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Entries in Cooler Heads Digest (179)

Saturday
Aug232014

Cooler Heads Digest 22 August 2014

22 August 2014

In the News

Exposing Big Bad Green
E. Calvin Beisner, Master Resource, 21 August 2014

Oil-Export Ban: Holding America Back
Robert Bradley, Jr., Forbes, 20 August 2014

Fracking Earthquakes Are Less Intense
Bebe Raupe, Bloomberg, 20 August 2014

Are Fossil Fuels the Past, Renewables the Future?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 19 August 2014

Workers Suffer When Militarized Police and Big Green Get Together
Ron Arnold, Washington Examiner, 19 August 2014

Republicans’ Lukewarm Climate Warrior
Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg, 18 August 2014

My New Best Friends
Mark Steyn, Steyn Online, 14 August 2014

News You Can Use
Good News: Air Pollution Is Down

The Environmental Protection Agency on 21st August sent its Second Integrated Air Toxics Report to Congress, which concludes that air pollution has been reduced dramatically since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 were enacted.  Benzene levels have been reduced by 66%, mercury by 60%, and lead by 84%.    (Nonetheless, the incidence of childhood asthma continues to rise.) 

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

Senate Minority Leader Indicates a Republican Majority Would Rein in EPA

In an interview this week with Politico, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that, if Republicans won the Senate in November, they likely would use the appropriations process to rein in the EPA. Speaking of a hypothetical Republican majority, he said, “We’re going to pass spending bills, and they’re going to have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bureaucracy.” He singled out the EPA as a “good example” of a bureaucracy that would become subject to such restrictions. By attaching policy amendments, or “riders,” to high-priority legislation like spending bills, the likelihood of passing the Senate increases.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Oregon Regulators Deny Permit for Coal Export Terminal

The Oregon Department of State Lands on 18th August denied a permit for Ambre Energy’s proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River at Port of Morrow, 160 miles east of Portland.  After two years of review, the agency found that the Australian company had not proposed adequate protections for tribal salmon fisheries on the Columbia.   

Ambre Energy can appeal the decision administratively within 21 days.  If the appeal is denied, then the company can file suit in state court. 

The proposed $242 million facility could handle 8.8 million tons of coal per year.  Coal from Wyoming and Montana would be sent by rail to the Port of Morrow, where it would be loaded onto barges which would then be unloaded onto ocean-going ships at Port of Saint Helens, 30 miles downriver from Portland and 75 miles from the mouth of the Columbia.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) is a vocal opponent of the project.  Permits for two larger coal export terminals are still being considered in Washington state, where Governor Jay Inslee (D) is also strongly opposed.      

Around the World
Myron Ebell

UN Plans New York Climate Change Summit

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, is preparing to host over a hundred of the world’s presidents and prime ministers at a Climate Change Summit at UN headquarters in New York City on 23rd September.  U. S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to attend, but new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott have already announced that they will not attend.   

The summit is by invitation only, but can be viewed on the UN’s web television site.  The UN on 8th August sent out a press release announcing that it was “casting a wide net to find dozens of people from around the world who feel passionately about the impact of climate change, have translated that passion into action and would like to attend next month’s Climate Summit at the UN.”  According to Susan Alzner, a UN official in charge of UN-NGO relations, “Anyone can nominate a civil society representative into this process.”  Four of the 38 will be invited to speak to the heads of state.  The selection process will strive for gender balance, invite more attendees from developing than from developed countries, and seek out young people and indigenous people to share their stories on “the frontlines of climate change.”  The deadline for applying for the 38 “civil society” invitations was 15th August.   

The UN Climate Change Summit is “intended to mobilize international political will needed to achieve an ambitious climate change agreement” at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is scheduled to meet in Paris in December 2015.  Secretary-General Ban has asked world leaders to come to the summit ready “to announce bold actions that they will take in their countries.”

