November 16, 2010

This isLeadership: No Offshore Drilling in Michigan, That’s Not Stopping Fred Uptonfrom Leading Charge Against Carol Browner/WH Drilling Ban.The Hill (11/15) reports, “A Michigan Republican seeking to chair theHouse Energy and Commerce Committee is pressing White House energy czar CarolBrowner for information about controversial changes her office made to a MayInterior Department report on offshore drilling safety. In a letter to BrownerMonday, Rep. Fred Upton asked about recent findings by Interior’s inspectorgeneral, who concluded that the White House edits left the impression thatoutside experts consulted on the report had endorsed a six-month ban ondeepwater drilling. They hadn’t. And now Upton – who had already signaledthat Browner is in his crosshairs – wants to know more about therationale for the edits. Interior Department officials are emphasizing theinspector general’s conclusion that they did not intentionally seek to mislead.Upton’s letter asks whether the changes “were made to bolster the case for the moratorium”that Interior imposed in late May and lifted last month. It states: “Was it theintention of you or your staff to misleadingly suggest that the Report’sExecutive Summary had been peer reviewed by experts, when that was not actuallythe case?” The letter also asks about “what prompted these edits and underwhose direction were they made,” and seeks “all written documentationconcerning these changes and their authorization.”

DoubleStandard from Hollywood Hank? “Republicans in the House are going to roll overthe Democrats.” What About That Healthcare and Cap-and-Trade Vote?The Hill (11/15) reports, “Top Energy and Commerce Committee DemocratHenry Waxman Monday said he expects a stalemate on the panel in the nextCongress under Republican rule.Ihave a sense, and I hope to be disappointed, that the Republicans in the Houseare going to roll over the Democrats on committee and in the House,” said theCalifornia Democrat, who will continue to lead his party on the panel duringthe next two years. Right now, myexpectations are the Republican leadership will find it hard to reachcompromises in the House because they have a lot of pretty hard-linedRepublicans in their ranks who didn’t come here to compromise.” Waxman said anyGOP attempts to stonewall Democrats in the House will face resistance in atight Democratic majority in the Senate. “They will find that that will not getthem a change in the law because those efforts will be stopped in the Senate,”Waxman told reporters in the Capitol Monday evening. “If we wanted to try towork together in the House, perhaps we could find ways to encourage the Senateto get the votes they’ll need to pass something, and as well to encourage thepresident to sign a bill. But otherwise I can see two years of a lot ofstalemate.”

Must Read:California’s Green Bonanza Could Drive Country off Economic Cliff; IncomingHouse Leadership Only Hope to Stop “Green” Spending Spree. George Gilder (11/16) writes for the Wall Street Journal, “California officials acknowledged lastThursday that the state faces $20 billion deficits every year from now to 2016.At the same time, California’s state Treasurer entered bond markets to sellsome $14 billion in "revenue anticipation notes" over the next twoweeks. Worst of all, economic sanity lost out in what may have been the mostimportant election on Nov. 2—and, no, I’m not talking about thegubernatorial or senate races. This was the California referendum to repealAssembly Bill 32, the so-called Global Warming Solutions Act, which ratchetsthe state’s economy back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020. That’s a30% drop followed by a mandated 80% overall drop by 2050. Together with a $500billion public-pension overhang, the new energy cap dooms the state tobankruptcy. The irony is that a century-long trend of advance in conventional"non-renewable" energy—from wood to oil to natural gas andnuclear—has already wrought a roughly 60% drop in carbon emissions perwatt. Thus the long-term California targets might well be achieved globally inthe normal course of technological advance. The obvious next step is aggressiveexploitation of the trillions of cubic feet of low-carbon natural gasdiscovered over the last two years, essentially ending the U.S. energy crisis.A partial solution is a suit by four attorneys general outside of California.They argue that the California law violates the Constitution’s interstatecommerce clause because of the limits it places on electricity generated byout-of-state, coal-fired power plants. But ultimately the new Congress mustact. But Republican leaders such as incoming Speaker John Boehner and MajorityLeader Eric Cantor show dangerous gullibility in the face of environmentalistclaims.”

