Cooler Heads Digest 31 May 2013

31 May 2013


On Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 12:00 p.m., the Heritage Foundation will hold a panel on “The Lack of Science in the Scientific Consensus: The Case of the National Climate Assessment,” with Patrick Michaels, Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, Harold Doiron, Retired NASA Physicist and Engineer, and Harlan Watson, Former Ambassador, Special Envoy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, David Kreutzer, Research Fellow in Energy Economics and Climate Change at the Heritage Foundation. The panel will take place in the Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium. RSVP online.

In the News

John Christy: Climate Change Overview in 6 Slides
Marlo Lewis,, 31 May 2013

More Evidence of EPA Bias against Small Government Groups
Kevin Mooney,, 30 May 2013

Tesla’s Hazard Lights Are Flashing
Robert Weinstein, The Street, 30 May 2013

Anti-Fracking Lawmaker Admits to Using Fake Names to Attack Opponents Online
Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, 30 May 2013

Solar Industry Worried about Defective Panels
Todd Woody, New York Times, 28 May 2013

Climate Better Than “We” Thought
Marlo Lewis, National Journal, 28 May 2013

The Climate Change Skeptics Are Winning
Liam Dennis, Independent, 28 May 2013

My Scientists Made Me Shrink Your Car
Patrick Michaels, Washington Times, 28 May 2013

Obama’s Electric Vehicles Program Is a Failure
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 28 May 2013

400 Year Old Moss Frozen by Glacier in Little Ice Age Revived
Sheila Pratt, National Post, 28 May 2013

News You Can Use
Carbon Tax Cost through 2100: $100 Trillion

According to an economic analysis published this week by the Heritage Foundation, adopting climate legislation sponsored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would cost the global economy $100 trillion through 2100.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

CEI files suit for text messages from EPA nominee Gina McCarthy

The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed suit in federal court this week to compel the Environmental Protection Agency to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for any text messages sent or received by Gina McCarthy on the eighteen days when she testified before Congress while serving as Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation.  McCarthy’s nomination to be EPA Administrator is pending before the Senate.

To quote CEI’s press release: “EPA must produce these records under the Freedom of Information Act and, in the process, admit one of two scenarios: either EPA has maintained text messages as required by law but has chosen repeatedly to withhold them in the face of FOIA and congressional oversight requests for “all records” or “all electronic records,” or EPA has destroyed the texts, with possible criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 2071 (Concealment, removal, or mutilation of federal records).”

Further: “CEI submitted its request specifically for some of McCarthy’s texts in April after being credibly informed EPA warned her to stop texting and that the messages she was sending about Members of Congress during hearings posed great risk to her and the agency. EPA has failed to turn over these messages, but it has acknowledged it could do so with less than two hours of work.”

This is only the latest suit in a series filed by CEI to try to get the EPA and several other federal agencies to stop stonewalling FOIA requests. The most famous follows from my CEI colleague Chris Horner’s discovery that then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had used a false-identity e-mail account to conduct official business under the alias “Richard Windsor.” 

The EPA, under court order, has turned over in full only about one third of the nearly 12,000 of the “Richard Windsor” e-mails, while heavily redacting (often for what appear to be specious reasons) the others that it has released.  In addition, the EPA has not informed CEI of how many e-mails it is withholding in full, as is required by law. Many of the redacted e-mails are to or from McCarthy, and it seems likely that quite a few of those being withheld are also to or from McCarthy. 

As I reported last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has announced that he will delay the floor vote on McCarthy’s confirmation as EPA Administrator until after the week-long Fourth of July recess. In my view, Senators would be well advised to put holds on McCarthy’s nomination until the EPA removes the redactions from the “Richard Windsor” e-mails to or from McCarthy, turns over the text messages from McCarthy, and explains why it has not been producing text message in response to FOIA and congressional oversight requests. Reading those communications will give Senators a better idea of the extent to which McCarthy has actively participated in the EPA’s chronic flouting of transparency laws, including the Freedom of Information Act and the Federal Records Act. EPA policy specifically charges McCarthy with ensuring compliance with the requirement that her office properly maintain and produce such agency records.

Across the States
William Yeatman

Virginia Candidate for Governor Shows How Winning Votes Makes Democrats Seem Normal on Energy Policy

E&E EnergyWire (subscription required) this week reported that Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has endorsed federal legislation that would open offshore Virginia to oil and gas drilling. This is a major shift from his failed 2009 campaign, during which he opposed offshore drilling. On energy policy, McAuliffe also has done a U-turn on coal. In 2009, he pledged to never allow a coal fired power plant; now, he doesn’t mention coal-fired power, but his campaign does support increased coal exports.

McAuliffe’s abrupt shift on energy policy mirrors President Barack Obama’s performance during campaign debates with GOP candidate Mitt Romney in late 2012. During his first term, President Obama’s administration imposed a suite of policies meant to inhibit hydrocarbon energy production in the United States. Yet during the debate, when American voters were paying attention, the President championed his supposed support for more oil and gas drilling, and even claimed to back the coal industry.

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,