In the Pipeline: 3/14/11

Question: How many green jobs have been created with tax payer subsidies in Oregon? Answer: your guess is as good as mine Oregon Live (3/13/11) reports: Labor leader Tom Chamberlain decided some basic research was in order before the Oregon AFL-CIO could lend its support to the state’s increasingly expensive subsidies for green energy projects. “We wanted to know what we were getting for the money,” he says. “How many jobs? What do they pay? Like any tax incentive program, you want to make sure you’re getting bang for your buck.”..Instead of numbers, Chamberlain says, he got the equivalent of a blank stare from the Department of Energy, which administers and approves the subsidies…That was two years ago…Today, little has changed. Despite claims by supporters that the subsidies have led to “thousands” of jobs, no one can say with any certainty what impact the Business Energy Tax Credit, or BETC, has had on the state’s stubbornly high unemployment rate.

Can’t retire soon enough—Sen. Lieberman wants a moratorium on nuclear, but he doesn’t realize there has been a permitorium since the 70’s on new plant construction. CBS (3/13/11) reports: Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday called for a temporary moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants in the U.S. in the aftermath of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, which damaged two reactors at a nuclear facility in the country’s northeast…”The reality is that we’re watching something unfold,” he said in an interview for CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We don ‘t know where it’s going with regard to the nuclear power plants in Japan right now. I think it calls on us here in the U.S. – naturally not to stop building nuclear power plants, but to put the brakes on right now until we understand the ramifications of what’s happened in Japan…Japan, which was ravaged by an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami last week, is now struggling with a growing nuclear crisis as a partial meltdown is already likely under way at one nuclear reactor, and operators are frantically trying to prevent the disaster from growing worse…Noting that while in recent years the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had enacted upgraded emergency contingency plans for nuclear power plants in the event of a natural disaster, Lieberman said the situation in Japan could be instructive in preventing future crises.

Can’t stop, won’t stop—China rejects the idea that nuclear is not a viable energy source. Wall Street Journal (3/13/11) reports: China currently generates about 10.8 gigawatts of power from nuclear facilities in the country, but efforts are on for a massive ramp-up in that capacity as it strives to reduce its dependence on polluting coal-fired plants, which are estimated to account for a majority of the nation’s power generation…China is currently building about 28 reactors, and aims to start building nuclear plants with a capacity of about 40 gigawatts by 2015, Reuters reported, citing Beijing’s goals under the nation’s 12th Five-Year Plan, covering 2011 to 2015…The comments came as shares of uranium-mining companies fell sharply in Sydney on concerns nuclear plants would receive a setback in the wake of Friday’s earthquake in Japan.

Obama Administration was so kind to let tax payers keep more of their hard earned money, but realizes the war on affordable energy comes with a price. Washington Post President Obama acknowledged Friday that the fast-rising cost of gasoline could diminish the effect of policies designed to stimulate economic growth, but warned that he is not yet prepared to unleash the nation’s energy reserves to bring down the price of oil…In a news conference, Obama said that a payroll tax cut signed into law in December as part of the tax package would now go to cushion the impact of a recent spike in oil prices and allow for continued economic growth…An Energy Department analysis released this week says that the average U.S. household will pay $700 more in fuel costs this year, cutting into the $1,000 per year savings per family that Obama cited as a result of the payroll tax cut…“[G]as prices are hurting individuals right now and obviously taking some of that tax cut that we gave them and forcing them to use it on gas as opposed to buying other items,” the president said.

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