Marita: Loves the strike down of one portion of Obama’s overall little legacy

Link to: Striking down Obama’s climate legacy has its day in court

 

Greetings!

 

This week, I knew early on what my topic would be. For the past couple years, I’ve followed the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP)—including offering public comment at one of the EPA’S “listening sessions” in Atlanta. Back in February, I wrote about the Supreme Court’s historic stay. On Tuesday,  September 27, more history was made when the full DC Appeals Court heard oral arguments regarding the CPP—from both defenders and detractors. There, history was made again: the full court engaged in the arguments for the full day.

 

Despite the historic nature of the case, few people are following it—or even knew about the CPP’s day in the Appeals Court.

 

For my weekly radio show: America’s Voice for Energy, I interviewed two of the lawyers involved in the case who were in the room for the full oral arguments. Their insights, along with news reports, resulted in this week’s column: Striking down Obama’s climate legacy has its day in court (attached and pasted-in-below).

 

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM, 87181

505.239.8998

 

For immediate release: October 3, 2016

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1128

 

Striking down Obama’s climate legacy has its day in court

President Obama’s flagship policy on climate change had its day in court on Tuesday, September 27. The international community is closely watching; most Americans, however, are unaware of the historic case known as the Clean Power Plan (CPP)—which according to David Rivkin, one of the attorneys arguing against the plan: “is not just to reduce emissions, but to create a new electrical system.”

 

For those who haven’t followed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule, here’s a brief history that brings us to up to date:

  • EPA published the final CPP rule in the Federal Register on October 2015.
  • More than two dozen states and a variety of industry groups and businesses immediately filed challenges against it—with a final bipartisan coalition of more than 150 entities including 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 electric coops, 3 labor unions, and about a half dozen nonprofits.
  • On January 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia denied a request for a stay that would have prevented implementation of the rule until the court challenges were resolved.
  • On February 9, the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS), in an unprecedented action, before the case was heard by the lower court, overruled, and issued a stay that delays enforcement of CPP.
  • The Court of Appeals was scheduled to hear oral arguments before a three-judge panel on June 2, but pushed them to September 27 to be heard by the full court—something the court almost never does (though for issues involving “a question of exceptional importance” procedural rules allow for the case to proceed directly to a hearing before the full appeals court).

 

The court, which is already fully briefed on a case before hearing the oral arguments, typically allows a maximum 60-90 minutes to hear both sides and occasionally, with an extremely complex case, will allow two hours. The oral argument phase allows the judges to interact with lawyers from both sides and with each other. However, for the CPP, the court scheduled a morning session focusing on the EPA’s authority to promulgate the rule and an afternoon session on the constitutional claims against the rule—which ended up totaling nearly 7 hours. Jeff Holmstead, a partner with Bracewell Law, representing one of the lead challengers, told me this was the only time the full court has sat all day to hear a case.

 

One of the issues addressed was whether or not the EPA could “exercise major transformative power without a clear statement from Congress on the issue”—with the 2014 Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. EPA determining it could not. Republican appointee Judge Brett Kavanaugh noted that the UARG scenario “sounds exactly like this one.”

 

Judge Thomas Griffith, a Bush appointee, questioned: “Why isn’t this debate going on in the floor of the Senate?” In a post-oral argument press conference, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) pointed out that the debate has been held on the Senate floor in the form of cap-and-trade legislation—which has failed repeatedly over a 15-year period. Therefore, he said, the Obama administration has tried to do through regulation what the Senate wouldn’t do through legislation.

 

“Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe, one of Obama’s mentors,” writes the Dallas Morning News: “made a star appearance to argue that the Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.”

 

Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, a Bush appointee, concluded: “You have given us all we need and more, perhaps, to work on it.”

 

The day in court featured many of the nation’s best oral advocates and both sides feel good about how the case was presented.

 

For the challengers (who call CPP “an unlawful power grab”), West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, who along with Texas AG Ken Paxton, co-lead the case, reported: “We said (then) that we were looking forward to having our day in court on the merits. Today was that day. I think that the collective coalition was able to put very strong legal arguments forward, as to why this regulation is unlawful, and why it should be set aside.”

 

But the case has its proponents, too, and they, also, left feeling optimistic. In a blog post for the Environmental Defense Fund, Martha Roberts wrote about what she observed in the courtroom: “The judges today were prepared and engaged. They asked sharply probing questions of all sides. But the big news is that a majority of judges appeared receptive to arguments in support of the Clean Power Plan.” She concluded that she’s confident “that climate protection can win the day.”

 

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) summarized the session saying that stakeholders on all sides were left “parsing questions and reactions, and searching for signs of which way the judges are leaning.” U.S. News reported: “The judges repeatedly interrupted the lawyers for both sides to ask pointed questions about the legal underpinnings of their positions.”

 

The decision, which is not expected for several months, may come down to the ideological make-up of the court: 6 of the judges were appointed by Democrat presidents and 4 by Republicans. Though, according to WSJ, Obama appointee Judge Patricia Millet “expressed concern that the administration was in effect requiring power plants to subsidize companies competing with them for electricity demand.” She offered hope to the challengers when she said: “That seems to be quite different from traditional regulation.” Additionally, in his opinion published in the Washington Post, Constitutional law professor Jonathan Adler, stated: “Some of the early reports indicate that several Democratic nominees posed tough questions to the attorney defending the EPA.”

 

Now, the judges will deliberate and discuss. Whatever decision they come to, experts agree that the losing side will appeal and that the case will end up in front of the Supreme Court—most likely in the 2017/2018 session with a decision possible as late as June 2018. There, the ultimate result really rests in the presidential election, as the current SCOTUS make up will be changed with the addition of the ninth Justice, who will be appointed by the November 8 winner—and that Justice will reflect the new president’s ideology.

 

Hillary Clinton has promised to continue Obama’s climate change policies while Donald Trump has announced he’ll rescind the CPP and cancel the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

The CPP is about more than the higher electricity costs and decreased grid reliability, which results from heavy reliance on wind and solar energy as CPP requires, and, as the South Australian experiment proves, doesn’t work. It has far-reaching impacts. WSJ states: “Even a partial rebuke of the Clean Power Plan could make it impossible for the U.S. to hit the goals Mr. Obama pledged in the Paris climate deal.” With Obama’s climate legacy at stake, the international community is paying close attention.

 

And Americans should be. Our energy stability hangs in the balance.

 

 

 

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 Noon: Where Buffalo May Roam … Away

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Link to: The Buffalo Billion fraud and bribery scheme: corruption and pay-to-play, a symbol of everything they’re doing

 

Greetings!

 

I have been watching the SolarCity solar panel manufacturing factory story for a few weeks. I’ve almost written on it a couple of times. How fortuitous for that, each time, another story captured my attention. Last Thursday, the story took on a whole new dimension: a criminal corruption probe. Now was the right time to write The Buffalo Billion fraud and bribery scheme: corruption and pay-to-play, a symbol of everything they’re doing (attached and pasted-in-below). It is a sordid tale—but then, most of the green-energy crony-corruption stories are.

 

As I like to do, The Buffalo Billion fraud and bribery scheme: corruption and pay-to-play, a symbol of everything they’re doing combines several stories to present a fresh analysis while incorporating many of my favorite themes: politics, green-energy crony-corruption, and current news. Plus, it should make you mad! Getting all that into one piece, does make it a bit on the long side, but I hope you’ll enjoy the thorough coverage of this underreported story.

