Cooler Heads Digest 9 April 2010

by William Yeatman on April 9, 2010

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

The Looming “Energy Bill” Fight
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 9 April 2010

The EPA’s Giant Power Grab
Iain Murray, Washington Times, 8 April 2010

God Bless the People of Coal Country
Iain Murray, Investor’s Business Daily, 8 April 2010

EPA’s Adventure in Arithmetic
Donald Hertzmark,, 8 April 2010

What’s the Next Global Warming?
Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, 6 April 2010

Ethanol Subsidies Drive up Fuel and Food Prices
Washington Times editorial, 5 April 2010

A Super Storm for Global Warming Research
Marco Evers, Olaf Stampf, & Gerald Traufetter, Der Spiegel, 5 April 2010

Cold Weather as Deadly for Birds as It Is for Humans
Robin Mckie, Observer, 4 April 2010

The Deadly Price of the Auto Mileage Mandate
William Yeatman & Sam Kazman, AOL News, 3 April 2010

News You Can Use

USA Today Poll: Environment Ranks Last among Concerns

A new USA Today/Gallup poll ranks the environment at the bottom of seven topics pollsters asked voters about to gauge their priorities. The economy ranked first.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Major Economies Meeting

The Obama Administration will host a meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) in Washington on April 18 and 19 to continue their ongoing climate discussions.  The seventeen nations that belong to the MEF account for over 80% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.  The group hasn’t met since COP-15 in Copenhagen in December.

The MEF was originally called the Major Emitters Meeting when it was created by President George W. Bush.  I suppose the Obama Administration renamed it so as to demonstrate that they were pursuing a new course.  But in fact the two are remarkably alike.  This is not the only instance where the Obama Administration seems to be following the path on international climate negotiations laid out by the Bush Administration.  Most notably, the Copenhagen Accord that President Obama personally brokered in December is modeled on what the Bush Administration took to COP-13 in Bali in 2007.  That plan was attacked as too little too late by the delegates in Bali, which caused Bush’s negotiators to give a lot of ground and agree to the Bali Action Plan.  That plan was supposed to culminate at COP-15 with a new international treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that contained binding targets and timetables.  Instead, Obama retreated to the U. S.’s pre-Bali position.  The establishment media have largely reported that the Copenhagen Accord is at least one small step forward and have praised President Obama for achieving this breakthrough.  That’s not how they reported it two years ago.

EPA Moves To Shut Down Coal Mining in Appalachia

The Obama Administration has not yet stopped all proposed new coal-fired power plants from being permitted, but they have taken a giant step toward stopping all new coal mines in Appalachia. The Environmental Protection Agency last week set new water quality standards for streams in central Appalachia.

The new “guidance” document takes effect immediately and sets limits on the conductivity of water.  How well water carries an electrical charge depends on levels of salt, sulfides, and several other substances. New mining projects will be prohibited if they will cause the levels of these substances in streams to exceed five times the “normal” level.  Some watersheds are already more than five times above what are alleged to be normal levels.

According to a story in Greenwire, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that there are “no or very few valley fills that are going to meet this standard.”  This means that no or very few surface mining projects in Appalachia will be permitted by EPA.  That would be a huge economic blow to West Virginia, Kentucky, and parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, and Tennessee.  But that isn’t all.  Jackson added that the EPA could apply the new standards to block permits for new underground mines as well.  And it seems to me that there would be no reason to stop there.  Any new development that involves significant earth moving could release enough minerals into the water to exceed the standard.

The EPA today announced a comment period on the new standards.  Comments will be accepted until December 10, but the rule goes into effect immediately and will be used to stop all mining projects currently in the permitting process and could be used to cancel Clean Water Act permits that EPA has already issued. The EPA took the unprecedented step last week of ordering the Army Corps of Engineers to cancel a permit for a mine in West Virginia that is already in operation.

CBO Report on Climate Change Spending

The Congressional Budget Office released a study this week of federal funding of climate programs.  From 1998 to 2009, the federal government spent $99 billion.  The stimulus bill-the American Recovery and Re-investment Act of 2009-accounted for $35.7 billion of that.  It seems to me that one of the principal purposes of spending all these billions is to create a scientific-bureaucratic complex to promote the alarmist agenda and thereby secure more funding for itself.

Around the World

U.S. to South Africa: Stay Poor

The United States joined the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Italy in abstaining from a World Bank vote to grant South Africa a $3.5 billion loan to build a 4,500 megawatt coal fired power plant north of Johannesburg. For years, the South African economy has been crippled by blackouts due to a lack of investment in electricity generation, and coal is the cheapest power available, but these countries (the U.S. et. al) objected to the deal’s carbon footprint. Despite the abstentions, the Bank approved the loan, although the victory might prove Pyrrhic for developing nations. In a statement, the U.S. Treasury Department said that, “We expect that the World Bank will not bring forward similar coal projects.” This statement, coming from the Bank’s largest shareholder, suggests the end of cheap financing for cheap electricity in poor countries.

France Pursues Carbon Tariff

French Foreign Minister Jean-Louise Borloo this week told the French Parliament that he would achieve an international regime for carbon tariffs by dealing directly with U.S. President Barack Obama, thereby circumventing the European Commission, which has expressed opposition to the idea. It remains to be seen if Obama will oblige. The American Clean Energy and Security Act, the climate bill passed by the House of Representatives last June, gives the President the authority to impose taxes on the carbon content of imports.

Across the States


According to the Miami Herald, the Florida House Of Representatives Energy and Utilities Policy Committee will hold a hearing on a proposed bill that would remove a 2008 legislative finding that greenhouse gas emissions promote global warming and another provision to push utility companies to use renewable energy.


The Missouri House of Representatives gave final approval Thursday to a HJR 88, a proposed constitutional amendment that would assert the state’s sovereignty over all powers not enumerated and delegated to the federal government. HJR 88 would nullify the Congress’s power to impose a cap-and-trade.

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,

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