November 19, 2010

Land Men: Senate EPW DemsUnveil Ambitious Agenda for Lame Duck Session – Mostly Involving ForcedAcquisition of Millions of Acres of Currently State and Private Land. E&E News(11/19, subs. req’d) reports, “Lawmakers are working to bundle a slew ofwaterways, public lands and wildlife bills into a monumental natural resourcespackage that could attract enough bipartisan support to pass before Congressends next month. Success is far from assured, aides say, given the lame-ducksession’s already-crowded agenda. Staffers and environmental lobbyists areworking down a list of possible measures, reaching out to Senate offices andcounting votes to determine which individual bills could attract the supportneeded to pass the potentially landmark package. "We’d love to try to doit," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who leads the SenateEnvironment and Public Works Committee, regarding the water, lands and wildlifepackage in the works. Boxer declined to speculate on the chances of such a billpassing both chambers before the clock runs out in December, warning that"one person can hold it up." Bills under consideration for theend-of-year buzzer shot include water and wildlife measures out of Boxer’scommittee that would protect the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, LongIsland Sound, Gulf of Mexico and San Francisco Bay. Aides are trying to combinethose bills with others out of the Senate Energy and Natural ResourcesCommittee that would protect more than 2 million acres and create new nationalparks, monuments, wilderness areas and wildlife sanctuaries.



Suggested Compromise onJurisdictional Battle: E&C Can Keep Its Energy Portfolio So Long As ItRemains Focused on Light-Bulbs, and Resources Can Take What’s Left –How’s That? National Journal (11/18) reports, “Washington RepublicanRep. Doc Hastings, the presumed incoming chairman of the House NaturalResources Committee, launched a formal bid today to break up the House Energyand Commerce committee—one of the oldest and most powerful panels inCongress—and to consolidate the “energy” jurisdiction on his panel. “This bold change advance our Republican all-of-the-above approach to energy,level the power of Committees and create more opportunities for more Members,”Hastings wrote in a letter to the Republican Conference. Thomas Pyle, presidentof the Institute for Energy Research,wrote a blog post proposing the jurisdictional switch. “Thesimple truth is that the energy portfolio belongs in the House Committee onNatural Resources,” he wrote. ”That committee already has jurisdiction overoffshore energy production, coal production, water quality, some natural gasproduction, and shares jurisdiction on almost every other energy issue with Energyand Commerce. Unlike Energy and Commerce, however, the Natural Resourcescommittee has a clear and defined focus—how to effectively manage thevast resources of the United States. It does not concern itself withtelecommunications policy, or consumer safety, or health care.” Chris Tucker,vice president at Financial Dynamics and former staffer to GOP leadership, andto a member of Resources Committee, wrote in an e-mail to National Journal, “Ithink it’s a good idea, and probably one whose time has finally come.



Pyle Driver: IER the FirstGroup in Town to Publicly Proffer Plan for Resources to Claim What’s RightfullyTheirs – New IER Blog Post Lays Out Plan to Get There. IER president Tom Pyle writes (11/18) onthe IER blog, “It is a widely reported fable in Washington that the formerChairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell (D-MI), hunga portrait of the Earth in one of his committee rooms so he could point to itwhen asked about his committee’s jurisdiction. Like Babe Ruth and the famouscalled shot, only Dingell knows the truth about this piece of Washingtonfolklore. But what cannot be denied is the wide-ranging set of policy issuesthat emanates from this powerful House committee. The Energy and CommerceCommittee’s jurisdiction is practically limitless. Energy, environment, healthcare, interstate and foreign commerce, consumer protection, biomedical researchand development, communication and communication technology, travel andtourism, and even “sports related matters” all fall under the purview of thisunwieldy body. Telecommunications has received very little attention these pasttwo years given the current Chairman, Henry Waxman (D-CA) was busy brokeringdeal upon deal to deliver Obamacare and the cap-and-trade national energy taxto Speaker Pelosi. As a result, the many federal laws governing the rapidlychanging telecommunications industry have fallen far behind the realities ofthe marketplace. Now that the obituary has finally been written oncap-and-trade, Congress will literally be starting over in the effort toconstruct a national energy policy that should focus on creating and fosteringreal and sustainable jobs and removing obstacles to affordable domestic energyproduction.



US’s Envoy to the UN SaysThose Who Question Climate, Oppose Cap-and-Raid “Need to Be Dealt With” So ThatHe Can Regain Respect from His Int’l Buddies. Politico’s Morning Enviro-Day-Blotter (11/19) reports, “Congress’s growing ranksof climate skeptics have the rest of the world a little confused, the top U.S.climate negotiator told reporters yesterday in Crystal City. "People fromaround the world look at some of the things that some of the people running forthe Senate and House have said, some of the positions that are taken," and"there is puzzlement," Todd Stern said at the end of a two-daymeeting on climate for the world’s largest economic powers. "Everyone isentitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their ownfacts," Stern said of the skeptics. "People who want to look at factsand pretend they’re not there are not in the long run going to do us anygood." He also downplayed the perception that there is an army of skepticsin the Capitol. "I don’t think the … climate deniers represent anythinglike a majority, or even a very large minority. But it’s something, there’s noquestion, it’s something that needs to be addressed and dealt with in thiscountry." "I’d describe myself right now as neither an optimist nor apessimist," Stern said when asked about the prospects for the Cancunclimate talks that kick off Nov. 29. "The issues and the differences arevery real. The issues are challenging. I think we can see a way forward, butonly based on what our leaders agreed to last year in the Copenhagen Accord.We’re certainly not going to go back from that."



