September 9, 2010

TheWorm Turns: US Agency Loaned Mexican Gov’t More than $1 Billion Last Year toHelp State-Run Company Develop Energy Offshore – And More in the Offing ThisYear. CNS News (9/8) reports, "TheU.S. Export-Import Bank, an independent federal agency, loaned more than $1billion to the Mexican state oil company PEMEX in 2009 to support the company’soil drilling in the southern Gulf of Mexico. The bank has another $1 billion inloans in the pipeline for 2010, unless Congress objects. On May 27, after theBritish Petroleum oil spill, President Obama imposed a moratorium on U.S.deepwater drilling in the Gulf, effecting 33 deepwater drilling rigs in theregion. PEMEX was the Export-Import Bank’s largest borrower in 2009 and hasborrowed $8.3 billion from the U.S. federal government since 1998. Under the2009 loan agreements, PEMEX agreed to contract with American firms and purchaseequipment from American manufacturers in exchange for the money. One loan,worth $600 million, went to finance the development of 18 oil and natural gasfields in the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico. Campeche is thearea where the majority of Mexico’s oil and gas production takes place and islocated just north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Another loan, worth $300 million,went to fund the building of oil production facilities in Mexico’s Cantarelloffshore oil field, which provides a large portion of Mexico’s oil production,according to EIA.

Dim:Federal Mandate Forcing Folks to Buy More Expensive Lightbulbs an Inconveniencefor Most – and an Outright Job Killer for 200 Workers in Virginia. WashingtonPost (9/8) reports, "The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescentlight bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sadexit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas AlvaEdison’s innovations in the 1870s. The remaining 200 workers at the plant herewill lose their jobs. "Now what’re we going to do?" said TobySavolainen, 49, who like many others worked for decades at the factory, makingbulbs now deemed wasteful. What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standardsessentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millionsof American households to switch to more efficient, expensive bulbs.Everybody’s jumping on the green bandwagon," said Pat Doyle, 54, who hasworked at the plant for 26 years. But "we’ve been sold out. First sold outby the government. Then sold out by GE. " Doyle was speaking after a shiftlast month surrounded by several co-workers around a picnic table near thepunch clock. Many of the workers have been at the plant for decades, and mostappeared to be in their 40s and 50s. Several worried aloud about findinganother job. "When you’re 50 years old, no one wants you," Savolainensaid. It was meant half in jest, but some of the men nod grimly.

SixMos. Ago, Clean Energy Works Had 45 Staff in DC and 200 Paid Organizers in theStates; Today? They’re Shuttering the Place – Sending Folks Back to Sierra,NRDC. Politico(9/8) reports, "Climate advocates stung by defeat in the Senate are folding oneof their big umbrella lobbying groups. Clean Energy Works, a coalition of 80environmental, religious, veteran and labor groups, will phase out itsoperations this fall as Democratic congressional leaders abandon plans for asweeping bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions. At its peak, the coalition had200 field organizers in key states and more than 45 staffers based out of a "warroom" in downtown Washington. It is led by Paul Tewes, who ran President BarackObama’s 2008 campaign operations in Iowa and other battleground states. "If youcame over from LCV, you’re going back to LCV," Di Martino said, referring tothe League of Conservation Voters. "If you’re a consultant like me, you’llhopefully go on to other like-minded campaigns." Despite the ultimate failureto enact a climate bill, Di Martino and others tied to the coalition said theydid their job well on the communications front. The commitment to collaborationsecured impressive and tangible results: hundreds of disciplined message eventsacross the country and thousands of earned media clips."

SeeIf You Can Follow This One: Green Pork Subsidies in US are Outrageously High,But Not as High as In Communist China – So Labor Folks Are Mad. Bloomberg(9/9) reports, "The United Steelworkers union said it will file a tradecomplaint with the U.S. government against renewable-energy products fromChina, urging an investigation of subsidies and preferences given by thatnation. The case "reveals five major areas of protectionist and predatorypractices utilized by the Chinese to develop their green sector at the expenseof production and job creation here in the U.S.," the American union said in astatement, indicating specifics will be provided later today.  The complaint that China is doing toomuch to help its companies expand their clean-energy sales contrasts with internationalefforts to encourage renewable energy and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions inorder to curb global warming. Nations including the U.S. and China plan to meetin Cancun, Mexico, at the end of November to renew climate-change talks.Legislation to limit carbon emissions and set requirements for the use ofrenewable energy have stalled in the U.S. Senate. The union’s filing will bemade to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The Obama administration willhave 45 days to decide if it will investigate the petition under U.S. law.

