Articals of interest to the coal industry.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Safety Fines To Double

Mine Safety Fines to Double Under New Regulation
Mar 24, 2007

Total fines for mine safety violations would more than double, to almost $32 million a year nationwide, under a new rule finalized Thursday by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.
But fines charged to the industry's largest operators could actually decline, compared to the original proposal MSHA published last year, according to estimates made public with the release of the final rule.
While MSHA refused an industry request and generally raised fees across the board, agency officials also backed off several parts of the original proposal issued in the wake of last year's deadly year in the coalfields.
United Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts generally praised the final rule, but said he remains worried about how MSHA will implement it.
"It remains to be seen if MSHA will actually shift its general attitude from 'compliance assistance' to being strict enforcers of the law," Roberts said in a prepared statement.
Carol Raulston, a spokeswoman for the National Mining Association, said her group had hoped MSHA would scale back the rule to include only fine increases required by Congress in a reform bill passed last year.
That law established a new maximum fine of $220,000 for "flagrant" health and safety violations and a penalty of $5,000 to $60,000 for operators who fail to promptly report serious accidents, but under pressure after the Sago Mine disaster and a string of other deaths, MSHA did a much broader rewrite of its penalty regulations.
The rule rewrites a set of tables that set penalty "points" for violations, based on various factors, including the company size, compliance history and violation seriousness.
Under the final rule, total fines for all mining sectors would increase, if officials assume no additional compliance, from $24.9 million a year to $69.3 million, slightly more than under the original MSHA proposal.
MSHA projected its overall increase in penalties would force more coal operators to comply with the law more frequently. Overall, the agency said, total violations are expected to drop by nearly one- fourth.
When this change is accounted for, MSHA projects total fines assessed per year would increase from $14.7 million to $31.8 million.
Total fines for the very largest operators - those with more than 500 workers - would drop compared to the original proposal, from $7.4 million to $5.7 million.
For the next largest category - operators with between 20 and 500 workers - total penalties would increase slightly over the proposed rule, from $46.7 million to $49.4 million.
In its Federal Register notice, MSHA analyzed several industry examples that indicate the final rule is not as severe as last year's proposal:
* At one Jim Walter Resources mine in Alabama, the proposed rule would have increased total 2005 penalties form $66,000 to $379,000. The final rule increases them to $334,000, about 12 percent less.
* At another Jim Walter mine, last year's proposal would have increased total fines from $129,000 to $421,000. This week's final rule would increase them to $344,000, about 18 percent less.
* At a Peabody Energy mine, the original MSHA proposal would have increased the average fine for a serious violation from $576 to $3,996. The final rule would increase the fine to $2,902, about 27 percent less.
Among other changes, MSHA backed off its original proposal for increasing penalty points based on mine size. Instead of a maximum of 20 points for mines with more than 2 million tons a year of coal produced for example, the final proposal gives similar-sized operators 15 points. That is still an increase over the 10 points allocated to those size operators under current rules.
MSHA eliminated the single shift penalty, which assigned automatic fines of $60 to the most common and less serious violations.
Under the change, these violations will instead be processed through the normal assessment procedure.
MSHA also reduced from 24 months to 15 months to period of time that will be examined in determining whether operators have a history of violations.
Also, in its new addition to the penalty formula meant to take into account repeat violations of the same safety standards, MSHA decided to base its analysis on the number of citations per inspection day rather than just the raw number of citations.
MSHA did not agree to industry requests that this new part of the formula only consider violations inspectors deem to be "significant and substantial."
To contact staff writer Ken Ward Jr., use e-mail or call 348- 1702

USA #2 and we like it, China top polluter

China on brink as No. 1 polluter
Mar 24, 2007

Washington Times

Emma Graham-Harrison and Gerard Wynn

China is on course to overtake the United States this year as the world's biggest carbon dioxide producer, according to estimates based on Chinese energy data.
The finding might pressure Beijing to take more action on climate change.
China's emissions rose by about 10 percent in 2005, a senior U.S. scientist estimated, while Beijing data shows fuel consumption rose more than 9 percent in 2006, suggesting China would easily outstrip the United States this year, long before a forecast.
Taking the top spot would put pressure on China to do more to slow emissions as part of world talks on extending the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol on global warming beyond 2012.
Thirty-five developed nations have agreed to cut emissions in accordance with Kyoto and they want others, especially the United States and China, to do more. China and India were not included in the pact because they are considered developing countries, which was one reason the United States did not sign it.
"It looks likely to me that China will pass the United States [in emissions] this year," said Gregg Marland, a senior staff scientist at the U.S. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, which supplies data to governments, researchers and nongovernmental organizations worldwide.
"There's a very high likelihood they'll pass them in 2007."
Carbon dioxide is produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas for heat, power and transportation. Many, but not all, scientists say it is a key contributor to global warming.
Mr. Marland used fossil fuel consumption data from oil company BP to calculate China's carbon dioxide emissions in 2005 at 5.3 billion tons, versus 5.9 billion for the United States, with respective growth in 2005 of 10.5 percent and less than 0.1 percent.
In 2006, Chinese fuel consumption rose 9.3 percent to the equivalent of 2.4 billion tons of coal that year, the deputy head of the office that advises China on energy policy, Xu Dingming, said on Thursday.
This was faster than BP's estimate of a 9 percent rise in China's oil, gas and coal consumption in 2005, to 1.45 billion tons of oil equivalent.
The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises 26 developed countries, said in November that China would overtake the United States as the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter before 2010 if current trends continued.
China's Office of the National Coordination Committee on Climate Change said it could not comment on either forecast, as it did not have a reliable estimate of the country's emissions.
"These figures are very complicated; we don't have an estimate of [carbon dioxide] for such a recent date," said an official who declined to be named. "We have just set in motion our national reporting plan ... but it will not be done for two or three years."
U.N. data for 2003 put the United States at the top with 23 percent of world carbon dioxide emissions and China second with 16.5 percent. But U.S. residents were far bigger producers, at 20 tons per capita versus China's 3.2 tons and a world average of 3.7.
China argues that wealthy nations are responsible for most of the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere and should lead the way in cutting emissions.
More economic growth and fuel use translates into higher emissions, particularly in China, which gets around 70 percent of its energy from coal, the highest carbon-producing fuel.
Mr. Marland estimated a plus or minus 15 to 20 percent error in the Chinese data versus a 5 percent U.S. margin.
China's rapid rise of carbon emissions is threatening to outweigh efforts by the European Union and others to slow climate change. EU leaders said earlier this month they would cut the bloc's greenhouse gases by at least one-fifth by 2020.
But China between now and 2015 will build power-generating capacity equal to the entire existing capacity in the 27-nation European Union, the IEA estimates.
China's sconomic growth has been fueled largely by burning coal, and it is still building power plants at an unprecedented rate. Last year, it added about 100 gigawatts of new generators, approaching France's entire capacity, most of them coal-burning ones.

Copyright © 2007 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Judge says mt top removal illegally

Judge: Corps coal permits illegal
Mar 23, 2007
St Paul Pioneer Press
PAM RAMSEY Associated Press Writer
CHARLESTON, W.Va.- A federal judge ruled Friday that the Army Corps of Engineers illegally issued permits for four mountaintop removal mines without adequately determining whether the environment would be harmed.
U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers rescinded the permits, which allow four mines operated by Massey Energy Co. to fill nearby valleys with dirt, rocks and other material removed to expose coal seams.
The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and two other environmental groups had sued to force the corps to perform more extensive environmental reviews before granting valley fill permits for the mines.
The corps had maintained that more extensive reviews weren't necessary for the permits.
Chambers remanded the permits to the corps for further consideration.
Messages left after hours for the corps and for Richmond, Va.-based Massey were not immediately returned.
The issue of mountaintop removal and valley fills has been argued in state and federal courts in the region for nearly a decade. Coal operators claim the practice is an efficient way to expose seams in mountainous coalfields.
Environmentalists call the technique destructive and point to a 2005 study that said mountaintop removal and valley fills had buried 1,200 miles of headwater streams in Appalachia.
The corps had argued that mitigation techniques, including restoring streams, would offset any harmful effects. Chambers, however, said the agency
failed to assess the full impact of destroying headwater streams within a watershed.
"The evidence to date shows that the Corps has no scientific basis—no real evidence of any kind—upon which it bases its decisions to permit this permanent destruction to streams and headwaters," said Steve Roady, a lawyer with Washington-based Earthjustice, which represented the environmental groups.
Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said he had not read the ruling and had no immediate comment. The association had intervened in the lawsuit.
On the Net:
Massey Energy:
West Virginia Coal Association:
Corps of Engineers:

Friday, March 23, 2007

Media scare on warming, the truth steps fwd

Global Warming, “the biggest scam of modern times”

“The Great Global Warming Scandal”, that’s the name of a recent television documentary aired in Britain. The documentary is directed by filmmaker Martin Durkin.

The film by Mr. Durkin takes on another point of view as opposed to the premise outlined in former Vice President Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," which presents a dreadful picture of how modern society has created a buildup in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and how they are affecting the global climate to such an extent that there will be disastrous consequences for us all.

In a recent article in the “Washington Times” Mr. Durkin said, concerning Al Gores film "It's very rare that a film changes history, but I think this is a turning point, and in five years the idea that the greenhouse effect is the main reason behind global warming will be seen as total bunk". He believes that Al Gores film will change history but not in the way Al Gore will necessarily like. Durkin supports the thesis that global warming is the biggest man-made scam ever created in modern times and Al Gore will be remembered as the leader of a shakedown.

