Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk is Southern Company’s Mississippi Power Latest Cap-And-Trade Setback

Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk In Latest Cap-And-Trade Setback: ‘A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in sign that 2012 is a “make-or-break” year for cap-and-trade’

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A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in a sign that 2012 is a “make-or-break” year for cap-and-trade programs designed to fight climate change.

London-based Barclays determined the US carbon market, currently comprised of a handful of states, is too small to justify the expense of a dedicated trading desk in New York, according to sources familiar with the decision. Barclays was a major player in US greenhouse-gas trading programs on the East and West coasts and remains active in Europe’s carbon market, the largest in the world. Seth Martin, a Barclays spokesman, declined to comment.

Barclays Global Investors headquarters on Howa...

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“That is not good news for carbon-dioxide trading, especially not in the US,” says Gary Hart, a market analyst for ICAP Energy and a veteran pollution-rights trader. “There’s such uncertainty around the use of carbon cap-and-trade programs.”

The carbon cap-and-trade concept, which regulates the greenhouse gases linked to climate change by letting companies buy and sell pollution allowances, has suffered a major reversal of fortune since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. Obama pushed Congress to create a national carbon market, by some estimates worth roughly $100 billion a year. The proposed market, similar to the European Union Emissions Trading System, caught the attention of major financial institutions, such as Barclays and JP Morgan, which saw U.S.-issued carbon allowances as a potentially lucrative new commodity.

“2012 could possibly be the make-or-break year” – Hart

But Obama later backed away from cap-and-trade when it floundered in the US Senate. That left a state-run carbon market in the US Northeast, where prices have crashed by more than 40 percent since 2008 and one of its members, New Jersey, quit the program entirely. Another state-level carbon market, estimated to be worth about $9 billion a year, was scheduled to start in California this year. But it was delayed until 2013 amid a legal challenge from environmental-justice activists who oppose carbon trading.

Even Europe’s carbon cap-and-trade program, in place since 2005, has been rocked by tax-fraud and computer-hacking scandals. Since Obama’s election, carbon prices there have plummeted about 60%, according to Paris-based environmental-trading exchange BlueNext, amid weak economic growth.

After a troubled few years on both sides of the Atlantic, carbon cap-and-trade advocates need to start turning things around this year, Hart says. “2012 could possibly be the make-or-break year,” he says.

Cap-and-trade supporters can already look forward to some wins in 2012. Australia plans to start a carbon tax in July, which will transition to a carbon market over three years, and Europe’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases is expanding to include emissions from aircraft. In the US Northeast, the states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are conducting a comprehensive review of their cap-and-trade market this year, and may recommend changes that lead to higher carbon prices.

But Hart says carbon-market observers will mostly be watching California this year to see if its environmental officials stick with the revised 2013 start date for the state’s cap-and-trade program. Few things could boost the carbon cap-and-trade concept more than the active involvement of California, the most populous U.S. state and ninth-largest economy in the world, Hart says. “That would keep it on life support, at least,” he says.

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What is 21st Century Coal?

In an attempt to further clarify the direction that Southern Company is taking Mississippi Power, through the development and execution of the demonstration lignite coal plant in Kemper County, we must first understand the clever terminology utilized by Thomas Fanning, Southern Company’s chief executive. In case you forgot this technology will be demonstrated first in China then Mississippi.
In an October 2, 2011 interview, Thomas Fanning specifically mentioned, that we must develop “21st century coal” plants.
What is 21ST CENTURY COAL? We find the answer from the White House Press Secretary dated November 17, 2009;

 Today, President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao pledged to promote cooperation on cleaner uses of coal, including large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects. Through the new U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, the two countries are launching a program to bring teams of U.S. and Chinese scientists and engineers together in developing clean coal and CCS technologies. The two countries are also actively engaging industry, academia and civil society in advancing clean coal and CCS solutions.

Why would the USA want to participate in carbon dioxide capturing and storage?   The White House  discloses the intentions and purpose;

“Collaborating in the development of clean coal and CCS solutions in China will open new markets for U.S. businesses and workers and, through the insights gained in the process, help accelerate CCS deployment in the United States.”

