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.

 

 

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: 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tragedy that is Obama

As Mr. Alexander explains, Obama has helped to create a giant killing machine that is being paid for with the slaughter of innocent refugees.  He created it, but he doesn’t seem capable of controlling it, and it looks as though he has no ambition to bring it to a stop.  Read on below to see just how callous Obama has become.  And, we would be remiss if we did not provide this link:

“The Patriot Post (http://patriotpost.us/subscribe/ )”

Alexander’s Column

Obama’s Middle East Legacy: A Catastrophic Humanitarian Crisis

Action and Inaction Have Consequences

By Mark Alexander · September 9, 2015   Print

“A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must be, in practice, a bad government.” —Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 69 (1787)

2015-09-09-8e4e97f0_large.jpg

There has been a lot of heated and well-deserved debate about the illegal migration across our southern border — most of those migrants seeking economic opportunities, and most ending up costing American taxpayers far more than any economic benefit. Indeed, they are pouring across that border because Barack Obama has opened the flood gates, fervently hoping that these illegal immigrants and their relatives here will prop up the Democratic Party in perpetuity.

Today, there is another mass migration underway, which is also the direct result of, and irrevocably tied to, another of Obama’s cynical political calculations.

For the past week, the media has served up a steady stream of heart-wrenching images and stories about refugees fleeing Islamist terror in the Middle East. That coverage was sparked by an image of a drowned three-year-old washed up on a Turkish beach, but the fact is more than 2,000 refugees have drowned in the exodus. There are now almost five million people exiting Syria and other nations in the region, and another six million remain displaced internally.

But, of course, the media fails to report what gave rise to this crisis.

The hard truth is that Obama’s ill-advised withdrawal from Iraq, an asinine re-election campaign ploy, left a power vacuum in the heart of the Middle East. That void was rapidly filled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant as Syria collapsed into civil war.

Obama’s politically motivated malfeasance has created an epic humanitarian crisis.

My Special Forces contacts on the ground there right now, all of whom are seasoned OIF and OEF veterans, understand well the causal relationship between the Obama/Clinton policy failures, the rise of Islamist fascism and the resulting humanitarian crisis.

My contacts refer to the largest of the refugee sites on the Jordanian border as “Camp Obama,” and dubbed another massive site “Camp Red Line” in reference to Obama’s faux threats against Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad.

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Some Leftmedia outlets have hinted at the chain of evidence directly linking Obama to the crisis, but most are adopting Hillary’s “What difference does it make?” refrain. The difference is accountability.

This week, Fred Hiatt, editor of The Washington Post’s editorial page, offered an honest, accurate and scornful indictment of Obama’s policy failures in the region.

More on that in a minute, but first, how is it that babies are now washing up on beaches?

By way of quick review, in 2008, Obama campaigned successfully on “ending the war in Iraq.” Not only did he dupe a sufficient percentage of the American people, he duped the leftist Norwegian Nobel Committee into bestowing upon this completely unknown foreign policy neophyte its once-noble Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between people.”

In 2011, opting for his now infamous “Obama Doctrine of appeasement” instead of capitalizing on George W. Bush’s successful “surge” strategy and establishing a status of forces agreement (SOFA) to secure our hard-won gains in Iraq and the region, Obama decided to abandon Iraq. He declared, “Everything Americans have done in Iraq — all the fighting, all the dying, the bleeding, the building and the training and the partnering — all of it has led to this moment of success. … We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq.”

Not exactly.

In 2012, amid the cascading failure of his domestic economic and social policies, Obama centered his re-election campaign on his faux foreign policy successes, which were crafted around the mantras, “Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. I did,” and, “al-Qa’ida is on the run.” And again, he duped voters into re-electing him, with a little help from Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi Cover-Up.

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Predictably, Obama’s “hope and change” retreat from the region left fertile ground for the resurgence of a far more dangerous incarnation of Islamic terror that calls itself the Islamic State. IS rapidly displaced al-Qa’ida as the dominant asymmetric threat to security in the region and, thus, to our own national security.

