Voters Consider Energy Price Hikes in Arizona, Nevada, Washington

by H. Sterling Burnett


Voters in Arizona, Nevada and Washington state will soon decide if they want to pay more for less reliable electricity.

Progressive California billionaire Tom Steyer is trying to take California’s energy policies on the road. California energy prices are among the highest in the country, and Golden State residents suffer more non-disaster-related blackouts and brownouts than any other state. In a vain effort to control the weather 100 years into the future, California has adopted policies that restrict fossil-fuel use and severely limit residents’ energy choices. The result: high energy prices and unreliable electricity that works only when the sun and wind cooperate.

At a time when residents and businesses are fleeing California to seek more affordable energy and homes, California is now trying to export its misguided energy policies beyond its borders.

This November, voters in Arizona and Nevada will consider ballot proposals that would mandate an increase in the proportion of electricity generated from renewable power sources to 50 percent by 2030. Both measures are bankrolled by Steyer.

Additionally, Washington state voters, for the second time in three years, will consider a ballot initiative to impose the nation’s first tax on carbon-dioxide emissions.

The plain truth is, if voters approve these initiatives they will be paying higher prices for energy with little or no environmental benefit. Numerous studies have revealed that states with renewable energy mandates have experienced increased energy prices. The Brookings Institution found replacing conventional power with wind power raises electricity prices by 50 percent. Even worse, replacing conventional power with solar power triples electricity costs. In short, the higher the mandate, the higher the costs.

Europe is further along the renewable energy path than the United States, and the results are telling. Despite a 25 percent increase in wind power and 6 percent growth in solar over the past decade, carbon emissions actually increased in 2017, by 1.8 percent, due to the fact that “idling fossil fuel plants must be quickly brought online when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine, and, just like cars in traffic, idling engines produce more carbon emissions,” as reported by Nevada’s Sparks Tribune. Meanwhile, electricity costs across the European Union have increased by 23 percent during the past decade.

The same is true in the United States. Under its current renewable power mandate, Arizona produces 7 percent of its energy from wind and solar, an amount required to increase to 15 percent by 2025. The Energy Information Administration reports that meeting the current 7 percent requirement has already added $304 a year to the average Arizonan’s electric bill — meeting the 50 percent standard proposed in Steyer’s ballot initiative could cost Arizona residents an additional $2,100 annually.

The results are the same for Nevada. Over the last five years, the average Nevadan saw his or her electric bill rise by 11 percent, despite that nationally rates fell on average by 1 percent — and declined even more in states without green-energy mandates. This is due in part to Nevada’s existing renewable energy mandate.

A 2013 study commissioned by the Nevada Policy Research Institute showed that simply meeting the current requirement (utilities get 25 percent of the electric power they supply by 2025) would likely raise power prices by an additional 11 percent. This would also cost the state more than 3,000 jobs. Requiring 50 percent renewable energy just five years later, after the low hanging “inexpensive” power switching as already been accomplished, will make rates and job losses skyrocket even further.

Washington state’s carbon-dioxide tax would impose a penalty of $15 per metric ton on carbon-dioxide emissions, rising $2 per ton annually until the state meets its goal of reducing emissions 50 percent below 1990 levels. Evergreen State auditors found residents would pay approximately $2.2 billion more in taxes during its first five years of implementation, with gasoline prices likely to rise by 13 cents per gallon and the costs of home-heating oil likely to rise by 15 cents per gallon in 2020, the year the tax would take effect.

The higher energy prices and increased energy instability will be for naught with regards to preventing global warming. The United States is already reducing its emissions without such draconian policies, but even if it weren’t, nothing done in the United States can prevent a global rise in emissions because developing countries are adding huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as they industrialize.

Only the IRS, politicians and climate fanatics could love these high-cost, no-return ballot initiatives. Let’s hope Arizona, Nevada and Washington state residents see through the green smokescreen the ballot initiatives’ advocates are emitting.


Trump, Educated by Heartland, Makes Bold Pitch for Climate Realism

President Trump has stood up more firmly for sound science and climate realism than any prior president.

President Donald Trump this week stood firm when subjected to a 60 Minutes interrogation on climate, making a bold pitch for climate realism. The Heartland Institute was happy to help the president in his successful efforts.

