Cooler Heads Digest 2 August 2013


2 August 2013

In the News

North Carolina Governor Saves Renewable Mandate
Roy Cordato, Master Resource, 2 August 2013

Interior OKs Environmental Impact Probe of Drilling on Public Land in California
Scott Streater, GreenWire, 2 August 2013

New EPA Chief Dictates “Solutions” to States
Erika Johnson, Hot Air, 31 July 2013

BMW i3: Monster Spawn of Regulation
William Yeatman,, 31 July 2013

No Wonder McCarthy Wants To Ignore Job-Killing EPA Regulations
Washington Examiner editorial, 31 July 2013

EPA’s Game of Secret Science
Rep. Lamar Smith, Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2013

Keystone Jobs vs. Green Stimulus Jobs
Greg Pollowitz, Planet Gore, 29 July 2013

Obama’s Climate Plan Would Kill Hundreds of Millions of Birds
James Taylor, Forbes, 29 July 2013

Germany Went “Rogue” To Freeze Green Cars Law, Say Diplomats
Euractiv, 22 July 2013

News You Can Use
U.S. Oil & Gas Drilling Records Set in 2012

Thanks to advances in drilling technology, U.S. oil and gas production set a number of records in 2012, according to a new analysis by the Independent Petroleum Association of America. Among them:

  • U.S. crude oil production rose by the largest volume ever in its history, nearly 850,000 barrels per day, or 14.9 percent.
  • U.S. output of natural gas liquids reached an all-time high.
  • U.S. marketed production of natural gas set another all-time record, at 25.3 trillion cubic feet.

These records occurred in spite of President Obama’s red tape and bureaucratic footdragging, which has inhibited oil and gas production on federal lands. The preponderance of increased U.S. production has occurred on private and state lands.

Inside the Beltway
Myron  Ebell

House Passes REINS Act with Anti-Carbon Tax Amendment

The House of Representatives on Friday, 2nd August, passed H. R. 367, the REINS Act, which would require House and Senate votes to approve proposed major regulations, by a vote of 232 to 183.  Six Democrats and 226 Republicans voted Yes, while all the No votes came from Democrats.  Eighteen Members did not vote.  The REINS Act isn’t going anywhere in the Senate.

Earlier in the day, the House voted on an amendment offered by Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) that would require congressional approval before the executive branch could implement a tax on carbon dioxide emissions using regulatory authority.  That amendment was adopted by a vote of 237 to 176. 225 Republicans voted Yes.  They were joined by twelve Democrats.  All 176 No votes came from Democratic Members.  Eighteen Members did not vote.

Rep. Scalise is chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, which has made a vote on a resolution opposing a carbon tax one of its top priorities.  The amendment is somewhat narrower than H. Con. Res. 24, but the vote does put Members on the record on a carbon tax.  The vote reveals that 176 Democratic Members of the House are not opposed to raising taxes.  That vote could play a role in some districts in the 2014 congressional elections.  A number of House Democrats lost their seats in 2010 because they had voted for the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill.    

The twelve Democrats who voted for the anti-carbon tax amendment are: Ron Barber and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, John Barrow and Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Henry Cuellar and Filemon Vela of Texas, William Enyart of Illinois, Jim Matheson of Utah, Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, Collin Peterson and Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Nick Joe Rahall of West Virginia. 

Whether the executive branch has authority to implement a carbon tax under the regulatory authority of the Clean Air Act or any other statute is highly dubious.  However, several environmental pressure groups have been pushing the idea, and the Obama Administration has proved that it has little regard for the law.   

On 1st August, the House also passed the Energy Consumers Relief Act by a vote of 232 to 181.  Again, no Republicans voted against the bill.  Nine Democrats voted for it.  H. R. 1582 tries to set some limits on the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to promulgate expensive new regulations.  Again, the bill is not going anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate.      

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell Talk Climate

It was a big week rhetorically for the Obama Administration.  Gina McCarthy on 30th July gave her first speech since being confirmed as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency by the Senate on 18th July by a 59 to 40 vote

The Boston-area native spoke at Harvard University Law School and began by joking about how long it took to be confirmed (136 days).

McCarthy said that EPA’s top priority was climate change.  She claimed that reducing greenhouse gas emissions would “feed the economic agenda of the country” and pleaded, “Can we stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs, please?”  Rather than killing jobs, McCarthy argued that, “We need to embrace cutting-edge technology as a way to spark business innovation.

Sorry, but we’re not going to stop talking about environmental regulations killing jobs because they are killing jobs.  Environmental regulations promulgated by the EPA since President Obama took office are raising energy prices and thereby making Americans poorer.  Fortunately for the American economy (and also for President Obama’s re-election last year), the adverse effects of these regulations have been masked by the smart drilling technology revolution that is unlocking America’s vast shale oil and gas resources.

On 31st July, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell spoke to employees gathered at the department’s main building in Washington.  In what was reported as a good-natured speech full of jokes, Jewell said, “I hope there are no climate change deniers in the Department of the Interior.”  My CEI colleague Marlo Lewis comments on this astonishing threat.

It was reported that Jewell mentioned that in her 111 days as Secretary of the Interior she had flown enough miles to go around the Earth one-and-a-half times.  Apparently, the irony of advocating radical cuts in greenhouse gas emissions while continuing an extremely high-carbon lifestyle escapes the new Secretary, as—to be fair—it escapes many wealthy and powerful people.       

Across the States
William Yeatman

West Virginia

On August 1st, the West Virginia Democratic Party organized a delegation of Democratic lawmakers, business, and labor leaders that met at the White House with administration officials, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, and Heather Zichal, the President’s top climate advisor. Political leaders from the State included Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, House Speaker Tim Miley, Rep. Nick Rahall, and Sen. Joe Manchin.

The delegation sought to impress upon EPA Administrator McCarthy the impact on West Virginia of the administration’s war on coal, the state’s primary industry. In particular, they expressed their concern about a regulation, known as the Carbon Pollution Standard, sent by EPA to the White House in early July. The original version of the regulation banned new coal-fired power plants, and the revised version is expected to effectively do the same.

McCarthy promised to seek “open dialogue.” But this should be of little solace to the West Virginia delegation, as EPA has demonstrated that it will ignore the state’s voice. In May 2010, I attended an EPA field hearing in Charleston on the agency’s proposal to block a surface coal mining project in Logan County. EPA justified its actions based on the need to protect a short-lived insect. There were 800 people in the audience, and only four of them supported EPA. Only weeks before, the Democratic-controlled State Legislature voted unanimously for a bill objecting to EPA’s actions. Despite this “open dialogue,” in which West Virginians overwhelmingly articulated their opposition, the agency proceeded to block the mining project, and thereby prevented the creation of 250 jobs that paid, on average $62,000.

The West Virginia delegation left without achieving any other commitments from the administration. Click here for a summary of reactions of the meetings participants by the Daily Caller.

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,