Marita Noon: Looking for bad legislation … you could start with 2007 and ethanol mandates

Greetings!

 

I am writing to you today from Atlanta where I will be speaking tomorrow at a “Stop the EPA Power Grab” rally on the steps of the Sam Nunn Federal Building in Atlanta GA. Wednesday I am on the docket to speak at the EPA’s Atlanta hearing regarding its Clean Power Plan that I wrote about on June 2 (I expect next week’s column will reflect my experiences there). Yesterday I was in Knoxville, TN, where I spoke to the 32nd annual meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP) where, among other things, I addressed the Clean Power Plan.

 

On Thursday afternoon, while on a bus during a tour of Oak Ridge National Labs as a part of the DDP meeting,  a little piece of news arrived in my in box. The headline read: “White House indicates ethanol mandate could go up.” “What?!” I thought. I know that last fall the EPA did something reasonable: it reduced the volume of ethanol required to be blended into gasoline. There has been legislation in the works to modify or kill the 2007 ethanol mandate. The Ethanol tax credit died in January of 2012. Now, unexpectedly, news that the White House is directly involved in bumping it up? Wow, that is news.

 

In this week’s column: 2007–a great year for growing bad legislation like the ethanol mandate (attached and pasted-in-below), I offer some history and context and then address the Thursday meeting John Podesta had with “select Senate Democrats” that happened while the rest of the world wasn’t paying attention. The meeting got very little news coverage—though Senator Al Franken is crowing about it. Please help me spread the news by posting, passing on, and/or personally enjoying 2007–a great year for growing bad legislation like the ethanol mandate.

 

Thanks!

 

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 

 

For immediate release: July 28, 2014

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1273

 

2007: a great year for growing bad legislation like the ethanol mandate

President Obama, and his administration, has enacted so many foolish and cost-increasing energy policies, it is easy to think that they are his purview alone. But in 2007, Republicans were just as guilty. Seeds were planted and a garden of bad legislation took root in a totally different energy environment. At the time, the growth seemed like something worthy of cultivation. However, what sprouted up more closely resembles a weed that needs to be yanked out.

 

Last week, I wrote about Australia’s carbon tax that was pulled on July 17. Its seeds were also planted in 2007, though not germinated until 2011. Prime Minister Abbott promised to eradicate the unpopular plant—and after nearly a year of struggle, he did.

 

2007 was also the year of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Around that time, more than half the states put in a mandate requiring increasing amounts of wind and solar power be incorporated into the energy mix the local utilities provided for their customers. It was expected that the RPS would become a much-admired garden with wind turbines blowing in the breeze and solar panels turning toward the sun like sunflowers.

 

Instead, the RPS has been an expensive folly. Angering the ratepayers, electricity prices have gone up. Groups, like the American Bird Conservancy, have filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because it allows bald and golden eagles to be chopped up by wind turbines without punishment to the operators. Industrial solar installations are in trouble due to the massive land use and literally frying birds that fly through the reflected sunlight. The mandates have created false markets and bred crony corruption that has the beneficiaries squawking when legislatures threaten to pull plans that have grown like kudzu. Yet, many states have now introduced legislation to trim, or uproot, the plans that sounded so good back in 2007. Though none has actually been yanked out, Ohio just put a pause on its RPS.

 

The RPS was state legislation; the RFS, federal.

 

Enacted, in 2005 and strengthened in 2007, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—also known as the ethanol mandate—had true bipartisan support (something that is difficult to imagine in today’s political climate). Both Republicans and Democrats lauded the RFS as America’s solution to U.S. dependence on foreign oil. In signing the Energy Independence and Security Act that contained the RFS, President George W. Bush promised it would end our addiction to oil by growing our gas. Although it was passed by Congress with the best of intentions, it, too, has become a costly, wasteful, and politically-charged fiasco that has created an artificial market for corn-based ethanol and driven up both fuel and food prices while threatening to damage millions of families’ most prized and essential possessions: their cars and trucks.

 

Times have changed. People are no longer lining up to view the garden of renewables as they do to stroll through the spectacular floral displays at Las Vegas’ Bellagio—where teams of specialized staff maintain the stylized gardens. At the Bellagio, you can gaze gratis. America’s renewable garden is costly at a time when our citizens are forced to cut back on everything else.

 

Compared to 2007, several things are different today. The big one is the economy. We, as a country, were still living large in 2007. We were also still dependent on oil from overseas and our purchases were funding terrorism. Plus, it was, then, generally believed by many that our globe was warming—and it was our fault because of burning fossil fuels. When presented with the idea of growing our gasoline, even though it might cost more, it seemed worth it—after all, what was a few cents a gallon to thumb our nose at the Middle East and save the planet?

 

But this is a different day. A few cents a gallon matters now. Thanks to the combined technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, America is rich with oil-and-gas resources—and we could be truly energy secure if there were greater access to federal lands. Since 2007, the U.S. has trimmed our CO2 emissions—while they’ve grown globally. The predicted warming (and accompanying catastrophes) hasn’t happened. Instead, it appears that the increased CO2 has generated record harvests—despite predictions to the contrary.

 

But the seeds planted in 2007 have grown false markets that need the mandates—both for electricity generation and transportation fuels—to stake them up, as they can’t survive on their own. Talk of yanking the mandates is likened to cutting down the once-a-year blossom of the Queen of the Night. “How could you?”  “You’ll kill jobs!”  Elected officials, such as Congressman Steve King (R-IA), who are normally fiscally conservative, vote to continue the boondoggles that benefit his state.