60 Minutes journalist Leslie Stahl began the interrogation by asking Trump if he thought climate change is a hoax. While declining to use the word “hoax,” Trump cast doubt on the notion that humans are creating a global warming crisis.

“Something’s changing and it’ll change back again…. But I don’t know that it’s manmade,” said Trump.

Trump referenced the economy-killing schemes proposed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as the $100-billion-annual wealth transfers to developing nations under the Paris climate agreement.

“I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs. I don’t want to be put at a disadvantage,” Trump explained.

When Stahl attempted to argue that scientists at NOAA and NASA make alarming global warming predictions, Trump immediately countered, “We have scientists that disagree with that.”

Scientists affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA have joined scores of other scientists making the case for global warming skepticism at The Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change series. Thousands of other scientists have signed the Oregon Petition, expressing similar skepticism about global warming alarmism.

Trump also noted that climate change has been a natural occurrence for millions of years.

Trump followed up his schooling of Leslie Stahl with an interview this Tuesday with the Associated Press.

Responding to a challenge about hurricanes, Trump observed the many hurricanes 50 or more years ago that were as strong or stronger as recent hurricanes.

“We had worse hurricanes in 1890. We had a worse hurricane 50 years ago. We’ve gone through a period, actually, fairly recently, where we have very few,” said Trump.

“What I’m not willing to do is sacrifice the economic well-being of our country for something that nobody really knows,” Trump insisted. “And you have scientists on both sides of the issue. And I agree the climate changes, but it goes back and forth, back and forth. So we’ll see.”

When presented with a “scientists say” question, Trump quickly saw through the misleading generalization and corrected it.

“No, no. Some say that and some say differently,” Trump noted.

The Heartland Institute has been happy to help President Trump understand the truth about climate change, as well as see through the traps the media constantly tries to spring on climate realists. During the White House transition after Trump’s election in November 2016, The Heartland Institute – at the request of Trump’s top staff – put together a PowerPoint presentation on climate change for the president’s viewing. His bold and powerful messaging on the topic and citation of global warming facts closely reflects The Heartland Institute’s views and published information on the topic.

President Trump has stood up more firmly for sound science and climate realism than any prior president. We look forward to helping him do more of the same throughout his presidency.


Climate Alarmists Get Two Strikes In Court — They Should Be Out

by  H. Sterling Burnett


In July, federal Judge John F. Keenan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed New York City's lawsuit against five major oil companies. The lawsuit sought to force the oil companies to help pay NYC's alleged costs associated with climate change.

Keenan's ruling was the second victory against municipal governments seeking to use the judiciary to address problems purportedly caused by climate change. The first triumph came in June, when Judge William H. Alsup of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco threw out a similar lawsuit against the same five companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch Shell — in a case brought by Oakland and San Francisco.

In the 23-page decision dismissing New York City's lawsuit, Keenan wrote climate change must be addressed by the executive branch and Congress, not by the courts. Although climate change "is a fact of life," Keenan wrote, "the serious problems caused thereby are not for the judiciary to ameliorate. Global warming and solutions thereto must be addressed by the two other branches of government."

Keenan ruled New York's state and federal common law claims were prohibited under the Clean Air Act. He stated it would be "illogical" and would violate U.S. Supreme Court precedent to allow the claims under state common law "when courts have found that these matters are areas of federal concern that have been delegated to the executive branch as they require a uniform, national solution … (and) the Clean Air Act displaces the City's claims seeking damages for past and future domestic greenhouse gas emissions brought under federal common law."

In addition, Keenan determined NYC's lawsuit is unjustified because the city contributed carbon dioxide emissions and benefited from fossil-fuel use.

"(I)t is not clear that Defendants' fossil fuel production and the emissions created therefrom have been an 'unlawful invasion' in New York City, as the City benefits from and participates in the use of fossil fuels as a source of power, and has done so for many decades," wrote Keenan.

Climate policy is solely within the domain of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, as two federal judges have amply demonstrated in their written decisions.

However, states and cities seem intent on banging their heads up against this legal brick wall.

On July 2, just a week after Alsup threw out a climate lawsuit brought by Oakland and San Francisco, Rhode Island filed a lawsuit against oil companies to recover the costs from supposed climate change. On July 20, just a day after Keenan dismissed NYC's lawsuit, Baltimore sued oil companies for climate change expenses in Maryland. Furthermore, New York City, Oakland, and San Francisco plan to appeal their cases' dismissals.

