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Entries in Biofuels (12)


CEI Today: Biofuels mandate, AFL-CIO merger?, and the UAW v Detroit


National Journal: Can Washington Find Agreement on Biofuels Mandate? The Battle Continues

Although various reform bills introduced this year would reduce the market distortions arising from the Renewable Fuel Standard, full repeal is the only objective consonant with the principles of a free society. The RFS literally compels one industry to sell other industries' products. It is a form of involuntary servitude. > Read more

> Interview Marlo Lewis


AFL-CIO - IVAN OSORIO Is the AFL-CIO Biting off More than it Can Chew?

Organized labor has long been a major force within the broader progressive coalition at the Democratic Party’s left wing. Now the AFL-CIO is considering making the relationship a more formal one. As
The Wall Street Journal reports: The centerpiece of the strategy ... involves bringing large grass-roots groups, such as the NAACP, the Hispanic civil-rights group National Council of La Raza and the Sierra Club, under the federation’s umbrella and giving them decision-making power.

Joining together to work for specific goals — pressuring companies and backing candidates — has proven effective for unions, environmental groups, and other members of the broader left. But forming a permanent formal alliance is bound to prove much more difficult. > Read more

> Interview Ivan Osorio



Can the UAW really be blamed for the sorry fate of Packard — and Detroit?

Yes, to a large extent. It’s not certain that Packard would have survived had the union not been such a financial and logistical burden. But there is no question that the UAW made it more, not less, difficult for Packard to weather the Sturm und Drang of the business cycle. 
> Read more

> Interview the authors

CEI’s Battered Business Bureau:
The Week in Regulation

The federal government has a strict policy against selling turtle eggs and small turtles for profit. In fact, if the FDA catches you with such turtles and you aren’t a researcher, federal regulations literally require you to kill the turtles while someone from the FDA watches you do it. Starting in January 2014, the FDA is thankfully lifting this particular death penalty.





CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!


In Praise of Banking at Big-Box Stores

The provision in Dodd-Frank that imposed a three-year moratorium on banks affiliated with nonfinancial businesses expired this week. > Read more




CEI Today: EPA email scandal, biofuel ruling, carbon tax prospects, online poker, and more 


National Review: The EPA vs. State Economies

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency rejected petitions from the governors of Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, and North Carolina to suspend the biofuel-blending requirements established by the federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) program.

However, the EPA stacked the decks against petitioners, establishing a burden of proof that was virtually impossible to meet. Indeed, the agency’s August 30 Request for Comment telegraphed the decision Jackson reached on Friday. The EPA stated petitioners would have to show that the “RFS itself” was the cause of severe harm, not merely a “contributing” factor. In addition, petitioners would have to show that waiving the RFS would be a “remedy” for the hardship facing livestock producers.

These criteria are ridiculous. The Clean Air Act does not require the EPA to don analytical blinkers and ignore other factors that, in combination with the RFS, cause severe harm, nor does it say that any waiver granted must be a silver bullet.  > Read the full news story on


> Interview Marlo Lewis


American Spectator: A Carbon Copy of a Bad Idea


There are good reasons for conservatives to contemplate how their approach to young single women, gays, and immigrants might have contributed to recent defeats, but there is no reason to think that a switch on energy policy -- which is really economic and industrial policy -- might help. A carbon tax would punish the middle class and harm the broader economy now and going forward. It should be defeated the same way as cap-and-tax was defeated.

> View more at

> Interview Iain Murray


Breitbart/Big Government: Harry Reid's Online Poker Folds on Freedom

The Internet Gambling Prohibition, Poker Consumer Protection, and Strengthening UIGEA Act of 2012, which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to introduce soon, is being touted as a way to legalize online poker. In fact, it is a self-serving piece of legislation that protects large Nevada-based casinos at the expense of consumer choice. The bill in effect criminalizes just about any other form of online wagering, while providing a tiny carve-out for online poker companies in a way that protects Nevada against competition from any other state in the nation.  > View the commentary on

> Interview Michelle Minton





The Competitive Enterprise Institute is proud to announce a new ambitious film project: an animated adaptation of I, Pencil by Leonard Read.

> View the I, Pencil short film

> Tweet about I, Pencil



CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!


