Cooler Heads Digest 23 July 2010

by William Yeatman on July 23, 2010

in Cooler Heads Digest


Don Blankenship, Chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Company, gave a great talk at the National Press Club this week on energy realities versus global warming fantasy as well as some other topics.  It was broadcast on C-Span and can be viewed online.

Americans for Prosperity’s New Jersey chapter is building support for legislation to withdraw New Jersey from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional cap-and-trade 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, including how you can help, click here.

In the News

Reasons To Worry
Chris Horner, Planet Gore, 23 July 2010

Gathering No Moss, Just Loss
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 23 July 2010

Offsets Are Crucial in Cap-and-Trade
Iain Murray, Wall Street Journal, 22 July 2010

Son of Cap-and-Tax
Wall Street Journal editorial, 22 July 2010

Will the Party of No Foil the Half-Baked Machiavellis?
Marlo Lewis,, 21 July 2010

One Person’s Oil Addict Is Another’s Intelligent Consumer
Michael Lynch,, 21 July 2010

Global Warming’s Unscientific Attitude
Washington Times editorial, 21 July 2010

Climategate Inquiry Glosses over the Facts
Iain Murray, Washington Examiner, 20 July 2010

Climategate Fallout May Impact Legislation
David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle, 19 July 2010

End Boulder’s Unnatural Monopoly
Brian Schwartz, Daily Camera, 18 July 2010

Duke Professor’s “Consensus” Threatens To Shutter Coal Industry
Neal Thomas, NCCO2, 12 July 2010

News You Can Use

China Surpasses U.S. in Energy Use

The International Energy Agency this week announced that China has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s number one energy consumer.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Senate Abandons Cap-and-Trade

Senate Democrats met twice this week before Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he was pulling the plug on cap-and-trade.  He will instead bring to the Senate floor next week a more modest package of anti-energy provisions.

It’s not quite over for cap-and-trade, but it’s close.  Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) vowed that he would keep working to find the sixty votes necessary to pass some down-sized version.  Reid nodded and said that he would be happy to bring it up in September if Kerry has the votes.  That’s not going to happen.  Cap-and-trade is a sure political loser in November’s congressional elections.  Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a press statement that he looked forward to a debate just before the election on raising energy prices and destroying jobs.

The only remaining chance is to try to pass cap-and-trade during a lame-duck session of the Congress after the November 2 elections.  The idea is that enough defeated Democrats (and a Republican or two, such as Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina) will be bitter enough and also eager enough to line up their next job in the Obama Administration or lobbying for rent-seeking corporations that they will vote for cap-and-trade.  The idea is that defeated Members will then not have to worry about representing the interests of their constituents and can instead stick it to them and follow their leadership and reward big business and environmental special interests.  Anything can happen in a lame-duck session, but this is a long shot.  I will discuss why it’s a long shot in future issues of the Digest.

Passing the blame for the demise of cap-and-trade has already begun.  The White House suggested that environmental pressure groups didn’t do enough.  Environmental pressure groups suggested that President Obama and his Administration hadn’t done enough.  Reid and Kerry blamed the Republicans.  And so on.  My own view is that reality got in the way.  Cap-and-trade has been dead in the Senate since the House passed the Waxman-Markey bill July 26, 2009.  Several Democratic and Republican Senators decided they couldn’t vote for it after they saw the overwhelmingly negative public response.  The Senate turned to healthcare reform last July instead of taking up Waxman-Markey because healthcare reform had much more public support.

Reid’s Anti-Energy Package

With this week’s abandonment of cap-and-trade, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) now plans to bring a package of comparatively modest anti-energy measures to the Senate floor next week.  As has become common in the Senate and the House, what exactly is in the package will not be revealed to Republican Senators or the public until the last minute.  On Thursday, Reid said that there would be four titles: provisions to sock it to BP for the Gulf oil spill and guarantee that it won’t happen again; incentives to consumers to buy more energy efficient products that have gained the EPA HomeStar seal of approval; incentives to buy natural gas vehicles, especially heavy duty trucks, and funding to install natural gas outlets at service stations; and full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Other titles could be added before the Senate takes up the package next week.

Besides dropping cap-and-trade, Reid has also dropped a renewable electricity standard for utilities, new building energy efficiency standards, and a low-carbon transportation fuel standard.  The industries that depend on subsidies and mandates and had been counting on Congress to enact cap-and-trade or at least a renewable standard for utilities are going to have to scramble to get something out of a House-Senate conference committee agreement.

The oil spill provisions that Reid is likely to include are not quite as draconian as a couple of the bills that House committees have passed.  The energy efficiency incentives are small potatoes.  The natural gas title is a payoff or bailout to T. Boone Pickens.  It will be difficult to stop because Pickens has a huge amount of clout with Republicans because of all the campaign donations he has made to them over the decades.  And the Democrats love him for supporting massive federal mandates and subsidies for commercially unviable wind power and natural gas cars.

Perhaps most interesting is the Land and Water Conservation Fund title.  I haven’t seen any details, but it is assumed that it will include full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  The LWCF was created by Congress in 1964 to use federal offshore oil royalties to buy private land and turn it into federal land and to provide States with matching grants for land acquisition for conservation and recreation.  It is authorized at $900 million per year, but Congress typically only appropriates a couple hundred million.

Nearly thirty percent of the land mass of the United States is owned by the four federal land agencies.  Why we need more federal land instead of a lot less has always been a mystery to me.  Federal land acreage has increased in 46 States since the LWCF was enacted.  The result is to take productive land off the property tax rolls and turn it into unproductive land that requires federal taxpayer dollars to manage.   I think full funding for the LWCF is insane.

House Sub Committee Nearly Passes a Check on EPA Regulations

Representative Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) offered an amendment to the FY 2011 Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations bill this week to block funding for implementing the EPA’s Endangerment Finding for two years.  The motion failed in the Appropriations subcommittee on a 7-7 tie vote.  Two Democrats joined the subcommittee’s five Republicans in voting Yes. I expect a similar amendment will be offered when the full Appropriations Committee takes up the Interior spending bill, which includes funding for EPA.  The EPA is starting the process of regulating greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act as a result of finding that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare.

Around the World

Dafina Mulaj


Climate policies are a major issue in Australia’s federal elections, which will take place on August 21st.  New Labor Party Prime Minister Julia Gillard has restated her predecessor Kevin Rudd’s pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but she has been much less committed to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) than was Rudd.  That cap-and-trade program was a centerpiece of the Labor Party’s agenda, but it was defeated twice in Australia’s Senate and Rudd then shelved it.  Gillard has said that if elected her government will not consider setting a price on carbon dioxide emissions until 2012 at the earliest.  She has also vowed tough new pollution limits to clean up dirty coal-fired-power plants.

The opposition Liberal Party led by Tony Abbott has unified behind opposition to cap-and-trade and setting a price on CO2 emissions.  Abbott has attacked Labor’s CPRS as a “great big new tax” on consumers.  The Liberals are offering several alternative policies that will provide incentives to reduce emissions or store carbon in forests and in the soil.  The Liberal Party’s coalition partner, the much smaller National (or Country) Party, remains staunchly opposed to cap-and-trade.

Across the States

Dafina Mulaj


Fifteen thousand people filled the Cajundrome at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Wednesday to rally against President Barack Obama’s six-month moratorium on offshore oil drilling.  The Rally for Economic Survival featured Governor Bobby Jindal and a long list of other speakers.

Thousands of high-paying jobs are threatened by the Obama Administration’s moratorium.  It has already been announced that three drilling rigs will be pulled from the Gulf and sent to Africa.

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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