In the Pipeline: 6/13/13

If complete control of a market is called a monopoly, what do you call mandated control of a market…? The Renewable Fuel Standard. PoliticoPro (6/11/13) reports: Sen. Tom Coburn used the nomination hearing for Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs nominee Howard Shelanski to rip into EPA’s renewable fuels standard…“We’re going to see … two refineries in Oklahoma close within a year, year-and-half, because they cannot afford to buy the renewable fuel credits. So, we got a regulation out there that’s actually going to kill our ability to provide gasoline to the country even with an ethanol blend,” Coburn said at the hearing today… “It would take one adjustment to that regulation and all that’d go away and it won’t make any difference in the long-term in terms of our environmental consequences because we’re still going to have ethanol blended into our fuel,” he said, before asking Shelanski whether he had “any thoughts about that.”

On this issue, Jim Lankford is very solid. President Bush was not. That is all. NewsOK (6/12/13) reports: “FEDERAL renewable fuel mandates passed in 2005 and 2007 could create significant economic hardship, reducing citizens’ take-home pay without offsetting benefit… A recent U.S. House subcommittee hearing chaired by Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, made clear the abundant flaws of the mandate. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that 35 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent biofuels and 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel be refined by 2022. However, those mandates were imposed when officials assumed that U.S. fuel consumption would continue increasing and that domestic oil production would account for a declining share of supply. Both assumptions were wrong.”

Just in case you were wondering what the reworked cost of carbon means. Bloomberg (6/12/13) reports: “And if Obama approves the pipeline, the higher carbon-cost estimate could to be a part of any lawsuit challenging the decision, according to Bill Snape, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity… ‘It won’t be a game changer, but it would help’ in any legal challenge, he said. The increase in the estimate is being cheered by environmentalists as one small sign that President Barack Obama is going to make good on a pledge from his inaugural address to tackle global warming in the face of opposition from Republicans in Congress.”

Don’t miss it!! Resources for the Future (6/13) reports: “This seminar is part of “Considering a Carbon Tax,” a research initiative in RFF’s Center for Climate and Electricity Policy… RFF invites you to learn more about these modeling results in a special half-day seminar featuring distinguished researchers and experts. In the first session, RFF researchers Rob Williams, Richard Morgenstern, Jared Carbone, and Dallas Burtraw will share model results and describe carbon tax impacts across a range of revenue recycling scenarios. In the second session, experts from the research and policy communities (see below) will comment on the economics and the politics of the model’s results.”

U.S. oil production soars (except on federal lands). IER (6/10/13) reports: “The Energy Information Administration (EIA) just released its report, Sales of Fossil Fuels Produced on Federal and Indian Lands, FY 2003 Through FY 2012.[i] This report shows that total fossil fuel production on federal lands is at a ten year low, natural gas production on federal lands is also at a ten year low, and oil production on federal land fell in fiscal years 2011 and 2012 ending two years of increase in fiscal years 2009 and 2010. Specifically the new EIA report shows:”

We agree. The federal government should allow for more exploration of our deep seas. Washington Examiner (6/11/13) reports: “Cameron, who says he has ‘always had an affinity for the ocean,’ commissioned the manned (or “personed,” as Cameron pointedly noted, in deference to the many female oceanographers) submersible, which took seven years to build, and piloted it more than 35,000 feet below the ocean’s surface… ‘Sending a piloted vehicle down gets a lot more media and public attention,’ Cameron said at a Capitol Hill briefing. ‘I don’t have a degree in any of the sciences or in engineering, but I didn’t have a degree in filmmaking either, and that didn’t stop me.’… He told congressional staff members that he does not have a “specific call to action” on policy, but that it “boils down to funding” deep sea exploration. He and Dr. Susan Avery, director of Woods Hole, compared exploring the deeper ocean to exploring space — but said the former has been neglected in comparison.”

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