Doing Something For The Average American

One America News Network is reporting today that President Trump is considering shortening the amount of time it takes for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve a project.

The article reports:

The plan would roll back regulations that slow down projects, and streamline construction approval and the permit process.

The goal would bring the timeline from as long as 10 years down to two.

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the administration’s infrastructure task force has already identified dozens of proposals to reduce time delays and cost.

This is something that would boost the economy, create jobs, and make everyone’s life a little easier. The approval process has been used as a pocket veto to prevent people from building houses, shopping malls, pipelines, etc. It would be a good idea to streamline the process and force the EPA to make a decision within two years.

But They Didn’t Mean To Break The Law…

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its compliance with the laws concerning archiving federal documents.

The article reports:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials only archived 86 text messages out of 3.1 million agency employees sent and received in 2015, according to a federal watchdog’s report made public Wednesday by House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith.

The EPA Office of Inspector General (IG) released the report requested by the Texas Republican, which described enormous text message retention problems within the EPA. One unnamed senior official configured his phone to automatically delete texts after 30 days.

Obviously this sort of behavior makes transparency in government a joke.

The article further reports:

The IG claimed EPA officials never “intentionally” violated the Federal Records Act and did not include the low number of archived texts in the body of its report, relaying it instead to congressional staff.

Multiple federal laws and regulations require that officials preserve all documents — including email and text messages — created in the course of conducting official business of the U.S. government.

This is not acceptable behavior. This is one reason Donald Trump was elected–Americans expect him to drain the swamp that Washington, D.C. has become. President Obama promised a transparent administration. He has given us anything but.

How Much Does It Cost?

The one thing that the Obama Administration should be famous for is the amount of regulations imposed on the American people through the Executive Branch of government–not through Congress, the body that is supposed to make laws–but through the Executive Branch. There is a cost on these regulations. The Washington Examiner posted a story today detailing that cost.

The article includes the following chart:

costofregulatoinsThe article reports:

The new high in regulatory costs, said Batkins (AAF’s Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the watchdog group), came after new fuel standards for trucks were implemented.

His study goes back to 2005, when George W. Bush was president, and said that Obama is responsible for about three-quarters of the added regulatory costs.

“The Obama Administration surpassed 500 major regulations last summer, imposing $625 billion in cumulative costs. Earlier this year, regulators published the administration’s 600th major rule, increasing burdens to $743 billion. Now, thanks to data from the last term of the Bush Administration and another billion-dollar rule from EPA, the regulatory tally has surpassed $1 trillion. These figures are direct estimates from federal regulators, but it will take more than an effort from these regulators to amend hundreds of major regulations. Congress, the next president, and even the courts must participate in the next generation of regulatory modernization,” he reported.

The reason that Congress is charged with making laws is that they are accountable to the voters. The Executive Branch (other than the President) is not elected and cannot be held accountable to the voters. However, as illustrated by November’s election, the voters do have a certain amount of power in terms of who controls the Executive Branch. Hopefully the Inauguration of Donald Trump will signal the end of over-regulation in America at least temporarily.

I’m From The Government And I’m Here To Help

“I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Those words should strike fear in the hearts of every American. As Milton Friedman one stated, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” Someone equally knowledgeable in the ways of government amended that statement slightly–“Yes, but if you put Congress in charge from the start, they would start a federal sand reserve to store up most of the sand from the very beginning. Then the sand shortage would start in one year, but when glassmakers needed more, they could dole out the stored sand to their political contributors and claim they did it to ‘keep prices down’.”

Obviously, either way there is a problem. Where am I going with this? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just declared war on most of the cars in America. On Tuesday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the latest move by the EPA.

The editorial explains:

The EPA’s proposal to increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline is a trifecta of regulatory abuse. It will do nothing for the environment, it will do nothing for energy security, and it could wreck millions of car engines.

…The EPA’s proposal would require refineries to blend in almost 19 billion gallons of ethanol and other “biofuels” by 2017, which is 700,000 gallons more than they do now.

