloomberg (9/28) reports, “A panel advising the Obama administration oncarbon dioxide regulations is deadlocked over what pollution-cutting technologypower plants, factories and refineries should be required to use starting in2011. After nearly a year of talks, the work group couldn’t reconcile“divergent points of view,” according to a copy of its report to theEnvironmental Protection Agency. Companies represented on the panel includedutilities American Electric Power Co. and Southern Co. It also includedofficials from national environmental groups and state regulatory agencies. Those programs work for problems like smog and acid rain because there isproven “back-end control technology” that can be fitted to the smokestack of apower plant to capture those pollutants, he said. Equipment that captures andstores carbon dioxide is still being developed, with the Obama administrationspending $1 billion on revamping an Illinois power plant to test the viabilityof capturing carbon dioxide and sending the gas via pipeline to sites where itwill be stored underground. American Electric is also testing carbon-capturetechnology at a coal- fired plant in West Virginia. The Clean Air Act “wasnever intended for an issue like this one” and the EPA should give Congressmore time to pass legislation that includes greenhouse-gas limits whilerecognizing carbon-capture technology isn’t ready yet, McManus said.



Labor Dept. Finally GetsAround to Defining What a “Green Job” Is – And Guess What? If You’reReading This Email Right Now, Chances Are You Qualify.Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (9/29) editorializes, “The Obamaadministration’s push for hideously cost-inefficient "green" jobs –and its claims of creating nearly 200,000 such jobs — are even more laughablebecause it counts financial advisers, wholesale buyers and (ahem) newspaperreporters among them. Byron York reports for The Examiner that more than a yearago — after hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars had been spent on greenjobs — U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, asked the Labor Department justwhat it considers a green job. He’s still waiting for an answer. In themeantime, Sen. Grassley has learned that Labor defines green jobs soludicrously that numerous occupations that don’t involve protecting the environmentqualify. And both stimulus dollars and $125 million spent annually under theGreen Jobs Act of 2007 are going down Labor’s overly broad tubes. Washington"shouldn’t cook the books with how it defines these jobs," Grassleysays. "Taxpayers deserve an honest accounting for the nearly half billionof their dollars being spent on this program." This White House’sdishonest accounting not only has further damaged its tattered economiccredibility, but it has made green jobs — always losing propositions — aneven worse deal for taxpayers.


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