If lithium-battery-powered vehicles are the future, then why is the Obama Administration pursuing new regulations that would make shipping the batteries so burdensome and expensive? We’ve examined the issue before here and here, and were pleased to see The Washington Post cover the issue in its Saturday edition, “Everyday lithium batteries at center of debate about cargo handling.” Excerpt:

The new regulations could affect a massive web of companies, including manufacturers, shippers and retailers. They say costs would be staggering. UPS told PHMSA that complying with the rules would cost the company at minimum $264 million in the first year. And the company said each subsequent year would cost an additional $185 million.

Best Buy submitted a long list of products that would be affected, including portable GPS devices, portable DVD players and TVs, cellphones, cordless headphones, universal remote controls, cameras, camcorders, even electric razors and toothbrushes.

In today’s Post, Robert Samuelson digs into natural gas and hydrofracturing today in his column, “Shale gas: Hope for our energy future.” Good and necessary introduction to the issue. We recommend it to whoever writes and edits the editorial page for The Philadelphia Inquirer, who should be ashamed for the bizarre attack against former Gov. Tom Ridge.

Ridge was hired last week to advise and represent the Marcellus Shale Coalition, companies and groups involved with the production of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation in Pennsylvania. In an editorial Friday, “Shale’s shill,” The Inquirer throws out the term “shill,” when describing advocacy for a major and growing contributor to the state’s economy and employment.

Former governors can choose many career paths. Some of them become college presidents. Some go on the lecture circuit.

And then there’s Tom Ridge, who is set to become a paid shill for the natural-gas drillers swarming his native state.

The Inquirer’s argument boils down to “there’s something obnoxious” about a former governor representing an industry “that poses serious environmental risks, and has already spent millions on lobbying to forestall paying its fair share of state business taxes.” Risk! Risk! If there’s risk, we must never act! As for taxes, well, that’s a matter of dispute.

It’s always bizarre to read newspaper writers who are offended by the exercise of the First Amendment, which is what Ridge has been hired to do — express a point of view and petition the government. One’s almost tempted to call the paper’s editorialists “hacks,” but that would be lowering ourselves to their level.

So we’ll just close by referring the editorialists to the Oil & Gas Journal’s recent story, “Study projects boost in Marcellus shale jobs, economy.”

How dare they report that!

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