 

Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy The Buffalo Billion fraud and bribery scheme: corruption and pay-to-play, a symbol of everything they’re doing

.

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM, 87181

505.239.8998

 

For immediate release: September 26, 2016

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1380

 

 

The Buffalo Billion fraud and bribery scheme: corruption and pay-to-play, a symbol of everything they’re doing

When New York’s Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo gushed over SolarCity’s new solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, the audience, likely, didn’t grasp the recently-revealed meaning of his words: “It is such a metaphor—a symbol of everything we’re doing.”

 

The 1.2 million square foot building, being built by the state of New York on the site of a former steel plant, is looking more and more like another political promise of help for one of the poorest cities in the state that ends up enriching cronies without ever achieving any potential for the people.

 

Yes, it is a symbol of everything they’re doing.

 

Previously, during her first senatorial bid, Hillary Clinton also promised jobs to the economically depressed region of the state of New York—200,000 to be exact. Citing a report from the Washington Post, CBSNews states: “Jobs data show that job growth stagnated in Upstate New York during her eight years in office, the report said, and manufacturing jobs dropped by nearly a quarter.” The Post’s extensive story reveals that jobs never materialized—despite “initial glowing headlines.” It claims: “Clinton’s self-styled role as economic promoter” actually “involved loyal campaign contributors who also supported the Clinton Foundation.” Through federal grants and legislation, she helped steer money to programs, companies, and initiatives that benefitted the donors but failed to reverse the economic decline of the region.

 

Now, new corruption charges reveal the same pay-to-play model linked to Cuomo’s upstate “Buffalo Billion” economic revitalization plan—and the promised jobs, also, look they will never materialize.

 

Back on January 5, 2012, Cuomo announced a $1 billion five-year economic development pledge for Buffalo.  It was to be the governor’s banner economic initiative with the SolarCity factory as the cornerstone and a pledge of 1,460 direct factory jobs. Other companies, including IBM and a Japanese clean-energy company were also lined up.

 

With the state-of-the-art solar panel factory ready for equipment to be installed, the wisdom of the entire program is being scrutinized—and is coming up short.

 

First, on September 22, two of Cuomo’s closest aides—along with several others—were charged in corruption and fraud cases involving state contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Addressing the press at his Manhattan office, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara asserted: “that ‘pervasive corruption and fraud’ infested one of the governor’s signature economic development programs. Companies got rich, and the public got bamboozled,” reports The Observer. Bharara described the bid-rigging and bribery arrangement: “Behind the scenes they were cynically rigging the whole process so that the contracts would go to handpicked ‘friends of the administration’—‘friends’ being a euphemism for large donors. Through rigged bids, state contracts worth billions of dollars in public development monies, meant to revitalize and renew upstate New York, were instead just another way to corruptly award cronies who were willing to pay to play.”

 

The 79-page criminal complaint notes that campaign contributions to Cuomo poured in from people connected to the bribe-paying companies as soon as those businesses began pursuing state projects.

 

One of the companies that received the lucrative contracts was LPCiminelli—run by “Cuomo mega-donor” Louis Ciminelli. He allegedly offered bribes to Cuomo confidante Todd Howe—who has admitted to pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from developers to rig bids on multimillion-dollar state contracts linked to Buffalo Billion projects.

 

Ciminelli received the $750 million contract to build the SolarCity plant. The Buffalo News cites Bharara as saying: “the state’s bidding process for the factory being built for SolarCity at RiverBend in South Buffalo turned into a ‘criminal’ enterprise that favored LPCiminelli, where company executives were given inside information about how the deal was to be awarded.”

 

Part of Cuomo’s deal with SolarCity—in which the state owns the building and equipment with SolarCity leasing it under a 10-year deal—requires the company to meet a timetable of job-creation quotas or pay hefty penalties. Even before the building was complete, however, the company slashed its job commitment from 1460 to 500. According to the Investigative Post, SolarCity claims it will still employ the original number, but due to automation, the majority of them will not be at the Buffalo plant. With the state’s $750 million investment, that works out to $1.5 million per manufacturing job. In a press release, Cuomo promised 1460 “direct manufacturing jobs at the new facility.”

 

Even the 500 jobs will only materialize if the plant actually starts production—currently slated for June 2017. SolarCity’s future is, as Crain’s New York Business puts it: “uncertain.”

 

Amid the company’s myriad problems are the facts that it has never been profitable, nor does it have manufacturing experience.

 

In February 2014, SolarCity’s stock price peaked at about $85 a share. Today, a share is less than $20. Microaxis gives it a probability of bankruptcy score of 48 percent. Crains reports that it posted a $251 million loss in Q1 2016 and a loss of $230 million in Q2. To “stop the bleeding,” Elon Musk (a donor to both the Obama and Clinton campaigns and the Clinton Foundation), who owns more than 20 percent of the company, announced that Tesla (of which he also owns more than 20 Percent) would purchase SolarCity—this after as many as 15 other potential buyers and investors looked at the company and decided to pass. SolarCity even considered selling the solar panel manufacturing business.

 

Both SolarCity and Tesla are, according to the Buffalo News, facing a “cash bind”—this despite receiving billions in federal and state grants and tax credits as I’ve previously addressed. Tesla is described as “cash-eating electric vehicle and battery making businesses.” For SolarCity, its model—which finances its solar panel installations, in order to make a profit on a lease that can be as long as 30 years, while it collects the lucrative government incentives worth billions (a practice for which Solar City is currently under Congressional investigation)—requires constantly raising new money from investors. Once the Tesla deal was announced, SolarCity’s lenders started to pull back.

 

The Buffalo News reports: “Stock in SolarCity…now trades for $4 a share less, or 19 percent less, than what Tesla is offering—a gap indicating that investors are uncertain the deal will be completed.” Additionally, the deal is being challenged by four separate lawsuits—which could delay the deal. Addressing the merger, one analyst said: “We see a lot more that can go wrong than can go right.”

 

Then there is the manufacturing angle. Originally, the Buffalo plant was going to manufacture high-efficacy solar panel modules developed by Silevo—a company SolarCity bought in 2014. Crain’s reports that it will instead produce complete solar roofs. Something it says “Dow Chemical recently abandoned after five years because it could not find a way to make a profit on the technology.” But then, the Buffalo News says: “The initial production in Buffalo is expected to include photovoltaic cells that SolarCity purchases from suppliers and are used in the products that will be assembled in the South Park Avenue factory.”

 

Whatever the plant builds or manufactures, getting it operating will be expensive—even with the New York taxpayers owning the building and equipment—and will drain scarce cash from SolarCity at a time when its financing costs have increased.

 

Buffalo residents wonder if they’ll be stuck with the world’s largest empty warehouse and without the promised jobs.

 

No wonder the entire project is in doubt. Because of the Cuomo administration corruption allegations, other proposed job-creators, including IBM, have pulled out until the probe is completed.

 

For now, Cuomo is not a part of the criminal complaint—though his name is mentioned many times—and he claims he knew nothing about it, nor does he think he’s a target of the ongoing federal probe. “It is almost inconceivable the governor didn’t know what was going on,” Doug Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College, said. “And if he didn’t know what was going on, you can argue he should have known.”