 

When the Energy Independence and Security Act was passed in 2007, it was assumed that gasoline demand would continue to rise indefinitely so larger volumes of ethanol could be blended into gasoline every year to create E10, a motor fuel comprised of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. Rather than requiring a percentage of ethanol, the law mandated a growing number of gallons of ethanol be used.

 

Instead, due to increased vehicle efficiencies and a bad economy, gasoline demand peaked in 2007 and began to decline, reducing the amount of gasoline consumed in the U.S. Still, the law requires refiners to blend ever-increasing volumes of ethanol into gasoline every year until 36 billion gallons of ethanol is blended into the nation’s fuel supplies by 2022.

 

It is the mandate that allowed the ethanol tax credit (a.k.a. subsidy) to expire at beginning of 2012. The growing mandates gave the corn farmers plenty of incentive.

 

In the modern era, with ethanol no longer needed due to America’s increasing oil production and the mandates’ unreasonable requirements, an unusual collection of opponents has risen up against ethanol: environmentalists and big oil, auto manufacturers and anti-hunger groups.

 

Much to everyone’s surprise, last November the EPA came out with a proposal to use its authority to make a practical decision to keep the mandate from increasing that resulted in a cut in the amount of biofuels that refiners would need to mix into their fuels—a decision that was required to be made by the end of November 2013. To date, in the seventh month of 2014, the EPA still has not released the 2014 mandates. Refiners are still waiting.

 

On Thursday, July 24, White House Advisor John Podesta met with select Democrat Senators including Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Al Franken (D-MN) to discuss the EPA’s November 2013 proposal to lower ethanol targets—which, according to reports, Franken called: “unacceptable.” The Hill quotes Franken as saying: “White House adviser John Podesta has indicated the administration plans to raise the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.” And, in another report, The Hill says: “That may mean Podesta’s signal—that the levels of ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels will be increased in the EPA’s final rule—is as good as gold.” A decision from the EPA is expected to “be imminent.”

 

All of this amid new reports that ethanol has little if any effect on reducing greenhouse gas emissions blamed for climate change. A Congressional Budget Office report, released on June 26, states: “available evidensce suggests that replacing gasoline with corn ethanol has only limited potential for reducing emissions (and some studies indicate that it could increase emissions).”

 

It may have been Bush who planted the ethanol mandate, but it is the Obama administration that is fertilizing it and keeping it alive, when it should be yanked out by its roots.

 

 

 

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). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

Marita Noon: Welcome to the “no pee” section of the swimming pool

Poster note: There are references in Ms. Noon’s articles about quotes some have made about the mindless fellow who occupies the Oval Office when he is not on Air Force One.  The quotes address his legacy.  Maybe they mean his lack of legacy? Chuck Ring

 

 

This morning, President Obama is scheduled to announce the EPA’s new C02 standards for existing power plants. Last week I attended (via telephone) a press conference the US Chamber of Commerce held announcing its new report regarding the impacts of the new regulations—which are, in essence, cap-and-trade by executive order. That became the launching point for this week’s column: Welcome to the “no pee” section of the swimming pool (attached and pasted-in-below).

 

As you will discover when you read it, in doing my writing preparation, I’ve read extensively on the topic. In Welcome to the “no pee” section of the swimming pool I address some angles and issues not covered elsewhere. (I always figure, if I don’t have something fresh to say on a topic, I don’t need to write on it.)

 

As the announcement is now just a couple hours away, I hope those of you who post my work can get Welcome to the “no pee” section of the swimming pool posted ASAP—before the announcement. Please pass it on, too! Thanks!

 

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 

 

For immediate release: June 2, 2014

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Welcome to the “no pee” section of the swimming pool

America is poised to become the “no pee” section of the global swimming pool and the useless actions will cost us a bundle—raising energy costs, adding new taxes, and crippling the economy. Even some environmentalists agree. Yet, for President Obama, it’s all about legacy.

 

On Monday, June 2, 2014, the EPA will release its new rules for CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electricity generating plants—which the New York Times (NYT) states: “could eventually shut down hundreds of coal-fueled power plants across the country.” (Regulations for new plants: the New Source Performance Standard rule, requiring carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) that buries emissions in the ground to meet the emissions limits, were released September 20, 2013. The 2013 regulations virtually ensure that no new coal-fueled power plants will be built. Bloomberg Businessweek reports: “Considering the one carbon-capture plant being built in the U.S. is massively over budget and widely considered not ready for commercial use, it seems likely that the new rules will significantly erode coal’s share of power generation down the road.” Politifact says CCS is: “new and expensive.”)

 

These new rules, reportedly 3000 pages long (300 pages longer than the healthcare bill), are so important, it is believed that the President will make the announcement himself.

 

Supporters seem gleeful. USA Today cites the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress’ Daniel J. Weiss as saying: “No president has ever proposed a climate pollution clean up this big.” In the Washington Post (WP), advocacy group Clean Air Watch’s director, Frank O’Donnell is quoted as saying: “This is a magic moment for the president—a chance to write his name in the record books.” The NYT claims the plans, “the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change,” could: “become one of the defining elements of Mr. Obama’s legacy.” And, Peter Shattuck, director of market initiatives at ENE, a Boston-based climate advocacy and research organization, believes: “This EPA regulation will breathe life into state-level cap-and-trade programs.”

