Energy News: Obama EPA Less Tough on Oil Industry Than Bush's; Energy Corps' Doublespeak on Climate

Mike Baird/CC BY-SA 2.0

Plus, the growing Chinese-US tariff slapdown on solar power now extends to wind power, too...

Energy Companies Say One Thing, Do Another on Climate
A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists finds that when it comes to climate policy, energy companies often say they support climate action while at the same time largely funding political candidates who oppose it.

ExxonMobil put out corporate PR that was positive about climate policy while engaging in actions that undermined efforts to deal with climate change. For example, its contributions to anti-climate-action lawmakers outweighed contributions to pro-climate-action lawmakers by a ratio of 10 to 1.

Read more: Mother Jones

Americas' Rising Fossil Fuel Production
If you've been following the contentious debate over tar sands and fracking this probably comes as no surprise, but as the Washington Post says, the center of gravity in global energy production is shifting towards the Americas.

From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005.

China Retaliates Against US Solar Tariffs
PV Magazine reports:

[China's Ministry of Commerce] has identified renewable energy programs, including those for wind and solar, in the states of California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Ohio that reporetdly violate the World Trade Organization’s (WTO’s) policies and trade treaties.

And the painful tit-for-tat continues...

US Imposes Tariffs on Chinese Wind Power, Too
Via Renewable Energy World:

American wind tower manufacturers filed a trade complaint in December against Chinese companies, and on Wednesday the DOC made its preliminary determination on countervailing duties. According to Wiley Rein, the lead counsel for the group that filed the petition, commerce found that mandatory respondents, Titan Wind Energy and CS Wind China, received countervailing subsidies from the Chinese government at rates of 26 percent and 13.74 percent, respectively. The agency also ruled that the duty against imports of all other Chinese utility-scale wind towers is 19.87 percent.

Obama's EPA Goes After Fossil Fuel Corps Less Than During Bush Years
CBS News reports that an investigation by the AP has found, contrary to popular Republican talking points in fact the EPA under the Obama administration has gone after oil and gas polluters with less enthusiasm than it did during the George W Bush presidency.

The number of enforcement actions against oil and gas producers dropped by 61 percent over the past decade, from 224 in 2002 to 87 last year. The decline came despite an increase in the number of producing wells and despite the EPA's listing of energy extraction as an enforcement priority under Obama. So far this year, the administration has filed 51 formal enforcement cases against energy producers.

While there has been an uptick in the average fine against companies producing oil and gas since 2007, when the penalty reached a low in the decade evaluated by the AP, the average is still lower than during some years under Bush, who was viewed as sympathetic to the oil and gas industry. The year 2011 was an exception; the average soared due to a $20.5 million fine against a BP subsidiary in Alaska. That was the largest penalty against an oil and gas producer under Obama, but it was for a pipeline spill that happened five years earlier.

Read more: CBS News

Tags: Barack Obama | Energy | Oil | Wind Power

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