Marita: Writes about the Pope

Greetins!

 

Even though I don’t like to write on the same topics other pundits are addressing, I assumed, that for this week, I’d write on the Pope. Some topics are just too big to ignore.

 

In this week’s column: The Pope, climate change and VW (attached and pasted-in-below), I, both, wrote on something most others aren’t and included the Pope’s visit.

 

I conducted an unofficial poll on my Facebook page in which I asked if people were following the VW scandal. Some were. Many were not. A few knew about it, but weren’t following it. Several indicated that they had no idea what I was talking about. The responses validated my premise: with all of the news coverage on the Pope’s visit, the VW scandal was under the radar for most—but, as I demonstrate in The Pope, climate change and VW, they are connected. Pope Francis is pushing for policies that promote emission reductions based on the belief that CO2 emissions are driving climate change and Volkswagen, I believe, engaged in the approach they did because of the impossible requirements to cut emissions.

 

In The Pope, climate change and VW I offer a quick overview of the VW story for those who haven’t followed it and then make the connection to the unattainable regulations and the carbon reduction policies driving them. Those who reviewed it prior to publication were very positive about the approach. One said: “Great article and exactly on point.”

 

Please post, pass on and/or personally enjoy The Pope, climate change and VW.

 

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 

 

For immediate release: September 28, 2015

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

 

 

The Pope, climate change and VW

While Pope Francis was shuttled around during his historic visit to the U.S. in a Fiat, he shared the news cycle with Volkswagen.

 

The pope made headlines with his calls for action on climate change. USA Today touted: “Obama, Pope Francis praise each other on climate change.” In his September 23 speech from the White House lawn, the Pope addressed President Obama saying: “I find it encouraging that you are introducing an initiative for reducing air pollution.” Addressing that comment, Business Insider added: “He praised President Barack Obama for his proposals, which aim for the US to cut emissions by up to 28% over the next decade.”

 

The core of the entire climate change agenda is the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions which proponents like to call “air pollution.” It comes from sources we can’t control: volcanoes; sources we can kind-of control: forest fires (better forest management would result in fewer fires) and human beings exhaling (reduce the population, reduce CO2 emissions); and sources we can control: the use of fossil fuels (we can virtually outlaw them as several countries, including the U.S., are trying to do).

 

The drive to cut CO2 emissions is at the root of Volkswagen’s unprecedented scandal that broke last week, resulting in the CEO’s abrupt ouster on September 23—the day that Pope Francis’ U.S. visit went into full swing.

 

With nonstop coverage of the papal activities—including his Fiat Popemobile—the Volkswagen story was likely lost on most Americans. But it is not going away.

 

On September 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency disclosed the scandal: Europe’s biggest auto maker, with 600,000 employees world-wide and 300,000 in Germany, utilized software on some VW and Audi diesel-powered cars to manipulate the results of routine emissions tests—allowing them pass strict emissions standards in Europe and the U.S. The “defeat devices” have reportedly been fitted to more than 11 million vehicles since 2008 and may cost Volkswagen up to $18 billion in fines in the U.S. alone. Owners of the impacted vehicles will need to have a heretofore unavailable “fix” installed and may have to provide a “proof of correction certificate” in order to renew their registration and will suffer “loss due to the diminished value of the cars.” As a result of the scandal, Volkswagen’s stock price and reputation have both fallen precipitously, and class-action lawsuits are already taking shape. Fund managers have been banned from buying VW’s stocks and bonds. Tens of thousands of new cars may remain unsold. USNews stated: “Whoever is responsible could face criminal charges in Germany.”

 

The question no one seems to be asking is: what would drive Europe’s biggest auto maker to make such a costly decision, to take a risk, from which it may be impossible to recover, and tarnish the “made-in-Germany brand”?

 

While the question isn’t asked, Reuters coverage of the story offers the answer: “Diesel engines use less fuel and emit less carbon—blamed for global warming—than standard gasoline engines. But they emit higher levels of toxic gases known as nitrogen oxides.”

 

In short, the answer is the drive to lower CO2 emissions and the policies that encourage reduction.

 

In BloombergView, Clive Crook offers this excellent explanation:

Beginning in the mid-1990s, mindful of their commitments to cut carbon emissions, Europe’s governments embarked on a prolonged drive to convert their car fleets from gasoline to diesel. With generous use of tax preferences, they succeeded. In the European Union as a whole, diesel vehicles now account for more than half of the market. In France, the first country to cross that threshold, diesel now accounts for roughly 80 percent of motor-fuel consumption.