 

While the actual EPA plan has not been released at the time of this writing, it is widely believed that it will follow a March 2013 regulatory proposal put forth by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) which projects 35-40 percent cuts in CO2 emissions over 2012 levels by 2025. Once again, as with endangered species listings and the Keystone pipeline, we see environmental groups driving this administration’s policies.

 

Using the NRDC’s policy framework, on May 28—before the EPA released its new rules—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy released a major study done by the highly respected energy analytics firm IHS: Assessing the Impact of Potential New Carbon Regulations in the United States. It concludes that the EPA’s plans to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will cost America’s economy over $50 billion a year between now and 2030.

 

A press release about the 71-page report predicts the EPA’s potential new carbon regulations would:

  • Lower U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $51 billion on average every year through 2030,
  • Lead to 224,000 fewer U.S. jobs on average every year through 2030,
  • Force U.S. consumers to pay $289 billion more for electricity through 2030, and
  • Lower total disposable income for U.S. households by $586 billion through 2030.

 

Addressing the Chamber’s assessment, the Institute’s president and CEO, Karen Harbert, said: “Americans deserve to have an accurate picture of the costs and benefits associated with the Administration’s plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through unprecedented and aggressive EPA regulations. Our analysis shows that Americans will pay significantly more for electricity, see slower economic growth and fewer jobs, and have less disposable income, while a slight reduction in carbon emissions will be overwhelmed by global increases.”

 

Not surprisingly, the EPA quickly tried to debunk the Chamber’s claims. Tom Reynolds, the EPA’s associate administrator for external affairs, called the report: “Nothing more than irresponsible speculation based on guesses of what our draft proposal will be.” Reynolds continued: “Just to be clear—it’s not out yet. I strongly suggest that folks read the proposal before they cry the sky is falling.”

 

However, the WP states: “While several key aspects of the proposal are still under discussion, according to several people briefed on the matter … the EPA plan resembles proposals made by the Natural Resources Defense Council.” In Grist.com, which calls itself “a source of intelligent, irreverent environmental news and commentary,” Ben Adler, who “covers environmental policy and politics for Grist, with a focus on climate change, energy, and cities,” cites a “video chat” he apparently had with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. In his column: “Here’s what to expect from Obama’s big new climate rules,” Adler states: “The agency’s proposed rules will probably roughly follow the model proposed by the Natural Resources Defense Council in a March 2013 report.”

 

It is likely that the Chamber’s report is spot on. If, after the regulations are revealed, they are different, the Chamber says it will rerun the models using the new data.

 

Describing the NRDC-based plan, the NYT states: “President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent.” It continues: “People familiar with the rule say that it will set a national limit on carbon pollution from coal plants, but that it will allow each state to come up with its own plan to cut emissions based on a menu of options that include adding wind and solar power, energy-efficiency technology and creating or joining state cap-and-trade programs. Cap-and-trade programs are effectively carbon taxes that place a limit on carbon pollution and create markets for buying and selling government-issued pollution permits.” Note: even the NYT calls cap and trade a carbon tax.

 

The NYT story points to cap-and-trade programs in California and the northeast, which have some of the highest electricity rates in the country. It cites officials of the northeastern regional program who claim: “it has proved fairly effective.” Between 2005 and 2012, the program dropped power-plant pollution by 40 percent, “even as the states raised $1.6 billion in new revenue.” Where did that “new revenue” come from? Higher rates paid by consumers—essentially a tax. Realize that power companies don’t really care about how much the new regulations cost, as they simply pass them on to the end users. In the NYT story, John McManus, vice president of environmental services at American Electric Power, is quoted as saying: “We view cap and trade as having a lot of benefits. … There are a lot of advantages.”

 

Adler explains the cap-and-trade aspect of the new regulations this way: “States could set up their own emissions-trading programs, under which solar and wind facilities would receive credits for each megawatt-hour of energy produced with less than the allowable amount of CO2 and sell those credits to coal plants.” He continues: “economically—and therefore politically and legally—such an approach would carry major risks. A dramatic spike in electricity prices could cause a recession and significant hardship for lower-income families. That, in turn, would likely create a political backlash that would spur Congress to try to revoke the EPA’s authority to regulate CO2. It could even splinter the left, pitting unions, consumer groups, and anti-poverty advocates against the environmental movement. The GOP-controlled House has already voted numerous times to revoke the EPA’s authority, and much higher energy prices might cause some Democrats to join the Republicans.”

 

Bloomberg calls the new rule “politically painful” for Democrats from coal-producing regions “as it forces power-plant closures and threatens to increase electricity rates for consumers.”

 

In response to the Daily Kos reporting on the new EPA regulations, a reader, John in Cleveland, commented: “if the regulations are enough to get a good number of coal plants shut down we had better brace for impact because people’s heating/electric bills are going to increase. … People are going to be pissed when their bills go up, and they will go up.”

 

The Kos reports: “Obama has said he wants the existing plant rule in place by the time a new president takes the oath of office in January 2017”—though many in Congress, including coal-state Democrats, are asking that the 60-day comment period be extended to 120 and, as the WP points out, lawsuits are likely.