The television documentary condemns man-made global warming as a myth that has become "the biggest scam of modern times."

Mr. Durkin in the Washington Times article, rejects the concept of man-made climate change, calling it "a lie ... the biggest scam of modern times." The truth, he says, is that global warming "is a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists, supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding, and propped up by compliant politicians and the media."

I can’t help but think that the current movement to save the earth by shutting down on the American manufacturing base and all the coal fired power plants in the country that will save us all from ruin is reminiscent of the McCarthyism movement. Only this time the basic “fear premise” comes from people who have prostituted science instead of a social theory like communism. Still it has creped into the American political system with the help of some modern day McCarthy’s like Al Gore and presents just as grave a danger to the nation’s future. I refer to all this as a movement because the fanatical preaching of the greenhouse effect going to destroy the earth, is like a puritanical religion. These people are (and are dragging a lot of misguided kids along with them) worshiping the earth as opposed to GOD.

The documentary by Mr. Durkin features an impressive group of experts, in climatology, oceanography, meteorology, biogeography and paleoclimatology and come from prestigious institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Danish National Space Center and universities and other schools in London, Ottawa, Jerusalem, Alabama, Virginia and Winnipeg, Canada. So what do they say might be the reason the earths temperature is changing?

The Washington Times article states a couple different points of view; One of the filmmaker's scientists, paleontologist professor Ian Clark of the University of Ottawa, says that global warming could be caused by increased activity on the sun, such as massive eruptions, and that ice-core samples from Antarctica show that, in fact, warmer periods in Earth's history have come about 800 years before rises in carbon dioxide levels. Mr. Clark's findings appear to contradict the work of other scientists, who have used similar ice-core samples to illustrate that raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have accompanied the various global warming periods."The fact is that [carbon dioxide] has no proven link to global temperatures," says Mr. Durkin. "Solar activity is far more likely to be the culprit."Scientists in the Channel 4 documentary cite what they claim is another discrepancy involving conventional research, saying that most of the recent global warming occurred before 1940, after which temperatures around the world fell for four decades.Mr. Durkin's skeptical specialists view this as a flaw in the official view, because the worldwide economic boom that followed the end of World War II produced more carbon dioxide, and therefore should have meant a rise in global temperatures -- something he says did not happen."The Great Global Warming Swindle" also questions an assertion by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report, published last month, that it was backed by some 2,500 of the world's leading scientists.Another of Mr. Durkin's professors, Paul Reiter of Paris' Pasteur Institute, an expert in malaria, calls the U.N. report a "sham" because, he says, it included the names of scientists -- including his own -- who disagreed with the report and who resigned from the panel."That is how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed," he says. "It's not true."Mr. Reiter says his name was removed only after he threatened legal action against the panel. The report itself, he adds, was finalized by government appointees.Yet another expert in the Durkin documentary, Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, is more circumspect."The [climate] system is too complex to say exactly what the effect of cutting back on [carbon dioxide] production would be or, indeed, of continuing to produce [carbon dioxide].""The greenhouse effect theory worried me from the start," Mr. Stott says, "because you can't say that just one factor can have this effect."

"Al Gore might have won an Oscar," says Durkin, "but the film is very misleading, and he (Gore) has got the relationship between carbon dioxide and climate change the wrong way around."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Gore

Whose Ox Is Gored?

The media discover the former vice president's environmental exaggerations and hypocrisy.The media are finally catching up with Al Gore. Criticism of his anti-global-warming franchise and his personal environmental record has gone beyond ankle-biting bloggers. It's now coming from the New York Times and the Nashville Tennessean, his hometown paper that put his birth, as a senator's son, on its front page back in 1948, and where a young Al Gore Jr. worked for five years as a journalist.
Last Tuesday, the Times reported that several eminent scientists "argue that some of Mr. Gore's central points [on global warming] are exaggerated and erroneous." The Tenessean reported yesterday that Mr. Gore received $570,000 in royalties from the owners of zinc mines who held mineral leases on his farm. The mines, which closed in 2003 but are scheduled to reopen under a new operator later this year, "emitted thousands of pounds of toxic substances and several times, the water discharged from the mines into nearby rivers had levels of toxins above what was legal."
All of this comes in the wake of the enormous publicity Mr. Gore received after his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar. The film features Mr. Gore reprising his famous sighing and lamenting how the average American's energy use is greedily off the charts. At the film's end viewers are asked, "Are you ready to change the way you live?"
The Nashville-based Tennessee Center for Policy Research was skeptical that Mr. Gore had been "walking the walk" on the environment. It obtained public records showing that for years Mr. Gore has burned through more electricity at his Nashville home each month than the average American family uses in a year--and his consumption was increasing. The heated Gore pool house alone ran up more than $500 in natural-gas bills every month.
Mr. Gore's office responded by claiming that the Gores "purchase offsets for their carbon emissions to bring their carbon footprint down to zero." But reports that Mr. Gore doesn't purchase carbon offsets with his own resources, and that they are meaningless in terms of global warming.
The offset purchases are actually made for him by Generation Investment Management, a London-based investment firm that Mr. Gore co-founded, and which provides carbon offsets as a fringe benefit to all 23 of its employees, ensuring that they require no real sacrifice on the part of Mr. Gore or his family. Indeed, their impact is also highly limited. The Carbon Neutral Co.--one of the two vendors that sell offsets to Mr. Gore's company, says that offset purchases "will be unable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions . . . in the short term."

The New York Times last week interviewed many scientists who say they are alarmed "at what they call [Mr. Gore's] alarmism on global warming." In a front-page piece in its science section, the Times headline read "From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype."
The Times quoted Don Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, as telling hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America that "I don't want to pick on Al Gore. But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data." Mr. Easterbrook made clear he has never been paid by any energy corporations and isn't a Republican.
Even James Hansen, a scientist who began issuing warning cries about global warming in the 1980s and is a top adviser to Mr. Gore, concedes that his work may hold "imperfections" and "technical flaws." Other flaws are more serious, such as Mr. Gore's depiction of sea level rises of up to 20 feet, which would cause Florida and New York City to sink below the surface.
Sober scientists privately say such claims are exaggerated. They point to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that released its fourth report on global warming last month. While it found humans were the main cause of recent global warming, the report also indicated it was a very slow-moving process. On sea levels, the U.N. panel reported its s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. The new high-end best estimate is less than half the previous prediction, which was still far below Mr. Gore's 20 feet. Similarly, the new report shows that the panel's 2001 report overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.
In an email message to the Times, Mr. Gore defended his work as fundamentally accurate. But it's increasingly clear that far from the "consensus" on global warming we are told exists, scientists are having a broad and rich debate on many aspects of it. Nearly two decades after Mr. Gore first claimed that "we face an ecological crisis without any precedent in historic times," we don't know if that is really true.

Then there is the Gore zinc mine. Mr. Gore has personally earned $570,000 in zinc royalties from a mine his father bought in 1973 from Armand Hammer, the business executive famous for his close friendship with the Soviet Union and for pleading guilty to making illegal campaign contributions during Watergate. On the same day Al Gore Sr. bought the 88-acre parcel from Hammer for $160,000, he sold the land and subsurface mining rights to his then 25-year-old son for $140,000. The mineral rights were then leased back to Hammer's Occidental Petroleum and the royalty payments put in the names of Al Gore Jr. and his wife, Tipper.
Gore spokeswoman Kalee Kreider claims the terms of the 30-year Occidental lease agreement gave the Gores "no legal recourse" to get out of it. She said the Gores never thought about selling the land and would not comment on whether they ever tried to void the lease. "There is a certain zone of privacy once people go into private life," Ms. Kreidler said. She said critics of the arrangement should realize it should be viewed in a "1973 context, not a 2007 context. . . . There was a different environmental sensibility about all sorts of things."
But what about a 1992 context? That is the year Mr. Gore published "Earth in the Balance," in which he wrote: "The lakes and rivers sustain us; they flow through the veins of the earth and into our own. But we must take care to let them flow back out as pure as they came, not poison and waste them without thought for the future." Mr. Gore wrote that at a time when he would be collecting zinc royalties for another 11 years.
The mines had a generally good environmental record, but they wouldn't pass muster either with the standard Mr. Gore set in "Earth in the Balance" or with most of his environmentalist friends. In May 2000 the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a "Notice of Violation" notifying the Pasminco mine its zinc levels in a nearby river exceeded standards established by the state and the federal Environmental Protection Agency. In 1996 the mine twice failed biomonitoring tests designed to protect water quality in the river for fish and wildlife. "The discharge of industrial wastewater from Outfall #001 [the Caney Fork effluent] contains toxic metals (copper and zinc)," the analysis stated. "The combined effect of these pollutants may be detrimental to fish and aquatic life."
The Gore mines were no small operations. In 2002, the year before they shut down, they ranked 22nd among all metal-mining operations in the U.S., with total toxic releases of 4.1 million pounds. A new mine operator, Strategic Resource Acquisition, is planning to reopen the mines later this year. The Tennessean reports that just last week, Mr. Gore wrote SRA asking it to work with a national environmental group as it makes its plans. He noted that under the previous operator, the mines had, according to the environmental website Scorecard, "pollution releases from the mine in 2002 [that] placed it among the 'dirtiest/worst facilities' in the U.S." Mr. Gore requested that SRA "engage with us in a process to ensure that the mine becomes a global example of environmental best practices." The Tennessean dryly notes that Mr. Gore wrote the letter the week after the paper posed a series of questions to him about his involvement with the zinc mines.

