American Elephants

The Environmentalists Are Not On Your Side. by The Elephant's Child

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Today,  Steven Hayward wrote about his basic axiom about environmentalists and energy. He called it “Hayward’s First Law of Green Thermodynamics” and this is how it goes:

There is no source of energy, no matter how clean, that left-environmentalists won’t oppose if it becomes practical to scale up.

He warned the natural gas coalition that natural gas interests are likely to find that in the fullness of time they will become the next target of environmentalist opposition once coal in interred next to nuclear power.  The “bridge” of natural gas will turn out to be a drawbridge, which environmental opposition will seek to draw up and close off, strangling or stranding many investments.

— Next day: Politico reports that the Sierra Club, already in a declared war on coal,  is considering calling for natural gas to be phased out by 2050 — about 20 years after it wants coal eliminated.  Deputy executive director Bruce Hamilton says “We want people to know that natural gas is not a clean fuel and it needs to be cleaned up before it can be an acceptable fuel.”

—You know, it just might be cheaper to eliminate the Sierra Club.   It would  spare us all sorts of trouble.

— European countries are busily exploring for shale deposits. Many have been discovered in Germany. They are eagerly adapting the American technology.

— On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that the Obama administration is going to take a “fresh look” at oil shale leasing rules put forward in 2008 by President George W. Bush to develop oil-rich land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.  The Bush rules would have opened u about 2 million acres of federal land in what is knows as the Green river Formation to the possible commercial-scale development of oil shale and tar sands. Can’t have that!

—The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the region may hold more than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil, six times the proven reserves of Saudi Arabia and enough to meet U.S. oil needs for the next two centuries.

—Earthjustice, a greenie litigation group, filed two federal lawsuits against the rules in January  on behalf of 13 environmental groups. They claimed that oil shale production techniques had not been perfected and not been reviewed. They also claimed that royalties paid to the government were set too low. Uh huh. Mr. Hayward was right.

— When the Soviet Union collapsed, the die hard communists joined the environmental movement as the best thing they had going to strive for social justice. Green on the outside, red on the inside. They want you dependent on wind and solar, which simply will not work.

Let the Gulf Workers Go Back To Work! by The Elephant's Child

A consortium of oil companies, led by Exxon announced today that they have built a system that can halt an undersea oil spill within weeks.  This is a critical step toward resuming drilling in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico.  This new combination of equipment and support vessels can contain a spill similar to BP’s  Deepwater Horizon spill which took almost three months to plug.

Regulators have demanded that oil companies demonstrate the capability to contain the blowout of an underwater well before any permits are granted to drill again in waters deeper than 500 feet. Exxon says this system meets that demand and should have no trouble gaining government approval as their engineers have consulted with regulators during development.

The group said that an expanded network capable of plugging a well more than 10,000 feet below the surface and collect 100,000 barrels of liquid and 200 million cubic feet of gas per day will be ready in early 2012.

If a driller alerts the containment company’s Houston headquarters to an uncontrolled blowout, equipment will start deploying within 24 hours.  Pretty impressive.

Will this end the government’s attempt to starve America of energy and let oil workers go back to work? America would like to know.

The spill happened because BP deviated from industry standards.  The whole industry is not guilty. The Gulf has disposed of a record amount of oil by natural processes.  It is resilient.  The rising price of oil can be laid on President Obama’s desk.  It’s his baby.

Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) Tries to Explain the Unexplainable. by The Elephant's Child

When you get up to billions and trillions most of us get a little lost. We balance our checkbooks and make our mortgage payments without ever contemplating that many zeroes. The numbers are too big. We don’t understand $3,728,686,000,000. Maybe if we chopped off those last six zeroes it would become more comprehensible. North Carolina Representative Patrick McHenry tries to explain just how big these numbers are and why the situation is so dire.

Obama Kills Another Company. And Possibly 494 More Jobs. by The Elephant's Child

Seahawk Drilling Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to sell its fleet of shallow-water offshore drilling rigs to a competitor for $105 million.  The Obama administration’s moratorium on drilling was intended to give government officials time to look into rig safety procedures and the regulations under which they operate in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The moratorium dragged on, thousands of workers were put out of work; businesses all across the gulf coast suffered, many went out of business. There had never been any safety problems with shallow-water drillers.  A Federal judge ordered the government to end the moratorium, which they did.  Sorta, kinda.

They said the moratorium was over, but people couldn’t go back to work until all their equipment and safety procedures were up to conformity with all the new regulations.  Then the government had to get around to issuing permits to drill.  As I understand it, just because the rigs are sitting idle, does not mean that their costs are idle.

Seahawk plans to sell its fleet of 20 jackup drilling rigs to a competitor for $105 million.  The sale will be carried out under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  If the court and regulators approve the bankruptcy plan it is unclear what will happen to the company’s 494 employees.  Of Seahawk’s 20 rigs, seven are now deployed on projects.

When Federal Judge Martin Feldman ordered the federal government to end its moratorium on deep-sea drilling, he meant it.  He has held the Obama administration in contempt of court for its “defiance” in reimposing the moratorium through other means.

Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.

“Each step the government took following the court’s imposition of a preliminary injunction showcases its defiance,” Feldman said in the ruling.

The White House is continuing its effort to raise gasoline prices and starve the country of any fossil fuels in the hopes that they will buy more electric cars from Government Motors, and  start to favor the president’s fantasy of plentiful wind and solar energy.

Major rigs have departed the Gulf for regions where they can actually work.  Thousands of high paying jobs have been lost, investment in exploration has gone to other countries and into places like Brazil.  The economic damages will take years to reverse.  Feldman has ruled that the government must pay the substantial legal fees for the lawsuit aimed at ending the moratorium, which mean that the taxpayers get stuck with those too.  All those lawyers in the Obama administration are ignoring the Contempt of Court ruling.

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