Hey US CoalProducers, You’ve Gotta Friend in China.Worried About “Peak Coal,” Beijing Capping Domestic Output – Yet StillBuilding a Coal-Fired Plant Each Week.Wall Street Journal (11/16) reports, “The idea of peakoil—the point at which global production reaches its maximum—hasfixated the energy industry for years. Now, China is grappling with a newworry: peak coal. State-run media reported that Beijing is considering cappingdomestic coal output in the 2011-2015 period, partly because officials worryminers are running down reserves too quickly to meet the needs of a rapidlyexpanding economy. "China accounts for around 14% of global coal reservesbut its share of global coal consumption is already over triple that at 47%,which is unsustainable," Hong Kong-based brokerage CLSA Asia-PacificMarkets said in a report last month. Imposing a cap would be significant asChina’s mining sector is already finding it hard to keep up with domestic coaldemand, which has grown around 10% annually over the past decade. Its net coalimports exceeded 106 million metric tons in the first nine months of theyear—higher than the level for 2009 as a whole—and state companieshave been aggressively acquiring overseas coal assets to secure long-termsupply. In the three years to September 2010, Chinese companies spent $20.96billion on overseas coal-sector acquisitions, according to Dealogic.”

Eco-Extremists Cheer when a Dam is Torn Down in US;Meanwhile, China’s Looking to Build $10 Billion, 7-Gigawatt Facility, Thousandsof Jobs Over 15 Years.Bloomberg (11/16) reports, “China, Myanmar and Thailand agreed to studya $10 billion hydropower project that would be Southeast Asia’s largest bygeneration capacity, the Chinese government said. The 7-gigawatt project wouldbe built on the Salween River in Myanmar over 15 years, China’s State-ownedAssets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a statement on its websitetoday. Companies from the three countries signed an accord on the project onNov. 10, according to the statement. China, the world’s largest energyconsumer, is planning to add hydropower capacity in its southern provinces suchas Yunnan and help build hydro dams in neighboring countries including Myanmar,Laos and Cambodia to meet demand from the region. China Three Gorges Corp.,Sinohydro Corp. and China Southern Power Grid Co. will work with theElectricity Generating Authority of Thailand and the International Group ofEntrepreneur Co. in Myanmar on the study, according to the statement.”

Cash-StrappedFederal Government May Forgo Offshore Leasing in 2011, Further Hamper GulfCoast Economy, Energy Security.Reuters (11/15) reports, “Next year may be the first time in over fourdecades that the United States does not lease areas in the Gulf of Mexico foroil or gas drilling, because of additional environmental reviews planned by theObama administration, a major oil lobbying group said on Monday. The AmericanPetroleum Institute complained that 2011 could be the first year since 1965without a U.S. government auction in the Gulf, depending on the length of theInterior Department’s environmental review process. Spurred by the BP (BP.L:Quote) oil spill, Interior last week said it plans to complete supplementalenvironmental impact statements for three remaining Gulf lease sales scheduledunder the current five-year program. In the past, additional environmentalreviews have taken up to a year to complete, but API’s Erik Milito said thedepartment needs to move more swiftly to provide companies with certainty. "Companieshave to make decisions as to what they’re going to do with their existingportfolio of leases," Milito told reporters on a conference call."This could impact companies’ decisions." Interior’s Bureau of OceanEnergy Management refused to confirm whether any of the upcoming lease saleswould have to be postponed. "No announcements have been made regarding thenext Gulf of Mexico lease sale," bureau spokesman Nicholas Pardi said.

Shocker:Politico’s Morning Environmentalist Touts Report by “The Institute for PolicyIntegrity at NYU School of Law,” Fails to Mention the Podesta/Soros Ties. Politico (11/16) reports, “Most states are lagging when itcomes to rulemaking procedures that include setting environmental and publichealth standards, according to a new report out today from the Institute forPolicy Integrity at New York University’s School of Law. The study assigns eachof the 50 states a letter grade according to how well their regulatory systemspromote sound and rational decision-making. No state got an A and most were inthe D range. Iowa ranked the highest with a B+. The worst: Alaska, Delaware,the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas all scored aD-. Report will be live later today at”




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