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Entries in Regulatory Actions (598)

Saturday
Oct252014

Cooler Heads Digest 24 October 2014 

 

24 October 2014

In the News

U.S. Oil Seen as Buffer for Global Prices and Supply
Lynn Doan, Bloomberg, 24 October 2014

Why the World Will Not Agree to Pricing Carbon
Peter Lang, Master Resource, 23 October 2014

Weather Channel Co-Founder: “There Is No Climate Crisis”
Ellie Zolfagharifard, Daily Mail, 23 October 2014

Not Just a Fracking Ban
Jillian Kay Melchior, National Review, 23 October 2014

Energy Cost Rise: A Pledge Obama (Unfortunately) Kept
Investor’s Business Daily editorial, 22 October 2014

Lame-Duck Congress May Lay Golden Eggs for Crony Capitalists
Ernest Istook, Washington Times, 22 October 2014

Tom Steyer: A Fool and His Money
Washington Examiner editorial, 21 October 2014

GOP Demands EPA Ditch Economic Studies That Are “Divorced from Reality”
Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, 21 October 2014

No, BP Didn’t Ruin the Gulf
Geoff Morrell, Politico, 21 October 2014

Which Is the Bigger Threat to People in Developing Countries: Climate Change or Energy Poverty?
Marlo Lewis, GlobalWarming.org, 20 October 2014

Oil: The Real Economic Stimulus
Stephen Moore, Washington Times, 18 October 2014

News You Can Use
Poll: Plurality of Americans Oppose EPA’s Climate Regulations

According to a poll conducted earlier this month by Paragon Insights, a plurality of U.S. voters oppose EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, with 47 percent opposing, 44 percent supporting and 9 percent undecided. We’re sure the 9 percent undecided would oppose the rule if they got to know it.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Methane Leakage Is the Next Target in Obama’s Climate Agenda

After delaying indefinitely plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from oil refineries, the Environmental Protection Agency is now preparing to follow the lead of environmental pressure groups and the State of California and crack down on methane leakage from natural gas production and delivery.  California Governor Jerry Brown last week signed a bill into law that requires the state’s Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce methane emissions, including those from livestock.

Methane, the principal component of natural gas, is a potent but short-lived trace greenhouse gas.  Gas leaks from production sites at highly varying levels and is sometimes flared at wells producing both oil and gas because it is uneconomic to capture and pipe it to market.  More leakage occurs from the pipelines.

Earlier this month, researchers analyzing data from a European satellite announced that methane leakage between 2006 and 2012 from two shale gas fields in the United States ranged from 3 to 17 percent of production and averaged roughly 10%.  Their results were published in an American Geophysical Union open access journal, Earth’s Future.

The two fields were the Eagle Ford in Texas and the Bakken in North Dakota.  The satellite stopped functioning in 2012 as a result of power failure.  The EPA has estimated that methane leakage from gas production averages 1.2%.  Other studies have found lower leakage rates. The regulators at EPA will no doubt rely on the 10% figure, as they write their new regulations.

EPA Delays Revised 2014 RFS until after the Election and 2015 RFS until September 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency is required by law to announce its mandatory blending target for the Renewable Fuels Standard for the year before that year begins.  In November 2013, the EPA complied with the law  and announced the 2014 RFS would total 15.21 billion gallons. That was a considerable drop of almost 17% from the 18.15 billion gallons target set in the 2007 anti-energy law and an 8% decrease from EPA’s 2013 target of 16.55 billion gallons.  It seemed in January that even the EPA realized  that the ethanol mandate is on the verge of imploding. 

After furious political blowback from Big Corn, the EPA in early 2014 announced that it would revise the 2014 figure upwards later in the year.  The EPA finally sent its proposed revised 2014 RFS to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in late August. In late September, it became known that the rule would not become final until after the election. 

Now, it has been reported that the EPA will not announce the 2015 RFS until September 2015 at the earliest.  It is a curious fact that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot comply with the law, but requires people to comply with its rules many months before they are published.

Across the States
William Yeatman

New York Governor Changes Tune on Fracking

During a gubernatorial candidate debate this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) was asked when, if reelected, he would decide whether to lift the Empire State’s ongoing moratorium on fracking. He responded by saying that he would “let the scientists decide.” This represents a notable shift from Governor Cuomo’s previous practice, which was to defer not to scientists, but rather to deranged environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. In March, 2013, the Associated Press reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was set to partially lift a statewide moratorium, but he was persuaded to hold off on doing so by Kennedy, who is not a scientist and who has been described by the liberal media outlet Slate as being “obsessive and dangerous.”