In addition, “There will also be announcements from a number of coalition initiatives that have high potential to catalyze ambitious action on the ground. These coalitions, consisting of participants from Governments, the private sector and civil society, will address several high-impact areas, such as climate finance; energy efficiency; renewable energy; adaptation; disaster risk reduction and resilience; forests; agriculture; transportation; short-lived climate pollutants; and cities.”  The program can be seen here

The Climate Group, an NGO with offices in Beijing, London, New York City, and New Delhi, is sponsoring the sixth annual Climate Week in New York City to co-incide with the UN summit.  Approximately eighty events from 22nd to 28th September are on the Climate Week schedule. Sponsors include Swiss Re, Lockheed Martin, and HP. 

But that’s not all.  On Sunday, 21st September, over 750 organizations are sponsoring the People’s Climate March in Manhattan. It is being billed as, “The Largest Climate March in History.”  You can sign up here.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Do Climate Models and Long-Term Temperature Records Agree?

The unanticipated pause in global warming since 1998 has produced an accelerating divergence between IPCC climate model predictions and observed global temperatures. “Model failure” is now a recurring theme of skeptic blogs, and it’s not only skeptics who wonder how errant models can accurately assess climate risk or usefully inform climate policy.

Climate activists say the pause is temporary, warming will come roaring back, vindicating both models and their ‘worse than we thought’ narrative.

In more technical terms, the IPCC argues that although “internal decadal climate variability” may cause models to either underestimate or overestimate observed temperatures for periods “as short as 10 to 15 years,” models and observations “agree” over the 62-year period from 1951 to 2012 (AR5, Chapter 9, p. 769). The IPCC thus has “very high confidence” in the realism of the models.

To assess such claims, Cato Institute scientists Patrick Michaels and Paul C. (“Chip”) Knappenberger examine how well IPCC models would match observations over an 80-year period (1951-2030) in three scenarios of how global temperature might behave from now to 2030.

They find that even if warming resumes at the pre-pause (1977-1998) rate of 0.17°C/decade, by 2020 more than 95% of model simulations overshoot the 1951-2030 ‘observed’ trend, and by 2030 more than 97.5% of simulations overshoot it.

At my request, Mr. Knappenberger also compared models and observations in a more aggressive warming scenario in which warming resumes at 0.26°C/decade – the fastest rate during any recent 15-year period.

Result: By 2030, more than 95% of model simulations still overshoot the 1951-2030 ‘observed’ trend. For further discussion, see my blog post Can Natural Variability Save Climate Models?

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, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Saturday
Aug162014

Cooler Heads Digest 15 August 2014 

15 August 2014

Announcement

The National Center for Policy Analysis this week published Environmental Regulation through Litigation by NCPA Senior Research Fellow Ann Norman. 
 

In the News

Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal, 15 August 2014
 
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 14 August 2014
 
A Clear Example of IPCC Ideology Trumping Fact 
Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. Knappenberger, Cato Institute, 14 August 2014
 
Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, 13 August 2014
 
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 13 August 2014
 
Mary Hutzler, Institute for Energy Research, 13 August 2014
 
Amy Harder, Wall Street Journal, 12 August 2014
 
Katie Tubb, Daily Signal, 11 August 2014
 
Frank Clemente, Advanced Energy for Life, August 2014
 

News You Can Use

The U. S. Department of Agriculture this week forecast record corn and soybean harvests as a result of good rainfall and moderate temperatures in the Midwest this summer. 
 

Inside the Beltway

Fifty-four House Republicans Send Letter Opposing Renewal fo the Wind PTC
Patrick Hannaford

Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Ks.) on 13th August released an open letter to the House Republican leadership that opposes renewing the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC), which expired at the end of 2013.  The letter highlights the stupidity of using taxpayer funds to increase the cost of electricity for all Americans.

According to the letter, since President Obama took office, federal subsidies for wind energy have increased from $476 million per year to $4.98 billion. This increase has provided incentives to expand the wind energy sector to levels far beyond natural market demand.  It has crowded out cheaper sources of electricity, such as coal and natural gas, and has increased the cost of electricity for all Americans. 

