Monday, April 29, 2013

Support drilling, fracking, Keystone … and exports

We don’t need to restrict oil or gas exports. We need to open more lands to leasing and drilling. 
By Paul Driessen 

The interminable war on drilling, fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline has taken some bizarre turns. Now it’s getting worse, as opponents grow more desperate, and the moon again grows full.
Deepwater drilling, 3-dimension and 4-D seismic (the ability to visualize 3-D over many years), deep horizon horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, and other technological marvels have obliterated environmentalist claims that the United States and world are running out of oil and gas – and therefore we need to switch to subsidized, land-hungry, job-killing wind turbines, solar panels and biofuels.

Thanks to free enterprise innovation on state and public lands – and no thanks to President Obama, who has made nearly the entire federal onshore and offshore estate off limits to leasing and drilling – US oil and natural gas production has set an all-time record. The world is on the verge of doing so, as well. 

Long-running geopolitics have been turned upside down, as OPEC, Russia and other oil superpowers wonder what hit them. Plastic and chemical manufacturers, steel makers, bus and fleet vehicle operators, and now long-haul truckers are already cashing in on the natural gas bonanza. So are electric utilities, especially with EPA continuing its war on coal, with more unnecessary heavy-handed air and water rules. 

Global warming / climate change hysteria is also foundering on the rocks of reality. Average global temperatures haven’t risen in 16 years, seas aren’t rising any faster than 100 years ago, and storms, floods and droughts are no more frequent or severe than over multi-decade trends during the past century. 

Evidence and reality simply are not cooperating with IPCC and Mann-made climate models. “Trust the computer models!” the alarmists plead. “If reality doesn’t comport with our predictions, reality is wrong.” 

The US State Department has (yet again) said the Keystone XL pipeline poses few environmental problems and should be approved, to bring Canadian oil sands petroleum to Texas refineries – creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs, and billions in economic growth and government revenue. 

Unacceptable! rants the Environmental Protection Agency. “State underestimated KXL’s potential impact on global warming and needs to do its studies all over again,” says EPA. Never mind that oil sands production would add a minuscule 0.06% to US greenhouse gas emissions and an undetectable 0.00001 degrees C per year to computer-modeled global warming, according to the Congressional Research Service. Do it over, until you get the answers we want, demand EPA and environmentalist ideologues. 

Some 70% of Americans and 60% of Canadians support Keystone – and energy security (and jobs) outrank greenhouse gas reduction as a national priority by a 2-1 margin among Americans – says Canadian pollster Nik Nanos. 

However, haters of hydrocarbons, modern living standards, free enterprise and personal liberty are not ready to surrender. They’ve launched a blitzkrieg flanking attack. This time they are outraged that some Keystone oil could be refined into diesel and other products and exported! to Europe or Asia – while some frack-based natural gas might be converted to LNG and likewise exported! around the globe. 

Well, yes. When US refiners transform crude oil into gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, heating oil, asphalt, waxes and petrochemicals, they ship some of these products overseas. Since Americans use less diesel than refineries manufacture (some parts of each barrel of crude can be converted only into diesel), refiners also export their excess diesel to Europe, which uses more diesel than gasoline, and Europeans ship their surplus gasoline to the USA, mostly to East Coast consumers. It’s a win-win arrangement that will be buttressed and safeguarded by Keystone pipeline transport of Canadian oil.

And yes, Cheniere Energy and other companies want to ship liquefied natural gas to foreign markets. It’s hardly surprising that anti-fracking activists would seize on this as yet another excuse for opposing this game-changing technology. It is hardly remarkable that Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) and other far-Left legislators would sponsor bills to block LNG exports. 

What is shocking is that Dow and Huntsman Chemical, Alcoa Aluminum, Nucor Steel and other companies are joining the no-export campaign. They have convinced themselves that such exports will hurt their own selfish economic interests – and for PR reasons have packaged that notion into assertions that exporting any US natural gas is against America’s and the public’s economic interests. Nonsense. 

America has barely begun to tap its vast shale gas and conventional natural gas deposits. It has not yet touched its methane hydrates. Together, these deposits will likely last a century or more. In addition, other countries are racing to develop their own conventional, shale and hydrate deposits – while still others will eventually recognize the folly of keeping their own deposits off limits. All this will gradually reduce demand for US natural gas exports, slow and prolong extraction, and keep gas prices low. 

This interplay will also help ensure that more factories and power plants in more countries burn natural gas, thereby replacing coal and providing the economic wherewithal to enable China, India and other nations to install modern pollution abatement technologies on their now dirty power plants. That will greatly improve air quality and human health in countless cities, while reducing carbon dioxide emissions and reducing consternation among steadily dwindling numbers of climate alarmists. 

American oil and gas development – and exports – will also provide an opportunity for our nation to “give back” to the world community for all the petroleum that our anti-leasing, anti-drilling policies have caused us to take from the world’s petroleum supplies for decades. All this activity will also spur further innovation in technologies to unlock still more energy. It will spur job creation, economic growth and government tax and royalty revenue collection here in the United States … and abroad.

