Relief Report Environmental News Tips Newsletter


Energy Crisis Spreads: Aluminum Industry Faces Shutdown, Layoffs Due to Electricity Shortage

New Study Says the Earth May Self-Regulate Its Temperature

New E-Mail Publication Summarizes Breaking Environmental News in Ten Seconds or Less

Energy Crisis Spreads: Aluminum Industry Faces Shutdown, Layoffs Due to Electricity Shortage

A federal agency wants to throw 30,000 people out of work and sacrifice a $4.4 billion industry.

At issue: electricity. Or, rather, the lack of it.

In a case that puts the lie to critics who say President Bush is wrong to say we face an "energy crisis," the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which provides electrical power to the Pacific Northwest, has decided to stop selling electricity to that region’s aluminum industry, effective October 1.

The decision, which the BPA defends because energy demand exceeds supply, would mean an end to 7,500 aluminum and 23,000 related jobs.

It also confirms that the California electricity crisis will hit other states.

The BPA overpromised electricity to customers. The agency now faces the option of refusing to sell energy to certain customers or to spread the pain among all customers equally. It has chosen the former.

If its decision stands, it will put a sudden end to the region’s extensive, sixty-year-old aluminum industry.

BPA officials say they’ll allow the aluminum smelters to restart in two years. But industry officials say it is not a simple matter to close and restart. Companies will incur huge costs during shutdown from maintenance, utilities, debt service, insurance, taxes, environmental upkeep and more. Severe disruptions will occur in relationships with suppliers. Workers will leave the industry and sometimes the region, leaving a shortage of skilled employees.

Some believe all this is for the greater good. The Seattle Times says the industry’s death will keep wholesale energy price increases at 38% over a five-year period as opposed to 91%, and keeping the aluminum jobs represents an unfair "tax" on the region.

Perhaps they should consider how taxing it is to pull the plug on the livelihood of so many workers and communities.

(For more information, see National Policy Analysis #338 "Energy Crisis Spreads: Aluminum Industry Faces Shutdown, Layoffs Due to Electricity Shortage" at

New Study Says the Earth May Self-Regulate Its Temperature

Science has not exactly been kind to proponents of the theory that mankind is causing global warming. It seems that not a month goes by without another scientific study casting doubts on the theory.

Just recently, a team of scientists led by Dr. Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a paper in which they theorize that there could be a natural "vent" in the Earth’s atmosphere that releases heat into space. The authors say that, if true, the existence of a de facto atmospheric thermostat that helps keep the Earth’s temperature on an even keel would require global warming theorists to significantly scale back their predictions of warming allegedly caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases.

The study was published in the March 2001 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. It examines how thin, high cirrus clouds help to regulate global temperature – and serve as a counter to global warming. In short, the study says that cirrus clouds operate much as the "iris" of an eye regulates the admission of light. The clouds open in response to rising surface temperature, permitting cooling. The clouds close when the surface temperature cools to retain heat.

The study’s authors say these findings require climate modelers to scale back by as much as two-thirds the projected warming that would result from a doubling of carbon dioxide.

Lindzen says that the study’s results as well as scientific evidence on other natural climate processes should give global warming theorists considerable pause before recommending economically-drastic measures to combat the unproven man-made warming threat.

Speaking bluntly, Lindzen says that, in view of the paucity of evidence for human-driven climate change, "the Kyoto Treaty is absurd."

(For more information, see National Policy Analysis #336, "Natural Heat Vent May Counter Global Warming" at

New E-Mail Publication Summarizes Breaking Environmental News in Ten Seconds or Less

Need fast, really fast information on breaking evenironmental issues and controversies?

If so, you’ll want a free e-mail subscription to "Ten Second Response," a new publication that promises to keep you abreast of environmental news in less time than any other.

Ten Second Response swiftly summarizes breaking environmental news, and gives you a response to it that will take you less than ten seconds to read.

If you want more detail, it also supplies a second analysis that will take you less than thirty seconds to read.

And for the people with literally minutes to spare, the final section supplies more detail and advice and links for still more information.

Ten Second Response is geared for policymakers, talk show hosts, journalists and others who are pressed for time. If that describes you, subscribe today!

For a free e-mail subscription, send a blank e-mail to [email protected].*

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.