CEI Today: The EU's Nobel Peace Prize, solar panel and biofuel snafus, and California's scheme for GE food labeling



National Review: Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Destabilizing Force

On October 12, it was announced that the European Union had won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. The announcement was greeted with warmth in Brussels and distinct coolness elsewhere — including throughout Europe. The award is notably odd because the EU’s policies are currently helping to destabilize the continent. Indeed, because of the euro, it may not survive another year without a secession crisis, or worse. Only a reversal of course on the EU project itself can restore hope and guarantee peace. > View the full commentary at


> Interview Iain Murray

NEW TARIFF ON SOLAR PANELS - WILLIAM YEATMAN We Should Forfeit the “Great” Green Race with China


On Wednesday, the Commerce Department levied tariffs from 18 percent to 240 percent on solar panels imported from China. At best, this silly policy will increase the price of electricity in America; at worst, it could be the first salvo in a harmful trade war.

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind power are expensive and unreliable, so they cannot compete with conventional energy sources in the electricity market. Instead, demand for green energy is established by Soviet-style production quotas, known as renewable energy standards. More than 30 states have enacted such standards, which force consumers to use increasing amounts of green energy.

  > Read the analysis at


> Interview William Yeatman

BIOFUELS VS FOOD  U.S. Biofuel Expansion Cost Developing Countries $6.6 Billion: Tufts


U.S. biofuel expansion has cost developing countries $6.6 billion in higher food costs, estimates Tufts University economist Timothy A. Wise in Fueling the Food Crisis, a report published by ActionAid. A 10-minute video interview with Wise about his research is available here.

The 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), established by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), exerts long-term upward pressure on grain prices by diverting an ever-growing quantity of corn from food and feed to auto fuel. This is great for corn farmers but not good for U.S. consumers and harmful to millions of people in developing countries, many of whom live in extreme poverty. > Read more at

> Interview Marlo Lewis



Orange County Register: A losing proposition on food labeling - Prop. 37 is deceptive, anti-consumer, abuses taxpayers and makes no sense


California's initiative process – which allows "propositions" to be placed on the ballot quite easily – can lead to laws that are muddled, intentionally misleading to voters, and bad public policy. One of these is Proposition 37, which would require labeling of "genetically engineered" foods.

Labeling advocates claim that GE foods are somehow "unnatural" and might be unsafe. And what could be wrong with letting consumers know what's in their food and letting them decide what to buy?  >Read the full report commentary on

> Interview Gregory Conko




Horner Book:
Gore’s green money machine

So, Al Gore came to do good and ended up doing really, really well, according to the Washington Post. That’s actually not unique for Washington, except possibly as a matter of scale: Gore went from being worth $2 million when leaving office to about $100 million now.

Gore, of course, “invested” in or otherwise found profitable arrangements with many companies whose financing mostly comes courtesy of the taxpayer, either directly, or indirectly in that private money flocks to that which politicians wed themselves to — the “halo effect” — on the knowledge that once the spigot opens it is difficult to turn off for fear of having a taxpayer-funded flop on their hands.

I couldn’t help but be reminded, by this story, of the personnel executing these programs for President Obama, he of the $90 billion in “green energy” money squandered on boondoggles whose own owners’ sales pitch for the dough was unless you give me this money, I won’t exist. > Read more




CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!


CEI Today: Obamacare & John Locke, EPA lead paint, and a biofuel fix 

OBAMACARE RULING - MARLO LEWIS Court’s Obamacare Decision — What Would John Locke Say?

What [Chief Justice] Roberts the “statesman” doesn’t get is that when the judges engage in policy-driven, results-oriented, jurisprudence, they forfeit their claim to impartiality. Each time they do this, they reinforce the conclusion that the system is rigged and that justice is to be found only in the strength of one’s own party or faction — or one’s own arms. In other words, when justices are no better than politicians in black robes, they undermine the social compact and bring back the state of war. > Read the full commentary at


Unexceptional Ruling on Lead Paint


Homeowners seeking to do renovations on pre-1978-built homes will continue to pay extra because of the EPA’s lead paint rule — and a federal court has ruled that there will be no exceptions. On June 22, a federal court upheld the Obama administration’s elimination of “opt-out” provisions under the original regulation issued by the Bush administration. As a result, many consumers will pay high costs for little benefit in return unless Congress acts. > View the full commentary at

Rep. Jeff Flake’s Commonsense Fix for Cellulosic Biofuel Folly


Congress ... in late 2007 passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. EISA mandated the sale of 36 gallons of biofuel by 2022, with 21 billion gallons to come from ”advanced” (lower-carbon) biofuels, of which 16 billion gallons must be cellulosic.

