In the Pipeline: 3/29/11

HOF won’t induct Charlie Hustle for betting on his team to win, but the HOF just placed a bet against American energy Mother Nature Network (3/29/11) reports: The hall of fame, based in Cooperstown, decided to support the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce’s recent resolution opposing hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it is commonly known. Fracking is a controversial method used by the natural gas industry where rig operators pump a mixture of water, sand and secret chemicals into the ground to extract isolated pockets of natural gas….Cooperstown is located in central New York, in the heart of the of the gas-rich Marcellus Shale region. The sleepy town is a picturesque tourist destination for baseball fans around the world, and is even a growing retirement community….A full transcript of the hall’s opposition to fracking was reprinted online over at, and can be read below. The statement isn’t nearly as strong as the hall’s opposition to Pete Rose, but as far as I can tell, the natural gas has never bet on baseball.

President Obama’s interior monologue: “I made energy prices skyrocket, but still no one is buying my $40,000 Volt – what gives?” CNBC (3/28/11) reports: Last week, the Commerce Department revised real GDP up to 3.1 percent for the fourth quarter of last year. That was some cause for joy in the stock market. But today we saw a poor consumer-spending report for the month of February, which is picking up the rise in gasoline prices and the decline in consumer sentiment…Real income after-tax — known as real disposable income — actually fell in February. But the inflation rate jumped 0.4 percent, which is almost 5 percent annually. And while real consumer spending did rise, over the past three months it has gained by only 1.4 percent annually… The gasoline-driven inflation hike now puts consumer inflation as measured by the personal consumption deflator at 4 percent over the last three months. That’s higher than wage and salary income. So while energy prices are bulging along with food, real wages look to be falling — not a good combination.

Rent seekers panic that their gravy train is leaving the station, but something tells me Markey or Waxman New York Times (3/28/11) reports: There is growing angst over the pending end to a Department of Energy program that allows projects to claim cash grants in lieu of the tax credits that have been the mainstay of renewable-energy project financing for years. Insiders assume the production tax credits and investment tax credits will return next year, but most also agree the grants will end this Dec. 31. That raises a big question: Can projects shift from grants to credits?…Deals are getting done, but not at the rate that the industry would call robust, and many project developers are still dependent on temporary government support measures.

On the House side, we gave Barney this lesson and we will do the same for the Senate — when supply is restricted and demand remains constant, prices increase. This applies to snuggies and gas prices The Hill (3/28/11) reports: Five senators are pressing the Federal Trade Commission to use its powers under a 2007 law to probe whether recent oil price spikes – and the attendant rise in pump prices – stem from market manipulation…“We are writing to inquire whether the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is fully utilizing the regulatory authority granted to it by Congress to ensure American consumers are paying a fair price for gasoline. We urge you to use this authority aggressively to ensure that recent crude oil market price spikes and volatility are not the result of manipulative practices or anticompetitive behavior,” states a letter to the FTC from Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)…Rockefeller chairs the Senate Commerce Committee…The letter Friday is the latest example of lawmakers – mostly Democrats – essentially laying energy price increases at the feet of Wall Street, and comes as GOP leaders pressing for wider offshore drilling…It presses the FTC to use 2009 rules – which stem from a 2007 energy law – that give the regulators enhanced power to crack down on anti-competitive practices in wholesale petroleum markets.

Insanity is defined as repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results — are the inmates running the asylum in Florida? Miami Herald (3/28/11) reports: The Florida Senate unveiled its plan Monday to allow Florida’s electric companies to raise average customer bills $1.40 to $2.60 a month to build solar and biomass energy plants for the next five years…But because the measure also allows the electric monopolies to control the renewable energy market by earning as much as $377 million a year in additional revenue, the proposal drew warnings that it will stifle jobs and hurt customers over time…“We will go out of business,’’ said Scott McIntyre, president of Solar Energy Management of St. Petersburg. “The Senate bill will not attract renewable energy to the state of Florida. It will not employ people.”…By contrast, Josh Kellam of Global Energy United, a Virginia-based solar panel manufacturer, said his company will employ 250-300 people at its Rivera Beach plant if the bill passes…Kent Crook, president of Wire Masters of Miami, a residential and commercial electrician, said that he has received a Workforce Florida grant to retrain his employees in installing solar energy panels but has had to stop using it “because there are no jobs.”


Speak Your Mind


Anonymous says:
Your email has been received. Thank you for signing up.