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United States & Canada - July 11

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Lifting drilling ban wouldn't do much for gas prices, report says

Ron Way, Minnesota Post
Lifting drilling ban wouldn't do much for gas prices, report says

As national polls show that more than 70 percent of Americans favor lifting a 29-year ban on offshore oil drilling to help address skyrocketing pump prices for gasoline, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is crisscrossing her district with a call to remove barriers to drill in offshore areas and the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in Washington, however, there's not enough oil in offshore areas to make much difference in world prices - which drive most worldwide pump prices, including those in the United States.

Citing figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the center said that at full production - which would be more than 20 years off, the EIA projects - offshore reservoirs may yield 200,000 barrels of oil per day.

"This is only about two-tenths of a percent of current world production, and that's not enough to affect world prices," said Dean Baker, the lead author of a CEPR report entitled "Offshore Drilling and Energy Conservation: The Relative Impact on Gas Prices."
(9 July 2008)



Public opinion on drilling and the environment

Energy Policy TV
Mike Daulton, Director of Conservation Policies, National Audubon Society, is interviewed about attitudes among the American public regarding increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration on environmentally sensitive lands. He also discusses Audubon"s position on increased domestic energy production.
(9 July 2008)



An American life worth less today

Seth Borenstein, Associate Press via SF Chronicle
It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be.

The "value of a statistical life" is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May - a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago.

The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years.

Though it may seem like a harmless bureaucratic recalculation, the devaluation has real consequences.
(10 July 2008)



President George Bush: 'Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter'

Robert Winnett, The Telegraph
George Bush surprised world leaders with a joke about his poor record on the environment as he left the G8 summit in Japan.
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The American leader, who has been condemned throughout his presidency for failing to tackle climate change, ended a private meeting with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.
(10 July 2008)
No, this is not from The Onion - it's a real news story. Strange. -BA



EPA won't act on emissions this year
Instead of new rules, more comment sought

Juliet Eilperin and R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post
The Bush administration has decided not to take any new steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions before the president leaves office, despite pressure from the Supreme Court and broad accord among senior federal officials that new regulation is appropriate now.

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to announce today that it will seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming to human health and welfare -- a matter that federal climate experts and international scientists have repeatedly said should be urgently addressed.
(11 July 2008)
Kevin Drum at Washington Monthly sums it up:
The Washington Post reports today that the Bush administration has decided to run out the clock on the EPA's finding that greenhouse gases endanger public welfare:

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