 

The Kos reader rightly points out: “As long as China and India are allowed to spew as much carbon as they want into the air it is going to be near impossible to rally this country behind anything that means higher prices that doesn’t do anything to solve the problem.”

 

The Chamber reports that global emissions are expected to rise by 31 percent between 2011 and 2030, yet, all the pain—economic and political—the new regulations will inflict “would only reduce overall emissions levels by just 1.8 percentage points.”

 

Defending the NRDC plan, David Hawkins, director of climate programs, is quoted in Grist: “Power plants don’t operate in a vacuum. The energy they produce is fungible.” The same is true for the emissions. The U.S. can adopt these draconian regulations, but the U.S. doesn’t operate in a vacuum. The emissions are fungible.

 

Bloomberg states: “The administration and its Democratic allies are bracing for a political fight over the rule, which is critical to Obama’s legacy on climate and his efforts to coax other nations to agree.” USA Today cites David Doniger, NRDC’s policy director and senior attorney for NRDC’s climate and clean air program in Washington, DC: “the EPA rules will show the United States is ‘in the game’ and will help nudge other countries to make reductions.”

 

Should we be “in the game” when the other major developed countries have quit playing? Australia has already walked away from its previous administration’s stringent climate policies due to economic pain and public backlash. Germany is becoming more dependent on coal-fueled electricity. Wood is the number one renewable fuel in Europe. Following what has already taken place in England and much of Europe, on May 31, it was announced that Spain is cutting back on its green energy programs. China and India have repeatedly refused to cripple their growing economies by cutting back on their fossil fuel-based energy usage.

 

The U.S. may be “in the game” alone. All the regulations the administration may impose will not “nudge” the rest of the world to follow. Just because we declare that we won’t pee in the pool, won’t stop the others. And, just like the water in the pool, CO2 emissions are fungible.

 

We’ll be stuck in our little no-pee section with a crippled economy while the rest of the world will be frolicking in unfettered growth. As chlorine, filters and other processes make public pools safe for swimming, scrubbers and other pollution controls have already dramatically cleaned up the air in America. But Obama needs his legacy—and that will be, as House Speaker John Boehner said: “every proposal that comes out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs.”

 

 

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). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Marita Noon: Obama Hides Use Of Bad Science

Obama administration hides its use of bad science

Six years later, we know that President Obama’s pledge to run the most transparent administration in history was merely a campaign promise, a White House talking point, and not a statement of management style. We’ve seen a series of highly public scandals—Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, NSA, and now, the VA—where Oversight Committees have fought to pry information out of the Obama White House only to receive stacks of redacted documents.

 

Most recently, we’ve seen court-ordered information provided to nonprofit government watchdog groups in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that have made it very clear why the Administration wanted to keep specific contents hidden. Emails that revealed direct White House involvement in the Benghazi scandal are behind the creation of the new Select Committee. IRS documents show the Tea Party targeting wasn’t a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati, as the Obama administration claimed—instead, now we know it was orchestrated out of DC. Briefing materials point out that the Obama administration has known about problems with VA hospital wait times since 2009.

 

FOIA requests must be the bane of the “most transparent administration in history.”

 

As shameful as each of these scandals are, they directly impact only a comparative handful of people. We grieve the loss of life, but unless you are a family member or friend of the four brave men killed in Benghazi or of the dozens of veterans who risked their lives for our country only to die unnecessarily due to bad policy at the VA hospitals, your life goes on without consequence.

 

However, there are other cases that haven’t yet reached “scandal” status (and they may never because it is unlikely that anyone will die) where the Administration doesn’t want the public to know the rationale behind the policy that is universally having a negative impact on all Americans. These stories point to the administrations’ use of bad science to achieve its goal of growing government and controlling people through the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Clean Air Act. Together the practices restrict access to public and private lands for farming, ranching, and energy development, and reduce the availability of affordable electricity—making essential food and power costs ever-increasing.

 

In New Mexico, the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Forest Service  are preventing cattle ranchers from accessing water to which two different court rulings have declared the ranchers’ have rights. According to a report in the Daily Caller: “New Mexico’s current conflict involves 23 acres along the Aqua Chiquita creek and natural springs, now fenced off for the benefit of the newly protected meadow jumping mouse. Cattle ranchers had naturally relied on access to this water since the area had been open to grazing permittees since 1957.”

 

Addressing the specific protections for the mouse, the report points out the “decades of scientific controversy over whether the meadow jumping mouse was a ‘valid subspecies’ or whether it really was vanishing.” It also cites current research from the University of New Mexico with recommendations that would lead to a re-evaluation of the listing.

 

The report states: “Yet scrutiny of EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] determinations and analysis of competing findings is foreclosed by sweetheart deals between environmental advocacy groups and the EPA in ‘sue and settle’ schemes.” It continues: “This collaboration between two friendly parties to co-opt the courts into bypassing constitutionally prescribed safeguards and protections denies local governments, harmed parties, and the public in general a seat at the table.”

 

While the Daily Caller piece doesn’t specifically reference the Information Quality Act (IQA), enacted by Congress in 2000, it is one of the safeguards and protections required for “influential scientific information” and/or “highly influential scientific assessments”—particularly if such scientific information may be used as the basis for regulatory action. The IQA requires “all federal bureaucrats to ‘prove up’ their claims and data so others in local government and land-use managers could rely on it to make wise and proper management decisions,” explains Dan Byfield, CEO of American Stewards of Liberty.