Remember Obama’s much-touted “Arab Spring“? The sprawling Middle East meltdown is now one hard reality of his amateur ventures into foreign policy. And the resulting influx of millions of primarily Muslim refugees is not only a significant security risk, but also will put an enormous strain on Europe’s failing economy.

So, how’s that Nobel Peace Prize working out for ya?

In answer to that rhetorical question, let me offer a few insights from the aforementioned Fred Hiatt at The Washington Post.

Hiatt writes, “This may be the most surprising of President Obama’s foreign-policy legacies: not just that he presided over a humanitarian and cultural disaster of epochal proportions, but that he soothed the American people into feeling no responsibility for the tragedy. Starvation in Biafra a generation ago sparked a movement. Synagogues and churches a decade ago mobilized to relieve misery in Darfur. When the Taliban in 2001 destroyed ancient statues of Buddha at Bamiyan, the world was appalled at the lost heritage. Today the Islamic State is blowing up precious cultural monuments in Palmyra, and half of all Syrians have been displaced. More than a quarter-million have been killed.”

“Surprising”? Actually, the emergence of some tyrannical entity to fill the power void created by Obama’s retreat was entirely predictable — and predicted. Military writers since the time of Sun Tzu have understood that power does not tolerate a vacuum. In this case, the Islamic State filled the vacuum, and the consequences, visceral but still seemingly a distant shore away, are rapidly approaching the U.S. homeland.

Hiatt would have done better to write that Obama has not just presided over a disaster of epochal proportions, but that the Obama administration itself has proven to be an epic disaster, and one notable outcome is this humanitarian catastrophe.

Hiatt laments that, even given our critical national security interests in the region, America has ignored the crisis. “Obama — who ran for president on the promise of restoring the United States’ moral stature — has constantly reassured Americans that doing nothing is the smart and moral policy. … Perversely, the worse Syria became, the more justified the president seemed for staying aloof.”

But Hiatt fails short of connecting the dots between Obama’s 2012 campaign promises and the abandonment of Iraq and Syria. He does admit, however, “When Obama pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq, critics worried there would be instability.”

That is wholly understated.

So what is Obama doing now?

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I have received two Obama “Demo Dump” emails this week. The first was entitled, “What We’re Doing for the Next Few Days.” No mention of refugees, but a lot of first class flights and accommodations around the nation at taxpayer expense.

The second was entitled, “Lessons We Should Learn from the Iraq War.” No, it made no mention of refugees or the connection between their plight and Obama’s failed policies.

Instead, it was a promo piece for the Iran deal: “What have you learned from the Iraq war? Some, it is clear, have learned disturbingly little. … This deal with Iran … represents a higher form of renewed American leadership. … Our generation has charted a new course for the future. Embracing tough, principled diplomacy as a first resort is the best way forward for our nation and the world.”

“Tough, principled diplomacy”? Remember all those “tough UN Resolutions,” including the final unanimous Resolution 1441 prior to the invasion of Iraq, offering Saddam Hussein “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations”? That opportunity had previously been offered in Resolution 660, Resolution 661, Resolution 678, Resolution 686, Resolution 687, Resolution 688, Resolution 707, Resolution 715, Resolution 986 and Resolution 1284.

Now ask yourself, “How many times has Iran defied such ‘tough diplomacy’?”

Apparently Obama has “learned disturbingly little” from his policy of appeasement. He advanced a faux dichotomy, deal or war, when strengthening sanctions already in place was, and remains, the most obvious solution.

But now that the Senate Democrats have blocked opposition to Obama’s “treaty” with Iran, he is endeavoring to pivot his defining legacy from humanitarian disaster to what he insists is a “great deal” preventing Iran nukes.

Make no mistake: The epic humanitarian crisis resulting from Obama’s failed Mid-East policies will prove minor by comparison to the catastrophic potential of Obama’s “Iran Nuke Deal.” Of course, he is leaving the resolution of those consequences to the Israeli Defense Forces.

