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USA: ETE Units File with FERC for Proposed Lake Charles Liquefaction Project

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Energy Transfer Equity (ETE) today announced that its Trunkline LNG Company, Trunkline LNG Export, and Trunkline Gas Company subsidiaries have filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to build the previously announced natural gas liquefaction project under development in Lake Charles, La.

The Lake Charles liquefaction project is being developed to liquefy domestic supplies of natural gas for export to foreign countries in order to meet the growing world-wide demand for LNG. Exporting LNG to the world market will provide a wide range of economic and employment related benefits for the United States.

Energy Transfer and its subsidiaries continue to work closely with its customer BG Group in the development of the project, ETE said in a statement.

As part of the project, Trunkline Gas Company plans to extend its interstate natural gas pipeline approximately half a mile to provide feed gas to the liquefaction facility. The project is currently planned to export up to 15 million metric tons of LNG per year, which is the equivalent of approximately 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Pending regulatory approvals, Trunkline LNG Export currently expects to begin project construction in 2014 and is anticipating the project to be in service in the spring of 2018.

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Obama’s Hidden Tax Hikes

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Mike Brownfield
March 2, 2012 at 8:32 am

EXCLUSIVE: It could be said that President Obama has never seen a tax hike he doesn’t like — whether it’s letting the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire, insisting on higher taxes for job creators, and yesterday calling on Congress to raise taxes on the oil industry. But as much as the President wants to raise taxes, Heritage has discovered that there are even more tax hikes hidden in his budget, adding up to a total of $2 trillion in higher taxes.

In a new report, Heritage’s Curtis Dubay uncovers Obama’s hidden tax hikes and finds that the President’s proposed $1.561 trillion tax increase over 10 years is much bigger than advertised. In fact, the President wants to raise taxes by $1.689 trillion – that’s $128 billion more than was reported by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the President’s FY 2013 budget proposal.

What’s to account for the discrepancy? Dubay explains that OMB reports the tax hikes in areas other than the tax section, misleading readers into believing that the President’s tax hikes are smaller than they are in reality. Among them are the “Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee,” better known as the bank tax, which adds another $61 billion to the President’s tax hike total; a $44 billion tax hike from allowing the IRS to adjust a program integrity cap; a $48 billion increase of the unemployment tax; and a $1 billion hike of user fees for commercial navigation of inland waterways.

How’s that for “the most transparent White House in history”?

But wait, there’s even more.

On top of the $128 billion in hidden taxes, the President takes credit for tax cuts when he really doesn’t deserve it. Dubay reports that the budget includes $317 billion in pre-existing tax cutting policies, including the payroll tax holiday ($31 billion), the American Opportunity Tax Credit ($137 billion), the Research and Experimentation Credit ($109 billion), the group of tax-reducing policies known as the “tax extenders” ($34 billion), along with a handful of other provisions totaling $6 billion — even though these policies were already part of the tax code. In other words, the President wants to get all the credit, while dodging the blame.

Take away those wrongly counted cuts and the President actually wants to raise taxes by more than $2 trillion!

Dubay says the White House has some explaining to do:

Congress should disregard the misleading tax hike figure from OMB’s table and use the correct $2 trillion amount when referring to the total tax hikes in the President’s budget. And Members of Congress should question OMB as to why they chose to mislead readers about the total tax hike that President Obama has called for on American taxpayers.

Why does all this tax talk matter? Take a look at the economy. America is experiencing a historically slow recovery, the likes of which haven’t been seen since World War II. Private-sector employment is 4.5 percent below pre-recession levels, unemployment remains at 8.3 percent — the highest since the 1981-1982 recession — and only 63.7 percent of adult Americans are active in the labor force, the lowest since 1983. Meanwhile, small businesses say taxes are among their most important problems — they fear Washington will raise taxes in order to pay for even more spending, so they’re sitting on the sidelines and not producing jobs. Now it appears that their worst fears are coming true.

Instead of raising taxes through the roof and hiding a chunk of those tax hikes from the American people, Washington should pursue policies that encourage growth and will help put the unemployed back to work. One way to do it is with Heritage’s “New Flat Tax” which simplifies the tax system and encourages investment.

America doesn’t need $2 trillion in higher taxes, especially in a time of a weak recovery. And it certainly doesn’t need them slipped through under their noses. The President’s budget claims credit for tax cuts he doesn’t deserve, hides the true cost of the tax hikes he imposes, and punishes job creators instead of encouraging them to expand. Consider it the President’s secret recipe for a weak economy.

