The Dernogalizer

August 18, 2009

More fake letters Found in Coal-Scandal

If you want to see all the previous posts on this scandal, they are all linked to in the most recent post.  It was found today that more letters have been forged than originally thought.  Below is a Press-release on it, and before that is the pdf’s for each forged letter.

Perriello:
Senior Center Inc., Charlottesville, VA

Creciendo Juntos, Charlottesville, VA [previously made public]
Jefferson Area Board on Aging, Charlottesville, VA [previously made public]
American Association of University Women, Charlottesville, VA [previously made public]
NAACP-Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA [5 letters] [previously made public]

NAACP-1NAACP-2NAACP-3NAACP-4NAACP-5
Dahlkemper:
Slippery Rock Senior Center, Slippery Rock, PA
Erie Center on Health & Aging, Eire, PA
Butler Senior Center, Lyndora, PA

Carney:
Dunmore Senior Citizens’ Center, Dunmore, PA

Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Select Committee, 202-225-4012

Waxman-Markey Forged Letter Investigation Update: 5 More Letters Revealed, Dozens Still Must be Verified

Faked Letters From Elderly Services and Senior Centers; Chairman Markey Demands Full Review of Remaining Letters

WASHINGTON (August 18, 2009) A Congressional investigation has discovered five new letters fraudulently sent without consent to Congress on a key energy and climate vote. These new letters purport to represent elderly services organizations and senior centers.

Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the letters today as part of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming’s ongoing investigation into the extent of fraudulent letters sent by Bonner & Associates — a so-called “astroturf” group subcontracted by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity — to influence members of Congress on the recently-passed Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill.

The dozen letters revealed today brings the total number of fraudulent letters to 13, now representing 9 different community groups. The letters released today were staged to appear as if they were sent by groups representing senior citizen services like the non-profit Erie Center on Health & Aging. Previous letters already made public were from the Charlottesville NAACP chapter, Creciendo Juntos, a hispanic advocacy organization, the Jefferson Area Board on Aging, and the American Association of University Women.

The letters released today are also the first set to show that letters were sent to Pennsylvania members Kathy Dahlkemper (D-Pa.) and Christopher Carney (D-Pa.), along with Tom Perriello (D-Va.). A full list of all the letters, with links to copies of the documents, is included below.

“Weve seen fear-mongering with our nations senior citizens with health care, and now were seeing fraud-mongering with senior citizens on clean energy,” said Chairman Markey. “Lately, democratic debate has been deceptively debased by fake facts and harsh rhetoric. We must return to an honest discussion of the issues, and ensure that this sort of campaign does not further poison the well of trustworthy debate.”

The letters were sent to the Select Committee in response to investigatory letters to Bonner & Associates and ACCCE. Dozens of letters still remain that must be verified as genuine or false–all told, 58 letters were sent to the three members of Congress. Chairman Markey has called on ACCCE and Bonner & Associates to fully verify whether the remaining several dozen letters were sent under false pretenses, or if they represent the views of the signers.

Below is a list of all fraudulent letters now received by the Select Committee:

Perriello:
Senior Center Inc., Charlottesville, VA
Creciendo Juntos, Charlottesville, VA [previously made public]
Jefferson Area Board on Aging, Charlottesville, VA [previously made public]
American Association of University Women, Charlottesville, VA [previously made public]
NAACP-Charlottesville, Charlottesville, VA [5 letters] [previously made public]
NAACP-1, NAACP-2, NAACP-3, NAACP-4, NAACP-5

Dahlkemper:
Slippery Rock Senior Center, Slippery Rock, PA
Erie Center on Health & Aging, Eire, PA
Butler Senior Center, Lyndora, PA

Carney:
Dunmore Senior Citizens Center, Dunmore, PA

# # #

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August 17, 2009

Arlen Specter will vote for Cloture on Climate Bill

I came across this on Joe Romm’s blog, if you wait until near the end of the video you’ll hear Specter say that he will not close off debate on climate legislation by filibustering, and will allow the Senate to move to an up or down vote.  It will be interesting to see how many other Democratic Senators that might not vote for the final product will definitely vote for cloture.  Ohio swing vote Sherrod Brown has already put himself in that category, hopefully more will follow.

