October 27, 2010

By Hook orBy Crook, Obama Administration Hell-Bent on Bankrupting Coal Industry;Increasing Consumer Energy Prices.Wall Street Journal (10/27) editorializes, “Anyone who caresabout the U.S. economy is breathing easier now that cap and tax appears to beon the political garbage barge, but don’t be so sure. The White House is stillpursuing its carbon agenda through regulation, albeit with almost no publicattention, and a new study shows the damage that is already being done.Yesterday the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a highlyregarded federal energy advisory body, released an exhaustive "specialassessment" of this covert program. NERC estimates that the EnvironmentalProtection Agency’s pending electric utility regulations will subtract between46 and 76 gigawatts of generating capacity from the U.S. grid by 2015. To putthose numbers in perspective, the worst-case scenario would amount to a reductionof about 7.2% of national power generation, and almost all of it will hitcoal-fired plants, the workhorse that supplies a little over half of U.S.electricity. In a recent research note, Credit Suisse estimates that compliancewill cost as much as $150 billion in capital investment by the end of thedecade. All of this will flow through to rising electricity prices, which isthe same as a tax increase on businesses and consumers. NERC also warns of"deteriorating resource adequacy" and of the logistical reality thatreplacing or upgrading so much capacity so fast may lead to brownouts andshortages. The danger is greatest throughout the Midwest in states like Ohio,Pennsylvania and West Virginia, where the costs will also be concentrated.”

You’ve BeenSpiked! Nicky Joe Taken to the Woodshed Over His Support for CarbonCriminalization, Anti-Affordable Energy Agenda.AssociatedPress (10/26) reports, “U.S.Rep. Nick Rahall and Republican challenger Elliott "Spike" Maynardpummeled each other during a bare-knuckle debate Tuesday night over everythingfrom mudslinging TV ads to coal mining. Maynard fired back, angrily labelingRahall a steadfast supporter of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Obama failed to carry West Virginia in 2008 and is disliked by many forpolicies aimed at curbing surface coal mining in Appalachia. "You’refriends at the EPA just shut down, vetoed another permit," Maynard toldRahall, referring to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Go talk tothose 300 coal miners, ask ’em if that’s gloom and doom.” Maynard said Rahallhas voted with Pelosi 98 percent of the time in Congress. "The generals inthe war on coal today are Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and the folks at theEPA," Maynard said. "The want to abolish surface mining." Thecandidates are vying in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District and thecontest has attracted money and national attention — Tuesday’s debate wastelevised on C-SPAN. Republicans see the seat as vulnerable in what hastraditionally been a staunchly Democratic district.”

Who SaidCap-and-Trade Wasn’t a Campaign Issue? Was it CAP or Third Way? Talk to RickBoucher, Seems to be Only Issue in SW Va. House Race.Martinsville Bulletin (10/27) reports, “Ninth District U.S. Rep.Rick Boucher’s position on cap-and-trade emissions legislation shows he hasbeen in Washington too long, says one of his opponents in the Nov. 2 election. “Weneed new ideas and new energy, a more conservative profile,” said Del. MorganGriffith, R-Salem, a 17-year veteran of the state legislature who ischallenging Boucher, a 28-year congressman, and independent Jeremiah Heaton ofAbingdon. “I think … 28 years on any job” may be too long, Griffith, 52, saidin a recent interview. “If you don’t have the energy levels to continue to talkabout the issues, (and are) complacent to go along, it’s time to go. Thelegislative process is high energy. You’ve got to talk to people. … Sometimesyou have to stand up and fight.” The cap-and-trade clean emissions legislation,which was approved by the House of Representatives and then stalled in theSenate, is the key issue in the 9th District campaign, Griffith said. Boucher,D-Abingdon, has said that in 2007, the Supreme Court declared that greenhousegases are pollutants, which meant they had to be regulated by the EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA). The coal industry and coal-fired utilities asked himto write laws to protect it and he agreed, he said. The resulting legislationwill eliminate 56,000 jobs and cost the average household a couple of hundreddollars or more a year in higher electric bills, Griffith said.”

