Cooler Heads Digest 11 June 2010

by William Yeatman on June 11, 2010

in Blog, Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

Senate Surrenders to the EPA
Washington Examiner editorial, 11 June 2010

Italian Green Jobs: Where’s the Meatball?
Carlo Stagnaro,, 11 June 2010

No, It’s Not about Oil, But Oil Is Good
Marlo Lewis,, 10 June 2010

BP Is Asking for Punishment, Literally
Chris Horner, Daily Caller, 10 June 2010

Michigan Senators Sell Out
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 10 June 2010

Barbara Boxer’s Upside
William Yeatman & Jeremy Lott, American Spectator, 8 June 2010

The Spill, the Scandal, the President
Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, 8 June 2010

Tapping the Well of Freedom
Iain Murray, National Review, 7 June 2010

News You Can Use

Biomass: Not So Green

Because forests absorb greenhouse gases much more slowly than previously thought, it takes a biomass burning power plant 20 years to realize emissions savings over a coal fired power plant, and 90 years if it replaces a natural gas power plant, according to a new study commissioned by the Massachusetts government.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Murkowski Resolution Defeated

The Senate on Thursday defeated the Murkowski Resolution by a vote of 47 to 53.  Six Democrats joined all 41 Republicans in voting for S. J. Res. 26 to block the EPA’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare and therefore must be regulated by the Clean Air Act.  The six Democrats were Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Ben Nelson (Neb.), Jay Rockefeller (WV), Evan Bayh (Ind.), and David Pryor (Ark.).

Opponents had to work overtime to defeat Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) Resolution.  Environmental pressure groups spent millions of dollars in the last few weeks on radio and television advertising and on grassroots mobilization.  The White House issued a sternly-worded veto threat on Tuesday.  I even heard that an appeal for phone calls to the Senate was sent to President Obama’s Organizing for America e-mail list of 13 million names.

Reid’s Last Second Machinations

But by Wednesday, it was clear that all of their efforts were not going to be enough to defeat the Resolution.  So Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to hold a vote later in the year on a bill introduced by Senator Rockefeller that would delay the implementation of Clean Air Act regulations for two years.  That was enough to peel away the votes of Senator Jim Webb (D-Va.) and several others.

Although I doubt that anyone in the Senate is counting on Reid to keep his promise, it was a remarkable concession to have to make.  It reveals that the Democratic leadership and the White House realized that they were in deep trouble if the Senate passed the Murkowski Resolution.  My guess is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told the White House and Reid that she would have a hard time preventing a House vote if the Senate voted yes.  That’s because 170 House members, including 25 Democrats, have already co-sponsored identical resolutions and there are a number of Democrats who voted for the Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill who think that a vote against energy rationing now might help them save their seats in the November elections.

What’s Next?

This was therefore not just a symbolic vote, as opponents have claimed for months.  It was a very important vote that will reverberate through the election campaign.  Nor is it the end of efforts to block EPA from implementing regulations that will suffocate the economy.  There is clearly majority support in the Senate and House at least to delay EPA implementation of emissions regulations.  A vote on the Rockefeller bill, S. 3072, may or may not occur, but there are a number of other avenues still open: the lawsuits filed against the Endangerment Finding; a House discharge petition to bring the Resolution of Disapproval to the floor; a rider to the EPA appropriations bill could be offered this fall to remove funding for implementing any greenhouse gas regulations; and next year the new Congress may be much more hostile to the Endangerment Finding and to energy-rationing policies in general.

Highlights and Lowlights

I listened to much of the six hours of Senate floor debate on C-Span.  Anyone who missed it who would like to hear some of the speeches can find them archived here.  Senator Murkowski did an excellent job explaining the issues and what was at stake and why even supporters of energy-rationing legislation (as she is herself) should vote to block EPA.  The speeches of the Chairman and Ranking Republican of the Environment and Public Works Committee provided a sharp contrast in intellectual seriousness.  Ranking Republican James Inhofe (R-Okla.) gave a cogent and factually accurate speech that summarized the whole issue.  Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), on the other hand, let loose with howler after ridiculous howler.  I shouldn’t be unfair to Senator Boxer, however.  Many of the other Senators opposed to the Resolution spoke just as much foolish nonsense.  I should single out Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) as one of them.  Kerry is the chief sponsor of the two Senate cap-and-trade bills, but is as clueless as Boxer.

Three other floor speeches should be mentioned.  Senator John McCain’s (R-Az.) speech was made possible by his Republican primary opponent, J. D. Hayworth.  I expect we will hear many other good conservative speeches from McCain between now and 24th August.  Senator Webb gave an excellent analysis of what was at stake: “I do not believe that Congress should cede its authority over an issue as important as climate change to unelected officials of the Executive Branch….  Without proper boundaries, this finding could be the first step in a long and expensive regulatory process that could lead to overly stringent and very costly controls on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.  Congress – and not the EPA – should make important policies, and be accountable to the American people for them.”  Then, of course, Webb voted No.  I guess there wasn’t time to re-write his speech after he switched his vote.

Senator Rockefeller summed up his reasons for voting Yes: “I don’t want EPA turning out the lights on America.”  Fifty-three of his Democratic colleagues disagreed.  They now bear full responsibility for the dire economic consequences of EPA’s regulatory onslaught.

Around the World


The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change today finishes two weeks of testy climate treaty negotiations in Bonn. The Bolivian representative kicked off the conference by accusing wealthy nations of bad faith for inserting loopholes into their voluntary pledges to reduce greenhouse gases. Then, a block of developing countries in Bonn moved to lower the UNFCCC’s official target for a maximum temperature increase, from 2 degrees Celsius to 1.5 degree Celsius, despite two decades of diplomatic failure to achieve a legally binding treaty for any emissions reductions. However, this effort was scuttled by Saudi Arabia and other OPEC states. Finally, outgoing UNFCCC chairman Yvo de Boer concluded the Bonn talks with a warning that a climate treaty is impossible until 2011, thus implying the 16th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, this December in Mexico (for which the Bonn conference was preparatory) will fail.

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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