October 5, 2010

UtilityRate Increase for First Family (Taxpayers) Coming Spring 2011; White HouseAnnounces Plans to Increase Use of Most Expensive Form of Electricity.AP(10/5) reports, “Solar power is coming to President Barack Obama’s house. The most famousresidence in America, which has already boosted its green credentials byplanting a garden, plans to install solar panels atop the White House’s livingquarters. The solar panels are to be installed by spring 2011, and will heatwater for the first family and supply some electricity. The plans will beformally announced later Tuesday by White House Council on EnvironmentalQuality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley and Energy Secretary Steven Chu. FormerPresidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush both tapped the sun during theirdays in the White House. Carter in the late 1970s spent $30,000 on a solarwater-heating system for West Wing offices. Bush’s solar systems powered amaintenance building and some of the mansion, and heated water for the pool.Last month, global warming activists with 350.org carried one of Carter’s solarpanels – which were removed in 1986 – from Unity College in Maine to Washingtonto urge Obama to put solar panels on his roof. It was part of a global campaignto persuade world leaders to install solar on their homes. After a meeting withWhite House officials, they left Washington without a commitment.”

Calling Obama’s Bluff: Offshore Moratorium will be Lifted BeforeElection Day, Says Sen. Vitter; But De Facto Ban Will Remain in Place.The Hill (10/4) reports,“Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) predicts thefederal freeze on deepwater oil-and-gas drilling could end within two weeks,but fears the Interior Department will block development even afterrestrictions are lifted. “The even bigger question is are we going to have a defacto moratorium on an ongoing basis for many more months to come,” Vitter saidSaturday on Fox News. “I am predicting that the formal moratorium will belifted in October, maybe within two weeks, but again the big issue to me is notthat. It is whether the lay of the land the day after is really any different,or do we have a de-facto moratorium that is 90 percent as bad. Unfortunately Ithink so far the evidence is pointing to the latter,” he added. The Obamaadministration is under immense political pressure to lift or ease the banbefore its scheduled Nov. 30 expiration. But critics of the ban have alsotaken aim at comments last month by Michael Bromwich – Interior’s topoffshore drilling regulator – who said it remains uncertain when projectswill resume as companies seek to show compliance with expanded safetymandates.”

Our Money’s on ThePride of Trucksville, Pa.: GasLand Director Josh Fox set to Debate Chris Tuckeron Merits of Nat Gas Exploration and HF. HuffPost (10/5) reports, “Natural gas is atopic that has been getting tons of media attention — here at HuffPost Greenwe’ve featured dozens of stories on concerns about fracking (the controversialdrilling method), the natural gas boom here in the U.S. and a few frighteningvideos of people lighting their tap water on fire. But as our energy demandsincrease, the world hunts for reliable, non-carbon producing sources of power,and there’s a lot people don’t know or understand about natural gas. That’s whyin November we’re hosting a debate to help illuminate the issue of natural gas,and get to the bottom of a truly burning question: is it really green? We’reinviting two experts on the topic of "Fracking," the controversialmethod of natural gas extraction. Josh Fox is the director of the film"Gasland," which charts his cross-country journey to get to thebottom of natural gas fracking after being asked to lease his land for gasdrilling. He uncovers what he describes as "a trail of secrets, lies andcontamination." Chris Tucker representing a segment of the industry as thecommunications director for Energy In Depth, which is an a education andoutreach initiative by the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA).He will be arguing that natural gas has an important place in our energy futureand that extraction can be done safely."

WeSupport the Troops and Pray for Their Safety, But Wind Powered Tanks and SolarPowered Helicopters? That’s a Stretch. New York Times (10/5) reports, “Withinsurgents increasingly attacking the American fuel supply convoys that lumberacross the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan, the military is pushing aggressivelyto develop, test and deploy renewable energy to decrease its need to transportfossil fuels. Last week, a Marine company from California arrived in the ruggedoutback of Helmand Province bearing novel equipment: portable solar panels thatfold up into boxes; energy-conserving lights; solar tent shields that provideshade and electricity; solar chargers for computers and communicationsequipment. The 150 Marines of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, willbe the first to take renewable technology into a battle zone, where the newequipment will replace diesel and kerosene-based fuels that would ordinarilygenerate power to run their encampment. Even as Congress has struggledunsuccessfully to pass an energy bill and many states have put renewable energyon hold because of the recession, the military this year has pushed rapidlyforward. After a decade of waging wars in remote corners of the globe wherefuel is not readily available, senior commanders have come to seeoverdependence on fossil fuel as a big liability, and renewable technologies— which have become more reliable and less expensive over the past fewyears — as providing a potential answer. These new types of renewable energynow account for only a small percentage of the power used by the armed forces,but military leaders plan to rapidly expand their use over the next decade.”

Quick, What Does NJRepublican Cong. Leonard Lance and Frank LoBiondo Have in Common with Barbara Boxer? BothSupport a National Energy Tax and Both Enjoy the Support of the Sierra Club. Politico Morning Energy (10/5) reports, “SIERRA CLUB GETS DOWN TOWORK – The organization yesterday announced a list of 29congressional races it is most focused on this election cycle. The group hasendorsed a total of 220 candidates for the House and Senate but will pour itsresources into organizing volunteers to help out the following candidates:Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.), Barbara Boxer(D-Calif.), Betsy Markey (D-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) , Alan Grayson(D-Fla.)… “In many of these races, there is a clear choice between a candidatewith a strong environmental record and a candidate who sides with pollutersrather than with the public,” said political committee chair Ken Brame in astatement. “Sierra Club’s thousands of volunteers will be pounding thepavement, working the phone lines, and talking with their friends and neighborsto help get environmental champions elected.” Of the 220 candidates the groupendorsed, only two are Republicans: New Jersey Reps. Leonard Lance and FrankLoBiondo.

Surprised? China Comes out Swinging at Climate Conf., Calls on “Wealthy”Nations (That’s the USA by Definition) to Increase Emission Reduction Targets. The Guardian (10/5) reports,“China today called on wealthy nations to dramatically increase the rate atwhich they plan to cut their carbon emissions at international climatenegotiations in Tianjin. The more forthright rhetoric from the hosts broaches acrucial topic that has been notable mainly by its absence at the talks, whichbegan yesterday. "The emissions reductions goals of developed countriesshould be dramatically increased," said China’s chief negotiator, Su Wei."We can’t discuss other elements and not discuss emissions reductions.It’s unavoidable." Many delegates at this week’s working-levelnegotiations would prefer to leave to a later date this divisive – butfundamental – issue. Following the disappointment of the Copenhagen climatetalks last December, the UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, has called onparticipants this week to focus on achievable goals.This "balancedpackage" – as it is vaguely referred to – would include the commitmentsthat countries made last year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but criticswarn that such a deal can only serve as a band-aid. "One of the mainthings here is management of expectations. They are dangerously low," saidLi Yan of Greenpeace. "If countries settle for low ambitions, it willbecome a self-fulfilling prophecy in Cancún."



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