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.

“He,” hangs out with the strangest women and men

We are talking about our stellar president.  You know, the one with great difficulty in finding a tongue to say, “Islamic Jihadist,” or anything similar.

He has now opened up his home and our White House, to people proven to be those words.  The Clarion has the story that he and his minions would not admit to.

Right here to start:

US President Barack Obama, privately met with 14 Muslim leaders, including several leaders of Muslim Brotherhood front groups with ties to Hamas.

By Elliot Friedland

Sun, February 8, 2015

The White House has released the names of senior American Muslim leaders that President Obama met with personally last week. The list of names was included on the transcript of the White House daily press briefing on Thursday, despite journalists having requested the information much sooner. Prior to that, the White House had refused to name the leaders.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with the President meeting with representatives from any faith community and with the Muslim community in particular. Yet some of the individuals who met with the President have alarming links to the Muslim Brotherhood and organizations that have funded terrorism.

Azhar Azeez represented the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) in the talks with Obama. Declassified FBI documents show that ISNA was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group as early as 1987 and its past leaders include Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who was convicted on terrorism related charges in 2004 …

Follow this link for more

Editor: Shamefully there is so much more to demonstrate how Obama throws caution to the wind and slaps American citizens across their face with with people who either are themselves terrible murderers … or lay with sadists who are.

 

 

A gift from a baby president in learning

I apologize for the absence.  I can only say that although I have a fair tolerance for pain, it is difficult to create or even think straight when it is constant, no matter the level.  Those with back surgeries that have been dismal failures will know what I mean.

I will try to do better going forward and although I am not in the least asking for pity, please deal me a little forbearance.

I believe the title describes an individual that seems to be in a crib playing at being president.  I am no expert on matters of diplomacy, but I know a mistake when I see one, and there’s no doubt in my mind … America has made  a colossal blunder in electing Obama a two-time chief executive of this country.

Negotiator2WebCR-2_9_15

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.

Charlatans and Conundrums

Imagine a visitor from another  “world,” is somehow plunked down in our midst.  This visitor is not familiar with our customs and mores, but it is able to reason and question in a perceptive way.  It doesn’t take the visitor long to realize there are deep divisions between the adherents of the world’s different religions.  The visitor sees so-called Islāmic wars being waged, outright massacres and attempts to establish “state,” religions.  With his interest piqued, he decides to set out on a course which will allow him to examine the world’s religions.

The visitor first finds very little to commend the religions and is able to find that all the negative aspects of this world’s religions have existed since the dawn of time.  What is more, the visitor sees a calendar of crusades, other “holy,” wars, pogroms, inquisitions and other partitions which have pitted neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother and father against son.

As our visitor continues he observes Sikhs versus Hindus, Muslims at odds with all other religions, fundamentalist protestants against those with a liberal bent, and catholics fighting within the faith with other catholics.  He sees hundreds — no thousands — of innocent men, women and children murdered as the perpetrators swear they are following the dictates of their religion as they look toward heaven for their god’s approval.  Our sojourner wonders at the effrontery of some of the world’s religious and political leaders as they expend more and more of their human resources to wage war on those whose religious beliefs run counter to their own. Wasted men and women, either dead, or mentally exhausted to the point of being unable to work as they once were.  He also sees food and other sustenance wasted which could have been better spent filling the stomachs of the less fortunate or filling the minds of their ignorant and illiterate with meaningful knowledge.

Our visitor sees the three main monotheistic religions have similar or common theme in their doctrine and formation (not the least being their shared lineage from Abraham).  Our “alien,” is chagrined at the rifts which have developed in the past and present among each religion’s adherents.  He finds the fault does not necessarily or solely lie with the doctrine or the “holy,” books and tracts, but with some of the world’s religious leaders and their charlatanistic spin which they nimbly apply during their demagogic diatribes.  He also sees followers blindly tagging along as they are fed the pablum of their very own “false prophet.”  He doesn’t miss the demonic instructions which causes a young child to become a human bomb in order to rid the world of one more “infidel,” or non-believer; the dictates which withhold aid and succor for the world’s hungry and downtrodden; the dictates which teach hate is acceptable as it is directed toward one that is different because of their religious beliefs, the color of their skin, or their historic and ethnic culture.

Finally exhausted and disappointed in the extreme, our alien friend departs our world, shaking his head as he thinks:

How strange so many of that world’s religious leaders sit on their hands while their religions renegade elements wreak havoc on others and lay waste to the potential of that planet.

