Cooler Heads Digest 2 July 2010

by William Yeatman on July 2, 2010

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

The All-American Light Bulb Dims, as Freedom Flickers
Deroy Murdock, National Review, 2 July 2010

A Wellspring of Politics, Not Science
William O’ Keefe, Washington Times, 2 July 2010

Running out of Little Green Countries
Chris Horner, AmSpecBlog, 1 July 2010

Blowout Prevention Act Would Blow Out Domestic Production
Marlo Lewis,, 1 July 2010

The Windsurfer’s Windfall
Max Brindle, American Spectator, 29 June 2010

Everyone Knows…Except the Experts
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 29 June 2010

They Loved BP & Enron
Robert Bradley,, 28 June 2010

Is Obama Putting Ideology above Science?
Detroit News editorial, 27 June 2010

News You Can Use

Price Tag of Obama’s Moratorium

According to a new analysis by the Heritage Foundation, President Barack Obama’s offshore oil ban, if extended through 2035, would:

  • Reduce GDP by $5.5 trillion
  • Reduce the average consumption expenditures for a family of four by $2,381 per year (and exceeds $4,000 in 2035)
  • Reduce job growth by more than 1 million jobs by 2015 and more than 1.5 million jobs by 2030

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

White House Convenes Climate Meeting

Twenty-three Senators finally met with President Barack Obama Tuesday morning to discuss how to move forward with energy-rationing legislation.  Darren Samuelsohn and Coral Davenport reported in Politico that the President made it clear that he wants the Senate to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions, but that he recognizes that it may be necessary to settle for something much more modest than the House Waxman-Markey bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has indicated that he still wants the Senate to take up energy-rationing legislation when Senators return from the Fourth of July recess on 12th July.  Everything else remains to be decided.  First is the question of whether energy-rationing provisions should be attached to a bill to address BP’s Gulf oil leak or whether it should be a stand-alone bill.  If it is a stand-alone bill, then it will probably be brought to the floor as H. R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey bill which the House passed by a 219 to 212 vote on 26th June 2009.  That could keep alive the possibility of calling a conference committee and then trying to pass something in a lame duck session after the election.

What might be included in a Senate anti-energy package is still up in the air.

One Possibility:  Utility-only Energy Rationing

One possibility that has been floated and was reportedly suggested by Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) at the meeting with President Obama is a cap-and-trade scheme that covers electric utilities only.  I’m not sure why a utilities-only cap-and-trade scheme would be any easier to pass than an economy-wide one, since everyone understands that it would only be the first step and that for the first ten or fifteen years an economy-wide cap-and-trade really only hits coal.

Another Possibility: Bingaman’s Anti-energy Bill

Another possibility that has been the most likely for a couple months is that the Senate will take up the anti-energy provisions passed out of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year.  These include a renewable standard for utilities, new building energy efficiency standards modeled on California’s, and several other “clean energy” provisions.  If that is the way Reid decides to go, then it will put Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the Chairman of the Committee, in charge of the legislation.

That makes sense for several reasons.  First, Bingaman is not Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), a legislative lightweight who is not much more popular with Senate Democrats than he is with Republicans.  Nor is he Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who is even more of a lightweight than Kerry.  Second, Bingaman passed these provisions out of his committee with the support of the ranking Republican, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), so he starts with Republican support and has every prospect of gaining more.  And third, Bingaman’s package does not put a price on CO2 emissions.  This makes it much harder to build public opposition to it as an energy tax.

The death of Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) complicates the situation.  Majority Leader Reid is short one vote until a successor is appointed by West Virginia’s Governor, Joe Manchin.  But Reid might be worse off after a new Senator is appointed.  That’s because Manchin is the most ferocious opponent of anti-coal policies among high-ranking elected Democrats.

Across the States

What Is EPA Doing in West Virginia?

On April 1st, the Environmental Protection Agency promulgated new Clean Water Act regulations for the discharge of conductivity (i.e., salinity) from surface coal mining operations in West Virginia. The regulations were established in order to protect the Mayfly, a short-lived insect that isn’t even an endangered species. At the press conference to unveil the new standards, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson conceded that the new regulations were stringent enough to outlaw mountain top removal mining. Last week, however, the EPA notified Arch Coal Inc.’s Coal-Mac subsidiary that its MTR project at the Pine Creek Surface Mine in Logan County, West Virginia, would receive a Clean Water Act permit. EPA’s coal crackdown engendered a bipartisan rebuke from almost every state and federal politician in West Virginia, so perhaps the EPA is signaling that it intends to be flexible. Tellingly, the EPA did not make the permit approval public.

ClimateGate Update

Mann Exonerated by Penn State Panel Designed To Exonerate Mann

To the surprise of no one, Professor Michael Mann, (creator of the debunked Hockey Stick global temperature reconstruction), was cleared by a Penn State University investigation prompted by Mann’s involvement in the ClimateGate scandal. PSU initiated the investigation in November, 2009, at the behest of alumni. It appointed a panel and tasked it with answering these questions:

I. Did Mann engage in, or participate in, directly or indirectly: any actions with the intent to suppress or falsify data?;
2. any actions with the intent to delete, conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data, related to AR4,as suggested by Phil Jones?;
3. any misuse of privileged or confidential information available to you in your capacity as an academic scholar?;
4. any actions that seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting, or reporting research, or other scholarly activities?

In January, the panel exonerated Mann on the first three charges. After learning of PSU’s decision, Dr. Richard Lindzen, the Alfred Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told PSU investigators, “It’s thoroughly amazing. I mean these are issues that he explicitly stated in the emails. I’m wondering what’s going on?” Hear, hear!

That January ruling left little doubt that the “investigation” was a showcase to clear Mann, even though the panel decided that the fourth charge necessitated further inquiry, the results of which were released yesterday. As CEI’s Myron Ebell told the New York Times, “It’s no surprise that it’s a whitewash of Dr. Mann’s misconduct, because it was designed to be a whitewash.”

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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