But there’s a problem. Americans aren’t consuming enough gasoline. In fact, consumption this year is well below the 2007 forecast, both because cars are more efficient and because people are driving less than expected.

So, if oil refiners are to pump 19 billion gallons of ethanol into their gasoline supplies, they won’t be able to keep ethanol ratio below 10%.

 Why does that matter? Because ethanol is corrosive and can degrade plastic, rubber and metal parts. And the more ethanol in gasoline, the most likely this damage will occur. So going above 10% can wreak havoc with car engines — as well as those in motorcycles, lawnmowers, power boats, you name it — that aren’t built to handle the higher ethanol levels.

The first thing to consider here is that the EPA is not legally entitled to make laws–only Congress can do that. The EPA is not elected and is therefore not accountable to the voters–therefore they do not have the right to enact laws.

The article also points out that increased use of ethanol drives up food prices, which actually hurts the poor. So why in the world isn’t Congress fighting back? If you were running for office in a farm state, would you want to tell the farmers in that state that the price of corn will be going down because ethanol has not been the wonderful thing you thought it was?

The editorial concludes:

So why is the EPA pushing ethanol? Does it help fight global warming? Does it help cities fight smog? Does it help the U.S. become more energy independent?

The answer is: None of the above.

A 2011 study by the National Research Council found that ethanol use could boost overall CO2 emissions. An earlier study published in Science also found that, when you consider the impact of converting forests and grasslands to cornfields, ethanol sharply increases carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, a 2007 study by a Stanford University environmental engineer found that increasing ethanol levels in gasoline can lead to more smog.

The idea that we need ethanol to become energy independent might have made sense in 2007. But the fracking boom since then has unleashed massive new domestic supplies of oil and natural gas, rendering this argument entirely moot.

Here’s an idea. Rather than requiring oil refiners to pump more of this dirty and expensive fuel into gasoline supplies, the federal government should abandon the ethanol requirement altogether.

Big Corn might not like it, but millions of car owners will be grateful.

When the government gets involved in what should be the free market, bad things happen.

The Mess In Washington And Some Suggested Solutions

Today’s Washington Examiner posted an article about the eight worst federal agencies in Washington and how they could be fixed.

Here are some of the highlights. The article begins with the Department of Education. It has a 2016 budget of $79 billion. About 6 percent (250) of its employees are considered essential. It has existed for 36 years.

The article states:

McCluskey (Neal McCluskey, who directs the Center for Educational Freedom at the libertarian Cato Institute) said only two Department of Education activities can be justified: the Office for Civil Rights, to enforce the 14th Amendment, and Impact Aid, which gives federal funds to school districts that are burdened by nearby federal installations such as military bases or large science labs. Even then, the department doesn’t perform those two activities particularly well, McCluskey said, but at least they’re justifiable.

In the ideal world, McCluskey would simply get rid of the department. “What the federal government does in education, largely through the Department of Education, is unconstitutional. As important, we don’t have evidence it’s really helping. So why should it continue to do any of this?”

The next department the article lists is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has a 2016 budget of $8.14. About 7 percent (1072) of its employees are considered essential. It began operating in December 1970.

The article reports:

Ozone rules, the EPA’s new regulations for smog, also are a captivating force for lawyers looking to sue the agency. Greens are suing the agency because the regulations made law last year were not strict enough. Hailed as the most expensive regulations in history, industry is suing because they argue they are too strict. As a twist, industry groups have come to the EPA’s aid in the lawsuit by the greens.

Tom Pyle, director of the conservative American Energy Alliance, says in addition to the EPA’s far-reaching regulations that need to be reined in, “the whole agency needs to be reorganized.”

For example, his group has proposed a host of streamlining proposals in recent years targeting the National Environmental Policy Act review process, known as NEPA.

The NEPA review process has become a key target for critics who see it as an overly burdensome and duplicative process for permitting energy and infrastructure projects.