I hope the thoughtful reader will find nothing offensive to their person or spiritual well-being in reading the above, but if the opposite be the case, perhaps an inward search toward the depth of their soul will reveal something which could be attended to….

Final Tab on His Majesty’s Latest Family Vacation

And the following doesn’t count the crazy stuff he has done and will do since he has returned.  Crazy stuff costing we sap citizens  plenty.  That’s plenty that we don’t have.

Obama’s Hawaii vacation is over, now it’s time for taxpayers to pay massive tab

By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org

HONOLULU – President Barack Obama and his family just spent their Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Kailua. Now it’s time for taxpayers to pick up the tab.

While the Obamas and friends who accompany them pay for their own private vacation home rentals on or near Kailua Beach, taxpayers foot a multimillion dollar tab for everything from a stand-by ambulance to the fuel for Air Force One.

Local taxpayers pick up the bill for Honolulu Police Department escorts who guard Obama, first lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha around the clock. Figures just released by HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu show HPD spent $277,000 on overtime costs this year during the president’s 16-day vacation. That’s $16,000 less than in 2013, but $60,000 more than in 2012.

The Emergency Management Services department also dispatches an ambulance to be on call for the president, which annually costs the city about $15,890.

There’s much more in the rest of the article.  Please read on to find out how foolish we are and have been to allow presidents to believe they are, by and through their office, imperial members of these United States of America.

Thank you watchdog and Malia Zimmerman.

Click here for more of the story: Rest of the Story

Marita Noon: Obama kicking again

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

Marita says:

Happy New Year!

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

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

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great, inc.

PO Box 52103, Albuquerque, NM 87181

505.239.8998

For immediate release: January 5, 2014.

Commentary by Marita Noon

Executive Director, Energy Makes America Great Inc.

Contact: 505.239.8998, marita@responsiblenergy.org

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We just had a wave election … Explained

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

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

Wave Elections: What They Mean

Larry P. Arnn

President, Hillsdale College

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

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

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

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

Wave Elections.

Once you have finished with the article, why not subscribe to Imprimis.  It is free and you won’t regret the effort.

Marita might say, Ethanol is never what it’s cracked-up to be

Marita explains why sensible people and environmentalists agree on ethanol.  And, it’s about time, envios.

You will find valuable link information at the very bottom of Marita’s piece.  Incidentally, she has gained another prominent spot in conservative publication.  Check out Breitbart.com

Now here is Marita’s latest:

Ethanol policy reform–the rare place where environmentalists and energy advocates agree

We all expect to pay a price for missing deadlines—fail to pay a parking ticket on time, and you may find a warrant out for your arrest. People have lost their jobs when they can’t get the work done on schedule. Students, who turn in papers late, get lower grades—maybe even fail the class.

 

But the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can apparently miss deadlines (many) with impunity. For the past two years, the EPA has failed to meet the statutory deadline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requiring the agency to tell refiners how much ethanol to blend into the nation’s motor fuels.

 

In November 2013, the EPA did make an attempt to announce the proposed 2014 blend levels—which by then were already months past the legally mandated deadline. The EPA surprised and pleased the RFS opponents when it utilized its authority to adjust the mandate and took market conditions into consideration. The EPA set the proposed 2014 standard to a level lower than 2013’s, even though the law requires increasing amounts. Ethanol producers, who were expecting the usual uptick, loudly opposed the reduction. They made so much noise, the EPA agreed to reconsider. To date, the 2014 standards have not yet been announced.

 

Then, on November 21, 2014, the EPA announced it would make a decision next year (2015) on how much ethanol refiners had to add to gasoline this year (2014)—yet, if refiners don’t meet the unknown requirement, they get fined. That’s akin to handing out the class syllabus after the students have failed the final exam.

 

With the goal of a reduction in foreign oil imports, Congress enacted the RFS in 2005 and revised it in 2007—which also provided incentives to America’s fledgling ethanol industry. At the time, gasoline demand was rising to an all-time high and oil imports comprised more than 58 percent of U.S. oil consumption. No doubt Congress believed it was saving American consumers from their addiction to oil.

 

Then the world changed. The U.S. economy plunged into its worst recession ever, unemployment soared, and gasoline demand fell sharply. Meanwhile, advanced drilling technologies, including the long-used hydraulic fracturing and newer horizontal drilling, began producing oil and natural gas from U.S. shale formations—which were previously uneconomic to develop—leading to America’s 21st Century energy boom.

