Cooler Heads Digest 18 May 2012

18 May 2012


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

Is EPA Deliberately Destroying the Economy?
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 18 May 2012

BrightSource DOE Funding Exposes Obama Cronyism
Romina Boccia, The Foundry, 17 May 2012

Obama Doubles Down on a Bad Idea
Washington Examiner editorial, 17 May 2012

Alarmists Hold Key Federal Positions in Oil and Gas Territory
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 17 May 2012

Ethanol Reduced Gas Prices by $1/Gallon—Or Didn’t You Notice?
Marlo Lewis,, 16 May 2012

America Needs a Competitive Energy Standard
Hal Quinn, Washington Times, 16 May 2012

James Hansen’s War against Canada
Kenneth Green, Master Resource, 16 May 2012

The High Cost of Obama’s Regulation
John Hinderaker, Powerline, 15 May 2012

Target Rich Environment
Mark Steyn, The Corner, 14 May 2012

News You Can Use
GAO: U.S. Has More Oil Than Rest of the World

On May 10, in testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Anu Mittal, Director of Natural Resources and Environment at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, said that the Green River Formation in the western Rockies contains an “amount about equal to the entire world's proven oil reserves.” Unfortunately, most of this massive oil shale deposit lies beneath federal land, where the Obama administration can keep it locked away.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Keeps Pushing the Keystone Pipeline

The House of Representatives voted on Friday, 18th May, to instruct House conferees on the highway bill to insist that the Keystone XL Pipeline be included in the final House-Senate conference report.  The vote was 261 to 152.  The motion to instruct was offered by Representative John Barrow (D-Ga.).  Twenty-five of his Democratic colleagues joined him in voting for the non-binding motion.

The version of the highway bill passed by the House includes a provision that would require permitting of the 1700-mile pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to Port Arthur, Texas.  Fifty-six Senators voted for a similar provision, but it was not included in the Senate version of the highway bill because sixty votes were required to pass the amendment.

The motion to instruct is non-binding, but provides strong support to House conferees in negotiations with their Senate counterparts.  It sends a signal to the Senate that the House could reject the final conference report if it does not include the Keystone provision.   

Documents Reconfirm Obama Administration Is Trying To Kill Coal

Representative Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, released documents and audio recordings from the Department of the Interior obtained from outside sources that provide evidence that the Obama Administration is trying to implement a new Stream Buffer Zone Rule in order to destroy coal mining in Appalachia.  In one audio recording, an official of the Office of Surface Mining says that one benefit of the proposed rule is that it will eliminate mining.

The Natural Resources Committee has been trying to obtain documents related to the Stream Buffer Zone Rule for over a year, but the Department of the Interior has refused to turn them over.  On 5th April, the Committee voted to subpoena the Department for the requested documents.  When that subpoena was ignored, the Committee voted a second subpoena on 11th May.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar continues to refuse to comply with the subpoenas.

In another audio clip, an OSM official wonders how they are going to sell the rule to the public because it will save only 15 miles of streams from pollution by coal mining, while costing thousands of American jobs.  The Committee’s press release, which can be found here, provides links to the audio clips and documents.   

EPA Releases Pebble Mine Report

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, 18th May, released a draft assessment of the possible environmental effects of the proposed Pebble Mine on the Bristol Bay watershed in Alaska.  The assessment is superficial, but has been designed by the Obama Administration to help efforts to block development of what would be one of the largest copper and gold mines in the world.

Although the assessment is targeted at the Pebble Mine, it potentially has much wider significance for energy as well as hardrock mining projects and not just in Alaska.  Inside EPA reported this week that, “Environmentalists are now calling on the agency to conduct a similar assessment of mining activity in the Great Lakes region. The Bristol Bay study ‘is comparable to what we'd like to see’ in the Great Lakes, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) attorney Michelle Halley said on a May 10 conference call.”

Across the States
William Yeatman

Obama Administration Again Tries to Block Spruce No. 1 Mine in West Virginia

On Monday, the Obama administration appealed a recent federal court ruling that EPA overstepped its authority when it retroactively vetoed a Clean Water Act permit that had been issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to Arch Coal for the Spruce No. 1 surface coal mining project in West Virginia. The permit was granted in late 2009; EPA revoked it in January 2011. On March 23, 2012, Judge Amy Berman Jackson overturned EPA’s veto, because “the statute does not give EPA the power to render a permit invalid once it has been issued by the Corps.”

Yesterday, the Obama administration asked the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia to stay Judge Jackson’s ruling, which would keep Arch from mining Spruce No. 1 pending the federal government’s appeal. The administration claims that the mine, if allowed to proceed, would cause irreparable environmental damage. This is a dubious claim. As I explain in this January 2011 paper, EPA vetoed the Spruce No. 1 permit in order to protect the Mayfly, a short-lived insect that is not an endangered species. Of course, the appeals process could take years, so the request for a stay is essentially a permit veto by other means.

Around the World
William Yeatman

It Could Happen Here: U.K. Electricity Costs “Skyrocket”

Coinciding a period of green energy policies, utility rates in the United Kingdom have increased 140 percent since 2004, according to a study by price comparison website that was reported in today’s Telegraph. The cost of energy is now the top household worry for Britons (90 percent), ahead of the rising cost of food (77 percent) and mortgage payments (42 percent).

Germany (Obama's Energy Idol) Embraces Coal

According to an analysis by the Breakthrough Institute, German coal use will rise an estimated 13.5 percent this year. This dramatic increase in coal consumption raises the question: Does President Obama still believe that German energy policy as a model for America?

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,