June 2013

Post image for Winning Voter Support Makes Politicians Sound Normal on Energy Policy

E&E EnergyWire (subscription required) last week reported that Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has endorsed federal legislation that would open offshore Virginia to oil and gas drilling. This is a major shift from his failed 2009 campaign, during which he opposed offshore drilling. On energy policy, McAuliffe also has done a U-turn on coal. In 2009, he pledged to never allow a coal fired power plant; now, he doesn’t mention coal-fired power, but his campaign does support increased coal exports.

McAuliffe’s abrupt shift in energy policy mirrors President Barack Obama’s performance during debates with GOP candidate Mitt Romney in late 2012. During his first term, President Obama’s administration imposed a suite of policies meant to inhibit hydrocarbon energy production in the United States. Yet during the debate, when the American public was paying attention, the President championed his supposed support for more oil and gas drilling, and even claimed to be a booster of the coal industry.

Post image for ‘Unleash the Energy Export Revolution’ – Mark Mills

Today in National Review Online, Mark Mills has a terrific column titled “Unleash the Energy Export Revolution.” He begins by calling out the irrationality of our government’s current anti-energy export policy: 

On May 17, the Department of Energy (DOE) approved just the second license in America to export natural gas. Nineteen more applicants still wait. Yes, private businesses, willing to spend tens of billions of private capital, are lined up for a schoolyard game of “Mother May I” to get permission to export a product that the U.S. is uniquely good at manufacturing. So good, in fact, that America is now the world’s No. 1 producer, with no end in sight. What a world. 

Or, as comedian Yakov Smirnov might say, “What a country!”

Mills makes several salient points. [click to continue…]

Post image for Stranger than Fiction: Ethical Abomination “Richard Windsor” Wins EPA Award for Ethics

Over at National Review, Eliana Johnson has an excellent post about my colleague Chris Horner’s latest FOIA find. Evidently, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson took her Congressional-mandated transparency training using her false identity, “Richard Windsor.”And Mr. Windsor did well, because she was rewarded with three certificates attesting to her being a “scholar of ethical behavior.”

Documents released by the agency in response to a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that, for three years, the EPA certified Windsor as a “scholar of ethical behavior.”

The agency also documented the nonexistent Windsor’s completion of training courses in the management of e-mail records, cyber-security awareness, and what appears to be a counter-terror initiative that urges federal employees to report suspicious activity.

The EPA made the certifications public in response to a FOIA request from Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who was tipped off to Jackson’s use of the Windsor account by agency employees while he was researching his 2012 book, The Liberal War on Transparency. Horner says that the EPA probably issued agency-wide training requirements for anybody who wished to maintain an active e-mail address, “never contemplating a false identity or fake employee would be created.”

So…EPA’s bloated bureaucracy thought that Lisa Jackson’s alias, the existence of which is a violation of transparency ethics, was a real person, and the agency awarded him/her a citation for ethics. Ladies and gentleman, your taxes at work!

This strange juxtaposition (i.e., Lisa Jackson ostensibly demonstrating her ethical behavior in the act of committing a gross ethical violation) immediately brought to mind the end of Billy Madison, when Billy’s nemesis, Eric, had a meltdown over “business ethics.” [click to continue…]