Obama Tells Keystone Foes He Will Unveil Climate Measures
By Lisa Lerer
June 14, 2013
With his administration under pressure from environmentalists to reject the Keystone XL pipeline project, President Barack Obama plans to unveil a package of separate actions next month focused on curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
At closed-door fundraisers held over the past few weeks, the president has been telling Democratic party donors that he will unveil new climate proposals in July, according to people who have attended the events or been briefed.
Obama’s promise frequently comes in response to pleas from donors to reject TransCanada Corp (TRP).’s proposed Keystone XL project, a $5.3 billion pipeline that would carry tar-sands oil from Canada to U.S. refineries. Opponents of the pipeline say it would increase greenhouse-gas emissions by encouraging use of the tar sands.
While Obama has not detailed the specifics of his plan to the donors, pipeline opponents anticipate the package will include final rules from the Environmental Protection Agency to limit greenhouse-gas emissions from new power plants. In April, the EPA delayed issuing the rule after the electric-power industry said the initial proposal was unworkable. Since then, the agency has been revising the rules, and environmental groups are urging the EPA not to scale back its initial plan.
The White House plan may also include pledging to issue a standard for limits on existing power plants, something EPA officials have said they expect to propose in the next 18 months.
Final decisions about the specific policies included in the president’s package are still being made, according to a person close to the White House.
Speaking to donors in Palo Alto, California, last week, Obama called the need for action on climate change one of the “most important decisions” facing the country.
“We’re not going to be able to make those changes solely through a bunch of individual de
The week ahead: Gas exports in focus, Keystone battle heats up, and a big dose of Moniz
By Ben Geman - 06/17/13 07:48 AM ET
This week brings a flurry of activity on and off Capitol Hill — sometimes way off.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee will wade into battles over proposals to expand U.S. natural gas exports.
The title of Tuesday’s hearing conveys the majority Republicans’ pro-export stance: “U.S. Energy Abundance: Regulatory, Market, and Legal Barriers to Export.”
A subcommittee will hear from senior officials with the Energy Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which share jurisdiction over liquefied natural gas exports.
The hearing arrives as new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz weighs an array of industry applications to export gas to nations that lack formal trade deals with the U.S.
The hearing will also address controversial proposals to expand U.S. coal export capacity through the Pacific Northwest.
Speaking of Moniz, he’ll give the keynote address Monday morning at the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual conference in Washington, D.C. The EIA is the Energy Department’s independent statistical and forecasting arm.
Other speakers at the two-day event include the CEO of utility giant Southern Co. and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Moniz will be on Capitol Hill Tuesday when he testifies before the House Science Committee, which is holding a hearing on Energy Department science and technology priorities.
Moniz, who became secretary May 22, will then hit the road. He’s visiting the Hanford nuclear site in Washington State on Wednesday.
The Energy Department oversees the years-long, multibillion-dollar cleanup of the badly polluted site, which for decades produced plutonium for nuclear weapons.
“I’m pleased that Secretary Moniz is giving Hanford the attention it deserves and visiting in his first month on the job. Hanford is one of the
Chevron’s $10 billion Angola LNG ships first gas cargo
Posted on June 17, 2013 at 6:54 am by Bloomberg
Chevron's Gorgon LNG project is about 55 percent complete as of February 2013 and is expected to be up and running in 2014. The facility will produce 450,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. A causeway extends 1.3 miles from the plant, located on Barrow Island off of Australia's west coast, with foundation structures for the plant's liquefied natural gas jetty (bottom left) rising from the water. (Photo: Chevron)
Chevron Corp. (CVX)’s $10 billion Angola LNG plant shipped its first cargo today after an 18-month delay prompted by fires, labor shortages and U.S. shale drilling that erased demand for African fuel in the world’s largest gas market.
The shipment of gas that was cooled to -256 degrees Fahrenheit (-160 degrees Celsius) to shrink its volume was sold to state-owned Sonangol EP for transport to Brazil aboard the ship Sonangol Sambizanga, Artur Pereira, chief executive officer of Angola LNG Marketing, said in an e-mailed statement today. A “large number” of LNG sales from the plant have been signed or are in negotiation, the London-based company said.
Chevron, the world’s third-largest energy company by market value, has made LNG a linchpin of its goal to raise its worldwide output by 20 percent through the end of 2017 to the equivalent of 3.3 million barrels of crude a day. The company is spending more than $77 billion on two LNG projects in Australia, and in December acquired a 50 percent stake in the proposed Kitimat LNG terminal on Canada’s Pacific Coast.
“First gas at Angola LNG is an important milestone in support of our strategic plan to grow our production,” George Kirkland, vice chairman of San Ramon, California-based Chevron, said in a statement distributed by Business Wire today. “This project will commercialize natural gas resources in western Africa to meet growing demand in the region and internationally.”
