In the News
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Climate Science: 10th Highest Paid Profession
In the Washington Examiner this week, CEI’s Iain Murray crunched the numbers, and found, “global warming professors are the tenth highest paid profession in the nation and the third highest paid profession in the public sector. In terms of median earnings, they are paid as much as the average private sector CEO.”
Inside the Beltway
Inhofe-Upton Legislation Introduced
Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on Thursday introduced identical bills to pre-empt the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act until authorized by Congress. The Energy Tax Prevention Act is H. R. 910 in the House and S. 482 in the Senate.
Upton signed up several Republicans as original co-sponsors plus three senior Democrats, Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Nick Joe Rahall (D-WV), and Dan Boren (D-Okla.). Peterson was Chairman of the Agriculture Committee in the last Congress, and Rahall was Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee.
Forty-two Republicans joined Inhofe. Even Senators John McCain (R-Az.), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) are co-sponsors. The only Senate Republicans not on the bill are Olympia Snowe (R-Me.), Susan Collins (R-Me.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.). Kirk voted for the Waxman-Markey bill when he was in the House in 2009, but claimed to have a change of heart while running for the Senate last year.
Interestingly, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) was not announced as one of the original co-sponsors, but he quickly got on board. Perhaps seeing his fellow West Virginian Rahall as a co-sponsor in the House made him see the incongruity of him not being a co-sponsor. Manchin was elected to the Senate last fall because of a television ad that showed him with a rifle shooting a bullet through the cap-and-trade bill.
H. R. 910 is clearly the bill that Chairman Upton is going to mark up in his committee and send to the floor. I hope that it will come to look more like the Barrasso/Walberg bill as it moves through the House. S. 228 / H. R. 750 would pre-empt all regulation of greenhouse gas emissions using any legal authority, not just the Clean Air Act. This is clearly the better way to go. Otherwise, the Congress can pass the Inhofe/Upton bill and then have to start all over again with another bill to pre-empt using other statutes, such as the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Clean Water Act, to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It would be playing whack-a-mole. Comprehensive pre-emption, as in the Barrasso-Walberg bill, also makes it much clearer that this is a constitutional issue about who has the authority to make law, Congress or the executive branch.
The alternative to these bills has been Senator Jay Rockefeller’s bill to delay EPA regulation for two years. Faced with strong support in the House for the Upton bill, Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.), a senior Democratic member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, this week announced that he was thinking of offering an alternative that would delay EPA for a number of years. He didn’t say exactly how many, but indicated that he meant several more than two.
Across the States
Offshore wind energy is so expensive that even the Democratic-controlled State Legislature is balking at the price tag of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s (D) proposed “Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act.” The legislation would force the state’s investor owned utilities to minimum 20-year contracts for 400 megawatts to 600 megawatts of offshore wind power. Governor O’Malley’s office estimates that the legislation would cost ratepayers about $1.50 a month, but this projection is based on unrealistically optimistic assumptions. Independent analyses peg the costs at up to $9.00 a month. The disparity in estimates has elicited a negative response from O’Malley’s own party in the legislature: the Washington Post reported this week that two Democratic lawmakers key to the bill’s prospects have suggested they need more time to vet the legislation than is left in this year’s session.
By a bipartisan vote of 28 to 10, the Kentucky State Senate on Monday passed a resolution exempting the coal industry from EPA regulation, according to the AP. The non-binding resolution, which was introduced by Sen. Brandon Smith (R), is now before the House of Representatives.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission today held hearings on Xcel Energy’s request to lower its “Solar*Rewards” subsidy for installations of photovoltaic panels. This year, Xcel ratepayers are projected to pay 4 percent of total sales (about $100 million) on Solar*Rewards subsidies that will result in .3 percent of generating capacity. The Colorado Solar Energy Industry Association claims that the loss of the subsidy would cause a 75 percent contraction in the state’s solar industry.
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, www.GlobalWarming.org