Some 23 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed; 128 million are dependent on various government programs, including 47 million on food stamps; and the United States is more than $16 trillion in debt. Unemployment in the construction trades is 14.7 percent. Black unemployment was 12.7% when President Bush left office; it soared to 16.7% by September 2011 under President Obama, and remains stuck at 14% today for black adults – and an astronomical 43% for black teenagers! 

Drilling, fracking and exports can reverse these horrendous, intolerable, unnecessary statistics. 

Misguided industrialists should stop railing against exports. They would do themselves and our nation far more good by putting their lobbyists and public relations staffs to work demanding an end to leasing, drilling and fracking bans that continue to dominate eco-liberal thinking, US energy policy (especially under the current administration). 

Of 1.8 billion acres on our nation’s Outer Continental Shelf, only 36-43 million are under lease. That’s barely 2% of the OCS. Offshore territory equal to 78% of the entire US landmass (Alaska plus the Lower 48) is off limits! Even the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill cannot justify that. 

Onshore, it’s just as bad. As of 1994, over 410 million federally controlled acres were effectively off limits to exploration and development. That’s 62% of the nation’s public lands – an area nearly equal to Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming combined. The situation has gotten progressively worse, with millions more acres – and vast energy, mineral and economic bounties – locked up in wilderness, park, preserve, wildlife refuge, wilderness study, Antiquities Act and other restrictive land use designations, or simply made unavailable by bureaucratic fiat or foot-dragging. 

Drilling opponents claim to be protecting the environment. In reality, they simply detest hydrocarbons, modern living standards, free enterprise and personal liberty. Commonsense policies will rejuvenate our economy, put Americans back to work, and help fund government programs that Messrs. Obama and Reid profess to care so much about – while safeguarding ecological values we all cherish. 

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

Stepping into our future

This past weekend Lucy and I drove up to our recently purchased property in Buffalo, Texas.  There’s a ‘shell house’ that needs a lot of attention before it can become a residence sitting on three acres of land that has a fifth wheel travel trailer thrown in as part of the deal. 

We took implements of destruction with us in the back of my truck; weed whacker to trim a spot for the truck, generator for electricity, vacuum cleaner and assorted cleaning goods.  The afternoon was spent cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  Did I mention we needed to clean the trailer?

We haven’t had the water or electricity hooked up to the property as yet so we carted about 50 gallons in plastic jugs to use for cleaning, as in taking a sink bath, and flushing the toilet; a very necessary process unless you like squatting in tall grass.  The fellow who put the trailer up there also put in a simple septic tank system which simplifies getting rid of waste water.

A couple of hours of serious labor and the dust was off the sofa, floors could be walked on, the surfaces in the kitchen had been wiped down with Mr. Clean and outside air was drifting through to replace stale air that had been trapped inside for who knows how long in there.  We made the bed up with fresh sheets brought from home and wondered if we even needed a blanket and comforter since temperatures made it into the mid 80s.  It did drop down into the low 60s that night so we closed the windows on one side of the trailer.

Lucy took a short nap on the sofa while I took pictures from our ‘center of operations’.  We plan to use the travel trailer like a motel room for when we start finishing off the ‘shell house’ which is on hold until we close the sale of our rent house; hard to pay for new stuff until we have the check in our hands.

Sunday morning we got up with the sun to get ready for church.  The nearest meeting house is thirty miles or so away down in Madisonville; a small branch with about 70 active members.  We were welcomed warmly in the foyer and talked with our new friends, some of whom we knew from our internet connections. 

Lucy was quick to leave printed invitations to the Preparedness Fair that happens in May; never let an opportunity go to waste. 

Just so you know, perhaps hearing it for the first time or as a reminder, the Gospel is true whether you’re in a small branch in Madisonville or travel to Salt Lake City. 

Some friends of ours, the Welch family, spoke on the Plan of Happiness and did a great job of explaining why it’s important for each of us to understand where we came from, why we’re here in mortality and what lies ahead in the eternities. 

“The fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, designed to bring about man’s immortality and eternal life. It includes the Creation, Fall, and Atonement, along with all God-given laws, ordinances, and doctrines. This plan makes it possible for all people to be exalted and live forever with God (2 Ne. 2, 9). The scriptures also refer to this plan as the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness, and the plan of mercy.”

Brother Welch mentioned in his talk that some folks, better than 50% of Americans who claim to be Christians, don’t believe in the resurrection; mortality is all there is.  Their church doesn’t teach the Plan of Happiness or they just don’t believe it.  How sad; the most important aspect of Jesus’ gift has either not been shared or not been accepted.

Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker, often reminded folks that you have to know where you came from before you can figure out where you’re going.  Zig was directing his thoughts toward achievement in the business world; but it applies equally in every aspect of mortality.  Life is tough enough; having the Gospel to give it purpose puts things in perspective

Many sects of organized Christian religions quit teaching about the importance of the resurrection years ago and our schools certainly aren’t teaching Christian principles.  Now we have better than 50% of our population that haven’t got a clue about the Gospel, at least not the most important message; we as individuals are children of our Father in Heaven, have been with Him in the spirit prior to being given a mortal body.  We will shed this mortality for a perfected body and have the opportunity to live with Him once more in the eternities.