Columnist Steven Milloy recalls talking with Mr. Gore in 2006 about the 1997 Kyoto Protocol he helped negotiate as vice president. "Did we think Kyoto would [reduce global warming] when we signed it? . . . Hell no!" said Mr. Gore, according to Mr. Milloy. The former vice president then explained that the real purpose of Kyoto was to demonstrate that international support could be mustered for action on environmental issues. Mr. Gore clearly believes that the world hasn't acted with enough vigor in the decade since Kyoto, which may explain his growing use of the global-warming hype that concerns many mainstream scientists.
Mr. Gore has called the campaign to combat global warming a "moral imperative." But Mr. Gore faces another imperative: to square his sales pitches with the facts and his personal lifestyle to more align with what he advocates that others practice. "Are you ready to change the way you live?" asks Mr. Gore's film. It's time people ask Mr. Gore "Are you ready to change the way you live, as well as the way you lecture the rest of us?"

Monday, March 19, 2007

ALGORE energy use brings up some points


The eco-logic power house

Scientific Smackdown: Skeptics Voted The Clear Winners

By Marc Morano

March 19, 2007

Just days before former Vice President Al Gore’s scheduled visit to testify about global warming before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, a high profile climate debate between prominent scientists Wednesday evening, March 14, ended with global warming skeptics being voted the clear winner by a tough New York City, before an audience of hundreds of people.
Before the start of the nearly two-hour debate, the audience polled 57.3% to 29.9% in favor of believing that Global Warming was a “crisis”, but following the debate, the numbers completely flipped to 46.2% to 42.2% in favor of the skeptical point of view. The audience also found humor at the expense of former Vice President Gore’s reportedly excessive home energy use.
After the stunning victory, one of the scientists on the side promoting the belief in a climate "crisis" appeared to concede defeat by noting his debate team was ‘pretty dull" and at "a sharp disadvantage" against the skeptics.’s blog agreed, saying the believers in a man-made climate catastrophe “seemed underarmed for the debate and, not surprising, it swung against them."
The New York City audience laughed as Gore became the butt of humor during the debate.
"What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. But it is a very serious point," quipped University of London emeritus professor Philip Stott, to laughter from the audience.
The audience also applauded a call by novelist Michael Crichton to stop the hypocrisy of environmentalists and Hollywood liberals by enacting a ban on private jet travel.
"Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [power] grid. They must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously?" Crichton said to applause audience. (For more debate quotes see bottom of article)
The debate was sponsored by the Oxford-style debating group Intelligence Squared and featured such prominent man-made global warming skeptics as MIT scientist Richard Lindzen, the University of London emeritus professor of biogeography Philip Stott and Physician turned Novelist/filmmaker Michael Crichton on one side.
The scientists arguing for a climate ‘crisis’ were NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt, meteorologist Richard C.J. Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The event, which was moderated by New York Public Radio’s Brian Lehrer, debated the proposition: "Global warming is not a crisis.”
Skeptics Dramatically Convinced Audience
The skeptics achieved the vote victory despite facing an audience that had voted 57% in favor of the belief that mankind has created a climate "crisis" moments before the debate began.
But by the end of the debate, the audience dramatically reversed themselves, and became convinced by the arguments presented by the skeptical scientists. At the conclusion, the audience voted for the views of the skeptics, by a margin of 46.2% to 42.2%. Skeptical audience members grew from a pre-debate low of 29.9% to a post debate high of 46.2% - a jump of nearly 17 percentage points. [Link to official audience voting results]
[Link to full debate pdf transcript]
Scientist Concedes Debate To Skeptics
NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, one of the scientists debating for the notion of a man-made global warming "crisis" conceded after the debate that his side was ‘pretty dull’ and was at "a sharp disadvantage." Schmidt made the comments in a March 15 blog posting at
"…I'm afraid the actual audience (who by temperament I'd say were split roughly half/half on the question) were apparently more convinced by the entertaining narratives from [Novelist Michael] Crichton and [UK’s Philip] Stott (not so sure about Lindzen) than they were by our drier fare. Entertainment-wise it's hard to blame them. Crichton is extremely polished, and Stott has a touch of the revivalist preacher about him. Comparatively, we were pretty dull," Schmidt wrote.
‘Advantage: Climate Contrarians’
The’s blog also declared the global warming skeptics the clear winner of the debate in a March 15 post titled: "Debate Skills? Advantage: Climate Contrarians."
"The proponents [of a climate crisis] seemed underarmed for the debate and, not surprisingly, it swung against them, particularly when Schmidt made the fatal debating error of dismissing the ability of the audience to judge the scientific nuances,"’s David Biello wrote.
The advocates of climate alarmism "were faced with the folksy anecdotes of Crichton and the oratorical fire of Stott," Biello wrote at
Biello concluded, "…the audience responded to Crichton's satirical call for a ban on private jets, more than Ekwurzel's vague we need to throw ‘everything we can at the climate crisis.’ By the final vote, 46 percent of the audience had been convinced that global warming was indeed not a crisis, while just 42 percent persisted in their opinion that it was."
Biello also criticized climate "crisis" advocate Richard Somerville as "perplexed" and "hardly inspiring."
Skeptics ‘Very Popular’
Debate participant Schmidt lamented that the evening turned into one of futility for believers in a man-made global warming catastrophe.
"Crichton went with the crowd-pleasing condemnation of private jet-flying liberals - very popular, even among the private jet-flying Eastsiders present, and the apparent hypocrisy of people who think that global warming is a problem [of] using any energy at all."
Schmidt continued, "Stott is a bit of a force of nature, and essentially accused anyone who thinks global warming is a problem. of explicitly rooting for misery and poverty in the third world. He also brought up the whole cosmic ray issue, as the next big thing in climate science."
Schmidt appeared so demoralized that he mused that debates equally split between believers of a climate ‘crisis’ and scientific skeptics are probably not “worthwhile” to ever agree to again.
Selected Quotes from the climate debate from transcript: [Link to full debate pdf transcript]
Skeptical quotes from Novelist Michael Crichton:
"I would like to suggest a few symbolic actions that might — might really mean something. One of them, which is very simple: 99% of the American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition, [APPLAUSE] "Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [electrical] grid. They must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously? [APPLAUSE]"
"I suddenly think about my friends, you know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is mouth a few platitudes, show a good, expression of concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while, and give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers, and you’re done. Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it."
"I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the questions that friends of mine ask, as they are getting on board their private jets to fly to their second and third homes. [LAUGHTER]"
"Everyday, 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water. We have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future, than pay attention to what’s going on now. I think that's unacceptable. I think that’s really a disgrace."
Skeptical quotes of University of London’s emeritus professor of biogeography Philip Stott:
"What we see in this is an enormous danger for politicians in terms of their hypocrisy. I’m not going to say anything about Al Gore and his house. [LAUGHTER] But it is a very serious point."
"In the early 20th century, 95% of scientists believed in eugenics. [LAUGHTER] Science does not progress by consensus, it progresses by falsification and by what we call paradigm shifts."
"The first Earth Day in America claimed the following, that because of global cooling, the population of America would have collapsed to 22 million by the year 2000. And, the average calorie intake of the average American would be wait for this, 2,400 calories, (would be good if it were.) [LAUGHTER] It’s nonsense, and very dangerous. And what we have fundamentally forgotten is simple primary school science. Climate always changes."
"Angela Merkel the German chancellor, my own good prime minister (Tony Blair) for whom I voted - let me emphasize, arguing in public two weeks ago, as to who in Annie-get-the-gun style could produce the best temperature. ‘I could do two degrees C," said Angela.’ ‘No, I could only do three," said Tony.’ [LAUGHTER] Stand back a minute, those are politicians, telling you that they can control climate to a degree Celsius.”
“And can I remind everybody that IPCC that we keep talking about, very honestly admits that we know very little about 80% of the factors behind climate change. Well let’s use an engineer; I don’t think I’d want to cross Brooklyn Bridge if it were built by an engineer who only understood 80% of the forces on that bridge. [LAUGHTER]”
Skeptical quotes of MIT’s Professor of Atmospheric Science Richard Lindzen:
"Now, much of the current alarm, I would suggest, is based on ignorance of what is normal for weather and climate."
"The impact on temperature per unit carbon dioxide actually goes down, not up, with increasing CO2. The role of anthropogenic greenhouse gases is not directly related to the emissions rate or even CO2 levels, which is what the legislation is hitting on, but rather to the impact of these gases on the greenhouse effect."
"The real signature of greenhouse warming is not surface temperature, but temperature in the middle of the troposphere, about five kilometers. And that is going up even slower than the temperature at the surface."

Copyright © 2007 All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Limousine Liberal Hypocrisy

Limousine Liberal Hypocrisy

Friday, Mar. 16, 2007 By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

Goldman Sachs has been one of the most aggressive firms on Wall Street about taking action on climate change; the company sends its bankers home at night in hybrid limousines.