Well, it’s now six years later, and cellulosic ethanol is still a taxpayer-subsidized science project. EISA (p. 32) required refiners to sell 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million gallons in 2011, and 500 million gallons in 2012. Reality repeatedly forced the EPA to dumb down the mandated quantities (to 6.5 million gallons in 2010, 6.0 million in 2011, and 8.65 million in 2012). Even those symbolic targets proved to be too ambitious, because, as a commercial commodity, cellulosic biofuel still does not exist.

Nonetheless, the EPA fines refiners millions of dollars for failure to sell this non-existent fuel. Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake has a commonsense solution, H.R. 6047, the Phantom Fuel Reform ActView the full commentary on

> Interview Marlo Lewis




CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website,, and blogs, and  Follow CEI on Twitter!


Cooler Heads Digest 3 February 2012 

3 February 2012

In the News

EPA: Extreme Punishment Agency
Willie Soon & Paul Driessen, Washington Times, 3 February 2012

Washington Avoids Key Free Enterprise Issues
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 3 February 2012

Update on Chevy Volt Hearing
Marlo Lewis,, 2 February 2012

We Need Wind Subsidies Like We Need VHS Subsidies
Nicolas Loris, The Foundry, 2 February 2012

Climate Controversy in the Wall Street Journal
Patrick Michaels, Cato, 2 February 2012

Republicans and Science
David Klinghoffer, American Spectator, 2 February 2012

Dear James Hansen: Non-Alarmists Are Intellectually Grounded & Well Intentioned
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 1 February 2012

EPA’s Shocking “Oops” Moment
James Taylor, Forbes, 1 February 2012

Sun Down on Green Energy
Andrew McKillop, The Market Oracle, 1 February 2012

D.C. Auto Show: Obama’s Lemons
Henry Payne, Planet Gore, 31 January 2012

News You Can Use
Only One Power Plant Meets EPA’s Ridiculous Mercury Rule

The Logan Generating Station in Swedesboro, NJ is the only power plant in America that achieves the emissions limits required by the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Mercury and Air Toxics rule. At $10 billion to $100 billion in annual costs, this regulation is one of the most expensive, ever; its purpose is to protect pregnant fisherwomen who eat at least 300 pounds of self-caught fish per year.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

House Natural Resources Committee Votes To Open ANWR and OCS to Oil Production  

The House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, 1st February, passed three bills to increase oil production on federal lands and offshore areas.  The House Republican leadership plans to include the three bills as provisions in the five-year, $260-billion highway bill that was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee after a grueling seventeen-hour mark-up that ended at 3 AM on Friday, 3rd February.

H. R. 3407, which passed the committee on a 29 to 13 vote, would open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) on Alaska’s North Slope to oil exploration.  Three Democrats voted for the bill: Representatives Dan Boren (D-Okla.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), and Pedro Pierluisi (D-Puerto Rico).  No one knows how much oil there may be below ANWR’s coastal plain, but the U. S. Geological Survey estimates recoverable reserves of 11 billion barrels.  That is probably a very conservative estimate.

The second bill, H. R. 3410, would require the Department of the Interior to hold auctions for exploration leases in the federal Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) areas in the Atlantic and Pacific that are considered to have the largest reserves of oil, including off the coast of southern California.  That bill passed by a 34-19 vote.

The third bill, H. R. 3408, would require new oil shale leases in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.  The committee approved it on a 27-16 vote.

A proposal to designate some of the federal revenues from this new oil production to funding highway projects will also be included in the highway bill.  Highway projects have historically been funded by the 18.5 cents per gallon tax on gasoline, but the gas tax is not bringing in enough revenue to fully fund the highway bill.  Diverting oil royalties to fund highway projects has encountered opposition from several groups across the political spectrum.  CEI’s Marc Scribner argues that adding another dedicated source of funding undermines the user-pays principle upon which the Highway Trust Fund is based.     

House Insisting on Keystone Pipeline

Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced on 3rd February that his committee next week will mark up the bill that requires permitting of the Keystone XL pipeline.  H. R. 3548 takes the decision away from the President and orders the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permit the 1700-mile pipeline project from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries in Louisiana and Texas.  The House Republican leadership has made it clear that the Keystone bill will be added to the five-year, $260 billion highway bill.  The highway bill was passed out of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee at 3 AM on Friday, 3rd February, and is expected to be debated on the House floor the week of 13th February. 