Deepwater expects to win US offshore wind lease: CEO
Reuters 5 hours ago
Privately held Deepwater Wind expects to win a federal lease to build a wind farm of up to 1,000 megawatts (MW) in federal waters south of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the company's chief executive said in an interview.
The Department of Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the competitive lease sale for renewable energy on July 31.
Since Rhode Island has already selected Deepwater as the state's preferred offshore wind developer, the company has an advantage in the federal lease auction. Deepwater was picked as the preferred developer in 2008 after a competitive process.
"We're going to win the lease," Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski told Reuters, noting they are the preferred developer.
As US consumers demand cleaner sources of energy, federal and state governments are encouraging power companies to build renewable sources of generation, like offshore wind farms.
By being built on the ocean, a wind farm can take advantage of better wind speeds off shore versus on land, which generates more electricity. A wind farm of 1,000 MW could power about 300,000 homes.
Deepwater is in a race with Cape Wind, another privately held offshore wind farm developer, to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States.
Deepwater's most advanced site is a smaller, 30-MW project in Rhode Island state waters on the south side of Block Island, which will cost about $250 million, including a transmission link from Block Island to the mainland. The company has also proposed building wind farms offshore from New Jersey and New York City.
If all goes according to plan, Grybowski said Deepwater expects to have all permits for Block Island by late summer and start construction of the five Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) 6-MW turbines - each about 200 metres tall - or on the foundations that anchor the towers to the seabed, by the end of 2013, allowing the project to qualify for federal
Economist: Climate change a financial threat to oil companies
Posted on June 15, 2013 at 12:01 am by Zain Shauk
Energy companies are facing the prospect of physical and financial losses because of climate change, and the oil industry needs to take the threat more seriously, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency said Friday.
“When there is global warming, this will result in much more frequent cyclones, floods and storms,” Fatih Birol told FuelFix. “And this will affect the infrastructure of energy companies — we think especially for the offshore oil and gas production, in the North Sea, Western Australia, the Gulf of Mexico.”
The implications of climate change will extend beyond direct physical damage, Birol said.
“Even if there was no storm or anything happening, companies have to increase the resilience of the infrastructure, which in turn means that the cost of capital will go up,” he said. “So the energy companies, even if they don’t want to solve the problem, they cannot afford to ignore climate change being part of their decision-making for their investment strategies.”
Oil CEO: Humans are involved with climate change
Birol spoke with FuelFix following a report the Paris-based agency released this week warning that the world is not on track to prevent a dangerous increase in global temperatures — and that energy companies are key players.
“About two-thirds of the global emissions come from the energy sector, so if the energy companies and governments do not move, it will be impossible to address the problem,” Birol said.
World governments, including those of leading polluters China and the United States, have agreed that to avoid harmful env
Rick Perry Vetoes Texas Equal Pay Bill
Posted: 06/14/2013 4:43 pm EDT | Updated: 06/14/2013 8:14 pm EDT
WASHINGTON -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has vetoed a bill meant to prevent wage discrimination against women.
An aide to state Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D), who authored the equal pay bill, HB 950, said Perry's office called on Friday to say he had vetoed it. State Sen. Wendy Davis (D), who introduced the Senate version of the legislation, told the Texas Tribune that she had received the same call.
In a statement, Thompson said she was "deeply disappointed" and "heartbroken."
"Women will still have to struggle to receive their equal pay for their equal work," she said.
The bill would bring Texas state law in line with the federal Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which makes it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination. It cleared the state House in late April, and the Senate passed its version in late May.
In his veto statement posted online Friday evening, Perry said he objected to the bill because it "duplicates federal law, which already allows employees who feel they have been discriminated against through compensation to file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." He also said he was concerned that it could lead to more regulations and hurt job creation.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Thompson said Perry's office objected to her legislation because it duplicated federal law. The governor's office did not return a request for comment from The Huffington Post, and a veto statement was not yet available online.
But the backers of HB 950 have pointed out that their legislation would allow parties to proceed on cases in a nearby state court, instead of having the increased expense of having to go to federal court. Lilly Ledbetter protections also do not always apply to certain state cases.
Forty-two states have passed equal pay laws similar to the one Perry vetoed. Women currently make only 77
Corn Futures Decline as Demand Eases, U.S. Crop Rebounds
By Jeff Wilson & Whitney McFerron - Jun 14, 2013 2:04 PM MT
Corn fell, capping the biggest weekly slump since April, on signs of easing global demand as farmers complete planting of a projected record crop in the U.S., the world’s top exporter. Wheat and soybeans declined.
Export sales of corn in the week ended June 6 slid to 149,460 metric tons, the lowest since January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said yesterday. Farmers may harvest 14.005 billion bushels, 30 percent more than a year earlier, boosting global production by 12 percent to a record, the agency said on June 12. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its price forecast yesterday, citing the U.S. recovery from last year’s drought.
