October 15, 2010

Must ReadOpEd: U.S. Drilling Technology Aided in Rescue of Chilean Miners; Still theWorld Standard. BillWhitefield writes (10/15) for the Houston Chronicle, “A troubling discoveryplaces humans in peril, and only a team of American drillers stand between lifeand certain death. Though eerily similar to the story line of 1998’stop-grossing film Armageddon, this fantastic tale is far from fiction for 33desperate miners who became trapped 2,000 feet underground in Copiapó, Chile,71 days ago. When the nation’s government discovered that the job was beyondthe capabilities of its state-owned drilling company, it brought over Americanexpert Jeff Hart and his U.S. made T-130 drill and drill bits to ultimatelybring the trapped miners to safety. This inspiring story highlights the factthat when it comes to drilling and exploration, the United States is still thegold standard. Companies around the world contract industry leaders like Hartto drill for oil, natural gas, and — as was the case in the war zones ofAfghanistan – even water. The U.S. drilling industry’s continually improvingsafety and environmental standards set the bar for operations worldwide. Thoughrevered abroad, the industry’s amazing track record is overshadowed at home byrelentless vilification by slick politicians and green lobbies.”

You Can’tMake this Stuff Up. Any Guesses What the Top Issue is in New Hampshire HouseRace? If you Guessed Pellet Stoves, You’re Correct. Associated Press (10/15) reports, “A former Republican congressman who’srunning for his old job defended himself yesterday against accusations by hisDemocratic opponent that he created a tax credit while serving in the House tobenefit a wood pellet company in which he owns stock. Charlie Bass called AnnMcLane Kuster’s allegation ridiculous during a debate yesterday in Concord. Thetwo are running for the open Second Congressional District seat. It’s beenvacated by Democrat Paul Hodes, who’s running for the US Senate. “That kind ofself-dealing, that kind of special interest is a mistake. It’s not needed inWashington,’’ Kuster said about Bass’s association with New England Wood Pelletin Jaffrey. She also accused him of setting up a meeting in 2006 — hislast year in Congress — with then-Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman andSteven Walker, president of the company, who is married to Bass’s niece. Themeeting was mentioned in a 2006 issue of a newsletter by the Pellet FuelsInstitute.”

DNCChairman “Not Wild About” Manchin’s Cap-and-Raid Commercial; Mr. Chairman, theAmerican People Aren’t Wild About a National Energy Tax. The Hill (10/14) reports, “Democratic National Committee Chairman TimKaine said he wasn’t “wild about” West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin’s (D) TV ad inwhich he shoots a copy of the cap-and-trade bill. "The part that I mostdon’t like is fixing what’s bad about Obamacare," he said, referencingManchin’s comments in the recent ad. "He had two Democratic senators, verygood senators, who voted for that bill. And they voted for it because itprobably has as much to offer the residents of West Virginia as virtually anystate." Kaine said he knows Manchin "very well" but he hadn’ttalked about the ad with Manchin. "Joe and I have worked very welltogether, he’s been a great governor, and I think he’s going to be a fine U.S.senator," he said. "But, I’m not wild about [the ad]. "He’s ahell of a shot," Kaine joked Thursday at a breakfast organized by theChristian Science Monitor. Kaine made headlines in August when he said it was"crazy" for Democratic candidates to distance themselves fromPresident Obama. The former Virginia governor told reporters Thursday he wantscandidates to run on Democratic "accomplishments." Still, Kaine said,he’s sympathetic to the dynamics of Manchin’s Senate race against RepublicanJohn Raese.”

Who ThinksBig Green, Inc. Doesn’t Have Cash? LCV Spends $4.7 Million in Support ofAnti-Affordable Energy Candidates; Ads Cali. Prop 23 to Dirty Dozen. The Hill (10/14) reports, “The League of Conservation Voters has addedCalifornia’s Proposition 23 ballot initiative to its "Dirty Dozen"list of priorities for the midterm elections. The League has traditionallyreserved spots on the "Dirty Dozen" list for political candidates itopposes, but the group considers Prop 23 "the single most important racein the country,” according to LCV President Gene Karpinski. LCV and its sisterorganization LCV Education Fund have contributed $1.2 million so far to defeatProp 23, "by far the most money” the group has ever spent on a ballot initiative,Karpinski said. The group hasalso contributed or raised more than $1 million so far to support their favoredcandidates, an increase over the approximately $850,000 and $600,000 that thegroup raised or contributed in the 2008 and 2006 election cycles, respectively.LCV has also spent about $2.5 million in independent expenditures so far,compared with $1.7 million in the 2006 midterm election cycle.”

We Call itthe Marcellus Multiplier in Pennsylvania; Rail Industry Sees Boom in ActivityThanks to Shale Gas Revolution in the Keystone State.Scranton Times-Tribune (10/15) reports, “If natural gas drillingin the Marcellus Shale is going to prevail, it needs rail. That was the messagefrom transportation officials Thursday night during a gathering at Mohegan Sunat Pocono Downs. Todd Hunter, director of marketing for the North ShoreRailroad, explained to members of the NEPA Logistics Club that gas companiesare so far from their suppliers – and they are consuming commodities such assand and pipe in such quantities – that rail service is going to be crucial. "Withoutrail, shale fails," he said, quoting Lycoming County transportation plannerMark Murawski. Although Mr. Hunter lives and works in Williamsport, wherenatural gas development is exploding, he believes Northeast Pennsylvania,including Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, will eventually see increasedactivity, too. "We just got started, folks," Mr. Hunter said."It’s a year or two away before this thing really gets rolling." Startedin 1984, North Shore Railroad has six lines and 240 miles of track in northernand central Pennsylvania, 90 employees – it is hiring more – 24 locomotives ofits own and has leased two more to keep up with demand, Mr. Hunter said.

CAP This.Soros Funds Study Bashing Academia for Working with Energy Industry; Author ofReport then says, “We really don’t know where industry had an influence.”Washington Independent (10/14) reports, “A new report commissionedby the Center for American Progress finds that oil industry contracts withuniversities to conduct energy research may not adequately protect theuniversities’ academic independence. The report, written by independentresearcher Jennifer Washburn, looked at 10 industry-university researchcontracts. Washburn found that the contracts “raise troubling questions aboutthe ability of U.S. universities to adequately safeguard their core academicand public-interest functions when negotiating research contracts with largecorporate funders.” As public funding for research dwindles, more and moreresearch is being funded by industry. While Washburn, on a call with reporterstoday, said industry research is important, she warned that it’s important thatthere be some oversight of these agreements. But on the conference call today,Washburn laid out a number of the study’s limitations. “We really don’t know where industry had an influence,” she said,adding later, “We don’t know whether anyresearch has been suppressed,” Washburn explained that it is nearlyimpossible to determine such a thing. She also said many of the universitiesdiscussed in the study pushed back against the report’s findings, arguing thatWashburn should have examined the university practices, not justuniversity-industry contracts.”


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