 

Bharara has suggested that the better name for the program would be: “The Buffalo Billion Fraud and Bribery Scheme.”

 

Yep, the Buffalo Billion project is a “symbol” of the political promises and crony corruption—“everything we’re doing”—that takes taxpayers dollars to reward political donors and then walks away when the jobs don’t materialize.

 

 

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.

 

 

Conspiracy Brews 9/24/16

ConspiracyBrews

Note: On October 1st,  NM State Auditor Tim Keller will give a presentation and take questions.

Conspiracy Brews @ SW Secondary Learning Center 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM 24 September 2016

Follow Conspiracy.Brews on Facebook

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!

Sept 24, 2016

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 ***

“After I’m dead I’d rather have peole ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”

 

Cato the Elder

 

That is the greatest fallacy, the wisdom of old men.  They do no grow wise.  They grow careful.”


Earnest Hemingway (A Farewell to Arms, 1929)


***
Suggested Topics*** 

 — Do you support the reestablishment of the Death Penalty?

 

– Shall we discuss the legislative special session?

 

– What is the future of oil in our state?

 

*** Light Quotes of the Week ***

“After twelve years of therapy my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes.  He said, No hablo ingles’.”


Ronnie Shakes

 

“A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with peper and vinegar, and then thrown out.”

Samuel Johnson

 

“I hate women because they always know where things are.”

 

James Thurber

 

Marita: Rolling back the tide of big government overreach

Can we really be so lucky?  Marita thinks so.  Read below to find out what Marita thinks.

Greetings!

Several weeks ago, a federal judge overturned the Obama administration’s 2014 listing of the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as a threatened species. At the time, I thought about writing on it, even assumed it would be my column for that week. But, another news story caught my attention—and not that many average citizens really care about the LPC anyway. With every week that passed, other stories took precedence and the LPC became a stale topic.

However, this week, I’ve connected some dots—as I like to do— with the LPC decision to create: Rolling back the tide of big government overreach (attached and pasted-in-below).

Back in August, I wrote on WOTUS. Since then, including the LPC and WOTUS decision, there have been five distinct victories for responsible land use. While it does make for a long column, I address them all in Rolling back the tide of big government overreach. The other three are the hydraulic fracturing rule, the sage grouse, and the wolf reintroduction.

I am writing this introduction from the Annual Meeting of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association where I have been able to share this good news with many of the attendees. When you string these five stories together, as I have done, it does offer encouragement.

Please post, pass on and/or personally enjoy Rolling back the tide of big government overreach.

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: October 5, 2015

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

 

 

Marita

The reason most often cited for the success of the nonpolitical candidates is the frustration with Washington; the sense that the system is broken. Voters feel that we have no control and that government has gone wild. Even people who don’t watch the news or closely follow politics are aware of the “overreach.” It seems that, perhaps, the messages the outsiders have been heralding on the trail has caught on.

Washington’s overreach has been rolled back—by courts and commissioners and, even, in response, the government itself. In little more than 30 days, there have been five distinct cases that you may have missed—each, a victory for responsible land use.

WOTUS

First was WOTUS, or the Waters of the U.S. rule—which was scheduled for full implementation on, Friday, August 28. WOTUS attempted to greatly expand the federal government’s authority over water and land and could apply to ditches, streams, wetlands and small isolated bodies of water. Late on Thursday, August 27, U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson issued a temporary injunction sought by North Dakota and 12 other states. In his decision, Erickson wrote: “Once the rule takes effect, the states will lose their sovereignty over interstate waters that will then be subject to the scope of the Clean Water Act.” Calling the rule “arbitrary and capricious,” he declared that the EPA “violated its congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the rule.”

Undaunted, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pushed back, stating that the rule only applied to the thirteen states that requested the injunction. For the remaining 37 states, the EPA is enforcing the regulation as planned. At least 10 lawsuits—including 29 states and 14 agricultural and industry organizations—have been filed in federal district court challenging the rule.

Constitutional and environmental law professor, Jonathan H. Adler, addressed WOTUS in the Washington Post, saying: “As a general matter (and as the Supreme Court has recognized) land-use control is generally beyond the scope of federal power. In this case, the district court concluded that the states were likely to succeed on the merits as the EPA had adopted an ‘exceptionally expansive’ view of its own jurisdiction under the CWA.”

Perhaps, as you’ll see, if the WOTUS deadline was a month later, the EPA may not have been so bold in its assertion that it would continue to enforce the rule. But, then again, this is the Obama EPA.

Lesser Prairie Chicken

Once again, a federal agency has been acting “arbitrarily and capriciously.” This time, it is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). On September 2, U.S. District Judge Robert A. Junell overturned the Obama administration’s 2014 listing of the lesser prairie chicken (LPC) as a threatened species, which gave the bird protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and limited land use in five states.

Citing the “more than 180 oil and gas, pipeline, electric transmission and wind energy companies” that had enrolled in voluntary conservation plans, The Permian Basin Petroleum Association challenged the listing, as soon as it was finalized.

The FWS is required to consider the conservation plans. The court determined that FWS “did not properly consider active conservation efforts for the bird when listing it.” Junell wrote: “The Court finds FWS did conduct an analysis, however this analysis was neither ‘rigorous’ nor valid as FWS failed to consider important questions and material information necessary to make a proper evaluation.”

Addressing the LPC decision, The National Law Review, states: the “ruling raises important questions about the upcoming Service decision whether to list the greater sage-grouse under the ESA. A sage-grouse decision was due on September 30.

Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, sees that the FWS “has been illegally steam rolling states by their own secret rules.” He added: “The Obama administration has been merciless in its quest to list species—even when the science says otherwise.”

Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

On September 30, another federal district court judge smacked down another federal agency—this time the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which, in March, issued federal fracking rules designed to spur states to follow suit (most energy-producing states already regulate fracking). BloombergBusiness states: “There are more than 100,000 wells on federal land making up 11 percent of the nation’s natural gas production and five percent of its oil.” The rule, if implemented and adopted by states, as hoped for by the administration, would magnify the impact, “potentially slowing development of oil and natural gas resources”—which is likely the goal. As a result, BloombergBusiness adds, producers “would have faced higher costs at a time when profits already are strangled by low crude prices.”

In his 54-page decision, Wyoming’s U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl wrote: “Congress has not authorized or delegated the BLM authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing and, under our constitutional structure, it is only through congressional action that the BLM can acquire this authority.” He issued a preliminary injunction barring implementation of the rules, “finding that those suing had a good chance of winning their case and getting a permanent order barring enforcement.”

Different from the EPA’s arrogant decision to move forward with implementing WOTUS, a BLM spokeswoman, according to the Wall Street Journal, said: “While the matter is being resolved, the BLM will follow the Court’s order and will continue to process applications for permit to drill and inspect wells sites under its pre-existing regulations.”

Kathleen Sgamma, vice president of government and public affairs at Western Energy Alliance, a party to the lawsuit against the government, is overjoyed to finally be “getting relief from the courts regarding the regulatory overreach of the Obama administration.” She added: “We hope the BLM, EPA and other agencies that are rushing to implement even more regulations on the very businesses that create jobs will pause and actually follow the law and regulatory procedure.”

“The case will proceed to a final resolution,” BloombergBusiness reports, “probably early next year.”