 

What was the reasoning? Diesel contains more carbon than gasoline, but diesel engines burn less fuel: Net, switching to diesel ought to give you lower emissions of greenhouse gases. However, there’s a penalty in higher emissions of other pollutants, including particulates and nitrogen oxides, or NOx. Curbing those emissions requires expensive modifications to cars’ exhaust systems. To facilitate the switch, Europe made its emission standards for these other pollutants less stringent for diesel engines than for gasoline engines. The priority, after all, was to cut greenhouse gases.

 

If anyone could solve the dilemma, one would expect it to be the Germans, who excel in engineering feats. It is Germany that is touted as the world leader in all things green. The reality of achieving the goals, however, is far more difficult than passing the legislation calling for the energy transformation.

 

Addressing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s push for de-carbonization, BloombergBusiness Points out: “Merkel has built a reputation as a climate crusader during a decade as Chancellor.” She “has straddled between pushing to reduce global warming while protecting her country’s auto industry.”

 

Merkel is, apparently, bumping up against reality. After shutting down its nuclear power plants, Germany has had to rely more on coal. BloombergBusiness continues: “She successfully helped block tighter EU carbon emissions standards two years ago.” Those tighter emissions standards would have hurt Germany’s auto industry, which accounts for 1 in 7 jobs in the country and 20 percent of its exports. At last week’s Frankfurt Auto Show Merkel said: “We have to ensure politically that what’s doable can indeed be translated into law, but what’s not doable mustn’t become European law.”

 

Evidence suggests the issue “could be industry-wide.” CNBC reports: “several major companies having exposure to the same diesel technology.” BMW’s stock price plunged, according to BloombergBusiness: “after a report that a diesel version of the X3 sport utility vehicle emitted more than 11 times the European limit for air pollution in a road test.” The Financial Times quotes Stuart Pearson, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, as saying: VW was “unlikely to have been the only company to game the system globally.” And an October 2014 study, cited in BloombergBusiness, claims that “road tests of 15 new diesel cars were an average of seven times higher than European limits.”

 

The VW emissions scandal is more than just a “‘bad episode’ for the car industry,” as Germany’s vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, called it. It provides a lesson in the collision of economic and environmental policies that strive to reach goals, which are presently technologically unachievable—a lesson that regulators and policy makers have yet to learn.

 

The Los Angeles Times (LAT) reports: “Regulators have ordered Volkswagen to come up with a fix that allows vehicles to meet environmental regulations.” If it were that easy, even economically possible, the much-vaunted German engineering could have solved the problem instead of developing technology that found a way around the rules. LAT concludes: “automotive experts believe any repair will diminish the driving dynamics of the vehicles and slash fuel economy—the two major characteristics that attracted buyers.”

 

The fact that, while waving the flag of environmental virtue advocated by Pope Francis, those, with the world’s best engineering at their fingertips, had to use the expertise to develop a work-around should serve as a lesson to policymakers who pass legislation and regulation on ideology rather than reality.

 

 

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. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marita: Iran will smother us with crude oil

I believe Marita says what the title states and much more.  Essentially she has reinforced what is generally known by any thinking person.

Thanks to Obama and our Secretary of State, we are going to be wearing nettle clothing.  We will suffer the sticking power of each nettle of thousands every time an Iranian barrel of oil touches our shore to be paid for with bucks manufactured out of thin air by this silly administration.

We know buying oil from Iran won’t come close to being the end of our stabbing torture because we have in Iran, an enemy government desiring nothing less than our death as a people and a nation.

Marita says it better than anyone I can think of … Let’s hear it from her:

 

Greetings!

Last week I told you my column on Mexico’s energy reforms was probably of more interest to those in the industry than the general public and that it lacked my usual political snap. Well, I’ve made up for it this week. Yes, as always, I am addressing energy. But the bigger picture is political.

I had fun writing Obama: Iranian oil, good. Canadian oil, bad. American oil, bad. (attached and pasted-in-below). I hope you can tell. Please note: the reference to Jeff Foxworthy is about a parody done in his style, not something he has released—but it was just so appropriate, I couldn’t resist incorporating the idea.

With everything I write, I hope to make a difference in the national dialogue. But, somehow, I feel even more strongly about the message of Obama: Iranian oil, good. Canadian oil, bad. American oil, bad. I send it to you today with an extra prayer that you’ll spread this message far and wide. Please pray with me that the media/talk show hosts pick up on this message and that I’ll be busy with radio interviews on this topic.

Please post, pass on and/or personally enjoy Obama: Iranian oil, good. Canadian oil, bad. American oil, bad.

marita Noon 1

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 

Obama: Iranian oil, good. Canadian oil, bad. American oil, bad.