In our uncertain world where politicians and leaders interchange lies for truth, evil for good and wrong for right; wouldn’t knowing the basic principles of the Gospel help?

The day you recognize who you are, really (as Zig would have arranged his words); that’s when you can begin making progress towards the individual God wants you to become.  I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel to a small branch of Saints in Madisonville, to hear the Gospel spelled out just as it should be throughout the world.     

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How rich Rockefellers battle the people’s pipeline

Rockefeller billions vs Canadian energy and sovereignty – and US jobs, security and families 

By Ron Arnold 

Americans concerned about gasoline prices were encouraged by the Pew Research Center’s new poll, whose headline blared, “Keystone XL Pipeline draws broad support.” A score box showed 63% supporting and only 23% opposing the pipeline that would transport oil from Canada’s vast Alberta oil sands deposits through the Plains states to Texas refineries.

“Every one-cent increase at the pump steals about $1 billion from the larger economy that consumers would have otherwise saved or spent on something else,” the Wall Street Journal has pointed out. High gasoline prices thus translate into lost jobs, lost tax revenues and lower living standards. Americans are beginning to understand that, as the Obama “recovery” gives them real-world economic lessons. 

Unfortunately, the Pew report quickly deflated optimism over this support, when it tersely identified who the minority is: “liberals” – stanchions of Big Green’s circus tent. We have seen time and again that the liberal 23% can be a “majority” to President Obama, who wields executive orders to bypass the people.

As his administration approaches a decision, lame-duck politics says he could go either way – even with his own State Department’s second favorable environmental impact report on the KXL’s construction permit. Even with Alberta Premier Alison Redford saying that an Obama rejection would damage U.S.-Canada relations. “Canada relies on the U.S. for 97% of its energy exports,” Redford said, and “sees the new pipeline as critical to its economic well-being.” And even with ten governors and 22 lieutenant governors sending letters to the President, urging pipeline approval. 

What is Obama likely to do? Some 82% of Republicans favor the pipeline, so revenge is not an unthinkable motive for a possible rejection. However, 70% of independents and 54% of Democrats also favor the KXL. Fogging the crystal ball is the ideological split among Democrats: 60% of the party’s conservatives and moderates support building the pipeline, compared to just 42% of liberal Democrats. That considerably flattens Obama’s upward slope toward a potential rejection, but doesn’t level it. 

Obama's decision may hinge on pleasing his base of global-warming advocates. This whole Keystone XL controversy was carefully conceived and organized as a “globally significant response” to global warming. Shutting down Alberta’s oil sands – by blocking both the US-bound Keystone XL pipeline and any other Alberta oil conduit, particularly a proposed link to Vancouver, British Columbia harbors and oil tankers bound for Asia – would supposedly reduce global warming. That’s propaganda, not reality.

As Environment Canada has observed, oil sands production contributes a mere 0.14% of global greenhouse gases, notes, and would add an undetectable 0.00001 degrees C per year to global warming, even if carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases really do drive climate change. 

The anti-oil sands campaign – activists call them “tar sands” to evoke ugly images – was devised by the New York City-based Rockefeller Brothers Fund, using earmarked grants to recruit “a network of leading US and Canadian NGOs” and establish a “coordinated campaign structure” to act as its public face, according to a leaked PowerPoint presentation

The first slide says, “The Tar Sands Campaign, Michael Northrop, Program Officer, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, July 2008.” Seven slides drive home the message that Rockefeller wants its paid campaigners to emphasize: Oil sands and Keystone represent “a globally significant threat” – with “Global Warming,” and “Oil Addiction” as the two “thought leader slogans” in the parade of old shibboleths that trigger brain freeze in Big Green followers. The rest was a coldly calculated, very practical plan to destroy Canada’s single most important export, with Rockefeller giving $7 million per year to activist groups to do the job. 

Thinking people understand that being “addicted to oil” is like being addicted to breathing, better living standards, improved health and life itself. Just try getting along without it in a world where fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) contributed 82% of US energy use in 2012. The “green alternative” (wind and solar) provided a mere 3.3% of our overall needs in 2012; the rest was nuclear, hydroelectric and biomass (mostly wood). Relying on the “green alternative” is like trying to inhale only 3.3% as much as you usually do. There’s an energy gap there we need to account for. 

Canadian researcher Vivian Krause exposed the Rockefeller funding for campaigns against Canadian energy exports in her October 2010 Financial Post story, “US foundations against the oil sands. Five US foundations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, funneled vast sums of money through the Tides Foundation’s Canadian organization, Tides Canada. The Tides family of operations is a notorious California-based funder of left-wing activists. 


Krause wrote, “A large part of Tides Canada’s funding comes from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. These are The Big Five. They give away about US$1.2-billion every year.” In a chilling reminder, she concluded, “If these foundations decide to undermine a foreign industry, they probably can.”


Later that fall, Krause testified before a Canadian House of Commons committee, prompting an audit of the Canadian arm of the Tides Foundation by the Canada Revenue Agency (Canada's equivalent to the IRS). By Krause’s calculations, Tides, a co-funder of the Rockefeller oil sands campaign, has distributed $19 million to anti-Keystone groups since 2008.