August 14, 2009

“Game Plan Known”

The American Petroleum Institute  is planning to launch a major astroturf campaign in the coming weeks to try in gin up “opposition” to climate legislation in the Senate.  I saw this first on The Huffington Post by Kevin Grandia, who has provided the once secret memo uncovered by Greenpeace.  The contents of the pdf are a letter by Phil Radford, the Executive Director of Greenpeace to the President of API calling him out.  Below that is the memo sent by API to its allies.  The best part of this is the context is which Radford closes his letter descrbing how API asked for it’s memo not to be divulged so that their gameplan is not known by critics.  Radford says “game plan known”.  The contents are copied below. (more…)

August 12, 2009

Senator Tim Johnson off the Fence

In my analysis last month of all 100 US Senator’s positions on a cap and trade global warming bill, I had Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota as a fence-sitter, but I ultimately thought he would vote yes based on his comments.  An op-ed by Johnson has been sent to newspapers in South Dakota declaring his support and optimism for a clean energy bill, and how it will benefit his state.  I would now say Johnson is very likely to vote yes on a Senate bill.  My original analysis is below, and below that is Johnson’s op-ed.

“Tim Johnson from South Dakota is another vote that could really go either way. On one hand, you would think it would be a no since he voted against cloture for Lieberman-Warner last year, and comes from a red state. However, indications are Johnson is completely undecided. He did recently vote yes for that crappy Bingaman energy bill(which in a weird way is a good sign), and South Dakota has some of the best wind potential in the country. For whatever reason it also is a low carbon-intensive state, and here are a couple bits from the article on Johnson’s stance ” he said during a public broadcasting interview that he wanted to support the measure but hadn’t yet read it and wasn’t ready to commit.” and “Johnson communications director Julianne Fisher points to a Congressional Budget Office analysis that indicates the cost of the House-approved energy bill would be about $175 per household in 2020.  She said a Senate energy committee had already moved legislation to provide new incentives and standards for renewable energy. That is likely to be a basis for a union of Senate and House energy legislation, she said.” So he gets the cost is low. As an aside, Obama just nominated Johnson’s son to be a US attorney. Just sayin.”

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

Climate Change Bill Could Bring Jobs, Prosperity and Clean Air

By U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)

How many times have you heard experts cite the fact that South Dakota is the fourth windiest state, but only ranks 20th in actual installed wind energy generation? Soon the Senate will consider climate change legislation that could finally help South Dakota to live up to its wind generating potential and capture the benefits of a cash crop that is just blowing across our landscape.

In fact, the wind energy potential in South Dakota can put us in a leading position to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of fossil fuels and get America running on clean energy.

This is a chance to invest in American ingenuity and help our country become a global leader on clean energy that can jumpstart our economy. We can grow our economy and reduce the demand for oil, much of which is imported and drives up our trade deficit while enriching hostile foreign governments.

South Dakota’s growing clean energy economy has added good-paying jobs at an annual job growth rate of 7.9 percent over the past decade. A new federal policy that drives demand for wind power will sustain these jobs and create more of them.

As a consequence of the forward-looking 2007 Energy Bill that boosted renewable fuels production and reformed fuel efficiency rules for cars and trucks, our consumption of petroleum-based gasoline is predicted to decline by over 1 million barrels per day below the country’s daily total in 2007. In addition, it helps pick up the pace on ethanol and looks at next generation biofuels, such as switchgrass, wood waste and other non-grain feedstocks, which helps both East and West River, South Dakota. It also included a tax credit that, in our neck of the woods, can help build wind turbines and start harnessing that energy potential.

Simply put, that means we already have a plan in place that moves us toward consuming less oil and more homegrown biofuels while making our cars and trucks more energy efficient. But that is just one step. When it comes to energy, we should be open to new ideas that help our economy and invest in America.

Now some will throw their hands up and say we just can’t do this now or they will try to cite worst case scenarios and cost projections far beyond what the non-partisan groups have told us clean energy incentives will actually cost. These scare tactics just present a status quo approach that leaves us all vulnerable to oil spikes in a global market and high gas prices that crush family budgets like we saw last summer.

Energy prices are going up with or without any comprehensive policy changes from Congress. The question is: are we sending more of our hard earned money to Big Oil and oil rich countries or are we investing in our own backyards?

Technology and alternative ways to produce energy need long-term planning. For South Dakota in particular, with so much untapped potential for wind energy generation and renewable fuels production, a more progressive national energy policy could be just the step that will finally transform that economic potential into actual jobs, economic development, and opportunity for people and communities across our state.

This fall, the Senate is likely going to take a fresh look at a comprehensive energy bill focused on clean energy incentives. I am optimistic we can turn energy potential into reality and help create new job opportunities at home by producing more clean energy in the United States.

Zogby Poll: Majority Favors Clean Energy Bill

Contrary to all of the fake opposition coal companies have tried to manufacture, the public supports the current global warming bill, as this recent Zogby Poll demonstrates.