President Obama’s confusing approach to energy encourages our enemies who shout “death to America,” while penalizing our closest allies and even our own job creators.

Iran’s participation in the nuclear negotiations that have slogged on for months, have now, ultimately, netted a deal that will allow Iran to export its oil—which is the only reason they came to the table (they surely are not interested in burnishing Obama’s legacy). International sanctions have, since 2011, cut Iran’s oil exports in half and severely damaged its economy. Iran, it is estimated, currently has more than 50 million barrels of oil in storage on 28 tankers at sea—part of a months’ long build up.

It is widely reported that, due to aging infrastructure and saturated storage, it will take Iran months to bring its production back up to pre-sanction levels. The millions of barrels of oil parked offshore are indicative of their eagerness to increase exports. Once the sanctions are lifted—if Congress approves the terms of the deal, Iran wants to be ready to move its oil. In fact, even before the sanctions have been lifted, Iran is already moving some of its “floating storage.”

On July 17, the Financial Times (FT) reported: “The departure of a giant Iranian supertanker from the flotilla of vessels storing oil off the country’s coast has triggered speculation Tehran is moving to ramp up its crude exports.” The Starla, “a 2 million barrel vessel,” set sail—moving the oil closer to customers in Asia. In April, another tanker, Happiness, sailed from Iran to China, where, since June, it has parked off the port City of Dalian.

Starla is the first vessel storing crude offshore to sail after the nuclear deal was reached—which is, according to the FT: “signaling its looming return to the oil market.” Reuters calls its departure: “a milestone following a months-long build-up of idling crude tankers.” Analysts at Macquarie Capital, apparently think the oil on Starla will not be parked, waiting for sanctions to be lifted. A research note, states: Iran is “likely assuming that either a small increase in exports will not undermine the historic accord reached or that no one will notice.” We noticed.

Already, before sanctions are lifted, global oil prices are feeling the pressure of Iran’s increased exports. Since the deal’s been announced, crude prices have lost almost all of the recent gains.

While the Obama Administration’s actions are allowing Iran, which hates America, to boost its economy by increasing its oil exports, they are hurting our closest ally but putting delay after delay in front of the Keystone pipeline—which would help Canada export its oil.

After six-and-a-half years of kicking the can down the road, and despite widespread support and positive reports, the Keystone pipeline is no closer to construction than it was on the day the application was submitted. It is obvious President Obama doesn’t like the project, which will create tens of thousands of jobs, according to his own State Department. Back in February, he vetoed the bill Congress sent him that would have authorized construction, saying that it circumvented “longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.” At the time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said: “Congress won’t stop pursuing good ideas, including this one.” But he was not able to gather enough votes to override the veto and, since then, we’ve heard nothing about the Keystone pipeline. In Washington, DC, silence on an important issue like Keystone isn’t always golden.

There is no pending legislation on Keystone, but the permit application has still not been approved or rejected. I had hoped that the unions, who want the jobs Keystone would provide, would be able to pressure enough Democrats to support the project, to push a bill over the veto-proof line. But that didn’t happen. For months, Keystone has been silently dangling. But that may be about to change.

Reliable sources tell me that Obama is prepared to, finally, announce his decision on Keystone. According to the well-sourced, and verified, rumor, he is going to say: “No”—probably just before or after the Labor Day holiday. He’ll conclude that it is not in the “national interest.” So helping our ally grow its economy and export its oil is not in our national interest but helping our sworn enemy do the same, is? It’s like the “Channeling Jeff Foxworthy” parody states: we just “might live in a country founded by geniuses and run by idiots.”

Speaking of economic growth and oil exports, what about here at home, in the good old U.S. of A.? Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) questions the deal that allows Iran to export its oil, while we cannot: “As Congress begins its 60-day review of President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about whether it is in our nation’s—and the world’s—best interests. Not least among them are the underexplored, but potentially significant consequences the deal will hold for American energy producers.”

Most people don’t realize that the U.S. is, as Murkowski says in her op-ed, “the only advanced nation that generally prohibits oil exports.” Due to decades-old policy, born in a different energy era, American oil producers are prohibited from exporting crude oil because it was perceived to be in “short supply.” (Note: refined petroleum product, such as gasoline and diesel, can be exported and is our number one export. We are also about ready to ship our major first tanker full of natural gas headed for Europe.) Today, when it comes to crude oil, our cup runneth over. The U.S. is now the world’s largest producer or oil and gas. Rather than short supply, we have an over-supply—so much so that American crude oil (WTI) is sold at a discount over the global market (Brent). This disadvantages U.S. producers but doesn’t benefit consumers because gasoline is sold based on the higher-priced Brent.

