In the Pipeline: 4/5/11

Lisa Jackson channels her inner Scooby Doo villain and says, “If it weren’t for you pesky free market advocates, we would have gotten away with it!” New York Times (4/4/11) reports: A Virginia state lawmaker caused a stir in February when he admitted that his resolution declaring U.S. EPA’s effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions a “regulatory train wreck” was written by the coal industry…Republican Delegate Will Morefield’s resolution said EPA regulations would have potentially “devastating consequences,” called for a “comprehensive study” of their impact on the economy and urged Congress to place a two-year moratorium on new air pollution regulations….Morefield’s resolution was drawn almost word-for-word from model legislation written by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, which touts its access to almost 2,000 state legislators. The Washington, D.C.-based group claims credit for advancing legislation that it says has undermined climate science and environmental regulation in several states since the late 1990s….ALEC has been focusing of late on EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations and regional climate initiatives. At least eight state legislative bodies have adopted resolutions this year urging Congress to limit EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases — all of which came directly from ALEC model legislation….Legislators in more than 10 other states have introduced similar resolutions, according to Clinton Woods, the director of ALEC’s energy, environment and agriculture task force.

Do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell? Whoa oh, oh…Wind is in love with money and not with saving the world Wall Street Journal (4/5/11) reports: After years of blustery growth, wind power is facing a blow-back in some of its major markets. It is reeling from lackluster electricity demand in many mature economies, rock-bottom prices for competing natural-gas in the U.S. and uncertainty throughout much of the world about government subsidies. Companies that make wind turbines are slashing production at some plants and reconsidering previous expansion…Wind power is the biggest and cheapest of the renewable-energy sources now attracting major investment, from solar to biofuels to ocean waves, analysts say. Bigger blades, taller towers and slicker software all have improved the efficiency of the massive, pinwheel-style turbines that now dot landscapes from Iowa to India. The uncertain outlook for nuclear power after the Japan disaster should boost wind power’s appeal…Yet wind remains a tiny slice of the energy pie. In the U.S, it generated about 2% of electricity in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says. World-wide, it generated about 1% of electricity in 2008, the most recent global numbers available, the International Energy Agency says.

When it comes to shale gas, Huff Po writers pay homage to Mark Twain who said, “Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please” Huffington Post (4/5/11) reports:  We are desperately awaiting good news, but the bad news involving energy steadily worsens. It was a year ago this week that 29 miners perished in West Virginia’s Upper Branch coal mine and we collectively asked how much sooty coal we want to keep burning. Soon after, the Gulf of Mexico was carpeted with oozing gunk for months, forcing us to question whether offshore drilling is viable following the worst oil spill in history. That tragedy had only begun to recede when the Middle East began to explode and we once again confronted the vulnerability of our tenuous energy supplies. Then, as if Japan’s double-punch earthquake and tsunami wasn’t horrific enough, meltdown of the crippled nuclear power plant began. These events in rapid succession reminded us that every source of traditional energy is its own Hobson’s choice fraught with danger…All of these events together made people – and energy markets – increasingly jittery. Most Americans don’t make the connection until their pocketbooks are affected, such as when fuel prices surge, along with air fares, transportation costs and everything else. But Americans don’t want to hear about the problem; rather, our can-do attitude and American ingenuity demand a solution…Right when energy is on everybody’s mind, the biggest-circulation news magazine rides to our rescue with a compelling cover story “This Rock Could Power the World: Why Shale Can Solve the Energy Crisis.” It proclaims that natural gas offers us a whole century of relatively clean energy.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain — the same guy who didn’t see the financial meltdown coming is now telling us not to worry about rising energy prices CNBC (4/5/11) reports: Concerns over global growth were also fueled by a survey published in the Nikkei business newspaper which showed economists expect the Japanese economy to contract by 0.6 percent for the January-March quarter and by 2.6 percent in the three months to the end of June…They expect growth quarter in the world’s third-largest economy to return in the July to September, the survey found….Back in the US, investors were digesting comments made by Federal Reserve President Ben Bernanke Monday evening which suggested the Fed is not yet ready to start tightening monetary policy despite an improving economy…Bernanke said a recent rise in prices was driven by a spike in global commodity prices and was unlikely to persist…The Fed releases the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting at 2 pm New York time…The report could offer further clues on whether the Fed is likely to raise rates in the near term.

The beatings will continue until morale improves — Republican senators want to know where Obama is getting the money for his high speed rail The Hill (4/4/11) reports: Twenty-two Republican senators are asking President Obama to explain where he would find the revenue to pay for his proposed increase in transportation funding…The Republicans said they hoped the White House would not consider raising the gas tax to offset the costs of the 2012 budget request…”To communicate to our constituents whether or not the $435 billion trust fund represents a large gas tax increase, we respectfully request details on how the Administration calculated the amount of revenue it envisions for the ‘Bipartisan financing for Transportation Trust Fund,’ ” the senators wrote…”As energy prices continue to increase, we are hopeful that this new revenue stream proposed by the Administration would not be a new gas tax on American consumers.”

Speak Your Mind


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