Friday, June 4, 2010

Oklahoma City i2E Receives $1 Million EDA Grant

Senator Inhofe was pleased to announce yesterday a $1,000,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) for i2E, Inc, of Oklahoma City. This EDA investment funds the Oklahoma City Technology Business Launch Program, which i2E will locate in the Presbyterian Health Foundation Research Park in Oklahoma City. The project will develop new growth services for area entrepreneurs. The program will provide area entrepreneurs with enhanced, interactive and experienced advisory services during a company's early stage of formation, designed to accelerate its growth and meet critical milestones to enter the commercial market. The grant application was supported in collaboration with Inhofe, the City of Oklahoma City, and the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

"The EDA grant awarded today to i2E is great news for Oklahoma City," said Inhofe. "This project will accelerate the growth of early-stage advanced technology companies and create new high-tech jobs where many manufacturing jobs have been lost.

(Read Coverage in the Oklahoman: Oklahoma firm receives grant, local help to foster tech companies) 

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez: "As EDA promotes innovation and regional collaboration strategies that enhance our nation's entrepreneurial ecosystem, this investment to advance i2e's efforts to accelerate the technology commercialization sector in Oklahoma City will help create new job opportunities for local workers and prepare the region for growth and competitiveness.

Tom Walker, President & CEO i2E, Inc.: "This is exciting news for the Oklahoma City innovation and entrepreneurial community.  Thanks to the EDA and our local partners - the City of Oklahoma City, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Presbyterian Health Foundation, the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the Oklahoma Business Roundtable - we will soon begin to see an acceleration of innovation in our region and the creation of high impact jobs in Oklahoma City and our state.

"This grant will allow Oklahoma and Oklahoma City to better serve our start-up and growth stage companies," said Roy Williams, President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "These firms, which could be our next generation of headquarter companies, are critical to the long term economic health of our community and state. Partnerships such as this make perfect sense for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber."


- EDA works with partners in local communities to create wealth and minimize poverty by promoting favorable business environments that attract private investment and encourage long-term economic growth.

- Inhofe, through his leadership position on the EPW Committee, has long been a supporter of EDA. Earlier this year, Inhofe joined Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the EPW Committee and several members of the committee to introduce legislation to reauthorize the EDA. As Chairman of the EPW Committee in 2004, Inhofe sponsored the last reauthorization of EDA.

- Since Inhofe became Chairman of the Committee in 2003, the EDA has awarded $33 million in project and infrastructure funding in Oklahoma, which has been leveraged with $32.7 million in state and local dollars and $625 million in private investments, creating more than 9,000 jobs. Oklahoma cities from Woodward to Elgin, Claremore to Durant, have already benefited from the great work EDA does.

Inhofe Comments on EPAs Air Quality Standard for Sulfur Dioxide

Sen. Inhofe yesterday commented on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2). According to information provided by the EPA, Muskogee County in Oklahoma could be in nonattainment by 2020.

"EPA's new rule comes amidst Oklahoma's tremendous progress in reducing air pollution, including sulfur dioxide," Senator Inhofe said. "The Obama Administration's proposal harms communities such as Muskogee, which is trying to create jobs and grow its economy. This rule is part of EPA's oncoming regulatory train wreck that will stifle growth and economic development in Muskogee, as well as in cities and towns across the nation. "

"As Ranking Member of the EPW Committee, I have supported 3-P legislation to reduce real pollutants, legislation that guarantees emissions reductions, provides health benefits, and brings certainty for industry.  Congress must address the overlapping and confusing suite of EPA air regulations that will spawn a wave of litigation instead of advancing environmental progress." 

Policy Beat: The Failure of Californias Global Warming Law

Flanked by "national and international dignitaries," Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 32, California's landmark global warming law, in September 2006.  He said the law is "something we owe our children and grandchildren."  For those who "challenged whether AB 32 is good for businesses," the Governor said: "I say unquestionably it is good for businesses."   And not just for "large, well-established businesses," but "small businesses that will harness their entrepreneurial spirit to help us achieve our climate goals."

When Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 32 four years ago, California's jobless rate was 4.9 percent.  It's now 12 percent, reaching as high as 20 percent in 8 counties.  The state's budget bleeds with red ink (deficit: $19.1 billion) and its economy is among the nation's worst. 

And now, the California's Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), the Golden State equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office, has issued a dire warning that AB 32 will mean more economic pain and joblessness for a state already mired in both.  According to the LAO's Mac Taylor:

California's economy at large will likely be adversely affected in the near term by implementing climate-related policies that are not adopted elsewhere. This is in large part because such policies will tend to raise the state's relative prices for energy, such as electricity. This, in turn, will adversely impact the state's economy through such avenues as causing the prices of goods and services to rise; lowering business profits; and reducing production, income, and jobs.

As Taylor explained, jobs and businesses will flee the state because of "economic leakage," that is, they will move to states that actually encourage jobs and businesses to grow and expand.  That's something AB 32 won't do.  As California is too painfully aware, it "directly competes with other states and nations, and economic activity can be fairly mobile over time across borders in today's modern economy."  In other words, businesses will be voting with their feet.

Moreover, as is the case with Waxman-Markey, Kerry-Boxer, Kerry-Lieberman, RGGI, EPA's greenhouse gas regulations, and any such scheme attempting to address a global issue locally, AB 32 will be environmentally nugatory.  That's because, as Taylor explained, greenhouse gases tied to economic activity will simply be emitted somewhere else.  Somewhere else could be China, the world's largest CO2 emitter, which has no plans to submit to binding greenhouse gas controls.

California's businesses face international trade pressures from China and others that limit their ability to pass along added costs.  "Such firms," Taylor wrote, "will thus have a stronger incentive to shift their activities to locations out of state where there is no need to increase prices."  This means "shifting to locations where they do not face the higher energy prices and investment requirements associated" with AB 32.

Taylor believes that AB 32 "will likely result in inflationary pressure throughout the state's economy."  While service-based industry represents a significant component of California's economy-a fact that mitigates the impacts of AB 32-most businesses "will nonetheless seek a means by which to compensate for their increased costs of production."  Bottom line: "Since energy in some form is an input in the production of most goods and services, we would expect to see such price effects occur throughout the economy."

AB 32 was passed amid an atmosphere of expectation that lacked proper grounding in economic reality.  Sadly that unreality persists today (see, for example, the Kerry-Lieberman bill).  Gov. Schwarzenegger said AB 32 marked "a bold new era of environmental protection in California" that will "change the course of history."  History has indeed changed, but not in the way the Governor envisioned it. 

In the News... Examiner Editorial: EPA puts ideology ahead of common sense

Examiner Editorial

EPA puts ideology ahead of common sense

June 4, 2010

Link to Editorial

Do you recall what you were doing on April 22, 2010? Odds are good that lead paint in structures built before 1978 was not in your thoughts that day, but the issue was very much on the minds of the bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency. That was the day their agency's newest rule -- Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting -- officially took effect. While Lead RRP addresses a legitimate public health concern, it is also a massive addition to the hundreds of thousands of pages of existing EPA regulations covering much of the U.S. economy.

Ostensibly, the Lead RRP regulation is meant to protect pregnant women and children from exposure to unhealthy levels of lead paint. Even so, the rule illustrates how EPA is currently driven more by progressive ideology and bureaucratic inefficiency than common sense. The rule requires that any renovation of any building built before 1978 affecting six or more square feet of paint must be overseen by a government-certified renovator and conducted by a government-certified renovation firm. Certification requires completion of an EPA-approved training course and payment of a fee to the agency.

