In the News
Chinese Skeptics See Global Warming as U.S. Conspiracy
John Garnaut, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 October 2011
What Happened to the U.K. Conservative Party’s Green Agenda?
Damian Carrington & Allegra Stratton, Guardian, 6 October 2011
Arctic Ice Loss: Portent of Doom? Or Reason to Rethink Climate Sensitivity?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 3 October 2011
News You Can Use
Inspector General: Stimulus Green Jobs Program a Flop
The 2009 Stimulus awarded the Department of Labor $500 million to create 80,000 so-called “green jobs.” This week the Labor Department Inspector General published an audit showing that the program so far has spent $173 million to create only 1,336 permanent jobs, at a cost of almost $130,000 per job. The Inspector General recommended that the remaining $327 million available to the program be returned to the Treasury Department.
Inside the Beltway
House Moves against Boiler MACT
The House of Representatives on 6th October passed H. R. 2681, which if enacted would block the Cement Maximum Achievable Control Technology Rules. The vote was 262 to 161. Twenty five Democrats voted yes; two Republicans voted no. All the weakening amendments offered by Democrats failed.
H. R. 2250, which would similarly block implementation of the Boiler MACT Rules, also came to the floor this week, but the vote was delayed until next week. Both bills are part of the House Republicans’ fall schedule of bills to deal with what they have identified as the Obama Administration’s ten top job-killing regulations.
Jonathan Silver, the Department of Energy official at the center of the Solyndra scandal, resigned this week. According to Secretary Steven Chu, Silver’s departure had been planned before the scandal broke and Chu would have been happy if he had decided to stay on the job.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee investigating the scandal sent a letter to the White House this week asking for copies of all White House communications related to the decision to loan 535 million taxpayer dollars to the solar panel manufacturer, including e-mails from President Barack Obama. These may be relevant to the question of whether political cronyism played any role in DOE’s decision to grant the loan despite much expert advice against it.
George Kaiser, whose family charitable foundation owned more than one third of Solyndra, is a top Obama and Democratic Party donor and fundraiser. White House visitor logs show that Kaiser made sixteen visits to the Obama White House before the loan was approved. A number of DOE loan guarantees have gone to companies with close ties to other major Democratic donors.
President Obama’s favorite crony capitalist, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, defended the Solyndra loan. According to a news story on the CNBC web site, Immelt told CNBC in a live interview that to get its confidence back, America needs less regulation and more innovation even if that means some failed ventures using taxpayer money.
Across the States
The National Mining Association, Kentucky, and West Virginia this week won a major decision over the EPA in the federal D.C. District Court. Since mid-2009, 79 permits have been held up by EPA’s Enhanced Coordination Process with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a component of the EPA’s Clean Water Act regulatory war on Appalachian coal mining. Basically, the EPA was second-guessing permitting decision made by the Corps of Engineers. The EPA’s justification was to protect an insect that isn’t an endangered species. The plaintiffs argued that the Enhanced Coordination Process violated administrative procedure because the EPA imposed it without a formal rulemaking. Judge Reggie Walton agreed.
Of the 79 permits ensnared by the Enhanced Coordination Process, 50 were withdrawn, 8 were approved, and 21 remain in limbo. This week’s ruling would allow the Corps of Engineers to approve these remaining permits, without having the EPA looking over its shoulder at every step. That said, the EPA could exercise a veto over the decision.
This was only round one. Next spring, the federal court will hear a similar challenge to the EPA’s 2010 Clean Water Act Guidelines, the document that undergirds the EPA’s regulatory assault on surface coal mining in Appalachia.
Around the World
Initial Ruling Upholds E.U.’s Aviation Carbon Cap
A preliminary opinion issued by Juliane Kokott, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice, concluded that the European Union’s plan to require that international airlines comply with the European Emissions Trading Scheme is not in conflict with international law. A final ruling by the court is expected next year, and if the plan is deemed lawful, flights that land or take off from the EU will be forced to comply with the emissions trading scheme. The decision to include international airlines is opposed by the Obama administration, China, and numerous other countries. U.S. carriers also are challenging the tax in a case before the European Court of Justice.
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.