Krause explains that the campaign strategy is intended to foster renewable energy by shifting investment capital away from so-called “dirty oil” and toward so-called “clean energy.” To this end, she said, “they ‘educate’ media, consumers and voters. They stigmatize fossil fuels as bad, thereby facilitating the positioning of renewables as good. It’s basic product positioning and ‘depositioning’ the competitor.”

Not surprisingly, the “education” is slanted. “We get only bad news about fossil fuels and good news about solar and wind,” Krause observes. “We don’t get the whole story.” What gets left out are the advantages of fossil fuels – and the limitations and harmful effects of renewables, like the tiny amount of energy they provide, and the terrible impacts they have on birds, bats and wildlife habitats. “Furthermore, some of the information that is perpetuated is out-dated, and some is plainly false.” 

I asked Krause why the Rockefeller presence behind the anti-XL propaganda campaign was virtually invisible. She told me that it has been done quietly but not secretly. “The grants have been disclosed in online databases for years,” she said. “But nobody bothered to add them up and connect the dots.” Krause connected the dots to the networks of foundations that work together on targeted projects.

She directed me to a revealing but obscure source, Design to Win: Philanthropy’s Role in the Fight Against Global Warming,” which was sponsored by six of “the usual suspects” I have learned to expect to find behind any global warming campaign: the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Energy Foundation, Joyce Foundation, Oak Foundation, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. 

Another source was, “A Strategy Planning Tool for Western Conservation,” prepared for the Hewlett Foundation by the Redstone Strategy Group, a brain pool of Ivy League hotshots not to be trifled with. Their strategy is to create eight massive national parks, each the size of Switzerland, as a way to stop the development of fossil fuels. Just fence industry out with parks – or Antiquities Act designations.  

Anyone who thinks their local grassroots green group just pops up spontaneously in occasional protests needs to read either of these documents. They will find that the “roots” under the environmentalist “grass” are fertilized with bales of hundred-dollar bills. Rockefeller’s actions are quite open, if quiet. Krause said, “The strategy is articulated in discussion papers, but who reads them?” 

Nobody except Vivian Krause, evidently. Her Twitter account, @FairQuestions, says, “I follow the money & the science behind enviro campaigns.” Her research and writing are impressive. Her blog profile states, “I work from my dining room table, using Google, on my own nickel. Not part of any political party, any industry, or any campaign.” Her work deserves more attention in the United States.

Krause’s discovery and exposé of the Rockefeller millions behind the anti-Keystone XL campaign could become a factor in Obama’s pipeline construction decision. It has already created Canadian suspicion of environmental groups dancing on the strings of US foundation money. 

It’s not the money itself Canadians fear. It’s the way bales of US foundation cash can buy pressure by proxy, to impose undue foreign influence over Canada’s national energy policy and sovereignty.

One must hope Mr. Obama does not wish to be suspected of dancing on the same Rockefeller policy puppet strings as the Big Green bigwigs who were recently arrested protesting at his front door.
Columnist Ron Arnold is executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. Portions of this report appeared originally in the Washington Examiner and are used by permission.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

EPA’s Tier 3 tyranny

High cost, no benefit does nothing to forestall agency’s quest for ecological utopia 

By PauL Driessen 

President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has already promulgated a tsunami of 1,920 regulations, many of which will bring few health or environmental benefits, but will impose high economic and unemployment costs, often to advance the Administration’s decidedly anti-hydrocarbon agenda. The Heritage Foundation has calculated that his EPA’s twenty “major” rulemaking decisions (costing $100 million or more annually) alone could cost the United States over $36 billion per year.

The latest example involves a third layer (or tier) of rules that the agency says will clean the nation’s air and save lives, by forcing refineries to remove more sulfur and other impurities from gasoline. EPA and refiners call the proposal Tier 3 rulemaking. Tier 3 tyranny is more accurate – as the rules would cost billions of dollars but bring infinitesimal benefits, and will likely be imposed regardless.
Since 1970, America’s cars have eliminated some 99% of pollutants that once came out of tailpipes. “Today's cars are essentially zero-emission vehicles, compared to 1970 models,” says air pollution expert Joel Schwartz, co-author of Air Quality in America

In addition, he notes, more recent models start out cleaner and stay cleaner throughout their lives. “As a result, fleet turnover has been reducing on-road emissions by an average of about 8 to10 percent per year.” Over time, that has brought tremendously improved air quality, and continues to do so. 

Moreover, since 2004, under Tier 1 and 2 rules, refiners have reduced sulfur in gasoline from an average of 300 ppm to 30 ppm – a 90% drop, on top of previous reductions. Those benefits are likewise ongoing. Using EPA’s own computer models and standards, a recent ENVIRON International study concluded that “large benefits in ground-level ozone concentrations will have accrued by 2022 as a direct result” of Tier 1 and Tier 2 emission standards and lower gasoline sulfur levels” that are already required by regulation.

By 2022, those existing emission reduction requirements will slash volatile organic pollutants by a further 62%, carbon monoxide by another 51% and nitrous oxides 80% more – beyond reductions achieved between 1970 and 2004. 

