Archive for July 28th, 2009

Obama spares BMW, Daimler from new mileage standards

July 28, 2009

The Obama administration’s new mileage standards are not slated to apply to vehicle makers that sell fewer than 400,000 cars per year in the U.S., reports the Wall Street Journal — taking BMW, Daimler AG, Suzuki and Mitsubishi Motors off the hook.

In effect, the provision would make it easier for Mercedes to keep selling cars like its $147,000, 12-cylinder S600 sedan, rated at 13 miles per gallon, while GM or Toyota would be required to meet tougher mileage standards with smaller, more efficient cars.

Do you think that Government Motors CEO Obama realizes the competitive disadvantage at which he placed his own company?

Obama gives foreign nukes nod ahead of US company

July 28, 2009

The Obama administration turned aside a loan guarantee application by Bethesda,MD-based USEC to build a Piketon, OH-based plant to produce nuclear fuel for reactors, apparently in favor of giving the loan guarantee either to French company Areva or UK company Urenco, Greenwire reports.

According to Greenwire:

DOE’s loan-guarantee decision drew quick criticism from Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio), whose district includes the proposed USEC plant.

“It’s death. It cannot wait another 18 months,” said Schmidt’s chief of staff, Barry Bennett.

“It is interesting that Iran has the technology and it seems to be working fine, but the Department of Energy can’t find a way to do it here in the United States,” Bennett said. Schmidt will be sending President Obama a letter urging him to reverse the decision, he said.

Rep. Schmidt said that unless the decision is reversed, job lay-offs will begin in August.

Ft. Collins’ 80-year ‘zero-energy’ nightmare

July 28, 2009

Ft. Collins plans to build the largest “zero-energy district” in the world in which the neighborhood generates as much power as it consumes, according to Newsweek.

But “zero-energy” doesn’t come at zero cost. Newsweek reports:

Officials estimate that the Fort Collins project will cost roughly $350 million. The stimulus money kicks in only $4.8 million, which leaves the city to do significant fundraising. Money could come from a mix of government, private investments, utility companies, and research and development grants. “It’s a ton of money, and there’s no way we can do this on our own,” says Mike Freeman, Fort Collins’s chief financial officer and economic-development guru. “The biggest risk for us is that we won’t have enough money and that this will take 20 years.”

The so-called FortZED district contains 7,000 commercial and residential customers. So that works out to spending $50,000 per customer.

The average electric bill in Fort Collins is $50.66 per month.

So it will take more than 82 years for FortZED to break-even.

Al Gore’s firm spends $100K in 2009 lobbying: USCAP spends $490K

July 28, 2009

Washington DC’s trade press is all a buzz with reports of how much money the impliedly evil energy industry is spending to lobby on Waxman-Markey. Nowhere are any reports of what the greens and rentseekers are spending to lobby against consumers, taxpayers and America. So in the name of fairness:

  • Al Gore’s venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers has paid the lobbying firm Bay Bridge Strategies Inc. $100,000 so far this year to lobby on President Obama’s stimulus bill and Waxman-Markey.
  • The U.S. Climate Action Partnership paid the Lighthouse Consulting Group a total of $490,000 so far in 2009 to lobby on climate.

Click for Bay Bridge’s first quarter and second quarter lobbying reports.

Click for Lighthouse Consulting’s first quarter and second quarter lobbying reports.

USCAP cos. spend 67 million lobbying: Exelon looks for 30,000,000%+ return

July 28, 2009

The rent-seeking companies that belong to the U.S. Climate Action Partnership lobbying coalition have spent $67.4 million lobbying Congress this year.

Carbon Control News reports:

Since the beginning of the year, members of USCAP have spent roughly $67.4 million on lobbyists, according to a Carbon Control News analysis of lobbying disclosures, though with many of its members lobbying on issues such as health care it is not possible to determine how much was spent lobbying specifically on climate legislation. Still, indicative of their overall influence, figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics suggest the amount spent by USCAP members on lobbyists is on par—and may actually exceed—the total amount spent on lobbying by defense contractors this year. General Electric and ConocoPhillips alone spent more than $20 million on lobbying between them. BP America, another USCAP member, has spent $7.6 million so far on lobbyists, while utilities Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light, and Exelon have each spent around $2.5 million.

What will they get out of the bill?

According to the report,

[Exelon] CEO John Rowe believes the House-passed climate legislation “will add $700 [million] to $750 million to Exelon’s annual revenues for every $10 per metric ton (Mt) increase in the price of CO2 [carbon dioxide] allowances.”

Not a bad annual return on a one-time lobbying investment of $2.5 million.

Greens: Pay more for less water

July 28, 2009

In response to the Pacific Institute’s new report calling for California farmers to pay more for less water, the farmers are saying that the water crisis is green-made and that the solution is more water.

According to ClimateWire:

Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, called the current drought “man-made” and the Pacific Institute’s recommendations “nonsensical.”

The group’s recommendation to raise water rates, Wade said, “isn’t based on water being more expensive, or it costing more to get it to consumer, or some use for this added cost. It’s simply raising the cost so that fewer people can afford it, and therefore less water is going to be used and it will be reallocated to some other use. We think that’s gaming the California water market to the disadvantage of people who grow fresh fruit and vegetables and nut products and things we’ve grown accustomed to.”

Pumping restrictions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are also not needed, Wade said. “We are facing a man-made drought, a regulatory drought and a situation where water is reprioritized away from its historic use to a point where tens of thousands of acres have been fallowed in the Central Valley and 40,000 people are out of work.”

Another farm group, the California Farm Bureau Federation, said increasing the water supply through recycling and desalination would obviate the need to cut usage or raise prices. “Certainly, improved water efficiency will be one of the ways that California solves its water crisis, but that water crisis is too severe to be solved in a one-dimensional way,” said group spokesman Dave Kranz.

“To sustain food production here in California and accommodate the growing population we have and environmental values we’re trying to maintain, we have to develop a package of water solutions that includes new storage, recycling, desalination — all of those strategies have to be part of the mix.”