Archive for March 9th, 2009

Santa Barbara drillin’ was just California dreamin’

March 9, 2009

The California State Lands Commission denied the first new oil drilling lease in 40 years, ending a much-hoped for energy project off Santa Barbara.

No one should be surprised, but here’s a noteworthy back story.

Amid last summer’s $4/gallon gasoline crisis, Andrew Cline enthused in a July 12, 2008 Wall Street Journal op-ed about how an oil exploration company reached an agreement with Green activist groups to permit drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara, California — the first new wells since the January 1969 oil spill in that area.

Cline gushed,

“When an environmental group formed for the sole purpose of opposing offshore oil drilling warmly embraces a plan to drill off its own coast, you know something important has changed in our culture; Americans have recognized that offshore drilling is largely safe.”

But less than a week later, the greens wrote the Journal to correct the record. The greens’ attorney who negotiated the deal wrote,

“[T]o be accurate, the [op-ed’s] title should have read “Environmentalists Secure End to Oil Development… The agreement struck… is remarkable because it sets a fixed date for the termination of existing offshore and onshore oil production facilities in Santa Barbara County. Without the agreement, this oil development could continue indefinitely, for decades to come. With the agreement, significant oil production facilities will be shut down in the next several years… We see this agreement as a direct complement to our support for the federal oil moratorium. Just as we need to say “no” to new oil development, we must put an end to existing development if we are to protect our coast from the risks of offshore oil and gas development, and protect society from climate change… environmentalists support actions that move away from, not toward, dependence on fossil fuels…

Then on August 27, 2008, the Journal reported that,

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support increased oil production off its coast, a move supporters hope will add to growing pressure to lift bans on offshore drilling.

But in the end, the greens — via the State Lands Commission — won.

Moral of the story: trusting the greens is shear folly.

Greens move to wreck ethanol industry

March 9, 2009

Green is a cutthroat business. Just ask the ethanol industry.

As part of its proposed low-carbon fuel standard, the California Air Resources Board has proposed that so-called “indirect land use change” impacts be included in the calculation of the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for biofuels, like corn-based ethanol. The proposal states,

Carbon intensities are calculated under the LCFS on a full lifecycle basis. This means that the carbon intensity value assigned to each fuel reflects the GHG emissions associated with that fuel’s production, transport, storage, and use. In addition to these direct GHG emissions, some fuels create emissions due to indirect land use change effects. An indirect land use change impact is initially triggered when an increase in the demand for a crop-based biofuel begins to drive up prices for the necessary feedstock crop. This price increase causes farmers to devote a larger proportion of their cultivated acreage to that feedstock crop. Supplies of the displaced food and feed commodities subsequently decline, leading to higher prices for those commodities. The lowest-cost way for many farmers to take advantage of these higher commodity prices is to bring non-agricultural lands into production. These land use conversions release the carbon sequestered in soils and vegetation. The resulting carbon emissions constitute the “indirect” land use change impact of increased biofuel production.

According a report in today’s Carbon Control News, environmentalists support this proposal, which would:

  • Make it more difficult for corn-based ethanol to be classified as a low-carbon fuel in California — and perhaps elsewhere as the green-bug that bites California often spreads to other states; and
  • Discourage increased agricultural production of food intended to make-up for crop acreage lost to ethanol production.

The point here is not to cry for the rather unsympathetic ethanol industry — a group that tried to ride the green wave to the detriment of our country’s energy and food supply.

The point is that when you (the biofuels industry and everyone else) lie down with dogs (greens) you get up with fleas. No disrespect to dogs intended.