In conclusion, Southern Company wants to develop 21st century coal plants which capture and store carbon dioxide for the purpose of opening Carbon Dioxide markets (carbon trading) in the United States for the profit of selected businesses and the demise of others.  So Southern Company exposed their hand to us initially suggesting that carbon dioxide capturing was for the purpose of environmental protection and saving lives from premature deaths related to global warming caused by CO2, but in reality 21ST CENTURY COAL is nothing more than a platform to launch Carbon Trading on NASDAQ.

Why should Mississippi ratepayers be forced to pay into what appears to be a pyramid-like scheme disguised as your electric bill.  Mississippi power will simply raise your electric rate, the electric rate of your grocery store, barber, church, gas station, and so on.  Even if you are not a Mississippi Power customer you can see how any rate increase this vast across Mississippi will affect every citizen.  Therefore I see nominal benefits and great risk to the ratepayer but phenomenal benefits to those pushing “21st century coal” for their diversified investment portfolio.

We can further conclude that the Public Service Commissioners have decided incorrectly when they voted 2-1 in favor of placing the burden of financing the experimental demonstration lignite coal plant in Kemper County upon the backs of the ratepayers.

As a side note: There is a pattern that you may want to be aware of, whenever there is United Nations involvement, the term “accelerate” is used. It is imperative that the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other United Nations supported organizations, both government and non-government, expedite their policies before the American citizens understand their Agenda and take action to stop it.  The Green Agenda is not environmental, environmentalism is the smokescreen used to accomplish their goals.

Now go back and look at what the Press Secretary of the White House said,”that the two countries are actively engaging civil society.”   Do you understand what “engaging civil society” means?  Obama’s staff wrote that specifically for a purpose.  It comes back to utilizing terminology that sounds benign, beneficial, and safe but in reality it has a completely different meaning and purpose than what American citizens would expect. This is another example of intentional deception.  keep up the research for you are in for a BIG surprise.

Oct 2 2011  Thomas Fanning, Southern Company chief executive, tells the FT’s Ed Crooks that the company is pressing ahead with its plans to build two new reactors in Georgia. Nuclear power is important for diversifying energy supplies, he says.

Mississippi will pay higher prices on EVERYTHING because of Cap and Trade

Not Heeding the Warnings From Other Energy Companies

Why is Mississippi ignoring the warnings from other energy companies?  Others have determined that CCS fails to make economic sense at this point in time.  Is this the deal Haley Barbour made to gain  support for his now scrapped presidential run?  The residents of Mississippi will pay for this error forever because they have now paved the way for Cap and Trade to embark. There is no going back because there is
NO RISK TO MISSISSIPPI POWER COMPANY BECAUSE WE ARE PAYING FOR IT, NOT THEM!!!
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AEP Places Carbon Capture Commercialization On Hold, Citing Uncertain Status Of Climate Policy, Weak Economy

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 14, 2011 – American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) is terminating its cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy and placing its plans to advance carbon dioxide capture and storage (CCS) technology to commercial scale on hold, citing the current uncertain status of U.S. climate policy and the continued weak economy as contributors to the decision.

“We are placing the project on hold until economic and policy conditions create a viable path forward,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP chairman and chief executive officer. “With the help of Alstom, the Department of Energy and other partners, we have advanced CCS technology more than any other power generator with our successful two-year project to validate the technology. But at this time it doesn’t make economic sense to continue work on the commercial-scale CCS project beyond the current engineering phase.

“We are clearly in a classic ‘which comes first?’ situation,” Morris said. “The commercialization of this technology is vital if owners of coal-fueled generation are to comply with potential future climate regulations without prematurely retiring efficient, cost-effective generating capacity. But as a regulated utility, it is impossible to gain regulatory approval to recover our share of the costs for validating and deploying the technology without federal requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions already in place. The uncertainty also makes it difficult to attract partners to help fund the industry’s share.”

In 2009, AEP was selected by the Department of Energy (DOE) to receive funding of up to $334 million through the Clean Coal Power Initiative to pay part of the costs for installation of a commercial-scale CCS system at AEP’s Mountaineer coal-fueled power plant in New Haven, W.Va. The system would capture at least 90 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from 235 megawatts of the plant’s 1,300 megawatts of capacity. The captured CO2, approximately 1.5 million metric tons per year, would be treated and compressed, then injected into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface.

