In The Pipeline 7/21/11

What else do you want us to do for you Mr. President on the Keystone XL oil pipeline? Read your horoscope? The Hill (7/20/11) reports: The House in the coming weeks is expected to consider legislation that would require the Obama administration to decide by Nov. 1 whether to approve the expansion of a TransCanada oil pipeline to the U.S…H.R. 1938, the North American-Made Energy Security Act, was just listed on the House Rules Committee website as an “active” bill, although no action is scheduled so far this week…Republicans who support the bill argue that the State Department has had enough time to examine TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada applied for a permit for the project with the State Department in September 2008, but no decision has been rendered in the 33 months since…The pipeline would carry crude oil from Canada’s oil sands from Alberta to refineries in Texas, and would cut through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska and Oklahoma…The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), argues that approving the pipeline would bring hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil per day to U.S. refineries, and help lower gas prices.

Let me translate this article — we need more oil Wall Street Journal (7/21/11) reports: Oil futures ended higher after a U.S. government report showed a steep drop in crude inventories, but the rally was blunted by an increase in refined-product stockpiles…Light, sweet crude for August delivery rose 64 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $98.14 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract expired at the close of trading, and the more actively traded September contract settled up 54 cents, or 0.6%, at $98.40 a barrel…Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange gained $1.09, or 0.9%, to settle at $118.15 a barrel…Futures ended higher after the Department of Energy said U.S. oil inventories showed a bigger-than-expected decline. The stockpiles of crude fell 3.7 million barrels last week, signaling strong demand from refiners…In fact, refinery utilization rose 2.3 percentage points to 90.3% of capacity, their highest rate of utilization in almost a year. Analysts had expected utilization to rise just 0.2 percentage point.

Tech executive uses your tax dollars to install solar panels on his mansion and feels real good about himself Los Angeles Times (7/21/11) reports: Just ask 51-year-old Karl Hutter. The Silicon Valley tech executive refuses to drive a hybrid car but signed up with solar panel outfit SolarCity…”You’re doing good by the planet, and you’re doing good by your pocket book,” says Hutter of Menlo Park, Calif. “Fundamentally, when you have both it makes perfect sense.”…Hutter has joined the ranks of people enticed as much by price as the feel-good element of saving the Earth. He’s hardly alone…In the first quarter of 2011, U.S. solar panel installations shot up 66%, or the equivalent of powering roughly 20,000 average houses, compared with a year ago, says a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research….In the past year, falling prices for systems that capture the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity have helped spur growth as well. Prices of solar panel components dipped 15% in the quarter from a year ago, according to the SEIA…”We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the price of solar power over the past year,” said the SEIA’s Tom Kimbis. “That has helped residential and commercial use of solar.”

The lesson here is, it is better to be a replacement for a crazy enviro (like Nancy Stoner), than it is to be a crazy enviro yourself… E&E News (7/20/11) reports: President Obama’s pick to become the top conservationist at the Interior Department yesterday faced a raft of sharp questions about her past from Senate Republicans, signaling a bruising confirmation fight ahead…Under questioning from GOP members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Rebecca Wodder, the nominee to become assistant secretary of the Interior for fish and wildlife, tried to distance herself on several occasions from statements made and positions taken during her 16-year tenure as president and CEO of the conservation group American Rivers…”I had a job to do,” Wodder told Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the committee’s top Republican. “I recognize very clearly the job I’ve been nominated for is an entirely different job.”..Wodder will likely win enough support from the Democrat-controlled committee before the August recess, although her confirmation by the full Senate is less certain, aides say…Yesterday’s hearing showed that Wodder made powerful enemies during her previous career. Inhofe’s question centered on a statement Wodder made that was sharply critical of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of natural gas extraction that involves blasting water and chemicals deep underground to free gas trapped in rock formations…”Unless we stop the threat of rampant shale fracking, the drinking water for 17 million people across the Northeast will be threatened by toxic pollution,” Wodder had said. “We can’t let natural gas companies fatten their profits by putting our precious clean water at risk.

You see?  When PSEG puts its mind to it, it can be a pretty good utilily NJ (7/20/11) reports: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission this morning approved a 20-year license extension for the Hope Creek nuclear reactor here…The action means the plant can now operate through April 11, 2046…On June 30, the NRC granted 20-year license extensions to the Salem 1 and 2 reactors which are located here along with Hope Creek at the Artificial Island generating complex operated by PSEG Nuclear.  Salem 1 and 2 are now licensed through 2036 and 2040, respectively…“The license renewal of Hope Creek, as well as Salem last month, ensures clean nuclear energy is available for New Jersey and the region for years to come,” said Tom Joyce, president and chief nuclear officer of PSEG Nuclear… “With the support of our employees, we will build upon our strong operating history of providing safe, reliable energy and continue to play a major role in supporting our local community who has supported us all these years,” said Joyce who is in charge of operations at the Artificial Island complex.

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