Politics

Dear swing state, I love you more!

Obama sweet-talks Florida, criticizes McCain’s shift on off-shore drilling

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama responded to John McCain’s call to end the moratorium on off-shore drilling in a press appearance in Chicago on Friday and made his own appeal to the voters of Florida: When I am President, I will keep the moratorium in place and prevent oil companies from drilling off Florida’s coasts. That’s how we can protect our coasts and still make the investments that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring down gas prices for good. His prepared remarks on drilling and gas prices are below the fold: There has been a lot of …

Green coal baron?

NYT Magazine’s fawning piece on Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers

There's no doubt about it: Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers is the most adept figure in corporate America at making himself look better than he is. He's proven it again in an extremely flattering profile in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. The piece refers to Rogers as "one of the electricity industry's most vocal environmentalists." Indeed, the piece reports that many "prominent environmentalists" are his "friends" and quotes in particular Eileen Claussen, head of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, saying, "It's fair to say that we wouldn't be where we are in Congress if it weren't for him," and that "he helped put carbon legislation on the map." That legislation, the Lieberman-Warner bill, sputtered apart when the Senate took it up. (Even though we're told Barbara Boxer staged a post-failure victory celebration. Never underestimate the power of self delusion in Washington.) And one reason for its demise was the active opposition of Rogers, who mobilized numerous businesses to complain about the costs.

Hill heap

A weekly roundup of greenish news from the Capitol

A few of this week’s environmental happenings that I’ve been meaning to point out: • Oilman-turned-clean-energy-evangelist T. Boone Pickens came to town to testify about the country’s transmission problems that are preventing wind from becoming a major source of power. Pickens, who is attempting to build the world’s largest wind farm in Texas, joined experts from the Department of Energy and wind-energy lobbyists in testifying before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. • House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) continued to blame Democrats for high gas prices. • The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on …

Solar strides in New York

Solar proponents in the Empire State eagerly await new legislation

My colleague, Shaun Chapman, of our New York City office, offers this update on solar policy progress in the Empire State:

A huge tax increase?

The GOP disinformation machine settles on an angle

It seems that another way that the GOP will try to win on this issue is by painting carbon pricing as a massive tax increase. This is just dishonest, though politically it’s their best bet (assuming a complete lack of regard for actual outcomes). Let’s all think back to the Lieberman-Warner debate, when Bush did his best to scare the crap out of everyone by arguing that L-W would increase gas prices 53 cents-per-gallon by 2030. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine that the increased energy costs associated with cap-and-trade will be anywhere near as painful as the rise in …

White House covers Johnson

Bush invokes executive privilege to shield EPA administrator from subpoena

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was set to vote today to hold U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson and Susan Dudley of the White House Office of Management and Budget in contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents related to recent controversial decisions on smog and California’s request for an emissions waiver. But it appears their friend in the White House swooped in this morning to block the committee’s subpoenas for those documents, claiming executive privilege. Oversight Chair Henry Waxman postponed the contempt vote so the committee can determine if the claim of executive privilege is valid. …

Conservation good. Drilling stupid

Op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman. Reads like a Grist post. Go figure.

Big bad boom

Radioactive deja vu in the American West

This is a guest essay from Chip Ward, author and board member of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. It was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. —– In the American West, we take global warming personally. Like those polar bears desperately hunting for dwindling ice flows, we feel we’re on the frontlines of the new weather regime. The West is drying up. For example, canyon-hugging conservationists and jet-boating gear-heads have argued for several years about whether to “drain” Lake Powell, the 200 mile-long reservoir that once drowned the redrock Eden which was Glen Canyon. …

Making cities less dumb

Select Committee examines the benefits of smarter urban planning

The House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming held a hearing on Thursday about the opportunities for better urban planning to reduce energy use and greenhouse-gas emissions. “Planning Communities for a Changing Climate” brought together a panel of experts on “smart growth,” clean air policy, and transit. Witnesses included Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, who works in smart growth in Abu Dhabi; Steve Hewitt, administrator of Greensburg, Kan., the town that’s rebuilding green after a tornado leveled it last year; Gregory Cohen, President and CEO of the American Highway Users Alliance; David Goldberg, director of communications for Smart Growth …

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