The Drillinator: Schwarzenegger Drill Here Hero

Dwayne Horner
Posted: Mar 03, 2009 11:21 AM

Those of us who support "Drill Here, Drill Now!" may have a surprising
new hero ... California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger .  If the latest developments continue, the Governator might become the Drillinator and ultimately be a hero for those of us pushing for more U.S. energy independence, via drilling.

First some history:  In an effort to improve the environment, The California Air Resources Board came up with a set of Low Carbon Fuel Standards that measure the carbon footprint of different kinds of fuels. But when "indirect effects" are considered, it turns out that oil-based fuels have a SMALLER carbon footprint than ethanol or other biofuels.

As you can imagine, this opens the door for more drilling of American oil – perhaps, right off the California coast. [# More #]

Predictably, a group of scientists are not happy with this determination that oil-based fuels have a smaller carbon footprint than ethanol, and they have sent a letter to Gov. Schwarzenegger, informing him of this misguided decision by the Air Resources Board:
In a letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, more than 100 of the nation's top scientists warned that the proposed Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) enforces a new and highly uncertain category of carbon emissions - called indirect or market-mediated effects - against only one type of fuel. The scientists acknowledged that all fuels have indirect carbon effects, but challenged the notion that they are well understood and are particularly critical of the plan to enforce indirect carbon effects on biofuels only.

The letter recommends that the State Board adopt an LCFS regulation based on direct carbon effects, or those emissions directly attributable to the production and use of the particular fuel. The model used to determine these effects is well-grounded and peer-reviewed, and for biofuel includes the land conversion needed to produce biofuel feedstock. California would then spearhead an international effort to investigate the indirect, market-mediated carbon effects of all fuels, including but not limited to biofuels.

"A fundamental principle of any comparative carbon lifecycle analysis, and of a performance standard in general, is that all fuels are judged through the same lens," said Dr. Blake A. Simmons of Sandia National Laboratories, who led the effort to submit the letter. "We have abandoned that principle here."

While not the biggest fan of the Guvernator, give credit where credit is due.