Another agency the article lists that are in need of reform is the Department of Health and Human Services. Payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers are not carefully scrutinized and fraud is a problem. Another issue in the Department is the Food and Drug Administration’s lack of speed in bringing new drugs to the market.

Other agencies listed are the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Personnel Management, the Secret Service, the State Department, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

Please follow the link to the article to read the details in each department. We need someone in Washington who is not afraid to upset the status quo.

This Sounds Vaguely Familiar

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has lost text messages sent to and from the phone belonging to agency chief Gina McCarthy and former chief Lisa Jackson.

The article reports:

Justice Department lawyers said they will soon be telling a federal judge the EPA misplaced text messages sent to and from the phone belonging to agency chief Gina McCarthy and former chief Lisa Jackson.

“Defendant has decided to formally notify the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about the potential loss of federal records relating to text messages,” DOJ lawyers admitted.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank, has been pursuing EPA text messages since last year, after McCarthy was confirmed by the Senate to head up the EPA. CEI filed a case in 2013 to prevent the EPA from destroying agency text messages, a practice the think tank says it discovered through other government records requests.

It seems as if the EPA is taking lessons on computer technology from the IRS.

If someone doesn’t rein in the Executive Branch of our government soon, our representative republic will not survive. We need to elect a Congress that has the maturity to hold the Obama Administration’s feet to the fire. The Founding Fathers set up a system of checks and balances for a reason–it is up to Congress, the Judiciary, and the Executive Branches to maintain that balance. When one branch oversteps its boundaries, the other branches should step in and restore the balance. It is time to elect a Congress that will do that.

How Many ‘Isolated Incidents’ Does It Take To Form A Pattern?

The Blaze is reporting today that another government agency has lost certain emails that Congress is seeking. There seems to be an epidemic of ‘the dog ate my homework’ in Washington. The epidemic needs to stop–NOW!

The article reports:

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) that the EPA is still wrestling with how to recover emails from a former EPA official based in Alaska, who was involved in decision to block a proposed mining operation. Meadows pressed McCarthy on how progress was coming along, and McCarthy admitted there are problems.

“I don’t believe this is a missing hard drive issue. There’s a challenge getting access to the data,” she said. ”We’re increasingly getting information in different ways and we’re taking a look at it.”

McCarthy never attributed it to a computer crash, like the IRS did in the case of Lois Lerner. Instead, she said it’s a problem that involves multiple failures.

…When Meadows asked if the EPA has told the National Archives, McCarthy said the EPA did take that step.

“When did you do that?” he asked.

“Yesterday,” McCarthy said.

When did America become a banana republic? Where is the accountability? Is Congress even aware that they are being totally dissed and their oversight committees mocked? This has got to stop.

When The Science Doesn’t Agree With The Politics

Associated Press posted a story today about a recent government study about the use of biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants. The study showed that these biofuels release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with gasoline.

The article reports:

While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won’t meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

Note–the “cellulosic biofuels have received more than a billion dollars in federal support.” That is obscene. America would have a better chance of finding alternative fuels if we allowed private industries to develop them and make a profit from the research.

The article concludes:

Still, corn residue is likely to be a big source early on for cellulosic biofuels, which have struggled to reach commercial scale. Last year, for the fifth time, the EPA proposed reducing the amount required by law. It set a target of 17 million gallons for 2014. The law envisioned 1.75 billion gallons being produced this year.

“The study says it will be very hard to make a biofuel that has a better greenhouse gas impact than gasoline using corn residue,” which puts it in the same boat as corn-based ethanol, said David Tilman, a professor at the University of Minnesota who has done research on biofuels’ emissions from the farm to the tailpipe.

Tilman said it was the best study on the issue he has seen so far.

Alternate fuels are somewhere in our future, but they are not currently ready for prime time. It’s time to get the government out of the energy business, build the Keystone Pipeline and get on with it.

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Out Of Control???

Yesterday the Western Center For Journalism posted an article about a recent decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The article reports:

In an outrageous decision recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency, the West River Indian Reservation now has ownership of an entire Wyoming town. Along with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice, the EPA decided to give the town of Riverton to the tribe, obviously upsetting those who call the community home.