“Global supplies are on the rise, and that has reduced demand for U.S. corn,” Greg Grow, the director of agribusiness for Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “The weather forecasts for warm temperatures and regular rains should improve U.S. crop potential. We are shifting to a more plentiful supply outlook.”
Corn futures for delivery in December fell 0.4 percent to close at $5.33 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade. This week, the price dropped 4.6 percent, the most since the five days ended April 5.
Goldman cut its price forecasts for corn to $4.75 and $11 a bushel for soybeans in three, six and 12 months. The previous estimates for the latter two periods were $5.25 for the grain and $12.50 for the oilseed.
Soybean futures for delivery in November slipped 0.2 percent to $12.9825. This week, the price dropped 2.4 percent. The U.S. harvest will surge 12 percent this year to a record 3.39 billion bushels, according to the USDA.
Corn and soybeans for July delivery rose as farmers withheld remaining supplies from last year’s harvest that was reduced by drought, Grow said.
For July, corn advanced 1.8 percent to $6.55 and soybeans gained 0.4 percent to $15.165.
Ryan Koronowski on Jun 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm
Yesterday, new Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz sat before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee to discuss the Department’s proposed budget and ended up explaining basic climate science to a member of the majority party.
In an exchange with former committee chair Henry Waxman (D-CA) reported by E&E Daily, Moniz was blunt:
“It’s indisputable that we are experiencing warming, and that the pattern of consequences that has long been expected, in fact, are appearing around us, unfortunately — typically at the higher end of the predicted ranges,” Moniz said, pointing to melting ice caps, intensified storms, droughts and wildfires.
In recent years, the subcommittee has been used to push false talking points about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline and to hold hearings just to throw climate denier talking points at real climate scientists.
Last year, Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) sponsored a raft of bills that would dismantle key public health and clean air provisions and undermine landmark environmental legislation. Last week, the committee marked up Rep. McKinley’s bill that would prevent the EPA from regulating toxic coal ash.
Unsurprisingly, McKinley’s asked Secretary Moniz if global warming was “primarly man-made, or natural and cyclical.”
The conversation that followed was educational, hopefully for all parties. Watch the exchange here, courtesy of Forecast the Facts:
Here’s the transcript:
MONIZ: I believe, in my view, there is no question that a major component is anthropogenic. And that comes from–
MCKINLEY: Interesting. Is that from a consensus?
MONIZ: It is practically, I would say 98 percent of scientists involved in this area–
MCKINLEY: But you’re well aware the petition project has 32,000 scientists and physicists who’ve disagreed!
MONIZ: But sir–
MCKINLEY: They say it’s contributing, I think it
How Green Groups Make the EPA Issue New Rules
National Journal By Coral Davenport | National Journal – 5 hrs ago
Environmental groups have a tough time getting Congress to do what they want. Case in point: In the early months of 2010, the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund waged an all-out campaign urging the Senate to pass a sweeping climate-change bill backed by President Obama and leaders in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The measure crashed and burned that summer.
But the green groups—and Obama’s top environmental officials—knew they could resort to a different tactic: lawsuits to compel executive action. Toward the end of George W. Bush’s administration, the three big environmental organizations and 11 states sued to force the Environmental Protection Agency to issue new regulations reining in carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants and oil refineries. The Bush EPA fought the suit, but the Obama EPA, full of top officials who had worked in these very nonprofits, took a different tack. By December 2010, after the failure of the climate-change legislation, Obama’s first-term EPA administrator, Lisa Jackson, settled the lawsuit—on the advocates’ terms. The settlement obliged the agency to begin regulating carbon pollution from coal plants and oil refineries, an outcome with profound environmental and economic implications. And in April 2012, EPA proposed a historic new rule to regulate global-warming pollution from coal plants. As Obama’s second term unfolds, the agency is expected to finalize more rules that, thanks to lawsuits, will give the green groups what they want.
The climate-change settlement is just one in a series of recent so-called sue-and-settle agreements since Obama took office. Between 2009 and 2012, EPA has settled at least 60 lawsuits from outside groups, leading to dozens of new environmental regulations. A 2010 deal in another Sierra Club lawsuit led to a 2012 regulation on mercu
a new tool from the US Department of Energy showing that fueling an electric car is about 3 times cheaper than fueling a gasmobile.
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Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said interest in carbon taxes among senators is “creeping up,”
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Obama Tells Keystone Foes He Will Unveil Climate Measures
Jun 13, 2013 1:37 PM MT
Corn futures for December delivery fell 0.4 percent to $5.3525 a bushel. Earlier, the price touched $5.29, the lowest since May 24. The USDA forecast for domestic production was larger than analysts forecast.
OPEC Curbs Shipments Amid U.S. Output Surge, Oil Movements Says