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UK: Trump Demands Public Inquiry into Proposed Offshore Wind Farm

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DONALD Trump has asked the Scottish Government to hold a public inquiry into plans for a windfarm off the coast from his £750million golf resort.

The property tycoon claims 11 giant turbines erected at a European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in the North Sea, would be visible from his controversial links course at Balmedie, Aberdeenshire.

Trump has already heavily criticised the plans and wrote to First Minister Alex Salmond saying that the proposal was “environmentally irresponsible”.

And now his lawyers have contacted Energy Minister Fergus Ewing requesting a hearing into the plans.

A letter, sent by Ann Faulds of legal team Dundas and Wilson, read: “A public inquiry into the proposed development is necessary to explore all material considerations, and to ensure a proper evidential base to inform Scottish ministers’ determination of the application.

“In particular, the potential economic impact of the proposed development on my client’s development, and by extension the regional and Scottish economy, has not been addressed in the environmental statement submitted in respect of the application.”

Trump’s son, Donald Jnr said he feared the public had not fully understood the impact the turbines could have and added: “I don’t think the public realise how close to the shore they are going to be, so I think there needs to be a hearing.”

But the windfarm, one-and-a-half miles from the course, and a £150million joint venture between utility company Vattenfall, engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, has generated hundreds of letters of support.

By Stephen Wilkie (express)

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USA: Baryonyx’s Proposed Project to Undergo Full Environmental Impact Statement

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The Baryonyx Corporation’s proposed South Texas offshore wind farm project will be subject to a full Environmental Impact Statement, according to a decision by the Galveston District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The alternative would have been for the USACE to settle for a less stringent Environmental Assessment.

Austin-based Baryonyx, which submitted permit applications to the USACE in June, announced the agency’s decision late last month. The company has proposed developing offshore wind leases off South Padre Island and Nueces County, and has more than 67,000 acres of submerged lands under lease from the Texas General Land Office across three sites between Corpus Christi and Brownsville.

This includes nearly 48,000 acres off Cameron County, divided between two parcels Baryonyx has named “Rio Grande” and “Rio Grande North.” The company is leasing more than 26,000 acres off Nueces County for its “Mustang Project.” If fully developed, the sites taken together could generate up to 3 gigawatts of electricity. One gigawatt equals 1 billion watts.

The USACE’s decision to order a full EIS comes as no surprise to Baryonyx officials. Mark Leyland, vice president for offshore projects, said he fully expected the USACE to call for it and in fact Baryonyx welcomes the move given the magnitude of the project.

An EIS is the most thorough type of environmental review the USACE can demand. The National Environment Policy Act requires it in the case of actions “significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” An Environmental Assessment, which is done first to assess the need for an EIS, is sometimes all that’s required in projects that may or may not cause significant impact.

Leyland said the USACE will select the third-party contractor that will conduct the EIS, and the USACE will control the process, though the contract itself will be between Baryonyx and the contractor. He added that “the process is very much the Corps’ from now on.” Leyland said that contrary to what some have asserted, taxpayers aren’t footing the bill for the EIS.

“We pay for the environmental contractor that operates under the direction of the Corps to develop the Environmental Impact Statement,” he said.

The study will examine, among other things, the potential impact on migratory birds, bats, sea turtles and other marine life. The EIS will take two years to prepare, with the final draft likely to be submitted to the USACE in the first quarter of 2014. Construction on the wind farm wouldn’t begin until 2015 at the earliest.

Leyland and other Baryonyx executives came from Eclipse Energy, a British firm that developed the Ormonde wind farm project in the Irish Sea. That project, nearing completion, uses the largest wind turbines available, rated at 5 megawatts each though capable of producing more, according to Leyland. One megawatt equals 1 million watts.

Baryonyx’s Texas projects would use the same turbines on a much larger scale. The Ormonde Project calls for 30 turbines on 2,500 acres. Baryonyx’s Rio Grande and Rio Grande South leases, totaling roughly 41,00 acres, would feature rows of more than 300 turbines, each set of 50 taking two years to build. Leyland said turbines would be located no nearer than five miles from the coast, still close enough for them to be seen.

In a press release, Leyland expressed confidence that the EIS would confirm the company’s initial investigations, which concluded the wind farm project “would not result in an unacceptable impact on wildlife and other resources.”

“We believe that the thorough, scientific approach required by the EIS process will verify our preliminary findings,” he said.

By Steve Clark (brownsvilleherald)

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