In the Pipeline: 3/17/11

IER’s Dan Kish explains that the beatings at the pump will continue until morale improves Human Events (3/17/11) reports: President Obama finally held a press conference on the subject of rising gas prices last week that required anyone who has been watching his administration’s war on domestic energy to suspend disbelief.  Instead of announcing a reversal of his anti-domestic energy policies, he explained that on his watch, oil production is actually up and imports are down.  What the President failed to explain was that his energy policies have nothing to do with this, and that the U.S. would actually be producing more oil today if his administration had not been doing everything in its power to stop domestic energy production since they walked into office in January of 2009 when gasoline was $1.80 a gallon…Imports of oil into the United States are down because the unemployment rate hovers near 10% and the economy is stagnating because of anti-growth policies pushed by the EPA, the Department of the Interior, and the alphabet soup of command-and-control agencies of the administration who have been sicced on the productive sectors of our economy.  In fact, in the President’s first year in office—2009—the U.S. used less oil than it did in 1978.  That means fewer imports, along with the fewer jobs Americans know all too much about.

IER’s Kish has clearly had enough. Calls Bulls#@t, literally, on Sen. Shumer’s resurrection of the bogus “use it or lose it” claim. Daily Caller (3/16/11) reports: The idea that oil companies that pay rent to the government for the right to look for oil are sitting on it for profit is “pure bullshit,” said Daniel Kish, vice president for policy at the conservative Institute for Energy Research…As oil prices creep back above $100 a barrel, Senate Democrats are dusting off a plan first unveiled in 2008 to take away federal leases from oil companies that rent federal land but don’t use it for drilling and exploration…The revived bill, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida and Charles Schumer of New York, would charge oil companies an extra fee on every acre they are not using for energy production and would force companies to show that they are actively seeking energy sources in the area.

And on to the next cat. Obama takes a break from killing oil production to concentrate on coal. Let the necessarily skyrocketing electricity prices begin. Wall Street Journal (3/16/11) reports: The Obama administration on Wednesday proposed requiring power plants using coal or fuel oil to reduce emissions of mercury and certain other hazardous pollutants by 91%, in a move that could accelerate the U.S. shift toward natural gas…If adopted, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said, the standards would prevent as many as 17,000 premature deaths a year..The EPA says the annual cost to meet the new regulation will be about $11 billion in 2016, and that it will increase consumers’ electric bills on the order of three or four dollars a month…The announcement comes as some Republicans have targeted the EPA for budget cuts, saying regulations like the one proposed on Wednesday go too far…American Electic Power Co. and some other utilities have expressed concern they won’t have time to bring their coal-fired plants into compliance on roughly half a dozen regulations expected to be proposed or adopted by the EPA over the next 20 months that target pollution.

Washington has ruined your vehicle, your light bulbs, washing machines, you get the idea Wall Street Journal (3/17/11) reports: It might not have been the most stylish, but for decades the top-loading laundry machine was the most affordable and dependable. Now it’s ruined—and Americans have politics to thank…In 1996, top-loaders were pretty much the only type of washer around, and they were uniformly high quality. When Consumer Reports tested 18 models, 13 were “excellent” and five were “very good.” By 2007, though, not one was excellent and seven out of 21 were “fair” or “poor.” This month came the death knell: Consumer Reports simply dismissed all conventional top-loaders as “often mediocre or worse.”…How’s that for progress?…The culprit is the federal government’s obsession with energy efficiency. Efficiency standards for washing machines aren’t as well-known as those for light bulbs, which will effectively prohibit 100-watt incandescent bulbs next year. Nor are they the butt of jokes as low-flow toilets are. But in their quiet destruction of a highly affordable, perfectly satisfactory appliance, washer standards demonstrate the harmfulness of the ever-growing body of efficiency mandates.

Baby steps — onshore permits for energy production are issued out west Denver Post (3/16/11) reports: The federal Bureau of Land Management will boost permit approvals for oil and gas drilling on public lands 44 percent in 2011, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday…Salazar said the bureau, one of the agencies he oversees, is set to approve about 7,200 permits in 2011, compared with 5,000 in 2010…”We are leaning into the production side onshore,” Salazar said at a media roundtable in Oklahoma City…The bureau is set to hold 33 oil and gas lease sales this year and a similar number in 2012, said Bob Abbey, the BLM director…The next lease sale in Colorado is scheduled for May 12, with 11 parcels in Garfield County and one in Rio Blanco totaling 7,045 acres being offered…”It is encouraging to hear they are addressing permitting (issues),” said Kathleen Sgamma, director of government affairs for the Western Energy Alliance, an industry trade group…”But that is only part of the process. Project approvals are at a standstill,” Sgamma said….Those approvals are being slowed by re-evaluations of existing plans and environmental analysis


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