 

Today the U.S. is the world’s largest natural-gas producer and is projected to pass Saudi Arabia as the number one oil producer. With crude oil supplies flooding the market, prices have been cut in half. Although fears over foreign-oil dependence have abated, the U.S. remains stuck with an ethanol mandate that is outdated, unworkable, and even harmful to vehicles, engines, and the environment.

 

Consider just some of the RFS’s flaws.

 

The law requires refiners to cap their blending of corn ethanol and use more cellulosic biofuels. Never mind that very little cellulosic biofuel has ever been produced—even according to EPA’s own data. But that fact hasn’t prevented the EPA from levying millions of dollars in fines against refiners for failing to use the phantom fuel, without any assurance that enough cellulosic biofuel will ever be available. It’s kind of like receiving a bill for something you cannot buy because it doesn’t exist, but you’re being charged anyway.

 

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reports cellulosic biofuels are: “complex, capital-intensive, and costly.” Given the difficulty of producing them, capacity will “fall far short of what would be necessary to achieve the very rapid growth in the use of cellulosic biofuels required” under the RFS.

 

Then there is the “blend wall” problem. With less gasoline being sold than Congress anticipated, refiners cannot add ever-rising amounts of ethanol to gasoline without exceeding E10—the fuel consisting of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline sold virtually everywhere in the country today. To get around the blend wall issue, the EPA granted a “partial waiver” allowing the sale of E15, a fuel blend containing up to 15 percent ethanol for model-year 2001 and newer vehicles.

 

The EPA’s quick fix made a bad situation much worse, and all at the taxpayers’ and consumers’ expense. Ethanol levels higher than 10 percent can damage or destroy vehicle engines, according to a study conducted by the well-respected Coordinating Research Council. Automakers are voiding warranties and refusing to be held responsible for mechanical problems caused by fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. And the marine industry warns of potential engine failures on various types of watercraft powered by the industry’s most common engines.

 

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is so concerned about safety hazards that it has launched a campaign telling consumers to “Look Before You Pump.” OPEI says equipment ranging from lawn mowers to “jaws of life” devices could be damaged by ethanol’s corrosive properties if used in concentrations above 10 percent. Do want your expensive new lawn mower to quit the third time you use it? You certainly want life-saving devices to work on demand.

 

And that’s not all. Ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, forcing motorists to fill up more often, thereby causing more consumer expenditures. Ethanol production has driven up food prices here and abroad. Additionally, some studies indicate ethanol usage increases greenhouse gas emissions. Politico reports: “Some green groups have vocally abandoned their support for corn ethanol, blaming the crop for polluting water supplies, wiping out conservation land and even increasing carbon emissions.” According to Craig Cox, director of the Ames, Iowa, office of the Environmental Working Group, an environmental group that opposes the mandate as it is now structured: “Corn ethanol’s brand has been seriously dented in the last 18 months. …it certainly doesn’t occupy the same pedestal that it occupied two years ago.”

 

But then, despite the fact that the EPA says decisions are made on merits, politics entered the scene. Rumors flew that the announcement of the 2014 blend levels was delayed to help Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-D) in his Senate bid. Braley was pushing for an increase in the proposed levels and was hoping that he would be able to influence the White House to raise the targets. Additionally, a Republican-controlled Senate would be more likely to pass legislation to reform or repeal the RFS. Braley was quoted in Politico saying: “Voters in Iowa look at where I stand on this issue and where my opponent stands, who’s supporting me in this campaign and who’s supporting [Ernst].” The Politico story states: “Iowans say wavering on corn ethanol once would have been certain political suicide in a state where 90 percent of the land is farm acreage. So Braley sought to capitalize on Ernst’s expressed qualms about big government, portraying her as someone Iowans can’t trust to fight for them.” Yet, Ernst, a Republican, won the Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Tom Harkin by 8.5 percentage points.

 

The EPA’s unwillingness to do its job by setting ethanol volumes—along with ethanol’s loss of “political heft”— should provide the impetus for ending the complex and wasteful RFS program. Ethanol is a rare topic where environmentalists and energy advocates agree. Now is the time to get our elected officials all on board. As soon as the new Congress convenes in January, it should give the RFS an “F” and reform, revise, or even repeal it.

 

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

 

 

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

Here are the extra links referred to at the beginning of this page:

Ethanol policy reform
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