Zogby Poll: Majority Favors Clean Energy Bill and Wants Senate to Take Action

Survey finds likely voters connect reducing global warming and promoting clean energy to new American jobs

UTICA, New York – A majority of likely voters – 71% – favors the American Clean Energy and Security Act recently passed by the House of Representatives, and two-thirds (67%) believe Congress is either doing the right amount (22%) or should be doing more (45%) to address global warming, new Zogby International telephone poll shows.  Just 28% believe that Congress is doing too much.

Respondents were read the following statement regarding the American Clean Energy and Security Act:

“The House of Representatives recently passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would require electric power companies to generate 20 percent of their power from clean, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by the year 2020.  Also included is a global warming plan which would reduce greenhouse gases from sources like power plants and factories by 17 percent, and an energy efficiency plan which includes new appliance standards and building codes to conserve energy.”

Favorable views for the bill were high among all age and income groups and even among Republicans, with 45% having a favorable view of the bill. Seventy-three percent of Independents and 89% of Democrats also took a favorable view of the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

The survey finds that two-thirds (68%) of likely voters believe a new American energy policy will not result in job losses, with a majority believing such efforts could instead bring about job growth. Respondents were asked how “efforts to reduce global warming and promote clean energy” will impact American jobs, and more than half (51%) believe this would lead to new job creation, while another 17% believe these efforts will not affect American jobs. Twenty-nine percent feel efforts to promote clean energy will cost American jobs. Those who believe these environmental efforts will create new American jobs outnumbered those who disagreed in all age and income groups. Among self-described political independents, 53% agreed that new jobs will be created, and only 24% thought jobs would be lost.

When presented with arguments for and against the American Clean Energy and Security Act, including concerns about the impact of the legislation on energy prices, a majority (54%) believe the Senate should now take action, with two-fifths (41%) preferring that the Senate wait.  Fifty-four percent believe the Senate should take action on the bill because “we need a new energy plan right now that invests in American, renewable energy sources like wind and solar, in order to create clean energy jobs, address global warming and reduce our dependency on foreign oil.” Forty-one percent believe that the Senate should instead wait because “the House energy bill is a hidden tax that will cost thousands of dollars every year in increased energy prices, weaken our economy further, and cause America to lose jobs to China and other countries.”

“Clearly, voters strongly favor the ideas outlined in the bill. Support for action on clean energy and energy efficiency was strong coming out of the election, and it is still strong today.  Even when presented with the concerns some have raised about the potential costs associated with this legislation, most likely voters still want the Senate to act quickly to bring about a new energy plan for America,” said Zogby International Research Analyst Sam Rodgers.

The Zogby International telephone survey of 1,005 likely voters was commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation and was conducted from July 31-August 4, 2009. The survey carries a margin of error of +/-3.2%.

The survey also shows 47% of likely voters would take a favorable view of their Congressperson if he or she voted in favor of the bill, while another 21% said it would make no difference in their opinion. Far fewer – 29% — said they would view their Congressperson unfavorably if he or she voted in support of the bill.

Regarding Congressional action on global warming, a small majority of Republicans (54%) say Congress is doing too much, but a total of 42% say it should do more or is doing the right amount. Only 26% of political independents say Congress is doing too much, while two-thirds of Democrats (65%) want more Congressional action. More than 40% of every age group also wants more from Congress when it comes to taking action to combat global warming.

“Most voters would view their member of Congress more favorably or would not have their opinion impacted either way by a “yes” vote,” said Rodgers. “This survey shows clear movement in favor of Congress taking greater action on global warming and most Americans believe this legislation would give a much-need boost to the American job market in this down economy.”

For content, contact: Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation Communications Manager, 202-797-6855 (w), 703-864-9599 (cell) or grantm@nwf.org

For methodology, contact: Stephanie DeVries, Corporate Communications and Research, Zogby International, 315-624-0200 ext. 273 or steph@zogby.com.

For a complete methodological statement on this survey, please visit:

http://www.zogby.com/methodology/readmeth.cfm?ID=1410

Please click the link below to view the full news release:
http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.cfm?ID=1730

August 11, 2009

The Clean Energy Bank

This is an awesome provision in the Waxman-Markey bill which has received very little attention.  I’m re-posting a piece by Jake Caldwell on the Center for American Progress website, which does a great job at explaining how funding for clean energy investment is more than just government spending, it’s knowing how to use limited government money to LEVERAGE spending by the private sector whose spending and venture capital investment makes up a much larger chunk of our economy than the government.  One of those ways is a clean energy bank.

