The constant harangue of climate-change religion

The following article is taken in its entirety from the Wall Street Journal.  Because it is authored by a United States’ senator and because this blog does not derive any compensation from its publication, we believe its use here comes under the Fair Use Doctrine

The Climate-Change Religion

Earth Day provided a fresh opening for Obama to raise alarms about global warming based on beliefs, not science.

LAMAR SMITH
April 23, 2015 7:35 p.m. ET

‘Today, our planet faces new challenges, but none pose a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” President Obama wrote in his proclamation for Earth Day on Wednesday. “As a Nation, we must act before it is too late.”

Secretary of State John Kerry, in an Earth Day op-ed for USA Today, declared that climate change has put America “on a dangerous path—along with the rest of the world.”

Both the president and Mr. Kerry cited rapidly warming global temperatures and ever-more-severe storms caused by climate change as reasons for urgent action.

Given that for the past decade and a half global-temperature increases have been negligible, and that the worsening-storms scenario has been widely debunked, the pronouncements from the Obama administration sound more like scare tactics than fact-based declarations.

At least the United Nations’ then-top climate scientist, Rajendra Pachauri, acknowledged—however inadvertently—the faith-based nature of climate-change rhetoric when he resigned amid scandal in February. In a farewell letter, he said that “the protection of Planet Earth, the survival of all species and sustainability of our ecosystems is more than a mission. It is my religion and my dharma.”

Instead of letting political ideology or climate “religion” guide government policy, we should focus on good science. The facts alone should determine what climate policy options the U.S. considers. That is what the scientific method calls for: inquiry based on measurable evidence. Unfortunately this administration’s climate plans ignore good science and seek only to advance a political agenda.

Climate reports from the U.N.—which the Obama administration consistently embraces—are designed to provide scientific cover for a preordained policy. This is not good science. Christiana Figueres, the official leading the U.N.’s effort to forge a new international climate treaty later this year in Paris, told reporters in February that the real goal is “to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years.” In other words, a central objective of these negotiations is the redistribution of wealth among nations. It is apparent that President Obama shares this vision.

The Obama administration recently submitted its pledge to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The commitment would lock the U.S. into reducing greenhouse-gas emissions more than 25% by 2025 and “economy-wide emission reductions of 80% or more by 2050.” The president’s pledge lacks details about how to achieve such goals without burdening the economy, and it doesn’t quantify the specific climate benefits tied to his pledge.

America will never meet the president’s arbitrary targets without the country being subjected to costly regulations, energy rationing and reduced economic growth. These policies won’t make America stronger. And these measures will have no significant impact on global temperatures. In a hearing last week before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, of which I am chairman, climate scientist Judith Curry testified that the president’s U.N pledge is estimated to prevent only a 0.03 Celsius temperature rise. That is three-hundredths of one degree.

In June 2014 testimony before my committee, former Assistant Secretary for Energy Charles McConnell noted that the president’s Clean Power Plan—requiring every state to meet federal carbon-emission-reduction targets—would reduce a sea-level increase by less than half the thickness of a dime. Policies like these will only make the government bigger and Americans poorer, with no environmental benefit.

The White House’s Climate Assessment implies that extreme weather is getting worse due to human-caused climate change. The president regularly makes this unsubstantiated claim—most recently in his Earth Day proclamation, citing “more severe weather disasters.”

Even the U.N. doesn’t agree with him on that one: In its 2012 Special Report on Extreme Events, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says there is “high agreement” among leading experts that long-term trends in weather disasters are not attributable to human-caused climate change. Why do the president and others in his administration keep repeating this untrue claim?

Climate alarmists have failed to explain the lack of global warming over the past 15 years. They simply keep adjusting their malfunctioning climate models to push the supposedly looming disaster further into the future. Following the U.N.’s 2008 report, its claims about the melting of Himalayan glaciers, the decline of crop yields and the effects of sea-level rise were found to be invalid. The Inter Academy Council, a multinational scientific organization, reviewed the report in 2010 and identified “significant shortcomings in each major step of [the U.N.] assessment process.”

