Cooler Heads Digest 8 June 2012

8 June 2012


The Competitive Enterprise Institute this week released a new study, titled “All Pain and No Gain: The Illusory Benefits of the EPA’s Utility MACT,” Click here to read the study. The Senate is expected to vote on a resolution to block the Utility MACT Rule within the next ten days. See Inside the Beltway below for more information.

In the News

EPA Official Showers Love on Anti-Fossil Fuel Lobby
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 8 June 2012

Union of Concerned Scientists Not Very Concerned with Accuracy
Brian McGraw,, 7 June 2012

Asian Air Pollution Warms U.S. More than U.S. GHG Emissions
Chip Knappenberger, Master Resource, 7 June 2012

The Lavish and Leveraged Life of Aubrey McClendon
John Shiffman, Anna Driver, & Brian Grow, Reuters, 7 June 2012

Rep. Issa Exposes Obama’s Green Jobs Scam
Greg McNeal, Forbes, 7 June 2012

Time To Wind Down Wind Subsidies
Paul Driessen, Washington Times, 6 June 2012

Union of Concerned Scientists “Cut Oil in Half” Report Is Garbage
Glenn Doty, Seeking Alpha, 5 June 2012

Canadian Government Overhauling Environmental Rules To Aid Oil Extraction
Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post, 3 June 2012

Poverty Pollutes
Bjorn Lomborg, Newsweek, 28 May 2012

News You Can Use
Alarmists Flip Flop on U.S. Temperature Record

Global warming alarmists this week trumpeted a “stunning” new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing that the most recent twelve months have been the hottest in the historical temperature record for the United States. This is a conspicuous turnaround from five years ago, when Climate Audit blogger Steve McIntyre discovered a statistical error that led to NASA conceding that 1934—not 1998—was the warmest year on record in the U.S. At that time, alarmists downplayed the significance of temperature measurements for individual years in the U.S., as is demonstrated by the following passage, from a 2007 New York Times article:

"Dr. [James] Hansen and his team note that they rarely, if ever, discuss individual years, particularly regional findings like those for the United States (the lower 48 are only 2 percent of the planet’s surface). “In general I think that we want to avoid going into more and more detail about ranking of individual years,” he said in an e-mail message. “As far as I remember, we have always discouraged that as being somewhat nonsensical.”

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Sen. Inhofe Seeks to Rein in EPA’s All Pain and No Gain Utility MACT

Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) has announced that he will bring a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval of the EPA’s Utility MACT (for Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Rule to the Senate floor for a vote on or before Monday, 18th May.  Since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is trying to hold as few votes on tough issues as possible before the November elections, this could be the most important vote on an energy or regulatory issue that the Senate takes this year.

Under the Congressional Review Act, the resolution of disapproval, S. J. Res. 37, is a privileged motion.  A vote cannot be blocked by the Majority Leader or filibustered and requires only a simple majority to pass.

The Utility MACT Rule would regulate mercury and some other emissions from coal-fired power plants.  The proposed limits are so stringent that utilities will be forced to close many coal-fired power plants.  This will raise electric rates and threaten electric reliability in many States. 

CEI this week published a paper by Marlo Lewis, William Yeatman, and David Bier titled, All Pain and No Gain: the Illusory Benefits of the Utility MACT.  It shows that the health benefits claimed by the EPA are non-existent, while the costs to consumers and manufacturers are huge.

The vote on the resolution is likely to be very close.  Right now, it looks like it will lose narrowly.  Senator Inhofe appears to have the support of forty fellow Republicans and four Democrats.  The Democrats are Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Five Republicans oppose the resolution or are leaning no.  They are Lamar Alexander of Tennessee (whose opposition has been outspoken), Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Susan Collins of Maine, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.  A number of Democrats are not publicly committed.  They include: Jon Tester of Montana, Max Baucus of Montana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Jim Webb of Virginia, Mark Warner of Virginia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) is still recovering from a stroke, so is not expected to vote.  That means that if all other Senators vote, the resolution will need fifty votes to pass.  As I see it, Senator Inhofe needs to gain the support of at least two more Republicans and then focus on getting three Democrats who are in tough re-election races in States that mine or use a lot of coal.

Across the States
William Yeatman


On Monday, EPA Region 8 proposed to reject Wyoming’s strategy to comply with the Regional Haze Rule, a visibility regulation meant to improve the view at National Parks and Wilderness Area. In lieu of the state’s plan, EPA proposed to impose a federal plan that would cost almost $108 million per year, in order to achieve a visibility “improvement” that is imperceptible. This is the fourth Regional Haze implementation Obama’s EPA has proposed. In North Dakota, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, EPA has imposed almost $400 million in annual compliance costs. In each case, the “benefits” are invisible.

Around the World
Brian McGraw

U.S. Shale Gas Boom Helping to Alleviate Global Poverty

According to a new article in Forbes, the hydraulic fracturing boom is also helping to lift Indian farmers out of poverty through increased demand for guar, a product used in the fracking process. Guar gum, produced by a bean grown commonly in India, is ten times more valuable than it was only a year ago, diverting a lot of new found fracking wealth to poor Indian farmers. This is yet another example of the ways in which economic booms can help the world’s worst off, demonstrating the real damage inflicted by anti-fracking activists attempting to use regulations to end hydraulic fracturing in the United States.

UK’s Anti-Fossil Fuel Policies Increasing Energy Poverty

 A new report in the United Kingdom suggests that almost 40% of British households are already spending more than 10% of their disposable income on monthly energy bills, a metric used to classify households as energy impoverished. Unfortunately, the UK appears ready to implement even more centralized control over energy production. This move, along with various schemes to promote renewable energy, will ensure that the trend towards energy poverty does not reverse itself. The report suggests that the number of households living in energy poverty will surpass 50% in the next few years. For your reference, here is an article on energy costs for residents of the United States. Note though that this includes transportation fuel costs, which the UK research does not consider.

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,