Wolf Reintroduction

Ranchers in and around New Mexico’s Gila Forest have been fighting the federal government’s plan to release “another dozen or so Mexican grey wolves.” Already, in the region, wolves since their introduction in 1998 have killed livestock, and children waiting for the school bus often do so in cages for protection. I’ve written on the sad tale several times.

On September 29, in a 7-0 vote, concerned about the impact to ranchers and elk hunters, the New Mexico Game Commission upheld an earlier decision denying the FWS permits to release Mexican wolves into federal land in southwestern New Mexico.

“Federal policy requires FWS to consult state agencies and comply with their permitting processes when releasing endangered animals from captivity,” Science Magazine reports, “even when releases are made on federal land.”

In June, according the Santa Fe New Mexican, “New Mexico Game and Fish Department Director Alexandra Sandoval rejected a federal permit for the Mexican wolf program because she said the FWS lacked a detailed plan to release up to ten captive wolves in the Gila National Forest, leaving her without enough information on what effects the predators would have on deer and elk populations.”

In response to the decision, Game Commissioner Elizabeth Ryan of Roswell, NM, said she and her colleagues could only overturn the director’s decision on the wolf permit if they found it “arbitrary and capricious.”

Sage Grouse

This string of recent decisions may have been noticed by the Obama administration. On September 22, after years of debate, and after the LPC listing was overturned, Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Sally Jewell announced that the sage grouse would not be listed under ESA. The Washington Post reports that “the chicken-like grouse does not meet the required standard because a collaboration of federal agencies, states, ranchers, industry and environmental groups has already begun to restore areas where it breeds.” “According to state fish and game agencies,” Kent Holsinger, a Colorado attorney specializing in lands, wildlife and water law, told me: “sage grouse populations have risen 63 percent over the past two springs.”

An ESA listing would “significantly limit future development.”

The ESA, Brian Seasholes, director of the endangered species program at the Reason Foundation, states: “has a well-deserved reputation for putting severe restrictions on otherwise normal and legal forms of land and resource use, such as farming and energy development.” In an op-ed in The Hill, he adds: “When a species is listed under ESA, landowners can face steep fines, penalties and land use controls that can devalue their property.”

While environmental groups see the decision as a victory for “industry and its supporters,” others, such as Utah Governor Gary Herbert—who estimated Utah would lose more than $40 billion in economic production from oil and gas if the sage grouse were listed—are still not happy.

Rather than listing the sage grouse—which would likely be overturned in court—the DOI’s BLM has released a plan to implement more than 90 land use strategies. Herbert sees that the federal government rejected the successful sage-grouse conservation plan and says the land use plans that govern use of over 60 million acres of federal land “constitute the equivalent of a listing decision outside the normal process.” He calls the plans “a significant overreach by the federal government.” Bishop agrees: “Do not be fooled. The announcement not to list the sage-grouse is a cynical ploy… With the stroke of a pen, the Obama Administration’s oppressive land management plan is the same as a listing.” The land-use restrictions have been decried as “every bit as rigid as could be expected under ESA.”

While “the West’s sage-grouse worries are far from over,” I see that, when combined with the aforementioned stories, the unwarranted decision is still welcome news. Land-use plans will be easier to revise under a new administration than removing an ESA listing. But, more importantly, I view it as a recognition that big government overreach has reached its limits.

The good news about having so many reform-minded outsiders running for president is that they are like a band of crusaders spreading the message of big government overreach far and wide. That message is, apparently, being heard. Voters are, hopefully, ready for responsible land use. The tide is being rolled back.

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: Knows how our government favors giving tax money to persistent losers

Link to: Not all energy is created equal

Greetings!

Last week, I was called to Washington, DC, to support Congress’ efforts to lift the oil export ban—known as HR 702. I am pleased to report a victory—albeit, just the first in a long process. The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the bill with bipartisan support. Along with all the Republicans voting, three Democrat Representatives voted for the bill and four or five others indicated that they were open to the idea and might vote “yes” on the floor. The floor vote could happen as early as next week, though every representative with whom I met preferred a later October date that would remove it from the noise surrounding the Pope’s visit (likely my topic for next week) and the CR debate.

Despite the President’s announcement indicating that he doesn’t support the bill (and, therefore, would likely veto it), folks with whom I was working do see a path to victory in the Senate. But, as a part of the horse trading that goes on, that path will likely include a debate/discussion about renewing tax credits for renewable energy—which is the topic of my column for this week: Not all energy is created equal (attached and pasted-in-below). The wind PTC is a big issue as it is already expired and proponents are aggressively working to get it retroactively extended, because, as my column points out, the industry cannot achieve the projected growth needed to meet Obama’s Clean Power Plan goals without it.

My 48-hours in DC was very productive. I met with many allies who are also working to advance energy policy that embraces the free-market and limited-government perspective that undergirds most everything I write. Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy Not all energy is created equal.

 Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

Sapphire_3560_ppc_4x5

For immediate release: September 21, 2015

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1248

 

 

Not all energy is created equal

Congress has taken action that actually advances free markets and limits government intrusion. I was in the room when, on September 17, the House Energy and Commerce Committee—with bipartisan support—advanced legislation to lift the 1970s-era ban on crude-oil exports. HR 702, “To adapt to changing crude oil market conditions,” is expected to receive a full floor vote within a matter of weeks.

 

The export ban is a relic of a bygone era during which ideas like “peak oil” and “energy scarcity” were the conventional wisdom. Despite all those who cried “wolf,” the U.S. is now the world’s largest combined oil-and-gas producer.

 

Ending this obsolete ban would unleash America’s energy producers on the global market, increasing domestic production and creating jobs. Additionally, reports from experts at the non-partisan Energy Information Administration and Government Accountability Office, plus consultants at IHS, indicate that it will also lower prices at the pump.

 

Like everything that seems to happen in Washington, DC, these days, this initial victory may have a price tag that prevents its final passage.

 

Getting the Democrats on board with removing the barrier to exporting America’s abundance may likely require giving them something they want.Morning Consult recently reported: “Momentum is building in Congress to repeal the antiquated ban on exporting crude oil. Lawmakers and energy industry representatives are talking about other energy policies that could be swapped or combined to achieve that objective. Renewable energy tax credits are part of the equation.”

 

Those “renewable energy tax credits” are mainly two: the wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) and solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Like the oil-export ban, the wind PTC is an archaic policy that has no place in today’s modern reality of energy abundance.

 

Passed by Congress in 1992, the PTC pays the wind industry for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated over a ten-year period. No other mature energy source—natural gas, oil, or coal—can claim a similar carve out based on how much product they sell. The subsidy is so lavish that wind developers can sometimes sell their electricity at a loss and still profit. The New York Times has described this as wind’s “cannibal behavior” on the power grid.

 

The PTC costs taxpayers like you and me billions of dollars each year. Americans pay for wind twice: first in their federal tax bills, then in their local utility bills. According to a new study, commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research, electricity generated from new wind facilities is between three and four times as expensive as that from existing coal and nuclear power plants,.

 

The Senate Finance Committee claims a two-year extension would cost $10 billion over the next decade. After decades of subsidies and multiple PTC extensions, wind still generates less than 5 percent of our electricity.