The U.N. process is designed to generate alarmist results. Many people don’t realize that the most-publicized documents of the U.N. reports are not written by scientists. In fact, the scientists who work on the underlying science are forced to step aside to allow partisan political representatives to develop the “Summary for Policy Makers.” It is scrubbed to minimize any suggestion of scientific uncertainty and is publicized before the actual science is released. The Summary for Policy Makers is designed to give newspapers and headline writers around the world only one side of the debate.

Yet those who raise valid questions about the very real uncertainties surrounding the understanding of climate change have their motives attacked, reputations savaged and livelihoods threatened. This happens even though challenging prevailing beliefs through open debate and critical thinking is fundamental to the scientific process.

The intellectual dishonesty of senior administration officials who are unwilling to admit when they are wrong is astounding. When assessing climate change, we should focus on good science, not politically correct science.”

Mr. Smith, a Republican from Texas, is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Marita Noon: 2015 Not a good year for renewables

Greetings!

Because of my profile in the world of energy, many people send me updates and alerts regarding energy news. I’d received something on Oklahoma’s RPS repeal and another on Texas’. I, or course, knew about the situation in New Mexico. I’d written previously on the RFS and the failure of cellulosic ethanol. But it was reading this line in The Economist—“Some companies, indeed, are starting to give up”–that really sparked the theme for this week’s column: It is a bad time to be in the renewable energy industry (attached and pasted-in-below).

I believe that when you tie all these stories together, as I have done, a trend is clear. 2015 may go down in history as the year renewable energy died. No wonder the solar industry is being so aggressive in its efforts to sell solar panels. It has to get it while the getting is good.

Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy It is a bad time to be in the renewable energy industry. Thanks for your interest!

Marita Noon

Marita82313

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: April 27

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1284

It is a bad time to be in the renewable energy industry

2015 may go down in the books as the year support for renewable energy died—and we are only a few months in. Policy adjustments—whether for electricity generation or transportation fuels—are in the works on both the state and federal levels.

While the public is generally positive about the idea of renewable energy, the reality of years-long policy implementation that offers it special favors has changed public opinions. An October 2014 report in Oklahoma’s Enid News titled: “Wind worries?: A decade after welcoming wind farms, states reconsider,” offers this insightful summary:

“A decade ago, states offered wind-energy developers an open-armed embrace, envisioning a bright future for an industry that would offer cheap electricity, new jobs and steady income for large landowners, especially in rural areas with few other economic prospects. To ensure the opportunity didn’t slip away, lawmakers promised little or no regulation and generous tax breaks. But now that wind turbines stand tall across many parts of the nation’s windy heartland, some leaders in Oklahoma and other states fear their efforts succeeded too well, attracting an industry that gobbles up huge subsidies, draws frequent complaints and uses its powerful lobby to resist any reforms.”

But, it isn’t just wind energy that has fallen from favor. 2015 state and federal legislation reflects the “reconsider” prediction. Likewise “powerful” lobbyists are resisting the proposed reforms.

Oklahoma is just one state in what has become a new trend.

About a decade ago, when more than half of the states enacted strict Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), Oklahoma, and a few other states, agreed to voluntary targets. Now, nearly one-third of those states are reconsidering the legislation that sounded so good in a different energy era. Back then, it was widely believed that there was an energy shortage and “dealing with global warming” was a higher public priority.

“Roughly 30 bills relating to the Oklahoma wind industry have been filed in the state legislature in the 2015 session, including at least one targeting the tax breaks and others attempting to alter regulatory policies,” reports Fox News. On April 16, the Oklahoma House voted, 78-3, to eliminate the wind energy tax credit. The measure now moves to the Senate, which will review a companion bill introduced by Senator Mike Mazzei—it is expected to pass and will likely be headed to Governor Mary Fallin soon.

Oklahoma isn’t the first state to reconsider its renewable energy policies. That distinction goes to Ohio, which in May 2014, passed legislation that paused the state’s RPS for two years. Governor Kasich signed it in June. Meanwhile, according to Eli Miller, the Ohio State Director for Americans for Prosperity: “the economic well-being of our working families and businesses can be factored in before moving forward.” The International Business Times projects that the two years a commission has to study will lead to a “permanent reduction.”