The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that a one-year extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit will cost American taxpayers over $13.35 billion. There is no reasonable justification for these funds to be used to artificially inflate the cost of electricity, particularly at a time of skyrocketing US debt.  Even if the Wind PTC is not renewed, wind energy projects that began “construction” in 2013 could receive subsidies until 2026. This means that this policy will continue to cause harm long after it has ceased to exist.  If Congress wants to minimize this future harm, it should refuse to extend the credit beyond 2013.

Congressman Pompeo and the other 53 signers ought to be commended for their efforts to end this reckless government policy and restore market incentives to the energy sector. The full text of the joint letter can be found here.

IRS Extends Wind PTC by Retroactive Fiat
Myron Ebell

The Internal Revenue Service on 8th August released revised guidance on which facilities can qualify for the Wind Production Tax Credit.  This is odd because the Wind PTC expired on 31st December 2013.  The retroactive guidance makes it easier for projects that began in 2013 but have not yet been constructed to qualify for the ten years of taxpayer subsidies.  Lisa Linowes provides a full analysis on Master Resource

DC Circuit Court Rejects Multiple Challenges to Order 1000

A three-judge panel of the federal DC Circuit Court of Appeals on 15th August ruled unanimously to uphold the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Order 1000, a sweeping set of new requirements for regional electric transmission infrastructure planning.    The 97-page opinion rejected all of the many challenges to Order 1000 brought by over forty plaintiffs—state regulatory agencies, regional transmission organizations, utilities, and industry trade groups.

Among the many controversial requirements in Order 1000, perhaps the most objectionable is that the huge costs of new transmission lines and other infrastructure required to integrate renewable sources, such as wind and solar farms, into the grid must be shared by retail customers who will not receive electricity from those sources.  The court’s decision is available here.  

Even Slurpee Machines Impacted by Obama Global Warming Agenda

As part of the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new restrictions on the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as refrigerants and aerosols.  Ironically, HFCs came into widespread use as the alternative to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were banned in the 1990s over fears about depletion of the ozone layer.   Now, EPA wants to crack down on HFCs because of their assumed contribution to global warming.

The proposal would ban HFCs in nearly all the types of commercial refrigeration systems used by restaurants, supermarkets, and convenience stores, such as refrigerated cases, freezers, ice-makers, and other specialty equipment like slurpee machines.  It would also apply to vending machines, car air-conditioners, aerosols, and several other products.   For refrigeration systems, the proposed ban would take effect as of January 1, 2016 and apply to all newly manufactured equipment.

Many manufacturers are concerned that substitutes will not be up to the task, especially given the extremely tight timeframe to make the change.  Among other drawbacks, most of the acceptable alternative refrigerants are inflammable, raising both safety and building-code concerns.  EPA did not include a cost-benefit analysis in its proposed rule.
 

Across the States

Wyoming Approves Huge New Wind Farm, Owned by Major GOP Donor

The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council voted unanimously last week to grant a final permit to build a 1,000 turbine wind farm in Carbon County.  If built, it would be the largest wind facility in the United States. The wind farm would be built by the Power Company of Wyoming (PCW), a subsidiary of the Anschutz Corporation, on a ranch also owned by the Anschutz Corporation. 

The Anschutz ranch includes some land owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management.  The BLM still has to complete two Environment Assessments required by the National Environmental Policy Act before construction can begin.  In addition, PCW has applied for an incidental take permit that will allow its windmills to kill eagles protected by federal legislation.  PCW reported that it is negotiating contracts with utilities in California, Arizona, and Nevada to purchase the electricity produced by the Wyoming wind farm. 

The Anschutz Corporation is based in Denver and owned by multi-billionaire Phil Anschutz.  He is a major donor to Republican candidates and owns a bewildering array of oil and gas, railroad, entertainment, and resort businesses.  Anschutz also owns the Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, the Oklahoman, and the Colorado Springs Gazette.      
 