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead responded to the brewing controversy with a resolute stance against the government intrusion.

…The 10,000 residents of Riverton are now technically under the control of the tribe, not the U.S. government. This not only makes residents responsible for any taxes or regulations tribal leaders decide to impose, it disqualifies them from state resources.

When did we become a banana republic? I hope that the State of Wyoming is successful in fighting this ruling. If it is not, there is no limit to what the government can arbitrarily do to its citizens.
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The Cost Of A Scientific Hoax

I guess I am a global-warming denier. I am convinced that climate change is an ongoing thing that is not necessarily related to man’s activity. I really don’t think we are important enough to have a major impact on the climate of the earth. However, I do support clean air, clean water, and recycling. I just don’t support global warming as an excuse to make everyone (except the people who profit from it financially) miserable. Well, that is happening again.

Investor’s Business Daily reported today that the price of electricity is soaring due to government regulation.

The article reports:

In November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ Electricity Price Index hit 202.284, an all-time record and nearly 20% higher than just six years ago.

This might strike some as strange, given the private-sector shale-fracking boom going on in the Midwest, Northeast and Texas, which has led to soaring new domestic supplies of natural gas and oil.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as recently as 2008 the U.S. produced 2.1 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. Today, it’s 12.3 billion cubic feet and growing fast — truly astounding growth.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is on the verge of producing more oil than it ever has, and domestic sources now outstrip foreign ones. Thanks to fracking, more’s on the way.

But as energy booms, electricity prices are going up.

…Electricity is now one of the most regulated goods in the U.S. Thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency’s sweeping powers to regulate C02 — a power we can’t find anywhere in the Constitution — electricity is becoming a very expensive commodity.

And it’s about to get even more so. According to the Institute for Energy Research, EPA rules put in place to please environmentalists will remove 34,705 megawatts of coal-based energy capacity off our market.

Think about it: That’s equal to about 10% of what we now produce with coal being removed from the grid.

The new regulations are forcing coal plants to close and be replaced with less efficient and less reliable green energy–wind and solar–that are more expensive to generate. The increased cost is then passed on to the consumer–us. As the Obama Administration forces Americans down the path of green energy, our European neighbors are abandoning that path due to unreliable energy and the cost of green energy. Unfortunately, it may take us a while to learn that lesson.

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When Your Lobbyists Just Don’t Do Their Job

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday about a change in the United States renewable fuel policy.

The article reports:

But the EPA officially proposed cutting the renewable fuel target for 2014 to 15.21 billion gallons — down from 16.65 billion gallons this year and a scheduled 18.21 billion gallons for next year.

…”It clearly caught folks by surprise,” said Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association.

The biofuel industry felt it didn’t have to worry about the White House, sensing it had several key allies in the Obama administration.

The Obama Administration doesn’t even seem to be consistent in its cronyism. They have alienated their friends and their foes on numerous occasions. The EPA justified the decrease by saying that the demand for gasoline is lower because cars are becoming more efficient.

Ethanol has resulted in higher food prices around the world, damage to boat engines, more expensive gasoline, and higher environmental damage in its refining. This is not a product we want to see more of. Carbon-based fuels do work better, and America is beginning to use its own carbon-based resources.

 

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The ObamaAdministration’s War On Coal Continues

CBN News is reporting today that thousands of America‘s coal workers gathered in Washington, D.C., yesterday to protest new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations that will shut down the coal industry in America.

The article reports:

Coal worker Jim Dailer of Wheeling, W.Va., complained, “They’ve tightened down regulation after regulation down through the years and ended up with putting us out of business pretty much.”
 
More than 200 coal-fired plants have already announced they’re closing.  Dailer said it will be some 350 by the end of next year. 
 
These coal miners, workers and officials rallied on Capitol Hill because only Congress or the courts can stop the EPA.
 
“What we’re trying to do is reach the hearts and minds of the people who are in those halls in front of me,” Horton said as he looked up at the Capitol building.  “To get them to understand that coal is much more than an energy source.  It’s people.”