And on a final note: In all fairness, Obama alone should not bear the whole burden of babies washing up on beaches. That responsibility is equally shared by all those sycophantic “useful idiots” who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

In the words of Noah Webster, “[I]f the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted…” Indeed, when that government is the sole global superpower, by extension the entire world will soon be corrupted.

Pro Deo et Constitutione — Libertas aut Mors
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis

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.

Marita: Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits

Greetings!

As is often the case, this week I had to decide between three different story ideas for my column. Al Gore and his suggestion that climate change skeptics be punished certainly had appeal—but many others were addressing that, giving it plenty of coverage. The Obama administration’s federal-lands fracking announcement was also considered—but it made headlines and garnered the ire of Speaker Boehner and therefore didn’t need me to draw attention to the issue. I settled on the under-reported topic that allowed me to tie several stories together as I am fond of doing: Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits (attached and pasted-in-below). I used Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritizker’s WSJ op-ed as my launching point and tied it throughout Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits.

I am pleased with how Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits penciled out (or keyed out). I hope you are too! Please post, pass on, and/or personally enjoy!
Thanks for your interest!

Marita Noon
Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.
PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 8718

Marita: Oil and gas exports—one policy change, many benefits
“Businesses that sell to foreign markets put more people to work in high-quality jobs, offering more Americans the chance to earn a decent wage,” claimed the Obama administration’s Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker in a March 18 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) opinion piece.

She makes a strong case for U.S. exports: “jobs in export-intensive industries pay up to 18% more than jobs not related to exports.” Her premise is: “The U.S. economy ended 2014 on the uptick, and exports added to the momentum.” Noticeably absent is any mention of the potential for “high-quality jobs” and economic “uptick” that would come from the export of America’s abundant oil-and-natural gas resources—something an executive order could expedite; something her office could champion.

Pritzker states: “From large enterprises and multinational corporations to small startups and local manufacturers, an increasing number of businesses are realizing that their customer base is no longer around the corner, but around the world. They understand that 95% of the world’s customers live outside the U.S., and to succeed in the 21st century, they must find a way to reach consumers in ever-expanding markets.” Penny, this is especially true for American energy!

Due to the modern technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—developed and refined within our borders—the U.S. is producing more oil and natural gas than in decades. So much that we are nearly out of places to store it. We know how to produce it safely and cheaply. But, unlike the airplanes Pritkzer’s co-author Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing Co., builds, the oil-and-gas industry is prevented from sending its abundance to “foreign markets”—including our allies in Europe who are dependent on energy from a source that uses it as a weapon against them.

The same day WSJ published Pritzker’s piece, it featured a news story announcing: “some of the world’s biggest oil companies are starting to give up” on “hydraulic fracturing wildcatting in Europe, Russia and China.” This, despite the fact: “Eastern European officials who were eager to wean their nations off of Russian gas welcomed the explorers.” It explains: “Wells in Poland and China can cost up to $25 million each, while American wells on average cost about $5 million”—resulting in overseas costs to produce a barrel of shale oil that are higher than what it can be sold for with the current world-wide low prices.

In trade negotiations, the U.S., according to the New York Times (NYT), “typically argues that countries with excess supplies should export them.” We have excess supplies of both crude oil and natural gas that has driven down prices—resulting in “trouble for an industry that has done much to keep the national economy afloat in recent years.” We “should export them”—but we aren’t.

“Why can’t we export crude oil and natural gas?” you might ask—especially when the U.S. can export refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. The NYT explains: “In 2011, the country pivoted from being the world’s largest importer of petroleum products to becoming one of the leading exporters.” At that point, for the first time in 21 years, refined petroleum became our number one export product—though Pritzker never mentioned that.

The “energy world changed.” But, as NYT points out, exports could soak up the excess production, “but there are still political hurdles.”

