Oil Giants Demand Open Market for World’s Dirtiest Fuel, February 15, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
Oil Groups Mount Legal Challenge to California’s Tar Sands Ban by Terry Macalister.
A lobby group that includes BP and Shell in its membership has launched a legal challenge against low-carbon legislation in California that in effect rules out the use of oil from Canadian tar sands. The action by the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA) comes amid growing political, investor and consumer pressure on US oil companies not to participate in the carbon-intensive tar sands of Alberta.
A NPRA statement said the legislation was unlawful for a number of reasons, including the imposition of “undue and unconstitutional burdens on interstate commerce”.
It claimed the legislation would also have “little or no impact” on greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and would harm US energy security “by discouraging the use of Canadian crude oil and ethanol produced in the American midwest”.
The refiners are joined by the American Trucking Associations and the Centre for North American Energy Security in their attempt to overturn legislation from California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who wants to cut C02 emissions from transport by 10% by 2020. READ MORE:
Nuclear Does Not Make Economic Sense Say Studies by Julio Godoy. February 15, 2010 by Inter Press Service
BERLIN – The enormous technical and financial risks involved in the construction and operation of new nuclear power plants make them prohibitive for private investors, rebutting the thesis of a renaissance in nuclear energy, say several independent European studies.
The risks include high construction costs, likely long delays in building, extended periods of depreciation of equipment inherent to the construction and operation of new power plants and the lack of guarantees for prices of electricity.
Adding to these is the global meltdown and the consequent cautious behavior of investors as also fiscal and revenue difficulties of governments in the industrialized countries, say the studies.
In the most recent analysis on the feasibility of new nuclear power plants, the Citibank group concludes that some of “the risks faced by developers … are so large and variable that individually they could each bring even the largest utility company to its knees financially.”
The Citibank paper, titled ‘New Nuclear – The Economics Say No‘, lists five major risks developers and operators of new nuclear power plants must confront. These risks are planning, construction, power price, operational, and decommissioning. According to the study, most governments in industrialized countries today have only “sought to limit the planning risk” for investors.
But, while it is “important for encouraging developers to bring forward projects, [planning] is the least important risk financially,” the survey goes on. According to the Citibank group, the most important risks are construction, power price, and operational. The paper dubs these risks “the corporate killers.”
Environmental activists would add safety issues as another major risk – both the handling of highly radioactive nuclear waste and the likelihood of accidents at nuclear power stations.
The Citibank bases its conclusions on estimated costs of construction and operation and in the necessity of setting too high electricity prices for consumers, and which have seldom been reached in the past.
According to the paper, the costs of constructing a new nuclear power plant range between 2,500 to 3,500 euros (3,420 US dollars) per kilowatt hour. READ MORE:
Republican Strategy: You Are Either with Coal, or Against Us, February 15, 2010 by Politico.com
GOP Mines Coal-Country Anxieties by Jonathan Martin
Republicans believe there are three words so powerful that they might reshape the political order in an economically beleaguered corner of the country: War on coal.
With Democrats holding total control of the federal government and a cap-and-trade bill still looming, the GOP is fanning widespread coal country fears that the national Democratic Party is hostile to the coal mining industry, if not outright committed to its demise.
Those efforts are putting a group of coal state Democrats at risk as Republicans leverage the tremendous economic anxieties surrounding the future of an industry that is a vital part of their states’ economies.
In West Virginia and Kentucky, longtime Democratic House incumbents with solid records on the issue are taking heavy flak. Across the border in Virginia, a veteran Democrat could face his most serious challenge yet in part because of his support of cap and trade. Two junior lawmakers from Ohio are facing threats for the same reason.
The issue may loom largest in West Virginia, where coal mining is an integral part of the culture and makes up a full quarter of the state’s revenues.
A well-known former state supreme court judge switched his party registration to run against 17-term incumbent Rep. Nick Rahall in the state’s coal-heavy south and wasted little time in raising the issue.
“West Virginians deserve a congressman who will fight to end this war on coal instead of standing by idly as thousands of local jobs are threatened,” said Elliott “Spike” Maynard in launching his campaign last month.
In an interview with POLITICO, Maynard said: “Our part of the world and way of life is threatened by liberal Democrats in Washington.”
He pointed out that some environmentalists want to stop all surface mining, the above-ground technique that happens to account for about 40 percent of the state’s coal jobs.
His message, he said, was simple: “If you vote for Spike Maynard, you’re voting for your job and to mine coal. If you’re against me, you’re voting against your job and against mining coal.” READ MORE:
AFL-CIO to Obama: Enough is Enough by Richard Trumka.
Today the AFL-CIO sent out the following Action Alert:
We’ve just learned that the Senate and the White House cut a last-minute deal with obstructionist Republicans to approve some of President Obama’s nominees. But guess who was left out of the deal? Yup, that’s right: working people.
Craig Becker and Mark Pearce, highly respected labor lawyers whom President Obama nominated for seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), weren’t included in the deal. Meanwhile, the NLRB, tasked with protecting American workers’ rights, has been handicapped with vacancies for the past two years.
Enough is enough. Call the White House switchboard today and demand that President Obama fight Republican obstructionism and use his executive power to appoint Craig Becker and Mark Pearce to the NLRB during the Presidents Day recess.
Call the White House Switchboard NOW: 202-456-1111 OR 202-456-1414.
Becker already has received majority backing in the Senate and both won committee support, but the Republican minority has continually blocked their appointments. America’s working people are getting short shrift and it’s past time to do something about it. Workers need an NLRB that can enforce the National Labor Relations Act and protect workers’ rights-not an NLRB handicapped by vacancies.
Richard L. Trumka