--The New York Times, Feb. 25

Written without a hint of irony--if only your neighborhood dry cleaner sent his employees home by hybrid limousine--this front-page dispatch captured perfectly the eco-pretensions of the rich and the stupefying gullibility with which they are received.
Remember the Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore global-warming pitch at the Academy Awards? Before they spoke, the screen at the back of the stage flashed not-so-subliminal messages about how to save the planet. My personal favorite was "Ride mass transit." This to a conclave of Hollywood plutocrats who have not seen the inside of a subway since the moon landing and for whom mass transit means a stretch limo seating no fewer than 10.
Leo and Al then portentously announced that for the first time ever, the Academy Awards ceremony had gone green. What did that mean? Solar panels in the designer gowns? It turns out that the Academy neutralized the evening's "carbon footprint" by buying carbon credits. That means it sent money to a "carbon broker," who promised, after taking his cut, to reduce carbon emissions somewhere on the planet equivalent to what the stars spewed into the atmosphere while flying in on their private planes.
In other words, the rich reduce their carbon output by not one ounce. But drawing on the hundreds of millions of net worth in the Kodak Theatre, they pull out lunch money to buy ecological indulgences. The last time the selling of pardons was prevalent--in a predecessor religion to environmentalism called Christianity--Martin Luther lost his temper and launched the Reformation.
A very few of the very rich have some awareness of the emptiness--if not the medieval corruption--of ransoming one's sins. Sergey Brin, zillionaire founder of Google, buys carbon credits to offset the ghastly amount of carbon dioxide emitted by Google's private Boeing 767 but confesses he's not sure if it really does anything.
Which puts him one step ahead of most other eco-preeners who actually pretend that it does--the Goracle himself, for example. His Tennessee mansion consumes 20 times the electricity used by the average American home. Last August alone it consumed twice as much power as the average home consumes in a year. Gore buys absolution, however. He spends pocket change on carbon credits, which then allow him to pollute conscience-free.
What is wrong with this scam? First, purchasing carbon credits is an incentive to burn even more fossil fuels, since now it is done under the illusion that it's really cost-free to the atmosphere.
Second, it is a way for the rich to export the real costs and sacrifices of pollution control to the poorer segments of humanity in the Third World. (Apparently, Hollywood's plan is to make up for that by adopting every last one of their children.) For example, GreenSeat, a Dutch carbon-trading outfit, buys offsets from a foundation that plants trees in Uganda's Mount Elgon National Park to soak up the carbon emissions of its rich Western patrons. Small problem: expanding the park encroaches on land traditionally used by local farmers. As a result, reports the New York Times, "villagers living along the boundary of the park have been beaten and shot at, and their livestock has been confiscated by armed park rangers." All this so that swimming pools can be heated and Maseratis driven with a clear conscience in the fattest parts of the world.
The other form of carbon trading is to get Third World companies to cut their emissions to offset Western pollution. The reason this doesn't work--and why the carbon racket is a farce--is that you need a cap for cap-and-trade to work. Sulfur dioxide emissions in the U.S. were capped, and the trading system succeeded in reducing acid rain by half. But even the Kyoto treaty doesn't put any cap on greenhouse gases in China and India, where billions of these carbon credits are traded. Sure, you can pretend you're offsetting Western greenhouse pollution by supposedly cleaning up a dirty coal plant in China. But China is adding a new coal plant every week. You could build a particularly dirty "uncapped" power plant, then sell hundreds of millions in carbon credits to reduce it to a normal rate of pollution. The result? The polluter gets very rich. The planet continues to cook. And the Gores of the world can feel virtuous as they burn up the local power grid.
If Gore really wants to save the planet, he can try this: Turn off the lights. Ditch the heated pool. Ride the subway. And spare us the carbon-trading piety.

ALGORE likes the profits from Zinc mine

If I have to say the word hypocrite one more time when I have to use this guys name I am going to be sick.

Environmentalist Gore allowed zinc mine

By Bill Theobald, Gannett News Service

CARTHAGE, Tenn. — Al Gore has profited from zinc mining that has released millions of pounds of potentially toxic substances near his farmstead, but there is no evidence the mine has caused serious damage to the environment in the area or threatened the health of his neighbors.
Massive white mountains of leftover rock waste are evidence of three decades of mining that earned Gore $570,000 in royalty payments for the mineral rights to his property.
New owners plan to start mining again later this year, after nearly four years of inactivity. In addition to bringing 250 much-needed jobs to rural middle Tennessee, mine owners will resume paying royalties to some residents who, like Gore, own land adjacent to the mine and leased access to the zinc under their property.
Gore has yet to be approached by the new owner, Strategic Resource Acquisition, said his spokeswoman Kalee Kreider, and he and wife, Tipper, have not decided whether they will renew their lease. It was terminated when the mine closed in 2003.
Last week, Gore sent a letter asking the company to work with Earthworks, a national environmental group, to make sure the operation doesn't damage the environment.
"We would like for you to engage with us in a process to ensure that the mine becomes a global example of environmental best practices," Gore wrote.
Victor Wyprysky, the company's president and chief executive officer, did not respond to requests for comment on the letter.
The letter was sent the week after Gannett News Service posed questions to the former vice president about his involvement with the mine.
Previous mine owners released toxic substances into waterways above the allowable levels several times in the eight years before the mine closed.
But state regulators consider those permit violations minor and monitoring reports provide a clean bill of health for the rivers in the area, which are a source of drinking water. Community leaders and health officials recall no health problems ever associated with the mining.
But now that the mine is reopening and Gore's status as an environmentalist has grown, some of Gore's neighbors see a conflict between the mining and his moral call for environmental activism.
"Mining is not exactly synonymous with being green, is it?" said John Mullins, who lives in nearby Cookeville.
At the same time, the Caney Fork Watershed Association, which works to conserve and improve the waterways in the area, has heard no concerns from its members about the mine's reopening.
"The operation has a record of vigilance in not operating to harm the environment, and we certainly hope that the renewed operation will maintain this record," John Harwood, with the association, said in a written statement.
The Gores bought the land near the mines from his parents on Sept. 22, 1973, the same day his father bought it from Occidental Minerals, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, and leased the mineral rights back to the company.
Kreider said the terms of the 30-year lease provided the Gores "no legal recourse" even if they had wanted to cancel it. The Gores, she said, would not comment on whether they tried to pursue legal action to void the lease. She said they never considered selling the land.
Kreider said the Gores received $20,000 a year in royalties for 27 years and $10,000 per year in three years.
During the 1980s, the mine was the largest zinc-producing mine in the country.
In the five-year period from 1998-2003, before the mines were shuttered, more than 19 million pounds of toxic substances were released into the air, water and land, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's Toxic Release Inventory data. Most of that was zinc pulled from the ground during mining.
Gore noted in his letter that, according to tallies on Scorecard, a website run by environmentalists, "pollution releases from the mine in 2002 placed it among the 'dirtiest/worst facilities' in the U.S."
Most of the improper discharges from the mines into nearby rivers and streams involved higher than allowed levels of zinc.
One of those waterways was the Caney Fork River, which Gore used as a backdrop in his Oscar-winning documentary on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth."
The Gores won't speculate on whether they will refuse to renew their lease if the new owners don't follow their request to work with the environmental group, Kreider said. They do plan, she said, to encourage their neighbors to join their effort.
Also to be decided is what to do about the leases on two parcels owned by Albert Gore Sr., which Gore eventually will inherit when his parents' estates are settled.
Contact Bill Theobald at

Saturday, March 17, 2007

AEP to install carbon capture technologies

Nation's largest coal-burning utility will capture carbon at two plants

Mar 15, 2007
One of the nation's largest power producers announced plans today to install carbon-capture technologies on coal-fired power plants in West Virginia and Oklahoma.
American Electric Power of Columbus, Ohio, said it would add post-combustion carbon dioxide scrubbers that use chilled ammonia to remove CO2 from flue gases. Tests of the technology will begin this summer at a small power plant in Wisconsin.
"With Congress expected to take action on greenhouse gas issues in climate legislation, it's time to advance this technology for commercial use," said AEP Chairman Michael Morris in a statement.
AEP also said it had reached agreement with Babcock & Wilcox Co. to assess the effectiveness of "oxy-coal" technology at snaring CO2. If it works, the technology would be used at another AEP plant between 2012 and 2015.
Morris is expected to provide further details of AEP's plans at the Morgan Stanley Global Electricity & Energy Conference today in New York.
AEP's announcement comes the day after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a report saying coal could continue as a viable energy source so long as government and industry work to widely deploy carbon capture and storage technologies (Greenwire, March 14).
The announcement garnered favorable reviews from both industry lobbyists and environmental groups who have been pushing coal-fired utilities to act aggressively to reduce greenhouse gases like CO2.
"We think it's very significant," said Jim Owen, a spokesman for the Edison Electric Institute. "I think everyone recognizes that carbon capture and storage is a critical piece of the long-term climate change equation. It's a needed piece of technology that we're going to have to have available and deployable to get to much deeper reductions in CO2 emissions."
Owen said AEP's announcement will likely spur similar action from other major coal-fired utilities, which until now have been slow to embrace CO2 controls, particularly for existing plants. "One of the most important things about what AEP is doing is it keeps coal in the fuel mix," he said. "That's really the bottom line."
Scott Segal, a Washington attorney and senior lobbyist for coal-fired utilities, said AEP's announcement demonstrates that deployment of new carbon-capture technology is "the key to responsible carbon policy." But he warned, "Government policy cannot be based on purely hypothetical applications when there is still serious work to be done on capture and sequestration."
And Emily Figdor of the advocacy group U.S. Public Interest Research Group said AEP's announcement was "very encouraging." But she said that to effectively address global warming, such technologies would need to be added to all existing coal plants. "If we can do it," she said.
Carbon capture technology
AEP said it will install the carbon capture system -- designed by Alstom Power Systems of Knoxville, Tenn. -- on a 30-megawatt test unit at its 1,300-megawatt Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, W.Va. The company expects to trap and store up to 100,000 metric tons of CO2 per year there. Carbon storage will occur in deep saline aquifers on the plant site, the company said.
Alstom said it has demonstrated the potential to capture over 90 percent of CO2 using its chilled ammonia approach at lower cost than other carbon-capture technologies. The technology should be applicable to both new and existing plants through retrofitting, officials said.
Bob Hilton, Alstom's director of business development, said the chilled ammonia carbon capture process has been under development for about three years, and that its first commercial test will begin this summer on a 5-megawatt slipstream unit at a Wisconsin power plant.
If the West Virginia validation test goes well, a second application is planned for AEP's Northeastern Station in Oologah, Okla., on a 450-megawatt coal-fired unit. The company hopes the technology will be commercially viable at the Oklahoma power plant by late 2011.
The Alstom-designed system isolates CO2 by chilling flue gases in the combustion cycle, recovering large volumes of water which can be recycled. Once isolated, the CO2 is collected on an absorber much like that used in systems that reduce sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions, officials said.
In a release, Babcock & Wilcox's parent company, McDermott International Inc., said its oxy-coal combustion process, once fully developed, "is expected to result in near-zero emissions from coal-fired electric-generating facilities."
Oxy-coal combustion uses pure oxygen for the coal combustion, and nitrogen that comes in with the air is eliminated, according to McDermott. The resulting flue gas "is a relatively pure stream of CO2 that is ready for capture and sequestration or alternative uses such as enhanced oil recovery," the company said.
Morris said AEP's 100-year track record of innovation in power generation "makes us very comfortable with taking action on carbon emissions and accelerating advancement of the technology."
Senior reporter Darren Samuelsohn contributed to this report

