Cooler Heads Digest 15 July 2010

by William Yeatman on July 16, 2010

in Cooler Heads Digest

In the News

Beyond the Oil Spill
Mario Loyola, National Review, 2 August 2010

A Free Market Energy Vision
Robert Bradley,, 16 July 2010

Another Rig Leaves the Gulf
Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore, 15 July 2010

In Contempt of Court
William Murchison, American Spectator, 15 July 2010

Killing the Green Wave
Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, 14 July 2010

Climategate and the Big Green Lie
Clive Crook, The Atlantic, 14 July 2010

For Left, Gore Still Matters
Darren Samuelsohn, Politico, 14 July 2010

Senate Majority Leader Reid: Cap-and-Trade Is Not in My Vocabulary
Marlo Lewis,, 13 July 2010

Virginia AG Defends Climategate Suit
David Sherfinski, Washington Examiner, 13 July 2010

Alarmism Not Working for Environmentalists
David A. Fahrenthold & Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, 12 July 2010

News You Can Use

Sea Ice Growing

The Reference Frame this week noted that the total global sea ice anomaly is positive, that is, current sea ice coverage exceeds the historical average.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Energy Rationing Mired in Senate

The comprehensive energy-rationing bill that the Senate was supposed to take up this week could now be ready to go to the floor as early as the week of 26th July.  That was the news that Darren Samuelsohn of Politico reported on Tuesday.  Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) is working on three titles: one containing oil spill provisions; another on measures to promote and require more energy efficiency; and a third with lots of provisions to mandate various types of clean energy and create green jobs.

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) is still trying to put together a fourth title on cap-and-trade.  His latest efforts are aimed at putting together a cap-and-trade program for electric utilities only.  The Edison Electric Institute (the trade association representing investor-owned utilities) supports Kerry’s effort, but even here problems have arisen this week.  In negotiations with EEI and environmental pressure groups, EEI said that in return for supporting a cap-and-trade program the bill would need to relax some other Clean Air Act standards.  That would help them lower the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The environmental pressure groups immediately objected to gutting the Clean Air Act.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will only allow Kerry’s cap-and-trade title into the bill if Kerry can show that he has the 60 votes necessary.  Right now, I don’t think he has 50, so my guess is that the Senate will not consider cap-and-trade in the three weeks remaining before the August  recess starts.  Nor is it likely that the Senate will take it up this fall before the November 2 congressional elections.  That leaves some small chance that Congress will convene in a lame duck session after the election and try to sneak cap-and-trade through in the face of intense and widespread public opposition.

A more immediate question is whether Reid will be able to bring the three other titles of an energy-rationing package to the floor before the August recess.  If he does, it’s not clear that they have the 60 votes required for passage of a bill that doesn’t have cap-and-trade in it.  We shall see.  The Senate calendar is all jammed up with other big items (such as the Kagan nomination), so it may be that the Senate will not be able to get around to it.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, clearly isn’t going to give up without a fight.  Here’s what she said: “It’s so critical to start fighting the global warming threat right now. We can’t afford to wait another year or two and hope for the best.”  Of course, that was in a column in the Huffington Post on June 2, 2008.

House Committee Votes To End Oil Production

The House Energy and Commerce Committee marked up and passed out Chairman Henry Waxman’s (D-Beverly Hills) “Blowout Prevention Act” on Thursday without a single No vote.  Representative John Shadegg (R-Az.) voted Present.  All the Democrats and all the other Republicans voted Yes.  I emphasize this point because it’s incredible that anyone could vote for Waxman’s bill.  They should be deeply ashamed.

H. R. 5626 contains provisions that can be used to stop all new oil production in the United States-onshore as well as offshore; on private land as well as public.  My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis explains why here.  To summarize the details in non-technical language, the bill would put all “high-risk wells” under new federal regulations and allow environmental pressure groups to sue in federal court to prevent licensing such wells if they could lead “to extensive and widespread harm to public health, safety, and the environment.”

Harm is not defined, but could certainly include global warming.  EPA after all has already determined that greenhouse gas emissions endanger public health and welfare.  The fact that the Republicans went along with this monstrosity should start alarm bells ringing across America.  My understanding is that the House Natural Resources Committee has jurisdiction over this particular provision of the bill, so it will be interesting to see if Chairman Nick Joe Rahall (D-WV) exercises his jurisdiction or takes a pass and allows the bill to come to the House floor as is.

Here is what Dan Kish, senior vice president for policy at the Institute for Energy Research, said to me about H. R. 5626 after the committee vote: “This bill federalizes every oil and gas well in the United States, and forces States to accept the Federal oversight of all permitting, either directly or by the States doing the Fed’s bidding.  It is a huge Washington power grab of both onshore and offshore wells, including on State and private lands.  This is a poor remake of the Beverly Hillbillies, where Jed Clampett would have been in violation of federal law for discovering oil on his own property without a federally-sanctioned permit.  And Jethro would be sitting in congress voting Aye on it.”  Kish was chief of staff of the House Natural Resources Committee and a professional staff member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  He knows as much as anyone about federal regulation of oil production.

Across the States

West Virginia

The Environmental Protection Agency this week postponed the deadline for the Region 3 Administrator’s recommended determination whether or not to veto Arch Coal’s Spruce Fork mountain-top removal coal mining project in Logan County, West Virginia. The delay is further evidence that the EPA is unsure how to proceed on its regulatory crackdown on surface coal mining in Appalachia. Last April, the EPA proposed new conductivity (ie, salinity) effluent standards under the Clean Water Act, designed to protect the Mayfly, and order of insect that isn’t an endangered species. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson conceded that the new regulations would effectively outlaw future mountain-top removal mining, despite the fact that coal mining is the largest industry in West Virginia, and a significant industry in Virginia and Kentucky. Two weeks ago, however, the EPA gave a conditional Clean Water Act permit to Arch Coal’s proposed mountain-top removal mine at the Pine Creek Surface Mine in Logan County, which would seem to violate its earlier assurances that the practice would be banned. So it’s unclear how EPA is proceeding.

New Jersey

Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey chapter is gearing up to support a legislation to withdraw New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)., a regional cap-and-0trade energy rationing scheme. Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose introduced A3147, a bill to repeal the Global Warming Response Act of 2007. To learn more, click here.

Around the World

Energy Rationing in Retreat in Pacific

The Democratic Party of Japan came to power promising the most stringent emissions reduction target of any industrialized economy – 25 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. That pledge is now in doubt after the DPJ last week lost its majority in the upper house. The climate push had proven very contentious and contributed to the DPJ’s setback. This follows developments in Australia in late June, when Prime Minister Julia Gillard replaced Kevin Rudd after campaigning on a vow to review plans for a carbon-trading system.

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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