Cooler Heads Digest 8 January 2010

by William Yeatman on January 8, 2010

Announcements

The Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI) this week released a science-based critique of a recent film produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The SPPI paper is entitled Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification-A New Propaganda Film by the Natural Resources Defense Council Fails the Acid Test of Real World Data.

In the News

EPA’s Legacy of Absurd Results
Marlo Lewis, MasterResource.org, 8 January 2010

Clean Energy Sources: Sun, Wind and Subsidies
Jeffrey Ball, Wall Street Journal, 8 January 2010

Beware Greens Bearing Gifts
Steven Milloy, Washington Times, 7 January 2010

The Cool Down in Climate Polls
Terence Corcoran, National Post, 7 January 2010

Climate Change Debate
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 7 January 2010

Beware: Waxman Still Optimistic on Climate Bill
Daniel Weiss, Grist, 7 January 2010

An Authoritarian Climate
Iain Murray, GlobalWarming.org, 6 January 2010

Copenhagen’s Dodged Bullet
Pete DuPont, Wall Street Journal, 5 January 2010

Copenhagen: Leftists Intelligentsia Dementia
J.T. Young, American Spectator, 5 January 2010

Time To Re-examine That Settled Science
Orange County Register
editorial, 4 January 2010

Copenhagen: A Sad Waste of Money, Energy, and Passion
William Yeatman, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 3 January 2010

Climategate-You Should Be Steamed
Neil Frank, Houston Chronicle, 2 January 2010

News You Can Use

It Could Happen Here

Due to green taxes and high demand during an unusually cold winter, heating fuel in the United Kingdom is so expensive that many British pensioners have taken to buying books from thrift stores and then burning them in their fireplaces to keep warm, according to a report this week from the London Metro. The Guardian reported that National Grid had stopped natural gas supplies to nearly 100 factories because of high demand for heating houses. According to the Independent, temperatures in the United Kingdom are expected to remaining freezing for the next two weeks. No doubt the cold weather is due to global warming.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Will Congress Block Endangerment Finding?

The EPA’s endangerment finding is spurring legislative activity, but not to pass cap-and-trade legislation.  Just before Christmas, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) secured a promise (for whatever that’s worth) from Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to be allowed to offer an amendment to limit EPA regulation of greenhouse gases to the bill to raise the federal debt ceiling.  The bill is scheduled to come to the Senate floor on January 20.  It is a prime vehicle to which to attach an amendment because the debt ceiling must be raised again this month to avoid shutting down the federal government and therefore the House will not be able to avoid considering it.

There has been a bit of speculation in the press as to what form Murkowski’s amendment may take.  As I see it, Murkowski will not necessarily offer her earlier proposal to put a one-year moratorium on EPA actions to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources.  She could also offer language to disapprove the endangerment finding under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).  Or she could offer something new to stymie or obstruct EPA’s regulations.  Whatever is offered will require sixty votes and is subject to a second-degree amendment.  I think this means that it is going to be difficult to propose anything that can attract sixty votes and that also has any teeth in it.  Therefore, it seems unlikely to me that Murkowski will be able to offer a resolution to disapprove the endangerment finding under the CRA.

The CRA was enacted in 1996 and has only been used successfully once to block a proposed regulation.  In 2001, the House and Senate voted to overturn a Labor Department rule promulgated at the end of the Clinton Administration that set ergonomic standards for home offices.  The main obstacle to using the CRA is that no resolution of disapproval can be brought to the House floor without the agreement of the House majority leadership.  In the Senate, such a resolution is privileged and can be brought to the floor and requires only a majority vote.  Thus it is possible that Murkowski or some other Senator could bring such a resolution to the floor as a stand-alone measure.  The problem is that if it passes, there is nothing to require a House vote, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) is sure to oppose.  On the other hand, if Murkowski offers a disapproval resolution as an amendment to another bill, it is not privileged and therefore will require sixty votes (as now does anything controversial in the Senate).

It’s hard to tell how this may play out.  Senator Murkowski seems quite determined to do something effective to stop EPA because she has decided that regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources under the Clean Air Act will “wreck the economy.”  CEI agrees.  More Senators (and Representatives) are becoming noticeably nervous about letting EPA plow ahead.  The question is whether January 20 is too early to win a vote.

Over in the House, Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) has collected 121 signatures on her discharge petition to send H. R. 391 to the floor.  A majority of Members (218) are required for a discharge petition to be successful.  H. R. 391 would remove greenhouse gases from the list of substances that EPA can regulate with the Clean Air Act.  Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has announced that he intends to try to bring a CRA resolution of disapproval to the House floor.  Unless Senator Murkowski is successful in attaching it to the bill to raise the debt ceiling, I don’t see how this can happen.  But it’s definitely worth trying.

Across the States

California

Anti-alarmism is on the march in California. This week, former E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman affirmed that she intended to make opposition to the State’s 2006 global warming mitigation law, AB 32, a focal point of her campaign for the 2010 gubernatorial election. Whitman, who is vying for the Republican Party nomination, proposes to suspend AB 32 for a year while the costs are assessed. Similarly, California Assemblyman Dan Logue (R) announced that he is collecting signatures to put an initiative before the California electorate to suspend AB 32 until the State’s unemployment falls to 5.5%. It currently stands at almost 12%.

West Virginia

The Environmental Protection Agency’s war on coal has forced the West Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to cease processing water quality permits for surface coal mines, thereby jeopardizing thousands of mining jobs. Under President Barack Obama, who campaigned on a promise to bankrupt coal, the EPA is demanding that West Virginia coal companies re-engineer proposals for mining sites in order to mitigate their impact on mayflies. The EPA, however, has refused to detail exactly what mayfly protections they want, which has left coal companies in permitting limbo. They can’t mine without a permit, but they can’t get a permit because they don’t know what to ask for. Rather than try to conform to the EPA’s shifting standards, the West Virginia DEQ decided to abandon Clean Water Act permitting for surface coal mines. Layoffs in the mining industry are likely.

Kentucky

Representative Jim Gooch (D), chairman of the Kentucky Assembly’s environmental committee, introduced a bill this week that would ban in Kentucky all federal and state regulations predicated on climate change science. He was galvanized by the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to use its powers under pending federal greenhouse gas regulations to reject a proposed coal-fired power plant in Kentucky. The EPA’s absurd explanation for dismissing the coal plant was that it wasn’t a natural gas plant. If this is the EPA’s criteria, then the coal industry, which employs 20,000 Kentuckians, is doomed. That’s why Rep. Gooch told the Louisville Courier-Journal that people in Kentucky “understand what’s at stake.”

Climategate

NASA FOIA

More than two years ago, CEI’s Chris Horner filed a Freedom of Information Act request with NASA for documentation that sheds light on how it manipulates its global temperature record (NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies operates one of three such data sets). NASA stonewalled, but the disclosure of the Climategate scandal last November gave impetus to Horner’s request, and he threatened to litigate. NASA has begun to comply, and the first two boxes of documents arrived this week. Stay tuned for updates.

Another Petition Filed to Block Endangerment

Southeastern Legal Foundation this week filed a Petition for Reconsideration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), challenging the Endangerment Finding published earlier this month in light of the burgeoning Climategate scandal. CEI filed a similar Petition for Reconsideration in early December. These filings represent the first of what will be multiple legal and administrative actions challenging the flawed science and even more flawed policy of the Obama administration to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

The Cooler Heads Digest is the weekly e-mail publication of the Cooler Heads Coalition. For the latest news and commentary check out the Coalition’s website, www.globalwarming.org.

Gourmet Coffee February 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Keep up the interesting writing. I enjoyed reading your article. Thanks

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