In the News
Kenneth Green (AEI) on Carbon Tax: From “For” to “Against”
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 19 July 2012
Energy Company Can’t Locate $500,000 in Stimulus Money
Melanie Wilcox, The Foundry, 19 July 2012
Research published this week by scientists from SUNY-Stony Brook demonstrates that compact fluorescent light bulbs emit dangerous levels of ultra-violet radiation. Dr. Miriam Rafailovich, the lead researcher, recommended that consumers place CFLs behind “an additional glass cover” for safety. This is the second significant health threat posed by CFLs: It has long been known that mercury dust within CFLs can be a minor health hazard when they break.
Inside the Beltway
Fracking Film Festival Great, Except for One Anti-Energy Film
The American Petroleum Institute hosted a “Fracking Film Festival” at the Warner Theatre in Washington, DC, on 19th July. Trailers from five new documentary films on the use of hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas were shown: FrackNation, Empire State Divide, the Grand Energy Transition: Natural Gas—the Bridge Fuel to Our Sustainable Energy Future, and Switch—a Smarter Energy Future.
The trailers were followed by an interesting and lively panel discussion with Phelim McAleer, the co-producer of FrackNation, Karen Moreau, producer of the Empire State Divide (which was directed by my former CEI colleague, Drew Tidwell), and a representative of the makers of Truthland from Energy in Depth.
API President Jack Gerard gave a short introductory talk that emphasized the contribution increased natural gas and oil production using hydraulic fracturing was making and could make to American economic growth and job creation. Unfortunately, that message was undercut by the trailer for the Grand Energy Transition, which revealed a darker side of the natural gas industry.
The trailer focused on the replacement of so-called dirty coal by clean natural gas and had clips of T. Boone Pickens, promoter of the notorious Pickens Payoff Plan (also known as the NATGAS Act), and Ted Turner. The documentary also features Aubrey McClendon, Chairman Chesapeake Energy, who gave $26 million to the Sierra Club for its Beyond Coal campaign and reportedly $100 million to the American Lung Association for their despicable anti-coal campaign. For McClendon and a few others in the natural gas industry, the way to create wealth and jobs in the gas industry is to destroy the coal industry. It is unlikely that this will provide the boost to the American economy that API admirably promotes.
House Republicans Need To Get Serious about Crony Capitalism
Another instance of House Republicans letting parochial special interests get in the way of their larger policy goals was provided this week in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) had to postpone mark-up in the energy subcommittee that he chairs of the No More Solyndras Act.
One of the reasons for postponing the mark-up was that fifteen amendments were filed to the bill that would end the Department of Energy’s $34 billion loan guarantee program to renewable energy companies. Another reason was that three Republican Members of the committee—Representatives Joe Barton (R-Tex.), Michael Burgess (R-Tex.), and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.)—expressed opposition to ending the program entirely, perhaps because they seek exemptions for loans to companies in their own districts.
A Wall Street Journal editorial sharply criticizing the three Republicans by name caused Reps. Burgess and Gingrey to announce that they will vote for the No More Solyndras Act, but Rep. Barton is reportedly still holding out. As Veronique de Rugy notes in a Washington Examiner op-ed, the DOE loan program “is what crony capitalism looks like.”
Across the States
California Full Speed Ahead with Ridiculous High-Speed Rail Project
California Governor Jerry Brown this week signed into law almost $8 billion in funding for a high-speed rail project. This spending is ridiculous for two reasons. First, California doesn’t have the money: the Golden State faces a $16 billion budget deficit. Second, there’s no demand. The line would connect Bakersfield and Fresno in the Central Valley, but few Californians commute between these two small cities.
Around the World
Authorities End Climategate Investigation
A three year—presumably part time—investigation into the unauthorized release of e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in November 2009 has come up empty, according to the Norfolk Constabulary. The investigators have ruled out the possibility that the e-mails were leaked from anyone affiliated with the UEA, and concluded that the e-mails were attained through a ‘sophisticated and carefully orchestrated attack on the CRU’s data files, carried out remotely via the internet’.
Many skeptics at the time suggested that the e-mails may have been leaked by a sympathetic whistleblower. While the Norfolk Constabulary have definitively determined that the e-mails were attained through a remote hack, it seems slightly premature to state with certainty that no one affiliated with the UEA could have been involved, if they truly have no idea who the perpetrators are. You can read the official press release here, which links to a Q&A with investigators.
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.