But even this is not enough for EPA, which now wants sulfur levels slashed to 10 ppm – even though the agency’s models demonstrate that Tier 3 rules, on top of these earlier and ongoing reductions, would bring essentially zero air quality or health benefits.

Viewed another way, further Tier 3 improvements would amount to reduced monthly ozone levels of only 1.2 parts per billion (peak levels) to 0.5 ppb (average levels). These minuscule improvements (equivalent to 5-12 cents out of $100 million) could not even have been measured by equipment existing a couple decades ago. Their contribution to improved human health would be essentially zero.

To achieve those zero benefits, the new Tier 3 standards would cost $10 billion in upfront capital expenditures and an additional $2.4 billion in annual compliance expenses, the American Petroleum Institute says. The sulfur rules will raise the price of gasoline by 6-9 cents a gallon, on top of new fuel tax hikes and gasoline prices that have rocketed from $1.79 to $3.68 per gallon of regular unleaded over the past four years. These and other hikes will ripple throughout the economy, affecting commuting and shipping, the cost of goods and services, the price of travel and vacations. (White House and EPA officials claim the Tier 3 rules would only add only a penny per gallon to gasoline costs, but that is highly dubious.) 

EPA believes the additional sulfur reductions are technologically possible. Its attitude seems to be, if it can be done, we will require it, no matter how high the cost, or how minimal the benefits.

Citizens need to tell EPA: “The huge improvements to date are enough for now. We have other crucial health, environmental, employment and economic problems to solve – which also affect human health and welfare. We don’t have the financial, human or technological resources to do it all – especially to waste billions on something where the quantifiable health benefits payback is minimal, or even zero.” 

Moreover, there are better ways to reduce traffic-related urban air pollution. Improve traffic light sequencing, to speed traffic flow, save fuel, and reduce idling, emissions, driver stress and accidents, for example. That’s where our efforts should be concentrated.
Another basic problem is that EPA always assumes there is no safe threshold level for pollutants – and pollution must always and constantly be ratcheted downward, eventually to zero, regardless of cost. 

This flies in the face of what any competent epidemiologist knows: the dose makes the poison. There is a point below which a chemical is not harmful. There are even chemicals which at low or trace quantities are essential to proper operation of our muscular, brain and other bodily functions – but at higher doses can be poisonous. 

There are also low-level chemical, radiation and pathogen exposures that actually safeguard our bodies from cancer, illness and other damage, in a process known as hormesis.

Even worse, this Tier 3 tyranny is on top of other highly suspect EPA actions. The agency has conducted illegal experiments on humans, used secret email accounts to hide collaborations with radical environmentalist groups, and implemented 54.5 mpg vehicle mileage standards that will maim and kill thousands more people every year, by forcing them into smaller, lighter, less safe cars. 

EPA also expanded the ethanol mandate to promote corn-based E15 fuels (15% ethanol in gasoline). That means we must turn even more food into fuel, to replace hydrocarbons that we again have in abundance (thanks to fracking and other new technologies) but our government won’t allow us to develop, and to substitute for cellulosic ethanol that doesn’t exist (but EPA tells refiners they must use anyway). So corn farmers get rich, while consumers pay more for gasoline, meat, fish, eggs, poultry and other products. 

The agency is also waging war on coal, automobiles and the Keystone XL pipeline – based on assertions that carbon dioxide emissions are causing “dangerous manmade global warming.” Even the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NASA, British Meteorological Office, and many once alarmist scientists now acknowledge that average planetary temperatures have not budged in 16 years, and hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts and sea level rise have shown no statistically significant variation from century-long averages – even as CO2 levels have “soared” to 395 ppm (0.0395% of Earth’s atmosphere). True scientists increasingly recognize solar and other complex, interconnected natural forces as the primary drivers of Earth’s ever changing and unpredictable weather and climate. 

These inconvenient truths have apparently had no effect on Administration thinking. Perhaps rising indoor CO2 emissions from larger EPA and White House staffs have “weirded” their thinking. The EPA’s yellow brick road to Eco-Utopia is not one our nation should travel. It will not take us to an economic recovery, more jobs, a cleaner environment, or improved human safety, health and welfare. 

Nothing in the Clean Air Act says EPA needs to promulgate these rules. But nothing says it can’t do so. It’s largely discretionary, and this Administration is determined to “interpret” the science and use its executive authority to restrict and penalize hydrocarbon use – and “fundamentally transform” America. 

EPA administrator nominee Gina McCarthy says EPA will “consider” industry and other suggestions that it revise greenhouse gas and other proposed rules. However, neither she nor the President has said they will modify or moderate any policies or proposals, or retreat from their climate change agenda. 

We are desperately in need of science-based legislative standards, commonsense regulatory actions, and adult supervision by Congress and the courts. Unfortunately, that is not likely to be forthcoming anytime soon, and neither Republican Senators nor the House of Representatives seem to have the power, attention span or spine to do what is necessary. Where this all will end is therefore anyone’s guess. 

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ready, Aim Fire

There’s a news article by Mark Sappenfield shown on the Yahoo news page, originally posted to the Christian Science Monitor, regarding a police officer who was fired from his department for bringing targets that looked like Trayvon Martin to the pistol range.  According to the latest version of the story the targets were intended to be used for “no-shoot training aids”.