 

In a Ranch Magazine article titled “Verify the science,” Byfield showed how the IQA can be used to prevent environmental organizations from “manipulating our government and federal statutes to their benefit and the detriment of everyone else.” He worked successfully with eight counties in the Permian Basin to stop the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from listing the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered. He states: “We prevented the listing and saved those two million acres by taking a hard look at the science. What we discovered became the ‘smoking gun!’” Byfield continues: “what we found was anything but credible science. …and this is true with almost every proposed listing.”

 

Taking the IQA a step further, earlier this year the Institute for Trade Standards and Sustainable Development (ITSSD) filed FOIA requests regarding the science underpinning the EPA’s 2009 greenhouse gas endangerment findings—identifying six greenhouse gasses as posing a risk of endangerment to public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act. The requests were filed with the EPA and the U.S. government’s lead climate science agency: the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

 

An ITSSD press release states: “The objective of the FOIA requests has been to secure disclosure of government records substantiating each agency’s compliance with the provisions of the U.S. Information Quality Act.” ITSSD asserts that, based on its research, the required “peer review science process has likely been compromised on conflict of interest, independence/bias, peer review panel balance, and transparency grounds.” Additionally, the ITSSD press release claims that peer review comments regarding scientific uncertainties were ignored.

 

ITSSD believes that The EPA’s endangerment ruling—which has triggered costly and burdensome greenhouse gas emissions control regulations and proposed performance standards that would restrict new fossil fuel-based energy generation facilities—is based on bad science and is seeking records regarding the climate science-related peer review processes.

 

Requests for information are being stonewalled, in part, by denying the customary fee waiver requests generally allowed for nonprofit organizations engaged in public education. (ITSSD is a 501(c)(3) organization with the mission of educating the public about the legal and economic consequences of environmental health and safety rules premised on the post-modern concept of sustainable development.)

 

In a Politico story on “President Obama’s muddy transparency record,” Katherine Meyer, a Washington lawyer who’s been filing FOIA cases since 1978, is quoted as saying: “Obama is the sixth administration that’s been in office since I’ve been doing Freedom of Information Act work. … It’s kind of shocking to me to say this, but of the six, this administration is the worst on FOIA issues. The worst. There’s just no question about it. This administration is raising one barrier after another. … It’s gotten to the point where I’m stunned—I’m really stunned.”

 

With knowledge of the way the most transparent administration in history operates, one can reasonably conclude that ITSSD’s FOIA requests are being slow walked because it has hit upon an area of vulnerability that the administration would rather keep hidden. The requested documents would likely require a reexamination of the EPA’s greenhouse gas endangerment findings that would render them invalid.

 

The closer one looks, the more clear it becomes. The only thing transparent about the Obama administration is its motives for hiding the truth. If everything it is covering up was exposed, myriad policies, mandates, and regulations would have to be reversed and the American people would be relieved.

 

Laws like the IQA were put into place to protect the public from a president who thinks he can rule by decree—with a pen and phone—rather than on sound science.

 

 

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). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Kerry & Obama: Hammering Out The Ukraine Problem

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It’s About Time And It’s About Crime

Some of America’s citizens will say it is very much past time to tie Obama’s errant ways in knots before he has time to completely ruin this county through illegal means. You can follow most of what he has done in the way of shady evasions of custom and laws by perusing the article below.

Fair Use Notice

GOP Begins To Fight Back Against Obama’s Broad Executive Overreach

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Has President Obama’s impunity come to an end?

After five years of his flouting the letter and spirit of the law in an increasingly brazen fashion, congressional Republicans have been starting to ramp up their rhetoric about Obama’s lawlessness, their most concerted effort on the issue to date.

Several new reports from top Republicans underscore the breadth of Obama’s executive overreach. Viewed comprehensively, it involves laws ranging from healthcare to immigration to privacy to technology to social issues to national security matters and more. Scandals like Benghazi, Operation Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, NSA spying, CIA spying on Congress, the Delphi pensions scandal, the auto bailout and others have many unresolved questions – and unmet document and information demands.

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor re-released his 33-page October 2012 report detailing 40 separate examples of “the break-down in the rule of law under the Obama Administration.” This time, Cantor added a nine-page addendum with scores more examples of lawlessness of the administration.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has also issued a three-part series of reports on the matter called “The Legal Limit,” which totals 26 pages of examples of Obama’s lawlessness, legal analysis and details of how courts have rejected the Department of Justice (DOJ) explanations from Attorney General Eric Holder for the Obama power grabs. In his first report, for instance, Cruz details nine cases the DOJ lost in which the Obama administration was seeking—but ultimately failed to achieve—more power.

“If the Department of Justice had won these cases, the federal government would be able to electronically track all of our movements, fine us without a fair hearing, dictate who churches choose as ministers, displace state laws based on the President’s whims, bring debilitating lawsuits against individuals based on events that occurred years ago, and destroy a person’s private property without just compensation,” Cruz wrote about them.

A major focus of Cantor’s report is on the administration’s rewriting of Obamacare. With regard to the president’s signature legislation, Cantor writes that the administration “has engaged in a series of ad-hoc announcements that ignore statutory deadlines, waive unwaivable provisions of the law, and even create benefits not authorized in law.”