Around the World
William Yeatman

European Union Reaches Agreement on Meaningless Climate Goals

The European Council this week reached an agreement to reduce greenhouse gases at least 40 percent by 2030. According to French President Francois Hollande, the agreement is “conclusive and definitive,” but this is malarkey. In fact, EU leaders rendered the agreement worthless by including a “flexibility clause,” which allows them to revisit the targets at any time. As such, the agreement is “conclusively” and “definitively” non-binding, and therefore meaningless. Environmental special interests were appropriately depressed. In a press statement, Greenpeace said that, “The global fight against climate change needs radical shock treatment, but what the EU is offering is at best a whiff of smelling salts... .Europe can and should do more to stop the most devastating impacts of climate change.”

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
Oct142014

ALG's Daily Grind - The high cost of Obama's jobless recovery 

6

Oct. 14, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds granted.

The high cost of Obama's jobless recovery
The economy has finally recovered the 8 million jobs it lost in the recession, but the problem is, the population aged 16-64 has grown by another 7.4 million since then.

Cartoon: Military Blockade

Regcession: Why Americans aren't feeling Obama's 'vigorous recovery'
New documentary boldly posits that regulations are actually causing more world-wide pollution, destroying American jobs, and even putting America itself at risk. 

Robinson: How far could UKIP go?
Nick Robinson analyzes the UK Independence Party's recent victories, gaining its first seat in the British Parliament and once again winning the European Parliamentary elections. 

  

Oct. 14, 2014

Permission to republish original opeds granted.

The high cost of Obama's jobless recovery
The economy has finally recovered the 8 million jobs it lost in the recession, but the problem is, the population aged 16-64 has grown by another 7.4 million since then.

Cartoon: Military Blockade

Regcession: Why Americans aren't feeling Obama's 'vigorous recovery'
New documentary boldly posits that regulations are actually causing more world-wide pollution, destroying American jobs, and even putting America itself at risk.

Robinson: How far could UKIP go?
Nick Robinson analyzes the UK Independence Party's recent victories, gaining its first seat in the British Parliament and once again winning the European Parliamentary elections.

 

Tuesday
Oct072014

Heritage - Government Regulators Attempting to 'Sweep' Entire Industries Out of Business 

The Daily Signal

 

October 7, 2014

Morning Bell

Government Regulators Attempting to 'Sweep' Entire Industries Out of Business

Their intent, the suit says, is "to enforce a de facto boycott" of industries the Obama administration considers objectionable.

Read More
 

New York City Follows Obama Playbook on Immigration

Daily Policy Focus: Taking a page from the Obama immigration playbook, the New York City Council is deciding which immigration laws it wants to enforce and which ones it does not.

Read More
 

Former Homeland Security Chief: US Can't Take 'Chainsaw' to Visa Policy Because of Terrorists

A program that allows citizens from allied European countries to visit the U.S. without a visa has drawn concerns from lawmakers who worry that radicalized Western jihadists will easily travel here to commit terrorism.

Read More
 

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Saturday
Oct042014

Cooler Heads Digest 03 October 2014 

3 October 2014

In the News

Democratic Leaders, an Industry Lobby, and a Nonprofit Walk into an Election
Timothy Carney, Washington Examiner, 3 October 2014

Enron: RFK Jr.’s Corporate Climate Champion
Robert Bradley, Jr., Master Resource, 3 October 2014

RFK Jr.’s Absurd Attack on the Koch Brothers
Larry Kudlow, CNBC, 1 October 2014

Let’s Find out How Much “Clean Power” the Feds Really Have
Brian Potts & David Zoppo, Wall Street Journal, 1 October 2014

U.S. Professor: Blame Climate Change for Islamic State
James Delingpole, Breitbart London, 1 October 2014

Google’s Climate Name Calling
Holman Jenkins, Wall Street Journal, 30 September 2014

The Logic in Exporting U.S. Oil
Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, 28 September 2014

Rockefeller Fund’s Fossil Fuel Dump Namesake
Stephen Moore & Kathleen Hartnett-White, Investor’s Business Daily, 26 September 2014

News You Can Use
Quietest Atlantic Hurricane Season Since 1986

September is normally the peak of the hurricane season, but it ended this week having occasioned only two named storms. According to Dr. Jeff Masters, this is the quietest Atlantic hurricane season since 1986.

Inside the Beltway
Myron Ebell

Washington Post Discovers Connection Between Rising Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Economic Activity

The Washington Post’s coverage of climate change issues seldom connects to reality.  But at the end of a week that started with the 120,000-person strong People’s Climate March and peaked with the all-day United Nations Climate Summit in New York City, the Post ran a story on Saturday, 27th September, that explicitly links rising U. S. greenhouse with economic growth.  A front-page, top-left story by Joby Warrick was headlined, “Carbon Output Rises in U. S.”  The sub-head told the story: “Turn in greenhouse gas emissions coincides with economic recovery.”  The article is available online here with a different headline and no sub-headline. 