Around the World

As Threats Multiply, Secretary Kerry Still Focused on Climate Change

What is the greatest foreign policy challenge facing the United States?  Russia invading Ukraine?  Iraq and Syria versus the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant?  Israel and Hamas?  The Ebola outbreak?  Guess again.  In a speech in Honolulu on 13th August, Secretary of State John Kerry continued to insist that it’s climate change.  “…[T]he biggest challenge of all that we face right now, which is climate change in terms of international global effect….”   As Investor’s Business Daily remarked in an editorial, “Can he be serious?” 

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, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Saturday
Aug092014

Cooler Heads Digest 08 August 2014 

8 August 2014

In the News

Is British Columbia’s Carbon Tax a Model for the U.S.?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 7 August 2014

States Tire of Executive Overreach, Sue EPA
Investor’s Business Daily editorial, 7 August 2014

Global Warming Pause Puts ‘Crisis in Perspective’
James Taylor, Forbes, 7 August 2014

Energy Efficiency: Two Narratives
Jim Clarkson, Master Resource, 6 August 2014

The Amazing Marcellus Shale Gas Boom
Mark Perry, AEIdeas, 5 August 2014

Risky Business: The Best Global Warming Alarmism Money Can Buy
Paul Chesser, National Legal and Policy Center, 5 August 2014

EPA Ozone Rule Could Be Most Expensive Regulation in U.S. History
Daren Bakst & Katie Tubb, The Daily Signal, August 4 2014

How Endangered Species Act Litigation Means Big Money for Environmental Groups
Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner, 4 August 2014

Our Weird Energy Politics
Patrick J. Michaels, National Review, 4 August 2014

News You Can Use
Report: EPA Is the Problem

According to a report published this week by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 30 most expensive executive branch regulations issued since 2000 have an annual cost of $110 billion. Of this total, $90 billion per year (81%) is attributable to 17 EPA rules.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

EPA Meddles Needlessly in Corpus Christi LNG Export Project

EPA this week sent an obnoxious letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that threatens to needlessly tie up the Corpus Christi Liquefied Natural Gas Project in court.

Due to a renaissance in the domestic oil and gas business, energy producers are eager to participate in the global market. To this end, they are proposing export terminals for liquefied natural gas. One such proposal is for a project in Corpus Christi, Texas.

FERC is responsible for authorizing the siting and construction of onshore and near-shore LNG import or export facilities. As such, the project developers for the Corpus Christi terminal need a FERC permit. However, before any federal agency can complete any action, including permitting, it must perform an environmental impact analysis. This requirement results from the 1970 National Environmental Policy Act.

Accordingly, on June 13, 2014, FERC completed a draft environmental impact analysis of the Corpus Christi project, in accordance with its NEPA responsibilities. The document is almost 500 pages of detailed, technical analysis, but EPA alleges it’s not up to snuff. On Monday, the agency sent a letter alleging that FERC’s analysis did not fully consider the project’s adverse impact on “environmental justice, wetland, indirect effects and greenhouse gas emissions.”

Substantively, EPA’s criticisms are a joke. “Environmental justice” is as mushy a concept as they come; in practice, it means that poor people live in the vicinity of the project, as if this, in and of itself, means anything. In fact, the project’s primary impact on poor people in Corpus Christi is that it would engender more wealth creation, economic activity, and jobs.

EPA’s allegation regarding "wetlands" is similarly silly. This is because the project is subject to Clean Water Act §401certification by the States, ensuring it won’t degrade any waterways. It is also subject to Clean Water Act §404 permits issued jointly by the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA. There are simply no grounds for EPA to object to the project’s impact on wetlands. It’s a false premise.

The agency’s claim that FERC failed to consider "greenhouse gases" attendant to the project is also flat-wrong. FERC’s analysis went so far as to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions from the ships coming to and from the terminal. The project, moreover, must comply with EPA’s climate regulations. Again, EPA's objection is baseless.