Murkowski argues that it is time to lift the 40-year-old oil export ban. She’s introduced bipartisan legislation that would do just that, but, if he was so inclined, President Obama could reverse the policy himself—if he found it to be in the national interest. And how could it not be?

Allowing U.S. crude oil into the world market enhances global energy security, as it would be less impacted by tensions in the Middle East. Our allies in Europe and Asia would have access to supply from a friendly and reliable source—remember the Arab Oil Embargo crippled Japan’s economy because it had no domestic supply and was overly reliant on Arab sources. Lifting the oil export ban would allow U.S. crude to be sold at the true market price, not the discounted rate, which would help stem the job losses currently being felt throughout the oil patch due to the low price of oil and exacerbated by the drop in the price of crude triggered by the Iran deal.

So, the Obama Administration is lobbying Congress to lift the sanctions on Iran, a country that views America as The Great Satan. Lifting sanctions would allow Iran to resume full oil export capabilities and boost its economy—while refusing to give our allies and our own country the same benefit. Iranian oil will enter the world market, while Canadian and American oil is constrained. How is that in the “national interest?”

It appears we might just be living in a country founded by geniuses and run by idiots.

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.

Again: The Most UnReverend Al Sharpton

According to an article in the New York Post, Al Sharpton is not held in high esteem by many people that have experienced Al and his cohorts as they organize to put the NAN logo on everything moving or still.

The article provides both narrative and a video showing the work of James O’Keeth and some of his investigative team, Project Veritas

Here is a partial clip of the “Post,” story and a resource link to the story and the video

Al Sharpton is all about the Benjamins, a daughter of police chokehold victim Eric Garner claims in a bombshell videotape.

Erica Snipes tees off on the reverend as interested primarily in money during a conversation secretly recorded by controversial conservative activist James O’Keefe’s group, Project Veritas.

Here’s the link to the story and the video is included on the article page:

New York Post

Don’t forget to give the Related Stories a look.  You’ll find them below.

Conspiracy Brews 2.14.15

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!
February 14, 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 ***
“Truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.”

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“A sailor without a destination cannot hope for a favorable wind.”
Leon Tec M.D.

Suggested Topics

— Do you go to government for your soul (individuals or corporations) ?
http://cnsnews.com/news/article/eric-scheiner/rep-cummings-people-come-government-feed-their-souls

— Sexual harassment in AFD… will the Major handle this charge better than APD?

— What do you think of the Albuquerque Epicenter for Entrepreneurs?
http://www.abqjournal.com/539681/biz/biz-most-recent/entrepreneur-epicenter-to-open-downtown.html
(Light Quotes of the week)
“The greatest justice in life is that your vision and looks tend to go simultaneously.”

Kevin Bacon

“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.”

Mark Twain

“There’s an old saying about those who forget history. I don’t remember it but it’s good.”

Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, March 10, 2008

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How much taxpayer money will fund this — Is it worth it

Sig Silber was kind enough to send this along.  Is the devil in the details or is this an angelic gift?
——————————————————————————–

SUNZIA_RELEASE%20IMG_V2

On January 24, 2015, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack, U.S. Congressman Ben Ray Luján, and senior Bureau of Land Management officials to announce the approval of the SunZia Southwest Transmission Line in New Mexico. The $2 billion infrastructure project will connect and deliver renewable power generated in New Mexico and Arizona to population centers across the southwest. The announcement was made at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility at Sandia National Laboratories.

January 28, 2015

Dear Fellow New Mexican,

Our state can and should be America’s epicenter of the clean energy economy. New Mexico has the technology, ingenuity, and abundant wind and solar resources to unleash the full potential of our homegrown energy to create good, quality jobs.

That’s exactly what a major infrastructure project that was approved on Saturday represents.

The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project will unlock New Mexico’s stranded wind and solar resources and move that energy to market. The project has the potential to enable the addition of 3,000 megawatts of electric capacity, which would provide sustainable power for more than a million homes.

SunZia will also have tremendous impact on our state’s economy. An economic study estimates that in New Mexico this project would generate $275 million in wages and salaries and $65 million in state and local taxes during construction.

Providing renewable power to the desert Southwest region, SunZia is expected to create 6,200 jobs during a four-year construction period to build the transmission lines and substations, and more than 36,700 jobs during a two-year construction period for renewable generation projects. An additional 600 permanent jobs are estimated to be created from transmission and generation operations.

