WonkLine: April 24, 2009

Posted by Wonk Room Fri, 24 Apr 2009 17:51:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.


As a wildfire in Myrtle Beach on the South Carolina coast “spread over thousands of acres by early Friday” and a “7,500-acre-plus blaze” raged in South Florida, scientists reported that “wildfires spur climate change, which in turn makes blazes bigger, more frequent and more damaging to the environment.”

Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), who “represents a district with several oil refineries, a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions, said about the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill, “they have to get our votes, and I’m not going to vote for a bill without refinery allowances.”

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), a prominent coal industry advocate, asked administration nominees whether they agreed with comments this week by Jon Wellinghoff, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, that no new nuclear or coal plants may ever be needed in the United States.

WonkLine: April 21, 2009

Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 21 Apr 2009 14:04:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.


Several hundred people marched on Duke Energy headquarters this morning” – and forty-four were arrested – “to decry the expansion of Duke’s Cliffside coal-fired power plant in Rutherford County.”

Oxfam report: “Emergency organizations could be overwhelmed within seven years” as the “victims of climate change-related disasters” “increase by “54% to more than 375 million people a year on average by 2015.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH): ” What many people” – see Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Fred Upton (R-OH) – “don’t understand is that climate change legislation can make our region and our country stronger.”

Sen. Barrasso Places Hold on EPA Nominee Jackson Because of Browner

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 22 Jan 2009 13:13:00 GMT

Wishing to meet with President Obama’s White House energy and environment adviser Carol Browner, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has delayed the nomination of Lisa Jackson to be Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency administrator. He placed an anonymous objection to the unanimous consent resolution to move the nomination without a roll call vote on Tuesday, and raised his concerns with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, on Wednesday.

Barrasso spokesman Gregory Keeley tells E&E News:
The bottom line is Senator Barrasso is concerned about this new structure with an appointed energy czar in the White House with no accountability in the White House. Just about how that will operate. He wants to know that. He wants to ensure sufficient transparency and oversight. He wants to be convinced Congress will have the ability to get answers from the appointed czar, Carol Browner. At this stage, he’s not convinced that’s the case.

Yesterday, Browner participated in President Obama’s economic briefing, with National Economic Director Lawrence Summers, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag and White House Policy Council Director Melody Barnes.

Granta Nakayama, a Bush administration appointee, is the interim EPA administrator. According to E&E News, Nakayama “has been a noncontroversial figure since joining EPA as its top enforcement official in July 2005.”

UPDATE: E&E News reports that Granta Nakayama has resigned, with Mike Shapiro replacing him as interim EPA administrator.

Shapiro, 60, has previously been a senior official in the Office of Water, director of EPA’s Office of Solid Waste, and deputy assistant administrator in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, where he helped implement the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. He also has held positions in EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances.

Details of Barrasso Amendments to Lieberman-Warner

Posted by Brad Johnson Sat, 03 Nov 2007 19:50:00 GMT

At this week’s subcommittee markup of Lieberman-Warner (S 2191), Senators Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barrasso (R-Wyo.) introduced several amendments, some of which were adopted. The full list gives a good sense of the ideological, political, and economic battles to come as the full Environment and Public Works Committee holds hearings on the bill.

Thanks to the responsive communications staff of each senator, Hill Heat has summaries of all the amendments. See the Sanders amendments in the previous post.

Amendments were defeated unless otherwise noted.

  1. Withdrawn after promise from Baucus to work on idea Rocky Mountain Center for the Study of Coal Utilization The amendment would designate the University of Wyoming and authorize a dollar amount. The State of Wyoming and the University of Wyoming have aggressively moved forward with establishing a School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming. From their Website: The School of Energy Resources seeks to advance the state of the art in energy-related science, technology, and economics through world-class research, attracting premier scholars and teachers to Wyoming.
  2. Withdrawn after promise from Baucus to work on idea Promote high-altitude coal gasification It would provide funds for demonstration projects at 4,000 feet above sea level to mirror guidelines in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Developing technology that works at altitude benefits the United States, as well as other nations that operate coal power generation facilities at higher altitudes.
  3. Adopted, with change to floor of 10,000 btu/lb Provide a definition for what coal is eligible under section 4403 Coal eligible must provide an energy content of 9,000 btu per pound. It attaches a definition to the term “lower rank” coal in the bill. It only mentions sub-bituminous and lignite.
  4. Adopted Restore States’ allocation to 5% percent under the General Allocation in Title III by reducing the allocation for International Forest Protection The amendment retains the states’ money, even after an allocation for tribes is made.
  5. Withdrawn Provide achievable carbon sequestration standard for new coal powered plants in Title III The carbon sequestration standard would be a gradually increasing one, to allow improvements in our ability to sequester carbon over time. 45% through 2020; 65% from 2021-2040; and 85% by 2041. There is currently no known technology that can capture and sequester 85%. If we want to begin addressing the impacts, we must be realistic in what can be accomplished and build on what we can achieve today.
  6. Cap biofuels Expand the definition of covered facilities to include any facility that in a year produces or imports transportation fuel which will emit more than 10,000 carbon dioxide equivalents of greenhouse gas assuming no capture and permanent sequestration of that gas. (It previously singled out only petroleum and coal-based fuels)
  7. American Jobs and Family Budget Security Commission The amendment adds a new title to the bill to establish the American Jobs and Family Budget Security Commission, which will study the economic impact to Federal and State budgets of the underlying bill before implementation
  8. Sunset The amendment creates a new title under the bill to sunset the bill in five years to review emission goals. We must revisit emission caps to determine whether we are able to achieve the standards set out by the bill.