Reducing Oil Dependence through Energy and Climate Policy

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 29 Apr 2010 19:00:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing to examine the potential effects of pending energy and climate legislation on the transportation sector and U.S. dependence on oil. Policies that create a sustained, stable, and predictable price on carbon for transportation fuels have the potential to promote fuel-efficient vehicles, low-carbon fuels, and more energy-efficient transportation decisions by businesses and consumers. However, how such a price is determined, how it is applied, and how generated revenues are used can greatly influence the benefits and costs of such a policy. This briefing will focus on the economic and environmental implications of alternative ways to reduce oil use and greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector and how key stakeholders are likely to respond. Speakers for this event include:
  • Dr. David Montgomery, Vice-President, Charles River Associates
  • Dr. Chad Stone, Chief Economist, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Dr. Adele Morris, Policy Director for Energy and Climate Economics, Brookings Institution
  • Dr. David Austin, Senior Economist, Congressional Budget Office
  • Jack Basso, Director of Program Finance and Management, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
  • James Corless, Director, Transportation for America
  • Patrick O’Connor, Legislative Counsel, NAFA Fleet Management Association

Fuel use in the transportation sector is widely regarded to be less sensitive to changes in price, relative to electricity and other sectors of the economy, due in part to limited availability of transportation options and substitutes for petroleum fuels. Recent swings in fuel prices, corresponding demand responses, and other research suggest, however, that modest price signals - especially sustained price signals - can spur investments in clean transportation and create significant benefits for the transportation sector. Options to create a carbon price through a fee on transportation fuels can be designed to be as effective and predictable as other policy options based on tradable allowances. Any revenues generated through such policies can be returned to consumers and businesses, reinvested in transportation infrastructure and advanced vehicle and fuel technology, or directed to a combination of public uses.

This briefing is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, please contact Jan Mueller at [email protected] or (202) 662-1883.

GOP Team At American Energy Alliance Runs 'Energy Town Hall' Oil Bus Tour

Posted by Wonk Room Sat, 22 Aug 2009 23:11:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

AEA Team
American Energy Alliance staffers Kevin Kennedy, Patrick Creighton, and Laura Henderson on tour in Pennsylvania. All are former House GOP staff.
The American Energy Alliance (AEA), a new polluter front group, is touring the nation to smear President Barack Obama’s clean energy reform agenda. Employees riding the “American Energy Express” bus are spreading the conservative claim that the American Clean Energy and Security Act will “cripple our sluggish economy.” AEA is the 501 c(4) offshoot of the Institute for Energy Research, a right-wing oil-industry think tank run by Robert Bradley, a former speechwriter for Kenneth Lay. E&E News reports that AEA’s “Energy Town Hall” bus tour pictures workers in hard hats:
The American Energy Alliance, which is affiliated with the conservative Institute for Energy Research, has begun a four-week bus tour to county fairs, sporting events and public meetings in several coal-reliant states. Representatives of the group will travel in a large blue bus carrying the slogan “Stop the National Energy Tax, Save American Jobs” and a picture of workers in hard hats. They will cross Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia and Virginia. Yesterday, AEA officials participated in a rally with another group, Americans for Prosperity, in Zanesville, Ohio; a day earlier, they visited a county fair in western Pennsylvania.
AEA argues it has “no ties to any political party”:
AEA has no ties to any political party, and it has no interest in supporting the agenda of any particular political party.

However, AEA is tightly connected to the Republican Party and right-wing oil interests. In fact, all of its employees are former House Republican staffers:

Thomas J. Pyle, AEA President, Is A Oil Lobbyist And DeLay Operative. Before joining the Institute for Energy Research and the American Energy Alliance, Pyle worked as a lobbyist for the right-wing oil giant Koch Industries, first in-house starting in 2001, and then at the Rhoads Group. In 2008 Pyle became a lobbyist for the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. Previously, Pyle served as policy analyst for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), Majority Whip of the U.S. House of Representatives and as staff director for the GOP Congressional Western Caucus. Pyle started as a legislative assistant for radical anti-environmentalists Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) and Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA). [Institute for Energy Research, Center for Public Integrity]

Patrick Creighton, AEA Communications Director, Worked For Bush And Pennsylvania Republicans. Patrick Creighton was the special assistant to Samuel T. Mok, the chief financial officer at the Department of Labor from 2004 to 2006. He then worked as a spokesman for oil and natural gas advocate Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) from 2006 to 2009, worked to elect Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA), then joined Thompson’s office until May 2009. [Institute for Energy Research, Legistorm]

Kevin Kennedy, AEA Federal Affairs Director, Promoted Alaska Drilling Under Don Young. After graduating from Union College in 2004, Kevin Kennedy worked for the Astroturf organization Arctic Power, which advocated drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2007, Kennedy became a legislative assistant for the corrupt Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and the House Committee on Natural Resources. He joined the Institute for Energy Research and American Energy Alliance in 2009. [Institute for Energy Research]