For crude oil, the problem is energy policy enacted before the “energy world changed.” Signed into law in 1975, after the 1973 Arab oil embargo shook the U.S. with high oil prices, the goal of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, according to the International Business Times, was “to stifle the impact of future oil embargos by foreign oil producing countries.” The result was a ban on most U.S. oil exports—though some exceptions can be made and the Commerce Department has recently given export licenses to two companies for particular types of oil. The WSJ reports: “Ten companies have applied for similar ruling to export oil.”

For natural gas exports, the problem is two-fold. Exporting natural gas is not prohibited, but it is not encouraged or made easy. In order to export natural gas, it must be converted into Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)—which is done at multibillion-dollar facilities with long lead times for permitting and construction that require purchase contracts to back up financing. Many potential customers for U.S. LNG are non-Free Trade Agreement (FTA) countries. Currently, Breaking Energy (BE) reports, “the Department of Energy (DOE) has issued five final and four conditional approvals for LNG export to non-FTA countries.” The Financial Times says about two dozen U.S. LNG export facilities have been proposed with four “already under construction, which have contracts to back up their financing.” Last month, according to Reuters, looking to reduce dependence on supplies from Russia, Lithuania signed an agreement to purchase LNG from the U.S.’s first export terminal: Cheniere Energy Inc.’s Sabine Pass, which is expected to send its first cargoes by the end of this year.

Fortunately, as I predicted in November, there are fixes in the works that, as energy historian Daniel Yergin said, symbolize “a new era in U.S. energy and U.S. energy relations with the rest of the world.”

In January, Senators John Barrasso (R-WY) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) introduced the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act to expedite DOE decisions on LNG export applications. It specifically requires a decision on any LNG export application within 45 days after the environmental review document for the project is published. Currently, applications to export natural gas to non-FTA countries require the Secretary of Energy to make a public interest determination which includes a public comment period. Not surprisingly, “environmental groups are lobbying the Obama Administration to veto the bill.” BE states: “The bipartisan bill could garner enough votes to gain a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.”

A month later, Representative Joe Barton (R-TX), along with 14 co-sponsors, introduced a bill to end the crude oil export ban: HR 702. On March 25, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will meet to debate and vote on the bill—though its passage is not as optimistic as the LNG bill. Bloomberg sees that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are weary, fearing “that they’d be blamed if gasoline prices climb after the ban is lifted.” Oil producers support lifting the ban, while refiners oppose it.

In October, David Goldwyn, the State Department’s coordinator for international energy affairs in the first Obama administration, said: “The politics are hard.” He added: “When the economics become overwhelming the politics will shift.” The NYT stated: The telltale sign of a glut will be a collapse in the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) price, the principal American oil benchmark, which is currently [October 2014] about $3 below the world Brent price.” It continues, “If the spread cracks open, the economic arguments for free export of domestic crude will probably win the day.”

That day may have come. On March 13, the WSJ editorial board announced: “WTI now trades 20% below the world market price.” Holman Jenkins, who writes the Business World column for the WSJ, says: “Oil producers are already being denied a premium of $12 a barrel by not being allowed to export this oil.” Thomas Tunstall, research director at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute for Economic Development, reported: “Before the rapid increase in U.S. oil and gas production, WTI historically sold at a slight premium to Brent, typically about $1-$3 per barrel.”

“U.S. pump prices are mainly tied to the price of Brent crude, which is freely traded on the world market and is higher than it might otherwise be because of the ban on U.S. exports,” explains the WSJ. “If U.S. producers were allowed to compete globally, prices of Brent and WTI would converge over time, and U.S. gasoline prices would come down, all things being equal.”

Now, the “industry that has done much to keep the national economy afloat” is in trouble. There have been some 74,000 layoffs in the U.S. oil patch since November.

If Congress could muster up the political will to lift the arcane oil export ban, the U.S. could emerge as a major world exporter, which according to the NYT, would result in the “return to a status that helped make the country a great power in the first half of the 20th century.” Yergin adds: “Economically, it means that money that was flowing out of the United States into sovereign wealth funds and treasuries around the world will now stay in the U.S. and be invested in the U.S., creating jobs. It doesn’t change everything, but it certainly provides a new dimension to U.S. influence in the world.”

