Cooler Heads Digest 3 May 2013

3 May 2013


The Marshall Institute today published a new report titled, “A Skeptical Look at the Carbon Tax,” by James DeLong of the Convergence Law Institute. Click here to read the report.

In the News

Does Big Green Care about People or Nature?
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 3 May 2013

How Oil Made Working-Class North Dakota Rich
Jordan Weissman, The Atlantic, 2 May 2013

Oil Drilling Leaps, Clean Energy Lags
Jonathan Fahey, AP, 2 May 2013

The High Cost of Zero
Paul Driessen, Washington Times, 2 May 2013

Right Stuff: NASA Scientists Weigh In to Undo Hansen Damage
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 1 May 2013

EPA Chief Pretended To Be ‘Richard Windsor’
Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, 1 May 2013

Washington Wind Turbine Toppled by 35 mph Gust
Andy Matarrese, Daily Record, 30 April 2013

Government’s Bad Bet on Fisker
Charles Lane, Washington Post, 30 April 2013

News You Can Use
Obama’s EPA Has Imposed $37.8 Billion in Annual Costs

According to a Heritage Foundation report published this week, EPA has imposed $37.8 billion in annual regulatory costs since President Barack Obama took office. The report, Red Tape Rising, is available here.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Senate EPW Schedules Vote for EPA Nominee

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee has scheduled a vote on the nomination of Gina McCarthy to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for the morning of Thursday, May 9th. All the Democrats on the committee will vote for McCarthy. Since they hold a ten to eight majority over Republicans, it is certain that the committee will send the nomination to the Senate floor for a confirmation vote.

What is less certain is whether Senator David Vitter (R-La), ranking Republican on the committee, will have the committee's seven other Republicans with him in voting against McCarthy. If he does, then the next question is whether Vitter will lead an effort to block a floor vote.

It takes 60 votes to invoke cloture to end debate and move to a vote. So Vitter needs to round up 41 votes to block McCarthy's confirmation. There are 45 Republicans in the Senate. If Vitter leads the effort against McCarthy, it is likely that he will have two or three Democrats with him. But there are also a number of Republicans who might defect. Several of them don't like McCarthy, but believe that deference should be given to the President's nominees unless they are manifestly unqualified or corrupt.

The argument for blocking McCarthy's confirmation is simply that it is one of the very few shots that Senators will have during the 113th Congress to push back the EPA's ongoing regulatory onslaught against affordable energy. McCarthy, as Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation for the past four years, has been in charge of writing and promulgating the several Clean Air Act regulations that are designed to close coal-fired power plants. In my view, those Senators who oppose the EPA's agenda should not be voting to promote the point person for implementing that agenda. She also misled both the Congress and the public about the design and impact of two of the most expensive regulations—new fuel economy targets and the Carbon Pollution Standard. My colleagues Marlo Lewis and Anthony Ward explain her duplicity here.

Across the States
William Yeatman

Renewables Repeal Resuscitated in North Carolina

Last Friday, I reported that the North Carolina House Public Utilities and Energy Committee voted down H.B. 298, legislation that would have prevented the state’s green energy mandate increasing from 3% to 12% of electricity sales. This week, however, the bill was resuscitated, thanks to the commitment of its sponsor, Rep. Mike Hager (R). Rep. Hager, who chairs the Public Utilities and Energy Committee, told reporters that he would use his prerogative as committee chairman to keep the bill in play indefinitely, and that his goal was to get a floor vote. Hager’s bill received another boost this week when its companion legislation was passed out of the Senate Finance Committee by a voice vote.

EPA Shaking Down Contractors?

In January, there was a split in the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), an organization that represents air quality officials in state government. Delegations from seventeen states broke off and formed their own organization, the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, due primarily to a disagreement over NACAA’s support for the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality regulations. Unlike the NACAA, the breakaway groups objected to EPA’s regulatory assault, and they sought to create an independent voice.

The new group contracted Battelle, a prominent consulting firm, to administer its launch.  Last month, Inside EPA reported that Battelle dissolved the contract with AAPCA as a result of EPA pressure. Sources told Inside EPA that the agency bullied Battelle into dropping the contract, by thretening to block current and potential future contracts with the federal government. This week, the American Tradition Institute sent EPA a Freedom of Information Request Act seeking information about this alleged instance of “gangster government.” Also,Texas state officials sent a letter alleging that EPA had “threaten[ed]” Battelle, and demanded to know why.

Around the World
William Yeatman

Another Pointless Climate Confab Concludes

Today marks the conclusion of an intercessional meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bonn, Germany, the purpose of which was to prepare for negotiations at the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC this December in Warsaw, Poland.

According to Bloomberg, almost 190 UNFCCC delegates in Bonn are working towards a deal in 2015 that would establish binding greenhouse gas emissions targets for….2050.This is a pathetic goal, even by the pitiful standards of these climate confabs. The Kyoto Protocol, which was the result of COP-3, created binding targets that its signatories ignored. In 2007, after having spent a decade monitoring the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, climate diplomats at COP-13 in Bali, Indonesia established “aspirational” goals to achieve binding emissions targets for 2020 by COP-15. Two years later, the “Bali Roadmap” dead-ended at COP-15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, where negotiations completely disintegrated.

Since the disaster in Denmark, the UNFCCC has been aimless, and this new target is effectively an admission of total failure. A 2050 target is so distant as to be meaningless in practice. It's a goal I could support, and I'm a "denier." Of course, an empty agreement of this sort is the only one that nations of the world would ever submit to, for reasons that I explain here.

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,