NortheastPA, the Region that Helped USA Win Two World Wars Thanks to Abundance ofAnthracite Coal, Found to Have Massive Reserves of Marcellus Natural Gas. Wilkes-BarreCitizens Voice (9/9) reports, "Eight of the 10 wells that produced thelargest volume of gas last year are in Susquehanna County, including the topwell – Chesapeake Appalachia LLC’s Clapper 2H well in Auburn Township – whichproduced 2.8 billion cubic feet of gas over 270 days. Of the top 20 producingwells, all but one are in Susquehanna, Bradford or Tioga counties. RaymondDeacon, an analyst with Pritchard Capital Partners LLC, sorted the wells’production depending on how long they were online in order to measure theirperformance. "It seemed like in every case, all the counties in thenortheast really stood out as being among the strongest in terms ofproduction," he said. "It shows the northeast looks much moreprolific in terms of how much you’re getting out of the wells." The actualnumbers last year surpassed the company’s expectations, even though"expectations were quite high," Engelder said. Matt Pitzarella, aspokesman for Range Resources, which reported a total production of about 35billion cubic feet of natural gas and 402,000 barrels of natural gas liquidslast year, said the report indicates what the industry believed, "which isthat it is a very large natural gas discovery and could be one of the largestanywhere when it’s all said and done. It’s just going to take time."Pitzarella added that the "very promising" production numbers in thereport represent the earliest stages of the shale development, and it willstill take several years for each well to break even.

RogerMaris Smiles: North Dakota, Previously a State with a Population of 12 andDeclining Oil Production, Turns the Beat Around Thanks to HF and Bakken Shale. IPAA/EID’s Lee Fuller writes in the Bismarck(N.D.) Tribune (9/9), "In an Aug. 30 letter, Roberta Nelson perpetuates ahost of unfounded claims related to the use of hydraulic fracturing, atechnology that’s played a key role in helping North Dakota leverage theopportunity of the Bakken into jobs and opportunity for everyone in the state.Unfortunately, to hear Nelson tell the story, hydraulic fracturing is "exempt"from a whole host of federal laws, which she then turns around and blames onthe former vice president. Civics 101 aside, here are the actual facts:Fracturing has been used safely in the United States for more than 60 years,and has never in that time been directly regulated by the EPA. For decades,that responsibility has remained with states, which continue to compile aremarkable record of oversight and enforcement. How good? In 60 years, not asingle case of groundwater contamination has been credibly tied to hydraulicfracturing. Don’t believe us? Just ask the EPA – it confirmed as much to theU.S. Senate earlier this year. Fortunately, support for the Bakken and thecritical energy technologies that make its development possible is somethingyou’ll find from parties in North Dakota.

OnlyYou Can Prevent Forest Conspirers: National Park Service Announces Plan toSpend Millions of Taxpayer Dollars to Advocate on Behalf of CarbonCriminalization. EnergyGuardian (9/9, subs. req’d) reports, "The National Park Service is enactinga sweeping climate change strategy aimed at reducing its greenhouse gasemissions, protecting natural landmarks from the impact of global warming andusing its unique role as the country’s nature educator to better familiarizeAmericans with emerging threats and solutions. NPS Director Jarvis unveiled thenew policy Wednesday and named a longtime climate scientist, Dr. Leigh Welling,to oversee the agency’s Climate Change Response Program. "Global climate changethreatens the integrity of our national parks. It challenges the NPS mission toleave park resources unimpaired for future generations unlike any threat in ourhistory," the agency’s new plan states. "We will reduce the National ParkService carbon footprint (the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through NPSactivities) through energy-efficient and sustainable practices and integratethese practices into planning and operations," the plan added. "Finally,through clear. directed communication, the NPS will raise employees’ and thepublic’s awareness of the implications of climate change and inspire them totake steps to address this challenge."

FormerMMS Set to Make Tons of New Hires, Spend Billions More to Ramp Up Regulationson OCS – One Problem: No One’s Actually Producing Out There Right Now. E&E News (9/8,subs. req’d) reports, "The agency today released a blueprint report to"reinforce and expand" reforms at the Bureau of Ocean EnergyManagement, Regulation and Enforcement, the former Minerals Management Service.The report recommends that the agency increase the number of offshore inspectors,conduct more surprise inspections, and stiffen fines and penalties forcompanies that violate federal rules, among other suggestions. "The report… is honest; it doesn’t sugarcoat challenges we know are there,"Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. "It provides a blueprint for solvingthem, and it shows that we are on precisely the right track with our reformagenda." Salazar said the agency will request some $100 million inadditional funds in an amended 2011 budget request to hire new inspectors,strengthen training programs and implement other recommended reforms. ButSalazar and BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich stressed that today’s report doesnot signal the end of the administration’s moratorium on deepwater drilling. Adecision whether to lift or prolong that ban won’t come until BOEMRE issues aninterim final rule on offshore drilling safety later this fall, they said.

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