In 2013 and 2014 alone, Cantor’s report addendum lists 18 examples in which the administration has violated Obamacare as written and passed by Congress.

Obamacare is hardly the only law, however, with which the Obama administration is testing its executive powers. Another area of public policy the administration has heavily leaned on executive authority is with regard to immigration policy.

In Cantor’s original 2012 report, he cited one of the clearest examples of Obama’s executive power grab on immigration: when the president in summer 2012, in a Rose Garden speech alongside then Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, used executive authority to create the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which granted executive amnesty to illegal aliens who say they were minors when they entered the country. Cantor also cited the so-called “Morton memos,” that were written in 2011 by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton and established the administration’s use of “prosecutorial discretion” to allow illegal aliens to remain in the United States.

“While the use of prosecutorial discretion is not new, there is a significant difference between its previous narrow application and the establishment of a formal process to systematically, on an ongoing basis, block illegal aliens from being placed into removal proceedings, stop already-initiated removal proceedings, and end deportations for potentially large numbers of criminal aliens,” Cantor wrote about the Morton memos.

Read the rest of the story by following this link:

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Marita Noon: Obama’s Nonsense SOTU 2014

Marita pulls truth from Obama’s nonsense.

Link to: Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities?

Greetings!

Last night we saw Denver’s disappointing performance. Last week President Obama had much the same experience. Even his fans have been critical. In my column this week, Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities? (attached and pasted-in-below), I dissect the SOTU looking at the energy implications and add in relevant data and observations. As I am fond of doing, I used the SOTU to connect some dots and introduce some information of which most people are unaware. I think it is a good piece—though it’s response on Townhall has been dismal. For those of you who post my work, I hope it does better for you.

Thanks for posting, passing on and/or personally enjoying Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities?

Marita Noon, Executive Director

Energy Makes America Great, Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: February 3, 2014

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1246

Obama’s SOTU: Where are the opportunities?

The State of The Union Address (SOTU) reminded me of the idiom, “on one hand, on the other hand.”

On one hand, President Obama extoled efforts to increase fuel efficiency to “help America wean itself off foreign oil.” He touted the new reality of “more oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world, the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.” On the other hand, he promised to use his “authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations”—which is code for more national monuments and endangered species designations that will lock up federal lands from productive use.   

 

Electricity and extreme poverty

Concern was expressed for Americans who “are working more than ever just to get by.” He wants to help Africans “double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty.” But his policies are limiting access to electricity in America and raising the cost (20% in the past 6 years). Higher-cost energy is the most punitive to those struggling “just to get by.”

The “Energy Cost Impacts on American Families, 2001-2013” report found: “Lower-income families are more vulnerable to energy costs than higher-income families because energy represents a larger portion of their household budgets, reducing the amount of income that can be spent on food, housing, health care, and other necessities. Nearly one-third of U.S. households had gross annual incomes less than $30,000 in 2011. Energy costs accounted for an average of 27% of their family budgets, before taking into account any energy assistance.” The report shows the 27% is an 11% increase over the 2001 energy cost impact. For households with an after-tax income higher than $50,000, the 2001 percentage was 5 and the 2013: 9—a 4% increase. For low- and middle-income families, energy costs are now consuming a portion of after-tax household income comparable to that traditionally spent on major categories such as housing, food, and health care—with black, Hispanic and senior households being hit especially hard.

 

All of the above

President Obama took credit for his “‘all of the above’ energy strategy” which, he claims has “moved America closer to energy independence than we have been in decades.” And, regarding natural gas, he says that he’ll “cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work.” POTUS proclaimed: “I’ll 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.” The Department of Energy has dozens of permits for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities languishing on some bureaucrat’s desk. One of the few approved terminals: Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG Terminal Project in Cameron Parish Louisiana, created more than 2000 jobs in 2013 and looks to create another 2000 jobs in 2014. President Obama, please act on your own here. Cut the red tape and slash the bureaucracy. Let’s get those permits issued.

A January 16, 2013, letter sent to the White House from 18 environmental groups, whose opinions seem to be held in such high regard by the Obama administration, challenged the president’s approach—calling “all of the above” a “compromise that future generations can’t afford.” The letter states: “We believe that continued reliance on an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy would be fundamentally at odds with your goal of cutting carbon pollution and would undermine our nation’s capacity to respond to the threat of climate disruption.” They claim: “an ‘all of the above’ approach that places virtually no limits on whether, when, where or how fossil fuels are extracted ignores the impacts of carbon-intense fuels and is wrong for America’s future.” The groups see it as a threat to “our most sensitive lands.” Despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, they posit: “clean energy and solutions that have already begun to replace fossil fuels” save Americans money. The letter concludes: “We believe that a climate impact lens should be applied to all decisions regarding new fossil fuel development, and urge that a ‘carbon-reducing clean energy’ strategy rather than an ‘all of the above’ strategy become the operative paradigm for your administration’s energy decisions.”

 

Climate Change

As if an executive decree could make it so, he announced: “the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.” True, climate change is a fact—the climate changes, always has, always will. But the debate as to what causes it or what should be done about it is far from “settled.” “We have to act with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods,” he announced. However, droughts and floods have been going on throughout history when CO2 emissions (which he calls “carbon pollution”) were much lower than today. His solution? “The shift to a cleaner economy,” which gobbles up taxpayer dollars in crony corruption (more than 30 such projects have gone bust since the 2009 stimulus bill released nearly $100 billion for “clean energy”).

