February 2011

Post image for Can Tomatoes Take Any More Global Warming?

Today, my friendly neighborhood Potbelly Sandwich Shop posted small flyers along the ordering line, asking: “Where are the tomatoes?” The flyer explained:

The recent cold weather across North America has had a severe impact on the availability, quality and cost of tomatoes.

Due to these factors, we will temporarily cease to offer tomatoes on your sandwich. As soon as the tomato crop returns to normal we will add them back to your sandwiches.

We apologize for this inconvenience. We do not want to compromise on the quality or value of our sandwiches.

More evidence — if any were needed — that winter endangers public health and welfare. Tomatoes are a great source of anti-oxidents and other health-enhancing nutrients. And they are delish!

Besides ruining tomatoes, winter is strongly correlated with cold and flu. Winter can also cause or contribute to power outages, travel disruptions and delays, traffic accidents, and injuries from slipping on ice.

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Update on the States

by William Yeatman on February 28, 2011

in Blog, Politics

Post image for Update on the States


Three weeks ago, a federal judge in Louisiana found the Department of the Interior in contempt for its moratorium on oil and gas drilling in the Gulf of Mexico enacted in the wake of last year’s BP spill. As a result of the ruling, the government will have to pay the plaintiff’s legal fees, but it didn’t impact the moratorium, which was lifted on October 22, 2010. Despite the end of the de jure moratorium, the Obama administration has kept in place a de facto moratorium through bureaucratic foot-dragging.

Two weeks ago, the same U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman, lifted this de facto moratorium, by granting a preliminary injunction requiring that the Interior Department act within 30 days on five pending permit applications. According to Judge Martin’s ruling, “Delays of four months and more in the permitting process, however, are unreasonable, unacceptable and unjustified by the evidence before the court.”

New Hampshire

By a 246 to 104 vote, the New Hampshire House of Representatives last week passed HB 519, legislation that would withdraw New Hampshire from a regional energy-rationing scheme known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Governor John Lynch (D) promised to veto the bill before it was introduced, but this week’s vote is veto-proof. The State Senate is expected to pass HB 519 with enough votes to overturn the Governor’s promised veto.

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EPA’s end-run around democracy is just the most egregious example of a more pervasive disorder. Regulation without representation — Congress’s delegation of lawmaking power to non-elected bureaucrats — is the malady.  The cure is the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require congressional approval before major agency rules can take effect.

Or so I argue today in “Put the REINS on EPA,” at Pajamas Media.Com.

My column harks back to the political philosphy of the American Founders and one of their great teachers, the English philosopher John Locke, who said:

The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands, for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it on to others.

Post image for Cooler Heads Digest 25 February 2011

In the News

Time To Put the REINS on EPA
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 25 February 2011

Interview with Freeman Dyson
Steve Conner, The Independent, 25 February 2011

EnviroPoll: Global Warming Is “Overblown”
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 24 February 2011

The Gore Effect Strikes Canada
Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore, 24 February 2011

IG Report Sheds New Light on Climategate Scandal
Steve McIntyre, ClimateAudit.org, 23 February 2011

Industry Has Spoken…Will the President Listen?
Kenneth Green, The American, 23 February 2011

She’s Leaving, on a (Surely) Private Plane
Chris Horner, AmSpecBlog, 22 February 2011

Hiding the Decline
Judith Curry, Climate Etc, 22 February 2011

Don’t Overreact to Possible Global Warming
Jay Ambrose, Detroit News, 21 February 2011

News You Can Use

Alarmist Myth Debunked

Global warming alarmists long have warned that rising temperatures would destroy the ocean’s coral reefs. But World Climate Report this week notes a new study in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters demonstrating that warming oceans expand the range of tropical corals northward along the coast of Japan. At the same time, the corals are remaining stable at the southern end of their ranges. That is, corals are expanding, not contracting.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Late last Friday, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution to fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which ends on September 30. H.R. 1 makes significant but not huge cuts in federal spending.

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Post image for Can Electric Vehicles Change the Game?

“Can electric vehicles change the game?” That’s the question Edison Electric Institute President Tom Kuhn poses this week on National Journal’s energy blog.  

I answer in the negative, pointing out, for example, that even if electric vehicle battery prices drop by 65%, the five-year fuel savings would not offset the additional up-front purchase price unless oil hits $280 a barrel (according to Boston Consulting Group).  You can read my response and those of other wonks and activists at NationalJournal.Com.

Here, I would like to share (with permission) the reaction of an industry expert who read the National Journal blog posts: [click to continue…]

Post image for “Grassley would swallow anti-ethanol measures to cut deficit” – DeMoines Register

The hand writing was already on the wall last December even though Congress extended the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) for another year.

As explained here, ethanol’s policy privileges lost their perceived legitimacy. Beef, hog, poultry, and dairy farmers objected that ethanol policy inflates livestock feed costs, making their products less competitive in global markets. Humanitarian organizations objected that ethanol policy aggravates world hunger by driving up grain costs. Environmental groups objected that corn ethanol production damages water quality and, on a life-cycle basis, probably emits more carbon dioxide than the gasoline it replaces. Budget hawks objected to Congress lavishing billions on a favored few in the midst of a budget crisis. Free market groups objected to the fleecing of consumers compelled to buy a product that delivers less bang for buck than gasoline.