 

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who has long opposed the PTC extension, told me: “With a skyrocketing $16 trillion debt and an industry that is more than capable of standing on its own, there is no reason why the federal government should continue to subsidize the wind energy industry. Proponents of the Wind PTC continue to call for an extension—for the umpteenth time. This handout costs taxpayers billions and has caused significant price distortions in wholesale electricity markets that translate into real costs for everyday consumers. If we want a robust economy, it’s time to stop picking winners and losers in the energy marketplace and finally end the wind PTC. After two decades of pork, the wind looters need to stand on their own two feet. Most of the people in the wind industry I talk to know this, and I am confident that those individuals and others in the energy industry will enjoy many marketplace successes once we put a stop to the purely political policies that we have seen to date.”

 

Despite the mountain of evidence against wind subsidies—including increasing reports of health issues and concerns over bird kills—this summer, before the August recess, the Senate Finance Committee rushed through a package of expired tax provisions, including the wind PTC. Now, wind lobbyists are looking for a legislative “vehicle” to latch on to, preferably one with bipartisan support, to push through another PTC extension without a fair hearing, which is exactly why they’re eyeing the oil-export bill.

 

According to The Hill, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) said he could consider lifting the ban “only if it’s tied to a permanent extension of the wind and solar tax credits.”

 

Swapping the PTC for oil exports is a bad deal, as lifting the ban deserves to pass in its own right. But what many don’t realize is that trading the PTC for oil exports is also a Faustian bargain that furthers President Obama’s destructive climate-change agenda.

 

The PTC and the president’s climate agenda are related because Obama’s sweeping new carbon regulations, known as the “Clean Power Plan”—finalized in August—require states to drastically cut carbon dioxide emissions. It does this by shuttering low-cost coal plants and building new wind and solar facilities. The problem: wind and solar are uneconomic without massive taxpayer handouts like the PTC and ITC and market-distorting mandates like state Renewable Portfolio Standards.

 

This scheme is the centerpiece of Obama’s climate legacy, which he hopes to cement in December at the United Nations climate conference in Paris.

 

These carbon regulations will inflict severe burdens on American families—especially the poorest among us who can least afford to pay higher energy prices. A recent study by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, for instance, found that Obama’s carbon rule would increase Black and Hispanic poverty by 23 and 26 percent, respectively. For all that pain, the regulations will, perhaps, reduce global temperature rise by 0.018 degrees Celsius in 2100—an undetectable amount.

 

Buried in hundreds of pages of “analysis,” the Environmental Protection Agency projects the wind industry will add more than 13 GW of electrical capacity each year from 2024-2030. For context, 13 GW is exactly how much capacity wind added in 2012, a record year. It is also the year in which rent-seeking wind barons rushed to build as many new turbines as possible to quality for the PTC, which expired at the end of the year. The following year, after the PTC expired, wind additions collapsed by more than 90 percent—which highlights the fact that the wind industry cannot survive in a free market.

 

This makes the wind PTC vital to Obama’s carbon regulations. His plan depends on exponential wind growth, and the wind industry depends on government handouts like the PTC to avoid total collapse, let alone grow. 

 

By not accepting a wind PTC tradeoff, Congress can deal a blow to corporate wind welfare and Obama’s carbon regulations in one shot. Congress must strip the PTC out of tax extenders and refuse to use wind subsidies as a bargaining chip. The two are totally unrelated. One is a liquid fuel used primarily for transportation. The other: a way to generate electricity, albeit inefficiently, ineffectively and uneconomically. One helps our trade deficit problem and increases revenues as FuelFix reports: “liberalizing crude trade spurs more domestic production, with a resulting boost in government revenue from the activity.” The other: a hidden tax that hurts all Americans.

 

By rejecting an extension of the wind PTC and lifting the ban on oil exports, Congress would end corporate welfare for wind lobbyists, deal a blow to Obama’s costly carbon regulations, and free America’s entrepreneurs to provide abundant, affordable, and reliable energy for all.

 

 

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: Marita doesn’t like unwarranted attacks on her integrity

Here is all the story.  I hope you’ll understand why the renewed interest our Dear Leader has about his travels to Alaska, etc.

Greetings!

Sunday, a week ago, a journalist friend forwarded an embargoed press release to me. It was to be released the next day. At the time, I’d just completed my column Oil’s Down, Gasoline Isn’t. What’s Up? It was too late for me to switch topics—though the press release’s content tempted me; it fit so much of my general messaging.

I watched throughout the past week and didn’t see that the report announced in the press release had received the attention it deserved, so I chose it for my column this week.

The press release’s headline was: E&E Legal Releases Report Exposing Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer-“Founded and Funded” Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the “Climate” Agenda. I am sure you can see why it caught my eye. In the writing of this week’s column, I read the entire 55 page report and incorporated several additional features. I believe the result is powerful: Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups (attached and pasted-in-below). Covering the content of a 55 page report, means this week’s column is a bit longer than my usual. I am not sure how I will edit it down to the 900- and 600-word versions required by the newspapers—but I always do.

The content of this week’s column will morph into the speech I’ll be giving tonight at the National Association of Royalty Owners Appalachia Chapter’s Annual Meeting at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.

Please help me spread this important message by posting, passing on and or personally enjoying Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups.

Thanks for your interest!

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

Marita Noon 2015 Turquiose

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

 

 

Hidden emails reveal a secret anti-fossil fuel network involving the White House, Democrat governors, wealthy donors and foundations, and front groups

Most of us feel that time goes by faster as we get older. It does. When you are five years old, one year represents 20 percent of your life. Yet, when you are fifty, that same calendar year is only 2 percent of your life—making that single timeframe much smaller. Those of us involved in fighting the bad energy policies coming out of Washington have a similar feeling: the second term of the Obama Administration seems to be throwing much more at us and at such speed that we can barely keep up. Likewise, they are.

We knew that President Obama was planning to fundamentally transform America, but even many of his initial supporters have been shocked as his true intentions have been revealed. Following his November 2012 reelection, his administration has removed any pretense of representing the majority of Americans and has pursued his ideological agenda with wild abandon—leaving many of us feeling incapacitated; thrown to the curb as it speeds by.

His legacy climate-change agenda is at the core of the rapid-fire regulations and the disregard for any speed bump the courts may place in front of the administration. When the Supreme Court smacked it down for failing to consider economic impacts of the mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded with a shrug, as their goal had essentially already been met. On August 27, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction—blocking EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers from enforcing the Waters of the United States rule in the thirteen states that requested the injunction. The response? The Hill reports: “the Obama administration says it will largely enforce the regulation as planned.”

Having failed to push the unpopular policies through Congress, the administration has resorted to regulatory overreach—and assembled a campaign to use friendly governors and state attorney general offices, in collaboration with pressure groups and ideologically aligned benefactors, to advance the agenda.

The White House knows that the public is not with them. While polls show that slightly more than half of the American public believe the “effects of global warming are already happening,” it repeatedly comes in at the bottom of the list of priorities on which we think Obama and Congress should focus. The President’s pet policy fares even worse when pollsters ask if Americans agree: “government should do more to curb climate change, even at the expense of economic growth?” Only 12 percent “strongly agree.” Additionally, the very age group—young voters—that helped propel Obama into the Oval Office, is the group least convinced that climate change is a reality and the least “likely to support government funding for climate change solutions.”

