Cooler Heads Digest 5 August 2011

In the News

Commerce Nominee John Bryson’s Troubling Role in California’s Electricity Crisis
Wayne Lusvardi, Cal Watchdog, 5 August 2011

Is the American Lung Association the EPA’s Chief Lobbyist?
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 5 August 2011

Obama’s Illegal MPG
Henry Payne, The Michigan View, 5 August 2011

Carmakers Cave to President
William H. Noack, Detroit News, 5 August 2011

Green Growth Controls = Housing Collapse
H. Sterling Burnett, Planet Gore, 5 August 2011

Proposed European Airline Tax Should Be Shot down
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Washington Examiner, 5 August 2011

The Case against John Bryson
David Bier, Kansas City Star, 3 August 2011

Facts on Frack Attackers
Paul Chesser, American Spectator, 3 August 2011

Greens Vs. Cap-and-Trade: Yesterday Washington, Today California
Tom Tanton, Master Resource, 3 August 2011

NYT on Shale Gas: Can an Intern Be an Official?
Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 1 August 2011

Radical Environmentalists Continuing Campaign against Economic Freedom
Jim Roberts, The Foundry, 30 July 2011

A Big Welcome to EPA Motors
Investors Business Daily editorial, 29 July 2011

News You Can Use
Poll: Americans Don’t Trust Climate Scientists

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American adults shows that 69% say it’s at least “somewhat likely” that some climate scientists have falsified research data in order to support their own theories and beliefs, including 40% who say this is “very likely.”

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Interior Department Finally Moves on Shell Arctic Drilling Project

The Department of the Interior at long last this week gave conditional approval to Shell Oil to drill four exploratory offshore wells in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska’s Arctic coast in the summer of 2012.  Naturally, several environmental groups immediately announced that they would consider filing suit in federal court to block issuance of the final permits.

Shell has spent several billion dollars since purchasing the leases at federal auction in 2005, but has been repeatedly thwarted in its attempts to drill exploratory wells by permitting delays and litigation.  The company has had the same problems with its leases in the nearby Chukchi Sea.  The leases are in shallow water of around 120 feet.  The Beaufort Sea has been estimated to contain 26 billion barrels of oil, but no one will know how much until wells are drilled.

Southern Company: Utility MACT Will Cost $13 to $18 Billion by 2020

Greenwire reported on Friday that the Southern Company has estimated that complying with the EPA’s Utility MACT Rule will cost $13 to $18 billion by 2020.  The public comment period on the proposed Clean Air Act rule ended on Thursday.  Southern’s estimate was contained in their lengthy comment. 

Southern estimates that it will be forced to close coal-fired power plants now producing 4,000 megawatts and add new pollution control equipment on plants producing 12,000 megawatts.  Southern’s customers can look forward to steep increases in their electric rates if EPA is allowed to go ahead with the Utility MACT (for Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rule.  Efforts to block the rule have been initiated in the House. 

Sen. Inhofe Calls on EPA To Drop Proposed Ozone Rule

Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) on Friday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its plans for a new Clean Air Act ozone rule.  Inhofe also sent a letter to the EPA’s Inspector General requesting him to investigate whether the EPA’s Clean Air Science Advisory Committee is improperly constituted and has acted improperly.

EPA is basing its new, tougher National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone partly on advice from its advisory committee.  Inhofe said in his letter that investigations by his committee staff have revealed that the EPA violated its own rules in selecting members for its advisory committee in four ways: lack of required impartiality; failure to balance perspectives; failure to rotate members; and financial conflicts of interest.    

Across the States


According to the Los Angeles Times, federal authorities are investigating the deaths of at least six golden eagles at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Pine Tree Wind Project in the Tehachapi Mountains. The Daily Mail recently reported that another California wind farm in the Bay Area is responsible for killing almost 70 golden eagles annually.


Xcel Energy has voluntarily ended its use of a $20 carbon tax in its resource acquisition models to comply with Colorado’s renewable energy production quota. The Colorado General Assembly authorized use of a carbon “adder” in electric utility modeling in order to please environmentalists, but Xcel had been using it to enhance profits. During the 2011 General Assembly, a bill that would have ended this virtual tax was introduced by Rep. Spencer Swalm. Unfortunately, the bill was tabled by leadership in the Republican-controlled House.

Around the World


Reuters reported this week that government officials in China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, are working on a national climate change mitigation policy that will be introduced later this year. The centerpiece of the plan is a cap on energy use, and officials have settled on a total energy cap of 4.1 billion tons of coal equivalent by 2015, a level more than 25% higher than last year.

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,