December 3, 2010

“So Very Hideous an Idea”:One Last Push for Land-Grab Monstrosity in Resources Coined by Hastings the“Frankenstein” Omnibus – 1,400 Pages, Millions of Acres Locked Away. Greenwire(12/2, subs. req’d) reports, “Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) struck a gothic tonein sounding off against Senate Democrats’ eleventh-hour effort to pass a bundleof stalled waterways, public lands and wildlife bills before this Congressends. Citing staff research and "reliable private accounts," Hastingssaid the "monstrous" measure could include as many as 126 individualbills, total 1,400 pages and authorize $10 billion in additional spending."Somewhere in the Senate, Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer are secretlyconstructing a Frankenstein omnibus of bills from three separatecommittees," said Hastings, who is expected to head the House NaturalResources Committee next year. "Democratic leaders are ignoring theoverwhelming message sent by voters in November that they wanted an end to thebackroom deals that produce giant bills loaded with new spending andjob-killing policies." Hastings was the second GOP leader in as many daysto publicly condemn the proposed package, the contents of which remain undernegotiation, according to Senate leaders.



“We’re Freezing”:Working-Class Folk Among the First to Feel the Bite of Salazar OffshoreMoratorium – Dearth of Home Heating Fuel Sends Prices Thru the Roof. Atlanta Journal-Constitution (12/2) reports, “As metro Atlanta’stemperatures grow colder, the demand for heat is, well, heating up. A day afterhundreds of people queued up outside a Marietta community center to apply forassistance with heat and power bills, hopeful applicants began lining up againaround midnight, waiting in the sub-freezing temperatures for the doors to openThursday morning. This time, however, officials let those in line come into theMansour Center on Roswell Street an hour early at 7:30 and get relief fromtemperatures that dropped to 27 degrees. “We’re freezing,” said Lecher Eady, aMarietta mother who arrived at midnight seeking help with her bills. “Our handsare cold, our feet are cold.” Eady, the mother of triplets in diapers, said shehas been out of work since August. “I’ve had three jobs this year, and I’vebeen laid off from all three,” she said. “I’m grateful just to get any type ofhelp they’ll give me.” That heating assistance will come in handy next week,when a surge of cold Canadian air will send overnight lows in metro Atlantaplummeting to the low 20s, with afternoon highs warming only into the mid-40s.



He Really Said This: Sen.Harkin Justifies $0.45 Tariff Wall Preventing Ethanol Imports from AccessingU.S. Markets on Basis that It “Comes Back to Consumers in Cheaper Gas Prices.”(!) The Hill (12/2) reports, “Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said Thursday thatexpiring ethanol tax credits he’s battling to extend could hitch a ride on apossible omnibus appropriations package. “If we have an omnibus, the chancesare pretty good we might get that in the omnibus,” Harkin told reporters in theCapitol. However, the prospects for a catch-all federal spending package ratherthan a continuing resolution that maintains current spending levels are highlyuncertain. Harkin and other Corn Belt lawmakers are battling to extend thecredit that provides refiners and gasoline blenders 45 cents for each gallon ofethanol mixed into gasoline — an incentive supporters call vital toensuring a robust ethanol market. The tax credit and an import tariff thatprotects the domestic industry expire at the end of the year, and ethanol advocatesare battling a left-right coalition that’s trying to kill the incentives.Harkin said it’s unclear if there are enough votes for extending the credits.“I hope so,” he said. “The 45 cents per gallon comes back to consumers incheaper gasoline prices. Consumers are better off.



Enviros’ GOP “Plant” on theOil Spill Commission Not Exactly Working Out as Planned – Reilly SaysDevelopment Stall in the Gulf Shouldn’t Be Used to Justify Stall in Alaska. E&E News(12/2, subs. req’d) reports, “The co-chairman of the presidential oil spillcommission warned today against stalling Arctic oil and gas exploration forstudies of competing interests in the region’s waters. William Reilly, a formerU.S. EPA administrator and co-chairman of the National Commission on the BPDeepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, outlined several issues inthe Arctic debate, ranging from economic drivers and ecosystem impacts tothreats to native groups. "All these competing views point to aprecautionary approach for drilling in the Arctic, and a number of areaswarrant targeted research," Reilly said. "But the need for additionalresearch should not be used as a de facto moratorium but instead be carried outwith specific timeline drivers in mind." Arctic drilling should proceedcarefully, Reilly said. "That doesn’t mean cease operations until you’re100 percent sure of a satisfactory conclusion," he said. Reilly’s remarkscame as the seven-member panel deliberated on recommendations it will make toPresident Obama next month in a report on its investigation. The comments alsocame a day after the Interior Department announced it is open to possible leasesales in Arctic waters before 2017.