It is, presumably, for this reason that a scheme hatched by now-disgraced former Oregon Governor Kitzhaber’s highest-paid aide Dan Carol—“a former Democratic opposition researcher,” who, according to the Oregonian, “worked on behalf of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama”—received an enthusiastic response from the White House and its allies. Remember, Kitzhaber resigned from office on February 13, 2015, amid allegations of criminal wrongdoing for the role his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, held in his office and whether she used that role to obtain private consulting work promoting the climate agenda. Carol, who was paid close to double Kitzhaber’s salary, according to a new report from Energy & Environment Legal Institute, left his public position “after appearing to have too closely intertwined government and the tax-payer dependent ‘clean energy’ industry with interest group lobbies.”

The goal of what was originally called “Dan’s concept” was to bring about a “coalescence of private financial and ideological interests with public offices to advance the officeholders’ agenda and political aspiration”—more specifically: “to bring the Obama Administration’s plans to reality and to protect them.”

This was done, according to dozens of emails obtained through federal and state open record laws, “through a coordinated campaign of parallel advocacy to support close coordination of public offices” and involved a “political operation with outside staff funded by some of the biggest names in left-liberal foundation giving,” including, according to the emails, Tom Steyer, Michael Bloomberg, the Rockefeller Brothers, and the Hewlett Foundation. The first emails in the scandal began in mid-2013.

Kitzhaber wasn’t the only governor involved—he’s just the only one, so far, to resign. Many Democrat governors and their staff supported the scheme. You’d expect that California’s Governor Jerry Brown or Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe are part of the plan—called, among other names, the Governors Climate Compact—as they are avid supporters of the President’s climate-change initiatives. What is surprising is Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s “quiet engagement.” He decried Obama’s Clean Power Plan (Final rule announced on August 3, 2015), as being “disastrous” for Kentucky. In a statement about the Plan, he said: “I have remained steadfast in my support of Kentucky’s important coal and manufacturing industries, and the affordable energy and good jobs they provide the Commonwealth and the nation.” Yet, he isn’t opposing the rule and emails show that he is part of the “core group of governors quietly working to promote the climate agenda.”

In response to the records request, Beshear’s office “asserts that ‘no records’ exist in its files involving the Steyer campaign.” The E&E Legal report continues: “Numerous emails from other governors copying a senior Beshear aide on her official account, emails which Beshear’s office surely possesses, unless it has chosen to destroy politically damaging emails.” An email bearing that aide’s name, Rebecca Byers, includes Kentucky as one of the states “that can’t commit to the GCC [Governors Climate Compact] publicly now but would welcome quiet engagement.”

Other states indicated in the emails include Minnesota, Rhode Island, Illinois, Connecticut, California, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland, Colorado, New York, Vermont, and Virginia. Three newly elected Republican Governors have been targeted by the campaign—Larry Hogan (MD), Charlie Baker (MA), and Bruce Rauner (IL). Reelected Republican Governor Rick Snyder (MI) has apparently joined the “core group.”

I’ve read the entire report—which had me holding my breath as if I were reading a spy thriller—and reviewed the emails.

The amount of coordination involved in the multi-state plan is shocking. The amount of money involved is staggering—a six-month budget of $1,030,00 for the orchestrators and multi-state director and $180,000 to a group to produce a paper supporting the plan’s claims. And, as the 55-page report points out, this collection of emails is in no way complete. At the conclusion of the executive summary: “Context and common sense indicate that the emails E&E Legal obtained and detail in this report do not represent all relevant correspondence pulling together the scheme they describe. Public records laws extend to those records created, sent or received by public servants; private sector correspondence is only captured when copying public offices, with the caveat that most of the White House is exempt. Further, however, the records we have obtained reflect more than the time and other parameters of our requests; they are also a function of the thoroughness of offices’ responses, the willingness of former and current staff to search nonofficial accounts, and even several stonewalls as noted in the following pages.”

The E&E Legal report was of particular interest to me in that it followed the theme of my extensive coverage of Obama’s green-energy crony-corruption scandal. Many of the same names, with which I’d become familiar, popped up over and over again: Terry McAuliffe—who received government funding for his failed electric car enterprise; Cathy Zoe—who worked for the Department of Energy, and, of course, John Podesta—who ran the Center for American Progress and who helped write the 2009 Stimulus Bill, and who then became a “senior advisor” to President Obama and is presently campaign manager for Hillary Clinton.

It also caught my attention because little more than a month ago—perhaps with a hint that this report was forthcoming—the HuffPost published a story claiming that groups like mine were part of a “secret network of fossil fuel and utility backed groups working to stop clean energy.” Calling me—along with others—out by name, the author states: “The strategy of creating and funding many different organizations and front groups provides an artificial chorus of voices united behind eliminating or weakening renewable energy laws.” He concludes that the attacks “are the result of coordinated, national campaigns orchestrated by utilities and fossil fuel companies through their trade associations and front groups.”

Oh, how I wish we were that well-coordinated and funded. If we were, I would have written this column last week when the E&E Legal report was released. Instead of receiving the information from the source, a New York City journalist forwarded it to me.

Yes, I am part of a loosely affiliated network of people who share similar concerns. Once a year, I meet with a group of private citizens and activists over property rights issues. I am on an email list of individuals and groups opposing wind turbines—often for different reasons. I have a cadre of scientists I’ve met at different meetings upon whom I do call for their varied expertise. Individuals often email me tips and news stories. True, most of the folks on my nearly 5000-person email distribution list are part of the energy industry—though there are plenty of concerned citizens, too. In 2014, the average donation to my organization was under $500.

Imagine what we could do with the same amount of money and coordination the E&E Legal report revealed—after all we have the public on our side—average citizens whose utility bills are going up by double digits due to the policies espoused by President Obama and his politically connected allies who benefit from American’s tax dollars.

I hope you’ll join our chorus—you can subscribe and/or contribute to my efforts. We are not working in the shadows and are, in fact, proud of our efforts on behalf of all Americans, their jobs, and energy that is effective, efficient, and economical.

If this small—but organized and well-funded—group pushing Obama’s agenda were allowed to run rampant, without the roadblocks little pockets of opposition (like my group) erect though public education and exposure of the facts (such this E&E legal report), it is scary to think about where America would be today. Remember, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

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.

Conspiracy Brews 1.17.15

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!
January 17, 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 ***

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone)

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

George Elliot

Suggested Topics

— The Mayor, the DA, the Police Chief, the Press, the Public, the Police Union and the CAO…What is truth?***

— Boko Haram…Does anyone give a hoot?***

–Why can’t NM become an Entrepreneur Hub?***

— Should Hawaii become a separate county?***

— The President want the US Government to pay for community college attendance…what you think. ***

(Light Quotes of the week)

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

Robert A. Heinlein

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed behold a black eye.”

Jim Henson

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

——-

Marita Noon: Supreme Court to Obama Administration–You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda

Greetings!

 

When my proofreader returned this week’s column, Supreme Court to Obama Administration–You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda (attached and pasted-in-below), she said: “I like it when you find something that few know about and point out the significance of it. Good job! You explained it well, so I could understand the significance. :-)” That’s what I like to do. The story covered in this week’s column is one that few people know about, but, I believe, is very important for America’s energy future.

 

I’ve been in Las Vegas for the past week where I spoke at The Heartland Institute’s 9th International Conference on Climate Change and Freedom Fest. As I talked to hundreds of politically engaged people, at both conferences, almost no one knew about the UARG v. EPA case—the topic of this week’s column. While I am not pleased with the obvious impact of the Supreme Court’s decision: the EPA can regulate CO2—reading between the lines, there is cause for optimism from all who question the president’s authority to rewrite laws. I hope Congress will take up the challenge Justice Antonin Scalia laid down for them!