“Now, the officer has responded in an online video, suggesting that he brought the pictures as a “no-shoot training aid,” and that he might be a pawn in a broader conspiracy to bring down the chief of the Port Canaveral Police Department.”

If the target had the name Trayvon Martin printed on the hoodie or perhaps an exact likeness of his face then perhaps the department can make a case against the officer.  That said; what about Homeland Security ordering “non traditional threat” targets of pregnant women, old retired men with shot guns and other civilian settings which are to be used in training police officers to shoot their fellow citizens?

Should we fire anyone with Homeland Security associated with the purchase of “non traditional threat” targets on the basis their presence is politically incorrect, just as the Port Canaveral Police Department believes a target of an individual resembling Trayvon Martin is a rather poor choice and shows a lack of common sense?  Just wondering?

Would anyone be offended if folks started using targets that resembled, let say, Janet Napolitano at the local pistol range?  Would a team of FBI agents show up at your door to haul you away or would the secret police squad from Homeland Security handle that?

I remember a scene from an old Jack Lemon movie, How to Murder Your Wife; the scene where Lemon’s character, acting as his own defense attorney draws a chalk dot on the railing and suggests to his hen pecked friend, “All you have to do is push that button…nobody will know it was you that pushed the button…”

Would anyone really use a target of Janet Napolitano at the pistol range, or substitute some other notable figure.  Just putting the thought down in writing will set off alarms in that fancy new information gathering unit out in the desert.  Is that a helicopter hovering over my house and would somebody see whose at the door pounding away.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Greedy green land grabbers

“Clean Development Mechanism” schemes drive out African villagers for “carbon offset” profits
By Ron Arnold
On Sunday, February 28, 2010, armed troops evicted villagers in Uganda’s Mubende district, to make way for a tree plantation. The troops were acting on behalf of a British forestry company that claims it fights global warming. The trees will supposedly absorb carbon dioxide, so that carbon-credits can be sold to transnational polluters, to stave off “dangerous manmade climate change and disruption.”
Long-time villagers in thriving communities were beaten by gun-toting soldiers who burned homes, destroyed crops and butchered livestock. Eight-year-old Friday Mukamperezida was sick in bed at home and was burned to death, while his mother was out getting medicine for the boy. Olivia Mukamperezida, the mother, was on her errand when she ran into friends who frantically told her to get home fast. When she got there, the house was sputtering to ashes. “I just cried,” she told a reporter. She buried her son’s bones, but isn’t sure if the grave is still there, now that the forest company planted its trees.
These are among the charges contained in a civil suit filed by 1,489 Mubende claimants in the High Court of Uganda at Nakawa. A report by the British group Oxfam corroborates the claims. The New York Times and other media outlets reported the story. 
New Forests Company, the London-based carbon credit seller, denies the claims and says the settlers living in its leased land in the Namwasa and Luwunga Forest Reserves were illegally trespassing transients, who left in a “peaceful” and “voluntary” manner. In 2005, the government of Uganda had granted NFC a 50-year license to grow pine and eucalyptus forests – non-native, water-hungry, invasive species – in three districts of one of the world’s poorest nations, which desperately needs the fees and taxes.
NFC has attracted investment from international banks and private equity funds since 2008. The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU’s financing institution, has loaned NFC five million Euros ($6.5 million) to expand one of its Ugandan plantations. Oxfam assessed NFC with puzzlement:
“It has economic power, professional expertise, and close political support. It has a hands-on chief executive with local knowledge and ethical credentials. The company and its investors have clear environmental and social standards they commit to uphold, and corporate social responsibility and accountability principles are embedded at the heart of its operations.
“Given all this, how is it possible that thousands of people in affected communities have alleged that land clearances, which have taken place to make way for NFC’s operations in Uganda, have been accompanied by distress and violence, and have left many in a state of poverty?”
NFC posted its response to Oxfam, arguing that the encroachers are “illegally occupying land leased to an independent third party, NFC.” It relies upon an “extensive and exhaustive government-driven authentication process,” which it says confirmed that only 31 families on the Namwasa Reserve, and none in the Luwunga reserve, had legal rights to remain on the land. It insists that it is respecting the rights of these families and that dealing with “illegal” settlers is solely at the discretion of the NFC, which regards the thousands of others who were living on the land as “illegal encroachers” who do not have a legitimate claim to compensation.
The evictions were legal, within the letter of the law, NFC maintains. However, the villagers had won a temporary injunction in 2009, ordering the evictions stopped, though they were given a deadline to vacate company premises under police surveillance. The deadline was February 28, 2010, and NFC enforced it immediately. The horrifying events of that day became part of court filings seeking compensation.
New Forests operates projects in Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Rwanda, where its combined deals total around 222,000 acres. In its defense, it said it runs education, health and income-generating programs with local communities. In Uganda, it says, it has built school rooms, health clinics, wells and latrines, and runs literacy programs, while out-sourcing some tasks to local businesses.
I asked my young Ugandan friend, Steven Lyasi, to see what he could find out locally. He sent a mountain of news clips showing that New Forests Company enjoys an excellent reputation with the national government, in media and environmental circles, and is backed by deep-pocket investors, including the World Bank. It wants to tap an emerging multibillion-dollar market trading carbon-credits under the Kyoto Protocol and its successors. Some of Al Gore’s millions came from that Enron-like paper “market.” The company says it could earn up to $1.8 million a year.