Of course, constructive criticism wasn’t the agency’s purpose to begin with. Environmental special interests are adept at using the NEPA environmental review process to litigate endlessly, and thereby hold up economic development. EPA’s letter may be barren of legitimate crisitism, but it nonetheless gives green groups further cause to sue.

Across the States

EPA’s Clean Power Plan Comes to Illinois, 250 Jobs Leave

About 250 workers will lose their jobs as NRG Energy cuts operations at four power plants in Illinois. According to the utility spokesman David Gaier, “this [job-cutting] plan, in one fell swoop, will single-handedly achieve 56% of Illinois’ target for reductions in CO2 emissions.” The state’s climate targets were set by the EPA’s illegitimate Clean Power Plan.

Around the World

We’ve Lost the PR Flaks

On Monday, 10 of the world’s largest public relations firms announced they will no longer work with clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emission-reducing regulations. Our movement will never be the same.

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, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Saturday
Aug022014

Cooler Heads Digest 01 August 2014 

1 August 2014

Announcements

On Monday, the Competitive Enterprise Institute published a study by CEI senior fellow William Yeatman on “EPA’s Illegitimate Climate Rule.” The report demonstrates that the agency’s recently proposed Clean Power Plan contravenes congressional intent, lacks an electoral mandate, and was written by special interests.

In the News

Former Employees Allege Widespread Illegality at Taxpayer-Backed Solar Company
Lachlan Markay, Washington Free Beacon, 31 July 2014

Solar Power: Is There a Business Case?
Philip Dowd, WattsUpWithThat, 31 July 2014

Is EPA Really Interested in Your Criticism?
Nicolas Loris, The Daily Signal, 30 July 2014

In Search of Real Environmentalism
Ben Acheson, Master Resource, 30 July 2014

Senate Report Details “Billionaire’s Club” Behind Special Interests Holding Reins at EPA
Chris Prandoni, Forbes, 30 July 2014

EPA Regulations a Dark, Costly Chapter in Our History
Paul Driessen, Investor’s Business Daily, 30 July 2014

Heritage Foundation Panel Addresses EPA’s Unprecedented Climate Change Regulations
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 29 July 2014

College Professor Uses English Class To Push Global Warming
Samantha Reinis, Campus Reform, 29 July 2014

Average Price of Electricity Climbs to All-Time Record
Terence Jeffrey, CNSNews, 29 July 2014

News You Can Use
Study: Ozone Regulation Would Cost $2.2 Trillion

EPA’s impending ozone regulation could cost $2.2 trillion, reduce the gross domestic product by $3.4 trillion, and eliminate 2.9 million jobs between 2017 and 2014, according to a study published this week by the National Association of Manufacturers.

Inside the Beltway
William Yeatman

EPA’s Climate Regulations Take Center Stage in House of Representatives

This week there were two House hearings given to EPA’s proposed Clean Air Act regulations for greenhouse gases from existing power plants, known as the Clean Power Plan.

On Tuesday morning, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power heard from all five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on how EPA’s rule would affect the nation’s electricity grid. My colleague Marlo Lewis reported on the hearing at globalwarming.org; his take-away is the rule would fundamentally overhaul the electric system. Regarding electric reliability in particular, it bears noting that EPA’s analysis—which has proven to be unrealistically optimisticconcedes that implementation of the Clean Power Plan would threaten reliability in New England, Florida, and Gulf States. The reality would likely prove to be much worse.

The following morning, I attended a House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held a hearing on “EPA’s Carbon Plan: Failure by Design.” Panelists were Jeffrey Holmstead (partner, Bracewell & Giuliani), Charles McConnell (executive director, Energy & Environment Initiative), David Cash (Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Quality), and Gregory Sopkin (partner, Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer LLP).

McConnell delivered the best exchanges. During his opening statement, for example, he held up a dime, and notedthat EPA’s Clean Power Plan would limit sea level rise by an amount commensurate with 1/3rd the thickness of the coin. His dramatics aptly demonstrated the fact that EPA's climate rule is all pain and no gain.