Energy Bills going up in TX

Energy bill meeting gets heated

By JESSICA SAVAGE @ The Daily Sentinel
Thursday, March 15, 2007
ZAVALLA — Tempers flared, emotions ran high and a few curse words were uttered as more than 100 area residents packed Zavalla City Hall Thursday night to voice concerns over high energy bills.
Representatives from TXU Electric Delivery, TXU Energy, Stream Energy and two state legislators' offices addressed questions in an open forum lasting more than three hours.
In an article that ran in Monday's edition of The Daily Sentinel, several Zavalla residents said their energy usage had doubled and, in some cases, tripled since TXU Delivery installed digital meters three months ago.
Joan and Hubert Roebuck received an electricity bill for $1,111.79 this month.
"It's a bunch of malarkey. That is just impossible ... It's outrageous," said Joan Roebuck in an interview last week.
Not one representative at the meeting could explain why.
But representatives from TXU Delivery assured consumers the meters are accurate.
"We feel good about the meters," said Chris Shine, a representative of TXU Delivery, in an interview hours before the town meeting.
He and David Collier, TXU area manager for Angelina and Nacogdoches counties, said the recent backlash is stemming from misinformation and confusion.
"The meter has fallen victim because it is the most tangible thing to blame," Shine said in an earlier interview. "Consumers need to look at rates. They have gone up."
Shine dispelled rumors that digital meters are calculating usage higher than the mechanical meters had.
"One is not more accurate," he said.
He compared the difference of mechanical and digital meter to that of a car odometer. No matter if a vehicle reads the rate of speed digitally or mechanically, both give the same output, he said.
As the meeting progressed, consumers grew more agitated, insisting digital meters are to blame.
"Obviously (the problem) is related to meter usage ... Rate is irrelevant. It's consumption that needs to be evaluated," said Fred Graham of Nacogdoches. "If (the problem) were isolated you wouldn't have a meeting of this size."
One man in the audience seemed satisfied after he reached an agreement with TXU Delivery to have his meter removed and tested by an independent company. Of course, he and TXU Delivery had to agree on which company could test the device.
Others voiced concern about how they were going to afford the electricity bill until the problem is resolved.
"We cannot afford to live if we have to pay those bills," said one woman. "What are you going to do if we have to shut down our entire town because we can't afford the bills?"
Representatives from TXU Energy, a retail provider, handled its customers' complaints one by one at the meeting. Those not able to be at the meeting are asked to call the company and request a payment plan until the meter issue is resolved.
A representative from Stream Energy attempted to calm customers.
"We're working with TXU closely to figure out what we can do," said Trei Henri.
One statement in Monday's article was inaccurate. TXU Delivery officials said the company is currently conducting an internal audit of its 80,000 digital meters recently installed in Angelina and Nacogdoches counties. The audit is expected to ensure county residents and businesses are receiving accurate billing information regarding their usage. Two-thirds of the audit is complete.
"I don't think you should monitor yourselves," said one man at the meeting.
Preliminary results show some customers have been billed for the usage of other customers. TXU Delivery said the glitch, as it refers to as crossed meters, is not widespread.
"There have been a few incidents, but not many," Collier said. He did not know, off-hand, how many customers had fallen victim to crossed meters. In a previous interview, Collier said the number of crossed meters discovered was not many.
Susan Sowards, district director for state representative Jim McReynolds' office, and Dawn Glover of Sen. Robert Nichols office attended the meeting to offer a local support network for constituents unsure of how to file complaints.
Recent TXU news
On Monday, the Public Utility Commission of Texas released a report by Potomac Economics Ltd., which said TXU Corp. manipulated wholesale energy prices, causing electricity rates to rise 15.5 percent in 2005. The energy giant earned $20 million in profits off the $70 million it collected from consumers during a four-month summer period that year, the report stated.
TXU Corp. recently reported it earned a 33-percent increase in profits for its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 28, despite mild winter weather and lower than average consumer usage. Its net income grew to $475 million from $356 million in the year-earlier quarter, according to a report from The Associated Press. The company has attributed its improved results to lower operating costs.
The company has recently agreed to a $32 billion buyout led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Texas Pacific Group. The transaction could take six to nine months to be approved by shareholders and federal regulators, Collier said.
To file a complaint
Information from the Public Utility Commission of Texas advised energy consumers to do the following before filing a complaint with the commission.
* First, contact your electric or telephone company. Provide the company with a detailed description of the problem and all the necessary facts. The company should investigate your concern and let you know what action it plans to take.
* Then, if you do not hear from the company within a reasonable time, or if you are not satisfied with the company's action, you can file a complaint with the Customer Protection Division at the PUC.
To file a complaint: call 1-888-782-8477 or 512-936-7120; send a fax to 1-512-936-7003; or visit

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Congress needs to act on clean coal technology

March 17, 2007



Taming Fossil Fuels
Each day seems to bring news of another prominent convert to the cause of requiring mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Each day also seems to bring news of technological advances that would make it possible to achieve those reductions without serious economic damage. Put all these glad tidings together, and Congress has all the reasons it needs to move quickly to regulate global warming emissions here at home, thus setting an example for the world.
Last week the chief executives of America’s largest automobile companies — General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota North America — pledged to support mandatory caps on carbon emissions, as long as the caps covered all sectors of the economy. They delivered their promise to a House committee run by John Dingell — the crusty Michigan Democrat who is another convert to the cause and has taken to describing the global warming threat with phrases like “Hannibal is at the gates.”
Meanwhile, dozens of major institutional investors organized by Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmentalists, will gather in Washington on Monday to offer support for mandatory controls. The group will include Calpers, the huge California state pension fund with a history of making environmentally friendly investments, and Merrill Lynch, whose credentials are less impressive.
The news on the technology side is also good — particularly several recent announcements about coal. The first came from TXU, a huge Texas utility where the bidders have agreed to drop plans to build 11 old-fashioned coal-burning power plants. TXU has now announced that it will build two experimental plants intended to capture carbon dioxide before it escapes into the atmosphere. American Electric Power, another large utility, has also announced that it will build a coal-fired plant based on slightly different technology but with the same intended result: capturing carbon.
The importance of these projects cannot be overstated. As a report released Wednesday by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology observed, coal produces more than 30 percent of America’s carbon dioxide emissions. It is also a huge problem in China, where the equivalent of one large coal-fired power plant is being built each week, using antiquated methods. Unless coal can be tamed, the game is essentially lost.
But while technology will play an indispensable role, the lead authors of the M.I.T. report, writing in The Wall Street Journal, argue that the most effective way to reduce emissions is to attach a significant price to carbon emissions, either as a carbon tax or through a cap-and-trade program of the sort now embodied in various legislative proposals in Congress. Forcing people to pay to pollute would do more than any other known incentive to bring new technologies to commercial scale. That is the task before Congress

Friday, March 16, 2007

AEP to partner to build the worlds first clean coal power plant

Alstom and American Electric Power sign agreement to bring CO2 capture technology to commercial scale by 2011
By: Alstom
15 March 2007
Alstom and American Electric Power (AEP) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring Alstom's chilled ammonia process for CO2 capture to full commercial scale of up to 200 MW by 2011. This is a major step in demonstrating post-combustion carbon capture. The technology has the great advantage versus other technologies of being fully applicable not only for new power plants, but also for the retrofit of existing coal-fired power plants.
The project will be implemented in two phases. In phase one, Alstom and AEP will jointly develop a 30 MWth product validation plant that will capture CO2 from flue gas emitted from AEP's 1300 MW Mountaineer Plant located in New Haven, West Virginia. It is targeted to capture up to 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. The captured CO2 will be designated for geological storage in deep saline aquifers at the site. This pilot is scheduled for start-up at the end of 2008 and will operate for approximately 12-18 months.
In phase two, Alstom will design, construct and commission a commercial scale of up to 200 MW CO2 capture system on one of the 450 MW coal-fired units at its Northeastern Station in Oologah, Oklahoma. The system is scheduled for start-up in late 2011. It is expected to capture about 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, commercially validating this promising technology. The CO2 captured at Northeastern Station will be used for enhanced oil recovery.
Alstom's post-combustion process uses chilled ammonia to capture CO2. This process dramatically reduces the energy required to capture carbon dioxide and isolates it in a highly concentrated, high-pressure form. In laboratory testing sponsored by EPRI and others, Alstom's process has demonstrated the potential to capture over 90% of CO2 at a cost that is far less expensive than other carbon capture technologies. The isolated CO2, once captured, can be used commercially or stored in suitable underground geological sites.
Philippe Joubert, President of Alstom Power Systems, said: "We are extremely proud that AEP has chosen Alstom's clean coal technology for this major project. Our partnership with AEP will result in the world's first clean coal power plant and will be applicable not only for new plants but also for existing power plants".

