By Alan Caruba
A RETURN TO BASIC VALUES
By Alan Caruba
The delay of the Keystone XL pipeline is a perfect example of the way President Obama and his administration has engaged in, not just a war on coal, but on all forms of energy the nation has and needs. Even his State Department admits there is no reason to refuse its construction and, as turmoil affects the Middle East, there is an increased need to tap our own oil and welcome Canada’s.
The latest news, however, is that Canada has just approved the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, a major pipeline to ship Canadian oil—to Asia.
The pure evil of the delay is compounded by the loss of the many jobs the pipeline—that will not require taxpayer funding—represents to help reduce the nation’s obscene rate of unemployment and to generate new revenue for the nation. That’s what oil, coal, and natural gas does.
Less visible has been the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency that has, since Obama took office on January 20, 2009, issued 2,827 new final regulations totally 24,915,000 words to fill 24,915 pages of the Federal Register. As a CNSnews article reported, “The Obama EPA regulations have 22 times as many words as the entire Harry Potter series which includes seven books with 1,084,170 words.” Every one of the EPA regulations affects some aspect of life in America, crushing economic development in every conceivable way.
The worst part of the EPA regulation orgy is the fact that virtually all of it is based on a hoax. As reported by James Delingpole, a British journalist, “19 million jobs lost plus $4,335 trillion spent equals a global mean temperature of 0.018 degrees Celsius. Yes, horrible but true. These are the costs to the U.S. economy, by 2100, of the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory war on carbon dioxide, whereby all states must reduce emissions from coal-fired electricity generating plants by 30% before 2005 levels.”
Citing a study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Delingpole reported that the new regulations will cost the economy another $51 billion annually, result in the 224,000 more lost jobs every year, and cost every American household $3,400 per year in higher prices for energy, food, and other necessities.”
This is an all-out attack on industry, business, and the use of electricity by all Americans.
There is absolutely no reason, nor need to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), a gas on which all life on Earth depends because it is to vegetation what oxygen is to all living creatures. It is the “food” on which every blade of grass depends. More CO2 means more crops and healthier forests.
Disastrously, even the Supreme Court—the same one that signed off on Obamacare as a tax—has not ruled against the EPA’s false assertions about CO2. In late June, however, it did place limits on the EPA’s effort to limit power plant and factory emissions blamed for a global warming that does not exist. The Earth has been cooling for seventeen years, but the Court ruled that the EPA lacked authority in some cases to force companies to evaluate ways to reduce CO2 emissions.
While our attention is focused on events in the Middle East, a domestic enemy of the nation is doing everything in its power to kill the provision of electricity to the nation and, at the same time, to control every drop of water in the United States, an attack on its agricultural sector. That enemy is the Environmental Protection Agency.
Like the rest of the Obama administration, it has no regard for real science and continues to reinterpret the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. It has an agenda that threatens every aspect of life in the nation.
As Craig Rucker, the Executive Director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) recently warned, “True to her word,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, “is busily grabbing powers for EPA that Congress specifically chose not to grant, and that the Supreme Court has denied on multiple occasions.”
“The federal bureaucracy under the Obama presidency has a voracious appetite for more power. It despises individual liberty and drags down the economy every change it gets,” Rucker warns.
In addition to implementing President Obama’s “war on coal” that is depriving the nation of coal-fired plants that provide electricity, the EPA has announced a proposed rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act”, redefining, as Ron Arnold of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise reported in the Washington Examiner “nearly everything wet as ‘waters of the United States or WOTUS—and potentially subject us all to permits and fines.”
The President has made it clear that the rule of law has no importance to him and his administration and this is manifestly demonstrated by the actions of the EPA. “This abomination,” says Arnold, “is equivalent to invasion by hostile troops out to seize the jurisdictions of all 50 states. WOTUS gives untrustworthy federal bureaucrats custody of every watershed, creates crushing new power to coerce all who keep America going and offers no benefit to the victimized and demoralized tax-paying public.”
In response to the EPA’s new power grab, more than 200 House members called on the Obama administration in May to drop its plans to expand the EPA’s jurisdiction over smaller bodies of water around the nation. A letter was sent to EPA Administrator McCarthy and Department of Army Secretary John M. McHugh (re: Army Corps of Engineers) asking that the proposal be withdrawn.
