The Heartland Institute’s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7) will take place in Chicago, Illinois from Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23, 2012, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 South Michigan Avenue. This year’s theme is “Real Science, Real Choices.” This conference is open to the public. Register to attend this event by visiting the conference sign-up form.
In the News
Average Blue Collar Oil and Gas Job Pays $100,000 a Year
Steve Hargreaves, CNN, 10 May 2012
Grover Norquist: Obama “Wrong” To Cite Tax Pledge in Green Energy Push
Byron Tau, Politico, 9 May 2012
News You Can Use
Study: Interior Department Delays Prevent 120,000 Jobs
According to a study released this week by the Western Energy Alliance, bureaucratic foot-dragging by Obama’s Interior Department has delayed 22 proposed oil and gas projects on federal land in the Rocky Mountains region, thereby preventing the creation of 121,000 jobs, $27.5 billion in economic activity, and $139 million in government revenue.
Inside the Beltway
Buffett’s Support Signals Movement on Keystone Pipeline
The House and Senate conference committee on re-authorizing the highway bill met for the first time on Tuesday, 8th May. One of the most contentious issues is House language that would require permitting of the 1700-mile Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Gulf refineries. Initial reactions were that the Keystone provision has little chance of being included in the final conference report. However, there are signs that the ground is shifting.
Representative John Mica (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said on Thursday that he thought the Keystone provision was making great progress toward being included in the final bill. Mica noted that eleven Democratic Senators and 69 Democratic House members (out of 190) have recently voted for permitting the pipeline.
Perhaps more importantly, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told Fox Business News this week that he supports building the Keystone XL Pipeline. Buffett is a close supporter of President Barack Obama. It has been speculated that Buffett was one of those advising Obama to deny the Keystone permit last fall out of self interest. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, which because of the lack of pipeline capacity has become a major shipper of crude oil from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana to refineries. The Keystone XL would transport oil from the Bakken Formation as well as from Alberta’s oil sands.
Buffett may well have been offering his own opinion without consulting the White House first. On the other hand, his comments may be a sign that the White House is maneuvering to save face and let the Keystone permit go through. President Obama’s political advisers clearly understand that the President is on the wrong side of public opinion on Keystone. Letting the Congress overrule the President this summer would largely take away a campaign issue in the fall.
Across the States
Keith Russell Judd, a convicted felon currently imprisoned in Texas, this week won 41 percent of the vote against President Barack Obama in the West Virginia Democratic Party primary. Democratic Party officials in the State described the shocking results as a popular protest against EPA’s war on coal. According to Larry Puccio, the state’s Democratic Party chairman, “A lot of folks here have real frustration with this administration’s stance on coal and energy. They are frustrated and they are upset, and they wanted to send Obama a message.”
EPA today announced that lab tests show that drinking water in Dimock, Pennsylvania was not contaminated by hydraulic fracturing. This is the fourth and final round of results; all three previous lab tests also demonstrated that natural gas drilling had not polluted drinking water in Dimock. EPA’s results came as no surprise to Pennsylvania regulators, who tested Dimock water samples more than a year ago and came to the same conclusion. Indeed, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Michael Krancer last January wrote a letter asking EPA not to second-guess the state’s conclusions, due to the Agency’s “rudimentary” knowledge of local conditions. EPA would have saved much time and effort (not to mention taxpayer money) if the Agency had heeded the State.
Around the World
Cuba Proceeds With Drilling Off Florida Coast
The long-discussed Cuban plan to drill oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico is moving forward. The Spanish oil company, Repsol, will drill about 80 miles off the coast of Florida in 5,500 feet of water. The plan has sparked worries among politicians representing southern states, having recently recovered from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the summer of 2010. Former EPA agency chief William Reilly, who also co-chaired the presidential commission which investigated the Deepwater spill, was optimistic: “In every way, the Cuban approach to this is responsible, careful and attentive to the risks that they know they’re undertaking.
Reilly is, however, worried about the implications of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba if an accident were to happen. He noted, “Nevertheless, should there be a need for a response … the United States government has not interpreted its sanctions policy in a way that would clearly make available in advance the kind of technologies that would be required.” Too bad we didn’t drill the oil for ourselves.
Britain to Cut Solar Subsidies
The British solar industry is warning of doomsday as the British government has decided to cut financial incentives that encouraged individuals to install solar panels on the roofs of their homes. In a joint letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, the industry warned that the sector faces a “bleak future” without government tax incentives and subsidies and noted that the industry has lost more than 6,000 jobs in the last year, with many more to come. Finally, the industry claimed that at the current rate of installations, it would take 160 years to install the capacity that the British government has agreed to install by 2020.
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.