Monday, March 12, 2007

Energy Demand vs. Desire to cut Pollution

Coal, Congress clash
Growing energy demand collides with desire to cut pollution levels

By Steven Mufson
The Washington Post
March 10, 2007

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa - From the top of a new coal-fired power plant with its 550-foot exhaust stack poking up from the flat western Iowa landscape, MidAmerican Energy Holdings chief executive David L. Sokol peered down at a train looping around a sizable mound of coal.
At this bend in the Missouri River, with Omaha visible in the distance, the new MidAmerican plant is the leading edge of what many people are calling the "coal rush." Due to start up this spring, it will probably be the next coal-fired generating station to come online in the United States. A dozen more are under construction, and about 40 others are likely to start up within five years -- the biggest wave of coal plant construction since the 1970s.
The coal rush in America's heartland is on a collision course with Congress. While lawmakers are drawing up ways to cap and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the Energy Department says as many as 150 new coal-fired plants could be built by 2030, adding volumes to the nation's emissions of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent of half a dozen greenhouse gases scientists blame for global warming.
Plants could offset CO2 reductionsEven after a pledge last month by a consortium of private equity firms to shelve eight of 11 planned coal plants as part of their proposed $45 billion buyout of TXU, the largest utility in Texas, many daunting projects remain on drawing boards. Any one of the three biggest projects could churn out more carbon dioxide than the savings that a group of Northeast states hope to achieve by 2018.
Utility executives say that the coal expansion is needed to meet rising electricity demand as the U.S. population and economy grow. Coal-fired plants provide half the electricity supply in the country.
"A lot of congressmen ask me, 'Dave, why are you building that coal plant?' " says MidAmerican's Sokol. "And I say, 'What are my options?' "
Sokol says he wants to help customers improve efficiency by 10 percent. His holding company, which is more than 80 percent owned by Berkshire Hathaway, includes the utility PacifiCorp in the Northwest and Rocky Mountains as well as MidAmerican; together they generate 16.7 percent of their power from renewable resources. The Iowa subsidiary alone gets 10 percent from renewables. Between 2000 and 2005, the company cut the amount of carbon emitted for every unit of energy generated by 9 percent.
Cleaner technology still in test stageBut half of that reduction in the rate of emissions was offset by higher overall output. Electricity demand in Iowa is growing at a rate of 1.25 percent a year, and Sokol says that until new technologies become commercial or nuclear power becomes more accepted, coal is the way to meet that demand.
It remains unclear how Congress will cope with this problem. Although climate-change experts hope that new technology will deliver a way to capture and store carbon dioxide produced by coal plants, that technology remains in the pilot stage; it could take another decade before it is proven.
Companies say the new coal plants are better than old ones, though both use the same approach: pulverizing coal, then burning it in huge boilers to power giant turbines. The new $1.1 billion MidAmerican facility will be one of the nation's biggest, with 790 megawatts of capacity. Its boilers and pulverizers will devour 400 tons of coal every hour, 3.5 million tons a year, Sokol says. Combined with an existing plant next door, it will require a fresh train of coal every 16 to 17 hours; each train will be nearly 1.5 miles long and lug 135 cars about 650 miles from Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
CO2 can’t be scrubbedWhile newly constructed plants cough up a tiny fraction of the pollutants environmental regulators have focused on in the past -- sulfur dioxide, mercury and nitrogen oxides -- they emit only 15 percent less carbon dioxide. They do that simply by being more efficient. Scrubbers like those used to extract other pollutants from a plant's exhaust don't exist for carbon dioxide.
Environmentalists worry that the new pulverized-coal plants, built to last 40 to 50 years, will saddle the country with high greenhouse-gas emissions for decades. Peabody Energy, for instance, has proposed two giant 1,500 megawatt plants, one for western Kentucky and one for southern Illinois.
"Each of these coal plants is making bad global-warming policy, project by project," says Bruce Nilles, a Madison, Wis.-based Sierra Club lawyer who is fighting the Midwest plants. "It's a high priority to convert these investments in coal plants into something cleaner and smarter."
If coal plants must be built, environmentalists prefer integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants that they say will make it easier later to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground. Only a handful of those are being planned.
"We're making investment decisions today that will make it impossible in 2020 to get the next increment of [greenhouse gas] reduction," Nilles says.
Cleaner plants, higher cost. But the IGCC plants can add as much as $200 million to construction costs; only two are operating today. Companies that make the plants, such as Siemens and General Electric, aren't willing to guarantee certain levels of performance, utility executives say. Referring to GE's chief executive Jeffrey R. Immelt and GE's "ecomagination" ad campaign, one utility executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because his company might still do business with GE said, "I think Immelt's ecomagination got away from him."
(GE is the parent company of NBC Universal, which is a partner in
State regulators, who give thumbs up or down to coal plant proposals, worry mostly about reliability and costs to consumers. In the 1990s, many utilities built natural-gas-fired plants, but in the past two years gas prices have soared. Now, coal backers say that coal is cheaper than other fuels such as natural gas.
One wrinkle: The cost of building coal plants is climbing as demand for engineers and equipment rises. In December, Westar Energy, the largest electric utility in Kansas, shelved its plan to add a 600- to 800-megawatt coal-fired plant. Greg A. Greenwood, vice president of generation construction at Westar, said that in the previous 18 months the estimated construction cost had soared $400 million.
Imposing projectsEnvironmentalists and many economists argue that the price of coal plants is higher when environmental costs are included.One of the Sierra Club's targets has been a $2.2 billion project belonging to We Energies, part of Wisconsin Energy. In the town of Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee, the company has carved 6 million cubic yards of earth from a bluff along Lake Michigan to create a bowl for two 615-megawatt coal-fired power plants, the first due to open in 2009. Trucks and workers are crawling over the site; five enormous boilers stand side by side, waiting for duty. Cranes lean in over the steel scaffolding, and a completed exhaust stack points into the winter sky.
The plan for the plants was hatched after a hot 1997 summer, when the utility came close to ordering rolling blackouts to deal with heavy electricity demand. The state had not built a new power plant since 1984, and the crisis helped ensure a unanimous vote by the Wisconsin Public Service Commission for more coal plants.
But the Oak Creek project sparked a range of protests that landed it before the state Supreme Court, which ruled 4 to 3 in favor of the plant. Construction began the next day.
Cutting CO2 too big a burden?We Energies chief executive Gale E. Klappa says the trimming of greenhouse gas emissions is a worldwide problem and asks why We Energies should voluntarily shoulder the burden. "You could black out the state of Wisconsin . . . and it would not make a difference in the CO2 levels of the world," he says.
Klappa says new coal plants have benefits. He spreads a piece of paper on his conference table. It shows the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each megawatt-hour of energy dropping by 12.5 percent from 1990 through 2011 after the new coal plants come online. Another sheet of paper, however, shows that with higher electricity output, We Energies' total emissions of carbon dioxide will grow 76.6 percent.
"With significant investment and technology, we can bend the line down, but getting the level down to 1990 levels is a huge challenge not only for us, but for society as a whole," Klappa says.
Nilles says that We Energies has made only a feeble attempt to slow the 2 percent a year growth in energy demand. Klappa says that he aims to reduce demand by 55 megawatts, just 1 percent.
Nilles says that the model for electricity expansion is the municipal utility in Springfield, Ill., which negotiated a plan with the Sierra Club after the group had stopped three coal plants in the state. Under the plan, the utility will increase the money spent on energy efficiency tenfold, shut down two old coal plants, improve pollution controls at three others, buy enough wind-powered energy to meet 20 percent of its needs, and build a new cleaner coal plant. However, its capacity -- and thus its carbon dioxide emissions -- will increase.
While some of the Sierra Club members in Springfield weren't satisfied, Nilles says "for a state capital in the middle of coal country, the symbolism [of the agreement] is huge. How do you quantify that?"
© 2007 The Washington Post Company

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Problems with building a coal fired power plant

I still say it may take the lights going out to wake the silent majority up. History shows when they do it is a over reaction. Like maybe bringing back the "rack" for all those who put behind the 8-ball. I'm kidding, I'm kidding. Well ok maybe not but there will be some tee'ed off mass'es out there when it starts happening, and it will. I really do think grown up's should be in change of the power supply and grid.

US coal-fired power plant plans up in smoke?