Climate Change Lawsuits: A Waste

Apparently, these cities and states have no serious problems — such as crime, budget shortfalls, and education woes — for which the resources devoted to these lawsuits might be better used, or their leaders just don't care if they waste taxpayers' money on frivolous lawsuits. It seems as though the several attorneys general pursuing these pointless lawsuits are so caught up in the grip of climate mania, they just can't let go, the law be damned.

Or perhaps the lawsuits are simply an attempted shakedown of an industry with deep pockets. These cities and states desperately hope oil companies will ultimately settle out of court, agreeing to pay billions of dollars and promising not to fight climate change legislation in the future.

Furthermore, these out-of-touch environmental zealots want to force oil companies to shift their investments from fossil fuels to politically connected, highly subsidized green-energy power sources. Oil companies have not succumbed to these outrageous demands yet, and it seems unlikely they will any time soon, with their continued profitability and their very existence at stake — as well as two legal wins under their belt.

It is long past time to end this game of legal whack-a-mole. Alsup and Keenan should require cities to pay the court costs, attorney fees, and other expenses incurred by oil companies thus warning municipal and state climate zealots seeking big paydays there is a price to pay for wasting courts' time.



Burnett, Ph.D. is a senior fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

What You Need to Know About EPA’s New Boss Andrew Wheeler

by H Sterling Burnett


Former Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marked the end of a productive but tumultuous period for the agency. The good news? Pruitt’s replacement, Andrew Wheeler, will likely continue the needed reforms Pruitt began. In the immortal words of The Who, “Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss.”

However history judges Pruitt’s tenure at EPA, critics and supporters can agree he initiated a series of efforts to fundamentally transform the antiquated agency. He ended sue-and-settle agreements; reshaped its science advisory committees; reduced graft; and rolled back myriad regulatory actions, including the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, the massive increase in the Corporate Fuel Economy Standard (CAFE), and various energy efficiency mandates for appliances. Thanks to Pruitt, EPA is finally changing how it conducts business.

You might be concerned that Pruitt’s absence could result in a complete change in course, but fear not! President Donald Trump’s energy and environment agenda will not substantively change with Wheeler’s ascension to the agency’s top post.

Sadly, and not surprisingly, environmental zealots treated Wheeler’s appointment as though it is the end of the world. A Huffington Post headline stated, “Scott Pruitt’s Replacement Is Even Worse.” In the article, Frank O’Donnell, president of the left-wing group Clean Air Watch, stated, “This is like rearranging deck chairs on the environmental Titanic.”

The Left’s histrionic response to Wheeler mirrors its response to Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Regardless of an appointee’s qualifications, anyone Trump nominates to lead the EPA will inevitably be tarred and feathered by the Left and braded a climate-change-denying polluter. 

Environmentalists dread Wheeler for the same reason small-government advocates applaud him: Wheeler could be even more effective than Pruitt at rolling back onerous regulations. EPA’s new chief has significant experience working within and outside of the agency. In fact, Wheeler won awards for his work at the agency between 1991 through 1995. Subsequently, Wheeler worked as majority staff director and chief counsel at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, with EPA oversight. Wheeler will be more than capable to rein in EPA overreach.

The regulatory rollback at EPA started under Pruitt is expected to increase with Wheeler at the helm. EPA is currently working on overhauling CPP, WOTUS, and CAFE to improve transparency and ease compliance with commonsense guidelines.

In his short time as the agency’s acting administrator, there has been no shortage of statements supporting Wheeler as a more disciplined, less scandal prone replacement for Pruitt.

“We have full confidence in Andrew both from his past experience and the job he has done at EPA,” Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at Competitive Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Examiner. “We think he will carry on the Trump reform agenda in a really competent way.”

“For the top people at the EPA, the various Pruitt accusations have been a real challenge and a distraction,” Ebell continued. “Once Pruitt is gone, and Andrew is in charge, people will get back to doing their jobs everyday rather than accusations.”

“With Andy Wheeler stepping in to replace Pruitt, I think we’ll see a change in style but not in substance,” Jeff Holmstead, a former deputy administrator of the EPA in the George W. Bush administration, told the Washington Examiner. “Andy probably is the ideal person to lead EPA at this point.

