In the News
Commerce Secretary Bryson Wants Higher Energy Prices
Iain Murray & David Bier, Washington Examiner, 13 January 2012
Procrastinator-in-Chief Needs to Address Keystone XL
Rep. Lee Terry, The Hill, 11 January 2012
News You Can Use
Skeptic Wins BBC Climate Bet
In 2008 on BBC’s radio program “More or Less,” Dr David Whitehouse, a former BBC Science Editor, bet climatologist Dr James Annan £100 that there would be no new warming record set by 2011, as measured by using the Met Office’s data set (HadCrut3). On today’s broadcast of “More or Less,” Dr. Whitehouse will be named the winner of the wager.
Inside the Beltway
Obama Rallies Troops in War on Energy
President Barack Obama on Tuesday, 10th January, made his first visit as president to the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency a few blocks from the White House (ironically, the EPA is housed in the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Avenue). The Associated Press reported that in a pep rally with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Obama strongly disagreed with his critics that the regulations coming from the EPA are hurting the economy.
The President said: “That is a false debate. We don’t have to choose between dirty air and dirty water or a growing economy. We can make sure that we are doing right by our environment and in fact putting people back to work all across America. When I hear folks grumbling about environmental policy, you almost want to do a ‘Back to the Future’ reminder of folks of what happened when we didn’t have a strong EPA. You have a president who is grateful for your work and will stand with you every inch of the way.”
There is some evidence that Obama actually believes that EPA’s regulatory deluge designed to raise energy prices is not hurting, but is helping the economy. On the other hand, there is evidence that he knows that what he is saying is buncombe. Last summer, he enraged environmental pressure groups by delaying the new ozone or smog rule until after the 2012 election. The EPA estimates that the new lower standards for smog will cost $100 billion per year. A more credible study by the Manufacturers Alliance Policy Institute puts the price tag at $1 trillion a year (in a $19 trillion economy). This suggests that the President knows that these regulations are killing the economy. He is happy to continue to do that, but wants to get re-elected first.
Across the States
California High Speed Rail Fail
Roelof van Ark, the chairman of California’s high speed rail project, yesterday resigned after a spate of terrible news. Last week, the non-partisan California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group estimated that the project—a bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles—would cost $99 billion, which is $60 billion more than initially projected. Earlier this week, California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) sent a stern letter to Governor Jerry Brown, warning that $3.5 billion in stimulus funds earmarked for the proposed train are now in jeopardy. In 2008, California voters approved a ballot initiative that authorizes $2.7 billion in bonds towards a High Speed Rail Authority; Governor Brown now is considering whether to issue those bonds.
Around the World
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Calls Out Enviro Radicals
While President Obama was at the Environmental Protection Agency this week to talk up the virtues of ever more heavy-handed, economy-destroying regulations, up in Ottawa, the Canadian minister for natural resources, Joe Oliver, had a rather different message. Oliver released an open letter to Canadians just before hearings began on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project. Northern Gateway is the alternative pipeline that Canada is trying to get built quickly now that President Obama has delayed his decision on whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the U. S. Gulf States until July 2013 at the earliest. Northern Gateway would pipe oil from Alberta’s oil sands to a Pacific port in British Columbia, where it would then be shipped to Chinese and other Asian refineries.
Here is the key section of Oliver’s open letter to his fellow Canadian citizens:
“Unfortunately, there are environmental and other radical groups that would seek to block this opportunity to diversify our trade. Their goal is to stop any major project no matter what the cost to Canadian families in lost jobs and economic growth. No forestry. No mining. No oil. No gas. No more hydro-electric dams.
“These groups threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda. They seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.
“Finally, if all other avenues have failed, they will take a quintessential American approach: sue everyone and anyone to delay the project even further. They do this because they know it can work. It works because it helps them to achieve their ultimate objective: delay a project to the point it becomes economically unviable.”