Or Talk to Mr. Ellsworth in Indiana, Seems Like Affordable Energy andCarbon Criminalization are Front and Center in This Race Too.New York Times (10/26)reports, “But Coats’ race against Rep. Brad Ellsworth, a once-rising Democraticstar whom most polls show trailing by at least 16 points, is equally anomalouswhen it comes to environmental policy. With coal and ethanol remaining centraldrivers of the state economy, and both candidates vying to blast broad climatechange legislation more loudly, energy-minded Indianans could see littledifference between a likely Sen. Coats and a long-shot Sen. Ellsworth."This is a conservative state that burns a lot of coal and eats a lot ofcorn," said Vince Griffin, vice president of energy policy at the IndianaChamber of Commerce, in an interview, noting that most of the state’s lawmakers"would look at this in a similar way." Indeed, the energy prioritieshighlighted by both candidates read like veritable mirror images. Coats’ plancalls for doubling the number of U.S. nuclear reactors within 20 years whilepromoting efficiency and maintaining coastal drilling despite the"tragic" Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Ellsworth, meanwhile, calls for"a comprehensive approach that includes domestic drilling, encouragesconstruction of nuclear power plants" and also invests more in efficiency.Despite their closeness on substance, Coats and Ellsworth have spent plenty oftime on the trail vying over whose style is best suited to Indiana. TheDemocratic nominee, initially seen as his party’s best hope to hold onto theseat vacated by retiring Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), has rapped Coats for lobbyingon behalf of a hedge fund executive who backed cap-and-trade climate measures.”

It WasOnly a Matter of Time; Interior Dept. Dep. Sec. Confirms “Big” Changes on theWay to Further Restrict Offshore Energy Exploration.The Hill (10/26) reports, “Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayesemphasized Tuesday that the department has much more work to do to revampoffshore oil-and-gasdrilling following the Gulf ofMexico spill.“We are in a constant reform cycle, big time,” he told a forumhosted by The Atlantic. “We’re going to have more rules coming out.” InteriorSecretary Ken Salazar late last month announced post-Gulf spill safetyrequirements that prescribe regulations 
regarding the design, cementing and casing ofwells and the use of 
drillingfluids. The rules would also require that blowout preventers — the lastline of defense before a well ruptures and also the mechanism that failed toprevent the BP spill — have to be independently certified. The Bureau ofOcean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement is also reorganizing. Thebureau’s leasing andenvironmental review oversightwill be split in two by the end of the year, Hayes said. The revenue collectionwork of the bureau alreadyhas been splitoff.“I’m confident we are in a muchbetter place than we were” before theApril 20explosion of BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig, Hayes said. “There was a shared lackof appreciation” for the risks involved in offshore drilling, he said. “Thathas evaporated.”

GOTV, Philly Style. Rendell Holds Anti-Marcellus Rally in Phila. withRadical Enviros, Signs EO Banning New Leasing of State Lands. FYI, He BecomesIrrelevant in 6 days. New York Times (10/26)reports, “Gov. Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania signed an executive order onTuesday effectively banning further natural gas development on state forestlands. Mr. Rendel, a Democrat, said the moratorium was needed in part toprevent the unchecked industrialization of public lands in a state that hasseen a boom in natural gas development unparalleled there. Much ofPennsylvania, along with large swaths of New York and West Virginia, sits atopthe Marcellus Shale, a potentially vast natural gas resource that has onlyrecently proved accessible through the use of advanced but environmentallycontentious drilling techniques. Most gas development in Pennsylvania iscarried out on private lands, but state regulators have permitted drilling onstate forest land since at least 1947. The Department of Conservation andNatural Resources has held 74 lease sales since then, including this year’s. Roughly660,000 of the state’s 2.2 million acres of public forest land have beenleased, according to department data. The Marcellus Shale Coalition, anindustry group, estimates that there are about 160 Marcellus Shale wells onstate lands and about 2,300 on private lands in Pennsylvania.”

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