 

Please help me spread the good news by posting, passing on, and/or personally enjoying Supreme Court to Obama Administration–You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda.

 

Thanks!

Marita82313

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

 

 

PS: I met Dinesh D’souza, filmmaker for Obama’s 2016 and the new America, at Freedom Fest (photo on Facebook) and took my mother to see America last night. I highly recommend it. If you haven’t seen it yet, make a point of going to see it while it is still in the theaters.

 

 

For immediate release: July 14, 2014

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1105

 

Supreme Court to Obama Administration: You cannot rewrite laws to achieve your political agenda

Now that the dust has settled on the Supreme Court’s 2014 session, we can look at the decisions and conclude that the Administration received a serious smack down. Two big cases got most of the news coverage: Hobby Lobby and the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) recess appointments. In both cases, the Administration lost. At the core of both, is the issue of the Administration’s overreach.

 

Within the cases the Supreme Court heard, one had to do with energy—and it, too, offered a rebuke.

 

You likely haven’t heard about Utility Air Regulatory Group (UARG) v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—and may think you don’t care. But with the session over, UARG v. EPA makes clear the Court’s trend to trim overreach.

 

The UARG v. EPA decision came down on June 23. None of the major news networks covered it. Reviews of the 2014 cases, since the end of the session, haven’t mentioned it either. The decision was mixed—with both sides claiming victory. Looking closely, there is cause for optimism from all who question the president’s authority to rewrite laws.

 

A portion of the UARG v. EPA case was about the EPA’s “Tailoring Rule” in which it “tailored” a statutory provision in the Clean Air Act—designed to regulate traditional pollutants such as particulate matter—to make it work for CO2. In effect, the EPA wanted to rewrite the law to achieve its goals. The decision, written by Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority, stated:

“Were we to recognize the authority claimed by EPA in the Tailoring Rule, we would deal a severe blow to the Constitution’s separation of powers… The power of executing laws…does not include a power to revise clear statutory terms that turn out not to work in practice.”

 

Had the EPA gotten everything it wanted, it could have regulated hundreds of thousands of new sources of CO2—in addition to the already-regulated major industrial sources of pollutants. These new sources would include office buildings and stores that do not emit other pollutants—but that do, for example, through the use of natural gas for heating, emit 250 tons, or more of CO2 a year.

 

The Supreme Court did allow the EPA to regulate CO2 emissions from sources that already require permits due to other pollutants—and therefore allowed the EPA and environmentalists pushing for increased CO2 reductions to claim victory because the decision reaffirmed the EPA does have the authority to regulate CO2 emissions. However, at the same time, the decision restricted the EPA’s expansion of authority. Reflecting the mixed decision, the Washington Post said the decision was: “simultaneously very significant and somewhat inconsequential.”

 

It is the “very significant” portion of the decision that is noteworthy in light of the new rules the EPA announced on June 2.

 

Currently, the Clean Air Act is the only vehicle available to the Administration to regulate CO2 from power plant and factory emissions. However, the proposed rules that severely restrict allowable CO2 emissions from existing power plants, and will result in the closure of hundreds of coal-fueled power plants, bear some similarities to what the Supreme Court just invalidated: both involve an expansive interpretation of the Clean Air Act.

 

It is widely believed that the proposed CO2 regulations for existing power plants will face legal challenges.

 

Tom Wood, a partner at Stoel Rives LLP who specializes in air quality and hazardous waste permitting and compliance, explains: “Although the EPA’s Section 111 (d) proposals cannot be legally challenged until they are finalized and enacted, such challenges are a certainty.” With that in mind, the UARG v. EPA decision sets an important precedent. “Ultimately,” Wood says, “the Supreme Court decision seems to give more ammunition to those who want to challenge an expansive view of 111 (d).” Wood sees it as a rebuke to the EPA—a warning that in the coming legal battles, the agency should not presume that its efforts will have the Supreme Court’s backing.

 

In his review of the UARG v. EPA decision, Nathan Richardson, a Resident Scholar at Resources For the Future, says: “In strict legal terms, this decision has no effect on EPA’s plans to regulate new or existing power plants with performance standards. … However, if EPA is looking for something to worry about, it can find it in this line from Scalia:”

When an agency claims to discover in a long-extant statute an unheralded power to regulate “a significant portion of the American economy” . . . we typically greet its announcement with a measure of skepticism. We expect Congress to speak clearly if it wishes to assign an agency decisions of vast “economic and political significance.”

 

Cato’s Andrew Grossman adds: “The Court’s decision may be a prelude of more to come. Since the Obama Administration issued its first round of greenhouse gas regulations, it has become even more aggressive in wielding executive power so as to circumvent the need to work with Congress on legislation. That includes … new regulations for greenhouse gas emissions by power plants …that go beyond traditional plant-level controls to include regulation of electricity usage and demand—that is, to convert EPA into a nationwide electricity regulator.” Grossman suggests: “this won’t be the last court decision throwing out Obama Administration actions as incompatible with the law.”

 

Philip A. Wallach, a Brookings fellow in Governance Studies, agrees. He called the UARG v. EPA case “something of a sideshow,” and sees “the main event” as EPA’s power plant emissions controls, which have “much higher practical stakes.”

 

The UARG v. EPA decision is especially important when added to the more widely known Hobby Lobby and NLRB cases, which is aptly summed up in the statement by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers’ General Counsel Rich Moskowitz: “We are pleased that the Court has placed appropriate limits on EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. By doing so, the Court makes clear that an agency cannot rewrite the law to advance its political goals.”

 

Justice Scalia’s opinion invites Congress to “speak clearly” on agency authority. It is now up to our elected representatives to rise to the occasion and pass legislation that leaves “decisions of vast ‘economic and political significance’” in its hands alone. Such action could rein in many agency abuses including the heavy-handed application of the Endangered Species Act and public lands management.

 

It would seem that the UARG v. EPA decision—while “somewhat inconsequential”—is, in fact, “very significant.” With this decision the Supreme Court has outlined the first legislation of the new, reformatted, post 2014 election, Congress.

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 Mines The Critical Details On Rare Earth Elements

Marita asks a favor of us in this column published on 11/4/13.  You’ll help our country and its citizens if you comply with her wishes.

Greetings!

This week’s column is important—but may not be popular. With all of the noise about the botched Obamacare rollout, clearly few are thinking about Rare Earth Elements. But, in the past week important legislation was introduced that would lessen the US’s dependence on China for these essential  elements. In this week’s column, Mining policy designed to benefit our own–mighty rare (attached and pasted-in-below), I explain what Rare Earth Elements are, why they are important and why America needs to develop our own resources—I then call upon the readers to contact their Senators to encourage support of the newly introduced bill.

Please post, pass on and/or personally enjoy Mining policy designed to benefit our own–mighty rare. Thanks!

Marita Noon, Executive Director

EnergyMakesAmericaGreat Inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

Words: 1584

 

Mining policy designed to benefit our own—mighty rare

What is essential to modern energy production and management including oil-and-gas development, wind and solar, and LED lights, and has rare bipartisan support in both houses of Congress?