“Under this plan, there’d be no body of water in America—including mud puddles and canals—that wouldn’t be at risk from job-destroying federal regulation,” said Rep, Doc Hastings (R-Wash), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee. “This dramatic expansion of federal government control will directly impact the livelihoods and viability of farmers and small businesses in rural America.”
Nearly thirty major trade associations have joined together to create the Waters Advocacy Coalition. They represent the nation’s construction, manufacturing, housing, real estate, mining, agricultural and energy sectors. The coalition supports S. 2245, “Preserve the Waters of the U.S.
It was hard enough trying to keep up with the revelations of various scandals that have been the product of the Obama administration, but now into the second year of his second term, the news of its actions—some of which are illegal, some of which ignore Congress’s authority, and some of which seemed determined to destroy our economy and attack our constitutional freedoms–all keep assaulting our comprehension.
Like many Americans I have fears of losing our freedoms as set forth in the Bill of Rights. I have doubts about an almost invisible “recovery” of the economy when 92,009,000 are still not in the labor force. I look at the Obama presidency and see one that seems increasingly lawless and witless in so many ways.
The latest assault was the exchange of five Taliban detainees, top field commanders, for an American soldier who administration spokeswoman, Susan Rice, said had served with “honor and distinction.” Like her lies about the Benghazi attack, this too was a lie. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl had, we swiftly learned, walked away from his post in Afghanistan. That makes him a deserter, something the administration must surely have known. Giving up the Taliban leaders, done without the required thirty days’ notice to Congress, looks more like Obama’s intention to empty Guantanamo then the claim of retrieving an alleged POW. Negotiations to achieve this had been ongoing for months.
This comes at a time when a report by the think tank, the Rand Corporation, spells out a 58% increase from 2010 to 2013 of jihadist groups worldwide, from 31 to 49, and a doubling of the number of jihadist fighters to an estimated 100,000. In addition, the report notes the number of attacks by al Qaeda affiliates had increased to roughly 1,000 from 392. As Seth G. Jones, the author of the report, says, “The current trends suggest that the struggle against extremism is likely to be a generational one, much like the Cold War.”
Not exactly the “end of a war” that Obama keeps talking about.
At the same time Obama turned five Taliban commanders loose, his Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced the creation of a special task force within the Justice Department to combat what he characterized as “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists within the U.S. Given the fact that we have a huge Department of Homeland Security, created after 9/11, one wonders why such a task force is necessary, but we are told it will be composed of members of the FBI and the Department’s National Security Division.
The Obama administration is the same one in which the Internal Revenue Service targeted Tea Party and patriot groups seeking non-profit status. A pattern of using the government against them reflects an agenda to target any American who disagrees and speaks up against the abuse or neglect of constitutional rights.
One of those is the right to own and bear guns, but this is also an administration that has made many efforts to curb the Second Amendment and gun ownership. At the same time, we have read reports of massive purchases of ammunition and weapons by various elements of the federal government.
Before President Obama took office in 2009, the amount of electricity being produced by coal-fired utilities was approximately fifty percent of the total. Today it is approximately forty percent and, when the Environmental Protection Agency regulations take effect as of June 2, more such utilities are likely to close their doors. The basis for the regulations is utterly devoid of any scientific facts.
Environmentalism, as expressed by many of the organizations that advocate it is, in fact, an attack on America, its economic system of capitalism, and its need for energy to maintain and grow its business and industrial base. Electricity, of course, is also the energy we all use daily for a multitude of tasks ranging from heating or cooling our homes to the use of our computers and every other appliance.
The EPA regulations are said to be necessary to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2) which the Greens deem to be a “pollutant” in our atmosphere. It is not a pollutant, despite a Supreme Court decision that identifies it as such, but rather a gas vital to all life on Earth, used by all vegetation for its growth. CO2 is to vegetation what oxygen is to all animal life. Humans, all seven billion of us, exhale CO2!
Viv Forbes, the Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition and a Fellow of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, notes that the Earth’s atmosphere “is not a greenhouse” and “does not have a glass roof. It uses convection to redistribute heat very quickly.” The claim for several decades has been that CO2 has an effect on the Earth’s surface temperature, but Forbes points out that “water vapor is a far more effective agent for insulating the Earth and preserving its warmth than carbon dioxide,” adding that “there is no evidence that man-made carbon dioxide is a significant cause of global warming.”
