In the Pipeline: 4/6/11

Senate to Vote on Plan to Reign In EPA Today–Unless Vote Gets Postponed Again… The Hill (4/5/11) reports: The Senate will vote on a GOP-backed plan to kill Environmental Protection Agency climate change rules Wednesday afternoon, according to Democrats and a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)…Lawmakers will vote on McConnell’s amendment to small-business legislation, as well as several Democratic alternatives. The amendments need 60 votes to pass…The GOP-led EPA amendment mirrors legislation that the House will debate Wednesday as well. The Senate Democratic alternatives would limit or delay EPA rules without stripping the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) plan that would delay regulation of power plants, refineries and other facilities for two years. All the plans face very high hurdles to winning 60 votes…A caveat: The votes have appeared imminent several times in recent weeks without materializing. Stay tuned.

What has the world come to–the Communists in Cuba understand the value of domestically produced energy, but the President of the United States does not Associated Press (4/5/11) reports: Cuba on Tuesday announced plans to drill five deepwater oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico beginning this summer, expressing confidence that its efforts will be rewarded with major new energy finds…”We’re about to move to the drilling phase,” said Manuel Marrero, an official with the government authority tasked with overseeing Cuba’s oil sector…”We’re all really hopeful that we will be able to discover large reserves of oil and gas,” said Marrero, who added that the ventures would be undertaken with the help of unspecified foreign companies…He said the deepwater wells were to be drilled between 2011 and 2013, and would be in waters ranging in depth between 400 meters (a quarter mile) and 1,500 meters (1.6 miles). He did not specify which countries would be among the foreign partners working with Havana on the project.

Wind might be inefficient, unaffordable, and economically unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean that they are inefficient at killing birds OR Cover your eyes–American Bird Conservancy has posted a video of a vulture getting struck by a wind turbine                                                        (click to play)

Since members of Congress and the President do not have to pay for their own gas, it must be hard to notice that the national average is $3.70 Financial Times (4/6/11) reports: As the oil price continues to soar, taking it to record sterling highs, governments are starting to fret….In the UK, the chancellor was last month pushed to offer a 1p cut in fuel duty to offset the impact of higher oil prices. The opposition claimed on Tuesday the cut has already been erased by the rise in oil since then, and it is no coincidence that on the same day, the energy secretary Chris Huhne met the Saudis to talk about what can be done on the supply side…In the US meanwhile, Barack Obama has talked about weaning the country off its oil imports to improve energy security…But none of this activity is likely to have a bearing on the oil price, says Moody’s, which predicts that it will continue to rise as markets start incorporating a higher political risk premium into their commodities valuations…This seems an unexpected conclusion, given that the risks of producing oil in politically unstable parts of the world are surely well known already. But the argument would help explain why the oil price has risen so much since the beginning of the conflict in Libya, which only produces around 2 per cent of the world’s daily oil output.

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