Muckraker: Grist on Politics

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.

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• The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the various climate change bills that have been circulated in the House. Meanwhile, we’re still waiting on a bill from E&C Chair John Dingell (D-Mich.).

• A new Rasmussen poll asked 1,000 likely voters if they supported offshore drilling “in order to reduce the price of gas,” and 67 percent said “yes.” Unfortunately the question itself is a bit flawed, since government projections find that drilling offshore would do nothing to reduce the price of gasoline in the short-term, and little in the long-term.

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• ABC’s Gary Langer pointed to a better poll on the subject from Gallup: “61 percent preferred ‘more conservation by consumers of existing energy supplies’ over ‘production of more oil, gas and coal supplies’ (29 percent). And in a Pew poll in February, the public more narrowly opposed drilling specifically in ANWR, by 50-42 percent.”

• I noted yesterday that the EPA is expected to release an “Advance Notice of Preliminary Rule-making” this weekend. Sierra Club chief counsel David Bookbinder also got an advance draft copy of the notice, and over on Warming Law notes a few other important take-aways. He points out that the notice itself is an exercise in delay — since they still haven’t make any actual rules when it comes to vehicle emissions — but says it’s important that the notice acknowledges that climate change is man-made and will be a problem for public health and welfare.

• A new report, “Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate,” finds, well, just that. It’s notable because it comes out of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, and is apparently the first comprehensive federal review of the effects of climate change on weather extremes in North America.

• Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer will be powered by wind and solar. Xcel Energy will serve both the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colo., and the Republican Convention in Minneapolis, Minn.