Earlier this year, West Virginia became the first state to repeal its RPS. With unanimous support in the Senate and a 95-4 vote in the House, renewable energy supporters are dismayed. Calling it “pure political theater and probably a flop,” Nick Lawton, Staff Attorney at the Green Energy Institute dismisses the move: “West Virginia’s withdrawal of its weak renewable energy policy is unlikely to significantly change that state’s energy markets.” Nancy Guthrie, one of the four Democrats who voted “No,” did so because she believes “we are running out of coal, it’s that simple”—which is, of course, totally incorrect.

Last month the Texas Senate voted to end its RPS and another program that, according to the Star Telegram, “helped fuel the state’s years-long surge in wind energy production.” The bill now moves to the House State Affairs Committee. It is expected to pass the House and be signed by Governor Greg Abbott. While Texas is known for its leadership in wind energy, the termination of the RPS will impact the solar industry as well. Charlie Hemmeline, executive director of the Texas Solar Power Association, states: “Increasing uncertainty for our industry raises the cost of doing business in the state.”

Coming up, Kansas, North Carolina, and Michigan have legislation that revisits the states’ favorable renewable energy policies.

New Mexico and Colorado had bills to repeal or revise the RPS that passed in one chamber, but not in the other.

While Louisiana doesn’t have an RPS, it does have generous tax credits for solar panel installations that have exploded the cost to the state’s taxpayers. The credits were originally expected to cost the state $500,000 million a year. In 2014 the payouts ballooned to $63.5 according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Repealing or revising the policy is a key priority in the current legislative session.

“Taxpayer support for wind energy is also losing momentum in Congress,” says Fox News. It points out: “Capitol Hill lawmakers at the end of last year did not extend the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC). And in March, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), failed to rally support behind an amendment that would have put a five-year extension on the PTC.”

It is not just wind energy that has lost favor in Congress. The Ethanol mandates—known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—are being re-examined, too.

On January 16, 2015, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) introduced the “Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.”

More recently, a “former Obama economic adviser” issued a report that calls for changes to the 10-year-old RFS. Harvard University Professor Jim Stock served on the Council of Economic Advisers in 2013 and 2014. The Hill states: “His report comes at a time of growing angst among lawmakers, regulators and the industry over the future of the RFS, which mandates fuel refiners blend a certain volume of ethanol and biodiesel into their traditional gasoline and diesel supplies.” The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) supports the sentiment calling Stock’s report: “a key voice to a growing chorus of people who say the policy isn’t working.” It continues: “The report adds to a growing body of politicians and experts who are questioning the law’s effectiveness amid regulatory uncertainty and lower prices.”

Hawaii, uniquely, has its own ethanol mandate, but it, too, is coming under attack. KHON states: “Nine years after a major change at the gas pump was forced on Hawaii drivers, many are now calling it a failed experiment and want it gone.”

In both the case of Hawaii and the federal government, lawmakers are looking toward advanced biofuels that don’t raise food costs. However, the Environmental Protection Agency—tasked with implementing the RFS—has repeatedly waived or reduced the cellulosic biofuel requirements because, despite more than $126 billion invested since 2003, the industry has yet to produce commercially viable quantities of fuel.

Addressing dwindling investment in biofuels and growing skepticism, The Economist, on April 18, says: “Campaigners generally find it easier to fulminate against those which damage the environment or food security than to explain exactly how they ought to be grown.” It concludes: “Whether such bright ideas can be commercialised at scale is a different question. Some companies, indeed, are starting to give up. Several algae-to-fuel ventures in America are switching to the manufacture of high-value chemicals instead. Sunlight is a great source of energy. Biology may not be the best way of storing it.”

And this doesn’t include the public’s failure to embrace higher-priced electric cars—even with tens of thousands of dollars of subsidies and tax credits.

Looking at all the policy reviews, the trend is clear. As Watchdog.org, in a report titled: “Why repealing the renewable energy mandates is good for the economy,” concludes: “The best policy for the states is to leave energy consumption decisions to consumers in the market rather than legislate them.”

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.