However, his most impactful testimony pertained to EPA’s inability to work with other agencies. Before resigning in early 2013, McConnell was assistant secretary for fossil energy at the Energy Department. This is the office responsible for facilitating federal assistance in the development of carbon capture and sequester (CCS) technology. In fact, EPA required CCS technology in its controversial carbon rule for new coal-fired power plants, so you’d think that EPA would’ve welcomed collaboration with McConnell’s office. Alas, you’d be wrong. McConnell told the committee that “a true collaborative effort would have been far different from what I observed." According to Mr. McConnell, EPA viewed the interagency process as a “box-checking exercise” and he called the agency’s attitude “disingenuous.”

McConnell’s account raises troubling issues. For starters, EPA has no functional expertise in CCS technology. It is, therefore, strange that the agency would spurn input from a federal office that does possess such expertise. EPA’s failure to do so suggests incompetence, and it perhaps explains why the regulation is rife with legal flaws.  

Taking a step back, his testimony makes me wonder if there’s anyone with whom EPA works well, other than environmental special interests (of course). After all, the Department of Energy is a fellow federal agency. They’re peers, yet EPA refused to get along. Moreover, we know that Obama’s EPA has had an terrible relationship with States, which are supposed to be the agency’s partners under the cooperative federalism framework established by the Clean Air Act. And it goes without saying that this EPA treats “dirty” industry with contempt. Thus, EPA has rejected collaboration with both the public and private sectors. Unfortunately, so long as Congress refuses to act and the judiciary defers evermore to agency action, EPA can go it alone.

Across the States
William Yeatman

EPA Holds Public Hearings on Clean Power Plan

EPA this week held public hearings on its proposed Clean Power Plan in Washington, D.C., Denver, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh. The fact that EPA scheduled these hearings in metropolitan areas, rather than the areas of the country that will be most affected by the rule, raised the ire of prominent critics, including Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who called the hearings a “sham.”

On a personal note, I signed up to speak at the one in Washington, but EPA denied me the opportunity. The Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch reported that my experience was not unique, and that opponents of the rule seem to have been disproportionately shut out of the D.C. hearing.

Notably, the hearings were bookended by ominous signs. At the last minute, the hearing in Atlanta was moved to a new location, due to power outage. And on the final day of hearings, Alpha Natural Resources announced it would eliminate 1,100 coal mining jobs in Appalachia; the company attributed the decision in part to EPA regulations. These two phenomena—power scarcity and job losses—are likely manifestations of EPA’s Clean Power Plan, if it is finalized in anything resembling its proposed form.

Around the World
William Yeatman

International Monetary Fund Proposes $1.60 U.S. Gas Tax

National Journal’s Jason Plautz yesterday reported on a new book published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose thesis is that “energy prices in many countries are wrong” because they don’t account for global warming. For the U.S., the IMF recommends a $1.60 per gallon gas tax. Thankfully, IMF has no power over U.S. domestic policy. Nonetheless, the Fund’s evident mission creep is eyebrow-raising. Why is the IMF, whose original purpose was to ensure exchange-rate stability, writing white papers about implausible American domestic policies?

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, www.GlobalWarming.org.

Saturday
Jul262014

Cooler Heads Digest 25 July 2014 

25 July 2014

Announcements

On Monday, July 28, from 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM, the Heritage Foundation will host a panel on "Federal Overreach at the Environmental Protection Agency," moderated by Nicolas Loris, and featuring Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.), CEI’s William Yeatman, and David Kreutzer from Heritage. RSVP here.