I commend the tremendous work that all of the agencies involved in the review of SunZia have done to responsibly site this line and reach common ground along the way. I have followed this project closely and it has been deliberate, transparent, and comprehensive.

But this isn’t just about SunZia. This is about New Mexico diversifying its economy and building a prosperous clean energy future.

I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me on this and other issues that matter most to you and your family.

Be well, and please keep in touch.

Sincerely,

Signature

MARTIN HEINRICH
United States Senator

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter:

 

 

Marita: Republicans advocating gas taxes

Editor:

Count on the republicans to keep not keep their word on taxes in general and gasoline taxes in particular.  At this point in time, it should not surprise us that politicians sitting at the federal level make promises to raise money, with little intent to serve the people voting for them.

There are other ways of financing our transportation infrastructure and Marita finds them with little effort. READ

Greetings!

I generally beat up on President Obama and his Democrat allies—because they are such easy targets when it comes to bad energy policy. However, when Republicans do stupid things, I am quick to point it out. In this week’s column, Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea (attached and pasted-in-below), I took that opportunity. Really, what is the GOP thinking? Breitbart.com has posted a shortened version and I am offering you the full-length version. It is a complicated issue and my conversations with regular folks who don’t follow this stuff told me that a full explanation was needed—hence I suggest the longer version.

Whichever version suits your needs, I hope you will post it, pass it on, and/or personally enjoy it!

BTW, with the storms coming into the Northeast today, may I remind you of a column I wrote at the first cold snap in November? Give this another look: Dear Northeast: How’s that solar working out for ya?

Stay warm!

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea

What are the Republicans thinking? Coming right out of the gate, at the start of the new GOP-controlled Congress, they began talking about the crazy idea of increasing the gasoline tax. It has little chance of passing, yet can easily taint the party with a tax-raising reputation.

Just two days after the swearing in of the new Congress, the January 8 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) headline reads: “Senate Republicans: Higher Gas Taxes are on the Table.” It states: “Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who just took the reins of the panel, said he is open to considering raising the gas tax as a way to help pay for the dwindling Highway Trust Fund that keeps up the nation’s roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Many of Inhofe’s Senate colleagues are clear about gas tax increase’s future. According to the Associated Press (AP), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said: “I don’t know of any support for a gas tax increase in Congress.” The WSJ cites Senator John Barasso (R-WY), “who said he doesn’t support an increase and doesn’t think there is a political appetite for doing so on Capitol Hill.”

The House isn’t any more optimistic. According to the AP, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doesn’t think there “are enough votes in the House for a gas tax increase.” Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, said: “I don’t think there’s a will in Congress and the American People don’t want it.”

Even the New York Times touts: “Gasoline-tax increase finds little support.”

However, Inhofe’s apparent willingness to consider an increase in the gas tax, along with Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and John Thune (R-SD), has given fodder to those who long for a carbon tax. A San Francisco Chronicle article titled: “Odds of gas-tax hike grow with quiet support of GOP Senators,” opens: “With Washington’s most famous climate-change skeptic expressing interest in raising the federal gasoline tax, Bay area Rep. Jared Huffman sees an opening to grab the brass ring of the environmental movement: a tax on carbon.” Huffman sees that “it’s a good time to make the tax a little more sophisticated so it reflects the carbon content of all fuels.”

The gas tax creates headlines because the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which finances the interstate highway system, faces insolvency due to spending more than it takes in. Had Congress not come up with a solution to the $16 billion shortfall by August 1, 2014, federal highway projects would have ground to a halt and as many as 700,000 people would have received lay-off notices. An agreed upon “patch” put the crisis off until after the elections. That fix ends in May and the new Congress must now come up with another way to fund America’s roads and bridges. A gas-tax increase is the obvious solution as the concept means those who use the roads most, pay for them—supposedly making it more of a “user fee” than a tax.

The tax is currently 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel—more than double the oil companies’ profit on that same gallon of gas. (Note: the gas tax is a flat figure, not a percent. With lower prices, people are driving more so revenues should be up.) With gasoline prices at historic lows, many think now is the time to raise the tax, as it will hardly be noticed.

But there are other options that don’t require raising taxes—or instituting a new carbon tax.

The fact that modern cars are more efficient than they were when the gas-tax was first instituted in 1956 at 3 cents a gallon is a major problem with HTF funding. Because drivers now go farther on less fuel, the roadways receive wear and tear without enough taxes collected to cover the use. As more electric cars fill our roads, the problem is exacerbated. Electric cars use the roadways for free while everyone else pays for them. Therefore many have proposed a mileage fee rather than a gas tax—or in addition to it. With a voluntary program passed in 2013, Oregon has been at the forefront of what is called mileage-based user fees (MBUF). The pilot program, which takes advantage of smart technology, has been hailed as a great success.

