In the News
“Science!”: Beyond the Pose, What Would Huntsman Do?
Chris Horner, AmSpecBlog, 8 September 2011
U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Free Market Recommendations for President Obama and the Congress
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 8 September 2011
New Hampshire Senate Upholds Regional Cap-and-Trade
Tom Fahey, Union Leader, 7 September 2011
Vermont Environmentalists: “Time Out” for Industrial Wind
Sherri Lange, Master Resource, 6 September 2011
News You Can Use
Huntsman v. Perry on Climate at GOP Debate
“When you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is, in order for the Republican party to win, we can't run from science. By making comments that basically don't reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.”
“The idea that we'd put America's economy at jeopardy based on scientific theory that's not settled yet to me is just nonsense. Just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said ‘Here is the fact,’ Galileo got outvoted for a spell.”'
Inside the Beltway
FBI Raids Solyndra
The collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra got even bigger this week. On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed search warrants at the company’s shiny new headquarters building in Fremont, California. Many boxes of documents and lots of computer equipment were carted away. It was reported that the house of Solyndra’s CEO, Brian Harrison, was also raided.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI was conducting a criminal investigation initiated by the Department of Energy’s Inspector General. The company’s bankruptcy filing means that the federal government is likely to lose all of its $527 million loan guarantee to the company.
As recently as July, Harrison made the rounds on Capitol Hill to re-assure supporters, such as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), that reports of the company’s financial difficulties were baseless. Waxman had earlier called attempts by Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, to investigate alleged improprieties “a fishing expedition.” The subcommittee has scheduled a hearing next Wednesday to take testimony from CEO Harrison and top officials at the Department of Energy and the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Mr. President, What Happened to Green Jobs?
President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday night included massive new spending on infrastructure projects as a way to create lots of new jobs. The President mentioned transportation projects in general and a big interstate highway bridge over the Ohio River at Cincinnati in particular. But not a word on green jobs or the new clean energy economy.
There had been speculation that the President would support the Senate bill to create a green infrastructure investment bank. The Twenty-First Century Clean Energy Technology Deployment Act (or CEDA) was introduced by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and sent to the Senate floor by the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which Bingaman chairs.
A press release from Bingaman’s office described his bill’s purpose: “CEDA’s mission would be to encourage deployment of technologies that are perceived as too risky by commercial lenders; thus, the agency is encouraged to back riskier technologies with a higher potential to address our climate and energy security needs.” That is exactly what the Department of Energy was doing when it made a $535 million loan guarantee to Solyndra, the solar company that went bankrupt last week and was raided by the FBI this week as part of a criminal investigation. Perhaps that’s why the President didn’t mention all those great new green jobs in the booming clean energy economy being created by his policies.
House Schedules Votes on Delaying EPA Regulations
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last week sent a memo to his fellow Republican Members of the House on future votes on bills to delay or block ten major regulations that are hurting the economy and destroying jobs. Seven of the ten are EPA regulations.
The memo can be found here. It includes the list of bills and tentative schedule of votes. A floor vote on H. R. 2401, which would delay the Utility MACT and Cross-State Air Pollution Rules, is scheduled for the week of September 19th.
Across the States
In July, the EPA issued the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule to control emissions from upwind States that affect air quality in downwind States. Texas was excluded from the proposed [Cross-State] 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 meets the EPA air-quality standards in question. The EPA ordered the Lone Star State to reduce sulfur-dioxide emissions 47 % within 6 months, despite the fact that it takes 3 years to install sulfur “scrubber” retrofits on coal-fired power plants. EPA asserts that the emissions reductions can be achieved immediately through fuel-switching. Texas power companies argue that the only way to meet the EPA’s “unprecedented” and “impossible” timeline is to shut down power plants.
At the request of the Texas Public Utilities Commission, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc. (ERCOT), a non-partisan, independent entity responsible for electricity infrastructure in the State, this week published a report on the reliability ramifications of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. ERCOT noted that, “had the [Cross-State Air Pollution Rule] taken effect in 2011 instead of 2012, ERCOT would have experienced rotating outages during days in August.”
California’s proposed Anaheim to San Francisco high-speed rail line would cost $40 to $60 billion dollars. Both the huge price tag and engineering uncertainties have scared off private lenders, and California has a $20 billion budget shortfall, so state officials had been counting on federal aid. However, on Thursday, these hopes were rebuffed when the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development slashed federal funding for high speed rail from the 2012 budget. President Barack Obama had requested $7 billion, but House Republicans already had deemed high-speed rail a “low priority,” due to deficit concerns, and the subcommittee denied the administration’s request. Currently, Governor Jerry Brown is deliberating whether to offer a ballot initiative authorizing $9 billion in bonds for the rail project. In the meantime, he’s ordered a comprehensive review. It stands to reason that the House Appropriations Subcommittee’s decision would compel Governor Brown to abandon high speed rail, especially in light of the state’s budget woes. However, this is California….
Around the World
Australia Edges Closer towards Carbon Tax
It is looking more likely that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will pass a carbon tax this fall, despite its widespread unpopularity in Australia. The bill is to be introduced to Australian parliament in the coming week and will be voted on by the end of October. The legislation would establish, a $25 permit for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted for the first 3 years, when it would then switch to a emissions trading scheme. Passage of the legislation is looking increasingly likely, as Australian political parties, with rare exceptions, vote in lockstep. Prime Minister Gillard was quoted saying, “We will work our way through and ensure that the legislation does go through.” With the collapse of international support for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, this legislation will hurt Australia’s domestic energy industries while having little effect on global emissions.
Gore Gone Wild
Not content with the attention garnered by seven-thousand word essays in Rolling Stone, angry tirades, and attacks on President Obama, former Vice President Al Gore is hosting a 24 climate change extravaganza this coming Wednesday, September 14. Dubbed the “Climate Reality Project”, it can be streamed live and will also be broadcast on Al Gore’s network, Current TV, which we are told reaches approximately 500 viewers nationwide. You can check out a short preview here. We don’t know about you, but here at CEI we are stocking up on coffee and Red Bull to ensure we don’t miss even a second of Mr. Gore’s exciting “Twenty-four Hours of Reality.”
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.