Plans were for the project to be completed in four phases, with the system to begin commercial operation in 2015. AEP has informed the DOE that it will complete the first phase of the project (front-end engineering and design, development of an environmental impact statement and development of a detailed Phase II and Phase III schedule) but will not move to the second phase.

DOE’s share of the cost for completion of the first phase is expected to be approximately $16 million, half the expenses that qualify under the DOE agreement.

AEP and partner Alstom began operating a smaller-scale validation of the technology in October 2009 at the Mountaineer Plant, the first fully-integrated capture and storage facility in the world. That system captured up to 90 percent of the CO2 from a slipstream of flue gas equivalent to 20 megawatts of generating capacity and injected it into suitable geologic formations for permanent storage approximately 1.5 miles below the surface. The validation project, which received no federal funds, was closed as planned in May after meeting project goals. Between October 2009 and May 2011, the life of the validation project, the CCS system operated more than 6,500 hours, captured more than 50,000 metric tons of CO2 and permanently stored more than 37,000 metric tons of CO2.

“The lessons we learned from the validation project were incorporated into the Phase I engineering for the commercial-scale project,” Morris said.

American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.

This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: the economic climate and growth in, or contraction within, AEP’s service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary or deflationary interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability of capital on reasonable terms and developments impairing AEP’s ability to finance new capital projects and refinance existing debt at attractive rates; the availability and cost of funds to finance working capital and capital needs, particularly during periods when the time lag between incurring costs and recovery is long and the costs are material; electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms, and AEP’s ability to recover significant storm restoration costs through applicable rate mechanisms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of necessary generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; AEP’s ability to recover Indiana Michigan Power’s Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1 restoration costs through warranty, insurance and the regulatory process; AEP’s ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; AEP’s ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire generating capacity, including the Turk Plant, and transmission line facilities (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs (including the costs of projects that are cancelled) through applicable rate cases or competitive rates; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances or additional regulation of fly ash and similar combustion products that could impact the continued operation and cost recovery of AEP’s plants; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including AEP’s dispute with Bank of America); AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; AEP’s ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading market; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas, coal, nuclear fuel and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the implementation of electric security plans and related regulation in Ohio and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations, including PJM and SPP; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP’s pension, other postretirement benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact on future funding requirements; prices and demand for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events.

http://www.aep.com/newsroom/newsreleases/?id=1704

Mississippi is Waking Up Thanks to Travis Rose

Mississippi Punked – Scheme Raises Energy Prices to Enrich Wall Street

Congressional Climate Bills:

Stealth Schemes to Raise Energy Prices

and Enrich Wall Street

by Stephen Lendman
Monday, 17 May 2010
If cap and trade is enacted, polluters will win. Consumers will lose, and Wall Street will get the mother of all speculative bonanzas. No wonder, they and the energy giants are lobbying ferociously for passage.

On June 26, 2009, HR 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) passed, purportedly “To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.”

In fact, it lets energy polluters raise prices for huge windfall profits and gives Wall Street a bonanza through carbon trading derivatives speculation. Catherine Austin Fitts’ Solari.com blog, “Coming Clean” explained it last July in her article titled, “The Next Really Scary Bubble” is coming, saying:

“If you think the housing and credit bubble diminished your financial security and your community, or the bailouts, or the rising gas prices did as well, hold on to your hat” for what’s ahead. “Carbon trading is gearing up to make the housing and derivative bubbles look like target practice,” or in other words, be the mother of all scams, courtesy of administration, House and Senate collaboration with Wall Street and the energy giants.

Now the Senate version – a clean energy bill? Not according to the Center for Biological Diversity (biologicaldiversity.org) calling it:

“a disaster for our climate and planet. (The Kerry-Lieberman) proposal moves us one baby step forward and at least three giant steps back in any rational effort to address the climate crisis. (Their bill) would entrench our addiction to fossil fuels by offering incentives for increased oil and gas drilling just days after what appears to be the worst offshore oil disaster in American history.”

Their proposal includes “no safeguards….to make offshore oil safe. (It) echoes greenhouse pollution reduction targets that scientists recently called ‘paltry’ and inadequate to prevent the worst impacts of climate change….The Kerry-Lieberman (bill) is not the answer because it asks the wrong questions.”

