In the Pipeline: 4/20/11

For shame: Not once does this man address the issue of affordable and reliable energy being a moral issue — high energy prices are a tax on the poor The Hill (4/20/11) reports: For years, congressional Republicans have had a singular message on addressing gas prices, one made famous by former Alaska governor and #qwitterer Sarah Palin: Drill, baby, drill…It’s a simple and memorable phrase, delivers their idea of a solution in very few words, and resonates. The problem is it isn’t a solution at all…As we witnessed this week, with oil at a record $127 per barrel, Saudi Arabia announced it is cutting back production because the market is “oversupplied.” Ali al-Naimi, the country’s oil minister, told that the Saudis had scaled back production by 800,000 barrels in March in comparison to February numbers. According to the report, oil ministers from other OPEC countries agreed with the Saudis’ assessment that the market is oversupplied…But wait, what?…According to the Republicans in Congress, the only way we can lower gas prices is to increase supply by expanding drilling — in ANWR, in the Gulf, on the OCS and in our backyards. They claim that demand drives the price of oil. That’s what I keep hearing from congressional Republicans like Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.), Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and the clarion of drilling, the aforementioned Palin. They think we just need to drill more and not invest in new domestically produced renewable sources of energy.

At first glance, this seems like more of the same old, same old.  But in reality, it is an acknowledgment that the EPA GHG program is in deep, deep trouble E&E News (4/20/11) reports: The states of California, New York and Minnesota, as well as about a dozen power companies and influential advocacy groups, have joined forces to persuade U.S. EPA to let states meet new federal climate change rules by crafting their own programs, such as the cap-and-trade plans that have been adopted by California and a handful of Northeastern states…Under a settlement that staved off lawsuits from environmentalists, EPA must set new limits on greenhouse gas emissions from the utility sector this year. The agency is planning to create New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) under the Clean Air Act, which would put a cap on the amount of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming gases that a coal-fired power plant is allowed to release.

Obama Administration has already said privately that they plan to oppose Commissioner Ostendorff’s confirmation.  Apparently, he is too effective at making the case for the need for nuclear power E&E News (4/20/11) reports: President Obama has nominated William Ostendorff to a second term as commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission…Ostendorff has been serving the commission since April 2010. His term expires June 30…The Nuclear Energy Institute applauded the nomination, calling Ostendorff a qualified candidate with experience as an engineer, lawyer, policy adviser and naval officer…”We hope for a speedy confirmation because a full complement of experienced commissioners is essential as the agency reviews operation of U.S. reactors in light of events in Japan and judges certifications for reactor designs and licenses for new reactors and fuel facilities,” NEI Senior Vice President Tony Pietrangelo said…Ostendorff served as the principal deputy administrator at the National Nuclear Security Administration from 2007 to 2009, and was a staffer for the House Armed Services Committee from 2003 to 2007.

The beatings will continue until morale improves — new drilling regulations in the works The Hill (4/20/11) reports: A top Interior Department official said Tuesday that another set of major offshore-drilling safety rules are in the works…Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich said the rulemaking process would begin “in the very near future.”…“This process will be broad, inclusive and ambitious. Our goal will be nothing less than a further set of enhancements that will increase drilling safety and diminish the risks of a major blowout,” Bromwich said, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies…“It will address weaknesses and necessary improvements to blowout preventers, as well as many other issues,” added Bromwich…Bromwich spoke on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and touched off the months-long BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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