Monthly Archives: June 2013

Asian coal glut hits U.S. producers

A large glut of Asian coal is “closing the U.S. export coal spigot.”

“While exports comprise a relatively small percentage of U.S. coal production, exports of metallurgical coal, in particular, have a disproportionate impact on profits, because they provide higher margins than thermal coal. Nearly 70% of metallurgical coal mined in the U.S. is exported, putting U.S. producers increasingly at the mercy of fluctuations in demand in Asia.”

An Australian producer with cheaper production costs than U.S. producers plans to take advantage to gain market share in China at the U.S.’s expense.

Nicaragua grants canal concession to shadowy Chinese firm

The Sandinista government of Daniel Ortega has announced that a recently-formed and previously little-known Chinese firm has been granted a 50-year concession—with an option for another 50-year extension—to build a canal a cross Nicaragua, linking the Atlantic ad Pacific oceans, with allegedly double the capacity of the  Panama Canal.

“…no details about the canal project have been made public. Nicaraguans have no idea where the funding will come from, what the proposed canal route is, how long it would take to build, what the environmental toll would be, or even how much the project will cost. At various times over the past few years, the Ortega administration has said the canal would cost $18 billion, $26 billion, $30 billion, $35 billion and, most recently, $40 billion—all before the first shovel of dirt is thrown.

The only thing that’s known about the proposed canal route is that it will not be along the San Juan River, according to recent statements by President Ortega. All that’s known about HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment is that their CEO is a Chinese telecom tycoon who has no experience building canals or port infrastructure.”

Why Massachusetts v. EPA was a disaster

A law professor on why the 2007 Supreme Court decision Massachusetts v. EPA was not only an unmitigated disaster giving EPA virtual carte blanche to operate a climate-regulation regime of almost limitless scope at its sole whim, but also bad law.

It “created a greenhouse gas exception to every known principle of Administrative Law. It also prompted an improvised EPA climate change regime, which is shaping up as the most convoluted and expensive regulatory regime in history.”

Among other things, the decision was judicial usurpation of Congress’ prerogatives of the worst kind, according to this author: “[W]ith some effort, one can read Mass v. EPA as an accountability-forcing decision. Nobody thought you could actually regulate global warming under a Clean Air Act that’s designed for local pollution problems. The majority justices’ pretense that you could was just an attempt at judicial-legislative ‘dialogue’—a way of cramming the issue into Congress. Congress did consider a ‘cap and trade”’bill, but for better or worse rejected it. And so EPA marches on without a legislative mandate, but armed with a judicial decision that it (the agency) interprets as an affirmative command—yet a command for which the principal (the Court) can disclaim any responsibility: we never meant that.”

The use of merely local laws and permit mechanisms to enforce a de facto anti-global-warming agenda (in other words, a national policy that should be Congress’ prerogative)  is what’s behind the green activism designed to stop planned coal-export plants on the West Coast.