New climate legislation must:

  • reduce “atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million….;”
  • supplement “existing environmental laws – especially the Clean Air Act – instead of gutting these successful and proven environmental protections;”
  • be “free of loopholes allowing polluters to delay or avoid reducing their greenhouse gas emissions;” and
  • avoid “habitat destruction and increased greenhouse gas emissions through perverse subsidies.”

House of Senate bills fail “these tests.” They’re “a disaster for our climate and planet.” The House bill lets polluters “escape real emissions reductions.” The Senate bill:

  • bans Clean Air Act provisions and “existing state and local efforts to tackle climate change;”
  • facilitates, subsidizes, and accelerates oil and gas drilling, including offshore;
  • “subsidize(s) dangerous and costly nuclear energy; and
  • incentivize(s) the destruction of forests for biomass energy production;” this provision, however, appears stalled.

Last June, Public Citizen called the House bill:

“a new legal right to pollute (that) gives away 85 percent of (its) credits to polluters. (It) will not solve our climate crisis but will enrich already powerful oil, coal and nuclear power companies” at the expense of consumers stuck with higher than ever bills to enrich them.

This writer’s July 8 article titled, Obama’s Cap and Trade Carbon Emissions Bill: A Stealth Scheme to License Pollution and Fraud explained it.

Hyperbolic Democrats praised it, Speaker Pelosi calling it “transformational legislation which takes us into the future” after taking congratulatory calls from Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Al Gore.

The former vice president has long-standing ties to Goldman Sachs (GS), and in 2004, he and David Blood, GS’s former asset management division CEO, co-founded Generation Investment Management LLC, a firm likely to profit hugely from cap and trade schemes if enacted.

So will energy giants like Royal Dutch Shell (top-ranked in 2009 on Fortune’s Global 500) and Duke Energy that helped write the bill, that according to Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder “fails to come anywhere close to solving the climate crisis. Worse, (it) eliminates preexisting EPA authority to address global warming – that means it’s actually a step backward.”

Greepeace agreed saying it “sets emission reduction targets far lower than science demands, then undermines even those targets with massive offsets. The giveaways and preferences in the bill will actually spur a new generation of nuclear and coal-fired power plants to the detriment of real energy solutions.”

Energy companies praised it, and why not. Big Coal got a waiver until 2025. Agribusiness was exempted altogether even though it contributes up to one-fourth of greenhouse gas emissions. The free allowances provision benefits the nuclear industry hugely. The nation’s largest nuclear power company, Exelon, said it would reap a $1 – 1.5 billion annual windfall from subsidies and higher prices.

ACESA is a scam. It’s about profits, not environmental remediation. Its emissions reduction targets are so weak, they effectively license polluters by giving them a new profit center to exploit. As for Wall Street, it offers greater than ever derivatives trading profits – a new multi-trillion dollar market to be “securitized, derivatized, and speculated,” according to Clinton’s former Commerce undersecretary, Robert Shapiro. If cap and trade becomes law, the market will explode in his judgment.

Others agree, seeing a speculative bonanza, why FIRE sector (finance, insurance and real estate) lobbyists spent a record $465 million in 2009 according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Energy and natural resources companies also, spending $409 million to assure a plum this sweet becomes law.

The American Power Act (APC) – Unveiled on May 16 and now available in Pdf form.

It’s as hyperbolic as the House version saying:

It “will transform our economy, set us on the path toward energy independence and improve the quality of the air we breathe. It will create millions of good jobs that cannot be shipped abroad and it will launch America into a position of leadership in the global clean energy economy.”

It claims not to be about enriching Wall Street, but to reduce carbon pollution by “17 percent in 2020 and by over 80 percent in 2050,” so far ahead that who’ll remember unmet targets.

It says:

  • “Consumers will come out on top.
  • We need energy made in America.
  • America needs to regain its competitive edge….
  • We need a new approach to reducing emissions (and)
  • The system must be simple, stable and secure.”

Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica debunked it, saying:

“Without dramatic improvements, this bill should not be passed, and senators should consider alternatives. In the meantime, existing tools like the Clean Air Act must be put to work. More broadly, we must end a system in which polluter lobbyists exercise effective veto power in Congress. Our economy, global security and the health of the public are all at stake.”