By Jake Caldwell | August 7, 2009

Download this memo (pdf)

Introduction

The United States must build and deliver clean energy today to create jobs, lower energy costs, and strengthen our economy. The establishment of a federally owned, independent, not for profit Green Bank—formally called the Clean Energy Deployment Administration, or CEDA, in legislation now before the Senate—will spur private-sector investment in innovation and American ingenuity to help end our dependence on oil, and help diversify our nation’s sources of energy to lower prices over the long term while also confronting global warming. The Green Bank will improve our global economic competitiveness, too, by making the United States a worldwide leader in the manufacture and deployment of clean-energy technology.

The creation of a Green Bank will encourage a long overdue integrated and strategic approach to clean-energy innovation, efficiency, and deployment in the United States. In combination with Senate action on clean energy—legislation that provides incentives for the research, development, and deployment of clean-energy technologies, and a market-based pollution-reduction program that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reinforces a predictable price signal on carbon—the Green Bank will open credit markets, motivate private business to invest again, and create good, clean-energy jobs here at home.

In partnership with the private sector, the Green Bank will enable innovative, commercially viable clean-energy technologies in such areas as wind, solar, geothermal, advanced biomass, increased efficiency, and transmission infrastructure—all to be deployed on a large scale. The construction and actual deployment of these clean-energy technology projects is vital to a clean-energy future.

What’s more, clean energy delivers long-term job growth and holds tremendous new job-creation potential, particularly in the manufacturing sector. A recent report from the Center for American Progress and the University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute notes that $150 billion per year in clean-energy investment can generate a net increase of 1.7 million jobs.

In short, the Green Bank can encourage the rapid deployment of clean energy and ensure that lower energy costs are passed on to consumers. In addition, the Green Bank can act as a bulwark against higher energy costs associated with volatile fossil fuel prices.

Costs and benefits of the Green Bank

A Green Bank funded at $7.5 billion could fund generation of 60 to 80 gigawatts of clean energy over a period of 20 years, or 3 to 4 GW annually. The result: Our national security will be enhanced by reducing our dependence on foreign oil. A fully capitalized Green Bank at $50 billion could:

  • Provide enough electricity to power approximately 22.9 million cars per year
  • Decrease gasoline consumption by an incremental 12.6 billion gallons per year
  • Decrease oil consumption by an incremental 642 million barrels per year, or 1.8 million barrels per day

In the past, Congress has encouraged private-sector equity investments in wind, solar, and other clean technologies through tax credits. Equity investments are important, but the deployment of major clean-energy projects will also require significant loans and low-cost debt financing. The Green Bank will marshal a variety of well-established financial tools and incentives to enable the federal government to enlist the private sector to increase the amount of debt capital available at lower rates to clean-energy projects. A Green Bank can vastly expand the tools available to lenders by providing direct support, such as direct loans, letters of credit, and loan guarantees, and indirect support, like authority to issue bonds, purchase debt securities, and other financial products.

In a clean-energy project, the Green Bank can potentially reduce the cost of debt by half—to about 4.5 percent in today’s credit markets from around 8.5 percent without federal support. As the cost of debt is reduced, projects can still provide a 15 percent return on equity and meet debt coverage ratios without an increase in electricity rates. The upshot: By lowering the cost of debt, the Green Bank allows utilities to provide the same levels of electricity from clean-energy sources without passing on any additional costs to the consumer.

The result will jumpstart business investment, increase capital at reduced loan rates, lower energy prices to consumers, and spur the construction and operation of more clean-energy technology and energy-efficiency projects throughout the country.

Jumpstarting private-sector investments in clean energy

A Green Bank is essential because many clean-energy technologies face several unique obstacles along the path to large-scale deployment and then to the delivery of clean energy in our homes. Traditional banks and commercial lenders are reluctant to loan to many of these clean-energy projects with limited track records in the marketplace.

And many existing off-the-shelf clean energy and efficiency technologies are abandoned due to a lack of funding as they attempt to be deployed at larger scale.

Indeed, renewable energy investment dropped precipitously in the first quarter of 2009, the period for which complete data are available, to $500 million compared to $2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2008 and $5 billion in the first quarter of 2008.

In order to maximize the leverage of private capital, the Green Bank should have at its disposal a wide range of direct and indirect support tools and incentives to encourage loans to facilitate deployment of clean-energy technology. These direct and indirect incentives tend to reduce the risk to lenders so they are encouraged, in turn, to offer better loan rates to potential clean energy and energy efficiency projects.

