Dan Reed

Keystone XL Decision Wrapped Up in Politics

Nineteen months and counting.

The United States’ involvement in World War II – the greatest undertaking in the history of mankind – lasted 45 months. But it has been 64 months since TransCanada asked the U.S. government for permission to build a 1,179-mile long pipeline from northern Alberta, Canada, to Steele City, Neb. From there, crude from Alberta’ tar sands would be sent through an existing pipeline to Cushing, Okla., and, eventually to Nederland, Texas and the many refineries along the Gulf Coast.

No doubt building such a long pipeline over difficult land that, in some cases, is environmentally sensitive, is a big challenge that deserves careful environmental review. But compared with fighting and winning a two-front global war to defeat two fanatical, racist, egotistical power cabals, reviewing the Keystone XL project is about as difficult as building a robot out of Legos.

So, come on, already. Decide! Continue reading…

RP Siegel

Maryland Next in Line to Develop Offshore Wind Resources

Recently, the Interior Department (DOI) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced their third auction for offshore wind projects, this time off the cost of Maryland. The area for sale spans roughly 80,000 acres about 10-30 miles offshore from Ocean City with the potential of 850 to 1,450 MW of wind power capacity, according to NREL estimates. Continue reading…

Dan Reed

Whew! We Dodged a Bullet There

It’s the end of the year, a time when journalists do a lot of looking forward to the year ahead and even more looking back at the major news stories, the big events, and the might-have-beens of the expiring year.

One of those might-have-beens was the so-called Cap-and-Trade carbon emissions reduction plan. During the campaign, President Obama vowed to make it his top priority (along with all of the other policy issues that he said would be the top priority of his second term). Thankfully, Cap-and-Trade, which never was all that popular to begin with, was on life-support months before the election and dead before Mitt Romney’s political body had assumed room temperature after the vote.

And we’re all better off for it. Continue reading…

RP Siegel

Fuel Cell Vehicles Are On Their Way

Hydrogen-fueled cars are taking another step away from being cars of the future, inching towards a present day that might soon arrive. Just last month, three manufacturers exhibited fuel-cell powered cars at both the LA and Tokyo Auto Shows. Toyota, Honda and Hyundai all unveiled new fuel-cell vehicles (FCV).

John Krafcik, chief executive of Hyundai Motor America, called it, “a coming out party for hydrogen.” Continue reading…

Dan Reed

An Apology to Boone Pickens: Sorry, Your Plan Never Had a Chance

So there I was, riding along at 675 mph on a Gulfstream G550 at 30,000 feet, sipping on a Diet Coke and eating Cheez-its, when Boone Pickens leans over and asks me, “What do you think my plan’s chances are in D.C.?”

True story.

It was July 2009, and legendary oilman T. Boone Pickens had invited me, as Texas Bureau Chief for USA TODAY, and a crew from ABC’s Nightline to fly out with him to Sweetwater, Texas, home of the most famous rattlesnake roundup and one of the biggest concentrations of wind turbines in the world to talk about his new “Pickens Plan” for energy independence. In a few days he was planning to launch the website “pickensplan.com” as part of a $58 million self-funded political-style public relations campaign aimed at winning overwhelming public and political support for his plan to achieve North American energy independence.

Most curiously, we were joined onboard Pickens’ private jet by Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. I would not have expected Pope to accept an invitation to be in the same state as Perkins, let alone fly on his $65 million, carbon-spewing private jet in order to speak with the reporters in support of the Pickens Plan. But there he was, praising Pickens and his vision. Continue reading…

RP Siegel

Report: 90 Companies Responsible for Two-Thirds of Greenhouse Emissions

The public debate on fossil fuel emissions is often based on unfounded assumptions about where pollution originates. A recent report from the Climate Accountability Institute, featuring research by Richard Heede of Climate Mitigation Services, is injecting some new facts into the debate, and some of them are surprising. Continue reading…

Dan Reed

Europe Suffers Under Kyoto Treaties. Many Would Love for U.S. to Follow.

If you like the higher premiums and deductibles that many astonished Americans are discovering come with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. Obamacare – you’ll absolutely love your power bill if/when the Obama Administration’s Europe-inspired energy policies ever take effect. Continue reading…

RP Siegel

Carbon Tax: The Most Effective Way to Cut Deficit

There is little that conservatives dislike more than the budget deficit. Too bad then, that they overwhelmingly don’t believe that human activity has anything to do with the destabilization of the climate. Nor do they want to take any action to challenge the fossil fuel industries’ stranglehold on our energy supply.

A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that among the 103 alternative actions studied as potential ways to reduce the deficit, the most effective by far would be the introduction of a carbon tax.  Continue reading…

Dan Reed

U.S. Still Intoxicated by Magic Elixir Ethanol Policy

Beware the traveling salesman selling magic elixir from the trunk of his car.

Congress should have taken heed of that back in 2007 before they passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. Among other things, the EISA sent the nation’s corn farmers on an unprecedented and environmentally dubious planting binge. It also enticed some big upstream chemical companies into aggressive investments on ethanol production plants from which they now will be hard-pressed to produce a modest return. Continue reading…

RP Siegel

Worldwatch Report Shows That Fossil Fuels Still Dominate

With all the exciting developments on the renewable energy front, you could start to believe that we have truly begun to turn the corner on carbon emissions. It’s certainly true in some parts of the world.

Continue reading…