According to Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum in his May 13 analysis, APC fails across the board saying the “Climate Bill Is a Misnomer: It’s a Nuclear Energy-Promoting, Oil-Drilling-Championing, Coal Mining-Boosting Gift to Polluters….with a weak carbon-pricing mechanism thrown in.”

Worse still, it guts the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. It provides nuclear power incentives at taxpayers expense. Under sections 1101 and 1105, citizens won’t have public hearings on nuclear power risks, especially ones in their communities. Section 1102 “increases loan guarantees primarily for nuclear power to a jaw-dropping $54 billion.” Considering the industry’s high default risk, consumers will be stuck with the bill the way they’ve paid trillions for Wall Street bailouts.

In section 1103, 12 proposed nuclear plants will get $6 billion in taxpayer-subsidized risk insurance. Section 1121 lets nuclear power operators accelerate depreciation. Section 1121 “provides a 10 percent investment tax credit for new reactors.” Under section 1123, the industry gets Advanced Energy Project credits, and it “derives certain tax, bond and grant benefits from investing in nuclear power” from sections 1124, 5 and 6.

More than ever, Big Oil gets to “Drill Baby, Drill” (that assures “Spill Baby, Spill”), including more of it offshore, despite the spreading Gulf disaster, and there’s more. Under section 1202, states may keep 37.5 of oil and gas royalties. “That’s like saying because more rich people live in California and New York compared to Mississippi and New Mexico, (they) should be able to keep more federal dollars raised from income taxes. Royalty revenue sharing is patently unfair,” especially since offshore spills respect no state shorelines or inland areas if they spread.

Big coal will get generous loan guarantees and more. “Section 1412 establishes a (utility-collected) carbon tax paid by ratepayers….to fund carbon capture and storage (CCS) – with no money allocated to rooftop solar or energy efficiency investments.” Under section 1431, coal companies are given (taxpayer subsidized) emissions allowances – “an untested, risky strategy that benefits (them) and is gobbling up a lion’s share of subsidies” that should go for renewable energy development.

Merchant coal power plants (whose rates aren’t regulated) will get about 5% of the handouts, “which will provide opportunities for them to gouge consumers.”

Section 1604 says because “voluntary” renewable energy markets are efficient and effective programs, “the policy of the United States is to continue to support” them without the guarantees given fossil fuel and nuclear industry giants.

The bill also promotes carbon offsets trading – a scam to let polluters buy credits from countries or companies whose greenhouse gas emissions fall below their allowed quotas. However, shifting isn’t reduction. It simply transfers pollution from one place to another, has no verification mechanism, creates a system wide open to fraud and mismanagement, and allows the same market manipulation shenanigans that created the housing and toxic derivatives bubbles – precisely why energy giants and Wall Street want it.

Utilities, not consumers, will benefit from free 2013 – 2029 allowances, “exclusively” for ratepayers purportedly. But instead of remitting directly to them, the Senate bill lets state utility commissions decide. They, in turn, can be more or less consumer friendly, but as their past history shows, ratepayers will end up losers.

As for Wall Street, the Senate bill is marginally less accommodative than the House version, but not enough to matter. For example, a new Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Office of Carbon Market Oversight is created, letting the corporate-run agency regulate spot and futures emission markets.

It would require emissions traders to register, be approved, and have their transactions cleared through a CFTC-run Carbon Clearing Organization. It’ll work the same way the Federal Reserve regulates banks – by letting the giants that own it make the rules.

Further, carbon trading lets Wall Street “control our climate future” by “mak(ing) the housing and derivatives bubbles look like target practice,” as Catherine Austin Fitts explained.

If cap and trade is enacted, polluters will win. Consumers will lose, and Wall Street will get the mother of all speculative bonanzas. No wonder, they and the energy giants are lobbying ferociously for passage.

Connection to the Gulf Disaster

On May 9, Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC’s This Week that he sent Justice Department officials to the Gulf to determine if any “misfeasance (or) malfeasance” occurred.

Is the Senate climate bill perhaps connected to the Gulf spill? – being used as a pretext to propose “protections,” including a provision saying:

“Mindful of the accident in the Gulf, we institute important new protections for coastal states by allowing them to opt out of drilling up to 75 miles from their shores. In addition, directly impacted states can veto drilling plans if they stand to suffer significant adverse impacts in the event of an accident.”