The Uganda government issued a rebuttal of the Oxfam report, Clarification by Govt of Uganda Regarding the Case Study by OXFAM.

All this is legal, but is it right? Absolutely not, says a growing body of professionals who blame corrupt climate science, avaricious profit seekers, and a soul-less, pitiless bureaucratic machine.
British geographer David Harvey calls the process “accumulation by dispossession,” the result of a Kyoto Protocol program called the “Clean Development Mechanism.” The CDM provides for emissions reduction projects that generate “Certified Emission Reduction” units (CERs), which may be marketed in government-approved emission trading schemes – based on the increasingly dubious assumption that CO2 causes runaway global warming. The CDM legalizes the purchase of CERS by industrialized countries and allows companies to invest in emission reduction projects that are cheapest globally.
But they are cheapest only for the investors and their operations. For the people who live on the land they covet, the price is everything they own and possess. In the private sector this would be called a Ponzi scheme. In government circles it’s called saving the planet. The new critics call it “Green Grabbing.”
This hideous new imperialism has become a global ignominy that thankfully is now being tracked by professionals, who evaluated it last year in the British peer-reviewed Journal of Peasant Studies.
A special issue, “Green Grabbing: A new appropriation of nature?” revealed some of the forces behind green land grabs like those in Uganda. “Things green have become big business.” They require “the construction and perpetuation of a sense of crisis,” the analysts explain. “There would be no carbon-trading without the science-policy discourses that have discerned global warming.”
As the New York Times reported, “Development experts say there is a dark side to some ostensibly ‘green’ market initiatives: the appropriation of resources for biofuels production, carbon offsets, ecotourism and so on can have devastating consequences for local people.”

Melissa Leach, director of Britain’s Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability Center, is one of the three authors of the special issue. She wrote “Green grabbing: the dark side of a green economy,” posted by the Green Economy Coalition. “We are seeing a new kind of colonization,” said Leach. “Small farms and villages that have thrived alongside nature are being replaced by a landscape of grabbed concessions, while people, if they have any rights at all, are being reduced to laborers in ecosystems in which they no longer have any stake.” Or any rights to justice or due process.

She points out how this vulture environmentalism is victimizing developing countries: “Green grabbing involves novel forms of valuation, commodification and markets for pieces and aspects of nature, and an extraordinary new range of actors and alliances. Pension funds and venture capitalists, commodity traders and consultants, GIS service providers and business entrepreneurs, ecotourism companies and the military, green activists and anxious consumers, among others, find once-unlikely common interests.”

Green grabbing is simple greed – rabid, self-righteous green greed. Where’s the justice in that, and why is it immune to the rigid regulation that governments force upon industry and common stock traders? What happened to the environmental credo of making industries pay for all the costs they impose on others?

And yes, Leach said even the military. In Guatemala, she noted, the government has authorized turning the Maya Biosphere Reserve into a “Maya-themed vacationland,” which, she wrote, “will generate ecotourism profits, while conveniently assisting the government's war on drugs and counter-insurgency. In the process, people are being violently excluded.”

I have been to Tikal, where Guatemalan soldiers stopped our expedition bus at the entrance gate, to interrogate each visitor – and sell us little US$10.00 English-language tourist guides, which everyone was prudent enough to purchase.

So not all green grabbing is about “global warming control” – just enough to highlight the perfidy of the whole concept. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels climbed steadily for the past 17 years, but planetary temperatures did not budge. That is sending carbon traders into full panic mode. Billions in paper climate credit fortunes stand to evaporate like Enron stock shares, if the CO2-temperature disconnect continues.
So we get panicky movies, like the current flop “Greedy Lying Bastards,” diverting attention from inconvenient facts and attacking climate change “deniers.” Well, who are the real greedy lying bastards?
I nominate the Greedy Green Land Grabbers.
Examiner columnist Ron Arnold is executive VP of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. Portions of this article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner and are used by permission.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Cut fingers, cancer, bats and birds

Government bureaucrats delay life-saving road projects, but let wind turbines butcher bats

By Paul Driessen and James H. Rust

Georgia residents recently learned that a rare bat has stalled state highway improvements. The May 2012 sighting of an endangered Indiana brown bat in a northern Georgia tree has triggered federal regulations requiring that state road projects not “harm, kill or harass” bats. 

Even the possibility of disturbing bats or their habitats would violate the act, the feds say. Therefore, $460 million in Georgia road projects have been delayed for up to eighteen months, so that “appropriate studies” can be conducted. The studies will cost $80,000 to $120,000 per project, bringing the total for all 104 road project analyses to $8-12 million, with delays adding millions more.

Bats are vital to our ecology, agriculture and health. A single colony of 150 big brown bats can consume up to 1.3 million flying insect pests per year, Dr. Justin Boyles and other scientists point out, preventing crop damage and eradicating countless mosquitoes. If Indiana bats are expanding their range from Tennessee into Georgia, that could be good news.

