Cooler Heads Digest 14 September 2012

14 September 2012


The Cooler Heads Coalition will host a Capitol Hill briefing on “The Costs and Benefits of Green Jobs.” The speaker will be Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of a new book, Regulating to Disaster: How Green Jobs Policies Are Damaging America’s Economy. The briefing will be held from Noon to 1:15 PM on September 21 in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building. Lunch will be provided, and attendees will receive copies of the book. Please RSVP to Brian McGraw at or (202) 331-2266.

In the News

Solyndra and Keystone Pipeline Present Stark Choice for U.S.
Rep. Fred Upton, Washington Times, 14 September 2012

Can Wind Power Grow without the PTC?
Lisa Linowes, Master Resource, 14 September 2012

Stimulated by Solyndra?
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, National Review, 13 September 2012

China’s Solyndra Economy
Patrick Chovanec, Wall Street Journal, 12 September 2012

GM’s Vaunted Volt Is on Road to Nowhere, Fast
Washington Post editorial, 12 September 2012

Obama’s Drought of Facts
Patrick Michaels, Planet Gore, 12 September 2012

Why Is the Carbon Tax Making a Comeback?
Kathleen White, Investors Business Daily, 11 September 2012

President Obama’s War on Coal
Rep. Doc Hastings, Politico, 11 September 2012

Ethanol Mandate Waiver: Decks Stacked against Petitioners
Marlo Lewis,, 10 September 2012

Obama’s Solar Fail
Walter Russell Mead, Via Media, 10 September 2012

Obama’s Green Push Hurts the Poor the Most
Ross Kaminsky, American Spectator, 10 September 2012

News You Can Use
GM Losing up to $49,000 on Each Chevy Volt

Reuters this week reported that GM is losing up to $49,000 on each Chevy Volt the company sells.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Passes No More Solyndras Act

The House of Representatives on 14th September passed the No More Solyndras Act by a vote of 245 to 161.  Twenty-two Democrats joined 223 Republicans in voting for H. R. 6213.  Four Republicans joined 157 Democrats in voting No.  Twelve Republicans and eleven Democrats missed the vote. 

If enacted, H. R. 6213 would stop the Department of Energy from issuing loan guarantees for any applications received after 2011.  The program was set up as section 1705 of the 2005 energy bill and then significantly expanded in the $787 billion “stimulus” bill supported by President Barack Obama in 2009. 

Three of the first five loan guarantees to renewable energy companies approved by the Department of Energy in 2009 have already ended in bankruptcy.  It appears that the federal government’s entire $535 million commitment to solar panel manufacturer Solyndra will be lost.

The bill does not live up to its title since around fifty loan guarantee applications filed before 2012 are being considered by the Department and any of them could still be approved.  It only requires that these grandfathered applications be vetted by the Treasury Department and prohibits the Department of Energy from subordinating federally-guaranteed loans to private investments or loans, as was the case with Solyndra.

The fact that up to fifty loan guarantees could still be approved by the Department of Energy even if the No More Solyndras Act is signed into law caused several free market and conservative groups to urge that the bill be amended to include pre-2012 applications and thus end the program completely. Representative Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) offered an amendment to that effect, but the House Rules Committee refused to allow a floor vote on it.

Rep. McClintock nonetheless voted for the bill, but suggested that without his amendment the title should be the “Fifty More Solyndras and Then We’ll Stop Wasting Your Money—Really—We Promise Act.”

House To Vote on Stop the War on Coal Act    

The House of Representatives next week will debate and vote on an omnibus bill that has been given the title, Stop the War on Coal Act.  The package consists of five titles that have been introduced as separate bills earlier in the 112th Congress.  By my count, four of them have already been passed as stand-alone measures by the House.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has not allowed any of them to be considered on the Senate floor.

Across the States
William Yeatman

Democrats in Energy States Running from Obama

Democratic candidates for statewide political offices in West Virginia and North Dakota, the number two coal and oil producing states (respectively), are distancing themselves from President Barack Obama’s energy policies. In West Virginia, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin this week issued his first television campaign ad, in which he explained that, “Since the day I became governor, I fought the Obama administration’s war on coal.” Also this week, North Dakota Democratic candidate for Senate Heidi Heitkamp released a new television spot, during which she notes that “I stood up to President Obama to support a balanced budget amendment, and the Keystone pipeline. And I oppose cap-and-trade.”

Around the World
Brian McGraw

E.U. versus Gazprom

The European Union Directorate General for Competition has launched an investigation into Gazprom, the Russian government-controlled gas company. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the European Commission rarely opens an investigation without evidence of wrongdoing. The investigation stems from accusations of “anti-competitive” behavior: the inclusion of no-resale clauses in long term natural gas contracts, the denial of access by third-parties to its natural gas pipelines, and the linking of oil and gas prices in long-term contracts despite the shakeup of the global natural gas market due to advances in hydraulic fracturing. This investigation comes at a time when many European countries – with the exception of Poland – have turned against the hydraulic fracturing revolution that is revolutionizing the North American market. Though the future remains uncertain, it seems that the natural gas revolution will eventually reduce Russia’s dominance of the European natural gas market.

Shell Requests Canadian Carbon Tax

Royal Dutch Shell PLC’s Canadian President, Lorraine Mitchelmore, made news this week by publicly calling for restrictions on carbon emissions in Canada via a tax, cap-and-trade scheme, or regulation. It is slightly curious to read about an oil executive calling for policies that would reduce oil consumption. It makes more sense when you read that Shell recently announced the construction of a $1.35 billion carbon capture and sequestration project in conjunction with Chevron, Marathon Oil, and Canadian taxpayers, as roughly 65% of the initial cost will be covered by public funding. As is widely understood, carbon capture and storage is not a profitable venture without a significant cap or price on carbon emissions. Mitchelmore’s announcement is more accurately understood in the context of increasing the likelihood that their speculative investment will become profitable by handicapping the competition, rather than a true concern over carbon dioxide emissions.

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,