Mon Mar 5, 2007 8:00AM EST

By Steve James
NEW YORK, March 4 (Reuters) - The future of coal-fired power plants is seen so tied up by legal challenges from green groups, that it could slow, or even thwart, plans to use America's abundant coal supplies to generate its growing electricity needs.
The recent decision by Texas utility TXU Corp. to scrap eight of 11 planned coal-fired plants to gain environmental support for its leveraged buyout, has thrown the growth prospects of the coal-mining industry into doubt.
In a country where approximately half the electricity consumed is generated by coal, TXU's move adds fuel to the debate over whether environmental concerns about coal's contribution to global warning should trump economic necessity.
"Litigation is continuing and it's going to be tough to get new coal-fired plants out of the gate," said Richard Price, who follows the coal industry for Westminster Securities.
"Retrofits of existing plants to reduce emissions will probably get done. But new plants? I am beginning to be skeptical," said Price.
Ian Synnott, an analyst with Natexis Bleichroeder, said TXU's decision pushes back some near-term plans. "There are still a number proposed, but they would have to scale back.
"If you were a coal company looking at TXU plants coming on, with 30 million tons, you may slow down your growth, but it is not a death blow by any means."
Another analyst, who declined to be identified, said: "Environmental regulations on carbon emissions I believe will slow down the construction of new coal-fired plants."
Price said Peabody Energy Corp has been unable to build two coal-fired plants for several years, as opposition by environmental groups has tied up the plans in courts.
North Carolina just approved one of two planned 800-megawatt coal-fired power units Duke Energy wants to build, but only four U.S. plants have come on line since 2000, even though 155 were built between 1980 and 1999.
"The Sierra Club and other groups are litigating every step of the way," said Price. "It's an arduous process and no matter who wins, someone will appeal."
Getting plants approved takes 12-24 months, he said, followed by 2-3 years for construction. "I don't see any favorable impact for coal in that time frame."
There are 160-170 new U.S. power plants on the drawing board. Coal-based plants account for 50 percent of U.S. electric power and are predicted to increase their share to about 57 percent by 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration. That would bring U.S. coal production to 1.78 billion tons by 2030 from 1.1 billion tons in 2004.
"Environmentalists are pushing really aggressively and I was surprised how strong it was in Texas and it caught the market by surprise," said Synnott. "It raises question marks about the long-term outlook for coal. But I don't see it changing the outlook for coal as a low-cost alternative."
The key, many analysts say, is how quickly "clean-coal", carbon-capturing technology is developed for the new generation of power plants. Also coal gasification and coal-to-liquid technology is still a few years off.
"Until new technology makes coal-burning cleaner in 3-5 years, it's gonna be real tough to get new plants built," said Price.
NASA climate scientist James Hansen recently called for a halt to building all coal-fired power plants until technology allows for the capture of emissions from burning coal.
"There should be a moratorium," Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the National Press Club, "Until we have that clean coal power plant, we should not be building them."
The mining industry acknowledges not all plants currently planned will get built. "We encourage conservation and a diverse mix of energy sources," said Carol Raulston, spokeswoman for the National Mining Association, which represents America's mining companies.
While the industry is working to promote public policies for cleaner air, "we still believe coal will be required for at least half of our electricity needs," Raulston told Reuters.
And with electricity demand growing by about 1 percent per year, analysts believe the country will have to accept more coal-fired plants. Synnott noted that some under construction and due for completion in 2010 to 2012 will add 11,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity. Current U.S. capacity is about 1 million MW.
"There are still opportunities to build new coal-fired plants, which are less expensive than natural gas," he said. "(But) We will need to see carbon control through regulations and a significant incentive to develop carbon capturing technology.
"You will probably still see the potential for long-term demand from new coal-fired plants. It just gets pushed out a bit," said Synnott.
© Reuters 2006.

Global Warming a Scandal

Global warming labeled a 'scam'
Mar 6, 2007
Washington Times,

Al Webb

LONDON -- With a packet of claims that are almost certain to defy conventional wisdom, a television documentary to be aired in Britain this week condemns man-made global warming as a myth that has become "the biggest scam of modern times."
The program titled "The Great Global Warming Scandal" and set for screening by TV Channel 4 on Thursday dismisses claims that high levels of greenhouse gases generated by human activity causes climate change. Instead, the program suggests that the sun itself is the real culprit.
The documentary, directed by filmmaker Martin Durkin, is at odds with scientific opinion as outlined in a United Nations report in February, which blames mankind for global warming.
In his program, Mr. Durkin rejects the concept of man-made climate change, calling it "a lie ... the biggest scam of modern times."
The truth, he says, is that global warming "is a multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically anti-industrial environmentalists, supported by scientists peddling scare stories to chase funding, and propped up by compliant politicians and the media."
Channel 4 says that the program features "an impressive roll-call of experts," including nine professors, who are experts in climatology, oceanography, meteorology, biogeography and paleoclimatology.
It also says the experts come from prestigious institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Danish National Space Center and universities and other schools in London, Ottawa, Jerusalem, Alabama, Virginia and Winnipeg, Canada.
"It's very rare that a film changes history," says Martin Durkin, "but I think this is a turning point, and in five years the idea that the greenhouse effect is the main reason behind global warming will be seen as total bunk," he says.
His program collides sharply with the premise outlined in former Vice President Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," which presents a bleak picture of how a buildup in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide affects the global climate, with potentially disastrous consequences.
"Al Gore might have won an Oscar," says Mr. Durkin, in a preview of the documentary, "but the film is very misleading, and he has got the relationship between [carbon dioxide] and climate change the wrong way around."
One of the filmmaker's experts, paleontologist professor Ian Clark of the University of Ottawa, says that global warming could be caused by increased activity on the sun, such as massive eruptions, and that ice-core samples from Antarctica show that, in fact, warmer periods in Earth's history have come about 800 years before rises in carbon dioxide levels.
Mr. Clark's findings appear to contradict the work of other scientists, who have used similar ice-core samples to illustrate that raised levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have accompanied the various global warming periods.
"The fact is that [carbon dioxide] has no proven link to global temperatures," says Mr. Durkin. "Solar activity is far more likely to be the culprit."
Scientists in the Channel 4 documentary cite what they claim is another discrepancy involving conventional research, saying that most of the recent global warming occurred before 1940, after which temperatures around the world fell for four decades.
Mr. Durkin's skeptical specialists view this as a flaw in the official view, because the worldwide economic boom that followed the end of World War II produced more carbon dioxide, and therefore should have meant a rise in global temperatures -- something he says did not happen.
"The Great Global Warming Swindle" also questions an assertion by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report, published last month, that it was backed by some 2,500 of the world's leading scientists.
Another of Mr. Durkin's professors, Paul Reiter of Paris' Pasteur Institute, an expert in malaria, calls the U.N. report a "sham" because, he says, it included the names of scientists -- including his own -- who disagreed with the report and who resigned from the panel.
"That is how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed," he says. "It's not true."
Mr. Reiter says his name was removed only after he threatened legal action against the panel. The report itself, he adds, was finalized by government appointees.
Yet another expert in the Durkin documentary, Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, is more circumspect.
"The [climate] system is too complex to say exactly what the effect of cutting back on [carbon dioxide] production would be or, indeed, of continuing to produce [carbon dioxide]."
"The greenhouse effect theory worried me from the start," Mr. Stott says, "because you can't say that just one factor can have this effect."
"At the moment, there is almost a McCarthyism movement in science where the greenhouse effect is like a puritanical religion, and this is dangerous," he says

Dominion sells 3 power plants

March 6, 2007, 12:53PM

Dominion Sells 3 Power Plants

2007 The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. — Utility operator Dominion Resources Inc. said Tuesday that it completed the sale of three natural gas-fired generation facilities for an undisclosed sum.
The facilities were bought by an entity jointly owned by Tenaska Power Fund LP and an affiliate of Warburg Pincus LLC. Proceeds will be used to pay down debt, according to the company.
The plants include Pleasants, a 313-megawatt facility in St. Mary's, W. Va.; Armstrong, a 625-megawatt facility in Shelocta, Pa.; and Troy, a 600-megawatt facility in Luckey, Ohio.
Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC advised Dominion on the sale.
Dominion shares rose 68 cents to $84.50 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange

TX wants to burn trees instead of coal.

Now maybe its just me but it seems that it will take a lot of tree waste to keep this baby going. How many trees must die before the enviro wackos allow TX to burn coal? I think it will take a few brown outs and even black outs to get the silent majority out of the lazy boy rocker and down to city hall to out number the small vocal group of self proclaimed social dictators.

03/06/07 - Nacogdoches

New Power Plant in TX?

by Josh Ault
Nacogdoches County is about to set records. The largest power plant in the country fueled by wood is going to be built.
Today members of Nacogdoches Power, LLC meet with NEDCO to discuss the plans. The new plant will be built on a 130-acre site in the Sacul Community. It will be the first of it's kind in Texas. The plant will use timber and paper waste to generate electricity. The facility will help improve air and water quality, reduce the generation of greenhouse gases and contribute to national and regional energy security.
Vice President of Nacogdoches Power, Tony Callendrello, said Nacogdoches County was a perfect fit for the new plant. He said East Texas is known for its forest industry, and the new plant will bring great economic growth. "We will be generating about five hundred jobs. When you consider all the loggers, truck drivers, and others who will be supplying fuel to this plant and what's important is that those dollars will stay in the local community".
The 100-Megawatt biomass-fired power plant is scheduled to begin construction in June. The entire plant should be complete by 2009.

Lets just build power plants in Vietnam if we cant build them here !

