Cooler Heads Digest 20 May 2011


The Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change will be held in Washington, DC on June 30 - July 1, 2011. Visit the event's Web site at for more information or to make your reservations.

In the News

Dems Face EPA Dilemma
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 20 May 2011

Our Dangerous Dependence on Foreign Olive Oil
Matthew Yglesias, Think Progress, 19 May 2011

Sound, Fury, and the Policy of Climate Change
Patrick Michaels, Forbes, 19 May 2011

International Energy Agency to Obama: Please Drill, Baby, Drill
William Yeatman,, 19 May 2011

Phony Fears on Hydraulic Fracturing
Michael Benjamin, New York Post, 19 May 2011

Are Oil Futures Markets Being Manipulated?
Jerry Taylor & Peter Van Doren, Forbes, 19 May 2011

Island Nations Uses Climate Aid To Build Floating Resort
Chris Horner, Daily Caller, 19 May 2011

The Myth of Green Energy Security
Bjorn Lomborg, Project Syndicate, 17 May 2011

Has Subsidy-Scrapping Time Arrived?
Peter Hannaford, American Spectator, 18 May 2011

Energy Subsidies: Our Gifts That Keep on Taking
Larry Bell, Forbes, 17 May 2011

Jon Huntsman and Global Warming
Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore, 17 May 2011

An Inconvenient Truth: A Fifth Anniversary Tribute
Mark Hyman, American Spectator, 17 May 2011

News You Can Use
EPA Spent $25,000 To Help Green Radicals Break the Law

America is the midst of a debt crisis, yet the Environmental Protection Agency found $25,000 to help a radical green group break the law. According to the Heritage Foundation's Robert Gordon,

\223\205the agency awarded the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization [LVEJO] a $25,000 environmental justice grant, which was to be directed to [working] in coalition with their partners to implement 3 areas of Climate Change Mitigation\205' The first area' is to conduct a grassroots Clean Power Campaign in the Chicago Region to address coal power plant emissions' After getting the grant, a half dozen activists from LVEJO and other groups were arrested after climbing the fence to a coal-fired power plant and unfurling a banner that read: Close Chicago's Toxic Coal Plant.'

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

President Sets Sights on Re-election

The 2012 presidential election is starting to bend some of the Obama Administration's environmental and energy policies.  I have noted previously that the White House realizes that gas prices are a huge threat to President Barack Obama's re-election.  Consequently, the President is trying to shift the blame to oil companies and speculators while at the same time talking up what his Administration is doing to increase domestic oil production.  The reality, of course, is that the Obama Administration has moved across the board to decrease oil production in federal lands and offshore areas.

Another sign of the Administration's focus on the President's re-election is that the Environmental Protection Agency has suddenly started paying attention to the concerns of industry.  The timetables for new regulations of coal ash disposal and of surface coal mining in Appalachia have been extended.  EPA announced last week that it was reconsidering, but not delaying, some parts of its new Clean Air Act rule for cement plants.  This week EPA suspended indefinitely a similar rule for industrial boilers that it had promulgated in February.  EPA said that it will conduct more analyses and re-open the public comment period for the boiler rule.

EPA is also considering acceding to requests from Congress and electric utilities to extend the public comment period for its proposed Clean Air Act rule for coal-fired power plants. A good excuse for extending the comment period is that a simple mathematical error in EPA's calculations has been pointed out by the Utility Air Regulatory Group, a utility industry coalition.

The boiler MACT (which stands for Maximum Achievable Control Technology), cement MACT, and utility MACT rules would limit air emissions of mercury and approximately 70 other metals and other substances.  The delays in finalizing and implementing these three rules may postpone the considerable economic damage that each of them will do until after the election.  Environmental pressure groups are naturally not happy with anything that delays shutting down the U. S. economy, but there are rumors that they have been told by the White House to shut up until after the election. 

Senate Defeats Competing Oil Bills

The Senate held votes this week on competing Democratic and Republican oil bills.  The Democratic bill, S. 940, which would raise taxes on big oil companies, was defeated on a vote of 52 to 48. The Republican bill, S. 953, which would force the Obama Administration to increase offshore oil leasing, was defeated on a vote of 42 to 57. Under Senate rules, sixty votes were required to pass either measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had this to say about those who voted against the bill to raise taxes on the five largest oil companies: They would rather cut college scholarships, slash cancer research, and end Medicare than take away taxpayer-funded giveaways to oil companies that are raking in billions of dollars in profits.  Three Democrats (Senators Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska) voted against the oil tax hike, while the two Republican Senators from Maine (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins) voted for it.  And Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) had this to say about the Republican offshore bill:  The solution to skyrocketing gas prices is simple: increase supply.  The establishment media regularly try to portray Senator Reid as a statesman and Senator Inhofe as a conservative ideologue.  These contrasting quotes allow readers to judge for themselves.

Across the States
Marlo Lewis

Green Cheeseheads Oppose Cheaper, Cleaner Canadian Hydro

Green groups in Wisconsin are attacking a bill that would allow utilities and electric cooperatives to comply with the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by importing hydroelectricity from Manitoba, Canada, today's Climatewire reports. The bill (SB 81) passed in the state Senate earlier this week.

Wisconsin's RPS mandates that 10% of the state's power come from renewable sources by 2015. A soviet-style production quota, an RPS props up electricity sources - such as wind and solar power - that can't compete on the basis of cost and quality. As economic policy, an RPS is indefensible.

But as long as a state is going to have an RPS, why not at least allow electric service providers to obtain renewable electricity at the lowest price and the highest quality? That is the objective of SB 81.

So why are green cheeseheads opposing SB 81?

If we all depend on Manitoba hydropower, we will be creating jobs in another country, said Keith Reopelle, a senior policy director at Clean Wisconsin, an environmental group. In the long run, this could make it harder to reduce greenhouse gases in Wisconsin, he said, since the state will not have the renewable manufacturing base it might have otherwise.

Actually, prohibiting lower-priced hydro-power imports will create jobs elsewhere by making the Wisconsin economy less competitive. Conversely, allowing Wisconsin firms to get more bang for their electricity buck will make the state a more attractive place to do business. 

Around the World
UK Tories Lead Nation Astray

The British Conservative Party seems intent on fulfilling Prime Minister David Cameron's promise to be the greenest government ever. This week, the coalition government announced it would cut emissions a 50 percent, averaged over the years 2023-2027, by 2025. The government concedes that the policy would cost British homes about $700 a year, or 1 percent of Britain's GDP, which is almost certainly a lowball. There is, however, an escape clause: The targets are binding only if the rest of the European Union commits to the same emissions cuts. Even if the EU were to adopt similar targets, it would not be terribly surprising if a future government suspended or rescinded this ultra-expensive Green Deal, as recent polling suggests that only a quarter of Britons believe that the risks of climate change are greater than the benefits.