Laura Henderson, AEA Spokesperson, Served Shelby, Dole, And Tiberi. Laura Henderson was a former press secretary for offshore drilling advocate Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) from 2005-2009. Previously, she worked for former Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH). [Institute for Energy Research]

Daniel R. Simmons, AEA State Affairs Director, Is A Koch-Funded GOP Staffer. Simmons was the Director of the Natural Resources Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a right-wing network funded by Koch Industries, the American Petroleum Institute, and other corporate and right-wing organizations. Previously, Simmons was a Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, also funded by Koch. From 2001 to 2005, Simmons served on the staff of Rep. George Nethercutt (R-WA) on the House Natural Resources Committee. Simmons holds a B.A. in Economics from Utah State University and a J.D. from George Mason University School of Law, also supported by Koch Industries. [Institute for Energy Research, Legistorm]

Furthermore, AEA’s website is run by yet another former GOP House staffer: Webmaster Nathan Imperiale Runs EnergyTownHall.Org. AEA’s was designed by NJI Media Group, part of Endeavour Global Strategies. Endeavour’s head, Sean Spicer, is a long-time GOP operative, including communications work for the House Republican Conference and the Bush White House. NJI Media Group’s president, Nathan Imperiale, served as Director of New Media for the House Republican Conference, building its website. [Twitter, 2/13/09; Endeavour Global Strategies]

AEA’s “American Energy Express” joins a field crowded by conservative oil and coal propaganda - the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity’s “Factuality” bus tour, the American Petroleum Institute’s “Hot Air” balloon tour.

2009 Energy Conference: A New Climate For Energy

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 07 Apr 2009 11:30:00 GMT

The 2009 EIA conference is being held April 7-8 at the Washington Convention Center.

Please register onsite at the Walter E Washington Convention Center starting at 7:30am on Tuesday, April 7th.

Tuesday agenda
7:30 AM Registration and Badging
9:00 AM Plenary
Welcome – Howard Gruenspecht
Acting Administrator, Energy Information Administration

Keynote Address – Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy

Energy and the Macroeconomy – William D. Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics, Yale University

Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World – John W. Rowe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Exelon Corporation
10:30 AM Break
Concurrent Sessions
11:00 AM
(1) The Future for Transport Demand (2) What’s Ahead for Natural Gas Markets?
Moderator: Andy Kydes (EIA) Moderator: Steve Harvey (EIA)
  • Lew Fulton (International Energy Agency)
  • David Greene (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
  • Lee Schipper (Precourt Institute, Stanford University)
  • Speakers:
  • Brian Jeffries (Wyoming Pipeline Authority)
  • James Simpson (BENTEK Energy, LLC)
  • Rick Smead (Navigant Consulting)
  • John Strom (Haddington Ventures, LLC)
  • Christine Tezak
  • 12:30 PM Lunch Break
    1:45 PM
    (3) Meeting the Growing Demand for Liquids (4) Electric Power Infrastructure: Status and Challenges for the Future
    Moderator: Glen Sweetnam (EIA) Moderator: Scott Sitzer (EIA)
  • Eduardo González-Pier (PEMEX)
  • David Knapp (Energy Intelligence Group)
  • Fareed Mohamedi (PFC Energy)
  • Speakers:
  • P. Kumar Agarwal (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
  • Timothy J. Brennan (University of Maryland)
  • Mark G. Lauby (North American Electric Reliability Corporation)
  • 3:15 PM Break
    3:30 PM
    (5) Renewable Energy in the Transportation and Power Sectors (6) Financial Markets and Short-Term Energy Prices
    Moderator: Michael Schaal (EIA) Moderator: Tancred Lidderdale (EIA)
  • Denise Bode (American Wind Energy Association)
  • Bob Dinneen (Renewable Fuels Association)
  • Bryan Hannegan (Electric Power Research Institute)
  • David Humbird (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
  • Speakers:
  • Jeffrey Harris (Commodity Futures Trading Commission)
  • Robert McCullough (McCullough Research)
  • Adam E. Sieminski (Deutsche Bank)
  • Robert Weiner (George Washington University)
  • 5:00 PM Adjourn

    Obama's New Energy Budget Priorities

    Posted by Wonk Room Sat, 28 Feb 2009 15:42:00 GMT

    From the Wonk Room.

