October 25, 2010

OutsourcingEnergy Production; That’s the Latest Policy Out of Obama Administration,Opponents of Responsible Offshore Energy Exploration.OneNewsNow (10/22/10) reports, “The Obama administration may have liftedthe moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, but it may not doenough to retain jobs and keep prices down. Several nations are stepping upefforts to become self-sufficient when it comes to oil and gasoline, includingCuba. Dan Kish, an energy policy expert with the Institute for Energy Research(IER), explains what is now at stake. "It’s not just Cuba — it’s Brazil,it’s the United Kingdom, it’s Norway, it’s Venezuela, it’s Africa," heexclaims. "Every place in the world except for the United States seems tobe looking for more and more oil — and they are reaching out and asking peopleto come in and invest money and create jobs in their economy because theyrealize how strong it is. "And yet the United States sits on huge suppliesof oil, and our government seems to be pushing investment to those foreignshores." The IER senior vice president for policy says "it’s almostlike outsourcing all of our energy to other places, even though we have it athome." "[This approach] puts us at national security peril, transferswealth to the rest of the world — and meanwhile [it] drives up costs forAmericans," states Kish.”

Meanwhile,Fringe Environmental Group Takes Interior Dept. to Court, Seeks to ReinstateOffshore Moratorium. Anyone Tell ‘Em a Ban Already Exists?The Hill (10/24/10) reports, “The Center for Biological Diversity filedlitigation against the Interior Department Friday that seeks re-instatement ofthe federal deepwater drilling ban, alleging Interior lifted the moratoriumthis month without enough ecological study. The green group’s lawsuit claimsthat damage from the BP oil spill laid bare the need for a fuller analysis. “Wecan no longer afford to have our government simply taking the oil industry atits word when it comes to ensuring the safety of people and the environment.Offshore drilling is a dangerous business, and [Interior Secretary Ken]Salazar’s Interior Department needs to take that threat seriously,” said MiyokoSakashita, the Center’s oceans director, in a statement. The lawsuit adds toattacks on Interior’s oil-and-gas drilling policy from the left and the right.Industry groups say Interior is acting too slowly to grant permits. But theCenter’s lawsuit contends Interior violated the National Environmental PolicyAct by failing to craft a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement.”

About That$7 Billion TransCanada Pipeline Project and the Thousands of Good Paying Jobsit will Create; Four Labor Chiefs Pen Letter to Sec. Clinton, Urge FinalApproval. The Hill(10/22/10) reports, Organized labor is asking Secretary of State HillaryClinton to quickly wrap up an environmental review of a controversialTransCanada pipeline in the midst of a firestorm over whether she is poised toapprove the project ahead of a likely legal challenge. The heads of theInternational Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Laborers’ International Union andtwo other multi-national labor groups are pressing Clinton to finish the reviewpromptly so that work could start on the pipeline carrying crude oil fromAlberta oil sands to Texas. "Each week that goes by in the State Department’spermitting process of the Keystone XL, a process that has gone on for more thantwo years, is lost ground for thousands of workers who are sitting on thesidelines of our ailing economy," the four union chiefs wrote ClintonFriday. The unions — which also include the United Association ofPlumbers and
 Pipefittersand the International Union of Operating Engineers — are 
long-time backersof the $7 billion project. Further, they say blocking the pipeline underminesthe goal “to
 develop abalanced policy to address our nation’s energy and
 environmentalneeds and challenges.” A State Department spokesman this week said theenvironmental review 
is expected towrap up by the end of the year and there was no 
timeline for announcing a decision on theproject.

Newspaper Gets it Right on AB 32 BallotInitiative, “For sake of jobs, delay A.B. 32.”SanBernardino County Sun (10/24/10)editorializes, “If the polls are right, California voters are having troubledeciding how to vote on Proposition 23. We believe it, because this measuredivided our editorial board more evenly than any other in the Nov. 2 election.Our board’s own close balloting resulted in our decision to support Proposition23. This measure’s appeal is that it could save a million jobs, according toproponents, and they probably are right. It also would save millions of dollarsin energy costs, with little environmental harm and with almost no effect onglobal warming. Proposition 23 would block Assembly Bill 32, which isCalifornia’s global-warming law, until unemployment falls to 5.5percent for afull year. (Since unemployment has been that low for that long only three timesin the last 40 years, the suspension of A.B. 32 could last a long time.) Californiaalready has a reputation as the worst state in the Union for businessfriendliness, and A.B. 32 will make it worse because it will drive up costs.Most members of our editorial board think there’s no way our state’sunemployment rate will get close to 5.5percent again until state governmentgreatly reduces the regulations – environmental and otherwise – it places onbusinesses. Only then will businesses open or relocate here in substantialnumbers. On balance, the green jobs that A.B. 32 would encourage won’t make upfor the traditional jobs lost if it goes into effect, our board decided.”

Looking for Job Creation? Bradford County, PA, Hotbed of MarcellusDevelopment and Home to 60,000 Residents Adds 2,500 Shale Related Jobs in OneYear (!)The Daily Item (10/24/10)reports, “There will be jobs — that was one of the promises of theMarcellus Shale drilling project in northcentral Pennsylvania. The direct workforce to drill one well calls for about 410 people working in 150 variouspositions, according to the Marcellus Shale Education & Training Center’sNeeds Assessment from June 2009. In August, the unemployment rate was 7.2percent in Bradford County — home of Towanda, which some consider to beground zero for the gas drilling — according to the U.S. Bureau of LaborStatistics. "I’m asked that all the time: Why do we still see so manyOklahoma and Texas and West Virginia license plates?" said Frank Thompson,deputy director of the Northern Tier Regional Planning and DevelopmentCommission in Towanda. The natural gas industry has been upstate now for about18 months, and so much is changing so fast, from roads to business to the costof living there. Bradford County’s unemployment rate actually has improved overa year. In August 2009, it was almost 9 percent; that’s a 1.7 percent drop,according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tioga County, also a MarcellusShale drilling area, has 8.4 percent unemployment, an improvement from 9percent the year before. "There are 2,500 more employed people,"Thompson said. "And for a county of about 60,000, it’s just staggering. Iwas floored, and it had to happen three or four straight months before Ibelieved that kind of thing could happen here."

New Truck Tax. EPA/DOT Regulations on Tractor Trailers Sure to IncreaseCost of Transporting Goods by 18-Wheelers; Turns Out, That’s 70 Percent ofEverything.Boston Globe (10/24/10)reports, “The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Departmentare moving ahead with a proposal for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, beginningwith those sold in the 2014 model year and into the 2018 model year. The planis expected to call for about a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissionsand fuel consumption for long-haul trucks, said people familiar with the plan.They spoke on condition of anonymity because they did not want to speakpublicly before the official announcement, expected today. Overall, theproposal is expected to seek reductions of 10 to 20 percent in fuel consumptionand emissions, depending on vehicle size. Large tractor-trailers tend to bedriven up to 150,000 miles a year, making them candidates for improved mileage.The rules would cover big-rig tractor-trailers, “vocational trucks’’ such asgarbage trucks and transit and school buses, and work trucks such as heavy-dutyversions of the Ford F-Series, Dodge Ram, and Chevrolet Silverado. The WhiteHouse has pushed for tougher fuel standards as a way of reducing dependence onoil and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, which are linked to global warming. Newcars, pickup trucks, and SUVs would need to reach 35.5 miles per gallon by2016, and the government is developing plans that could push the standards to47 to 62 miles per gallon by 2025.”

Must Read Bonus Clip: NationalGeographic Takes In-Depth, Well-Balanced Look at Shale Gas Revolution.






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