In the News
Obama Wants Government Bank To Fund More Solyndras
Washington Examiner editorial, 14 October 2011
Speed of Light Can Be Questioned, But Not Climate “Science”?
Sascha Vongehr, Science 2.0, 13 October 2011
News You Can Use
Thanks To Obama’s War on Coal, Electricity Prices to Spike
According to a review of regulatory filings conducted by the Daily Beast, 16 utilities covering 6.1 million customers are seeking rate hikes of 5 percent or more. Almost half of those want increases of 10 percent or more. The price hikes were primarily attributable to transmission upgrades (in large part to accommodate unreliable renewable energy) and pending environmental regulations.
Inside the Beltway
Perry Releases Energy Plan
Texas Governor Rick Perry on 14th October gave a major speech on energy policy at a steel plant near Pittsburgh. His campaign also released an energy policy white paper that spells out the details of Perry’s policy commitments. In short, Perry as President promises to increase oil and gas production quickly and substantially on federal lands and offshore areas; block or repeal all the Obama Administration’s new Clean Air Act regulations, including regulation of greenhouse gas emissions; radically downsize the Environmental Protection Agency and turn local environmental issues over to the States; stop allowing environmental law to be made by settling lawsuits with environmental pressure groups with consent decrees; and eliminate all federal energy mandates and subsidies. Perry claims that his plan will provide a major boost to economic growth and create 1.2 million new jobs. Looking over the plan, my guess is that 1.2 million jobs is a lowball figure if his proposals were fully implemented.
This Week in Solyndra
Carol Loennig and Joe Stephens had another story in the Washington Post on 14th October revealing more unseemly aspects of the Solyndra scandal. They report that David Frend, co-founder of Rockport Capital, was pushing the Solyndra loan to White House Climate Czar Carol Browner in February. His firm owned 7.5% of the company. Everyone should be able to beg for taxpayer handouts, but Frend also chaired a panel on renewable energy that advised the Department of Energy during the Obama Administration.
The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held another hearing on the scandal on Friday which looked at the Department of Energy’s decision to subordinate the taxpayer loan to new private investment. The 2007 law authorizing the loan program at DOE clearly prohibits such subordination. It turns out that several emails from officials at the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget advised DOE that what they were doing was probably illegal.
House Votes to Suspend Boiler MACT Rule
The House of Representatives voted 275 to 142 on 13th October to suspend implementation of the Boiler MACT (for Maximum Available Control Technology) Rule. The House approved a similar measure to block the Cement MACT Rule last week on a 262-161 vote.
Senate Republicans Introduce Jobs Bill
Senator John McCain (R-Az.) and several other Republicans introduced the Jobs Through Growth Act on 13th October. The bill is a collection of 28 bills that have already been introduced. There are two titles on cutting federal spending, three on cutting taxes, one on increasing trade, fifteen on regulatory reform, and seven on energy.
One title (previously introduced as S. 482 by Senator James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma) would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Senator McCain has been the Senate’s leading advocate for actions to address global warming, but he’s clearly decided that the Clean Air Act is not the way to do it.
Across the States
25 States Ask Court To Delay Utility MACT
On November 16, the EPA is expected to publish a final regulation setting Maximum Achievable Control Technology for coal-fired power plants (the “Utility MACT”). It would be the most expensive regulation, ever. According to the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, the price tag is as much as $100 billion a year. Coal supplies almost 50% of America’s electricity, yet there isn’t a single coal-fired power plant in the country that currently meets the standards set forth by the regulation. Outrageously, the EPA’s primary justification for the Utility MACT is to protect America’s supposed population of pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen from mercury.
Because the Utility MACT is all pain and no gain, 25 States (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming) this week submitted a motion to the D.C. federal District Court requesting that it order the EPA to delay the rule for a year, while it considers questions and concerns of the petitioning States.
Around the World
Australia Inches Closer to Carbon Tax
Earlier this week, Australia’s lower legislative house passed the controversial carbon tax by a narrow vote of 74-72. The Australian Senate is expected to pass the legislation later this year. Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party has been the biggest proponent of this legislation, which has become overwhelmingly unpopular in recent months.
The legislation will put a price on carbon dioxide of US$23/metric ton for large carbon dioxide emitters beginning in 2012. It will then transition to a cap-and-trade scheme in 2015. Tony Abbott, the Liberal Party Leader, has promised he will attempt to repeal the tax completely, if he is returned to office ay the next election. Currently, the Labor trails the Liberal badly in the polls, largely as result of the carbon tax.
Australia is the biggest per-capita consumer of fossil fuels in the world, with coal providing for over 70% of domestic electricity generation. The carbon tax, along with a 20% renewable energy standard passed in 2009, will lead to much higher energy prices for Australians in the future.
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.