She may be the demos candidate; pray she will never be president

The video and narrative found from following the next link were posted by Doug Powers, a writer for the Michelle Malkin Blog and website.  What a terribly grand person he references in his piece:

Our Next President … Surely Not

Conspiracy Brews 4.25.15

ConspiracyBrews

If you like your coffee and your politics flavorful, served with a heaping dose of civility by a diverse group of interesting people from all parts of the political spectrum then you should be joining us every Saturday. Started in 2007 over coffee and lively conversation by a group of concerned friends and neighbors, ‘Conspiracy Brews’ is committed to finding solutions to some of our State’s toughest problems. Our zest for constructive political discourse is only equaled by our belief that the only way forward is to exchange our views in a relaxed and friendly setting. For additional information or to be added to our e-mail list contact: ConspiracyBrews@aol.com.
Conspiracy Brews

“Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none.”

Benjamin Franklin
Not your average political discussion group!
April 25, 2015
9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
at
Southwest Secondary Learning Center
10301 Candelaria Rd NE
(northwest corner of Candelaria and Morris)

We think that government should be open and honest at all times.
People from all political parties are welcome.
*** Quotes of the Week ***
“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

Samuel Johnson

“Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them.”

Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

Suggested Topics
— Shall we discuss free-range child-rearing?

— So what is the shape of ABQ (moral, economic, and criminal, not geometric)?

— Shall we discuss the potential Republican candidates and Democratic candidates for president?

(Light Quotes of the week)
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the hell she is.”

Ellen DeGeneres

“Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.”

Redd Foxx

“An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger.”

Dan Rather

——-

Marita Bonus: Solar tax credits are not “conservative” or “free market” “free market

Greetings!

I originally wrote this extra piece as an exclusive op-ed for The Advocate. Yesterday, I heard from the editor. He’ll publish it as a Letter to the Editor at 450 words. I quickly edited it down and sent it back. I then, added in the radio story and a few other items for this version. I hope you’ll choose to give this important story an audience by posting it, passing it on and/or personally enjoying Solar tax credits are not “conservative” or “free market” (attached and pasted-in-below).

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: April 21, 2015

Energy Commentary from Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 962

Solar tax credits are not “conservative” or “free market”

The solar industry has poured a startling amount of effort and funding—much of it backed by California-based, billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who is heavily invested in solar—into attempting to gain the legislative favor needed for it to survive.

Nationwide, the growth of the renewable power industry is dependent on a combination of big government mandates, tax credits, and subsidies—making it the perfect target of wrath from limited-government, free-market, and/or fiscally-conservative individuals and policymakers.

Some proposed legislation would prop up the industry (Florida), and force it to stand on its own (Louisiana).

In Louisiana, about 80 percent of the cost of solar installation is paid for through a combination of federal and state tax credits.

In discussing the state’s dramatic $1.6 billion budget shortfall, The Advocate’s, Mark Ballard, on April 6, aptly pointed out that the solar industry promises a “full-court press to protect” Louisiana’s generous tax credits that it says are “vital to its survival.” Ballard cites State Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, who called the solar tax credit’s cost to the state’s taxpayers: “one of the fastest-growing. The solar credit cost $63.5 million in 2014, up from $9 million in 2013.” Plans to ratchet back—not remove—the tax credit, Ballard reports, could save the state $57 million.

Facing the loss of the essential-to-survival tax credit, legislators have been besieged by solar supporters. State Senator Robert Adley says, many, claiming to be “a businessman,” have sat in his office to plead the case. He snaps back: “You are not a businessman. A real businessman has skin in the game; has his own money at risk. With eighty percent of your costs coming from the taxpayers, you don’t depend on the market, you depend on the government. You are feeding at the trough.”

Representative J. Lance Harris agrees: “This subsidy absolutely makes no sense, there’s no energy crisis! We’ve got plenty of oil, plenty of natural gas, and plenty of electricity. What if the taxpayer subsidized eighty percent of the cost of a new Porsche for anyone who wanted one? There’s no difference; it’s misguided and ridiculous.”

As part of its “full-court press,” the solar industry is bringing the Tea Party’s Judas Iscariot equivalent to town. Debbie Dooley, who was part of the original Tea Party movement back in 2009, has since capitalized on the affiliation by claiming—as she did in her April 7 Facebook post crowing about “speaking directly after Al Gore” at an event in New York—that she is “advancing energy choice in a conservative way through free market competition.”