    Obama: New EnergySpeaking before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, President Barack Obama declared that his plan to restore America’s economic prosperity “begins with energy.” The details of his proposed budgetary outline reveal what Obama meant:

    Restoration of Superfund.
    In 2002, Bush crippled Superfund, the federal program for cleaning up the most toxic sites in America, by eliminating the tax on industrial polluters “that once generated about $1 billion a year.” President Obama’s budget reinstates Superfund taxes in 2011, restoring $17 billion over ten years to the depleted program.
    Polluters Pay To Fight Climate Change And Make Work Pay.
    The Bush administration rejected the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, and instituted a voluntary program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2002, which instead rose. President Obama calls for a mandatory cap on carbon emissions starting in 2012, expected to raise $645.7 billion over ten years. Instead of sending those revenues back to the polluters, $15 billion a year will go to clean energy technologies, with the rest funding the Making Work Pay tax credit to reduce payroll taxes for every working American.
    Ending Tax Breaks For Fossil Fuel Industry.
    Oil, natural gas, and coal companies enjoyed record profits in recent years, even as numerous incentives and tax breaks for companies that drill and mine our shared resources were protected. President Obama’s budget eliminates $31.75 billion in oil and gas company giveaways and increases the return from natural resources on federal lands by $2.9 billion over ten years.

    In a column at the Center for American Progress, director of climate strategy Dan Weiss analyzes the budget and finds: “President Obama’s proposed energy budget is a ray of sunshine after an eight-year blackout. Congress must now make this clean energy future a reality.”

    House Energy Bill On Tap

    Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 11 Sep 2008 11:16:00 GMT

    According to E&E News, Democratic leadership plans to unveil an “all of the above” energy package today or tomorrow which likely has the following components:
    • Expansion of OCS leasing to include areas off the coasts of the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia, and possibly the eastern Gulf of Mexico as well. A bipartisan Senate plan known informally as the “Gang of 10” proposal would allow drilling in these regions no closer than 50 miles from shore. But House lawmakers and aides did not say how close to shore their plan would allow drilling.
    • New revenues from oil companies. A Democratic leadership aide said the bill may include provisions to ensure payment of royalties from late-1990s deepwater Gulf of Mexico leases that currently allow royalty waivers regardless of energy prices. The absence of price-based limits on these royalty waivers could cost the Treasury as much as $14.7 billion over 25 years, according to the Government Accountability Office. The bill may also include the repeal of the Section 199 tax deduction for major oil companies. This plan, past versions of which have also frozen the deduction at 6 percent for non-majors, raises roughly $13.6 billion over a decade, the Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in June.
    • A so-called renewable electricity standard that requires utilities to supply escalating amounts of power from sources like wind and geothermal power. The House Democrats plan to include a standard of 15 percent by 2020, an aide said, akin to a measure the House approved last year that did not survive negotiations with the Senate. The plan allows roughly a fourth of the standard to be met with efficiency measures.
    • Extension of renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits.
    E&E also reports that Pelosi indicated “the energy bill might include support for automakers’ retooling to make more efficient vehicles.”
    This could also be part of an economic stimulus package being prepared or the continuing resolution to extend government spending beyond the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year, she said.

    House Democrats Develop "All of the Above" Energy Agenda in Response to Republican Attacks

    Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 03 Sep 2008 22:08:00 GMT

    Alex Kaplun reports for E&E News:
    Top House Democrats say that shortly after Congress reconvenes, they will put on the floor a piece of legislation that will include an expansion of offshore drilling but also a renewable electricity mandate, energy-efficiency standards for buildings and oil industry tax provisions.

    Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) described the plan as “a political reverse takedown on the Republicans,” by calling the GOP bluff on their calls for an “All of the Above” energy agenda. David Sandalow, an adviser to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), told E&E News: “We’ll see whether the proponents of all of the above can take yes for an answer.”

    Renewable electricity standards, building efficiency standards, and oil tax provisions have repeatedly passed the House over Republican opposition, but have died in Republican filibusters in the Senate.

    The legislative plan will represent a compromise from the agendas of the various national lobbying campaigns by outside organizations:
    • Al Gore’s We Campaign’s call for a 100% renewable electricity standard by 2018;
    • Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions For Winning the Future’s call for expanded drilling;
    • T. Boone Pickens’ call for new grid development, tax incentives for wind and solar, and subsidies for natural gas;
    • The coal industry’s American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity’s call for increased advanced coal technology subsidies.

    ACCCE and Pickens each have had a significant presence at the national conventions.

    On a lighter note, as Open Left’s Matt Stoller found, the people employed by ACCCE to spread the “clean coal” message in Denver weren’t necessarily all up to speed.

    Bush Exploits Hurricane Gustav To Demand More Offshore Drilling

    Posted by Wonk Room Tue, 02 Sep 2008 21:48:00 GMT

    From the Wonk Room.