Don’t bet on it, as House and Senate bills, in fact, assure more, not less, offshore drilling, thus far prohibited in oil rich waters Big Oil companies covet. But what they want, they generally get, free from regulatory oversight or not enough to matter. That won’t change nor the chance for more spills, on or offshore. As one expert explained: “As long as we keep using this stuff, we’re going to be spilling it. It goes with the territory.”

Yet if the Gulf incident was deliberate, why so? On September 30, S. 1733: Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act was introduced, purportedly to “create clean energy jobs, promote energy independence, reduce global warming pollution, and transition to a clean energy economy.”

On November 5, it was reported to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, remained stalled, and the December Copenhagen climate summit (COP 15) failed. Then after the April 20 Gulf incident, it was reactivated to take advantage of a good crisis – what White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel once told the Wall Street Journal saying:

“You never want to let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is that it’s an opportunity to do things you thought you couldn’t do before.”

And a joint Kerry-Lieberman statement said ahead of the bill’s rollout:

“We are more encouraged today that we can secure the necessary votes to pass this legislation this year in part because the last weeks have given everyone with a stake in this issue a heightened understanding that as a nation, we can no longer wait to solve this problem which threatens our economy, our security and our environment.”

White House climate advisor, Carol Browner, told Bloomberg TV that:

“This accident, this tragedy, is actually heightening people’s interest in energy in this country and in wanting a different energy plan.”

Perhaps they, BP, Transocean and Halliburton know something we don’t. In this case a possible false flag “accident” to jump-start passage of the Senate bill to enrich polluters and Wall Street, the only way they may have thought possible after Senate debate stalled.

Of course, to enlist enough public and congressional support, a headline-making incident was needed, though doubtful one this grave was intended – according to some experts spewing from 40,000 – 100,000 gallons daily to continue for months, even years given the enormous underwater pressure at a one-mile depth – 40,000 pounds per square inch, the reason fixes so far tried have failed, and no one’s sure what’ll work. The latest BP tube insertion may be more a PR stunt than a solution, but don’t look for its officials or Washington to explain it.

Extremely worrisome are the enormous deep water oil plumes, one, for example, 16 km long, five km wide, and 91 meters thick, suggesting permanent ecological damage with untold consequences. Already, oxygen in the Gulf is depleting, threatening sea life over a vast area and the livelihoods of area fishermen.

As for the industry’s likely cost, it’s pocket change, especially as others (including Washington and perhaps the states), not the offenders, will pay the most. Consider the Exxon Valdez disaster.

It occurred in March 1989. After years of litigation, plaintiffs got $385 million in compensatory damages and $5 billion in punitive ones. However, after numerous appeals, the Supreme Court (in June 2008) reduced the latter ones to $500 million – ten cents on the dollar or the equivalent of about 1.5 days profit from Exxon’s Q 1 2008 operations, or hardly enough to matter.

As for Prince William sound and its residents, its beaches are still contaminated. The high-pressure hoses did more harm than good. They destroyed interlocking layers of gravel and flushed away fine sediments that protect beach areas, clams and mussels during storms. As many as 300,000 seabirds were killed plus other wildlife.

A Trustee Council study found 17 of 27 monitored species haven’t recovered. Bio-accumulation of toxins affected the killer whale population. Clams are inedible from hydrocarbon poisoning. Shellfish damage slowed the recovery of otters that feed on them. The herring never returned. Salmon caught have abscesses and tumors, and the lives of about 32,000 plaintiffs were permanently disrupted economically, emotionally and culturally by bankruptcies, alcoholism, suicides, family violence, and divorces. And today the area still smells like a gas station and perhaps will for decades.

As for enacting Senate energy legislation, falsely called a climate bill, the battle lines are now drawn, including for offshore drilling, but given its importance to Big Oil, expect heavy-lifting lobbying for passage, whether or not this year. Whatever happens, expect the public to lose out to powerful corporate interests, especially energy and Wall Street ones spending millions to assure it.


Stephen Lendman

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His blog is sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to Lendman’s cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

http://baltimorechronicle.com/2010/051710Lendman.shtml

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