Correlation is of course not necessarily causation, but Warrick was clear that there is a causal link: “The higher emissions are primarily a reflection of a rebounding economy, as U.S. businesses burned more gas and oil to meet higher demand.”  This may be a minor recognition of reality in the establishment media, but I think we have to take progress where we can find it.

Across the States
Myron Ebell

Big Wind Encounters Turbulence in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas

According to an excellent article by Sean Murphy of the Associated Press in Oklahoma, wind farms are becoming politically controversial in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. In the past decade, wind energy in Oklahoma has increased from 113 windmills in three projects to 1,700 windmills in 30 projects.

Murphy writes: “A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects.  To ensure the opportunity didn’t slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks.”

However: “But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation’s windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms…. Opposition is also mounting about the loss of scenic views, the noise from spinning blades, the flashing lights that dot the horizon at night and a lack of public notice about where the turbines will be erected.”

While “the growing cost of the subsidies could decimate state funding for schools, highways and prisons,” the political establishment in Oklahoma is just starting to wake up to the problems that result from creating a new special interest funded by government largesse.  “With the rapid expansion came political clout. The industry now has nearly a dozen registered lobbyists working to stop new regulations and preserve generous subsidies that are expected to top $40 million this year.”

When Sam Brownback, now governor of Kansas, served in the U. S. Senate, he was the chief Republican sponsor of legislation to create a federal renewable energy mandate and strongly supported the federal wind production tax credit.  He is now in a tough re-election race and recently softened his enthusiasm for Big Wind in order to try to win back part of his disgruntled Republican base.  Republicans in the state legislature tried to repeal Kansas’s renewable energy mandate earlier this year, but the bill was narrowly defeated by strong opposition from Brownback and the wind industry. 

Governor Brownback now says that while he supports the wind industry in Kansas, he thinks it has matured sufficiently so that the state’s 20% by 2020 renewable mandate can be repealed or modified.  But Kansas not only has a renewable mandate.  It also provides permanent property tax exemptions for windmills. 

Oklahoma does not have a renewable energy mandate, but offers generous tax credits and a five-year exemption from local property taxes.  Both Oklahoma and Kansas compensate local counties and school districts for their lost property tax revenue.

Last week’s Digest included a link to an op-ed by Susan Combs, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, titled, “Time for Wind To Stand on Its Own.”  It was based on a report she released, Texas Power Challenge, which concludes that Texas’s renewable energy mandate is undermining the reliability of the state’s electricity supply during periods of peak demand in the summer months. Marlo Lewis, my CEI colleague, wrote a post on GlobalWarming.org in 2012 that discovers similar problems with wind in Oklahoma.

Judge Upholds EPA Retroactive Veto of WV Mine Permit
William Yeatman

On September 30th, D.C. Federal District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson upheld EPA’s 2011 retroactive veto of a Clean Water Act permit issued to Arch Coal for the Spruce Fork mine in Logan County, West Virginia. This is the latest in the legal saga involving EPA’s controversial decision to revoke the permit after it had been issued.

In March, 2013, Judge Berman Jackson found that EPA did not have the authority to retroactively veto a Clean Water Act permit, a decision that was subsequently overturned by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. After the Supreme Court refused to take up an appeal of the D.C. Circuit’s decision, it became settled law that EPA does indeed have the authority to revoke a Clean Water Act ‘dredge and fill’ permit at any time.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s upholding of the D.C. Circuit’s reversal, the case returned to Judge Jackson Berman, in order for her to determine whether EPA lawfully exercised its newfound authority. In a 50 page ruling rendered Tuesday, she found EPA’s reasons for issuing the veto were not “arbitrary and capricious,” and therefore lawful.

It’s an unfortunate outcome that will likely be appealed. As I explain in this study, EPA claimed that salamanders, fish, and birds would be harmed, but, in fact, the agency produced evidence only that the proposed surface coal mine would harm a short-lived insect, the Mayfly, which isn’t even an endangered species. For this, EPA killed a project that would have created 250 well paying jobs.

Science Update
Marlo Lewis

Yet Another Study Finds Low Climate Sensitivity

There are three overarching issues in UN IPCC science reports: (1) detection (is global warming occurring?), (2) attribution (if so, what’s causing it?), and (3) climate sensitivity (how much warming will result from a given increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations?).

