February 15, 2011

Sowhere are you gonna work after you follow in Jimmy Carter’s footsteps, Mr.President? Let me guess…the Center for American Progress. Obama’s budget theblueprint for his war on affordable and reliable energy Time(2/15/11) reports: It’s Budget Day in Washington, when policy wonks break outthe calculators that have the “trillions” button and decide whetherwe’ll have six more weeks of winter, or six decades more of crippling budgetdeficits. Actually, today is the day President Obama released his proposedbudget for fiscal year 2012, which you can explore in all its eye-glazing gloryover here. Boring or not, though, it’s worth going through Obama’s proposalsfor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy(DOE), if only to see the areas the President really wants to save as he worksto win the future…First the EPA—download a PDF of the budget here.Overall the EPA faces a 12.6% cut, with $9 billion allocated for fiscal 2012,down from the $10.3 billion that had been allocated for fiscal 2010, whichrepresented the agency’s biggest ever budget. That means the White House isaccepting some tough cuts, while allowing a few programs—including moneyfor greenhouse gas monitoring and regulation—to rise.



American’sdon’t need subsidized energy bills, what they need is affordable and reliableenergy WallStreet Journal (2/15/11) reports: A proposed $2.5 billion cut to a programhelping low-income Americans heat or cool their homes could leave some statesout in the cold…The cuts would shrink spending onthe main portion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to $1.98billion, from about $4.5 billion in the current fiscal year. The proposedbudget would set aside an additional $590 million in contingency funds todistribute as need arises, an amount unchanged from the last budget. Butbecause of a quirk in the funding system, some states would see their fixedshare of the funds fall by much more than half, while others are protected fromsteep declines. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas—states wheresome low-income residents depend on the money to cool their homes duringscorching summers—all would lose more than 75% of funding, according tothe Congressional Research Service, while funding for Iowa, New York andWisconsin would drop by less than half.

Obama,this lesson is free: when you tax a company, that company transfers the tax tothe consumer. In this case, a tax on the fossil fuel industry will result inhigher monthly energy bills NewYork Times (2/14/11) reports: The president once again asks Congress to doaway with billions in tax breaks for fossil fuel interests, over the outcriesof the oil and gas industry…The request deals with policies that involve someof the sharpest disagreements between the administration and Congress, whichwill debate it line by line…Spending at theDepartment of Interior would remain at roughly the same level as past years,but with a major increase, to $358 million, for environmental and safetyenforcement for offshore oil and gas drilling, to be offset largely withroyalties and fees from oil companies…The budget request represents an increaseof $119 million, or 50 percent, from 2010 and is intended to address weaknessesrevealed after last year’s BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The additional moneywould be used to hire new oil and gas inspectors, to more vigorously overseedrilling activities and to process drilling permit applications more efficiently.

Hold your breath and hideyour wallet: EmploymentPrevention Agency awarded $43 million to regulate GHG’s Bloomberg(2/14/11) reports: The president’s plan calls for about $43 million in newfunding for the rules aimed at curbing carbon-dioxide emissions blamed forclimate change, according to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson…“We need to getstarted,” Jackson told reporters on a conference call today. “Businesses arewaiting right now to make investments, and one of the things they need to knowis how we will be addressing carbon pollution going forward.” ..The total EPAbudget for the rules, which took effect last month, is about $190 million,including costs for state permit programs, according to Jackson. The EPAopposes any effort in Congress to bar or delay the regulations, she said.

Wyoming’s state motto is‘equal rights’ but at the moment the governor is more concerned with states’rights in a legal battle with the EPA Bloomberg(2/15/11) reports: Wyoming has filed a legal challenge to the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions in thestate…State officials say the EPA gave Wyoming just nine days to come up with astate plan to regulate greenhouse gases before a Dec. 22 deadline, and thatwasn’t enough time…Without state rules, the EPA stepped in Jan. 2 and has takencharge of issuing greenhouse gas permits in the state since then…A two-tiered,federal-state permitting process is now in effect for any large, new industrialfacility, such as a coal-fired power plant, that emits large amounts of carbondioxide or other greenhouse gas, said Renny MacKay, spokesman for Gov. MattMead…”If somebody wants to build a facility, they come to Wyoming and getpermitting for everything but greenhouse gases. For greenhouse gases, they haveto go to EPA,” MacKay said.

Pelosi, who said naturalgas was a “good alternative” to fossil fuels, apparently thinks we power ourcars with switchgrass, too TheHill (2/15/11) reports: Obama’s FY 2012 budget request calls foreliminating a series of oil and gas industry tax breaks. The Department ofEnergy estimates that such a repeal will save $3.6 billion in fiscal year 2012and a total of $46.2 billion during the next decade…But Obama’s proposal facesan uphill battle in Congress. Republicans argue that any effort to eliminateoil industry tax breaks would harm the economy and result in massive joblosses…Capitol Hill Democrats have given repeal of oil industry tax breaks astarring role in their political messaging on the budget, arguing thatRepublicans should support cutting the incentives if they truly want to helpreduce the deficit. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and HouseMinority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have both made high-profile calls inrecent days for Republicans to embrace the proposal.

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