Cooler Heads Digest 29 June 2012

29 June 2012

In the News

Ignored Science, Neglected Economics: D.C. Court Upholds EPA Greenhouse Gas Rules
Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, 28 June 2012

Should We Be Afraid of Uranium Mining?
A. Barton Hinkle, Reason, 27 June 2012

All Hail the EPA
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 27 June 2012

The Truth Rolls in on Green Charities
Terence Corcoran, Financial Post, 27 June 2012

Congress Needs To Step Up
Nicolas Loris, The Foundry, 26 June 2012

No Peak Oil in Sight
Mark Perry, AEI Ideas, 26 June 2012

EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standard: One Step Closer To Disaster
Marlo Lewis,, 25 June 2012

News You Can Use
Another $68 Million Wasted on Green Stimulus Loser

Abound Solar, a solar panel maker which benefitted from $68 million in subsidized financing from the Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee program, filed for bankruptcy this week. The company joins a burgeoning list of green stimulus failures, including: Energy Conversion Devices, Amonix, Evergreen Solar, Beacon Power, the ongoing Solyndra saga, underperforming electric vehicle sales, Ener1, and Fisker Automotive.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

D.C. Circuit Court Rejects Challenge to EPA’s Climate Regs

The federal D. C. Circuit Court of Appeals on June 26 dismissed all challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency’s December 2009 finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health and welfare and therefore can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

The three-judge panel, which included Chief Judge David Sentelle, who was appointed by President Reagan, ruled unanimously that the endangerment finding and the tailpipe rule setting emissions standards for vehicles complied with the Administrative Procedures Act and that the EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act is “unambiguously correct.”

The court did not rule on the merits of the “tailoring rule” and the “timing rule”, but instead dismissed the case on the grounds that none of the many plaintiffs in the combined suit has standing to sue.   The petitioners lack standing because they failed to prove any injury to themselves caused by the rules.

The ruling was especially scathing in dismissing the arguments by the plaintiffs that the EPA had not made a compelling scientific case that greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to human health and had relied too much on the dubious compilations of the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  “This is how science works.  EPA is not required to re-prove the existence of the atom every time it approaches a scientific question.”

The House of Representatives on April 7, 2011 voted 255 to 172 to overturn the endangerment finding. The Senate defeated a similar provision by a 50-50 vote on April 6, 2011.  

My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis discusses attorney Peter Glaser’s analysis of the court ruling here

Highway Bill Passes Congress

House and Senate conferees finally agreed on a 27-month reauthorization of surface transportation programs. The conference report was approved by both chambers this afternoon and now heads to President Obama’s desk. The agreement dropped provisions to require permitting of the Keystone XL Pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in the Gulf and to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash as a hazardous waste. A provision to streamline environmental permitting of highway projects is included in the conference report.  

Pickens Plan, RIP

The chief House sponsor of the T. Boone Pickens Payoff Plan, Representative John Sullivan (R-Okla.) was defeated by political newcomer Jim Bridenstine in Oklahoma’s Republican primary elections on June 26. As my CEI colleague Brian McGraw notes in a post on, the major policy disagreement between the two candidates was over Sullivan’s bill to provide billions of dollars of taxpayer subsidies to billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens. 

Here is the Tulsa World’s description of a recent campaign debate between Sullivan and Bridenstine: “On only one issue, energy policy, did Sullivan and Bridenstine substantially disagree. Sullivan touted his bill to promote natural gas vehicle fuels, while Bridenstine supports an alternative proposal. Bridenstine calls Sullivan's NATGAS Act a ‘big-government’ boondoggle because it creates a short-term subsidy to convert vehicles to natural gas.  ‘We ought not let Washington, D.C., control free markets with tax subsidies,’ he said.”

Across the States
William Yeatman

Regional Cap-and-Trade in West Dwindles to One Participant

In 2007, the Western Climate Initiative was formed by seven States and four Canadian provinces, in order to develop a regional cap-and-trade energy rationing scheme. Since then, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario have dropped out, leaving only California and Quebec working towards a launch of the WCI cap-and-trade this November. Yesterday, however, Quebec regulators announced that the Province would not be ready until Spring 2013, at the earliest. That means that California will have to go it alone. According to a report issued recently by Manufacturers and Technology Association, California’s cap-and-trade scheme will cost industry between $3.4 billion and $7.8 billion each year.

EPA Regs Threaten Texas with Blackouts

The Texas Public Utilities Commission this week approved a 50 percent increase in electricity rates that utilities can charge during times of peak demand. The measure is intended to improve the reliability of the state’s electricity grid, which has been rendered vulnerable to rolling blackouts by two forces: (1) EPA regulations that are shutting down coal-fired power plants and (2) the state government’s support of mandates and subsidies for intermittent, unreliable wind power.  

Around the World
Brian McGraw

Germany Renegotiates Solar Subsidies

This week Germany reached a compromise which will lower subsidies (feed in tariffs) provided to producers of solar power.  Subsidies are expected to be cut by 20-30 percent depending on installed capacity, though they will be phased in slowly, and further cuts are unlikely until 2014. Additionally, German lawmakers have agreed to end the subsidies completely once total installed capacity reaches 52 gigawatts (GW). Germany currently has 28GW of installed photovoltaic capacity, which is the largest amount in the world.

Frack Away, Britain

A report commissioned by the British Government and written by the Royal Academy of Engineering suggests that hydraulic fracturing offers significant benefits for Great Britain while posing minimal risk. According to the report, hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” has the potential to create small earthquakes, yet these earthquakes pose minimal to no threat precisely because they are so small. Additionally, the report concluded that the risk of utility-scale water contamination is negligible, as the fracking process occurs miles below aquifers.

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,