House Republicans are also planning to attach the Keystone language to the payroll tax cut extension bill that must be enacted before the two-month extension passed in December expires at the end of February.  The two-month extension bill required that President Obama make a decision within sixty days.  President Obama denied the Keystone permit on 18th January, but did not base his decision on the national interest as required by the legislation he signed into law. 

This should present Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) with a problem because a number of Democratic Senators support the Keystone pipeline.  Reid and the White House will have to do some arm-twisting to keep the Senate from agreeing to the House’s Keystone provision.

Sierra Club Takes $25 Million from Natural Gas To Attack Coal

Bryan Walsh in Time Magazine broke the big story this week that the Sierra Club received over $25 million from the natural gas industry to serve as a corporate shill for the natural gas industry’s attacks on the coal industry.  Walsh wrote: “TIME has learned that between 2007 and 2010 the Sierra Club accepted over $25 million in donations from the gas industry, mostly from Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy—one of the biggest gas drilling companies in the U.S. and a firm heavily involved in fracking—to help fund the Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. Though the group ended its relationship with Chesapeake in 2010—and the Club says it turned its back on an additional $30 million in promised donations—the news raises concerns about influence industry may have had on the Sierra Club’s independence and its support of natural gas in the past.”

McClendon and Chesapeake Energy several years ago funded a multi-million dollar advertising campaign against the coal industry called “Face it, coal is filthy.”  Two months ago, it was revealed that McClendon and Chesapeake had given as much as $100 million to the American Lung Association, one of the most reprehensible of the environmental pressure groups, to fund the ALA’s “Fighting for air” disinformation campaign.

The Lighter Side
Myron Ebell

Center for American Progress’s Joe Romm No Show in Debate with Heritage’s David Kreutzer

I and several of my CEI colleagues were looking forward to an informal debate late Friday afternoon on energy policy sponsored by McKinsey and Company, the global consulting firm.  As part of their “Drinks and Debate” series, McKinsey’s Washington, DC office invited David Kreutzer of the Heritage Foundation and Joe Romm of the Center for American Progress’s Climate Progress blog to make some remarks and then take questions from an audience of around 40 people representing all shades of the political spectrum.  It sounded like a lot of fun because Romm often seems enraged and slightly deranged in his frequent blog posts, but unfortunately Romm cancelled at the last minute.  Our host explained that Romm had pulled out without giving a reason and that his side of the debate would be represented by a bottle of Corona Light.  It was still fun: David Kreutzer gave an engaging and stimulating presentation, as he always does, and the bottle of Corona Light proved to be more rational and less misleading than Romm.     

Across the States
William Yeatman

EPA’s Mercury Rule Already Raising Electricity Prices

Last week, the Cooler Heads Digest reported that Ohio-based FirstEnergy Corp. would retire six coal-fired power plants in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland, in order to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule. As noted above in News You Can Use, EPA’s mercury rule, which was finalized December 21, is one of the most expensive regulations, ever, and its purpose is to protect America’s supposed population of pregnant, subsistence fisherwomen who eat more than 300 pounds of self-caught fish annually. FirstEnergy Corp. said the decision will affect 530 employees. In addition to causing job losses, the plant closures also will increase electricity prices. Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that electricity prices in Ohio regions serviced by FirstEnergy are expected to double, due to the smaller supply of power engendered by EPA’s mercury regulation.

Around the World
Brian McGraw

Chinese CO2 Emissions Soonn To Be 50% Higher Than U.S. Emissions

According to new research from Ye Qi, a Beijing based professor of environmental policy, Chinese emissions were 20% higher than U.S. emissions in 2010, and are expected to rise to be 50% higher by 2015, as the country continues to develop.

Biofuels Also Expensive in Europe

A new report from Friends of the Earth and Action Aid (a food poverty group) estimates that the European Union’s biofuel program will cost consumers up to $166 billion over the next 8 years. The EU biofuel plan aims to get 10% of transportation energy from biofuels, hydrogen, and renewable energy by 2020. Due to the lack of hydrogen and electric powered vehicles, it is likely that the majority of this will come from various biofuels.

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,