Landrieu Drops Hold onObama OMB Nominee – But No Before Extracting Promise from Salazar ThatHe’ll Go to New Orleans “And Express Support for the Oil and Gas Industry.”Politico (11/18) reports, “Landrieu said on the Senate floor she wassatisfied the Obama administration had sufficiently lifted its moratorium ondeepwater oil drilling, which she argued was disastrous for the Gulf Coasteconomy. The senator had held up Lew’s nomination as director of the Office ofBudget and Management for the past two months in protest of the drilling ban,which was put in place after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April. "Ifigured it would get their attention and I think it has," Landrieu said. While the moratorium had been lifted in October, Landrieu said as recently asthis week she needed additional assurances from the Obama administration thatthere would be permits issued for deep and shallow water drilling. On Thursday,she said the administration had made progress, issuing six permits in the pasttwo weeks with plans for more. Landrieu said she met with Interior SecretaryKen Salazar three times in the past 24 hours, and that he pledged to travel toLouisiana on Monday to express support for the oil and gas industry. Nominatedby Obama in July, Lew was confirmed by voice vote in the Senate. He had previouslyserved as OMB director in the Clinton administration, and has been credited bythe current administration for helping usher in an era of budget surpluses atthe end of the decade.



API’s Top-Dog EconomistRacking Up the Super 8 Points While Traveling Across the Mid-Atlantic toExplain What’s What on the Marcellus Shale.The Saratogian (11/19) reports, “A federal economist saysNew Yorkers should consider hydraulic fracturing as a way to tap natural gasresources trapped deep underground in the Southern Tier and Finger Lakesregions of the state. John Felmy, a chief economist with the American PetroleumInstitute, which represents oil companies, spoke at a conference Thursday atthe Saratoga Hilton about the potential for hydro-fracking in the MarcellusShale, a rock formation including areas of southern New York and northern andwestern Pennsylvania that holds vast reserves of natural gas. In an interviewprior to the conference, Felmy said a growing population and increasing demandsfor electricity in the U.S. will require the production of more natural gas.Natural gas is used to heat 60 million homes and makes up almost 24 percent ofthe nation’s energy supply, federal statistics show. Renewable energy sourceslike solar and wind constitute 1 percent of the nation’s energy supply andrequire backup generation such as natural gas, Felmy said. In addition, whiledistribution costs for natural gas have spiked, consumers who heat their homeswith oil are still paying twice what natural gas consumers pay. "We’regoing to need this," he said.



Renegade FERC CommissionerProposes New Special Rule Allowing Big Wind, Solar to Buy Transmission in 15Minute Intervals, Instead of Hour-Intervals Like Everyone Else.Reuters (11/18) reports, “Federal regulators on Thursday proposedreforms to make the U.S. electric grid more accessible to electricity generatedby renewable energy sources. FERC proposed a rule requiring public utilitytransmission providers to allow renewable power producers to schedule theirshipments of electricity over shorter time periods to better reflect themoment-to-moment changes in generation output by renewables. Wind and solarpower producers would be able to schedule transmission service in 15-minuteintervals, instead of the current one-hour scheduling procedure. "Most ofthe new power plants for which developers are seeking access to the grid arevariable resources such as wind and solar generators," said FERC ChairmanJon Wellinghoff. "This proposal will help the commission tocost-effectively integrate these and other variable generators into the grid ina way that helps maintain reliability and operational stability." TheFERC’s proposal would help meet the Obama administration’s goal to double theamount of U.S. electricity generated by renewable energy sources. Wellinghoffalso pointed out that the U.S auto and transportation industries are movingtoward electric vehicles that will create new demand for power, and making iteasier to for electricity producers to get on the grid will help meet thatdemand.



Maybe If They Didn’t ThrowSo Many Batteries At Players: The Philadelphia Eagles Wouldn’t Need to Install80 Wind Turbines to Supply the Stadium with Power.NY Times (11/17) reports, “On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eaglesannounced perhaps the most ambitious green initiative yet: the installation ofabout 2,500 solar panels, 80 20-foot-high wind turbines and a generator thatruns on natural gas and biodiesel so that Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles’home, will be the first stadium capable of generating all its own electricity.Becoming self-sufficient in energy is the latest in a string of environmentallyfriendly measures the Eagles have taken since they opened their stadium in2003. (Coincidentally, the team’s primary color is green.) Since then, manyteams have introduced similar efficiency programs, and the four major sportsleagues have set up programs to help their teams share information about how touse less energy, reduce waste and save money. As large as they are, sports stadiumsconsume just a sliver of the nation’s energy and produce a fraction of itswaste. But they are seen and used by millions of Americans every day, which hashelped leagues counter the perception that sports teams are wastefulenterprises and in fact can convey socially responsible messages to fans of allpolitical and economic stripes.



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