U.S. funds power plant construction in Vietnam

The United States has offered a non- refundable aid of 332,900 U.S. dollars to Vietnam, helping it develop a power project in northern Quang Ninh province.
The fund will be used to handle legal issues of the project on building a coal-fired plant with planned capacity of 1,000-1,200 MW with estimated investment of 1.2 billion dollars, Vietnamese Deputy Industry Minister Do Huu Hao said at the granting agreement signing ceremony here Tuesday.
A joint venture between the Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group and the AES Corporation of the United States will implement the power project under the form of Build-Operate- Transfer (BOT).
The plant, Mong Duong II, is scheduled to operate in 2011 or 2012.
Vietnam's electricity demand is forecast to annually grow 15-16 percent until 2010, according to the country's Industry Ministry.
It plans to increase its electricity capacity to 25,000-26,000 MW in 2010 from 11,400 MW in 2005, meeting demand for its socio- economic development.
Source: Xinhua

Baltic Countries going Nuclear

Baltic Countries Are Building Nuclear Power Plant
Prime Ministers of Poland and Lithuania signed an agreement on co-building of new nuclear power plant
Prime Ministers of Poland and Lithuania signed an agreement on co-building of new nuclear power plant. The value of the project is 4 billion euro.
The nuclear power plant will be built in Lithuani, in the town of Ignalina, and the building should be finished by 2015, says.
Powersupply independence from Russia
Intensive negotiations between two countries lasted till the end of 2006. This project makes it possible for unhindered development of economy and power supply independence from Russia.
The new power plant will replace two nuclear reactors located in Lithuania, one of which was already closed down, and the same is planned for the other one within the period of two years.
It was agreed that Lithuania's part in the ownership will be 34 per cent, while Poland, Latvia and Estonija will have 22 %.


Published March 6, 2007


Dethroning 'Big Oil' to crown 'Big Corn'";

By ANDREW MOYLANSpecial to the Register
It pays to be friendly with the majority party in Congress. The proof is in the new energy bill that recently passed the House during the Democrats' "100-hour" agenda. The CLEAN Energy Act of 2007, a contrived political acronym for "Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation," has been portrayed as ending preferences for so-called "Big Oil" - a familiar victim on the left-wing's whipping post. In truth, what the bill does is raise taxes to subsidize a lesser-known but growing conglomerate: "Big Corn"The first main component of the bill raises taxes and fees paid to the federal government by oil and gas companies. It does so by eliminating tax deductions instituted by Congress to spur domestic exploration activities and by raising royalties paid for oil exploration in offshore areas under federal control. The net effect of these policies is, of course, a $14 billion tax increase on oil companies.If Democrats want a reduction in our dependence on foreign oil, tax increases are not the way to go. History tells us that vengeful tax hikes on the oil industry serve no economic purpose. In 1980, Congress instituted a windfall profits tax to punish the energy industry. The result, according to a Congressional Research Service study, was a drop in domestic oil production of 3 to 6 percent and an increase in oil imports of 8 to 16 percent. According to the Tax Foundation, the average effective tax rate on major oil and gas companies is roughly 38.3 percent, as opposed to a rate of 32.3 percent for the market as a whole. This is hardly the profile of an industry failing to pay its "fair share."A second provision establishes the "Strategic Energy Efficiency and Renewables Reserve." What that means in English is that the $14 billion in additional taxes on the oil industry will be dumped into a slush fund from which Congress can subsidize what are defined as "clean domestic renewable energy resources." This fund would exist above and beyond the normal budget, which already includes significant spending on politicians' favorites like ethanol and "clean coal" technology.Democrats would have you believe that they are breaking the link between special interests and energy policy. If Pelosi, Reid, and company really wanted to do so, they'd hold their legislation up to a mirror and acknowledge that it looks no better than the energy bill that the GOP ushered to passage in 2005.Furthermore, the federal government has a dismal record of subsidizing successful alternative-energy programs. Simply stated, members of Congress are all thumbs in trying to point out emerging technologies, because they distribute funding based on political concerns rather than sound science.The Carter years brought us the $2 billion boondoggle called the "Synfuels" program, which sought (and failed miserably) to produce alternatives to petroleum. The Clinton administration hatched the $1.1 billion Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles whose main focus, diesel technology, has since fallen out of favor as an inherently dirtier fuel. The technology that we use today to improve mileage and lower emissions (hybrid drive trains, cylinder shutdown, etc.) is more often the result of private companies in search of profits, not government agencies in search of PR plaudits.A recent federal favorite is corn-based ethanol, which is subsidized by taxpayers at roughly $2 billion per year (not counting tariffs and government-usage mandates that prop up an artificial market for the commodity). Despite acknowledgement that ethanol from this source won't fuel energy independence, it enjoys heavy government support because of powerful Midwestern members of Congress who do the bidding of farmers in their districts.The Democrats have passed a bill that may lead to greater dependence on foreign oil and higher costs at the pump. A sound energy policy means keeping taxes low, eliminating government meddling, and allowing the market to determine which technologies merit significant investment. President Bush and members of Congress ought to know that bureaucracies and energy policy mix like ... well, oil and water.

ANDREW MOYLAN is government-affairs manager for the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union, a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government at all levels. Its Web site is

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Democrats have new energy plan

House Democrats unveil new energy plan

By Chris BaltimoreReutersThursday, March 1, 2007; 4:03 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday unveiled a bill that would spend about $15 billion to double U.S. automobile fuel efficiency, expand ethanol distribution and build more mass transit.
The so-called "Program for Real Energy Security Act," to be introduced next week, is the second energy bill Democrats have proposed since taking control of Congress in January.
The House in January passed a bill that would roll back energy industry tax breaks and force companies to pay more drilling royalties, valued at $14 billion over a decade. That bill has not seen action in the Senate yet.
The new bill, backed by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and about 100 other lawmakers, could form the basis of energy legislation House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to call for a vote before the chamber recesses in August.
The bill would fund research into ways to double U.S. automobile fuel efficiency, focusing on hydrogen, fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and other high-tech ideas. It would give grants to build more public transit and commuter rail systems, Hoyer said.
It also would reimburse companies for installing new pumps at service stations to dispense gasoline blended with 85 percent ethanol, as well as tanks to hold the fuel, which because of its corrosive properties cannot be stored with gasoline blended only from crude.
Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, senior Republican on the House Energy Committee, called the bill a "starting point for real energy legislation," but criticized Democrats for not backing more supply-oriented ideas like drilling for oil in Alaska or the offshore waters where energy exploration is now banned.
"We'll need to sort out costs and benefits, see what can be accomplished without forcing people to change the way they live, and figure out how new technologies can be made affordable," Barton said.
The bill takes a different tack than a plan proposed by President George W. Bush in January which calls for Congress to require a five-fold increase in ethanol use by 2017.
"It's very nice to produce biofuels but if we can't deliver them to energy users, they won't be helpful," Hoyer said.
Boosting the so-called "renewable fuels standard" to require more ethanol use and requiring U.S. automakers to make more fuel-efficient cars are "possible add-ons" to the bill, he said.
Hoyer said the bill also would offer a stimulus to help rail freight shippers build more tanker cars to transport ethanol. Railroads and tanker trucks are the primary way of transporting ethanol, which cannot be shipped in the U.S. pipeline network.
© 2007 Reuters

AlGORE is posing as an activist, like most of them.

An inconvenient truth: Gore's energy bill

Our View

Posted: 3/1/07
Mick Swasko ColumnistDeanne St. John ColumnistEric Strand ColumnistMary Yurgil Editor in ChiefThe think tank, Tennessee Center for Policy Research has accused former Vice President and star of the Academy Award winning documentary, "An Inconveniet Truth," Al Gore, with what many would consider to be a massive monthly energy bill.Records show that last year Al and Tipper Gore paid a monthly average of $1,359 in electric bills and $1,080 in gas bills for their 20-room Nashville mansion and poolhouse. Averaged together, the Gores paid almost $30,000 in gas and electric bills in 2006, the equivalent of 221,000 kilowatt-hours and more than 20 times the national average.The news of the Gore's above-average energy consumption comes in the wake of Gore's Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth," which chronicles the current and future environmental destruction caused by global warming.While a spokesperson for the Gore's did not deny the figures, she said that "the bottom line is that every family has a different carbon footprint. And what Vice President Gore has asked is for families to calculate that footprint and take steps to reduce and offset it."The spokesperson also said that the Gores are in the process of installing solar panels on their home and taking other measures to reduce their carbon foortprint.The issue at hand here is whether the former Vice President's energy consumption constitutes a contradiction in the face of his now rampant environmental activism. The president of the Tennessee Center believes that it does."If this were any other person with $30,000-a-year in utility bills, I wouldn't care," said Drew Johnson. "But he tells other people how to live and he's not following his own rules."Social and political activism has become very popular amongst celebrities recently.It is not uncommon for award show acceptance speeches to now include a brief overview of a hot-button issue such as global warming or AIDS. And while it is commendable that celebrities use their power to address subjects that concern us all, it does seem hypocritical that those who literally embody excessive consumption should preach to millions about conservation.Just by attending the Oscars, Al Gore is in a way supporting this excess. The Academy Awards are well known for stretch limos, elaborate and expensive parties, and of course, the goody bag consisting of dinner reservations, cell phones and iPods that every attendee recieves upon arrival.None of this is to imply that Al Gore must give up his mansion or stop dabbling in the Hollywood lifestyle.But if he wants to be a legitimate spokesperson for global warming like he claims he does then he should take drastic measures to cut his level of energy consumption. He cannot have it both ways. He must choose between being an activist or being a celebrity posing as an activist.
© Copyright 2007 The Daily Vidette