October 7, 2010

ADN– “Bottom Line: Shell should get the chance to drill in the Beaufort Seain 2011.” Anchorage Daily News (10/6) Editorializes, “ShellAlaska is seeking permits from the Department of the Interior for exploratorydrilling at lease sites in the Beaufort Sea in the summer of 2011. In April,the Deepwater Horizon explosion, blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico shutdown drilling there and scrapped drilling off the East Coast. Arctic plans wereput on hold. Those plans are still on hold. Secretary of the Interior KenSalazar has said there’s no Arctic moratorium, as there is in the Gulf ofMexico. He’s said the department — or its new agency, the Bureau of OceanEnergy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — is just taking more time tostudy prevention and spill response plans for work in Arctic waters. Shell’srequest should force a decision, so that a delay doesn’t become a de factomoratorium. The company has scaled back its request. Chukchi Sea leases are offwhile legal challenges are resolved. Those leases are farther offshore andpresent tougher logistical and spill response challenges than do the Beaufortleases. In the Beaufort, Shell is not going where no company has gone before.Pioneer, Eni and BP have operated from man-made gravel islands fornear-offshore drilling in shallow water. Onshore support is closer withfacilities at Prudhoe Bay, and Shell plans include a second drilling rig incase it’s needed for a relief well, along with other provisions for preventionand spill response. Shell appears to be taking the right course here.”

Give UsMoney and Your Technology and We’ll Reduce our Emissions, Says China at ClimateSummit; Small Demands from World’s Largest Emitter. China Daily (10/6) reports, “China’s top climate changeofficial said on Wednesday that the country’s greenhouse gas emissions wouldpeak earlier than expected if developed countries complied with internationalprotocols. "We will try to get past the peak of emissions as early aspossible, but this also hinges on howmuch money the developed nations will offer and what technology they willtransfer, as required by the international protocols," Xie Zhenhua,who is also vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission,told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing United Nations climate talks innorthern China’s Tianjin."The more money they provide, or the earlier themoney arrives, the sooner we should be able to pass the emissions peak,"Xie said. He noted some developed countries, even with a per capita GDP of morethan 40,000 US dollars per year, have yet to reach their emissions peak astheir greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. "Under suchcircumstances, how can you ask China, with a per capita GDP just over 3,000 USdollars, to foresee its peak?" he asked.”

The Obama Anti-EnergyAgenda: If You Can Dig it Up, Cut it Down or Suck it Out of the Ground, We’reagainst it. OneNewsNow (10/7) reports, “During a recent national address, BarackObama promised tens of thousands of new American jobs would be created fromclean energy technology. But some groups claim the pledge, which comes just intime for the mid-term elections, is too late for the 8,000-12,000 Americansleft unemployed as a result of the administration’s moratorium on drilling foroil. Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research (IER), points out that those figuresmay only be a drop in the bucket. "The president continues to talk abouttens of thousands of jobs in new energy technologies, but what he doesn’t everexplain to people is that those energy sources are much more expensive than theenergy that we already have," Kish notes. "The truth is, in placeswhere they’ve done this already — like Spain — they’ve lost over two jobs forevery job the government created in these new energy sources simply because thecost of energy went up." He thinks there is no reason to stop pursuingdomestic fossil fuels because they are abundant and affordable. "We have 250years of coal just in the lower 48 states, and there’s more coal in Alaska thanthe rest of the lower 48 states combined. So God gave us a huge amount ofcoal," the IER vice president for policy explains. "We have thelargest oil shale reserves in the world. We’re not going to run out of energyvery rapidly. The question is whether or not the government will force us touse much more expensive alternatives that don’t work as well and will lower ourstandard of living."

Final JohnHancock Given to Seal Cape Wind Deal; Next Step, Find Someone to Buy theElectricity… Good Luck.The Hill (10/6) reports, “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesdaygave the final sign-off for the long-fought Cape Wind project off NantucketIsland, paving the way for the first commercial wind development in federalwaters. Salazar — in a speech at a gathering hosted by the American WindEnergy Association in Atlantic City, N.J. — said it was “the beginning ofa new era for the nation in offshore energy production.” Salazar’s officialsigning of the lease Wednesday follows his signing in April of a commitment bythe project developers to minimize environmental and cultural impacts. Opponentsof the project have included state and local officials and some environmentaland business groups. The nonprofit Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound groupwas formed in 2001 to fight the project and, at one point, its members includedformer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), the late Sen. Edward Kennedy(D-Mass.) and billionaire oil heir William Koch. The 28-year lease is for 25square miles in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts. The projectwould involve 130 planned wind turbines that could produce up to 468 megawattsof electricity — and on average could power more than 200,000 homes inMassachusetts.”

WH UnderFire from Spill Commission for Not Disclosing Worst Possible Spill Predictions;Bigger News, Tens-of-Thousands Still Out of Work as a Result of Moratorium.Houston Chronicle (10.7) reports, “The Obama administrationrejected government scientists’ requests to publicly detail its worst predictionsabout the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and repeatedly underestimated thesize of the spill, according the presidential panel investigating the disaster.In four sharply critical reports released Wednesday, the commission’sinvestigators also rapped the administration for its initial response to theoil spill, calling it sluggish and flawed by "a sense ofover-optimism." Administration officials were also faulted for misleadingthe public about the amount of oil still left in the Gulf of Mexico. Theassessments, delivered in working papers by commission staff, foreshadowchanges the panel will recommend when it issues its final report in January andraise new questions about the government’s handling of the Deepwater Horizondisaster. "By initially underestimating the amount of oil flow and then,at the end of the summer, appearing to underestimate the amount of oilremaining in the Gulf," investigators said, "the federal governmentcreated the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle thespill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of theproblem."

Two Dams,One Country. One Builder Pays off Greenies, Builds Alligator Slaughterhouse forthe Locals; Other Project Being Protested by James Cameron, in Brazil.Wall Street Journal (10/6) reports, “Santo Antonio is the firststep in a plan to power Brazil’s rise into the ranks of the developed worldthrough up to two dozen new hydroelectric dams that potentially will reshapegiant rivers in one of the globe’s most ecologically sensitive areas. OnWednesday, Brazil said that in December it will auction the rights for severalnew hydroelectric projects. Yet few people have heard of the $8 billion SantoAntonio project, even in Brazil—which is just how the builders plannedit. They designed it to avoid the controversies that have delayed other damprojects for years and multiplied their costs. The builders spent some $600million to head off trouble with regulators, environmental groups and Indiantribes before it arose. They trained thousands of rain-forest residents toprovide a local labor pool and built modern houses for families who will bedisplaced. They created a high-tech fish ladder so species like giant catfishcan get around the dam—and to meet one local demand, they built analligator slaughterhouse. So far, the strategy is working. While a differentAmazon dam project has sparked a protest mounted by Hollywood filmmaker JamesCameron, Santo Antonio is speeding toward completion largely out of the publiceye. It is on pace to produce power a year ahead of its scheduled 2012switch-on date.”

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