In the News
55 Positive Externalities: Hail to Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment!
Chip Knappenberger, MasterResource.org, 10 March 2011
News You Can Use
Oil in the Obama Era: 67% More Expensive
Inside the Beltway
H.R. 910 Clears the First Hurdle, More Action Next Week
The House of Representatives took the first step on Thursday toward reclaiming its authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The Energy and Power (yes, that really is its name) Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee marked up and passed H. R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, which is sponsored by Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.). H. R. 910 would pre-empt EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act unless and until explicitly authorized to do so by Congress.
Actually, there was no marking up. The Democrats opposed to the bill offered no amendments, and the bill was passed on a voice vote. The full Committee has scheduled a mark-up of the bill next Monday and Tuesday. That means H. R. 910 could come to the House floor by early April. There is no doubt that it will pass the House by a wide margin. The only question is how many Democrats will end up voting for it. My guess is that quite a few Democrats are worried about getting re-elected and will therefore vote for it.
The subcommittee meeting was one long whine by minority Democrats. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), the ranking Democrat on the full committee and chief sponsor of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that failed in the last Congress, said that H. R. 910 would codify science denial. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) chimed in that he was worried the Republicans would try to repeal the law of gravity. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) instead thought that Republicans were trying to repeal the first law of thermodynamics and cause children all over the world to get asthma.
Preventing asthma is now the principal reason brought forward by the global warming alarmists in Congress to cripple the U. S. economy with energy-rationing regulations. Here is what I learned from a ninety-second internet search: “The majority of people with asthma notice that cold, dry air causes more symptoms than mild-temperature or hot, humid air.” Of course, some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists have recently found that global warming is causing a lot of cold weather.
Inslee always plays the obnoxious buffoon, but he was outdone at the subcommittee meeting by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-Penna.). Doyle claimed that EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions would not send any jobs overseas because existing manufacturing plants would not have to apply for permits under the rules already proposed. Only new or expanded plants have to apply for permits. Thus only new jobs are being destroyed by EPA regulations, and no one in an existing job has anything to worry about. I know this sounds unbelievably stupid, but this is an accurate summary of the point Doyle was making. As the committee counsel tried to explain to Doyle, even that point is true only until EPA finishes implementing emissions rules for existing facilities.
Senate Committee Takes up Light Bulb Ban
The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee on Thursday held a hearing on S. 398, a bill to set higher energy efficiency standards for a wide variety of products, and on S. 395, the Better Use of Light Bulbs (or BULB) Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to repeal the ban on standard incandescent light bulbs. Sen. Rand Paul made an impassioned contribution to the debate, arguing that restricting consumer choice, so that bureaucrats choose which toilets and light bulbs people can buy, is simply insulting. Howard Brandston, a leading lighting designer, testified in favor of the BULB Act. Brandston told Freedom Action, which has launched a grassroots petition drive to repeal the ban: “In my travels through 60 countries working on almost 3000 lighting projects, most knowledgeable people I know do not like Compact Fluorescent Lamps and are stockpiling a lifetime supply of incandescent lamps to protect the habitability of their homes.”
Across the States
In 2007, then-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) championed and ultimately signed the Next Generation Act, which effectively imposed a moratorium on coal-fired power plants in the State. Evidently, the legislature is having second thoughts about a future without coal, because this week both the House and the Senate moved legislation that would overturn the coal ban. By a 15 to 6 vote, the House Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Policy and Finance committee passed H.F. 72, “A bill for an act relating to energy; removing ban on increased carbon dioxide emissions by utilities.” The Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities, and Telecommunications passed a companion bill, by a 9 to 3 vote.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a section 404 Clean Water Act permit to a Massey Coal subsidiary for the Reylas Surface Mine in Logan County, West Virginia. The permit was originally issued in 2007, but it became ensnared in the Obama Administration’s war on Appalachian coal (click here or here for more information on that subject). In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended against granting the permit, so there is a good chance that the EPA will veto this permit. In January, the EPA exercised this authority for the first time in the history of the Clean Water Act in order to veto the Spruce No. 1 mine, which is also in Logan County. Notably, the EPA objects to these mines because they allegedly harm an insect that isn’t an endangered species. But before the EPA could act, environmentalist lawyers won an injunction in a West Virginia federal court.
Across the World
Warming seas in Greenland have opened a vast portion of previously inaccessible areas for oil and natural gas exploration. Previously frozen land will also be mined for lead, zinc, and gold. Greenland’s oil minister, Ove Karl Berthelsen, heralded this as a ticket out of poverty for many and an opportunity for their economy to become less reliant on Denmark.
In Germany, biofuel skepticism is causing problems at the pump. Fuel stresses have been reported as Germans have been refusing to buy 10% ethanol blends instead opting for standard fuel (which contains up to 5% ethanol). It is reported that over 4 million vehicles in Germany aren’t designed to run on E10. Now refiners are struggling to produce a fuel consumers don’t want while they risk facing heavy fines for failing to meet strict mandates.
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