September 9 News: BP’s Tony Hayward is Back in the Oil Business, Hoping to Do For Iraq What He Did for the Gulf

Tony Hayward of BP spill fame back in oil business

Tony Hayward, the oil executive Americans learned to hate during last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is back in business, this time in the rich oil fields of northern Iraq.

At a news conference Thursday in Istanbul, Hayward announced the merger of his Vallares PLC with Turkey’s Genel Energy in an effort to dominate exploration of the vast oil reserves of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region. The new company also intends to invest in other areas in the Middle East.

“The only approval we need is from the Kurdistan regional government, and we expect that approval to take place before the end of September,” Hayward said. “All of the indications in Kurdistan show that things are only going to get better. I think this is a good time to invest in the Kurdistan region.”


Hayward was removed as the CEO of BP in July 2010 in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after a controversial appearance before a congressional committee that was investigating the causes of the disaster. He later set up Vallares, an investment company that raised $2.1 billion in June in a public offering….

Hayward said he was undeterred by debate in Iraq’s parliament about a new oil investment law. “The debate around the hydrocarbon law will continue, and none of us know when it will be resolved,” he said. “But we do know that whatever is the resolve, the Kurdistan region will have a significant say in what is finally approved.”

Rick Perry’s Air War

It’s become a staple for Republicans on the 2012 campaign trail to slam the Environmental Protection Agency as a job-killing government regulator. But Rick Perry was bashing EPA — on the stump and in practice — long before it was cool.

As governor of Texas, Perry has engaged in an outright war against EPA for years. Of course, tangling with federal environmental regulators isn’t unusual in the Lone Star State, where the economy deeply depends on the oil industry. Three of the world’s five biggest oil companies are headquartered in Houston, and Texas consumes more fossil fuels and spews more pollution than any other state.

But by any measure, Perry took the fight to new extremes, escalating long-simmering regulatory tension into a symbolic state-federal showdown. He repeatedly issued high-profile rebukes to EPA, refusing to comply with regulations and daring the agency to crack down with punitive measures that he knew could blow up politically in the middle of the 2012 presidential campaign. He channeled Texas regulators’ difficulties with EPA into his own swaggering narrative of a state oppressed by the federal government; he occasionally even threatened secession. Perry’s moves pumped up his national profile, but, critics argue, they hurt not only his state’s air quality but also the pocketbooks of the oil and gas corporations that are the lifeblood of its economy.

Huntsman Warns That GOP Can’t Win the White House by Denying Climate Science

Republican White House candidates yesterday attacked President Obama for failing to create green jobs while distancing themselves from claims that gasoline would drop suddenly under GOP policies.

The comments came during a Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., where many candidates also asserted that climate change is based on “unsettled science.”

Just one candidate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, defended climate research and warned that voters won’t elect a Republican who ignores scientific findings.

“When you make comments that fly in the face of 98 out of 100 climate scientists, to call into question the science of evolution, all I am saying is that in order for the Republican Party to win, we can’t run from science,” Huntsman said. “By making comments that basically don’t reflect the reality of the situation, we turn people off.”

Waxman: Obama’s smog retreat is a mistake ‘substantively and politically’

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said Thursday that President Obama’s decision to scuttle upcoming ozone pollution standards was a mistake “substantively and politically.”

“It was very discouraging to their environmental base, they didn’t really have a good rationale for it,” Waxman told The Hill’s E2 in the Capitol. “It just seemed that they were just bowing to a lot of pressure, and I don’t think that’s the way they ought to be.”

Waxman is the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and a key ally of Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The criticism from Waxman, who has crafted major environmental laws, reveals the extent to which Obama’s decision has stung his allies on the left.

Cities Deep in Red Turn to Green Deals

Cities and states have been firing workers and raising taxes to balance the books. But for some of the shakiest cities, those moves aren’t enough.

Enter Class Green Capital Partners, a New York financial adviser to municipalities. Class Green has been helping cities to essentially take out mortgages on their public buildings and use many of the proceeds to plug their budget shortfalls.

Here is the twist: A portion of the bond proceeds go to improve energy efficiency in the buildings, which are meant to generate savings for the city.

EPA passing lead on Exxon spill cleanup to Montana

The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to relinquish oversight of Exxon Mobil’s 1,000-barrel oil spill into the Yellowstone River, leaving the state to coordinate the remainder of the cleanup, federal and state officials said Thursday.

EPA’s personnel in Montana could be gone by the end of the week, although the agency will continue monitoring the cleanup.

Exxon Mobil workers through Thursday had finished work on most river segments marred with crude from the July 1 pipeline break near Laurel, said Steve Merritt, the EPA’s on-scene coordinator for the spill.

That includes 51 of the 61 river segments with heavy or moderate amounts of oil, Merritt said. There is no acreage or mileage figure for the impacted area, which includes riverbank, islands and side channels stretching along 97 miles of river ending near Hysham.