In the News
“Clean Energy” Is Obama-speak for “Crony Capitalism”
Michelle Malkin, MichelleMalkin.com, 24 August 2012
On Energy, Obama Rewards Friends and Punishes Enemies
Washington Examiner editorial, 23 August 2012
NASDAQ Delisting Threat Jeopardizes Chinese Rescue of Green Stimulus Loser
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 23 August 2012
Satisfying Energy Demand Could Be India’s Biggest Challenge
Simon Denyer & Rama Lakshimi, Washington Post, 22 August 2012
Democrats Use Summer Temperatures To Reignite Hysteria
Sen. James Inhofe, Human Events, 20 August 2012
News You Can Use
Obama Crony Conducts “Independent” Review into Cronyism at Solyndra Program
In late 2011, President Barack Obama chose businessman Herb Allison to audit allegations that political relationships were influencing investments made by the Energy Department’s Loan Programs Office, a stimulus-funded green bank responsible for the Solyndra debacle. Allison’s report, released last February, exonerated the White House and was widely trumpeted by the President’s media team. A month after absolving the President of cronyism, Allison gave $52,000 to the President’s re-election campaign, as reported by the AP this week.
Inside the Beltway
Romney Releases Energy Plan
The Mitt Romney for President campaign released a white paper on energy policy on 23rd August that makes several major commitments, while offering few details. The campaign’s white paper groups Romney’s policy commitments around achieving North American energy independence by 2020.
Since we’re already self-sufficient in coal and natural gas, the key is increasing oil production significantly. That is likely to happen without much effort by the federal government. The only foreseeable obstacle is if President Barack Obama is re-elected and is able to implement his entire anti-energy agenda with Congress’s approval.
Moving quickly toward self-sufficiency in petroleum will involve opening up more federal lands and offshore areas to oil exploration. Romney proposes to short circuit the endless delays in permitting exploration and production on federal lands in the West by turning responsibility over to the States. Turning federal authority to the States is a controversial proposal that sparked immediate opposition from environmental pressure groups and the mainstream media.
Stoking an oil boom and thereby lowering the trade deficit will increase U. S. gross domestic product by approximately $500 billion a year and create three million new jobs, including one million in manufacturing, according to the white paper. It would almost certainly also strengthen the dollar.
On the campaign trail, Romney has emphasized the Obama Administration’s war on coal, but the white paper doesn’t say much about how a Romney administration would undo EPA’s regulatory onslaught against coal production and use. Nor does it explicitly repeat the campaign’s opposition to renewing the wind production tax credit.
One of the few details in the white paper is that Romney supports continuing the ethanol mandate, which is officially known as the Renewable Fuels Standard. That is disappointing, but not surprising. Romney needs to win most of the corn States, and his opposition to wind subsidies has already hurt him in Iowa (and Colorado).
The Obama campaign immediately attacked Romney’s energy plan as “simply doing the bidding of Big Oil.” When asked whether President Obama was going to give a major speech on climate change policy, as he promised to do in an interview in Rolling Stone Magazine this spring, White House spokesman Tom Reynolds was quoted in Politico as saying, “Clearly this is something that is important to the administration, but right now we’re obviously going to be focusing on jobs and the economy and what our contrast is here.”
In other words, detailing President Obama’s anti-energy agenda is an obvious loser, which they’ll do anything to avoid talking about. But not all the President’s environmental pressure group supporters have gotten the message. The League of Conservation Voters this week launched a petition on their web site that urges the moderator of the first presidential debate to ask the candidates “how they will confront the greatest challenge of our generation—climate change.”
Michael Mann Threatens To Sue National Review, CEI
National Review came out this week with guns blazing against Penn State Professor Michael Mann, chief fabricator of the infamous hockey stick temperature graph and a leading figure in the Climategate scandal. In response to a threatening letter from Mann’s lawyer, National Review editor Rich Lowry published an article on the magazine’s web site headlined, “Get Lost.” At the same time, Bruce D. Brown, the lawyer representing National Review, sent a letter to Mann’s lawyer, John B. Williams, that is just as strong as Lowry’s column.
Mann quickly posted on his Facebook page Williams’s response. Mann concluded his Facebook post, “We intend to file a lawsuit.”
Mann is threatening to sue because National Review posted an unflattering short item by Mark Steyn on 15th July As it happens, Steyn’s blog post was inspired by an even more unflattering post about Mann on CEI’s OpenMarket.org by Rand Simberg, an adjunct scholar at CEI. In “The Other Scandal in Happy Valley,” Simberg suggests that the Freeh report on Penn State’s cover-up of the child abuse scandal in its football program is not the only cover-up that should be investigated.
Although it took Mann’s lawyer a little longer to get around to threatening CEI, on 21st August Williams e-mailed a letter similar to his letter to National Review to CEI President Fred Smith. Here is CEI’s press release responding to the demand that we apologize to Mann, retract the allegedly defamatory statements, and remove Simberg’s post from OpenMarket.org. Perhaps unsurprisingly, CEI’s General Counsel Sam Kazman rejects these demands just as firmly as does National Review’s lawyer. I also make a couple comments in our press release, but am not nearly as zippy as National Review’s headline, “Get Lost.” I should add that we did remove two sentences from Simberg’s article soon after it was posted because we felt that they were not in the best taste.
Across the States
D.C. Court Rejects Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, But EPA Has Backup Plan
On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR). EPA promulgated CSAPR in August 2011, and the regulation’s purpose was to ensure that emissions in upwind States do not interfere with downwind States’ compliance with the Clean Air Act. The Court struck down CSAPR because EPA failed to try to determine precisely the degree to which individual States interfered with one another. Instead, the Agency chose compliance cost thresholds (between $500 and $2,000 per ton of emissions) and required all emissions reductions that could be achieved at that price. The D.C. Circuit Court ruled that this was unacceptable, because it would likely require emissions reductions beyond what is necessary to address upwind States’ contributions to downwind non-attainment. Simply put, the Court ruled that EPA did not have the authority to impose a regulation that was more stringent than necessary.
EPA has until next week to pursue an appeal. Whether or not the Agency does so, the fact remains that EPA planned for this contingency (i.e., the rejection by the courts of CSAPR). EPA’s backup plan is a regulation known as the Regional Haze rule, whose purpose is to improve visibility at National Parks. Since December, EPA has systematically altered the air quality plans of States subjected to CSAPR. As a result, the Agency has seized the authority to impose federal Regional Haze plans on the CSAPR States. These Regional Haze federal implementation plans would cover the same pollutants as CSAPR, but they would be much more costly.
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.