December 6, 2010

Do It for Babs: You ThoughtDems’ Last-Ditch, Lame-Duck, Public Lands-Lock-Away Bill Was Just a DesperateHail Mary? Maybe So, Says Boxer – But Can’t You Do It For Me? Politico (12/6) reports, “Democratic efforts to push through more than100 public lands and water bills in the lame duck session are reaching a feverpitch, with the recognition this is the last chance many of them have to becomelaw. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has tasked Democratic leaderson at least three committees to come up with a list of bills that could getpast a GOP filibuster. They may also need to be able to secure the two-thirdssupport that would be needed if the House tries to expedite the package withoutamendments in a tight legislative calendar. Senate Environment and Public WorksChairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told reporters Thursday that she has givenReid a draft list of bills to consider. That evolving list is believed toinclude plans to provide protection to the Chesapeake Bay, Great Lakes, LakeTahoe, the Gulf of Mexico and the San Francisco Bay. “The issue is getting 60votes, which we think we can,” Boxer said. “They represent the work ofcommittees and senators over the course of this Congress and, for many, overthe course of a career and they deserve a vote,” the spokesperson said.



Carter Weeps: 50 Years AgoToday, Pres. Carter Officially Set Aside ANWR as Strategic Energy Reserve forUS – 50 Years Later, It Functions Today as an NRDC Direct-Mail Piece. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and SpencerAbraham (12/5) write in the Politico, “Monday marks the 50th anniversary of the northeast corner ofAlaska’s designation as the Arctic National Wildlife Range. This area, home tolarge quantities of natural resources, has been off limits to energyproduction. We had a unique opportunity 15 years ago to change course andfortify our nation’s domestic energy supply. But it was derailed. In 1995,President Bill Clinton vetoed legislation that would have allowedenvironmentally responsible exploration for an estimated 10 billion plusbarrels of oil in a tiny sliver of ANWR. This action deprived our nation of whatcould now be about one million barrels of oil per day—an amount thatwould allow us to reduce our imports by almost 10 percent. And that’s not all.Astoundingly, huge percentages of additional U.S. oil resources remainoff-limits to exploration. According to federal estimates, there is enough oilin deep waters many miles off our coasts and on federal lands to power morethan 60 million cars for 60 years. In addition, if we advance thecommercialization of the nation’s 2 trillion barrel oil shale resource, wecould meet U.S. oil needs for more than two centuries.



Dodgers: Utilities in LosAngeles Quietly Inform Mayor that His Goal of 40% of Renewable ElectricityGeneration is Insane — $2.4B in New Costs for Ratepayers, Well After Tony’sOut of Office.LA Times (12/5) reports, “As Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosaprepares to pick the next general manager of the Department of Water and Power— his sixth in three and a half years — the massive utility isquietly backing away from his ambitious goal of generating 40% of its powerfrom renewable sources by 2020. That shift, initiated under the leadership ofFirst Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, is only the latest at an agency marked byupheaval as it pursues the mayor’s lofty environmental agenda. SinceVillaraigosa took office in 2005, the nation’s largest municipally ownedutility has been in a state of churn. Multimillion-dollar initiatives have beenannounced, then abandoned. Executives have been installed, then jettisoned. Theproposed 20-year plan calls for the DWP to reach a 33% renewable energy targetby 2020, putting it in line with state regulations. That move would cut coststo the utility’s residential and business customers by up to $2.4 billion over20 years. That view was not shared by former DWP General Manager H. DavidNahai, who said the DWP’s latest plan "constituted a U-turn" from themayor’s 2009 inaugural speech, Nahai said.



Unacceptable: Experts SayRamming-Through of Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia a More Important Priorityfor Lame-Duck than Mandate on Unaffordable, Unreliable Electricity.E&E News(12/6, subs. req’d) reports, “Sen. Byron Dorgan may end his 18-year Senatecareer in disappointment, as it looks doubtful Congress will pass a bill thissession requiring utilities to use a set amount of renewable energy generationfor electricity."Boy, it will be a major disappointment if this Congressshuts down at the end of this year without having done anything on energy,anything of consequence," said Dorgan, who is retiring this year. The RESmeasure faces stiff competition from an already-full Senate schedule. Congresshas two weeks to pass legislation to continue funding the government beyondDec. 18 and to negotiate a tax package that would extend expiring income taxcuts. Republicans say those measures must be finished before they will considerany other legislation. President Obama is pressing for passage of a nucleararms treaty with Russia — known as START — and Majority Leader Harry Reid(D-Nev.) also wants to take up a bill on immigration. Bill Wicker, a spokesmanfor Bingaman, said, "Tax issues and the [continuing resolution] and STARTare sucking all the oxygen out of the lame duck. Understandably, the prioritiesof Congress at this moment are deciding what to do about taxes. Once those areresolved, we’ll see if any time remains to take up a bill as sensible as theRES."