Just for the record, I am not in favor of air pollution–but I do believe that the government is quite capable of over-regulating. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2012 coal provided 37 percent of the electricity generated in America. At the present time, there is not a reliable ‘green’ source of energy to replace that power. Until the ‘green’ energy industry is more reliable and more economical, we need to leave our coal plants open.

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The Environmental Protection Agency vs American Energy Independence

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not limited by scientific facts–they have an agenda to limit American energy production and they refuse to let facts get in the way of that agenda. A recent article at Investor’s Business Daily clearly illustrates that fact.

The article reports on the EPA’s study that attempted to link fracking to contaminated water in Pavillion, Wyoming:

In 2011, the EPA released the non-peer reviewed report on Pavillion in which the agency publicly linked fracking and groundwater contamination for the first time. However, then-EPA administrator Lisa Jackson stated that there is “no proven case where the fracking process itself has affected water.”

The article further reports:

First, the contamination was found in two “monitoring wells” drilled by EPA outside of town, not in water wells that actually supply residents their water. EPA use of “dense soda ash” to drill its monitoring wells into a hydrocarbon-bearing layer probably skewed the results.

According to the industry research group Energy in Depth, “dense soda ash has a recorded pH (11.5), very similar to the level found in the deep wells, creating the possibility that the high pH recorded by EPA could have been caused by the very chemicals it used to drill its own wells.”

What the EPA report doesn’t say is that the U.S. Geological Survey has detected organic chemicals in the well water in Pavillion for at least five decades, long before fracking was done. The deepwater wells that EPA drilled are situated near a natural gas reservoir.

The scientific method used in this study wouldn’t pass the scrutiny of a high school science student.

Oddly enough, the EPA has decided not to subject their study of the negative impact of fracking to a review by the scientific community.

Yesterday Hot Air reported:

Erika and I have been covering the Environmental Protection Agency’s, shall we say, “complicated” relationship with the truth under the Obama administration for some time now. One of the many tales coming out of that department was being featured as recently as Thursday, dealing with the widely panned study in Wyoming which finally sought to tie fracking (hydraulic fracturing) to ground water contamination. The study was due for scientific peer review, attempting to determine if the chemicals found in well water were truly the result of fracking in the area, but somehow the process kept getting delayed, over and over for a year and a half.

At long last the wait is over. As Investors Business Daily reports, the EPA has found a solution which will surely satisfy everyone. They just won’t do it.

The article at Investor’s Business Daily goes on to mention the links between OPEC and the recent anti-fracking film “Promised Land.” We need to keep in mind the earthquake that American energy independence would be to the politics of international relations. American energy independence would also give us the freedom to refuse to support those Middle Eastern governments that are not democracies and have no intention of granting freedom to their citizens. Obviously, OPEC is very threatened by that possibility. The best thing America could do right now to promote our own economic growth and to promote freedom around the world would be to become energy independent and to stop funding oil-rich countries that hate us and deny freedom to their citizens.

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Imaginary Employees At The Environmental Protection Agency

I knew the federal government was out of control, but I didn’t realize that had taken to acquiring imaginary employees. The Washington Times reported yesterday that Richard Windsor, a fictional name used by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson on an email account in order to avoid Congressional scrutiny, was actually listed as an employee of the EPA. Mr. Windsor took the required agency computer training and was awarded the appropriate certificates stating that he had completed the training.

The article reports:

Windsor was also awarded the “scholar of ethical behavior” each year from 2010 through 2012. The only training Ms. Jackson appears to have done under her own name was for cybersecurity awareness in 2010.

“At least her alter ego was up on the law and ethics of federal record-keeping,” said Christopher Horner, the researcher and senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who made the open-records request that pushed EPA to release the certificates.

Mr. Horner first revealed the existence of the alternate addresses last year in his book “The Liberal War on Transparency,” and since then has pushed for more disclosure about the practice.

I have no comment.

