President Obama’s proposal for an “Energy Security Trust” seems to have garnered the most attention in his State of the Union Address. Some like it, others don’t. The idea will be to tax oil companies and then use the revenues to promote renewable energy. Or as Matt Wald puts it in The New York Times, it would “use federal oil revenues to cut America’s oil use.” The Christian Science Monitor offers an analysis. Andrew Revkin says the real problem will be moving from rhetoric to reality.
Things are brewing up north. As Canada faces the possibility that the United States may not take its tar sands oil, cool heads are looking for an alternative. Business groups are lobbying to build the Northern Gateway Pipeline to the West Coast so the oil can be exported to China. The way things are going, China would probably finance the pipeline. Others are pressing the idea of moving the oil east. Phil Walsh of the Globe & Mail says let’s get going on an east coast pipeline and the idea seems to be gathering steam. Meanwhile, now that CNOOC’s acquisition of Nexen has been approved, Malaysia is starting to ask for an approval of Petronas’ attempt to buy Progress Energy.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has made big news with his announcement before a Senate committee that he’s downed a big dose of fracking fluid and lived to tell about it (although the concotion he's drinking above is a beer). Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post wants to know what her fellow Coloradans have been drinking lately. But there is method’s to Hickenlooper’s bravura. He wants to preserve Colorado’s natural gas bounty and was asking the Senate to leave fracking regulations to the states. He cites Colorado’s own regulations as a model for the nation. And remember, this isn’t a partisan issue. Hickenlooper is a Democrat.
Coal continues its painful decline as Duke Energy announces it will close 6,800 worth of megawatts in older coal plants. United Mine Workers Union members were arrested in St. Louis protesting cuts in their pensions by bankrupt Patriot Coal. Cloud Peak, a Montana coal operation, has signed a deal to export coal through the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal scheduled for Bellingham, WA. But construction of West Coast port facilities is still being protested in Seattle.
Finally, The New York Times and Tesla Motors continue to trade brickbats via Twitter and whatever else is at hand. Times reporter David Broder reported last Sunday that his attempt to drive a Tesla from Washington to Boston ended up with him getting towed in Milford, Conn. Tesla CEO Elon Musk says Broder changed the facts and that the logs show the Model S still had power when he quit. Broder responded that Musk had called him to apologize, saying that east coast recharging stations are still too far apart. Unfortunately, Tesla seems to be approaching a make-or-break point in its 4th quarter earnings report and Mac Gordon of the Auto Channel reports the company has skipped the Chicago Auto Show because of a cash crunch. Is the Tesla about to go the way of the Edsel, the Tucker and the DeLorean?