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Gigaom: Cleantech Investment “Dream Team” Formed

Over at Gigaom, Katie Fehrenbacher has some exciting news:

Rep. Ed Markey: "Stop Big Oil From Drilling for Free, Save Taxpayers $53 Billion"

This past Friday night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to give big oil $53 billion in corporate welfare. Here's video of Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts declaring that "[t]he biggest oil companies are already getting 100 year-old tax breaks to sell $100 a barrel oil to make $100 billion a year in profits," and that [t]hey don’t need a $53 billion windfall courtesy of American taxpayers and our national deficit."

Top EIA Energy Trends Watcher Agrees: We Do Not Count Damage to Public Property in Price of Fossil Fuels

We recently wrote about the insights shared by energy trends analyst Chris Namovicz of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), who spoke at our “Communicating Energy” lecture series recently, and his comments regarding the lack of a definitive count on fossil fuel subsidies in this country. Today, we return to Namovicz’s lecture, this time to ask him about the economics of fossil fuel companies’ exploitation of resources on public property.

Here’s our question:

Their price drops in part because we’re not charging them to ruin public property. I mean, we basically are letting them contaminate water, we don’t charge them for that, and they don’t have to pay it. Your assumptions don’t include any price we would impose on them for hurting public waterways, is that accurate?

Now, here’s Namovicz’s response:

I think it’s easier to figure out the costs to mitigate the issue than it is to figure out the value of mitigation…[or of the loss of an asset], right.

Predictable But Still Dumb: Pro-Dirty Energy Politicians Assault Voter-Approved Renewable Energy Standards

Across the nation, the assault by the dirty energy industry - and the politicians who love them - on clean energy and the environment is chugging along, full-steam ahead. This past week, for instance, SolveClimateNews reported, “Republican legislators in Montana, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri are separately trying to weaken or dismantle the renewable portfolio standards in their states, which are seen as crucial to U.S. efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a globally competitive clean economy.” Another example of this assault is in Virginia, where HB 1397 would – according to the Virginia Sierra Club – “actually prohibit the implementation of federal regulations in Virginia that promote more efficient housing.” And, of course, Californians last year beat back a dirty-energy-industry-funded effort to roll back that state’s landmark clean energy and clean air standards.

As if the state-level assaults on clean energy aren’t bad enough, the U.S. House of Representatives appears hell-bent on gutting the Clean Air Act, as well as federal support for transitioning America to a clean energy future. As the Natural Resouces Defense Council reports, “Republicans in the House Appropriations Committee today released a list of 70 proposed cuts to the federal budget this year that would have a drastic and harmful impact on future clean energy innovation and investment.” These cuts include $2.1 billion “from energy and science programs at the Department of Energy, representing a 20% cut;” a “massive 35% hit” to energy efficiency and renewable energy technology programs; a billion-dollar cut to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The list goes on and on.

Top EIA Energy Trends Watcher: No Definitive Count on Dirty Energy Welfare

The national conversation about wasteful welfare for highly profitable dirty energy corporations has gone from the dramatic statement by the Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency that fossil fuel subsidies are one of the biggest impediments to global economic recovery (“the appendicitis of the global energy system which needs to be removed for a healthy, sustainable development future”), to a speech by Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch (in which he called the fossil fuel industry “grotesquely oversubsidized”), to a call by President Obama to cut oil company welfare by $4 billion. Not to be outdone, House Democrats are now calling for a $40 billion cut.

Dirty energy welfare defenders have, predictably, responded with ridiculous, Palin-esque denials of reality, but the voter demands that wasteful spending be cut begs the question: just how much of our tax money is going to ExxonMobil, Massey, etc.? With the new deficit hawks in Congress going after insignificant items like bottled water expenses, you’d think they’d want to know the size of the really wasteful stuff, right?

The problem is, we’ve long suspected that no one really knows how much of our money goes to dirty oil executives like Rex Tillerson and Gregory Boyce. There have been counts, ranging from $10 billion a year by the Environmental Law Institute, to the more comprehensive, $52 billion a yearby Doug Koplow of EarthTrack.  But, do taxpayers even have a widely accepted, comprehensive inventory of how of our money is being handed to the dirty energy lobby by politicians?  That includes state-level subsidies, by the way, such as the $45 million that Virginia gives to the coal industry.

Energy trends analyst Chris Namovicz of the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) was the latest speaker in our “Communicating Energy” lecture series. We took the opportunity to ask one of the top, neutral energy trends analysts in the country the question, “Do you know if someone has actually done a credible, comprehensive, definitive count of how much taxpayers underwrite fossil fuels in this country?” We added the thought that “there's no one really widely available number where average citizens can say, yeah, this much of my money goes to pay ExxonMobil.

Great Idea: $40 Billion in Cuts to Wasteful Big Oil Subsidies

Several members of the U.S. House of Representatives are promoting a plan to cut $40 billion in "wasteful big oil subsidies" (see press release below). As we've written about previously, getting dirty energy companies "Off the Dole" is a no-brainer, for a  wide variety of reasons.

“Koch Brothers Positioned To Be Big Winners If Keystone XL Pipeline Is Approved”

SolveClimateNews has an excellent article, on the Koch brothers and the Canadian heavy oil “Keystone XL” pipeline, that’s well worth reading. Here’s an excerpt:

“Smart from the Start” Initiative Adds to Growing Momentum for Offshore Wind Power Development

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Interior announced “a coordinated strategic plan to accelerate the development of offshore wind energy… including new funding opportunities for up to $50.5 million for projects that support offshore wind energy deployment and several high priority Wind Energy Areas in the mid-Atlantic.”

“Milestone” Reached: Solar Beats Out Natural Gas in California

In case you missed it, CleanTechnica has a post expanding on an item in Vote Solar which reports:[a] milestone in solar pricing has been met in California.” According to CleanTechnica:

DotOrg to DotCom: Social Media Counsel for Cleantech

Energy Security By The Numbers

Here are a few numbers to ponder: