In the Pipeline: 11/28/11

It is tough to imagine EPA would do this.  But then again wrecking the relationship with Canada to satisfy some enviro crazies and Senator Johanns over Keystone seemed unlikely Bismarck News (11/27/11) reports: With millions, if not billions, of dollars hanging over the ledge, the boom in the oil patch would go into a free-fall if drilling suddenly stopped…Thousands of workers unemployed overnight, housing starts abandoned, businesses shuttered and bustling oil towns from Williston to Belfield emptying out instead of filling up are all part of a future few would prefer — even if they despair of the changes to land and lifestyle wrought by the upswing of oil…Even with oil near $100 a barrel and 200 rigs drilling in North Dakota last week, the specter of some sort of free-fall caused by a federal push to regulate hydraulic fracture treatment weighs heavily on Lynn Helms. He’s the director of the Department of Mineral Resources, the one man most in charge of this seemingly unstoppable surge centered on the Bakken.

Liam misses mention of the reduced demand being due to chronic unemployment running at  ~17% Wall Street Journal (11/28/11) reports: In 1973, Richard Nixon, in the teeth of the Arab oil embargo, pledged that the U.S. would achieve energy independence within seven years. Like his presidency, that didn’t quite work out. Net imports provided 35% of U.S. oil in 1973. Seven years later, they supplied 37%, and by 2005, 60%…Now, that trend is reversing fast. In the 12 months ended in August, net imports met just 46% of oil demand. Similarly, net imports of natural gas climbed from 4% of consumption in 1973 to a peak of more than 16% in 2007, but were back under 9% in the year ended in August.

Thank goodness the feds are investigating this.  I mean, the Chevy Volt is their car, right? Sign On San Diego (11/26/11) reports: Federal officials say they are investigating the safety of lithium-ion battery in General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt after a second battery fire following crash-testing of the electric car…The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Friday that three Volt battery packs were crash-tested last week. In one instance, the battery caught fire afterward, and in another the battery emitted smoke and sparks…Last May, a fire erupted in the battery of a Chevy Volt that had been damaged during a government crash test three weeks earlier. Last week’s tests were an attempt to replicate the May fire.

This all seems pretty sketchy.  A jobs boom?  Wouldn’t the Obama crew want to encourage such a thing? Wall Street Journal (11/28/11) reports: So President Obama was right all along. Domestic energy production really is a path to prosperity and new job creation. His mistake was predicting that those new jobs would be “green,” when the real employment boom is taking place in oil and gas…The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that the U.S. jobless rate remains a dreadful 9%. But look more closely at the data and you can see which industries are bucking the jobless trend. One is oil and gas production, which now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 more jobs, since 2003. Oil and gas jobs account for more than one in five of all net new private jobs in that period…The ironies here are richer than the shale deposits in North Dakota’s Bakken formation. While Washington has tried to force-feed renewable energy with tens of billions in special subsidies, oil and gas production has boomed thanks to private investment. And while renewable technology breakthroughs never seem to arrive, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have revolutionized oil and gas extraction—with no Energy Department loan guarantees needed.

This was probably painful for Andy to write.  But, despite our differences, he is a good journalist.  Oh, by the way, the referenced study provides a little bit more confirmation that the hype has been way overblown New York Times (11/26/11) reports: Recalling the perils of single-study syndrome, it’s still important to note a new study that appears to go a long way toward narrowing the extent of possible warming projected well into this century from the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle describes the research, published today in Science. The work, led by researchers at Oregon State University, had surfaced earlier but has now survived peer review…Berger provides useful context from Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University, who noted that most people publishing on this question have long seen very low odds of runaway or extreme warming:

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