Pritzker brags that the Commerce Department has “worked with the private sector to help businesses reach customers overseas; … to open new markets for U.S. goods and services; to reform the export-control process; and to overcome barriers to entry.” For U.S. oil-and-gas producers the biggest barrier to reaching customers overseas and opening up new markets is our own energy policy—something the administration and Congress have taken steps to fix. According to Bloomberg, if they knew the public was with them, lawmakers could easily save American jobs and investment, lower gasoline prices, help balance our trade deficit, aid our allies, and increase U.S. influence in the world.

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 1.31.15

Conspiracy Brews @ SW Secondary Learning Center 9:00 AM – 10:15 PM on 31 Jan 145
Robby Robertson who regularly attended our meeting passed away. His service will be at 11:00 AM at the Masonic Lodge on Osuna. His obituary is at the end of this notice. Our meeting today will shut down at 10:15 sharp.
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 31, 2015
9:00 AM to 10:15 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 cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.”

Indira Gandhi

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Suggested Topics

— What is the perception of Albuquerque & APD? How is the mayor handling it?

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/02/son-deceased

http://www.koat.com/news/berry-reacts-to-new-yorker-article-defends-actions-against-brandenburg/30952442

— The President ordered his Iran negotiators to finalize a deal in Iran…any comments?

(Light Quotes of the week)

“O Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.”

Saint Augustine (354 AD – 430 AD)

“If a thing isn’t worth saying, you sing it.”

Pierre Beaumarchais (1732 -1799 )

All is in the hands of man. Therefore wash them often.”

Stanislaw J. Lec

——-

James Douglass “Robby” Robertson
11-27-1925 – 1-26-2015

Mr. James Douglass Robertson of Albuquerque, NM, died Monday, January 26, 2015. He was
89 years of age.

“Robby”, as he was known to his friends, was born in Groton, CT, on November 27, 1925, and is
survived by four children, Margaret Robertson, Groton, CT; Elizabeth Weil, Groton; CT, Ted
Robertson, Colorado Springs, CO; and Carl Robertson, Cromwell, CT; two grandchildren and two
great grandchildren, all residing in southeastern, CT.

Mr. Robertson was a member of the United States Navy for 8 years followed by 20 years in the
Army. He served with the Navy in the Pacific Theater during WWII and in Korea and Viet Nam
with the Army, retiring in 1969 as a Major and moved his family to Groton, CT, in 1970.

Mr. Robertson settled in Albuquerque, NM, in the mid-1980s. He was an active amateur radio
operator, a photographer, square dancer and loved to travel the country during the summer
months. He was the family genealogist which led him to Europe as part of the project. He filled
his spare time supporting community organizations and events. He was also a member of the
Masonic order, the second most current in a line of Masons dating to the 1700s. His home
lodge was Temple 6 in Albuquerque, NM.

He was an accomplished writer, publishing his book, “Robby”, in 2012, which chronicles his life
and experiences as a teenager during WWII.

Mr. Robertson’s storied life will be commemorated during memorial services at the Masonic
lodge in Albuquerque on Saturday, January 27, at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception for
attendees. The address is: 3801 Osuna Rd., Albuquerque, NM, 87109.

In lieu of flowers, Mr. Robertson’s family is requesting donations be made in is name to
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 63, at 202 Harvard Rd. NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87102, or, to the
Masonic Lodge in care of Temple #6, 3801 Osuna Rd., Albuquerque, NM 87109.

Silber on Stiglitz

Sigmund “Sig” Silber is a New Mexico writer and economist who makes it a habit to report on economics, water, water law and government.  He is recognized as an expert on New Mexico water issues and he has a great sense of humor … sometimes with a dark cutting edge.

He has given me permission to publish his “stuff,” on my blogs.

Sigmund Silber <sigmundsilber@q.com> wrote:
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/politics-of-economic-stupidity-by-joseph-e–stiglitz#AL36G2Abwt15dk7V.99

He has won a Nobel Prize. But I have to disagree with him to some extent.

