Posts Tagged ‘Pressure Groups’

Build the Keystone Pipeline, Already!

by Paul Driessen on Monday, February 3rd, 2014

This is article 246 of 264 in the topic energy

President Obama frequently says he wants to turn the economy around, put America back to work, produce more energy, improve public safety, and open new markets to goods stamped “Made in the USA.” In his State of the Union address he said, if congressional inaction continues, “I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.”

Unfortunately, like Arafat, he never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity to do all these things.

Most Americans are no longer fooled by empty hope and change hype. In December only 74,000 jobs were created (many of them low-paying part-time seasonal positions), while 374,000 more people gave up looking for work. Not surprisingly, recent polls have found that three-quarters of Americans say the country still appears to be in a recession, two-thirds don’t trust the President to make the right decisions for the country, and barely 30% say the nation is “heading in the right direction.”

The President needs to use his pen and phone to free our energy, economy and entrepreneurial instincts. But ANWR, OCS, HF, KXL and other solutions were AWOL from the SOTU. They were sacrificed on the CO2 and CMGW altar, by the POTUS, EPA, DOI and DOE, in obeisance to the EDF, NRDC, other environmentalist pressure groups, and assorted unelected, unaccountable, unconstitutional autocrats.

(Don’t you love Washington-speak – from the land of acronyms, that pricey patch of real estate on the banks of the Potomac River, bordered by reality and places where people actually work to earn a living, despite presidents and hordes of legislators and regulators doing their level best to make that difficult. For those whose Wash-speak is as bad as their Spanish and German, translations are provided below.)*

Our nation is blessed with vast energy, metallic, mineral, forest and other resources, waiting to be tapped. But they are locked up in favor of crony-capitalist, eco-unfriendly, land-hungry, subsidy-dependent, nigh-useless pseudo-alternatives that are dearly beloved by utopian environmentalists – and by politicians hungry for campaign contributions from businesses that they repay with billions in other people’s money, taken from taxpayers at the point of an IRS gun to prop up renewable energy schemes.

Our hydrocarbon wealth especially offers amazing benefits: improved human safety, health, welfare and living standards, in a more stable world, with new sources of jobs, wealth and income equality. Not tapping these resources is contrary to Obama’s promises and our national interest. It is immoral.

Of all the opportunities arrayed before him, the 1,179-mile Alberta to Texas Keystone XL pipeline (KXL) is the most “shovel ready.” Indeed, it awaits merely a presidential phone call or signature, to slash bureaucratic red tape, streamline the permitting process, and create construction and manufacturing jobs. Some 40,000 jobs in fact – more than half as many as were created nationwide last December.

As I have pointed out before (here, here, here and here), there are compelling reasons why the President should end this interminable six-years-and-counting dilatory KXL review process – right now.

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Stop Denying Climate Science and ACT! (Before People Realize it’s a Scam)

by Paul Driessen on Saturday, August 31st, 2013

This is article 260 of 327 in the topic Global Warming

The full-court press is on. Alarmist scientists, politicians, pressure groups, newspapers, ministers, rabbis and bureaucrats want Americans to “stop stalling” on climate change. They demand that we embrace “revenue-neutral” carbon taxes and carbon dioxide regulations, before it’s “too late” to prevent “catastrophic” global warming, “monster” storms and rising seas that will “inundate our coastal cities.”

Anyone dissenting from this “call to action” is a climate change “denier” – a pejorative devised to vilify and silence anyone who rejects this agenda, by linking our views to Holocaust denial. What nonsense.

All of us “deniers” know climate change is real and has been throughout Earth’s many cycles of warming and cooling, storms and droughts, ice ages and little ice ages. Striations (scratches) on a chunk of Niagara Escarpment limestone that I dug out a mile from my boyhood home memorialize stones dragged by the last glacier that buried Wisconsin under a mile of ice. Countless climate changes have buffeted our Earth.

What we deny are assertions that human carbon dioxide emissions have replaced the myriad of complex, interrelated planetary, solar and cosmic forces that caused previous climate reverberations, and that what we are experiencing now is unprecedented and likely to be catastrophic.

Not one of the alarmist claims is supported by actual observations or scientific evidence. Even worse, the claims are getting more ridiculous with every passing day: “children aren’t going to know what snow is,” crime is rising, oceans won’t smell the same, and storms are getting worse – because of global warming.

Contrary to the hype and hysteria, our planet stopped warming 16 years ago, even as atmospheric carbon dioxide levels continued to climb. That prompted climate catastrophists to start talking about “climate change” and blame every “extreme weather” event on CO2 emissions.

As I have pointed out before, far from being a “dangerous pollutant” (as President Obama and EPA keep saying), carbon dioxide makes all life on Earth possible. It makes food crops and other plants grow faster and better, loads them with more nutrients, helps them survive droughts, and makes our planet greener.

This trace gas has almost nothing to do with planetary warming or climate change. But it’s worth noting that the United States has slashed its CO2 emissions more than almost any other country – sending them back to where they were 30 years ago, thanks to the environmentalists’ latest target: fracking! And the daily human contribution of CO2 to our atmosphere is equivalent to a penny out of $1 million!

CO2 levels have “soared” to 400 ppm (0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere) not because of the USA or other developed countries – but because China, India and dozens of other countries are working desperately to lift billions of people out of abject poverty. To do that, they need fossil fuels, which provide 80% of the energy that makes modern civilization and living standards possible – and these countries are not going to slash their hydrocarbon use. To suggest otherwise reflects callous contempt for the needs of families that want to take their rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people.

