Cooler Heads Digest 9 December 2011

9 December 2011

In the News

Gone with the Wind Subsidies
Nicolas Loris, The Foundry, 9 December 2011

A Case Study of the Failed Green Stimulus
Veronique de Rugy, Planet Gore, 9 December 2011

Don’t “Drill for Roads”
Marc Scribner, National Review, 9 December 2011

How’s the Stimulus for Electric Vehicles Working out, Mr. President?
Marlo Lewis,, 8 December 2011

America’s Energy Abundance
Daniel Kish, U.S. News and World Report, 8 December 2011

U.S. Rejection of CO2 Emissions Cuts: Just Do the Math
Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, 8 December 2011

Obama’s Keystone Slow-Walking Hurts Job Creation
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Washington Examiner, 8 December 2011

Debunking the Big-Oil Subsidy Myth
Gary Clyde Hufbauer, Washington Times, 7 December 2011

The Dark Side of Green Energy
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 6 December 2011

News You Can Use
North Dakota’s Jobs Boom Fueled by Oil and Gas

According to Carpe Diem, ten counties in North Dakota (out of 51) had unemployment rates below 2 percent in the month of October. Almost all of these counties are in the western part of the state that sits on top of the vast oil resources of the Bakken formation. The drilling boom for shale oil in North Dakota has led to a jobs boom and the lowest state unemployment rate in the country (2.6 percent in October).

Inside the Beltway

Pipeline Politics

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today challenged President Barack Obama’s decision to punt on the Keystone XL, a 1700 mile pipeline that would link expanding oil production in Alberta to America’s refining hub along the Gulf of Mexico. The $7 billion infrastructure project is shovel-ready, but it must be approved by the President before construction can begin. Building the pipeline would create thousands of jobs, but the President last month delayed a final determination until after the 2012 elections, as a political sop to environmentalists. This morning, House Republicans released text of legislation that would tie the President’s top legislative priority—an extension of the payroll tax cut—to the approval of the Keystone XL. House leadership intends to address the bill next week.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) told Politico that the Keystone provision “has no place” in the payroll tax reduction legislation, but it’s unlikely the Democrats will maintain a united front, because job creation makes for winning politics. That’s why 47 Democrats in the House voted for a similar deadline over the summer.

In a press conference earlier this week, President Barack Obama threatened to veto any legislation that linked the payroll tax cut extension to the pipeline. In the unlikely event that the House bill reached the President’s desk, I doubt he’d follow through on his promised veto. Doing so would cost jobs by effectively increasing taxes, and prevent jobs by delaying on the Keystone XL. In the midst of a down economy, such a veto would be received poorly by voters.

In addition to forcing the President’s hand on the Keystone XL pipeline, the legislation also would delay the EPA’s Utility MACT, which is due to be finalized on December 16, for 15 months. This is the most expensive regulation, ever, and its purpose is to protect America’s supposed population of pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen.

House Votes to REIN in EPA

By a 241 – 184 vote, the House this week passed H.R. 10, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, which would require Congress to hold an up-or-down vote on any major regulation with an annual economic impact of more than $100 million. My colleague Wayne Crews makes a persuasive case for the REINS Act here.

Around the World

No Deal at Durban

Today is the final day of climate treaty negotiations at COP-17 in Durban. As the Cooler Heads Digest reported last week, the U.S., Japan, and the E.U. already ruled out extending the Kyoto Protocol. Negotiations now are centered on a proposal by the European Union for major emitters to commit to emissions reductions by 2015.

The E.U’s proposal to “agree to agree later” has failed before. In 2007, at COP-13 in Bali, developed countries committed to a 2009 deadline to reach an agreement on a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. The “Bali Roadmap” came to a dead-end 2 years later at COP-15 in Copenhagen.

According to the Wall Street Journal, even the E.U.’s watered-down strategy is being resisted by the U.S., China, and India. Usually, these international climate conferences produce some sort of face-saving resolution, but there’s a legitimate chance that the Durban talks could break down entirely.

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,