In the Pipeline: 5/18/11

The UK didn’t meet their CO2 reduction target for 2010, even with the recession. So what’s their response? Double down New York Times (5/16/11) reports: Britain is poised to announce some of the world’s most ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions — a striking example of a government committing to big environmental initiatives while also pursuing austerity measures… Chris Huhne, the secretary of state for energy and climate change, is expected to release a statement on Tuesday that the British government will set in law a goal to cut its greenhouse gas emissions about 50 percent by 2025…That reduction, based on 1990 levels, would be far deeper than the European Union’s goal of cutting emissions 20 percent by 2020, and it would mean that Britain would make faster emissions cuts than other similar size countries, including Germany. The goal could require households to spend on new energy-saving devices for the home. It could also revive stalled government support for large projects, like those that capture power from tides and that bury carbon dioxide emissions…A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change declined to comment before a formal announcement….Governments in Britain and North America have broadly retreated from far-reaching pledges since the financial crisis began two years ago.

We can’t tell if Reilly is grasping at the lime light or really cares about his job New York Times(5/17/11) reports: The Obama administration is pushing back against plans by its oil spill commission co-chairman to spread his message about offshore drilling reforms to Cuba, the panel leader said today… William Reilly, the co-chairman of the presidential panel that made a series of recommendations earlier this year to improve offshore drilling safety and regulation after the BP PLC oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last summer, has already helped convinced Mexican drilling regulators to adopt U.S. regulatory structures…But he said he has had his “wrist slapped” by the Obama administration for his plans to discuss reform with Cuba, with which the United States has had no diplomatic relations since 1961…”I have been causing grief to the State Department,” Reilly, a former U.S. EPA chief under President George H.W. Bush, said during an event hosted by Resources for the Future in Washington, D.C…Cuba is developing plans to drill 16 oil and gas wells in waters 50 miles from Key West, Fla., using Spanish oil and gas giant Repsol YPF and Russian natural gas producer Gazprom.

The plan worked: Obama was able to talk a tough game knowing the Senate wouldn’t actively make gas prices higher by increasing taxes The Hill (5/17/11) reports: The White House is vowing a continued campaign to repeal billions of dollars worth of oil industry tax breaks after a Democratic bill to nix several incentives sputtered on the Senate floor Tuesday…White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in a statement Tuesday night, called the 52-48 Senate vote that blocked the bill progress even though 60 supporters were needed to advance the measure….“The vote today – with support from over half the U.S. Senate – is an important step towards repealing these unwarranted subsidies for the oil and gas industry. The Administration will continue to pursue this important reform,” he said…Senate Democratic leadership is vowing to keep the issue alive in wider talks with Republicans and the White House on deficit reduction…Carney also took a shot at Republicans in his statement on the procedural vote, which saw two Republicans vote to advance the bill while three Democrats joined 45 Republicans in voting against it.

If you think Bromwich is losing it now, just wait until the Senate discovers he’s behind skyrocketing gas prices! The Hill (5/17/11) reports: Four Senate Democrats this week asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate whether U.S. oil refineries are purposefully cutting back capacity levels in order to keep gasoline prices high…Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) cited press reports that this may be happening and told FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz that this would be a “direct affront” to American consumers… “At a time when major refiners and oil companies are making record profits and American families continue to struggle with gasoline at record prices, the idea that refiners may be manipulating the market to keep prices artificially high is offensive,” they wrote…”It is incumbent upon the Commission to ensure that the American people are protected from this type of manipulation,” the letter continued. “Accordingly, we request that the Commission open a full investigation into these allegations of wrongdoing and to determine the impact this behavior, if confirmed, has on regional and national gasoline prices.”



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