No one would suggest that the absence of extreme weather events over a particular time period is due to humans. However, recent history certainly contradicts incessant claims that our weather is getting worse.

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Fracking: An Existential Threat to Green Dogma

by Paul Driessen on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

This is article 164 of 264 in the topic energy

The Sierra Club and other environmental pressure groups are redoubling their efforts to “stop fracking in its tracks.” No wonder. The technology is an existential threat to fundamental “green” dogmas.

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing is a true “game changer.” In less than two years, this proven but still rapidly advancing technology has obliterated longstanding claims that we are running out of petroleum. Instead, the USA now finds itself blessed with centuries of oil and gas.

Poland and Estonia are using it, China has invited companies to the Middle Kingdom, Britain, Israel and Jordan are evaluating their shale deposits, and other nations are following suit – coaxing oil and natural gas from shale and other rock formations that previously had refused to yield their hydrocarbon riches.

By making more natural gas available, fracking has reduced the US price for this clean-burning fuel to under $3 per thousand cubic feet (or million Btu), compared to a peak of $8 a few years ago.

Natural gas is also supplanting coal for electricity generation. Due to excessive, mostly unnecessary new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, many US coal-fired power plants are shutting down. Replacement plants are far more likely to be gas-powered than nuclear, especially in the near term.

Natural gas makes heating and electricity more affordable for families, hospitals, government buildings and businesses; feed stocks less expensive for makers of plastics, paints, fabrics and other petrochemical products; and the prospect of natural gas-power vehicles more enticing, without mandates or subsidies. That translates into thousands of jobs created or saved.

Companies are keeping chemical plants open that were slated to close, due to soaring prices for oil that they now can readily replace with cheap natural gas. Shell plans to build a $2-biillion ethane “cracking” plant near Pittsburgh – creating 10,000 construction jobs and 10,000 permanent jobs – thanks to abundant gas from Marcellus Shale. Louisiana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas and other states are reporting subsidy-free employment and revenue gains from shale gas development. More are likely to follow, as companies seek new ways to capitalize on access to abundant, inexpensive, reliable gas.

Natural gas also provides essential backup power for wind turbines. Without such backup, electricity generation from these projects would plummet to zero 70-80% of the time, affecting assembly lines, computers, televisions, air conditioners and other electrical equipment dozens of times every day.

Even harder for environmentalists to accept, cheap natural gas also makes it harder to justify building redundant wind turbines that require large subsidies to generate far more expensive electricity only 5-8 hours a day, on average, while killing large numbers of raptors, migratory birds and bats. It makes more sense to simply build the gas turbines, and forget about the mostly useless wind turbines.

Fracking is also unlocking oil in the vast Bakken Shale formations beneath Montana, North Dakota and Saskatchewan. Oil production there has shot from 3,000 barrels a day in 2006 to nearly 500,000 today – creating thousands of jobs … and a growing need for the Keystone XL pipeline to Texas.

In response, eco-activists are spreading unfounded fears about this proven technology. Using words like “reckless,” “dangerous” and “poisonous,” they say unregulated fracking companies are operating with little concern for ecological values and causing cancer, earthquakes and groundwater contamination.

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In Radio Wars, Left Wants to Lower the Other Side Rather than Lift Their Own

by Michael Medved on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This is article 251 of 566 in the topic Media

Attempts to advance a leftwing media agenda by destroying Rush Limbaugh’s radio show will surely fail -just as efforts to advance a progressive economic agenda by punishing the nation’s most productive corporations and individuals have always failed.

The raging controversy over the nation’s top-rated conservative commentator won’t rearrange the landscape of talk radio, but it does highlight the odd leftist preference for attacking the success of the other side rather than promoting progress for their own.

Boycott threats recently led more than 98 companies to suspend their sponsorship of the Limbaugh show, but Rush and his associates insist (very plausibly) that many other firms have eagerly rushed in (you’ll pardon the expression) to fill the gap. To underline that point, El Rushbo even turned away one repentant sponsor who apparently changed his mind and wanted to come back to the show after a few days off the air; the indignant host declares he wants no part of on-air partners whose support for his work seems wobbly or tentative.

Meanwhile, the Limbaugh apology for crude language (including the epithets “slut” and “prostitute”) in his three days of ridicule of free-contraception activist Sandra Fluke poses an uncomfortable question for his critics: now that he’s said he’s sorry, repeatedly and somewhat emotionally, what, exactly, do they mean to accomplish with their continued pressure to try to force sponsors to sever ties with the show?

Other than raising big money for their anti-Rush jihad, the leftist pressure groups clearly intend to reduce Limbaugh’s national reach and media influence or, even better, to put an end to his show altogether. They tip their hand when they claim that his attack on Ms. Fluke is only typical of the “hate speech” which has always characterized his show. They object to far more than a few minutes of one particularly controversial monologue; they resent the very existence of a program that’s been wildly successful for 24 years and spawned a powerful conservative talk industry which reaches an overall weekly audience of more than 40 million and which more than one-in-eight Americans describe as “very credible.”

Limbaugh’s critics seem unable to accept the fact that many of their fellow citizens actually appreciate the opportunity to listen to his opinions on a regular basis, so rather than persuade those poor, benighted souls to listen to something else, they mean to take away the broadcast that they enjoy.

 

A version of this column appeared originally in THE DAILY BEAST.

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