In the Pipeline: 7/30/13

Skittishly dancing around the issue is unbecoming and childish. Fred Upton is right.
E&E News (07/29/13) reports: “The prospect of a House vote on a carbon tax turns Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy Committee to thoughts of, well, love. He grasped a reporter by both shoulders last week and, when asked about the prospect of a vote, poured out his heart: ‘I would love to vote on it,’ he exclaimed. ‘I would love to vote on it, because the House would send a very strong signal against imposing a carbon tax.’ Upton, a Michigan Republican, believes the House would approve a pending House resolution against a carbon tax, a move he thinks would scuttle discussions among Democrats, and some Republican policy groups, who think tucking what would amount to a lucrative emission tax into a broader tax reform package that Congress seems to be striving toward might just work. The notion that taxing carbon is acceptable to conservatives, as long as it’s used to lower rates on income and business, is an idea that some Republicans would like to swat down.”

We’d be more impressed if McKibben & company divested from fossil fuels in their personal lives first. Living like a caveman doesn’t leave much time for professional activism.
National Review (7/30/13) reports: “Comparing the anti-fossil-fuel movement to the anti-apartheid movement is shameful. The anti-apartheid movement fought to free oppressed South Africans from their racist government. The fossil-fuel-divestment movement, in contrast, isn’t fighting political oppression or racism. It’s fighting the energy Americans rely on to live their lives. It’s crucial to note that over the last decade, petroleum, natural gas, and coal provided 87 percent of our energy. Data from 2011 show that wind and solar power contributed less than 2 percent of our energy. We should call the fossil-fuel-divestment movement by its true name — the energy-divestment movement.”

Commissioner Binz is a disaster waiting to happen. Senator Landrieu needs to start paying attention.
The Wall Street Journal (7/29/13) reports: “President Obama’s rule-makers have amped up major regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency and now they’re turning to more obscure outposts. Take the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, which oversees electric transmission and interstate pipelines. Or used to. Now FERC has deputized itself as a Wall Street regulator. This month the commission squeezed Barclays for $435 million for alleged energy-market manipulation, the largest penalty in FERC’s history and more than all of its previous fines combined. Another $410 million fine will soon hit J.P. Morgan, according to a Journal scoop. Yet that will seem minor if the next FERC chairman is Ron Binz—the most important and radical Obama nominee you’ve never heard of. An electric regulator in Colorado from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Binz is the latest Presidential nominee who doesn’t understand the difference between making laws and enforcing them.”

Usually we hate to say, “I told you so.” But this time, we kind of enjoy it.
The Miami Herald (7/29/13) reports: “After two years with low enrollment, New Hampshire’s largest electric utility is phasing out a program that allows customers to pay more to support renewable energy. Utilities are required by law to offer customers the opportunity to support renewable energy by paying a higher rate — usually about 30 percent. But if not enough customers sign up, a utility can get permission from the state Public Utilities Commission to pull the plug. That’s what happened with Public Service Company of New Hampshire’s EarthSmart Green program, reports New Hampshire Public Radio. The company says it would take just 1 percent of its total customers signing up to keep the program alive, but after two years, only 148 customers were enrolled, or about .04 percent.”

Not in my backyard, or in anyone else’s.
The Boulder Daily Camera (7/25/13) reports: “For U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, the battle over fracking just turned personal. Polis, a Boulder Democrat who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District, was shocked to see a fracking operation start up last week on land just across the street from a rural getaway he owns in Weld County near Berthoud. Through the holding company that has title to the congressman’s 50-acre property, Polis this week filed a complaint in Denver District Court seeking a temporary restraining order. His goal is to shut the drilling down.”

Did anyone tell Henry Waxman (D-Riyadh) this news?
The Financial Times (7/29/13) reports: “Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the billionaire Saudi Arabian investor, has warned that his country’s oil-dependent economy is increasingly vulnerable to competition from the US shale revolution, setting him at odds with his country’s oil ministry and Opec officials. In an open letter addressed to Ali Naimi, the Saudi oil minister, the prince called on the government to accelerate plans to diversify the economy.”

Do as I say, not as I do.
The Washington Free Beacon (7/29/13) reports: “Secretary of State John Kerry and his advisers have emitted more than 35.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the environment during their ill-fated attempts to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, according to aWashington Free Beacon environmental impact study. After taking six trips to the region since February, Kerry and his crew have expended almost twice the amount of carbon that the average American emits yearly, according to an analysis based on statistics from the U.S Energy Information Administration.

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