Cooler Heads Digest 5 April 2013

5 April 2013

In the News

Green Stimulus Beneficiary Fisker Automotive Hits the Skids
Alan Ohnsman, Bloomberg, 5 April 2013

On the Environment, Alarmists Are Still Losing
David Harsanyi, Reason, 4 April 2013

Flat Temperatures Flummox Scientists
Timothy Lee, CFIF, 4 April 2013

Secretive McCarthy Not Fit To Lead EPA
Washington Examiner editorial, 3 April 2013

You Can Love Nature and Still Hate the Tyranny of Environmental Regulations
John Stossel, Fox News, 3 April 2013

Violent Environmental Problems with Wind Power
James Rust, Master Resource, 3 April 2013

We’re Not Screwed?
Ross McKitrick, Financial Post, 2 April 2013

States Show Folly of Energy Mandates
Grover Norquist & Patrick Gleason, Politico, 2 April 2013

News You Can Use
Pew Poll: Democratic Majority Support Keystone XL

Two-thirds of the public—including a majority of Democrats—support building the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a Pew Research Center poll released this week. The pipeline won support from 66 percent of respondents, compared with 23 percent who oppose it. Republicans favored building it 82-10, independents 70-21 and Democrats 54-34.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

Senate Hearings Set for EPA Nominee

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will consider the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be administrator of the EPA at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 11. During President Obama’s first term, McCarthy served as head of EPA Office of Air and Regulation, which wrote more regulations than all other offices combined. The rules for which she is responsible include the Utility MACT ($10 billion/yr.), the Boiler MACT ($10 billion/yr.), and the since-shelved Ozone NAAQS ($1 trillion/yr.). She was also responsible for EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations.

I expect Ranking Member Sen. David Vitter to ask tough questions of the nominee at the hearings, but I hope he expands his questioning beyond her regulatory history. In particular, I hope he presses her on EPA’s troubling record on transparency—a subject my colleague Chris Horner has done much to expose (see the next story for more on that).

CEI, ATI Sue for EPA for Instant Message Correspondence

In what could be a landmark case, the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Tradition Institute’s Environmental Law Center have filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) against the Environmental Protection Agency seeking communications among senior EPA officials using instant messaging (IM) technology.

Although IMs are “agency records” under the law, they do not seem to have been searched by EPA in response to FOIA requests or requests from Congress seeking “records,” or “electronic records,” both of which would cover IMs.

In the joint lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., CEI asked the court to compel EPA to produce IM discussions to or from former administrator Lisa Jackson, including her alias “Richard Windsor” account, discussing the Obama administration’s war on coal. CEI already is in court for the “Windsor” emails on the same topics.

Across the States

Bill to Repeal Renewable Mandate Moves ahead in North Carolina

By a narrow 11 to 10 vote, North Carolina House Commerce and Job Development Subcommittee on Energy and Emerging Markets passed HB 298, the Affordable and Reliable Energy Act. The bill would roll back North Carolina’s renewable portfolio standard, a Soviet-style green energy production quota. The legislation has been referred to the House Environment Committee, which is expected to take up the measure next week.

Currently, 29 States (in addition to North Carolina) have renewable portfolio standards. HB 298 would be the first repeal, and this has environmentalists and green energy lobbyists discomfited. They fear a domino effect, so they are pouring resources into the Tar Heel State to try to block the bill’s passage. Fortunately, the other side has resources, too. For example, the John Locke Foundation, a North Carolina-based free market group, this week published a short study on HB 298 (available here). Also, Americans for Prosperity this week launched a website to support the bill.

Around the World

BP Back to Petroleum

In the early 2000s, BP declared that it was “beyond petroleum” and invested billions of dollars in renewable energy.  Since 2007, however, the company has been selling off its renewable portfolio, a process that culminated this week when BP put its $1.5 billion U.S. wind power up for sale. It should come as a great relief to BP shareholders that the company has now fully reverted to producing products that people actually want to buy. 

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,