New month brings unlikely energy news

Two big announcements Monday caught the energy industry by surprise.

Frank Maisano, a Washington-based flack (strategic communications specialist) for the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm’s Policy Resolution Group, announced that he is canceling his handy weekly energy updates. Besides providing schedules of energy-related events and industry-friendly observations on policy matters, Maisano’s dispatches have kept readers current on his favorite sports teams and especially his kids’ lacrosse and field hockey endeavors.

“Keeping you all informed about DC events and environmental and energy policy for free has finally become too much bear,” Maisano wrote at the top of Monday’s final update.

In another shocker, the R Street Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank, has come up with a proposal to encourage wind electricity without unplugging its flat opposition to government energy subsidies.

Similar to “cap and trade” proposals intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by capping them and allowing emitters to buy and sell emission permits, the Institute’s “cat and trade” plan is designed to address bird deaths caused by collisions with wind turbines.

The idea is to offset these losses by reducing the threat from domestic cats, also blamed for millions of bird killings a year.

The Institute’s proposed Making Environmental Offsets for Windpower Act would require wind power producers to remove one domestic cat from the environment per year for every three turbines they operate—and would let producers sell credits for excess cat removals to wind operators whose kitties fall short of the required credit.

Cat and trade is likely to go the way of cap and trade once feline fanciers get their backs up in opposition, but as R Street Institute Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann spins it in announcing the plan:

“This would mitigate the negative wildlife consequences of wind power in a way that should result in no net loss of birds.”

(Of course, the Institute also tweeted the link to its proposal.)

What’s no real surprise is that Maisano and the R Street Institute stopped looking at policy long enough to look at the calendar.

“With great sadness and incredible pain in my heart,” wrote Maisano in his farewell dispatch, “I say April Fools…”