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When Bureaucracies Act Like Squabbling Children

Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has charged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the Buy America Act that was part of the Recovery Act. This is bureaucracy at its worst.

The article reports:

In March 2011, the OIG inspected the wastewater plant in Ottawa, Ill., and determined several European and Korean-made parts didn’t satisfy the Buy America Act that requires parts to be purchased or “substantially transformed” in the U.S.

The EPA for the past two years has refused to either eliminate the rule or return the stimulus funds spent on the foreign equipment, saying the purchase didn’t violate its own rules.

“In the event that the region decides to retain foreign-manufactured goods in the Ottawa project… the region should either ‘reduce the amount of the award by the cost of the steel, iron, or manufactured goods that are used in the project or . . . take enforcement or  termination action in accordance with the agency’s grants management regulations,’ the OIG said. “Neither the region nor the city agreed with our conclusion that the documentation was not sufficient to support Buy American compliance for some items.”

How many man hours did it take to reach this conclusion, how many more man hours will be spent on this before it is resolved, and what difference does it make? How about a law that says you buy the best quality for the lowest price? Wouldn’t that save taxpayers money which would put more money in taxpayers’ pockets that the taxpayers could spend to stimulate the economy?

The article further reports:

The EPA instead blamed its Office of Water for establishing a flimsy test for whether products met the Buy America act. The agency admitted the rule isn’t a good test, but described it as “inartful” rather than wrong.

To me that sounds like a teenager explaining why it was okay to stay out past curfew!

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EPA Transparency

Yesterday the Washington Times posted an article stating that the House of Representatives science committee has asked EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to turn over all information related to an email account under the name of “Richard Windsor.” The charge is that Ms. Jackson used an email alias to try to hide correspondence from open-government requests and her agency’s own internal watchdog.

The article reports:

The researcher who uncovered the “Richard Windsor” alias email, Christopher Horner, has repeatedly battled the administration over its global warming efforts.

Earlier this year he his colleagues at the Competitive Enterprise Institute sued to demand the release of emails from “secondary” accounts from EPA, and cited a memo saying the practice began during the Clinton administration under then-administrator Carol Browner.

Mr. Horner uncovered the existence of the secret emails while researching a book, “The Liberal War on Transparency,” published last month. Mr. Horner said after the book came out, two former EPA officials told him about the “Richard Windsor” email and said it was “one of the alternate email addresses she used.”

Using an alternate email address is contrary to the federal open-records laws. These laws are designed to make information available in the present time and in the future for the National Archives.

The article points out:

There are strict rules on the use of email addresses, and the rules prohibit using private emails to try to circumvent open-records laws.

There are differing opinions as to whether or not global warming is being confused with normal global climate cycles. The emails of the EPA regarding global warming should be part of the public record.

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This Might Explain The President’s Energy Policy

President Obama has been in office for more than three years now. One of the things that will be a problem for him in the coming election is the high price of gas at the pump. The President is threatening to take away the tax deductions from oil companies that all other businesses have–singling them out for higher taxes. That will further increase the price of gas at the pump. A video has surfaced recently that might explain some of these actions.

Yesterday CNS News reported that in 2010 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz stating that the “general philosophy” of the EPA is to  “crucify” and “make examples” of oil and gas companies. And we wonder why we haven’t made serious progress in the area of energy independence.

The article reports:

Soon after Armendariz touted the EPA’s “philosophy,” the EPA began smear campaigns against natural gas producers, Inhofe’s office noted in advance of today’s Senate speech:

“Not long after Administrator Armendariz made these comments in 2010, EPA targeted US natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming.

“In all three of these cases, EPA initially made headline-grabbing statements either insinuating or proclaiming outright that the use of hydraulic fracturing by American energy producers was the cause of water contamination, but in each case their comments were premature at best – and despite their most valiant efforts, they have been unable to find any sound scientific evidence to make this link.”

This is the link to the YouTube clip of Administrator Armendariz’ statement. Here is the video clip: 

If we want to be energy independence, we need new leadership.