Detection was an unresolved question until 1998, when the Remote System Sensing (RSS) team discovered an orbital decay-induced spurious cooling in the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) satellite record. The UAH scientists corrected their record, the weather balloon record was also revised, and surface temperature records also indicated warming, so all three data sources showed a warming trend. Only at that point did global (as distinct from urban or local) warming become a “fact” — a trend confirmed by multiple independent observations. But then, irony of ironies, global warming plateaued in the RSS record, and “the pause” has persisted for nearly 18 years.

Attribution of some non-negligible portion of recent warming to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is acknowledged today by most scientists, but for years climate campaigners claimed greater certainty than the scientific evidence warranted. The IPCC’s First Assessment Report (1990) stated: “The size of the warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural variability. Thus the observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability….The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect is not likely for a decade or more.”

The IPCC’s Second Assessment Report (1995) famously concluded: The “balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate.” Note too that even this iconic formulation is not an assertion of fact, only an assessment of what is suggested by the “balance of evidence.” One might say “the science” on attribution finally caught up with what climate campaigners zealously believed but often falsely asserted as “settled.”

Ever since the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), the heart of the scientific debate has been about climate sensitivity. This is also the key scientific issue for public policy. Sensitivity estimates chiefly determine how much warming is predicted for the 21st century and beyond. Scary climate impact scenarios assume climate sensitivities of 3°C and more for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations above pre-industrial levels.

Cato Institute scientists Patrick Michaels and Chip Knappenberger keep a running tab on studies since 2011 that find lower climate sensitivity than IPCC AR4’s best estimate of 3°C for doubled CO2. Their list as of February 2014 contained 18 studies.

Recently, Judith Curry of Georgia Tech and independent UK researcher Nick Lewis published a study that arguably presents the most substantial challenge yet to high-end warming projections.

Although “the pause” and the associated growing divergence between models and observations is the impetus for some recent research on sensitivity, Curry and Lewis debunk claims that lower sensitivity estimates depend on the pause, which might be a short-term effect of natural variability.

In a nutshell, Curry and Lewis estimate equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS – the long-term warming effect of CO2 doubling) and transient climate response (TCR – the warming effect of CO2 doubling over a 70-year period) by comparing average global temperature and IPCC heat accumulation estimates for two periods: a base period of 1859-1882 and a final period of 1995-2011. As described on Curry’s blog:

“Our paper derives ECS and TCR estimates using the AR5 [IPCC Fifth Assessment Report] forcing and heat uptake estimates and uncertainty ranges. The analysis uses a global energy budget model that links ECS and TCR to changes in global mean surface temperature (GMST), radiative forcing and the rate of ocean heat uptake between a base and a final period.”

Here’s the bottom line. Whereas the “best estimates” for ECS and TCR in AR4 were 3°C and 2°C, respectively, Curry and Lewis’s mid-range estimates are 1.64°C and 1.33°C.

If those had been the IPCC’s sensitivity estimates since 1990, would policymakers even be debating global warming today?

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
Sep302014

CEI Today: 1982 Tylenol anniversary, new Warren T. Brookes journalism fellow, driverless car event, and more 

Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
In the News Today

 

THE 1982 TYLENOL SCARE - MICHELLE MINTON

Cyanide, Tylenol and How Free Markets Make You Safer

 

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant food and drug related events in recent memory. Often discussed in college business classes these days, the 1982 Tylenol poisonings is usually heralded as the prime example of how companies should handle a consumer relations disaster. However, it is also a shining example of how the market itself—acting to protect its customers and thus its profits—can improve public safety. > Read more


> Interview Michelle Minton

 

ANNOUNCING...

Journalist Carrie Sheffield Selected as CEI’s Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow

 

The Competitive Enterprise Institute is pleased to announce that Carrie Sheffield, a New York-based columnist and broadcaster, has been selected as CEI’s 2014-2015 Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow. > Read more
 

COST OF REGULATION - WAYNE CREWS   

 

Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner: Federal regs cost $1.88 trillion, more with Obama's 'pen and phone' rules

 

Burdensome federal regulations cost American taxpayers and businesses a shocking $1.88 trillion annually — far more than the administration estimates — and that doesn’t include the impact of President Obama’s “pen and phone” rulemaking, according to a “Costberg” analysis from the libertarian Competitive Enterprise Institute. > Read more


> Interview Wayne Crews
 

More in the news...

 

Can Europe Move Past Its Economic Malaise?

Are Consumers Smart Enough to Understand Airline Ancillary Fees?

 

New Mexico Workers and Industry Would Benefit from Right to Work - See more at: http://workplacechoice.org/#sthash.04F3Iq2B.dpuf
 

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CEI’s Battered Business Bureau: The Week in Regulation

Last week, 84 new final regulations were published in the Federal Register. There were 72 new final rules the previous week.