Indeed, even though the amount of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere has increased, Forbes points out that “Close examination of past records shows that temperature tends to rise before carbon dioxide content rises, sometimes centuries earlier.” Significantly, at the same time Greens have been crying out against emissions of CO2 from coal-fired utilities and other sources, the Earth has been in a cooling cycle now verging on eighteen years!
The EPA is lying to Americans regarding carbon dioxide and, worse, its proposed regulations will reduce the number of coal-fired utilities and drive up the cost of electricity for Americans.
One of the many Green organizations, Earthjustice, claims that “Climate change threatens the world as we know it—and the chief culprit is fossil fuel burning. To avert ecological disaster, Earthjustice is pushing for a shift from dirty to clean energy to stabilize our climate and build a thriving sustainable world.”
There is literally nothing that mankind can do to “stabilize” the Earth’s climate. While the Earth has been going through climate change for 4.5 billion years, there is no evidence that anything mankind does has any effect on it. The change the Earth has encountered, as mentioned, is a cooling, a far different scenario than the “global warming” claims of the past three decades or more.
Tom Richard, the editor of ClimageChangeDispatch.com, notes that “Arctic sea ice has rebounded to higher and higher levels each year.
According to a 2012 report by the Federal Research Service, “The federal government owns roughly 635-640 million acres, 28% of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the United States.
Four agencies administer 609 million acres of this land: the Forest Service (USFS) in the Department of Agriculture, and the National Park Service (NPS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), all in the Department of the Interior (DOI). Most of these lands are in the West and Alaska. In addition, the Department of Defense administers 19 million acres in military bases, training ranges, and more. Numerousother agencies administer the remaining federal acreage.”
I suspect it may come as a surprise to many people that the federal government owns just over a quarter of the nation’s landmass and, other than land set aside for military bases and naval ports that may seem excessive. It is.
The drama that ensured when the Bureau of Land Management lay siege to the Nevada Bundy ranch over unpaid grazing fees called into attention the fact that the BLM oversees, according to a recent article in the National Review, “the largest piece of leasable real estate in the American West—245 million acres, an area bigger than the mid-Atlantic states and New England combined. The BLM is its landlord.”
In theory one can apply for a license or lease “to make productive use of this land” noted Travis Kavulla in his article, “Public-Land Colonialism.” In practice “The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires an excruciatingly complex process before even mundane land-use decisions can be made.” It is a regulatory nightmare for anyone who might want to create a mine to access coal or valuable minerals or extract oil or natural gas.
The process is subject to government policies, spoken or unspoken, to restrict access. A current case involves actions by the Environmental Protection Agency to stop the creation of the Pebble Mine project in Alaska even before a permit is requested. A May 12 Wall Street Journal editorial noted that “The EPA’s inspector general’s office last week announced it will investigate the agency’s February decision to commence a preemptive veto of the Pebble Mine project, a job-rich proposal to develop America’s largest U.S. copper and gold mine in southwest Alaska.”
The Obama administration has been devoted to stopping all kinds of projects that might generate jobs and revenue from projects like the Pebble Mine. Its opposition to the building of the Keystone XL pipeline is the best known example, but the EPA’s “war on coal” has closed many mines in addition to coal-fired plants needed to provide electricity.
The EPA is requesting jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the nation and this has been called “the largest land grab in the history of the world.” So it is not just public lands that are affected, but private lands as well.
The continuing drama of a President willing to lie about the climate continues with the release of a report, the National Climate Assessment. It is a repeat of all the lies that have been generated by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“The climate report,” said Dan Kish, a Senior Vice President of the Institute for Energy Research, “bears a strong resemblance to the IPCC report, only with less science and more rhetoric.” It is “just another attempt to justify more government intervention in American’s lives and more attacks on affordable energy and economic growth.”
Like Obamacare, the new report is, said Kish, “intentionally confusing and misleading.”
“Throughout his entire presidency,” said Kish, “Obama has promoted policies that have discouraged the use of our vast energy resources, including blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, slowing energy development on government lands and water, and forcing new restrictions on all forms of energy that Americans have used to become the number one economy in the world. Under this administration, even cows are not spared as emission sources that must be controlled in Washington.”
Marlo Lewis, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, writing on Fox News, identified the political agenda of the climate report “designed to scare people and build political support for unpopular policies such as carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and EPA regulatory mandates.” Item by item, he noted the lies put forth by the report.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity responded to the latest climate report in a comparable, direct manner. Laura Sheehan, a Senior Vice President of the ACCCE, said, “Instead of flying his cabinet members around the world, President Obama and his deputies should take time to visit communities impacted by a much more dangerous threat; this administration’s costly regulatory crusade.”