“Pruitt got a lot of regulatory reforms started, but he’s never worked a regulatory agency and didn’t fully understand the administrative process and what it would take to get them finalized. Andy certainly does,” Holmstead said. “He’s worked on these issues for years and may actually be more effective than Pruitt when it comes to carrying out the reforms that Pruitt started.”

No one knows exactly what Wheeler’s tenure might mean for EPA climate policy. Driven by the endangerment finding, EPA has begun the process of drafting a replacement of CPP. However, if Wheeler’s past statements are any indication of EPA’s future actions, it seems like sound science will replace climate alarmism.

The Huffington Post notes in 2010, while working for the Senate, Wheeler “accused the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of blurring ‘the lines between science and advocacy’ and functioning ‘more as a political body than a scientific body,’ suggesting EPA could ‘reconsider its endangerment finding without almost exclusively relying upon the IPCC.’”

All Trump administration officials operate under an intense (and biased) media spotlight. It is difficult, if not impossible, for any Trump appointee to stay below the radar, but if anyone can remain effective and ethical, Andrew Wheeler certainly can. With his knowledge of the inner-workings of EPA’s regulatory processes and his low-key, non-confrontational style, Wheeler can complete the job Pruitt started and restore the EPA back to its mission:protect human health and the environment.



Measuring THT in Natural Gas

by Applied Analytics

 

Natural gas for direct consumption is odorized for safety reasons. In the odorizing process, a substance with extremely high odor is added to natural gas in a controlled method.
 

Natural gas for direct consumption is odorized for safety reasons. In the odorizing process, a substance with extremely high odor is added to natural gas in a controlled method. The odorized natural gas is then transmitted via pipelines into crowded urban settings and eventually into homes, schools, and workplaces.
 
In many cases, the smell of the gas is the only mechanism for leak detection and prevention of catastrophic explosions. Mercaptans are often used as odorants due to their low odor threshold. In Europe, tetrahydrothiophene (THT) is commonly used. Since the pipeline material absorbs some of the odorant out of the natural gas stream, the THT level is continuously monitored to ensure the gas is adequately odorized throughout the pipeline.

Case study:

At one border crossing in Western Europe, where custody of a natural gas pipeline is transferred, the operators depend on Applied Analytics technology to continuously validate odorant level at several points. An OMA-300 Process Analyzer is installed at each monitoring point with a dedicated sampling system for handling the high pressure natural gas.
 
Application: THT in Natural gas
Location: Western Europe
Equipment: OMA-300 Process Analyzer
Span Check: 5 PPM THT in Methane
 
Figure 1 visualizes how the OMA-300 sees the absorbance spectra of (a) un-odorized natural gas, (b) natural gas odorized with THT, and (c) 5 ppm THT in span gas. Sales-quality natural gas contains mostly methane, which does not absorb in the UV range. The absorbance curve seen in Figure 1 from 245-285 nm is the fingerprint of the aromatic compounds often present in low amounts in natural gas. To isolate THT absorbance, the unit is calibrated to the aromatic background. This procedure for interference-free, reliable odorant measurement is only possible with a multi-wavelength instrument that can properly subtract the aromatic absorbance.
 
Figure 1: UV absorbance spectra of un-odorized natural gas, odorized natural gas, and THT in span gas.
Each of the measurement checkpoints at this site receives natural gas flowing from a different source, such that each analyzer is being fed a stream with unique gas background matrix.
 
Figure 2 shows the absorbance spectra measured by the OMA-300 at various checkpoints. Table 1 shows the actual readings of THT in these natural gas streams.
 
Figure 2: UV absorbance spectra of THT in different natural gas sources.


 
Table 1: THT readings obtained from the lab and the online OMA-300 Process Analyzer.
Gas Source THT(PPM) THT OMA(PPM)
Gas 1 4.78 4.42
Gas 2 1.96 1.81
Gas 3 4.50 4.32
Gas 4 4.60 4.26
Gas 5 2.75 2.83

Conclusion

At this site, the OMA-300 has simplified pipeline operation by providing interference-free, automated odorant monitoring, giving the operators at-a-glance odorant levels at multiple checkpoints. Applied Analytics technology is trusted with the critical task of ensuring gas safety downstream into populated areas.