In the News
Energy Fact of the Week: The Cost of Germany’s Nuclear Fear
Steven Hayward, American Enterprise Blog, 24 August 2011
Obama Administration Plays Political Theatre with Big Oil
Robert Bradley, Jr., Fort Worth Star Telegram, 23 August 2011
Sorry Greens, Halliburton Executive Drinks Fracking Fluid
Catherine Tsai, Huffington Post, 22 August 2011
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
James Bowman, American Spectator, 22 August 2011
Evergreen Solar: Or, Why Government Shouldn’t Be Picking Winners in Energy Industry
Adam Peshek, Reason, 22 August 2011
News You Can Use
Sea Level Declined in 2010
According to NASA satellite data, global sea levels declined by almost a quarter-inch in 2010.
Inside the Beltway
Keystone XL Pipeline Clears Hurdle
The Keystone XL Pipeline extension, a proposed 1,700-mile pipeline that would link expanding Canadian tar sands oil production with America’s refining hub in the Midwest and along the Gulf, today cleared a major regulatory hurdle when the State Department concluded that the project would have a “limited environmental adverse impact.”
This is the second-to-last step of the permitting process; within the next 90 days, the State Department must determine whether the project is in the national interest. If the Keystone Pipeline passes this final hurdle, then it would receive a Presidential Permit, and construction could commence.
It is difficult to imagine how the project could not be considered to be in America’s interest: It would increase oil imports by up to 830,000 barrels a day from Canada, our closest ally. Moreover, as is explained in a recent CEI study by Mike Milke, Canada is the only major oil-exporting country besides Norway that scores highly on all measurements of civil, political, and economic freedom, including the rights of women to full career, medical, and travel choices; on media freedom, religious freedom, and property rights; as well as on other measurements such as judicial independence and relative freedom from corruption. Most importantly, the $7 billion project would create 20,000 high-wage manufacturing jobs and construction jobs, according to an independent analysis by the Perryman Group.
Across the States
The number one inhibition to the deployment of utility-scale solar power is that it costs much more than conventional energy generation. Somewhat ironically, the second biggest obstacle to solar energy is environmentalist litigation. Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council this week notified the Interior Department that it will sue to block the Calico Solar Power Generating Facility, a proposed 660 megawatt solar power plant in Pisgah Valley in Southern California. The environmentalist groups allege that the Interior Department violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to adequately account for the project’s possible effect on the desert tortoise, a federally threatened species.
On Tuesday, the Texas Railroad Commission asked Attorney General Greg Abbott to “bring prompt legal action” to delay the implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which was issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in July. Texas was excluded from the proposed rule. In the final rule, however, Texas was included, due to the supposed need to slightly reduce emissions as monitored 500 miles away in Madison County, Ill.—a locale that already meets the EPA air-quality standards in question. The EPA ordered the Lone Star State to reduce sulfur-dioxide emissions 47 percent within 6 months, despite the fact that it takes three years to install sulfur “scrubber” retrofits on coal-fired power plants.
Particularly hard-hit will be Luminant, the largest merchant power producer in Texas, which relies on high-sulfur coal: It says “curtailing plant and/or mine operations will be the only option” to meet the EPA’s “unprecedented and impossible compliance timetable.” Jonathan Gardner, a vice president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, warns that the rule directly threatens 1,500 employees at six different power plants across Texas.
In addition to job losses and expensive electricity, the Railroad Commission warns that the regulation could cause major reliability problems.
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.