“The Obama Administration,” said Sheehen, “consistently fails to acknowledge the enormous industry investments and advancements in clean coal technologies, place a wholly unmerited target on our back to achieve political gains; when in reality, America’s coal fleet is responsible for nearly 40 percent of our nation’s electricity and just a tiny fraction of the world’s carbon emissions.”
“Thanks to the industry’s investment of $188 billion, major emissions from coal-fueled power plants have been reduced by nearly 90 percent,” said Sheehan. “The industry plans to invest another $100 billion over the next decade to develop and deploy clean coal technology further reducing emissions.”
Left unsaid is that carbon emissions, as far as the climate is concerned, play a very minor role. Moreover, all those investments have been forced on the coal power industry by ever increasing levels of regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. The cost is passed along to electricity consumers—all of us—as a necessary increase.
An outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s energy and climate policies, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said, “This report is part of the game the president is playing to distract Americans from his unchecked regulatory agenda that is costing our nation middle class jobs, new economic opportunities, and our ability to be energy independent.”
The report comes at a time when numerous polls demonstrate that climate change is a very low priority for most Americans. A Wall Street Journal/NBC poll in January found that “climate change” ranked last on a list of l5 issues when people were asked which ones the administration should make its priorities.
April seems to be the month in which the Supreme Court devotes itself to decisions that have no basis in real science and can do maximum damage to the economy. Invariably, the cases are brought against the Environmental Protection Agency and are decided in its favor.
In April 2007, the Court decided that carbon dioxide, the second most essential gas for all life on the planet was “a pollutant”, the definition the EPA had applied to it in order to regulate it. Now comes word that the Court had concluded that the EPA may regulate power-plant emissions that blow across state lines as per a 2011 regulation, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule. Not content having put nearly 150 or more coal-fired power plants out of commission, the Court’s rule now gives them the authority to do the same thing to about a thousand power plants in the eastern and western regions of the U.S. that will have to adopt new pollution controls or reduce operations.
In effect, the Court has just agreed to a regulation that represents a major increase in the cost of electricity in 28 states deemed to be polluting the air in those around them. The EPA’s claims that this will save lives they attribute to the alleged pollution is as bogus as all the rest of their claims, the purpose of which is to undermine the nation’s economy in every way it can.
James M. Taylor, the Heartland Institute’s Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy said of Tuesday’s decision that “It is a shame that the U.S. Supreme Court continues to empower EPA to issue nonsensical interpretations of statutes with the primary goal of amassing more money and power.”
Every day the press is filled with reports of environmental groups suing to ensure that no new providers of electricity can be built. The Environmental Protection Agency has instituted all manner of regulations intended to shut down coal-fired plants and they are based on the total lie that carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” are causing the Earth to warm. The science cited is entirely without merit and the Earth is cooling, not warming, and has been for the past seventeen years.
As winters grow colder, it is putting a tremendous demand on the nation’s electrical grid. In a recent commentary, Steve Gorham, the author of “The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania”, quoted Philip Moeller, Commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, “the experience of this past winter indicates that the power grid is now already at the limit.”
“EPA policies,” said Gorham, “such as the Mercury and Air Toxics rule and the Section 316 Cooling Water Rule, are forcing the closure of many coal-fired plants, which provided 39 percent of U.S. electricity last year. American Electric Power, a provider of about ten percent of the electricity to eastern states, will close almost one quarter of the firm’s coal-fired generating plants in the next fourteen months. Eighty-nine percent (89%) of the power scheduled for closure was needed to meet electricity demand in January. Not all of this capacity has replacement plans.”
Before Obama was elected, coal-fired plants provided fifty percent (50%) of the nation’s electricity.
What is the Obama administration’s response to this?
In a letter of advice to Peter Carr, dated August 19, 1785, Thomas Jefferson said “He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions”
Considering that all but the most dense know that President Obama is now famous for lying repeatedly to secure public support for the Affordable Care Act –“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”—we are all at a point of history in which this contemptible behavior by the President is being replicated by Democratic Party politicians seeking to be elected or reelected.
It is so bad that Karl Rove devoted a column to it in a recent edition of The Wall Street Journal. “The lesson many Democrats seem to have taken away is that the benefits of misleading voters outweigh the downsides. At least that view seems to be guiding Democrats in the battle for the Senate, especially the work of Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC.” Rove cited a number of campaign ads, saying “Campaigns often make shaky claims, but these Democrat ads are flat-out falsehoods.”