Under current Senate clean-energy legislation, the Green Bank will be capitalized with $10 billion. This capital can be leveraged at the standard 10-1 ratio to provide loan guarantees in support of $100 billion in private-sector investment in clean energy. The private sector can also provide an additional $100 billion in equity. As a result, a $10 billion capitalization of the Green Bank translates into $200 billion available for in clean-energy investments.

The surge in capital will allow clean-energy projects to be deployed at the operational and commercial level in a shorter timeframe than is standard today. As clean-energy and efficiency technology is deployed at a larger scale, valuable experience and cost savings will be gained, and more and more clean energy will be delivered to American homes at lower prices in every region of the country. The United States will reclaim its rightful place as a global leader in clean-energy technology.

The Green Bank creates clean-energy jobs

As a nation, we can and must do better at nurturing and growing our clean-energy sector and clean-energy jobs, because competitors in other countries are already filling the void. A Green Bank will ensure the United States is a job leader in the clean-energy technology growth industry of the future.

Clean energy has the potential to create significant jobs in the manufacturing sector. A Green Bank will provide low-cost capital to help build clean-energy manufacturing facilities, create long-term jobs in the United States, and deliver clean energy at lower cost to consumers. As noted above, a recent Center for American Progress-University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute report demonstrates that $150 billion per year in clean-energy investment can generate a net increase of 1.7 million jobs.

A significant portion of these jobs will occur in the struggling construction and manufacturing sectors. Moreover, the CAP-PERI report also notes that clean-energy investments generate roughly three times more jobs than an equivalent amount of money spent on jobs related to carbon-based fuels.

A Green Bank can ensure the clean-energy manufacturing sector is able to overcome several challenges, including securing access to capital when prospective lenders are reluctant to provide financing to manufacturers producing clean-energy technology. Frequently, clean-energy businesses are small, innovative, and highly specialized. They often have limited collateral and revenue and face cost uncertainties, as supply and demand for finished product fluctuates. The Green Bank can provide stability and incentives to leverage private capital, raise the comfort level of prospective lenders, and allow manufacturers to meet their goals and set us firmly on the path to long term job growth and a clean-energy economy.

The Green Bank can lower carbon emissions to reduce global warming

The establishment of a Green Bank will provide a coordinated, strategic approach to clean-energy innovation and energy efficiency in the United States, enhance federal government and private-sector complementary efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and deliver clean energy to American homes in as short a timeframe as possible.

The establishment of an independent Green Bank, governed by a board of directors and comprising additional members with clean-energy and energy-efficiency financial expertise, will make a significant contribution to the nation’s overall energy innovation strategy and project funding decisions. Importantly, the Green Bank will not place the federal government in the role of picking winners and losers in specific clean technologies. Rather, the Green Bank would establish broad, overarching performance-based goals such as the deployment of clean energy that diversifies our energy supply, and reduces or sequesters greenhouse gases.

The Green Bank will work in an integrated manner with clean-energy and climate-change legislation that promotes clean energy, energy efficiency, limits on global warming, clean-energy jobs, and transition investment to ensure U.S. competitiveness. The Green Bank has the potential to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 22 to 59 million metric tons a year, which would be the equivalent of:

  • Taking between 5 million and 13 million cars off the road every year
  • Neutralizing the carbon emissions of between 15 and 39 power plants every year

The Green Bank also can help meet the demand created by a national renewable electricity standard, and it will encourage the deployment of a smart grid and modernized transmission to ensure supply comes from optimal locations throughout the country. In addition, energy-efficiency projects financed by the Green Bank would include any project that results in a net reduction in energy use required to achieve the same level of service prior to their application. Such projects would include smart-grid technologies and energy-efficiency gains in existing buildings and new construction.

Smaller projects could be aggregated so as to attract more financing in an area where it has been difficult to secure financing in the past. As noted above, credit support from the Green Bank includes a wide-ranging toolbox (including direct loans, letters of credit, and loan guarantees) that will assist states, localities, and the private sector in rolling out innovative mechanisms to finance building energy efficiency retrofits at scale. This includes municipal bonds, utility loans with on-bill repayment, and increasing commercial loans for retrofits, as the Green Bank effectively lowers the uncertainty and technological risk associated with a lack of historic performance data.

All of these goals would be interwoven into expedited funding decisions as projects were evaluated for viability and creditworthiness by a professional and experienced staff. In sum, the Green Bank will provide the means to allow us to meet our most ambitious carbon reduction targets while promoting clean-energy jobs to ensure U.S. industry and workers will be leaders in the clean energy technology future.