The answer is something “rare.” Something that is currently used in almost everything modern, but that is abundant and recoverable in very few places on the planet—hence the “rare” moniker. Something that China has in abundance and that they are using as an economic weapon against the rest of the world—much like OPEC uses oil. And, this something is also found in the U.S., which could give us a competitive advantage in the global economy.

Have you guessed it? “Rare” was a big clue.

I am talking about Rare Earth Elements (REEs), many of which are classified by the Department of Defense as Critical Minerals.

REEs are found in almost all massive rock formations—though their concentrations range from 10 to a few hundred parts per million by weight, which makes them difficult to extract. There are 17 different REEs with names ending in “ium” such as: dysprosium, yttrium, neodymium, terbium, cerium, and europium—just to name a few.

While most people don’t give REEs a thought, we all use them in our modern lives as they are an essential part of what makes cell phones, flat screens, and computer chips work. But REEs are not just about convenience and luxury. They are in every modern vehicle from a Prius to a Ford F-150. They enable miniaturization—making things fast and light.

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “A Department of Energy report in 2010 noted that several minerals vital to clean-energy applications, including neodymium and dysprosium, face ‘critical’ supply questions over the next 15 years.” A 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers report revealed that 73 percent of CEOs in the automotive industry have businesses that face minerals and metals scarcity. The same problem applies to 78 percent of high-tech industry CEOs and 50 percent of aviation CEOs.

But, perhaps, most importantly, REEs are playing an ever-increasing role in vital defense technologies. REEs are used in stealth radar-evading technology, in targeting mechanisms for missiles and temperature-resistant magnets, and materials used in jet engines and aerofoil components in manned aircraft and, increasingly, in unmanned drones. The U.S. Department of Defense recently released findings from the “Strategic and Critical Materials 2013 Report on Stockpile Requirements,” which identified 23 critical minerals, of which shortages are likely. They include several vital to defense technologies, such as search and navigation equipment, missiles, and space vehicles. Such shortages will limit our ability to produce the defense systems of the future. It is frightening to realize that the Chinese do not have this worry.

The U.S. is one of only a few countries with known recoverable REE deposits (with approximately 13 percent of the world’s total known reserves), and we have more commodity minerals and metals than any other country. Yet, today, less than half the minerals U.S. manufacturers use comes from domestically mined resources. More specifically, China currently has a near-monopoly on the production of REEs—generally supplying approximately 85 percent of the world’s current REE supply and 100 percent of several REEs. Additionally, in recent years, China has imposed quotas on exports to protect its need for REEs and to compel high-tech companies to establish production in China by giving them the benefit of lower prices and guaranteed supply. In US News, Eric Hannis, senior fellow in defense studies at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC, addressed companies’ increasing hesitancy to move production to mainland China: “the need to gain a cost-effective, guaranteed supply of rare earths means that many have been forced to make a ‘deal with the devil.’”

Instead of easing the mining regulatory framework to help promote domestic REE production, the Obama administration engaged in the governmental form of a temper tantrum. It joined countries without the quality resources found in the U.S. and lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), claiming that Beijing is unfairly choking off exports of the commodities to benefit its domestic industries. (Imagine that a government would make policy that was designed to benefit its own? Perhaps the White House should try that.) In fact, if the WTO initiative is successful and China is forced to reverse its current policy of keeping the majority of its REEs in-country for its own use, we might end up encouraging them to flood global markets with REEs again, driving the price down—as they did in the 80s and 90s. By joining in the WTO case, the Administration could make it very difficult for U.S. projects to get up and running and stay competitive—and this could be their plan. Gratefully, the very low cost of production expected at Molycorp’s Mountain Pass mine provides some economic cushion.

The WSJ reports that the U.S. was once self-sufficient in REE production but ceded the market to China over the past two decades, “partly because of environmental concerns over energy-intensive mining and partly because of falling global demand and prices,” as a result of China dumping huge quantities of REEs onto the world market.

REEs in China were first discovered in 1927, with the Bayan Obo mine open in 1950. The U.S. dominated global production from the 60s and into the 80s with light and heavy REE production at Mountain Pass, but China then launched a dedicated campaign to dominate the REE supply chain. In 1986, Deng Xiaoping, a Chinese politician and reformist leader of the Communist Party who, after Mao’s death, led his country towards a market economy, established the National High Technology Research and Development Program. His goal was to help China “achieve breakthroughs in key technical fields that concern the national economic lifeline and national security, and to achieve leapfrog development in key high-tech fields in which China enjoys relative advantages.” In 1992, Xiaoping boldly proclaimed: the “Middle East has oil, China has rare earths.”

This brings us to today.

REEs have gone “from being practically unheard of a few years ago to being one of the most-talked-about commodities,” according to the WSJ. There has been growing concern in the U.S. regarding our reliance on China for our REE needs, which has resulted in unusual bipartisan support for increased domestic REE production.

Regarding the U.S. position in the international REE arena, Hannis states: “In much the same way that we should strive for independence from Middle Eastern oil, the United States now needs to make ‘rare earth independence’ from China a key priority of government. After all, the nation that supplies our rare earths shares one key similarity to the region that supplies much of our oil: neither are getting friendlier to America.”

Apparently Congress has gotten the message. Last year, Rep. Doc Hastings, (R-WA), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said: “Just like the United States’ dependence on foreign oil causes pain at the pump, Americans will soon feel the impact of China’s monopoly on the rare-earth element market.”

In September, the House of Representatives passed, with bipartisan support, HR 761: the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act of 2013, with the goal of allowing for the more efficient development of the U.S.’s $6.2 trillion worth of minerals and metals without minimizing or hindering the environmental review process.

On October 29, 17 Senators (nine Republicans and eight Democrats) introduced similar legislation: The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013 to “help reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign suppliers.” According to the Background and Section-by-Section Summary: “The legislation directs the Secretary of Interior to establish a list of minerals critical to the U.S. economy and, pursuant to those designations, outlines a comprehensive set of policies that will bolster critical mineral production, expand manufacturing, and promote recycling and alternatives—all while maintaining strong environmental protections.”

The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013 has widespread industry support—even though it calls for yet another stall-tactic study, when 23 studies have already determined that we have a crisis and an emergency.

Hal Quinn, National Mining Association CEO, heralded the bill as “a welcome recognition of the urgent need to facilitate the development of American minerals.” He observed that the measure would analyze the “impediments to domestic minerals mining that hamper the prospects of a sustainable U.S. manufacturing renaissance. It is widely understood that the slow and inefficient permitting system in the U.S. poses the largest impediment to unlocking the full value of American minerals.”

Likewise, the Women’s Mining Coalition statement reads: “this bill will provide high-paying, long-term employment for many Americans, while also providing world-respected environmental management practices and implementation.”

The House bill passed with the support of 100 percent of the Republicans and many Democrats. The same can be assumed for the Senate version. Senate Democrats need to hear from their constituents, they need to know that you support The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. Please call your Senator and ask for his or her support.

Right now, there are only two non-Chinese suppliers for REEs (Molycorp in California and Lynas Corp. in Australia)—but there are several projects, such as Rare Elements Resources’ “Bear Lodge,” in development in the U.S. that could be providing national and economic security within a few years with the passage of The Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. America’s REE resources and potential production and refining give us a strong global advantage—but we must accelerate and streamline the permitting process. It is time for our government to make policy that is designed to benefit America.

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.

Enhanced by Zemanta