A power source that depends on big government handouts of taxpayer dollars for “survival” doesn’t qualify as “conservative” or “free market.”

During a recent trip to Louisiana, I was discussing the state’s generous solar subsidies on Jeff Crouere’s Ringside Politics radio show. He asked me how the solar subsidies were working. I explained that the answer depended on which side of the equation you stood. For the solar industry and homeowners, who benefitted from the subsidies, it was working well. But for the taxpayers and ratepayers: not so good. We chatted for a few minutes about the situation and, then, had a caller who couldn’t have been more perfect if I’d scripted him.

The caller planned to dispute my argument and, instead, ended up reinforcing it.

He told about his rooftop solar system—with which he was very happy. Why wouldn’t he be happy? He got a $40,000 system for $7000. He explained that, now, after five years of payments, his electricity was virtually “free.”

I was pleased that the caller addressed the system’s $40,000 cost. If one only listens to the ads, you’d think a solar system is cheap. He went on to say that he “got a generous check from Bobby Jindal” and he “took advantage of the federal incentives”—which resulted in his $7000 cost. He bragged that he amortized the cost over five years. He argued with me over my assertion that a few rooftop solar customers penalized the entire ratebase.

At the end of the call, Crouere asked for my response. I pointed out how the caller made my point. Courtesy of Louisiana and federal taxpayers, he got a $40,000 system for $7000. Because the utility is required to buy the surplus electricity his system generates (when it does) during the sunny days at full retail, known as net metering, and he buys it back at night, his bill is essentially zero. But any business owner knows that you can’t buy your product at retail and sell it at retail and stay in business for long. Because of people like the caller, who as Senator Adley stated, are “feeding at the trough,” costs for all ratepayers must increase to cover all the expenses of generating and delivering electricity that he is using but not paying for.

Yes, the caller benefitted from the system, but taxpayers and ratepayers are the victims of his winfall Like Dooley, he believed it was a free-market choice. Yet, government subsidies picking solar as a winner, make it possible—even attractive—for him.

The Advocate quotes Dooley as saying: “conservatives want to champion free market choice, and not let the government pick the winners and losers”—though that is exactly what the state’s solar subsidies, for which she shills, do. No other industry receives 63.5 million of Louisiana taxpayer’s dollars in one year. Yes, the industry claims it has created 1200 jobs, which costs taxpayers almost $53,000 per job.

In defending the subsidies, solar supporters, like Dooley, claim that the fossil fuel industry gets them, too. However, in 2013, the state’s oil-and-gas industry paid nearly $1.5 billion in state taxes and supports 64,669 jobs in the extraction, pipeline, and refining industries—not including indirect taxes and jobs. The petroleum industry gives; solar takes away.

As the Louisiana legislature looks at ways to fix the budget deficit, it is clear where cuts, rather than encouragement, should take place.

Marita Noon is an author and the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She educates the public and influences policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. CARE recently released the policy paper Solar Power in the U.S., which offers a comprehensive look at the impacts of solar power on the nation’s consumers.

Marita Noon: Deepwater Horizon five years later: lessons learned

Marita Noon’s very latest

Deepwater Horizon five years later: lessons learned
Five years ago, following a blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers, the nation was spellbound by the 87-day visual of oil flowing freely into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the Macondo well. The 3.1 million barrels of spewed oil has been called “the world’s largest accidental marine spill” and “the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

Looking back, CNN reports: “There were dire predictions of what would follow. Environmentalists and others braced for an environmental collapse on a massive scale.” Indeed, there were extreme claims including one from Matt Simmons, known for his peak oil alarmism, who predicted the crude would “float all the way to Ireland.”

Now, five years later, however, we see that, while the Deepwater Horizon accident was a tragedy, the dramatic claims were hyperbole. Nevertheless, lessons have been learned—both regarding the resilience of the environment and safe and reliable offshore operations.

Louisiana’s Senator Vitter reflects: “In the five years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I’ve been working with my colleagues to ensure this kind of tragedy never happens again. The spill, and then President Obama’s completely misguided offshore drilling moratorium, caused economic chaos in Louisiana. Clearly, there are lessons to be learned, and while many important reforms have been made, there is still a lot of work toward recovery and implementing the important RESTORE Act.”

