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Shifting Alliances Define Energy Debate
Amy Harder, National Journal
Duke Energy left the American Coalition for Clean Coal Energy on Tuesday over differences with “influential member companies who will not support passing climate change legislation in 2009 or 2010,” the company said.
As the Senate prepares to return to Washington and resume its debate over climate change legislation, energy companies are walking a fine line. Many have dual membership in groups on opposing sides of the issue, and their attempts to play both sides are becoming increasingly apparent — and potentially damaging to the companies and the coalitions alike.
General Electric, Alstom Power and Caterpillar are members of both the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity and the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. The former is a pro-coal group that opposed the recent House energy legislation, and the latter is an industry-environmentalist coalition whose recommendations provided much of the basis for the that bill, which passed the House by a vote of 219-212 in June. On a similar note, ConocoPhillips, Siemens and BP America are members of both the American Petroleum Institute (which opposed the bill) and USCAP.
These dual memberships shouldn’t be surprising but could be problematic if they become more common, according to Burdett Loomis, a lobbying expert who teaches political science at the University of Kansas. “It seems to always be a mix of motivations,” Loomis said. “And, as coalitions have become increasingly important on all sides of the issue, it’s not surprising that there are some real or perceived conflicts.”…
(2 Sept 2009)
British energy firm in the dock over Amazon project
Guy Adams, The Independent
It sounds like a recipe for environmental catastrophe: 42,000 bags of cement, 10,000 planks and a fleet of tractors being airlifted deep into the Amazon rainforest to establish whether a remote and unspoiled region of northern Peru can be turned into Latin America’s next great oilfield.
It could also spell human tragedy. That, at least, is the claim before Lima’s constitutional court, where a British energy company will this week stand accused of orchestrating an exploration project that will “ethnically cleanse” two of the world’s last remaining uncontacted tribes.
Perenco, a London-based oil and gas firm, is being sued by Peru’s 350,000-strong native Indian community over plans to bring its chainsaws, incinerators and heavy-lifting equipment into “Lot 67,” a vast, secluded area of the Marañon basin near Peru’s border with Ecuador…
(6 Sept 2009)
Arizona firm in deal to spread sun power to China
Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
The sun shines nearly everywhere, but alternative energy company First Solar Inc. is hoping those rays will be most profitable out in the far reaches of China.
The Arizona company signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday with the city of Ordos to build a 2,000-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant, said Michael J. Ahearn, First Solar’s chairman and chief executive. The sprawling project in the Inner Mongolian desert would be the company’s first in Asia and its largest outside the U.S.
Although current solar installations in China produce only 90 megawatts, the country’s leaders recently decided that 10% of China’s energy should come from renewable sources by 2010, and 15% by 2020…
(9 Sept 2009)