Oops: Only Weeks AfterReleasing New Rules Governing Industrial Boilers, EPA Forced to Admit New RegsWere Not “Achievable” – Another Embarrassment for Jackson. Greenwire(12/2, subs. req’d) reports, “Having taken comment on controversial newregulations for industrial boilers, U.S. EPA now believes that some pollutionlimits in the draft rules "were simply too tight to be able to beachievable," the agency’s air chief said today, signaling that the agencyis readying final regulations that won’t be as tough on businesses. When EPAissued the proposal in April, the agency was scrambling to meet a courtdeadline, said Gina McCarthy, the agency’s assistant administrator for air andradiation, on the sidelines of an event in Washington, D.C. There are manyindustries that use boilers to power their operations, and the agency had verylittle information on some of them. As a result, she said, the proposedstandards were "very difficult to achieve in certain sectors — which wedid not know," she said. "Now that we have the information at hand,it changes the calculation entirely," McCarthy added. "I think theanxiety really isn’t so much about the rule itself — it’s about making surethat we’re paying attention to the data that comes in, and that the datainforms a more robust decision. And it will." "The rule was based ona hypothetical boiler and emissions mix that didn’t conform to reality,"Walls said.



Hands Down the Best Part ofthese Int’l Climate Kleptocrat Conferences: The Never-Ending String of AwesomeJungle Metaphors. See Below, In Bold.Bloomberg (12/3) reports, “The U.S. pressed China to do more atclimate-change talks in Copenhagen last year. Now, as the U.S. falls short ofits own goals, China may have gained more credibility in renewed negotiationsby moving to clean up its energy industry. “TheU.S. is a wounded elephant,” Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia’s climate envoy, saidin an interview on Dec. 1. “The elephanthad been moving very slowly, but now it’s limping. We have to be realistic.We know there’s nothing they can push here because of their domesticcircumstances.” The U.S. is pushing in Cancun for nations to embrace theCopenhagen accord, which calls for rich and fast-growing economies to cutemissions by 2020. It also envisions a system to measure and verify emissioncuts and proposes a $100 billion fund to channel climate aid to developingnations. The U.S. wants that to be the foundation of a new treaty. Japan saysit makes no sense to extend the Kyoto agreement without the two biggestpolluting nations subject to its terms. “Without the active participation ofthe two biggest emitters, namely China and the United States, it’s not a globaleffort,” Kuni Shimada, special adviser to Japanese environment minister RyuMatsumoto, said in an interview.



$40 Billion: No, Not theAmount that the Chinese Are Investing in Pinwheels and Suncatchers – theAmount They’re Investing in Developing Venezuela’s Offshore Oil.Wall Street Journal (12/3) reports, “China’s three mainstate-owned oil companies have strengthened their ties to Venezuela’s energysector, signing six agreements and increasing their investments to a planned$40 billion. The deals are the latest of a string of multibillion-dollar SouthAmerican ventures signed by Chinese companies in recent months, aimed atacquiring major chunks of the continent’s rich resources and at helping fuelChina’s economic boom. Among the agreements signed was one by China NationalPetroleum Corp.’s chairman, Jiang Jiemin, and Venezuela Oil Minister RafaelRamirez for the joint development of an oil block in the Orinoco basin, theCNPC said in its in-house newspaper Friday. It said the agreement had beensigned Wednesday. The cost of developing the block—known as Junin 4 andcapable of producing 400,000 barrels of crude daily—could be as much as$16 billion, with the block developed as a 60:40 joint venture by state-ownedPetroleos de Venezuela SA and CNPC, the two companies said in April when theyagreed to a preliminary pact.



You Heard the One About thePolish Guy Who Developed 47 Trillion Cubic Feet of Shale Gas In His Country?How Do You Say “Oh Sh*t” in Russian? Bloomberg (12/2) reports, “ConocoPhillips, the third-biggest U.S. energycompany, and Eastern European partner Lane Energy Poland plan to drill anotherexploratory well for natural gas in a Polish shale formation. Lane Energy thisyear drilled two vertical wells at its license in northern Poland. The companyis now testing the results and getting ready to drill a horizontal well in thesame area in the second quarter of 2011 and results should be ready by the endof next year, Kamlesh Parmar, Country Manager at Lane Energy Poland, said todayduring a conference in Warsaw. Shale drilling, where rock formations arehorizontally drilled and fractured using water and chemicals under highpressure, is driving a surge in U.S. natural-gas output. It last year made thecountry the world’s largest gas producer, overtaking Russia, and drove priceslower. Poland’s reserves of shale and tight gas may be as much as 3 trillioncubic meters, according to estimates by Advanced Resources International. Thatcould potentially turn the country into a net exporter of gas and reduceEurope’s dependence on Russian supplies.


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