In preparation for the spill’s five-year anniversary, BP issued an extensive report: Environmental Recovery and Restoration¬—which concludes, according to BloombergBusiness, the spill “didn’t do lasting damage to the ecosystem.” It isn’t surprising to hear BP attempt to burnish its badly tarnished image, but after BP has spent $28 billion on clean up and claims, others seem to agree with them.

While marshes were oiled, businesses have struggled, beaches were closed, and the restoration continues, it hasn’t been the ecological cliff that anti-petroleum groups predicted.

Despite the 13 miles of coast that suffered from “heavy oiling,” Science Magazine reports: “Nature has bounced back in surprising ways.” It states: “Brown pelicans were a poster child of the oil spill’s horrors, for instance, but there’s no sign the population as a whole has fallen. Shrimp numbers in the bay actually rose the year after the spill.” And, the state’s bayside sparrows, which had less productive nests in oiled areas, haven’t suffered “a drop in overall numbers.” Common minnows suffered a variety of abnormalities for “up to a year after the spill. Scientists have found no evidence, however,” that they “have caused fish numbers to drop in Louisiana’s estuaries.” Even the ants are starting to “come back and stay.”

Blum & Bergeron exports dried shrimp and is in its third generation of family ownership. It was just recovering from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita when, according to Louis Blum Jr., “Here comes BP.” He says: “It ruined our industry and us for the whole year.” Blum had to let his employees go and nearly closed the business forever. The International Business Times reports: “The company eventually collected about $106,000 from BP.” While it has been a struggle, the employees are back and sales have “returned to pre-spill levels.”

BloombergBusiness confirms: “Wildlife populations have bounced back.” Though dolphins and oysters are an exception, reports indicate that both experienced elevated mortality rates beginning before the spill.

Oysters are fickle and are impacted by “salinity, water temperature, and parasites.” The freshwater used to flush out the oil, combined with Louisiana’s diversion of fresh water into the Gulf and Mississippi River flooding in 2011, have all reduced salinity. Science cites third-generation oysterman Pete Vujnovich’s story. “After the spill, he bought rock and shell for replenishing some of his reefs with money from a compensation fund set up by BP. Those areas seem to be doing well. But older reefs are much less fertile than they were before.” It continues: “Scientists don’t have an answer for him. In 2012 and 2013, researchers put cages of oysters in the bay, some in places with oil, others in places that had dodged the spill, to see how mature oysters fared. They didn’t see a difference.”

Marsh erosion is another problem that began before the spill but went “into overdrive” after. Science points out: Flood control projects along the Mississippi River starve the bay of fresh sediment from upstream. Now, vegetation has grown back and erosion rates have subsided.

In the popular vacation town of Grand Isle, whose beaches remained closed for three years, Jean Landry, a local program manager for The Nature Conservancy says: “This summer feels more positive than any in the last five years. You see people coming back to their summer homes rather than renting them out to cleanup workers.”

The water is clean and “according to the Food and Drug Administration tests on edible seafood, shows no excess of hydrocarbons in the region’s food supply.” It is important to realize, according to the National Research Council estimates, “every year, the equivalent of 560,000 to 1.4 million barrels of oil—perhaps a quarter of the amount that BP spilled—seeps naturally from the floor of the Gulf.”

“The overall message is upbeat,” according to Ed Overton, an LSU chemist, who has spent years tracking chemical changes in the Deepwater oil that washed ashore. As quoted in Science, Overton says: “I think the big story is, it’s remarkable how Mother Nature can cure herself. It’s really hard to find permanent impacts.” Likewise, CNN states: “Ocean conservationist Philippe Cousteau witnessed much of the spill’s aftermath in 2010, but when he returned to the Gulf to dive near an oil rig last month, he was astonished by the abundance of amberjacks, hammerhead sharks and other marine life he saw.”

The Deepwater Horizon spill has taught us a lot about the resiliency of Mother Nature. While the Macondo crude oil didn’t float to Ireland and the permanent impacts are “hard to find,” no one ever wants to experience anything like it again. The accident, according to the Journal of Petroleum Technology, “spawned new technology, improved safety practices, and better operations awareness.”

