You might think that journalists would consider the prospect of sharply rising electricity costs in a nation blanketed by an extraordinarily cold, snowy winter and buffeted by its accompanying high utility bills hugely newsworthy.
You would be wrong. Searches on the last name of Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department who testified at a congressional hearing on energy costs and technology last week, return very few results (here and here), none from a major general circulation establishment press outlet. One business-oriented outlet, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, covered Friedmann’s testimony on the impact of the EPA’s new “carbon capture” rules. In doing so, reporter Mark Drajem included some incoherence and misdirection (bolds are mine):
Capturing Carbon Seen Adding as Much as 80% to Electricity Costs
Capturing carbon from coal-burning power plants would increase the cost of electricity at those facilities by as much as 80 percent, more than utilities would get by selling the carbon, an Energy Department official said.
Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary of the Energy Department, told a congressional hearing today that his office is working to develop joint carbon-capture projects with utilities. As the technology advances, costs to install the equipment can be cut in half, he said.
“We cannot attract private investment in the first plant, absent government support,” Friedmann told a panel of the House Energy and Commerce committee. “We need second-generation large pilot projects” to bring down costs, he said.
The viability and cost of adding carbon-capture equipment has gained attention because the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed requiring all new coal plants to trap some carbon-dioxide emissions. Critics say that technology isn’t commercially available.
Mark, one would think that the technology is either commercially available and viable or it isn’t. Which one is it? Whether I can buy items with this technology now and whether or not the technology is proven have absolutely nothing to do with what “critics say.”
Lord have mercy. Here’s the answer, reported by Drajem himself on February 6, just five days before his congressional hearing writeup:
At a public hearing today at the Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, industry representatives said the agency went too far in its proposed limits on carbon-dioxide emissions from new power plants. The technology isn’t commercially available and doesn’t have the rules in place to govern its use, they said.
Note that Drajem turned “industry representatives,” aka “people who should know what they’re talking about,” into mere “critics” in his later report. Also note that it’s a fact that the technology isn’t commerically available; it’s not something “critics” merely “say.”
Other than Drajem’s dreck, there’s no coverage of the coming huge hit to Americans’ pocketbooks entirely drive by overzealous government regulation in the establishment press. Apparently, they’d rather keep that information from us and prefer to subject us to Dear Leader droning on about how climate change is linked to droughts — when it really isn’t — is more newsworthy.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.