The corn lobby could rally its congressional patrons one last time, but the ideological climate had shifted against them, with even Al Gore recanting his earlier support for ethanol subsidies. If the VEETC had come up for renewal in Dec. 2009, Congress would likely have extended it for five years, not just one. But in 2010 a broad-based Left-Right coalition arose to challenge King Corn, and the tide turned. [click to continue…]

Update on the States

by William Yeatman on February 22, 2011

in Blog, Politics

Post image for Update on the States

New Hampshire

Legislation that would withdraw New Hampshire from a regional energy-rationing scheme gained momentum last week. HB 519, which would pull New Hampshire out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade for 10 northeastern States, was approved by the House Science Technology and Energy Committee and endorsed by House Speaker William O’Brien. Two weeks ago, Governor John Lynch (D) preemptively threatened to veto the bill, but Republicans have a veto-proof majority in the State Legislature, so if they stick together, they can end this energy tax.


Outrage at the EPA’s campaign against coal is bipartisan in Kentucky. Last month, a top Democratic lawmaker, Jim Gooch, called for “secession” from the green regulatory state. Last week, by an overwhelming bipartisan vote, the State Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee passed a bill that would make Kentucky a “sanctuary state” out of reach of the EPA’s “overreaching regulatory power.” The symbolic legislation is expected to easily win passage in the full Senate.

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Post image for The DOE’s Awful Green Bank

My CEI colleague Chris Horner and I have a piece in today’s Daily Caller, on the Department of Energy’s awful green bank.

This excerpt aptly summarizes out take:

The point of a green investment bank is ostensibly to facilitate the commercialization of new, dormant or otherwise commercially unsuccessful technologies by providing easier financing than is available in the real world, where people scrutinize where they invest their money. It turns bureaucrats into bankers, but with your money, and no real-world incentives to “invest,” as the word connotes and denotes.

Critics argue that these bureaucrats are picking winners and losers. If only. In fact, they just pick from losers.

I especially like that last line, about how the green energy industry is a loser. As Chris and I have explained elsewhere, any industry, like green energy, that owes its creation to government handouts is fundamentally uncompetitive, and, therefore, will always be on the taxpayer dole.

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Post image for Cooler Heads Digest 18 February 2011

In the News

Breaking the Ice
Nicholas Lewis & Matt Ridley, U.K. Spectator, 18 February 2011

Hitting the EPA Pause Button: What Are the Risks?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 17 February 2011

Green Investment Bank Should Make Taxpayers See Red
Chris Horner & William Yeatman, Daily Caller, 17 February 2011

Galileo and the Scientific Pose of the Left
Robert Tracinski, RealClearPolitics.com, 17 February 2011

Oil Ban Means More Debt
Washington Times editorial, 16 February 2011

Consumer Choice Extinguished with Light Bulb Ban
Manny Lopez, Detroit News, 16 February 2011

The Absolute Madness of Ethanol
Robert Bryce, Washington Times, 16 February 20111

The California Green Debauch
George Gilder, American Spectator, 16 February 2011

The New Old Bulb
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 14 February 2011

Clean Energy Standard: Not Good for National Security
H. Sterling Burnett, NCPA Energy Blog, 11 February 2011

Green Central Planning in the Name of Jobs
John Stossel, FoxNews.com, 14 February 2011

News You Can Use

Another Alarmist Myth Debunked

In the wake of seemingly every anomalous weather event, global warming alarmists are quick to blame climate change. The Wall Street Journal this week reported on new research, conducted by The Twentieth Century Reanalysis Project, using super-computers to generate a dataset of global atmospheric circulation from 1871 to the present. The researchers were “surprised” to find no evidence of an intensifying weather trend.

Inside the Beltway

Myron Ebell

Rep. Walberg Introduces Companion to Barrasso Bill

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) has introduced a House version of Senator John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) bill to block all regulation of greenhouse gas emissions until Congress decides to provide such authority.  H. R. 750 is thus more comprehensive than the Inhofe-Upton-Whitfield draft bill that only pre-empts Clean Air Act regulation.  It will be interesting to see how many co-sponsors Walberg’s bill will attract.  Barrasso’s bill has 16 other Senators on board.

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Post image for Hitting EPA’s Pause Button – What Are the Benefits, Risks? (Updated)

Yesterday (Feb. 16), House Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) engaged in a colloquy with Interior and Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson (R-ID) on Sec. 1746 of H.R. 1, the One-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011.

Sec. 1746 of H.R. 1 states:

None of the funds made available to the Environmental Protection Agency by this division or any other Act may be expended for purposes of enforcing or promulgating any regulation (other than with respect to section 202 of the Clean Air Act) or order, taking action relating to, or denying approval of state implementation plans or permits because of the emissions of greenhouse gases due to concerns regarding possible climate change.

Sec. 1746 would block EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from stationary sources for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which ends on September 30. “The funding limitation will allow Congress to carefully and thoroughly debate a permanent clarification to the Clean Air Act to ensure it remains a strong tool for protecting public health by regulating and mitigating air pollutants, and that it is not transformed into a vehicle to impose a national energy tax,” explains Chairman Whitfield’s press release. Whitfield is a co-sponsor of the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which would overturn the legal force and effect of EPA’s Endangerment Rule, Tailoring Rule, and other rules imposing greenhouse gas permitting requirements on state governments and stationary sources.

In the colloquy, Chairman Simpson states: “EPA’s GHG regulations need to be stopped in their tracks, and that’s what section 1746 does – it provides a timeout for the balance of the fiscal year, during which time EPA will be prohibited from acting on them or enforcing them.” In Whitfield’s words: “This CR [Continuing Resolution] provision is Congress hitting the pause button during the very brief period of the CR, allowing time to go through regular order and pass the Upton-Inhofe bill.”

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