The rule applies to anybody -- including painters, electricians, plumbers, and carpenters, plus general contractors and property owners -- who "disturbs painting" in covered structures. But as of April 22, EPA had certified exactly 204 trainers to cover the millions of workers who generate approximately 18 percent of the country's annual gross domestic product. No wonder the EPA just got a sharp rebuke on Capitol Hill. The Senate adopted on a 60-37 vote a measure sponsored by Republican Sens. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Susan Collins of Maine to prevent EPA from imposing a "levy against any person [or] any fine, or to hold any person liable for construction or renovation work" as a result of Lead RRP.

For the time being, the EPA has bigger concerns than fighting Congress over implementation of the Lead RRP regulation. For example, EPA recently ordered BP to use a less toxic oil dispersant without knowing beforehand that none currently exists. And EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has been vigorously pushing a declaration by the agency that carbon dioxide is a health hazard that contributes to global warming. Jackson has threatened to implement the declaration if Congress fails to adopt the Obama administration's proposed cap-and-trade, anti-global warming program. This is the same EPA that imposed a training requirement on millions of American workers without first making sure it had enough trainers to do the job.

In the News... NEWSWEEK: Uncertain Science


Uncertain Science

Bickering and defensive, climate researchers have lost the public's trust.

May 28, 2010

Link to Article

Blame economic worries, another freezing winter, or the cascade of scandals emerging from the world's leading climate-research body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). But concern over global warming has cooled down dramatically. In über-green Germany, only 42 percent of citizens worry about global warming now, down from 62 percent in 2006. In Britain, just 26 percent believe climate change is man-made, down from 41 percent as recently as November 2009. And Americans rank global warming dead last in a list of 21 problems that concern them, according to a January Pew poll.

The shift has left many once celebrated climate researchers feeling like the used-car salesmen of the science world. In Britain, one leading scientist told an interviewer he is taking anti-anxiety pills and considered suicide following the leak of thousands of IPCC-related e-mails and documents suggesting that researchers cherry-picked data and suppressed rival studies to play up global warming. In the U.S., another researcher is under investigation for allegedly using exaggerated climate data to obtain public funds. In an open letter published in the May issue of Science magazine, 255 American climate researchers decry "political assaults" on their work by "deniers" and followers of "dogma" and "special interests."

This is no dispute between objective scientists and crazed flat-earthers. The lines cut through the profession itself. Very few scientists dispute a link between man-made CO2 and global warming. Where it gets fuzzy is the extent and time frame of the effect. One crucial point of contention is climate "sensitivity"-the mathematical formula that translates changes in CO2 production to changes in temperature. In addition, scientists are not sure how to explain a slowdown in the rise of global temperatures that began about a decade ago.

The backlash against climate science is also about the way in which leading scientists allied themselves with politicians and activists to promote their cause. Some of the IPCC's most-quoted data and recommendations were taken straight out of unchecked activist brochures, newspaper articles, and corporate reports-including claims of plummeting crop yields in Africa and the rising costs of warming-related natural disasters, both of which have been refuted by academic studies.

Just as damaging, many climate scientists have responded to critiques by questioning the integrity of their critics, rather than by supplying data and reasoned arguments. When other researchers aired doubt about the IPCC's prediction that Himalayan glaciers will melt by 2035, the IPCC's powerful chief, Rajendra Pachauri, trashed their work as "voodoo science." Even today, after dozens of IPCC exaggerations have surfaced, leading climate officials like U.N. Environment Program chief Achim Steiner and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research head Joachim Schellnhuber continue to tar-brush critics as "anti-Enlightenment" and engaging in "witch hunts."

None of this means we should burn fossil fuels with abandon. There are excellent reasons to limit emissions and switch to cleaner fuels-including an estimated 750,000 annual pollution deaths in China, the potential to create jobs at home instead of enriching nasty regimes sitting on oil wells, the need to provide cheap sources of power to the world's poorest regions, and the still-probable threat that global warming is underway. At the moment, however, certainty about how fast-and how much-global warming changes the earth's climate does not appear to be one of those reasons.