A story in the January 25, 2013, Economist titled “European climate policy: worse than useless” starts: “Since climate change was identified as a serious threat to the planet, Europe has been in the vanguard of the effort to mitigate it.” Europe has been the global leader in climate change policies that are, according to The Economist: “dysfunctional.” The “worse than useless” piece states: “Had Europe’s policies worked better, other countries might have been more inclined to emulate the leaders in the field.” It points out that Europe’s “largest source of renewable energy” is wood.

A companion article in the same issue of The Economist, “Europe’s energy woes,” states: “Europeans are more concerned with the cost of climate-change policies than with their benefits. European industries pay three to four times more for gas, and over twice as much for electricity, as American ones.” Calling the EU “a lone front-runner without followers,” the article points out: “it is hard to sell the idea of higher energy prices, particularly when the rest of the world is doing too little to cut greenhouse gases.” Rather than learning from Europe, like a lemming, President Obama apparently wants to lead America off the same “useless” cliff.

 

Minimum wage

He believes that the minimum wage needs to be increased to $10.10 an hour. He wants to “Give America a raise.” Yet, in North Dakota’s boom economy, workers at Walmart and McDonalds are paid in the teens—without government meddling. The best wages are paid with a fully employed workforce. The Keystone XL pipeline would provide thousands of good paying (often union) jobs, but, it was never mentioned in the 2014 SOTU. (By the way, the long-awaited report on Keystone was released on Friday. It found that “the project would have a minimal impact on the environment.” Politico calls the report: “a major disappointment to climate activists.”)

President Obama, you are correct when you say, “opportunity is who we are,” but your policies hurt the poor and block job creation. My question for you echoes what you asked early in the SOTU address: “The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress.” Are you going to help Americans or hinder our opportunities? This question should run through every decision you make in 2014.

On one hand, you say you want to help. On the other hand, everything you do hinders.

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). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Marita Noon: Is This Any Way To Treat The Job Creators

Greetings!

Each week I work hard to produce a timely, thoughtful column. Every once in a while I run out of time and have to call good enough, good enough. Sometimes, due to my schedule, I do more opinion, less research. I have yet to find any kind of constancy in what gets a big response and what doesn’t.

This week’s column: Is this any way to treat the job creators? (attached and pasted-in-below) was a mix. I had plenty of time and started writing early on Friday. I finished it early on Saturday. I was pleased with it. It was an update on a story I know well—trigged by news. However, Is this any way to treat the job creators? has received one of the lowest quantity of responses of any of my columns! L However, it has garnered several very good and thoughtful comments. J

I hope the poor showing was due to the football games. I choose to believe people were distracted. With that in mind, I hope Is this any way to treat the job creators? will do well for you! Please post it, pass it on and/or personally enjoy Is this any way to treat the job creators?

Thanks! I am off to DC tomorrow.

Marita Noon, Executive Director

EnergyMakesAmericaGreat Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 For immediate release: January 20, 2013

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1554

Is this any way to treat the job creators?

It’s no wonder that, as the New York Times (NYT) headline declared: “Growth in jobs slows sharply to 3-year low.” Addressing the Labor Department’s disappointing December Jobs Report, CNNMoney’s headline states: “2013 ends with weakest job growth in years.” USA Today called it a “Big miss” and CNBC’s Jim Cramer sees the 74,000 gain in payrolls as “A disastrous unemployment number.”

USA Today surveyed 37 economists whose median forecast for the December jobs number was a gain of 205,000 jobs.

Not only did the report’s 74,000 jobs gain fall far short of the 205,000 jobs forecast, it is not the only number that portends a job market about which CNNMoney believes: “suddenly looks a lot weaker than economists had thought.” USA Today points out: “For the year, employers added 2.18 million jobs, slightly fewer than 2012’s total of 2.19 million.” It adds: “Payroll growth was weak across the board, with education and health services, a reliable source of job growth even through the recession, adding no jobs.”

The NYT coverage of the report opens: “Just when it seemed as if the economy was finally accelerating, the latest employment figures once again confounded expectation of better days ahead.” Nelson D. Schwartz states: “The one apparent bright spot in Friday’s report—a sharp drop in the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent from 7 percent—was tarnished because it largely resulted from people exiting the work force rather than because they landed jobs. The work force shrank by 347,000 in December, reversing a big gain from November, and returning the proportion of Americans in the labor force to its October level of 62.8 percent, the lowest in 35 years.” He points out: “Areas of the economy that had been healthy for most of 2013 reversed course as the year drew to a close, significantly cutting into overall job creation.” Schwartz concludes: “Employment is still about two million below where it was when the recession started.”

With even the friendlies firing shots at the “disastrous unemployment number,” the White House tried to get out in front of the story by holding a Tuesday, January 14, meeting with the Cabinet, where President Obama aimed to pick up “the pace of his jobs message.” According to the Associated Press (AP), White House senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer sent out an email Tuesday morning to the White House list of supporters claiming: “The president will use every tool he can to create jobs and opportunities for the middle class.” The AP article highlights Obama’s “determination to use the power of executive orders and administrative actions… to help advance his agenda.”

While I oppose this administration’s fondness for skirting Congress through the use of executive orders, here’s a case where an “executive order or administrative action” could really help “pick up the pace of the jobs message.”