“White nose syndrome” is impacting populations of hibernating bats in caves all over the Eastern USA. The infectious disease is probably fungal in origin, these scientists say, and the loss of North America’s bats to WNS could cost farmers $4-53 billion per year – and let mosquitoes proliferate.

At first blush, then, the delay-and-study decision by the US and Georgia Departments of Transportation (DOT) and US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect these voracious furry flyers makes sense. (The FWS enforces the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and similar laws.)

However, the Georgia bat study action is akin to obsessing about a cut finger, while ignoring cancer. The schizophrenic decision underscores how environmental concerns, DOT actions and federal threats to impose penalties or withhold highway funds too often seem to reflect ideologies, agendas and politics, rather than science or actual risks of harming a species.

It’s true that Peach State highway projects could conceivably affect bat colonies or daytime rest periods for these nocturnal creatures, to some small degree. But the road work will reduce accidents and crash-related deaths – and delays will likely result in more injuries and fatalities.

Meanwhile, other human activities are decimating bat populations all over America. But environmental groups remain silent, and state and federal wildlife “guardians” do little to stop the carnage. How is that possible?

The exempted activities involve heavily subsidized wind turbines that generate expensive, intermittent electricity and require “backup” hydrocarbon-fueled power plants for some 80% of their rated or “nameplate” capacity.

A US Geological Survey report investigated the causes and consequences of bat fatalities around the world. Other analyses have addressed the violent effects that wind turbines have on bats, which are vulnerable because turbines are especially busy at night, when bats are everywhere but electricity demand is at its lowest. Bats are struck by blades traveling 100-200 mph at their tips or felled by “barotrauma,” sudden air pressure changes that explode their lungs, as explained in a 2008 Scientific American article “On a wing and low air: The surprising way wind turbines kill bats.”

Supposedly “eco-friendly” wind turbines in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands kill tens of thousands of bats annually. The Fowler Ridge and Meadow Lake facilities in northwestern Indiana already have 475 gigantic turbines on 75,000 acres; an additional 150 wind turbines are planned; and all are in the middle of prime Indiana bat habitat.

Even worse, long after the slaughter began, the USFWS is evaluating whether to grant Fowler Ridge a 22-year “incidental take” permit, so that the turbines can continue decimating bats – and the operators can continue being exempted from laws and penalties that apply to everyone else.

Of course, bats aren’t the only victims. Numerous rare, vital and endangered bird species are also at risk from wind turbines – including whooping cranes, hawks, falcons, and bald and golden eagles.

To minimize public outrage over the eco-slaughter, Fish and Wildlife has changed its census methods for “whoopers” (to make it harder to calculate how many cranes have “gone missing” along their turbine-dotted Alberta-to-Texas migratory corridor); allows wind facility operators to use search methods that ensure that most dead and injured birds (and bats) will never be found; initiated a process to issue 30-year “incidental take” permits for killing bald and golden eagles; and refused to prosecute wind facility operators for annihilating birds and bats.

The proposed New Era Wind Farm in Minnesota will likely kill 8-14 bald eagles annually. It is yet another example of serious environmental impacts overlooked in the quest to “go green” and meet state “renewable” energy mandates – as though this wildlife destruction is “sustainable” or “acceptable.”

Projects like New Era or Shepherds Flat in Oregon also mean a person could be fined or jailed for possessing a feather from a bald eagle decapitated by a wind turbine – but the turbine operator would get off scot free.

A 2012 Spanish Ornithological Society study and 1993 studies in Germany and Sweden found that a typical wind turbine kills 333-1,000 birds and bats annually in Spain, up to 309 birds per year in Germany, and as many as 895 birds and bats in Sweden. World Council for Nature chairman Mark Duchamp estimates that turbines kill twice as many bats as birds. That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!

And yet, most environmentalist groups say nothing, and the Fish and Wildlife Service does nothing.

However, Georgia taxpayers must pay millions for bat studies – enriching researchers and reducing taxpayer wealth – to ensure that road projects do not disturb the flying mammals. Meanwhile, the state’s drivers and passengers must wait years for safety and other improvements to their highways.

Ironically, Indiana bats that are to be studied and protected in Georgia could get chopped in half en route by “Cuisinarts of the air” that Uncle Sam considers so holy the turbines must be safeguarded against endangered species laws, regardless of environmental costs. 

Far too many other health, environmental and economic impacts are routinely ignored by developers and regulators alike, where wind turbines are concerned. That cannot continue.

As summer approaches, Americans should also consider what life will be like when windmills cause bat populations to crater. Freed of their natural predators, mosquitoes will thrive, and they have a much more unquenchable thirst for human blood than do bats of folklore and Dracula tales.

It’s high time that people’s safety – and truly devastating impacts on important bird and bat species – stopped taking a back seat to political agendas, crony corporatism and folklore environmentalism. It’s no longer acceptable to paraphrase Joseph Stalin’s obscene axiom, and say: A single bird or bat death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.


Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death. James Rust is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute (, retired professor of nuclear engineering, and outspoken critic of unnecessary alarmism over “dangerous manmade global warming.”

This article has been re-posted with permission