Cooler Heads Digest 12 December 2014

12 December 2014

In the News

Lost Stock, Unused Space Plague EPA Warehouses
Kelly Riddell & Drew Johnson, Washington Times, 12 December 2014

EPA Using Jonathan Gruber Tactic To Impose Harmful Regulations
Paul Driessen,, 12 December 2014

How President & His Green Base Are Planning To Eradicate the Oil and Gas Industry
Ron Arnold, The Daily Signal, 12 December 2014

Greenpeace Activists Detained after Desecrating World Heritage Site in Peru
Ben Webster, The Times, 11 December 2014

Alabama’s State Climatologist Becomes EPA’s Worst Nightmare
Cliff Simms, Yellowhammer, 11 December 2014

China Recoils on Transparency at Climate Conference
Fred Lucas, The Blaze, 11 December 2014

EPA Should Re-Examine Climate Rule’s Scientific Basis—John Christy
Marlo Lewis,, 10 December 2014

Exxon: North America To Be Energy Exporter by 2020
Robert Gratten, Fuel Fix, 9 December 2014

Doubling Down on Climate Alarmism
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 8 December 2014

No-Grow Zone: EPA’s Draconian Ozone Rule
Greg Bertelsen, Shop Floor, 8 December 2014

News You Can Use
CBO Report: Fracking Is a Boon to Treasury Department

Fracking will boost federal tax revenues by about 1 percent annually by 2040 without requiring any tax increases, according to Congressional Budget Office projections released this week.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

House Passes Spending Bill; Punts Policy Work to 114th Congress

On Thursday night, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a $1 trillion spending bill, H.R. 83, by a 219-206 vote. The bill was supported by 57 Democrats and opposed by 67 Republicans. The measure, which would fund the government through next September, is expected to receive a Senate vote today.

In the wake of last November’s elections, Republican leadership indicated they would use the budget process to rein in the EPA, but H.R. 83 doesn’t include much in the way of energy and environment policy. As such, it appears that the hard choices on spending have been punted to the 114th Congress, when the GOP will have greater leverage. While I agree with this strategy, it is a troubling portent that the House, despite its tough talk, actually funds EPA at a higher level than was sought by the President.

Other than omens, the bill’s most consequential provision (for energy policy) would block funding for any Interior Department effort to subject the sage grouse to regulations pursuant to the Endangered Species Act; environmentalist long have plotted for such regulations, in order to inhibit oil and gas production in the western U.S.

Interior Department Contractor Validates “War on Coal”

In a blockbuster opinion piece in this week's Lexington Herald-Leader, J. Steven Gardner, CEO of science and engineering firm ECSI, affirms that the Interior Department is pushing politicized anti-coal regulations. His company was one of five consultants contracted by the Interior Department to work on a pending regulation known as the “Stream Buffer Rule.” (I explain this ridiculous regulation in detail here.) According to Mr. Gardner, “Department of Interior officials asked the consultants to change the results,” after the firms had concluded that the rule would lead to thousands of job losses. Upon refusing to do so, the contract was terminated.

FERC Agrees to Vet Reliability Impact of Clean Power Plan

On Wednesday, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur announced that FERC would convene a series of technical conferences to investigate the reliability impact of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

FERC’s input is welcome because EPA can’t be trusted to properly vet its own rules. For example, the agency’s analysis of its absurd 2012 Utility MACT, which threatens to shut down 25 percent of the nation’s coal-fired power plants, completely failed to account for the possibility that cold weather (rather than sultry summer days) could engender reliability issues. In fact, much of the coal-fired generating capacity that is due to retire (on account of Utility MACT) proved to be essential to keeping the lights on during last winter’s polar vortex. EPA didn’t account for this possibility. The unfortunate result is that it’s unclear if certain regions, primarily in the northeast, could survive a cold winter without blackouts after the rule takes effect next spring.

Indeed, the Clean Power Plan could pose an even bigger threat to reliability than Utility MACT. Already, grid operators and federal reliability watchdogs have issued warnings that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would endanger reliable electric service more than half the country, as the Cooler Heads Digest reported in November.

Across the States
William Yeatman

NOAA Report: California Draught Due to Natural Causes

A report issued Monday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said natural variations were the primary drivers behind the California drought that has now stretched to three years.

Around the World
Myron Ebell

Dispatches from COP-20 in Lima, Peru

As reported in last week’s Cooler Heads Digest, CEI’s Myron Ebell this week participated in the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru. Below, we’ve provided links to Myron’s dispatches from Lima.

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,