Some of the new technology to prevent spills from occurring includes major revisions to pressure control equipment and well design standards, such as casing and cementing. For example, new equipment that can shear and seal joints and eliminate non-shearable sections, and technology that can provide information on the wellbore environment in close to real time has been introduced.

Improved safety practice is the focus of the new Center for Offshore Safety (COS), formed by the industry in 2011. COS executive director Charlie Williams reports: “Today the energy industry has established nearly 300 standards to help govern safe and reliable offshore operations”—many of which have been adopted into the Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) new federal regulations.

Addressing operational awareness, Williams says: “I think there were many people that were prepared before Horizon. BSEE has required a lot of new things, including new ways of calculating how big a response you need.” He added: “The detail with which people understand the plan in both companies and the government has improved.”

“This tragedy has made us stronger as we continue to work to improve our state.” Representative Steve Scalise (R-LA) said in a statement. “We have seen increased safety standards on deep-water production platforms in the Gulf, we have seen an increased spill response plan from the energy industry, and we will continue working to ensure the preservation of our beloved wetlands.”

The post-Deepwater Horizon world will continue to need oil and natural gas. Globally, and in the Gulf, drilling is continuing. While the industry will keep making changes and improvements based on the lessons learned at Macondo, we do not live in a risk-free world. We can manage and mitigate the potential hazards.

Dr. Rita Colwell, chairman of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, an independent organization that studies the Gulf of Mexico ecology, the effects of the spill, and methods for cleanup and restoration, said: “It’s very important to know after all the studies are done, the best lessons learned are of where we should go, how we should act and what we should institute if there is a massive spill. We would hope there isn’t, but we have to be realistic. Sometimes accidents happen, and how you go in to work very quickly to minimize the effect on the environment, to maximize the recovery of the oil, to enhance the degradation of whatever is persistent and to understand the public health effects is very important.”

The president of the National Ocean Industries Association, Randall Luthi, agrees. He told me: “No well is worth the loss of a life and the Macondo Well accident was exactly that, an accident. We, in industry, have taken the lessons learned from this in an effort to make a positive out of a very negative situation. By almost everyone’s account, we are wiser, safer and smarter. Our workers live in the Gulf of Mexico region, it is their home, where they work, fish, hunt and raise their families. No one wants another accident.”

Technology and safety standards are important. But, perhaps, the best lesson learned is one that could be applied to all hyperbolic claims about environmental collapse at the hands of mankind: Mother Nature is remarkably resilient. Within a short period of time, she can cure herself.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her

Remaking Hillary … Assembly Required

It looks as though the Hillary crowd is trying to find a way to assemble Hillary to make her more palatable for her presidential run. When they put her together again, it is likely to require the efforts of, “all the King’s horse’s and all the King’s men.”

RoboHill3WebCR-4_14_15

Marita: Sun and wind … free, but expensive to convert

Here’s the latest from Marita ….

The sun and the wind are free, but converting them to reliable electricity is expensive, if not impossible

In an effort to get America off of fossil fuels, “free” solar and wind energy is often touted as the solution. However, in reality, the so-called free energy has high costs and does little to minimize fossil-fuel use or cut greenhouse gases.

Because solar-and-wind energy are not available 24/7—also frequently referenced as not “dispatchable”—incorporating them into the electricity portfolio requires back-up power to be available on demand. When the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, we still expect to have heating or air conditioning, cook our dinners, charge our phones, and use our computers. To do this, requires fossil fuels—typically natural gas “peaking plants,” but depending on what is available, it may be a coal-fueled power plant that is forced to operate inefficiently; releasing more CO2 than it would if allowed to operate as intended.

Think of it this way.

If you want to cook a hamburger, and you have a charcoal grill, you go outside about 30 minutes before you plan to cook. You mound up the charcoal, sprinkle it with lighter fluid, and toss on a match. When the coals are white on the edges, you know they are ready. You put your burger on the grill and cook it for five to eight minutes. Once you remove the burger, the coals are still hot for hours. Ultimately, they burn down to ashes and are cold enough that you can throw them into your plastic trash can, or into the forest. To restart it later in the same day is not efficient.

