Cooler Heads Digest 2 May 2014

2 May 2014


The public comment period on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from new coal and gas-fired power plants ends on Friday, 9th May.  The rule may be found here, and comments may be submitted here

In the News

Carbon Emissions Rule: New Way to Skin the Cat—Or Same Old, Same Old?
Marlo Lewis,, 1 May 2014

Peak Oil Theory Runs Out of Gas
Editorial, Tyler Morning News, 1 May 2014

Congress May Override President on Keystone XL
Byron York, Washington Examiner, 1 May 2014

Rolling Blackouts from EPA’s Utility MACT? FERC Commissioner Says a “Possibility”
William Yeatman, Master Resource, 30 April 2014

Smithsonian Scare Stories
James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 30 April 2014

While Democrats Fundraise off Keystone Delay, Americans Lay 10,000 Miles of Pipeline
Chris Prandoni, Forbes, 30 April 2014

With Keystone Delay, U.S. Is the Only Loser
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Real Clear Markets, 29 April 2014

Sen. Jim Inhofe: EPA Slow-Walking Carbon Rule To Protect Democrats
Zack Colman, Washington Examiner, 29 April 2014

IPCC TAR and the Hockey Stick
Judith Curry, Climate Etc., 29 April 2014

Skeptical Global Warming Arguments That Don’t Hold Water
Roy Spencer,, 25 April 2014

News You Can Use
EPA Model + OMB Assumptions = Negative Social Cost of Carbon

According to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation’s David Kreutzer & Kevin Dayaratna, the current social cost of carbon is negative using EPA’s preferred economic model and federal modeling guidelines established by the Office of Management & Budget for federal economic modeling. This research, which is based on EPA’s model & OMB assumptions, suggests the Obama administration should subsidize the combustion of hydrocarbon energy sources.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

National Climate Assessment To Be Released Next Week

The final draft of the third National Climate Assessment is scheduled to be approved by the interagency committee overseeing its production on Tuesday, 6th May.  The assessment, fact sheets, and other background information may be found on the U. S. Global Change Research Program web site

The Competitive Enterprise Institute filed suit in federal court in 2000 to block release of the first National Assessment on the Impacts of Climate Change on the grounds that its preparation had not complied with the Federal Administrative Procedures Act.  CEI then filed another suit to block its dissemination on the grounds that it did not meet the minimal requirements of the federal Information Quality Act.  That suit was settled when the Department of Justice agreed to affix a warning on the assessment’s home page that it had not been subjected to Information Quality Act guidelines.  We shall examine the third assessment for similar shortcomings, and there will no doubt be a number of scientists examining it for scientific shortcomings.     

Senate Inches Toward Keystone Vote

The Senate has spent much of the week negotiating behind closed doors on bringing the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill to the floor and whether it will include a vote on permitting the Keystone XL Pipeline immediately.  It now appears likely that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will bring S. 2262, the energy efficiency bill introduced last year by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to the floor next week and will allow a vote on a separate Keystone bill.  Most analysts think that Keystone has 56 or 57 of the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and move to a vote on final passage.    

Administrator McCarthy Claims Science Is EPA’s “North Star”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy gave a major speech at the National Academy of Science on Monday, 28th April in which she attacked those who question the EPA’s use of science. 

She began by making some bold claims:

“In everything we do—EPA relies on transparency, on rigorous peer review, and on robust, meaningful public comment. The expert advice we get from our independent Science Advisory Board is a perfect example of that.”

Every one of these statements needs to be severely qualified to get within shouting distance of the truth.  Next McCarthy dismissed the extremely well-documented refusal of the EPA to share the data and methodology of the studies upon which their most outlandish health claims are made for Clean Air Act regulation of fine particulate matter:   

“With science as our North Star—EPA has steered America away from health risks, and toward healthier communities and a higher overall quality of life. That’s why it’s worrisome that our science seems to be under constant assault by a small—but vocal —group of critics.  Those critics conjure up claims of ‘EPA secret science’— but it’s not really about EPA science or secrets. It’s about challenging the credibility of world renowned scientists and institutions like Harvard University and the American Cancer Society. It’s about claiming that research is secret if researchers protect confidential personal health data from those who are not qualified to analyze it—and won’t agree to protect it. If EPA is being accused of “secret science” because we rely on real scientists to conduct research, and independent scientists to peer review it, and scientists who’ve spent a lifetime studying the science to reproduce it — then so be it!”

While serving as assistant administrator for air and radiation in the first Obama term, McCarthy promised Congress that she would turn over the data from these two studies.  She made a similar promise during her Senate confirmation hearing last summer to Senator David Vitter (R-La.), ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee.  Yet, McCarthy and the agency she heads continue to break their promises and defy the law.  McCarthy then warned:

“Those critics are playing a dangerous game by discrediting the sound science our families and our businesses depend on every day. I bet when those same critics get sick, they run to doctors and hospitals that rely on science from—guess who—Harvard and the American Cancer Society.”

There is much more in McCarthy’s disgraceful speech that is outrageously false, including ridiculous claims of the economic benefits of EPA regulations.  An inescapable inference from her claims is that a chief reason the economies of California and New York, to take only two examples, are lagging Texas is that they just don’t have enough environmental regulations.  The whole speech may be read here.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Supreme Court Upholds EPA’s Interstate Pollution Rule

The Supreme Court on Monday, 28th April upheld the EPA’s 2011 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.  My CEI colleague William Yeatman explains the conflicting DC Circuit Court decisions over fifteen years that were finally, if not well, resolved by the Supreme Court’s 6 to 2 decision in a post on

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion and was joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Breyer, Kagan, Kennedy, and Sotomayor.  Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion that Justice Thomas also signed.  Justice Alito recused himself from the case. 

The court’s decision taken together with the DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision on 16th April to uphold the Utility MACT rule does not bode well for other appeals of immensely costly Clean Air Act regulations on the grounds that the costs have not been adequately considered in the rulemaking process. 

Around the World
Marlo Lewis

Global Study: Economic Freedom Leads to Healthier Air

A new study by the Fraser Institute in Canada finds that economic freedom is an important cause of air quality improvement.

The study compares average airborne concentrations of particulate matter and economic freedom in 105 countries around the world. The authors, Joel Wood and Ian Herzog, find that in 2010, the 20 countries that were most economically free had average concentrations of particulate matter that were nearly 40% lower than the 20 least-free countries.

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,