However, MBUFs should concern everyone concerned about more government involvement in our lives. At the Detroit auto show, BMW sounded an alarm about the “fine line between performance and privacy.” While the Financial Times (FT) report focuses on the pressure carmakers receive from technology companies and advertisers who want data collected by “connected cars,” one doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to imagine the data collection morphing into a big-brother-like intrusion. According to the FT: “About two-thirds of today’s new cars have sensors and communications systems that send and receive data.” At last year’s consumer electronics show, Jim Farley, then Ford’s head of marketing, said: “We know everyone breaks the law. We know exactly when you do it because we have a GPS sensor in your car.” Imagine Environmental Protection Agency officers showing up on your doorstep because you have driven more than the allowed amount. Or, more likely, your gas supply getting cut off because you used up this month’s allotment early.

MBUFs may serve as a good option for electric vehicles, but implementation should not be universal—and therefore do not create the full answer to the HTFs funding woes.

The answer requires an understanding of the problem.

Gas taxes used to be more of a user fee—which made it fairer. “But since the 1990s the Highway Trust Fund has come to fund much more than new roads and bridges and highway maintenance,” claims a WSJ editorial. Heritage Foundation transportation and infrastructure analyst Emily Goff believes the problem is: “Spending priorities are determined more by politicians appeasing special interests than local needs or consumer choices. And the federal regulatory burden delays projects and smothers state and private-sector innovation.” She points out: “Washington diverts more than 25% of that money to subways, streetcars, buses, bicycle and nature paths, and landscaping, at the expense of road and bridge projects.” Users of these HTF projects utilize the infrastructure but don’t contribute to it. Cutting non-highway spending would go a long way to closing the funding gap. As the WSJ puts it: “Simply using the taxes that are supposed to pay for highways to, well, pay for highways makes the HTF 98% solvent for the next decade, no tax increase necessary.”

Another part of the solution, would redirect highway projects to the states. Chris Chocola, president of The Club for Growth, explains: “All 50 states have Departments of Transportation. More than 70% of all transportation spending in this country is already financed and spent at the state and local level. Each state has very specific infrastructure needs, and those needs are most effectively addressed at the local level, where those making the decisions are held most accountable by the taxpayers.”

States can more easily innovate and have already solved some highway issues with toll-concession private-public partnerships (PPP). Douglas Holtz-Eakin, head of the American Action Forum, a conservative advocacy group, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, sees creating more PPPs as an alternative to an increase in the gasoline tax.

A Reason Foundation FAQ on Toll Concession PPPs explains them this way: “A toll concession is a DBFOM (design-build-finance-operate-maintain) highway contract in which the principal funding source is tolls charged to users of the highway project. The projected toll revenue stream is used to support long-term revenue bonds, in addition to covering operation and maintenance costs of the project. In a toll concession, the consortium that wins the right to do the project takes on the risks of (a) construction cost overruns, (b) late completion, and (c) inadequate traffic and revenue. Those risks would otherwise be borne by the government (and hence, the taxpayers).”

I’ve outlined just four possible options to fund our roadways without raising the gas tax—which will still exist when gas prices go up and impacts the price of almost everything:

MBUFs for electric cars;
Limit spending to actual highway projects—not mass transit or nature trails;
Redirect some projects to the states; and
Toll concession PPPS.

Surely, the great minds in Washington could come up with more ideas.

With several options available to support the nation’s highways, the GOP needs to create, innovate, and unify in fixing problems—like the HTF—and show America that they can do it without raising taxes.

(A version of this content was originally published on Breitbart.com.)

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.

Conspiracy Brews 1.10.15

“Je Suis Charlie”

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!
January 10, 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 ***

“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.”

Leo Aikman

“It’s better to fight for something than against something.”

Author Unknown

Suggested Topics

— Is there any workable solution to end the terrorism…are we at war?

— Is there a nationwide war on Police?

— Is there a worldwide war on Freedom of Speech?

— Would a Right to Work law benefit NM or hurt NM?

(Light Quotes of the week)

“Every ten years a man should give himself a good kick in the pants.”

Edward Steichen

“The secret to happiness in your work is to find a job in which your neurosis is constructive.”

Jeanne LaMont, MD

“Just remember, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.”

M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

——-

Marita Noon: Obama kicking again

Obama loves to sneak things under the door when few are watching.  Ms. Noon reports on his recent efforts involving the oil and gas industries.  As usual her reporting is spot-on.

