Cooler Heads Digest 4 May 2012

4 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.
  • The Global Warming Policy Foundation this week published an excellent paper by Dr. Indur Goklany, titled “Global Warming Policies Might Be Bad for Your Health.” The paper is available here.

In the News

EPA Is Earning a Reputation for Abuse
Washington Post editorial, 4 May 2012

TransCanada Reapplies for Keystone XL Permit
Jeffrey Jones, Reuters, 4 May 2012

Let the Market Solve Our Energy Needs
Steve Huntley, Chicago Sun-Times, 4 May 2012

Strange Bedfellows Urge EPA To Improperly Stop Pebble Mine
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 3 May 2012

The Human Consequences of EPA’s War on Coal
Lachlan Markay, The Foundry, 3 May 2012

The Fallacy of Blaming Oil Speculators
Robert Samuelson, Real Clear Politics, 2 May 2012

Another Green Stimulus Beneficiary Hits the Skids
Mark Hyman, American Spectator, 2 May 2012

Gulf Drilling Ban Casts Doubt on Obama’s Energy Policy
Sean Higgins, Investors Business Daily, 2 May 2012

Joe Romm and the Crying Wolf Dilemma
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 1 May 2012

The Un-Renewable Nature of Renewable Energy
Alex Epstein, Oil Price, 30 April 2012

News You Can Use
Study: More Coal Means Lower Costs

An analysis released this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy demonstrates that there is a strong inverse relationship between the share of generation from coal and hydropower and the price of electricity. For 2010, in the 10 States with the lowest electric rates, coal-fired and hydroelectric power plants generated 80 percent of the electricity, and the cost of electricity averaged about 7.0¢ per kilowatt hour. In contrast, in the 10 States with the highest electric rates, coal-fired and hydroelectric power plants generated about 19 percent of the electricity, and the cost of electricity averaged about 14.6¢ per kilowatt hour, more than twice as much as in the 10 lowest cost states.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Fossil Fuel Shill Sierra Club Bites the Hand That Fed It

National Journal’s Amy Harder reported this week that the Sierra Club is re-branding its anti-natural gas efforts as “Beyond Natural Gas.”  Beyond Natural Gas joins the Sierra Club’s other two anti-energy campaigns, Beyond Coal and Beyond Oil (Beyond Nuclear is a separate organization founded in 2007 and headquartered in Takoma Park, Maryland, which has been an official nuclear-free zone since 1983). 

Here’s how the Sierra Club introduces its Beyond Natural Gas web page: “The natural gas industry is dirty, dangerous, and running amok. Government loopholes exempt natural gas drillers from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act -- and at the same time, don't require them to disclose the frequently toxic chemicals they use in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the violent process they employ to dislodge gas deposits from shalerock formations. The closer we look at natural gas, the dirtier it appears; and the less of it we burn, the better off we will be.”

The Sierra Club’s timing, whether intentionally or not, kicks Aubrey McClendon, their former patron, when he is down.  Time Magazine reported earlier this year that McClendon gave the Sierra Club $26 million between 2007 and 2010 for their Beyond Coal campaign.  This week McClendon was relieved of his duties as chairman of one of the U. S.’s largest natural gas producers, Chesapeake Energy, although he remains CEO.  It also became public knowledge this week that the Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into McClendon and Chesapeake.

The SEC investigation and the decision by Chesapeake’s board to replace McClendon as chairman are the result of revelations by Reuters on 18th April that McClendon, the founder of Chesapeake, had a sweetheart deal with the company to borrow over $1 billion and use it to buy personal shares in Chesapeake gas wells.

EPA Region 6 Al Armendariz Resigns over “Crucify” Comments

Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) started a firestorm on 25th April with a speech on the Senate floor that led this week to the resignation of Al Armendariz as Region VI (which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and New Mexico) Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Inhofe called attention to a 2010 video of Armendariz explaining that EPA’s strategy for enforcing environmental regulations against energy companies was to make examples of a few of them by crucifying them.

Here is what Armendariz said:  “But as I said, oil and gas is an enforcement priority [...] I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting but I'll go ahead and tell you what I said.  It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean.  They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them.  And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years [...] So, that's our general philosophy.”

Politico noted that the video had been available since 2010, but efforts to get it noticed went nowhere until Senator Inhofe took it to the Senate floor.  It seems to me that the reason it hit a nerve with the public now and not in 2010 is because we have had two more years to see the lawless conduct of Obama’s EPA across the country.  Even the Washington Post has had enough.  In a 4th May editorial, the Post wrote: “The lesson for [EPA Administrator Lisa] … Jackson and her boss, President Obama, from these two episodes [the other being the Supreme Court’s unanimous decision against EPA in the Sacketts’ wetlands case] is clear: The agency’s officers must have a clear sense when to deploy its mighty power and when to exercise discretion. That’s true for the sake of the economy and to ensure that the EPA will be able to continue its necessary work for years to come.”

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,