This Just In: CurrentAdministration Committed to “Aggressive Environmental Agenda” with EPA Runningthe Point from DC – Seems Like a Recipe for Job-Creation to Us.E&E News(12/3, subs. req’d) reports, “The Obama administration is committed to an"aggressive environmental agenda" that goes beyond what was achievedduring the past four decades, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said today duringa speech at Harvard University. Jackson spoke during a conference that featuredappearances by several leading lights of the environmental movement, includingEPA’s first administrator, Bill Ruckelshaus, and former Vice President Al Gore,who spoke to agency officials during an invitation-only luncheon. The eventcapped a week of events celebrating EPA’s 40th birthday and also previewed thecase the agency will make when the balance of power on Capitol Hill shiftstoward the Republicans next year. High-ranking Republicans have vowed to keepJackson and other top officials tethered to the witness stand, pushing Congressto block regulations that they feel would harm the economy. But while votersmay have been concerned about federal bureaucracy when they cast their ballotslast month, polls still show that they want the government to protect publichealth and the environment, Jackson said. In the past, Democrats andRepublicans have worked together to put those programs in place, she said.



Al Gore’s Campaign to Savethe Planet Having More Trouble These Days Saving Its Office Space; Last Year,Had Field Operations in 25 States – This Year? Seven.Politico (12/6) reports, “One of Al Gore’s campaigns to save the planethas scaled back its field operations since climate legislation failed earlierthis year in Congress. The Alliance for Climate Protection was operating inabout 25 states at its peak, including Florida, Michigan, Missouri, NewHampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania. "We’ve always believed it’s a mobileand nimble operation," said Sean Sarah, the non-profit group’s spokesman."We move to areas where it’s most effective. Of course the situation inCongress has changed. So our strategies and tactics have changed along withit." Sarah didn’t disclose which states the Alliance still has workersin. But he said the group retains its same staff size and headquarters inWashington and Gore’s hometown of Nashville. Gore in 2008 launched a $300million advertising and lobbying campaign through the Alliance to help passclimate legislation on Capitol Hill, telling CBS’ 60 Minutes at the time it wasa “blitz as sweeping and expensive as a big corporation’s rollout of a newproduct.” The group has not disclosed how much of that money it ultimatelyspent.



UN Climate KleptocratsDeliver Ransom Note to US Delegation in Cancun: Begin Destruction of YourEconomy in 24 Months, Or Risk Hairy Eyeballs at Next Cocktail Party. Bloomberg (12/6) reports, “Diplomats at United Nations climate talksthis week will consider a two-year deadline for industrial nations to sign upfor further cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions after Kyoto Protocol limits expirein December 2012. Brazil, named by the UN to help broker an agreement on thefuture of Kyoto, wants industrial nations at this meeting to agree to make newreduction pledges within two years. Mexico, which is coordinating thediscussions in Cancun, said the pledges would have to be in place in the firsthalf of 2012. Adopting the measures may help bolster the price of carbondioxide emissions permits, which tumbled after talks in Copenhagen in December2009 failed to produce a new treaty on reducing fossil fuel pollution blamedfor global warming. The envoys “need to send the right signal to the carbonmarket,” Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, Brazil’s lead negotiator, said in aninterview in Cancun. “How this signal will be sent is perhaps the crux of theproblem.”



Just Do It: Nike, SundryOther Rent-Seekers Demand Immediate Action in Cancun to Cut American Jobs– Makes Sense, Since Most of Nike’s Employees Live in Bangladesh. The Hill (12/5) reports, “Companies including Starbucks and Nike sayU.S. officials should take the lead in creating a global climate change fund, amove that comes as some Senate Republicans are pressing the State Department tohalt climate financing for developing nations. A corporate coalition that alsoincludes Timberland, eBay, and PepsiCo. says in a letter to President Obamathat the U.S. should drive creation of the fund at the ongoing United Nationsclimate talks in Cancun, Mexico, calling it “imperative that the United Statesreassert its credibility and leadership on climate change and establish a fundat this critical juncture.” “Climate change effects are global. So are ourmarkets and supply chains. As outlined in your speech to the United NationsMillennium Development Goals Summit on September 22, 2010, it is in ourlong-term economic interest to partner with developing countries, which willbolster their efforts to transition from poverty to prosperity throughsustainable and equitable economic growth,” states the letter released Fridaythrough the group Oxfam.



Sen. Casey’s Anti-FRAC ActDidn’t See a Single Hearing or Markup During 110th Congress –So Now, Naturally, He Wants It to Be Attached as Rider on Something Meaningful.Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (12/5) reports, “Mr. Reid was going tobring the bill to the floor earlier this month but withdrew it because thebill’s co-sponsor, Sen. Orrin Hatch objected. A Hatch spokeswoman said thesenator didn’t like the fact that the bill was paid for with a dramaticincrease in a tax on companies for the oil spill liability fund. He’s not theonly one with a beef. Environmental groups lined up against the bill in aletter to Mr. Reid last week, protesting that it was a giveaway to the naturalgas industry without addressing environmental concerns over gas extraction."It’s crazy that we would consider investing money in natural gasinfrastructure and expanding the demand for natural gas when there are notbasic environmental and public health protections in place to protectPennsylvanians and all Americans from the effects of drilling," said AdamGarber, organizer for PennEnvironment. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is the leadsponsor of the FRAC Act, which would require drilling companies to disclose allthe chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing — in which water,sand and chemicals are blasted into rock formations to free the gas — andwould bring the process under federal regulation. Mr. Casey said he is stillworking on getting disclosure language into law, as the FRAC Act hasn’tadvanced.


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