Marita says:

Happy New Year!

Now the holidays are officially over. It is time to get back to work. Though I wrote this week’s column (attached and pasted-in-below): Obama Administration kicks the oil-and-gas industry while it is down, while I was still a bit into holiday mode—which means it is shorter than my usual. But I think it is good and complete. I hope you agree! The news about the new regulations the Obama Administration is introducing on the oil-and-gas industry came out during the holidays and likely was overlooked by most. I believe the news is worthy of additional attention. The new regulations also give the new GOP controlled Congress increased rationale for limiting the EPA’s aggressive power.

Please help me spread the work by posting, passing on, and/or personally enjoying Obama Administration kicks the oil-and-gas industry while it is down.

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: January 5, 2014.

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Obama Administration kicks the oil-and-gas industry while it is down

For the past six years, the oil and gas industry has served as a savior to the Obama presidency by providing the near-lone bright spot in economic growth. Increased U.S. oil-and-gas production has created millions of well-paying jobs and given us a new energy security. The president often peppers his speeches with braggadocio talk about our abundant supplies and decreased dependence on foreign oil.

So now that the economic powerhouse faces hard times, how does the Administration show its appreciation for the oil-and-gas industry boon to the economy over the past six years?

By introducing a series of regulations—at least nine in total, according to the Wall Street journal (WSJ)—that will put the brakes on the US energy boom through higher operating costs and fewer incentives to drill on public lands.

WSJ states: “Mr. Obama and his environmental backers say new regulations are needed to address the impacts of the surge in oil and gas drilling.”

U.S. oil production, according to the Financial Times: “caught Saudi Arabia by surprise.” The kingdom sees that US shale and Canadian oil-sand development “encroached on OPEC’s market share” and has responded with a challenge to high-cost sources of production by upping its output—adding to the global oil glut and, therefore, dropping prices.

Most oil-market watchers expect temporary low-priced oil, with prediction of an increase in the second half of 2015, and some saying 2016. North Dakota Petroleum Council President Ron Ness believes “We’re in an energy war.” He sees “the price slump could last 16 months or even one to two years as U.S. supply stays strong, global demand remains weak and OPEC continues to challenge U.S. production.” However, Ibrahim al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, recently said: “We have the ability to endure low oil prices over the medium term of up to five years, even if it means delving into fiscal reserves to cover a large deficit.”

While no one knows how long the low-price scenario will last—geopolitical risk is still a factor.

Many oil companies are already re-evaluating exploration, reining in costs, and cutting jobs and/or wages. “In the low price circumstance like today,” Jean-Marie Guillermou, the Asian head of the French oil giant Total, explained: “you do the strict minimum required.”

In December, the WSJ reported: “Some North American companies have said they plan to cut their capital spending next year and dial back on exploring for new oil.” It quotes Tim Dove, President and COO for Pioneer Natural Resources Co.: “We are seeking cost reductions from all our suppliers.”

Last month, Enbridge Energy Partners said: “it has laid off some workers in the Houston area”—which the Houston Chronicle (HC) on December 12 called: “the latest in a string of energy companies to announce cutbacks.” The HC continued: “Other key energy companies have also announced layoffs in recent days as oil tumbles to its lowest price in years. Halliburton on Thursday said it would slash 1,000 jobs in the Eastern Hemisphere as part of a $75 million restructuring. BP on Wednesday revealed plans to accelerate job cuts and pare back its oil production business amid crumbling oil prices.” Halliburton said: “we believe these job eliminations are necessary in order to work through this market environment.”

Civeo, a lodging and workforce accommodation company for the oil-and-gas industry has cut 30 percent of its Canadian workforce and 45 percent of its U.S. workforce. President and CEO Bradley Dodson said: “As it became evident during the fourth quarter that capital spending budgets among the major oil companies were going to be cut, we began taking steps to reduce marketed room capacity, control costs and curtail discretionary capital expenditures.”

I have warned the industry that while they have remained relatively unscathed by harsh regulations—such as those placed on electricity generation—their time would come. Now, it has arrived. The WSJ concurs: “In its first six years, the administration released very few regulations directly affecting the oil-and-gas industry and instead rolled out several significant rules aimed at cutting air pollution from the coal and electric-utility sectors.”

According to the WSJ: “Some of the rules have been in the works for months or even years.” But that doesn’t mean the administration should introduce them now when the industry is already down—after all, the administration delayed Obamacare mandates due to the negative impact on jobs and the economy.