August 10, 2009

Climate Bill: Distribution of Allowances

I’ve mentioned before that the whole “100% auction” demand of environmental groups for the Waxman-Markey bill isn’t nearly as important as they make it out to be.  That isn’t to say I wouldnt prefer 100% auction, but there are plenty of other weaknesses in the bill which need improving, and 100% auction doesn’t crack the top 10.  I came across a great explanation of how the allowances work by the PEW Center for Global Climate Change.  I’m re-posting this below, but you can also read it on the link above, or in this pdf.  The allowance allocations could also definitely be improved in the Senate version though.  The funding from them devoted to clean coal tech(60 billion dollars over 13 years!), could be re-directed to lots of better places like international adaptation funding(which would help us get a global treaty), more clean energy investment, deployment, and incentives to leverage private investment.  Also, while the consumer protection allocations are adequate, the language in the bill could be clearer and more airtight to ensure they work well(which CCAN is pushing).  However, I must repeat to environmental groups, the auction vs allocation structure in the bill does NOT render the bill ineffective, and is NOT a corporate giveaway, so stop asserting it does and misleading the public.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act on June 26, 2009 by a vote of 219-212. The ACES Act includes a cap-and-trade program designed to limit emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States. This policy memo presents an overview of how emission allowances are distributed—the extent to which they are auctioned or freely allocated and the policy objectives achieved by their distribution.

Why Are Allowances Valuable?

Under a cap-and-trade system, a “cap” or limit is placed on the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted and this cap declines over time.  Emission permits, called allowances, are created annually in amounts equal to this cap. The holder of an allowance can legally emit one ton of carbon dioxide (or its equivalent for other greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere.  By limiting and reducing the number of allowances over time, the forces of supply and demand result in a market for allowances which, in turn, produces an allowance price.

Regardless of the allowance price, the environmental objective under a cap-and-trade system is set by the total number of allowances issued.  From an environmental perspective, the price of the allowances is irrelevant, as is whether the allowances have been freely granted or auctioned.

Auctions v. Free Allocation

Allowances are valuable, and whether or not these allowances are auctioned or distributed free of charge, policymakers must decide how best to distribute that value.  For example, if the policy goal is to level the playing field for energy-intensive industries that face competition from countries without comparable climate policies, this could be done by either auctioning allowances and providing these companies with the resulting revenue, or by giving these companies free allowances.  Under either approach (auctions or free allowances) the same amount of value could be provided to the same companies.  Thus, the key issue is really the purpose for which auction revenue or free allowances are distributed and not whether allowances are auctioned or freely distributed.

In the ACES Act, a large percentage of the allowances are provided for free in the early years of the program (See Figure 1).  For example, through 2026, 75 percent of allowances are freely provided for a wide range of uses. Over time fewer allowances are distributed free of charge and more allowances are auctioned.  Over the life of the program, (2012-2050), 40 percent of the total available allowances would be auctioned and 60 percent would be distributed free of charge.

Uses of Allowance Value

Regardless of whether allowances are auctioned or freely provided, the more consequential issue is the purpose for which the value of the allowances is used.  Under the ACES bill, allowance value is used to meet a range of policy goals, including: to provide rebates for low and moderate income families; to offset higher costs to consumers (residential, commercial, and industrial) of electricity, natural gas and heating oil; to spur deployment of commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology; to support other domestic and international technology programs; to safeguard the competitiveness of energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries (including aluminum, paper and glass, among others); and to support domestic and international adaptation programs.

The largest slice of the allowance pie, approximately 58 percent, goes to consumers (See Figure 2 for a cumulative breakout by category over the entire program).This slice is made up of three large components.  About 23 percent of allowances are given to local electricity and natural gas distribution companies, primarily in the early years of the program, with the stipulation that the value is passed on to consumers to offset higher energy prices.  In addition, consumers benefit from another 15 percent of the allowances, which are auctioned annually and the value provided in the form of payments to low and moderate income families.  Finally, 20 percent of the total allowances are provided to consumers in the form of a climate change dividend, mostly in the latter years of the program.  The next largest cumulative amount, about 15 percent, goes to support technology (CCS, renewables, advanced autos, etc.), and the third largest (8 percent) goes to protect the competitiveness of energy intensive industries.

The ACES bill also provides for a shift over time in how allowance value is used.  In the early years there is a heavier emphasis on enabling and easing the transition to a low-carbon economy by protecting consumers, workers, and communities and spurring technology developments. This shifts over time to more resources being returned directly to households through a climate change dividend.


Conclusions
The use of allowance value under a cap-and-trade system provides an important means of managing the transition to a clean energy economy. How the value of the allowances is distributed to meet various policy goals is significantly more important to the policy debate than whether they are auctioned or allocated freely. Under the ACES Act, most of the allowance value is used to protect energy consumers from the impacts of higher costs and to provide incentives to advance the development and deployment of low carbon and energy efficient technologies.