In the News

Obama on Climate Change: We Must Make Sure the Planet Works
Charlie Spiering, Big Government, 25 July 2014

Fracking, InsideClimate, and Public Integrity
Steve Everley, Energy in Depth, 24 July 2014

California Environmentalism Conflicting with Pocketbook Concerns
Molly Peterson, KPCC, 24 July 2014

Mark Levin Sues EPA for Destroying Emails
C. J. Ciaramella, Washington Free Beacon, 24 July 2014

Surprise: Greens’ Preferred Sue and Settle Court Is in California Bay Area
William Yeatman, GlobalWarming.org, 23 July 2014

The Struggle to Mainstream Electric Vehicles
Allen Brooks, Master Resource, 23 July 2014

Federal Lands Deserve an Energy Boom Too
Robert Bradley, Jr., Forbes, 21 July 2014

Sue and Settle: Another Way for Greens to Halt Progress
Stephen Moore, Investor’s Business Daily, 21 July 2014

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Is “Obsessive and Dangerous”
Laura Helmuth, Slate, 20 July 2014

News You Can Use

Poll: Americans Give Low Priority to Climate Change

Just 4 percent of respondents in a new Politico poll of likely voters in competitive Senate states and House districts identified the environment as the national issue that concerns them the most. The highest ranking concerns were the economy and jobs, which were chosen by 21 percent and 10 percent of respondents, respectively.

Inside the Beltway

Senate EPW Republicans Audition Arguments against EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On Wednesday morning, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified on the agency’s climate regulations for existing power plants before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, during which the minority party auditioned a number of arguments in opposition to the rule.

The regulation is known as the Clean Power Plan. It was proposed on June 2 and would, if finalized in its current form, effectively overhaul the electric industry in accordance with EPA’s climate goals.

Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) argued that the rule represented an unprecedented executive power grab, which is true. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) argued that the Clean Power Plan would shut down coal-fired power plants, which is also true. And Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) presented evidence that the rule wouldn’t actually impact global temperatures and is, therefore, all pain and no gain.

These polemics are all spot-on. However, the finest argument was put forth by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wy.), who argued that the rule was an outrageous example of regulatory capture. Here’s what he said:

On July 6th of this year, the New York Times wrote a piece about the outsized role that the NRDC had in developing the EPA’s new regulations to curb power plant emissions…The article says it was a remarkable victory for the NRDC. Now, for those outside the beltway, NRDC is a $120 million a year lobbying machine, backed by Hollywood elites. It is absolutely shameful to me that the EPA, under the direction of this administrator, would allow a team of lawyers and lobbyists to draft their regulations…

EPA has decided to push a rule that was drafted behind closed doors by powerful, wealthy Washington lawyers and lobbyists at the NRDC. Let’s be clear, NRDC is a wealthy, elite, powerful lobbying machine with more influence over decision making in Washington than any ordinary U.S. citizen. They have millions which gives them access. The EPA turns a deaf ear on those that don’t.

Bravo, Mr. Barrasso!

The Wyoming Senator concluded his opening statement by throwing down a gauntlet. He challenged EPA and NRDC to comply with the Committee’s information requests, in order to ascertain the extent to which EPA has been captured by green special interests.

Across the States

Activist Judge in West Virginia Issues Another Anti-Coal Decision

West Virginia District Judge Robert Chambers issued another suspiciously anti-coal ruling this week when he granted partial summary judgment to the plaintiffs, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Sierra Club, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and found Alpha Coal liable for selenium pollution that violates the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

The ruling is flawed on a number of counts. For starters, selenium discharge wasn’t included in the permits pursuant to these two statutes, so it’s unclear how Alpha could be responsible for controlling it. This isn’t a cause for alarm: The plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that the discharges of selenium actually caused any deleterious impacts.

More to the point, this is merely the latest activist decision from Judge Chambers, who is evidently anti-coal (see “Across the States”  from the June 6 Cooler Heads Digest). In fact, Judge Chambers used to be a member of one of the plaintiff organizations (the W.V. Highlands Conservancy).

Around the World

Green Is the New Red

At a preparatory conference to the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this week in Venezuela, more than 130 environmental organizations signed the Margarita Declaration, which calls for the end of capitalism in order to fight global warming.

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, www.GlobalWarming.org.