By comparison, if you are going to cook that same hamburger over natural gas, or propane, you go out five minutes before you plan to grill to heat up the elements. You cook your burger, and you turn it off. No coals, no cool down needed.

Power plants function in a similar fashion.

A coal-fueled power plant cannot easily be turned on and off. It works most efficiently—i.e. cleanly—when it burns continuously. Like the grill, you can add more coal throughout the process to keep the temperature up, which creates the steam that generates electricity.

But, with a natural-gas-fueled power plant, you can easily turn it on and off. So when the wind suddenly stops blowing—with no warning, the gas plant can quickly ramp up to generate the needed power.

As Germany, with the highest implementation of renewable energy of any country, found out, to maintain grid stability, it needs the coal- and natural-gas-fueled power plants. As a result of its policies that favor renewables, such as solar and wind, Germany has had to subsidize its fossil fueled power plants to keep them open.

So, by adding solar and wind power, to the energy mix, we actually increase costs by paying for redundant power supplies—which ultimately, through rate increases, hurts the less fortunate who also have to cover the costs of the renewables.

In the cold weather of Albuquerque’s winter, I received a call from an “unemployed single mother living in an 800 square-foot apartment.” When I answered the phone, she dumped on me. She was angry. Her life circumstances meant she didn’t turn on her heat because she couldn’t afford it. After stating her position, she ranted at me: “I just opened up my utility bill. I see that I am paying $1.63 a month for renewable energy.” She continued: “I don’t give a f#*! about renewable energy! Why do I have to pay for it?”

I tried to steer her attention away from the utility company and toward the Legislature that nearly a decade ago passed the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires increasing amounts of more expensive renewable energy. As a result, her rates went up, and she had no say in the matter—except that she may have voted for the legislators who approved the policy.

Recently, in Florida, the state NAACP chapter had an op-ed published that, essentially, said the same thing: renewable energy for some people, costs those who can least afford it.

It is not that renewable energy is bad. I have friends who live off the grid. They are cattle ranchers, who live in New Mexico’s Gila Forest. Were it not for their solar panels, they’d have no lights, no computers, no direct contact with the rest of the world. For them, solar panels on the roof—with a back-up system of car batteries—are their salvation. At a cost that worked for them, they were able to purchase used solar panels that someone else had discarded. They are grateful for their solar panels, but they have little option—and they know that; they accept it.

Without thinking of what works well in each situation, government has tried to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. Based on a phony narrative of energy shortages and global warming, err, climate change, renewables have been sold as the panacea. While they may be the right choice in a few cases, such as my cattle ranching friends, or even in the oil fields—which are one of the single biggest industrial users of solar power, many individual locales may be better served by coal, or natural gas, even nuclear, than by renewable power. But the mandates, or the EPA, have not taken that into consideration.

In New Mexico, there are two coal-fueled power plants situated, virtually, at the mouth of the coal mine. The coal is extracted and sent straight to the power plants that generate most of New Mexico’s power and provide enough excess to sell to neighboring Arizona and California. But, EPA regulations require that these plants, now, with years of useful service left, be shut down. Some of the units will be converted to natural gas—something the region also has in abundance. However, the natural gas has pipelines that can take it to the world markets; it is not stranded the in the San Juan Basin.

In contrast, the coal cannot conveniently leave the area—there is no rail to transport it. Looking at the specifics of the basin, it makes sense to continue to generate electricity from coal and allow the natural gas to benefit markets (perhaps even our allies) without other resources—but the EPA and its environmental advocates will hear nothing of it. Their ideology drives the policy whether it makes economic, or practical, sense or not.

Just try to bring truth or logic into the discussion and the crusaders will treat you as they have Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence.

Last month, I released a white paper: Solar power in the U.S. Using real-life data and news reports, we present the harsh realities of today’s solar market—which has reacted, not with facts, but by smearing me and the supposed funding of the organizations I lead. Apparently, when you have emotion and messaging on your side, you do not need to be impeded by facts—such as the sun and the wind are free, but converting them to electricity is expensive; converting them to reliable, albeit expensive, electricity is virtually impossible. Ah, but they never let the truth stand in the way of their feel-good story.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column.