This series was made possible through a generous grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, but the views expressed herein are solely those of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and its staff.

August 5, 2009

Congressman Ed Markey’s Letter on Coal-Scandal

For the last three posts on the coal companies paying(by accident they claim) for forged letters opposing the House climate bll last month, see here(1), here(2), and here(3).  A few more things to add since piling on is so great!  If you like the picture in this post, check out the AVAAZ DC Action Factory post on the great demonstrations they’ve been doing to draw attention to this issue.  Media coverage has been done by New York Times, Washington Post, TPM, Grist, Business Green, and The Rachel Maddow Show.  Wonk Room has a post indicating that womens and senior groups were also impersonated in letters by the lobbying firms hired by big coal.

Finally, Congressmen Ed Markey has a great letter to ACCCE(the coal group responsible) that asks some pointed questions about their involvement in this scandal.  I’m posting that below.

August 5, 2009

Sent via facsimile and U.S. Mail

Mr. Stephen L. Miller

President and CEO

American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

333 John Carlyle Street

Suite 530

Alexandria, VA 22314

Dear Mr. Miller:

Recent news reports and other publicly available information indicate that the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (“ACCCE”) was the entity that hired Bonner & Associates to engage in “grasstops” efforts that resulted in fraudulent letters being sent to a number of Members of Congress prior to House consideration of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. I am aware that ACCCE has issued a “Background Document” that seeks to address the matter, but frankly it raises as many questions as it answers. Most glaringly, ACCCE apparently learned of the twelve fraudulent letters on June 24, 2009 (two days before the House vote on the Waxman-Markey bill), but did not take any action to make the affected Congressional offices or the public aware of the situation until some time after ACCCE had known of Bonner & Associates’ actions. Press reports indicate that ACCCE may not have told the other affected offices that they too had received fraudulent letters until Monday, August 3, 2009.

The deliberate inaction prior to the House vote and the extended silence after the vote — some 40 days after ACCCE knew what had happened — raises serious concerns.

In order to enable us to understand the facts and circumstances relating to this matter, I ask you to respond to the following questions:

1. Describe the relationship between ACCCE and Hawthorn Group. How long has ACCCE or its predecessor organizations used the services of the Hawthorn Group? What services do they provide? How much does ACCCE pay Hawthorn Group on a monthly basis? Please provide a copy of all contracts between ACCCE and Hawthorn Group. To the best of your knowledge, is Hawthorn registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act?

2. The ACCCE background document that you have circulated on Capitol Hill states that ACCCE was aware that the Hawthorn Group had engaged Bonner & Associates to conduct “community outreach.” Where (by Congressional District) was Bonner & Associates hired to conduct this activity? Please provide a copy of all contracts between the Hawthorn Group and Bonner & Associates to perform work for or on behalf of ACCCE. Did the Hawthorn Group engage other “grasstops” or “grassroots” agents to conduct public or community-based outreach? If yes, please identify the other entities that were engaged and the areas (by Congressional District) in which they were hired to conduct “community outreach.”

3. The ACCCE background document also states that “a total of twelve falsified letters were sent by that firm [Bonner & Associates] to the offices of Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, Congressman Christopher Carney and Congressman Tom Perriello.”

a) Please provide a copy of each fraudulent letter sent to these and any other Congressional offices.

b) Explain in detail for each fraudulent letter i) the organization that purported to send the letter, ii) how the organization’s letterhead or logo was obtained and by whom, iii) whether the name as the signatory on the letter was invented or whether that person actually works for such organization, and iv) who forged the signature on the letter.

4. The ACCCE document states that Bonner & Associates’ internal process first identified the twelve fraudulent letters to Members of Congress. How many letters (fraudulent and otherwise) were sent altogether through the efforts of Bonner & Associates or Hawthorn Group on each day in the period between May 1 and June 26, 2009, breaking it down on a daily basis?

5. The letters to Rep. Perriello were from prominent civil rights groups. Did ACCCE ask the Hawthorn Group and/or Bonner & Associates to generate letters concerning the Waxman-Markey bill from civil rights groups? From veterans, religious or business groups? Are the other fraudulent letters to Members of Congress also from similar groups?

