Guest Column: Hofmeister’s case for change

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Guest Column: Hofmeister’s case for change

The American people will choose their next president in a few weeks.  What choice do they have when it comes to energy?

The incumbent’s track record presents: sustained economic insecurity because ever higher energy prices wet-blanket any prospects for economic growth; continued volatile geo-politics impact imported energy supplies; sustained energy regulatory intrusion, regardless of need; ongoing efforts to shrink coal’s role in power generation; an anemic five-year plan for future offshore leasing; no nuclear waste storage resolution; ongoing rhetoric (regardless of consequences) to tax “big oil” more without comprehensive tax reform; the further build out of alternative energy inefficiency, regardless of costs or merits.

In other words. we can expect four more years just like the last, until we line up for our gasoline rations and wait out increasingly frequent blackouts by the back end of the next term.

GAO highlights issues with EPA science board policies

As Republicans press legislation that would overhaul the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of scientific advisory panels for crafting regulations, a government auditor is highlighting problems with the agency’s guidelines for responding to congressional requests for advice from the boards.

The Government Accountability Office said Wednesday the guidelines “lack clarity,” and that one of the boards isn’t being asked for advice on  the adverse effects of regulations.

Alfredo Gomez, GAO Natural Resources and Environment team director, told a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee panel that a preliminary investigation of the Scientific Advisory Board, or SAB, and the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, or CASAC, revealed some potential issues with how the boards are currently operated.

Whitehouse, Schatz make conservative appeal for carbon tax

A pair of Senate Democrats took to a right-leaning think tank Wednesday to unveil a new attempt to implement a national tax on greenhouse gas emissions, trying to make the typically liberal proposal to appeal to conservative sensibilities by coupling it with other tax cuts and credits.

Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, appeared at the American Enterprise Institute to unveil their bill that would implement a $45 per metric ton fee on greenhouse gas emissions, which would rise by 2 percent annually.

Some Maine towns in dark as election approaches

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Thousands of Maine voters — and possibly some polling places — are expected to be in the dark after a powerful storm knocked out electricity for more than 100,000 homes and businesses.

A storm Sunday lashed the state with 50 mph gusts of wind and dumped more than a foot of snow in places.

A Central Maine Power spokesman says there are no assurances that all polling places will have electricity on Election Day.

Senate races hot on accusations, light on ideas

WASHINGTON (AP) — This year’s Senate races have featured astronomical spending, ceaseless attack ads and innumerable slaps at a president who’s not on the ballot. Largely missing, however, are ideas on how best to govern the nation.

Even with control of the Senate at stake, serious discussions about deficit spending, climate change, immigration, Social Security’s long-term future and other knotty issues rarely emerged.

Republican gains could aid Obama’s Asia trade pact

WASHINGTON (AP) — Big Republican gains on Election Day would be a blow to much of President Barack Obama’s agenda, but one stymied item on his to-do list might get a fresh chance to move forward: trade. That could breathe life into Asia-Pacific trade talks essential to his efforts to deepen engagement in the region.

Obama needs special authority, known as fast track, to negotiate trade deals that Congress can accept or reject, but cannot change. It would smooth the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is under discussion with 11 nations, and help advance separate negotiations with the 28-member European Union.

Newsmaker: API unleashes military veterans to lobby lawmakers on drilling

In the grassroots equivalent of a military invasion, the American Petroleum Institute is unleashing a platoon of veterans on Capitol Hill this week to press Congress for more favorable policies to expand oil and gas drilling.

The lobbying effort by 29 veterans from 27 states is set for Wednesday and will inject a new messaging element into the oil lobby’s year-long campaign to tie expanded domestic oil and gas production to job creation, a top API executive tells EnergyGuardian.

Keystone likely a target of GOP-controlled Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican control of the House and Senate seems tantalizingly close, so leading Republicans are turning to a matter often overlooked in campaigns: how to actually govern.

They say it will be crucial to show the GOP can legislate, lead and solve problems after years of lobbing political grenades at President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats.

Congress returns to NRC nominations, GOP energy bills

Congress returns to Washington on Monday for a brief session before leaving later this month to campaign in advance of the November elections, with senators to start work on President Barack Obama’s two nominees to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Much of the pre-election posturing on energy will come in the Republican-led House, which is to take up a group of bills and hold hearings to highlight its anti-regulatory agenda, according to a memo to GOP members by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

3 California counties voting on fracking bans

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Voters in three coastal California counties vote Tuesday on whether to ban fracking and other intensive oil production, even as slumping prices globally are leading companies to start to scale back on production.

Chevron, ExxonMobil and other oil companies have donated about $7 million to try to defeat the fracking bans in Santa Barbara, San Benito and Monterey counties. In Santa Barbara and San Benito counties, the ballot measures would ban not only fracking — a method of injecting water and chemicals into rock at high pressure to force out oil — but one of the most commonly used drilling methods in the state, steam injection.

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