Naturally, Republican candidates are fighting back, but they are not the only Americans fighting the lies that seem to flow ceaselessly from the government these days. In the recent confrontation with Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) put forth the absurd lie that it was about protecting some species of tortoise. The real issue was Bundy’s longtime refusal to pay grazing fees for lands his family had used for well over a hundred years.
As for the tortoise, the Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that “The federal government has killed more tortoises than Mr. Bundy’s cattle ever could. For from threatened, the tortoise is so abundant that, as of a few years ago, more than 10,000 had been collected from the Las Vegas Valley, and tens of thousands of tortoises live as pets in Southern Nevada.”
If the BLM could make any claim to being good stewards of the land that belongs to the federal government one might be more sympathetic, but the BLM is small potatoes compared to the avalanche of lies that pours forth from an Environmental Protection Agency that feels free to reinterpret the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts any way they want. The EPA has recently requested jurisdiction over all public and private streams in the U.S. that are “intermittent, season and rain-dependent”; in short, every drop of water on every inch of land. Goodbye private property—the very essence of capitalism.
With Obama demonstrating how easy it is to alter elements of the Affordable Care Act to suit political purposes, particularly when it would affect the outcome of his own and the forthcoming midterm elections, is it any wonder that others throughout his administration feel the same way?
The Obama first and current terms are monuments of lies. The most blatant, prior to the 2012 elections, was to claim that the Sept.
Built on a foundation of sand, the Leaning Tower of Pisa would have toppled over long ago, if not for ingenious engineering projects that keep it from tilting any further. The same thing is true of ethanol, automobile mileage, power plant pollution and many other environmental policies.
Not only are they built on flimsy foundations of peak oil, sustainability and dangerous manmade climate change. They are perpetuated by garbage in-garbage out computer models and a system that rewards activists, politicians, bureaucrats and corporations that support the hypotheses and policies.
At the heart of this system is the increasingly secretive and deceptive U.S. Environmental Protection Administration. Among its perpetrators are two ideologically driven regulators who are responsible for many of today’s excessive environmental regulations. When the corruption is combined with the EPA’s history of regulatory overkill and empire building, it paints a portrait of an agency that’s out of control.
EPA’s culture of misconduct has already raised congressional hackles over the misuse of government credit cards (a recent EPA audit found that 93% of purchases were personal and contrary to agency guidelines); former regional EPA administrator (and now Sierra Club official) Al Amendariz wanting to “crucify” oil companies to make examples of them; and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, who masqueraded as “Richard Windsor,” to avoid revelation and oversight of her emails with activists.
However, these sorry tales pale in comparison to damaging EPA malfeasance detailed in a new U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee minority staff report about convicted felon and con artist John Beale. This guy was convicted of bilking taxpayers out of $900,000 – by convincing EPA bosses and colleagues that he was a CIA agent, failing to show up for work for months, but continuing to receive his six-figure salary. However, these were minor transgressions compared to what he was not prosecuted for.
Beale has admitted he had no legislative or environmental policy experience prior to being hired. Yet he became the lead official for the nation’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone and Particulate Matter. He and Robert Brenner, his friend and immediate supervisor at EPA, concocted a nefarious plan that used manipulated scientific studies, faulty or even bogus regulatory cost assessments, “heavy-handed management of interagency review processes,” and even illegal experiments on human test subjects, to impose increasingly tougher, job-killing regulations on US industries.
One of Beale & Brenner’s first actions was to work with the American Lung Association in 1997 in a sue-and-settle arrangement, which led to ozone and particulate matter standards. This underhanded practice enables EPA officials to meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors and agree to new proposed regulations. Later, the group files a “friendly suit,” and a court orders the agency to adopt the pre-arranged rules. Meanwhile, EPA awarded the ALA $20 million between 2001 and 2010. (Had a business had such an arrangement, it would likely have been prosecuted as an illegal kickback.)
The EPW Committee’s report notes that Beale & Brenner fine-tuned the sue-and-settle idea – and then intentionally overstated the benefits and understated the costs of new regulations. As a result, Beale & Brenner successfully rammed the PM2.5 and ozone standards through the EPA’s approval process and set the stage for myriad additional regulations that likewise did not receive appropriate scientific scrutiny.