Peter Glaser

Post image for Another Skewed Poll ‘Finds’ Voters Support Green Agenda

An opinion survey commissioned by the Sierra Club supposedly shows that Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly favor the expansion of wind and solar power and the phase out of coal-fired power plants. An obvious implication is that Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the Senate’s leading critic of the Obama administration’s anti-coal policies, is out of step with his constituents.

This is an old trick (see my post on a similar, NRDC-sponsored poll of Michigan voters in House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton’s district). When a pollster asks leading questions, he can usually elicit the answers his client is paying for.

In the Sierra Club-sponsored survey of 500 registered Oklahoma voters, 78% of those polled said they generally support expanded use of renewable energies like wind and solar power, and 62% said they would support phasing out some of the State’s coal-fired power plants.

The Sierra Club’s polling strategist waxed enthusiastic about the results, Greenwire reports:

“The results of this poll are remarkable,” Sierra Club polling strategist Grace McRae said in a statement.

“Across the nation, support for clean energy is high, but in Oklahoma, nearly 8 out of 10 voters support expanding use of clean energy resources like wind and solar. Oklahoma’s leaders and utilities should take note: Oklahomans want clean energy.”

Okay, let’s look at how the survey reaches those “remarkable” results. [click to continue…]

Post image for Attorney Peter Glaser’s “Morning After” Reflections on the D.C. Circuit Court GHG Decision

Despite the disappointing decision yesterday, it would be well to remember that the real damage was done in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Massachusetts decision, where EPA was found to have authority to regulate GHGs under the CAA so long as it determined that GHGs endanger the public health and welfare. 

. . .the Massachusetts decision was a real travesty.  It is impossible to review the history of the public debate on GHG regulation in this country beginning in the 1980s, when potential climate change first came to prominence, and conclude that authority to regulate GHGs was always available, hiding in plain sight in the CAA as first enacted in 1970. The Supreme Court said in the 2001 American Trucking Associations decision, in language that is often cited, that Congress does not “hide elephants in mouseholes.”  Evidently, in the case of EPA GHG regulation, Congress did.

In the end, the most rational thing for the country to do on GHGs is for Congress to enact legislation that gets EPA out of the GHG regulatory business entirely.  — Peter Glaser

In Massachustts v. EPA, the 5-4 majority argued: (1) The Clean Air Act (CAA) defines “air pollutant” as any airborne substance whatsoever; (2) the EPA has a mandatory duty to regulate air pollutants emitted by automobiles if the associated “air pollution” “may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health and welfare”; and (3) “welfare” effects include changes in “weather and climate.” Given these premises, the Court basically left the EPA one way to avoid regulating GHGs: Cancel its membership in the self-anointed “scientific consensus” — the climate alarm movement — that the agency had spent years promoting and leading. No chance of that happening.

For reasons discussed here and here, the lynchpin of the Massachusetts Court’s argument, premise (1), was a misreading of the CAA definition of “air pollutant.” At a minimum, respondent EPA’s opinion that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not an air pollutant was a “permissible construction” of the statute and thus should have been accorded deference under the Court’s Chevron Step 2 test. If the GHG regime EPA is building were proposed in legislation and put to a vote, Congress would reject it. Congress would surely have rejected the EPA’s GHG agenda in 1970, when it enacted the CAA and defined “air pollutant.” The terms “greenhouse gas” and “greenhouse effect” do not even occur in the CAA. Only as amended in 1990 does the CAA even obliquely address the issue of global climate change. Congress considered and rejected regulatory climate policies in the debates on the 1990 CAA Amendments. The very provisions tacitly addressing climate change — CAA Secs. 103(g) and 602(e) — admonish the EPA not to adopt “pollution control requirements” for CO2, and not to regulate substances based on their “global warming potential.”

With the case law on GHG regulation hopelessly botched by the Supreme Court, only Congress can rein in the EPA — and only if there is a change of management in the White House and the Senate in November.

Peter Glaser’s full commentary on the D.C. Circuit Court decision follows. [click to continue…]

PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization (RTO) that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 states and the District of Columbia. My colleage, Troutman Sanders attorney Peter Glaser, just sent around a memo on the impacts of EPA’s regulatory surge on electricity prices. The memo is based on PJM auction reports (here and here).

Peter’s memo is too juicy not to share with a wider audience. I reproduce it below with his permission. — Marlo 

Reality has interceded in EPA’s attempt to play down the impact of its train wreck regulations on the electric utility industry.  First came the widely reported news that Louisville Gas & Electric had filed for a 19% rate increase by 2016 to pay for the upgrades that the regulations will require.
Now, we have the results of the capacity auction that PJM just conducted for the 2014-15 capacity year.  The resulting capacity prices were about 4.5 to 8 times as high as prices paid in the last two auctions and 2.5 to 3 times as high as market analysts had predicted. 
According to PJM, most of this increase can be laid at the feet of EPA.  Based on PJM information, we calculate that the portion of the increase attributable to EPA will cost load (customers) in the PJM region $2-3 billion just in capacity costs and just for a one-year period (2014-15).  
Here are the details.

[click to continue…]