Greg Guidry, executive vice president at Shell, recently said that he doesn’t want the EPA to “impose unnecessary costs and burden on an industry challenged now by a sustained low-price environment.”

Different from Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets it. Under pressure from the environmental lobby to increase regulations on the oil-and-gas industry, he, during a question session on the floor of the House of Commons in December, said: “Under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy—it would be crazy economic policy—to do unilateral penalties on that sector.” He added: “We are not going to kill jobs and we are not going to impose a carbon tax.”

Introducing the new rules now kick the industry while it is down and shows that President Obama either doesn’t get it, or he cares more about burnishing his environmental legacy than he does about American jobs and economic growth.

(A version of this content was originally published at Breitbart.com)

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.

What a novel idea

This piece originally appeared on Eagle Rising on 1/3/15

If more public servants would speak on these two issues as does Sheriff Clarke, there would be more responsibility on the part of all involved and hopefully fewer abortions.

 

Sheriff David Clarke to Protesters: If Black Lives Really Mattered You Would be Protesting Abortions Not Cops

By Tim Brown / 3 January 2015

I do like Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. He speaks his mind and leaves no doubt as to what he means. In an interview during Christmas week on CNN with Poppy Harlow, Clarke gave a special message to those protesting police officers under the banner of “Black lives matter.” Clarke said if black lives matter those protesters would be outraged at abortion and protesting that.

The sheriff wanted protesters to take emotion off the table and have an “objective discussion” about the reality of black on black crime. He also indicated that when the recent deaths of black men due to white police officers were a “sliver of what is going on in America’s ghettos

Clarke pointed out that statistics from 2012 and 2013 indicate that in his own county of Milwaukee eighty percent of murder victims were black. Of those blacks murdered, seventy percent of their killers were black. In other words, Clarke was pointing out that blacks are killing their own people, something we have known for some time.

He also said that there were lots of lies about police put out by those with agendas and said that the use of deadly force against black males is actually down seventy-five percent since 1999. In addition to those statistics, between 2011 and 2012, 386 whites were killed by police versus 140 blacks.

“So I’m just saying let’s put the data out there, and let’s have an objective discussion, minus the emotion and the minus the rhetoric,” he said.

When asked about a tweet Clarke sent to New York Times reporter Mitch Smith in which he said, “If only these faux protestors were asked by media about all black on black killing or black babies aborted in US every year.”

“When I hear these things that ‘black lives matter,’ the only people who really believe that statement are American police officers who go into American ghettos every day to keep people from killing each other,” he said. “All right, so, yes I did say that and I meant it. Look, the abortions? If black lives, if they really mattered, that’s where the outrage would be. That’s where we’d see protests.”

In addition to that tweet, Clarke provide these tweets on December 23. Though he did not blame Barack Obama, Eric Holder or Mayor Bill de Blasio for the execution of NYPD police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, he did blast the race baiting politicians for creating the pathway that led to their deaths.

Read more at FEWER ABORTIONS = MORE RESPONSIBILITY

 

We just had a wave election … Explained

 Hillsdale College and its president Larry P. Arnn provide information on what a wave election amounts to, and why conservatives (yes and even progressives) should care:
Hillsdale College photo from, A consecrated li...

Hillsdale College photo from, A consecrated life, a sketch of the life and labors of Rev. Ransom Dunn, D. D., 1818-1900 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wave Elections: What They Mean

Larry P. Arnn

President, Hillsdale College

LARRY P. ARNN is the twelfth president of Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Arkansas State University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School. From 1977 to 1980, he also studied at the London School of Economics and at Worcester College, Oxford University, where he served as director of research for Martin Gilbert, the official biographer of Winston Churchill. From 1985 until his appointment as president of Hillsdale College in 2000, he was president of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy. He is the author of Liberty and Learning: The Evolution of American Education; The Founders’ Key: The Divine and Natural Connection Between the Declaration and the Constitution; and Churchill’s Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government (forthcoming).

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on December 5, 2014, at Hillsdale College’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington, D.C.

We have had a wave election. For those of a conservative disposition, it is a satisfying wave. According to Michael Barone, speaking recently here at Hillsdale’s Kirby Center, this wave is like several recent wave elections in its magnitude and decisiveness. There was a wave in favor of the Republicans in 1980 and again in 1994. There was a wave in favor of the Democrats in 2006 and again in 2008. There was a wave for the Republicans in 2010. There was a stalemate in 2012. Now there is a Republican wave in 2014. Looked at one way, these waves appear more like tides, ebbing and flowing.

Now that Mr. Arnn has your attention, follow the link just below to educate yourself on the details:

Wave Elections.

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