If President Obama truly wanted to “create jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” he could tell the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to work with—instead of against—people and companies who are ready to risk their capital in the development of our natural resources and create jobs.

While I am sure my readers could cite many similar stories, this one involves mining and mules. I have addressed this specific case three times before—first, July 2010, when the USFS approved the “Plan of Operation” for the Finley Basin Exploration Project in Montana.

My first column on this provides thorough details and I encourage you to read it, as you will be appalled by how the USFS works—and now, three and a half years later, it has only gotten worse.

Back in the ‘70s Union Carbide drilled several exploration holes on the site, “which is rated as having moderate to high mineral potential for the majority of the area.” It is believed that there is a minimum of $250 million in tungsten—which we currently import from China—and that the site also has potential copper, silver, molybdenum, and gold.

At the time I originally addressed this project, an Australian company wanted to invest in America, bring outside dollars in, and create jobs by exploring and developing the Finley Claims. But the USFS was so difficult to work with, after spending more that $500,000 over two years, the company finally packed up and went home.

The June 10, 2010, “Decision Memo” states that in order to explore the previously drilled sites, miners will have to “use a team of mules” and that “hand tools will be used to level the drilling pad and clear rocks, debris and any small shrubs.” Additionally, “all disturbances would be reclaimed using hand tools.”

Reading the Decision Memo, one gets the feeling that the USFS would rather not approve the mining proposal, but there were no real grounds not to. While explaining the “rationale” for the decision, the memo states that the company has the “legal right to conduct exploration activities” and that “The role of the Forest Service is to ensure that mining activities minimize adverse environmental effects. Congress has not given the Forest Service authority to unreasonably circumscribe or prohibit reasonably necessary activities under the 1872 General Mining Law that are otherwise lawful.”

After the Australians left, the 276 claims were purchased by experienced miners. Together, the partners in Finley Mining Inc. have more than 80 years experience in mining—with one having expertise in permitting and exploration and the other in project development and products. Because the whole mule idea was unfeasible for the size and weight of the required equipment, the new owners submitted a revised Plan of Operations that allowed for use of the existing road Union Carbide built in the ‘70s. Despite the “Inventoried Roadless Area” designation, the old road is regularly used by off-highway vehicles for recreation. The road is totally usable and doesn’t require any construction. Yet, the USFS is treating the road as “new construction” and therefore denied the plan. The experienced partners have, in the past two-and-a-half years, now submitted five different plans of operation. Each time, the USFS comes back with some new ridiculous questions, such as: “In what order do you plan to drill the holes?”

The frequent excuse revolves around the various regulations—complying with the National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land Management and Policy Act, and other Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations. The USFS Specialists claim they are underfunded and understaffed and are unable to do the processes required before granting a permit.

Meanwhile, to hold the claims, these potential job creators, have to pay $40,000 a year to the Bureau of Land Management. They have spent more than $200,000 for applications, preparing the Plan of Operations, and on consultants and are no further along than they were three-plus years ago.

Since the USFS doesn’t have the staff or the budget to comply with the law, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars they’ve already taken in on this one project, Finley Mining Inc. has offered to hire approved contractors who can do the needed surveys.

The Mining Act of 1872, as revised, lays out the rules and regulations in which exploration and production on federal lands can be conducted and does allow for mining activity within Inventoried Roadless Areas—as the original Decision Memo acknowledges. Access cannot be denied to someone who has a claim. Yet, access is denied.

This one project would employ 10 people in the initial exploration phase. Assuming the resource proves up, as the original drilling on these sites indicated, more drilling will take place and, in addition to the drill site workers, biologists, engineers, economists, and geologists will be needed for analysis. If all goes as expected, Finley Mining Inc. projects a minimum of 300 people would be hired for the construction and mining phases. The nearby Stillwater Mining has 1740 employees.

If the USFS encouraged expansion, rather than simply interpreting and enforcing regulations, and managed the forest for the multiple use their mission mandates, the 300 construction workers could now be receiving a paycheck and paying taxes. Instead, we have policy-induced poverty.

If President Obama is serious about using “every tool he can to create jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” instead of appointing a new commission or doing a study, he’d issue an administrative action telling the USFS to comply with the law, to process permits within the 30 days required, and sign off on the Plan of Operations when it meets the existing requirements.

 On Wednesday, January 15, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) spoke at a forum on U.S. energy policy. He addressed the Keystone pipeline, saying that the president’s “delay in deciding the pipelines fate” is making it “harder for a Democrat to defend some of the Washington Democrat’s agenda.” According to the Real Clear Politics report, He also “criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for failing to call a vote on EPA regulation reforms” and is trying to “get Harry to look at the hard-rock mining.”

Yes, if Obama wants to use “every tool he can to create jobs and opportunities for the middle class,” he has plenty of them. The Finley Basin is an easy one. So is approving the Keystone pipeline.

Unfortunately for America’s un—and under—employed, reality tells us that the January 14 promise is just more hyperbole, more campaign-style platitudes. Is this any way to treat the job creators?

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). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Cobras & “Mongeese”

Mongooses is the plural of mongoose, but I’ve often wondered why it isn’t mongeese.  according to authoritative books and manuals there are thirty-three species:

Visit: TerrellAfterMath for more political cartoons.

YearOfTheMongoose2WebCR-1_8_14

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