Yes for sure austerity policies are stupid. They are based on some false assumptions about debt especially when money can be created out of thin air. But even without that, one person’s debt is some other person’s asset so debt is overrated……until you get to the point where you can’t pay the interest. If you have a central bank that is never a problem. As an aside, Europe has its own particular issues which are addressed quite well in this article econintersect.com/a/blogs/blog1.php/stratfor-the-european-union-nationalism

But I certainly am not disturbed that we have fewer public-sector employees. In fact I am elated. In New Mexico we may have insufficient state and local employees. That is because we are a very large state with generally a low population density. But there are far too many Federal Workers. This data may be out of date or wrong but if correct it indicates that in 2009 the average Federal Employee earned $81,258 with $41,791 of benefits. Thus the Federal Bureaucracy is a tremendous drain on the economy. econintersect.com/b2evolution/blog2.php/2015/01/19/killing-the-american-dream And the Federal Government does not attract the best and brightest that is fairly obvious. Fail anywhere in society private or state and local government and off you go to the Feds for a nice sinecure.

The recommendation that we build roads to nowhere also does not impress me. Based on my research, which I suspect is as good as Stiglitz’s research or better, in developed nations infrastructure investments are not very effective at improving the economy. The n th road does not produce the same benefit as the first road. I wonder how you can not know that and still win a Nobel Prize. Infrastructure is usually based on major inventions. Has Stiglitz read Schumpeter? It might be a good investment of his time. Major paradigm shift innovations do not occur on a regular schedule. Chances are there will be some soon. Chances are the public sector employees that Stiglitz loves so much will slow their deployment or prevent their deployment entirely. Why do we not have automated highways or vehicles that drive themselves? It is not a deficiency of engineering expertise; it was public sector employees. Why does it take twenty years to get a new drug approved? Public Sector employees.

I think our problems are more complicated than Stiglitz thinks. But he has the Nobel Prize. And it is tax free. I suspect the reason for this article was shopping around for political clients. I am just speculating on that but that is how it struck me.

But for sure you do not improve an economy by extracting purchasing power from the citizens in the economy. So there I totally agree with Stiglitz. On the other hand, redistribution is a strange concept based on the probably correct assumption that some are more likely to spend than others but countered to some extent at least by the equally correct assumption that spenders are less likely to invest. In the olden days, investment was considered more effective than consumption at improving an economy. Does redistribution encourage innovation and investment? Is Europe doing better than the U.S.? How about Russia? To me it seems that a disrespect for private property is a negative for an economy growing. But Stiglitz may not be thinking about redistribution but simply helicopter drops. In fact neither is discussed in the above linked article but I am speculating that this is on his mind.

I agree with Stiglitz that it is not wise to deflate economies as the World has been doing. But I do not agree with his Marxist/Sayian/Reaganist/IBM Supply Side strategies. To have demand you have to produce things that people want badly enough to exchange labor for those things whether they be products or services. It is very difficult to mandate demand other than by draconian policies. One could mandate that every house have an outside outhouse. That will stimulate demand. Would the World be a better place? GDP would be higher.

Perhaps we have sufficient toys.

Yes with a helicopter drop of currency, sales of toys would increase. Is that progress?

Would more bridges improve things? Keeping bridges from falling down is certainly a good idea. One can call that investment and account for it as investment but it really is maintenance. There is no impact on the economy other than the spending associated with doing the maintenance. Those receiving the payment for their services are better off but the overall wealth of the nation does not change.

I think it is an old fashioned concept as applied to a developed nation. That is not to say that there are no infrastructure opportunities. There certainly are. But I think Stiglitz has made an incorrect diagnosis in that area but a correct one re austerity policies.

Sometimes one just has to wait for demand to materialize especially in developed nations. In less developed nations we need to avoid garroting their economies. I think that Stiglitz and I probably see monetary policy in the same light in this regard. But again time can solve a lot of problems. And in some cases growth is generational.