6. Were any of the twelve fraudulent letters or the general fact of any of their existence (such as “civil rights groups express concern about legislation”) shared with a) the members of ACCCE, b) the Hawthorn Group, or c) other “grasstops” or “grassroots” advocacy coalition members? Were these letters or the general fact of their existence discussed during any conference calls or on email distribution lists so that these fraudulent letters could have been used to leverage in a misleading way to enlist support from other civil rights or other organizations? Did ACCCE or its member companies or lobbyists make reference to any of the twelve fraudulent letters in meetings with any Member of Congress or their staff? Were these letters or the general fact of their existence provided to other firms or coalition members as part of a coordinated effort?

7. The ACCCE background document plainly states that your organization knew about the twelve fraudulent letters on June 24, 2009, two days before the House vote on Waxman-Markey, but chose to remain silent. When was the office of Reps. Perriello, Dahlkemper and Carney and any other Member who received fraudulent letters first notified that they had been sent fraudulent letters on the Waxman-Markey bill? Who made the contact?

8. The ACCCE background document indicates that ACCCE had decided to leave to others to notify the affected organizations and the Congressional offices of the fraudulent letters. Did ACCCE inform any person when these Members and organizations should be notified? Or when they should not be notified? Did ACCCE indicate that this information should be communicated in a prompt manner, in light of the upcoming vote? Or did ACCCE leave it to others to decide when was the best time to notify the affected Members and these organizations of the fraudulent letters? Did ACCCE make any inquiry whether the targeted Members had been notified of the fraudulent letters prior to the House vote on final passage on the Waxman-Markey bill, which came well after the working day was over on June 26, 2009?

9. Between the time on June 24, when ACCCE first learned of the fraudulent letters, to the time of final passage by the House of the Waxman-Markey bill on June 26, how many calls did ACCCE, acting through itself or the Hawthorn Group or Bonner & Associates or other contractors, arrange or cause or prompt to be made to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives? Did the script for any of these phone bank efforts make reference, either in specific or general terms, to the existence of these fraudulent letters? For the purposes of answering this question, identify any such script if it included any reference to civil rights groups or other group designations that would describe any of the twelve organizations identified on the fraudulent letters. Please supply a copy of any such script.

10. It is evident that ACCCE uses many mechanisms to communicate its views to the public and policymakers. Between June 24 and August 3, 2009, was the fact that these (fraudulent) letters had been sent to Congress used in any broadcast ads, direct mail, “push polls,” online ads, blog posts, email outreach, viral marketing campaigns, “street teams,” or any other new media? If yes, please identify the time and place of each instance and provide a copy or sample of the relevant material.

Given the seriousness of this matter, I hope this matter has your prompt and full attention. Please respond to these questions by August 13, 2009. If you have any questions, please contact Gerard J. Waldron or Michael Goo with the Select Committee staff.

Sincerely,

Edward J. Markey

Chair

August 4, 2009

Now it’s up to 3 members of Congress Receiving Fraud Letters Paid for by Big Coal

The evolving parts one and two appear to only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this scandal.  EnviroKnow has a great timeline of all the chaos that’s been unfolding which you really should check out to catch up.  However, let me copy this one excerpt:

“Due to reported misconduct by a Bonner and Associates employee (who the firm states was subsequently fired), it appears that a total of twelve falsified letters were sent by that firm to the offices of Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, Congressman Christopher Carney and Congressman Tom Perriello.”

**Another Update**  ACCCE knew about this before the House climate vote!

August 3, 2009

The Scandal gets even Better!

I noted a few days ago that a scandal was brewing when it was discovered that letters from local groups given to Congressman Tom Perriello opposing the climate bill were forged, and I think the final product is fantastic!  Now, I know that we aren’t all Sherlock Holmes, but I’m going to show you a few exhibits…draw a few dots, and we’ll see if you can connect them.

Headline:  The group American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity acknowledged this afternoon that it had contracted Bonner & Associates earlier to perform “limited outreach,” but the advocacy group denounced the firm’s actions.

Article:  Alex Kaplun, E&E reporter

The Sierra Club today urged Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation into the activities of a lobbying firm that has been linked to fake letters urging Rep. Tom Perriello (D-Va.) to vote against the climate bill.

In a letter sent to Holder, Sierra Club Legal Director Patrick Gallagher argues that at a minimum, the firm Bonner & Associates appears to have committed fraud, and that a thorough investigation may reveal that the firm “devised a scheme to defraud constituents of Rep. Perriello … by depriving them of the intangible right to the honest services of their representatives.”

The request stems from a newspaper report last week that Bonner & Associates sent letters to Perriello’s office that were made to look as if they came from Creciendo Juntos, a Charlottesville-based Hispanic advocacy group. Perriello staffers also received similarly worded letters that were designed to look as if they came from the Albemarle-Charlottesville branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. (more…)

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