Over/Under Regulated

on November 20, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Greenland:  A Laboratory For The Symptoms Of Global Warming

Ed. note: This is a new weekly column by Elie Mystal, Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline. This space will focus on the laws that exist, should exist, and should be put out of their misery.


Chinese Diplomacy: Let me get this straight: our new “deal” with China involves the U.S. agreeing to more stringent emissions targets that we can’ t possibly hit without new laws, by 2020. In exchange, China agrees to maybe starting thinking about cutting emissions in 2030, when their urbanization will likely slow down to the point where they couldn’t increase emissions any further if they tried.

Is that a treaty or a surrender?

U.S. President Barack Obama Visits China

Look, if we’re going to make new U.S. carbon emissions laws, let’s do it because it’s the right thing to do. Let’s do it because if we don’t, we’re all going to die.

Doing it for a fake promise from the Chinese government about when they’ll start giving a crap about the environment seems like the worst possible reasons for new law.

Keystone: I DON’T CARE ANYMORE. We’ve been talking about not building this pipeline since Lost was a thing. We could have trained caribous to walk the damn oil here by now.


Human Waste: If the “high energy plankton” of Solyent Green were used to power cars instead of people, it might look something like this. From E&E Publishing:

In this suburb of Los Angeles, FuelCell Energy Inc. is operating the world’s first “tri-generation” plant that converts sewage into electrical power for an industrial facility and renewable hydrogen for transportation fuel.

The system runs on anaerobically digested biogas from the Orange County Sanitation District’s municipal wastewater treatment plant. A 300-kilowatt-hour molten carbonate fuel cell uses the biogas to produce heat, electricity and hydrogen — making it a “tri-generation” system.

No word on whether pooping into your car reduces engine knock.

Nigerian Pipelines: Shell-Nigeria, which is partially owned by Nigeria, claims that sabotage, not negligence, caused 2004 oil spills along the Trans-Nigerian pipeline. Shell is being sued in The Hague for oil pollution along the pipeline:

The legal action was brought to The Hague in 2012 by the environmental group and four Nigerian farmers to hold Shell Nigeria and Shell Headquarters liable for damages from the 2004 spillage. The leaking oil caught on fire and burned for several days in Goi, a fishing and farming village, which Nigerian environmental activist Nnimmo Bassey describes as a “community erased by pollution.”

If we take Shell at their word, then somebody needs to do a better job policing the pipeline and keeping it clear of saboteurs. That somebody could be Shell, or Nigeria, or Shell-Nigeria. It’s in the economic benefit of Shell, Nigeria, and certainly the people of Goi to hire a pipeline security force.

YEAR-2008 Fighters with the Movement for


The Hailliburton-Baker Hughes Deal: Let’s not herald one of the “largest oil and gas deals in 20 years” just yet. Whenever companies of this size try to come together, a swarm of antitrust regulators descends upon the fresh meat. From the Wall Street Journal:

Antitrust experts said Monday the deal could face resistance from regulators because it would leave the industry highly concentrated between two large firms: the merged company and Schlumberger Ltd.

“This looks like a 3-to-2 merger. And 3-to-2 mergers are going to be tough to get through anywhere,” said Steven Cernak of the law firm Schiff Hardin.

Mr. Cernak said the deal faces an uphill battle. But he credited the companies with following the appropriate playbook by emphasizing large cost savings and complementary product lines. For a deal such as this to obtain antitrust approval, “these are the ways you do it,” he said.

It’s important to remember that when regulators look at this, they won’t just be looking at the market power of HalliHughes (or whatever they’re going to call it). Creating one competition-crushing company to fight another competition-crushing company might still be illegally crushing to competition. Stay tuned to this one. As Agent Smith might say: they’re not out yet.

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