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Don’t Mess With Texas

In June 2011 I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) about the Environmental Protection Agency’s war of Texas.

The article reported:

In January 2010, the EPA decided that the Texas air-permit program was invalid and every facility in the state operating under that permit would have to be re-permitted.  The argument was that Texas was measuring the pollution from the entire facility–the EPA wanted separate measurements from every area of the facility.  Obviously this will be more expensive with very questionable results.  The second aspect of the attack on Texas is the war on coal.  The Texas Public Policy Foundation submitted a report to Congress in March saying that the new EPA regulations will shut down 5700 MW of electrical generating capacity–about one-twelfth of peak demand.  The new regulations also make no allowance for increased energy demands in the State of Texas in the coming years.  The third attack on Texas energy is in the area of natural gas.

That article links to an article at Hot Air that details the entire attack.

Well, the attack has been turned back. Fox News is reporting today that “the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the agency to reconsider the Texas regulations and “limit its review” to ensuring that they meet the “minimal” Clean Air Act requirements that govern state implementation plans.”

 Fox News reports:
 
“If Texas’s regulations satisfy those basic requirements, the EPA must approve them,” the court said in its 22-page ruling this week.

The EPA rejected Texas’ rules on minor new-source review permits in September 2010, saying they didn’t meet Clean Air Act requirements. The Texas attorney general, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and businesses sued the EPA, challenging the ruling.

This is good news. The EPA under President Obama has consistently attacked America’s domestic sources of energy. They are not an elected body and have assumed too much power. It is good to see the court temper that power.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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The End Of A Nightmare For An American Family

Mike and Chantell Sackett bought a building lot near Priest Lake in 2005. They planned to build a house there. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had other ideas. As I reported in rightwinggranny on January 9, 2012, the lot is less than an acre and is just 500 feet from Priest Lake on its west side. It is separated from the lake by a house and a road and has no standing water or any hydrologic connection to Lake Priest or any other body of water. Nevertheless, the EPA declared their lot a wetland and threatened to fine them $30,000 every day that they did not return the lot to its original condition. Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on the lawsuit that followed.

CNBC reported today:

In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court rejected EPA’s argument that allowing property owners quick access to courts to contest orders like the one issued to the Sacketts would compromise the agency’s ability to deal with water pollution.

“Compliance orders will remain an effective means of securing prompt voluntary compliance in those many cases where there is no substantial basis to question their validity,” Scalia said.

In this case, the couple objected to the determination that their small lot contained wetlands that are regulated by the Clean Water Act, and they complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order without risking fines that can mount quickly.

The value of this case is that it gives Americans a way to fight the EPA when it interferes with private property rights. Since the EPA is one of the ways some people in our government plan to institute Agenda 21(see rightwinggranny) and begin to end the concept of private property in the United States, this is a very important decision.

These are two quotes from United Nations leaders regarding private property:

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class–involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing–are not sustainable.”  Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit

“Land, because of its unique nature and the crucial role it plays in human settlements, cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principle instrument of the accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes.”  This is a quote from the 1976 UN Conference on Human Settlement, held in Vancouver, Canada. Under “Section D. Land,” of the Report of Habitat, which came out of the conference. It is from the preamble and speaks of the private ownership of land.

These quotes are from rightwinggranny on December 14, 2011. I am sure the Supreme Court will be called upon to rule on private property rights in the future. The President we elect in November will have a major role in deciding who sits on the Supreme Court. If you value American’s property rights, you will vote for a Republican in November. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a Supreme Court that does not support private property rights in America.

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American, Your Property Rights Are Being Taken Away

On Friday, CNS News reported the story of Michael and Chantell Sackett, an Idaho couple who bought a piece of land in Idaho in order to build their dream house. Unfortunately, their plans to build their dream house have become a nightmare.

The article reports:

The Sacketts, small business owners in Idaho, located a lot in the northern part of the state in a town called Priest Lake. According to court documents, the lot is less than an acre and is just 500 feet from Priest Lake on its west side. It is separated from the lake by a house and a road and has no standing water or any hydrologic connection to Lake Priest or any other body of water.

