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Entries in EPA (482)

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.

Tuesday
Aug052014

CEI Today: Pompeo/Tiahrt, Operation Choke Point, EPA's friends, collective bargaining reform, and more 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
In the News Today

 

GMOs, POMPEO, AND TIAHRT - GREG CONKO

CEI.org: GMO Row Comes to Kansas Congressional Race


The Kansas Republican primary race pitting incumbent Rep. Mike Pompeo against his 4th congressional district predecessor Todd Tiahrt has become heated lately. The generally reliable conservative Tiahrt is hammering Pompeo for sponsoring a bill the former says is a sellout of free market conservative principles. In truth, the bill to limit state power over genetically modified (GM) foods is something conservatives and other free market advocates should get behind. 
> Read more

> Interview Greg Conko

 

OPERATION CHOKE POINT - IAIN MURRAY


CEI.org: "Operation Choke Point" Targets Legal Businesses, Harms American Consumers

A new Competitive Enterprise Institute report digs into a campaign by federal regulatory agencies to shut down businesses that are politically disfavored but perfectly legal, under the pretext of preventing fraud.
> Operation Choke Point: What It Is and Why It Matters


> Interview Iain Murray

 


RED TAPE WORM - WAYNE CREWS

Big Dollar Federal Regulations in the Pipeline Highest under Obama


At year-end 2013, economically significant rules from 26 separate departments and agencies appeared at the active (prerule, proposed rule, and final rule), completed, and long-term stages (See 
Table 6 in Ten Thousand Commandments for the breakdown by agency). > Read more

> Interview Wayne Crews

 

EPA'S FRIENDS - WILLIAM YEATMAN

Globalwarming.org: Can EPA Cooperate with Anyone (Except for Green Special Interests)?


Two events last Wednesday morning demonstrate well the EPA’s dichotomous approach to collaboration: If you’re an environmental special interest that helped Obama get elected, EPA welcomes you with open arms; if you’re anybody else, EPA will spurn you.  > Read more

> Interview William Yeatman

 

COLLECTIVIE BARGAINING REFORM - TREY KOVACS

Workplacechoice.org: Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Gov. Scott Walker’s Collective Bargaining Reform


Since 2011, Governor Scott Walker’s signature public-sector collective bargaining reform has withstood venomous union protests at the state capitol, fleeing state legislators, and sparked a recall election.
> Read more

> Interview Trey Kovacs

 

Apply for CEI's Journalism Fellowship!
 

CEI's Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellowship is a one-year fellowship that aims to provide journalists the opportunity to improve their knowledge of free markets principles and limited government through interaction with CEI policy experts. > cei.org/warrenbrookes

 

Sign Up for the Weekly Cooler Heads Digest!

Every Friday afternoon, we send out an electronic newsletter on the latest energy and environment happenings, known as the Cooler Heads Digest. Sign up today!

 

    


 

CEI President Lawson Bader

@libertynkilts
 

 

Operation Choke Point
the govt’s helicopter parent

 
I thought we frowned upon using physical force and intimidation to get our way?
 

Saturday, 10am ET
Realclearradio.org

General Counsel of @ceidotorg, Sam Kazman on the latest Obamacare court decisions.
 





 

Monday
Aug042014

PublicNotice - NEW POLL: Support for new EPA rules cratering among voters 

As thousands participate in public hearings around the country in Colorado, Georgia, and Washington, DC to discuss the EPA’s proposed power plant regulations, a new battleground poll was just released by the American Energy Alliance showing that the more Americans learn about the impact of the regulations, the more they oppose them.  Conducted by The Winston Group, the poll looks specifically at how support for the new EPA proposed power plant rule evaporates when Americans are given the all the details.

Looking at IA, CO, NC, MT and AR, the poll finds that despite initial support for new EPA regulations, every state flips dramatically after people hear arguments for and againstthe EPA proposal.

 

Read Chris Stirewalt’s report for Fox News here.

  

In addition, surveys in Colorado and Iowa indicate that voters will be less likely to support a Senate candidate who opposes the Keystone pipeline.

North Carolina

 

Support for the EPA rule goes from 59-32 support to 48-44 oppose after voters hear arguments both for and against the rule.  Despite many pleas, Senator Kay Hagan has affirmed her support for strict power plant rules, a position which puts her far too out of step with North Carolinians.

 

Colorado

 

Voters are 57-44 support to 50-37 oppose for the EPA rules after they hear arguments for and against.  Nearly half (46%) of Colorado voters would be less likely to support a Senate candidate who opposed the Keystone Pipeline.  Senator Mark Udall supports the EPA regs and could spell trouble this November.  The Colorado polling memo from the American Energy Alliance & the Winston Group can be read here.

 

Iowa

 

Voters are 64-31 support to 48-44 oppose after hearing arguments from both sides.  Over 40% of Iowa voters would be less likely to support a Senate candidate who opposed the Keystone Pipeline.  With Senate candidate Bruce Braley firmly behind the EPA’s rule and opposed to the Keystone Pipeline, this is sure to continue to be a major issue in Iowa as we head toward November.  The Iowa polling memo can be read here.

Main Takeaways

  • In all states surveyed, people believe that job creation and economic growth should be the Obama Administration’s top priority.
  • When presented with additional facts and information, initial support for the EPA rule changes dramatically – with every state flipping from tepid support to strong opposition.
  • The more people find out what is in the proposal and what it means for middle class Americans, job creation, and economic growth, the less they like it.
  • In Colorado and Iowa, voters say that a U.S. Senate candidate’s position on the stalled Keystone XL pipeline will be a major motivating factor heading into the voting booths this November.
  • A majority of voters reject the costly carbon tax proposal.

Note

This year, Australia repealed its 2012 power plant rules, which mandated a $21.50 charge (in U.S. dollars) per ton of emitted carbon dioxide.

 

The full polling memo from the American Energy Alliance & the Winston Group can be read here.

 

State Polling Memos

 

Arkansas

Colorado

Iowa

Montana

North Carolina

 

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.