Looks like Republicans will pick Michigan Rep. Fred Upton to chair the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee if they take over the House. That’s actually somewhat good news, since Upton’s the most moderate of the three leading candidates for the job, a group that includes Big Oil’s buddy, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). But hold the applause.
Anything you can do, I can do redder: To make sure Upton doesn’t go too soft on climate and energy issues, GOP leaders are insisting that he hire a hard-nosed chief of staff [Politico]. For his part, Upton is already talking tough to pump up his conservative cred. He says one of the first things a Republican-run House should do is dump the Select Committee on Climate Change. Here’s more of what he had to say in an op-ed piece in the Washington Times.
If the EPA continues unabated, jobs will be shipped to China and India as energy costs skyrocket. Most of the media attention has focused on the EPA’s efforts to regulate climate-change emissions, but that is just the beginning. The EPA is working on a regulatory train wreck …
And in other green news:
Slow with the flow: Michael Bromwich, head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, comes out firing at critics in Congress and Big Oil who say his agency is moving too slowly in approving new permits for offshore drilling. Here’s an excerpt from his comments on CNN:
Less than a week after announcing the roadmap operators will need to follow to resume drilling in deep waters, we are already being criticized by powerful industry forces who say that it will take too long to review and approve drilling permits. That judgment is based on the standards of the past when safety and environmental standards were fewer. But the world has changed: Our agency’s employees have fresh in their minds the catastrophic consequences of deepwater blowout. Those who expect our agency to be a permitting mill — to rubber stamp applications to drill — misjudge the impact of Deepwater Horizon on the people responsible for regulating the industry and their collective commitment to safety and environmental protection.
Meanwhile, BP announced that the bonuses it gives out in the fourth quarter will be based only on safety performance. A little late, don’cha think? [Wall Street Journal]
Same old whine in a new battle: Big Oil lobbyists have swung into high gear to battle the EPA on another front. The federal agency wants to be more aggressive in limiting emissions from the kind of boilers that provide power or heat to oil refineries, paper mills, even shopping malls. But industry mouthpieces are running around Capitol Hill complaining that the EPA has dramatically underestimated how many jobs this will cost. Sound familiar? [Politico]
Now that’s slick: A new ad campaign by Chevron to portray oil companies as good corporate citizens that really do like renewable energy gets punked by the Yes Men before it can even be launched. [Reuters]
Dell yes!: Newsweek released its ranking of the top green companies of 2010. Dell came out on top with a perfect 100. [Treehugger]
Dread battery: A big reason electric cars cost so much is the expense of the large battery pack. It can actually account for as much as half the cost of producing a car. And here’s the disturbing news. Engineers say that, unlike with widgets, economies of scale aren’t likely to drive down the cost of those big honkin’ batteries any time soon. [Wall Street Journal]
Charge cars: The Chinese government insists the country will have a million electric vehicles by 2020. Good move, considering that cars in China are selling faster than Justin Bieber junk here. Last year China became the biggest car market in the world, with 13.6 million vehicles sold. And just through the first half of this year, more than 9 million cars have already been sold. [People’s Daily Online]
Hail, Britannia: Great Britain is leading the world in providing incentives for energy companies to invest in cleaner energy. British Incentives are almost twice as generous as in China, which is ranked second, and almost six times what the U.S. offers. [Reuters]
How low can it go?: On Sunday, the water in Arizona’s Lake Mead dropped to its lowest level since the reservoir was filled 75 years ago. [The New York Times]
Want to do good? Feel bad: The Wall Street Journal offers its takes on how to get people to act green. It’s not about financial incentives. It’s not about giving them more information. It’s about making them feel guilty.
Works for me: And here’s a case in point: A Kansas town where people say they hate Al Gore and don’t want to hear about global warming has done a great job of cutting energy costs. How’d they do it? They ran a competition built around thrift and prosperity, with a pinch of patriotism thrown in. [The New York Times]