    President Bush exploited this morning’s press briefing on the “follow-up efforts” to Hurricane Gustav to attack Congress about lifting the offshore drilling moratorium. Stating that “what happens after the storm passes is as important as what happens prior to the storm arriving,” he made the declaration that “our discussion here today is about energy.” Bush wasn’t referring to the 1.4 million Louisianans who have lost power due to the storm’s destructive force, and chose not to mention the 102 deaths caused by Gustav. Instead, he went on the attack:
    I know that Congress has been on recess for a while, but this issue hasn’t gone away. And, uh, this storm should not cause members of Congress say well, we don’t need to address our energy independence. It ought to cause the Congress to step up their need to address our dependence on foreign oil. And one place to do so is to give us a chance to explore in environmentally friendly ways on the Outer Continental Shelf.
    Watch it:

    MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough were both floored by Bush’s decision “to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore drilling at this point,” after he “performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina.”

    Bush’s tasteless politicization of an ongoing civil emergency repeated tired right-wing talking points. As Van Jones told the Wonk Room last week, Bush is selling false solutions and more pollution:
    Let’s be very clear. Number one: There’s no such thing as American oil any more. These are multinational corporations. If you let multinational corporations drill all this oil, they’re going to sell it to the highest bidder, whether it’s China, or India, it doesn’t matter. Why would we throw away America’s beauty chasing the lost drops of oil, so multinational corporations can sell it to India and China?

    And people also got to remember, we didn’t stop this as an environmental issue. We didn’t stop offshore drilling for the duckies and the fishies. We stopped it because coastline communities were suffering. Because the property owners, the children who live in those coastline communities – not when there were oil spills – but every day, when your child goes out to swim, he comes back covered in oil, you have to use gasoline to get the oil off your child. That was happening coast to coast


    BRZEZINSKI: Okay, that was President Bush giving reporters an update on the situation to the hurricane. And nicely weaving in a little pitch for off-shore oil drilling!

    SCARBOROUGH: I was going to say, Mika. Anybody, anybody that thought this would be the warm and fuzzy George Bush, who would have a tear in his eye and say, “You know, maybe we didn’t have everything right last time, but this time we are worried about the Americans who have,”—no, he turned it around, “Drill now.”

    BRZEZINSKI: Drill, drill, drill.

    SCARBOROUGH: Drill here, drill now.

    BRZEZINSKI: But in all seriousness, at the top of the hour we’ll be hearing from the director of homeland security as well as governor Bobby Jindal.


    SCARBOROUGH: I’ve got to agree with the mayor. For this president, that performed so poorly during Hurricane Katrina to use another hurricane in Louisiana to promote offshore drilling at this point…

    BRZEZINSKI: (Laughing) It was like going from music to news to the top of the hour.

    SCARBOROUGH: You know who was screaming the loudest?


    SCARBOROUGH: The McCain campaign …

    BRZEZINSKI: (Sighing) Ohhh…

    SCARBOROUGH: ...while they were watching the president. “Just stop, just stop!” Not warm and fuzzy.

    Oil and Coal Industries Spending Two Million Dollars a Day to Shape Political Debate

    Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 21 Aug 2008 11:44:00 GMT

    A report from the Public Campaign Action Fund on 2008 spending by oil and coal industries finds that they are on track to spend about one billion dollars this year on lobbying, political contributions, and advertising. The full report amasses the following expenditures:

    Amounts in millionsCoal/Electric Utilities Oil/Gas Total
    Political Contributions $16.5 $20.9 $37.4
    Lobbying Expenditures 73.7 55.3 129.0
    Paid Media 7.4 201.2 208.6
    Other Political Spending 40.0 12.2 52.2
    Total $137.6 $289.6 $427.2

    Lobbying expenditures and political contributions come from Center for Responsive Politics data compiled from public disclosures. Paid media figures are from TNS Media Intelligence, the industry standard for tracking media spending.

    The “other political spending” comes from the coal industry group Americans for Balanced Energy Choices / American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ABEC/ACCCE) and from Newt Gingrich’s 527 corporation, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF).

    Current policy related to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve

    Posted by Wonk Room Thu, 24 Jul 2008 14:00:00 GMT

    • Kathy Fredriksen, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy
    • Didier Houssin, Director of the Office of Oil Markets and Emergency Preparedness, International Energy Agency
    • Dr. David Victor, Director of the Program of Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University
    • John Shages, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Petroleum Reserves, U.S. Department of Energy

    House GOP to Unveil 'American Energy Act'

    Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 23 Jul 2008 15:28:00 GMT

    Today at 2 PM, the entire House GOP caucus is holding a Capitol rally to support their drill-drill-drill bill, dubbed the “American Energy Act” (H.R. 6566) and being promoted as an “all of the above” approach to energy policy. Their memo, acquired by the Wonk Room, reveals their plans to promote the bill as a panacea for high gas prices.

    Read the full text of the legislation.

    As Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Daniel Weiss points out, however, the House GOP is pushing a number of misleading or false talking points. In particular, they grossly overestimate the expected returns on drilling offshore, opening the Arctic Refuge, or mining oil shale—and fail to mention that any such returns would only be noticeable in decades.

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