However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared their lot a wetland, and the nightmare began.

The article further reports:

Following the EPA “compliance” order, the Sacketts hired a private engineer who, following an inspection of the property, provided a report stating that the property is not wetlands.The EPA did not relent.

On Monday (today) the case will go before the Supreme Court. This is a case to watch. The property was not listed on the EPA’s online wetland inventory, but the EPA declared it a wetland anyway. This sets a dangerous precedent. You can imagine local politicians getting involved in this sort of struggle and all sorts of money required to get the necessary permits. There is a very large chance for abuse if this arbitrary ruling is allowed to stand. I realize that we have an obligation to protect the environment, but we also have an obligation under our Constitution to protect private property rights.

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Trying To End Domestic Energy Production

Why would anyone want to end domestic energy production? I don’t know, but there are some very odd facts coming to light about America’s search for energy independence. Put aside all of the taxpayer money given to crony capitalists involved in green energy, then consider the moves by the government to curtail energy independence. It is downright odd.

The Keystone pipeline is at least temporarily on hold–even after all the permitting and requirements have been met. Now the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is trying to shut down fracking–a process which gives America access to enough oil and natural gas to make us energy independent.

On December 20, the Wall Street Journal reported on the latest scheme by the EPA to shut down fracking in Pavillion, Wyoming. The EPA has issued a report saying that fracking is causing pollution to ground water.

The article reports:

But does it stand up? This is the first major study to have detected linkage between fracking and ground-water pollution, and the EPA draft hasn’t been peer reviewed by independent scientific analysts. Critics are already picking apart the study, which Wyoming Governor Matt Mead called “scientifically questionable.”

The EPA says it launched the study in response to complaints “regarding objectionable taste and odor problems in well water.” What it doesn’t say is that the U.S. Geological Survey has detected organic chemicals in the well water in Pavillion (population 175) for at least 50 years—long before fracking was employed.

There are also some other problems with the study: Please follow the above link to the article to see further details. The bottom line is simple. We need to take threats to the purity of our drinking water seriously, but we need to understand the history and the sources of these threats before we decide on a course of action.

 

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Exactly Who Should Be In Charge Of “Sustainable Development” ?

Fox News reported yesterday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking to expand its powers greatly to help America achieve “sustainable development.”  “Sustainable development,” is the centerpiece of a global United Nations conference slated for Rio de Janeiro next June.

Sustainable development is a concept that has been with us for a number of years. A 1987 UN report, Our Common Future, released by the Brundtland Commission, defines sustainable development as:

…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

That sounds really good until you look further. Maurice Strong, Secretary General of the UN’s 1992 Earth Summit stated:

Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class–involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing–are not sustainable.

The idea here is simple–rather than aspire to obtain a higher standard of living in countries without infrastructure, reliable electricity, and sanitation facilities, we will simply lower the standards of the western world. This is not about ecology–this is about redistribution of wealth.

The article at Fox News reports:

According to the study itself, the adoption of the new “sustainability framework” will make the EPA more “anticipatory” in its approach to environmental issues, broaden its focus to include both social and economic as well as environmental “pillars,” and “strengthen EPA as an organization and a leader in the nation’s progress toward a sustainable future.”

Whatever EPA does with its suggestions, the study emphasizes, will be “discretionary.” But the study urges EPA to “create a new culture among all EPA employees,” and hire an array of new experts in order to bring the sustainability focus to every corner of the agency and its operations. Changes will move faster “as EPA’s intentions and goals in sustainability become clear to employees,” the study says.

The National Academies and the EPA held a meeting last week in Washington to begin public discussion of the study.

One of the things we might want to remember here is that the EPA is not an elected body. They cannot easily be held accountable. They cannot be voted out of office. Regardless of how you feel about the environmental issues here, there is definitely a constitutional issue here.

“Sustainable development” is a UN program–it is not an American program. Americans have never had a chance to vote on it or any group implementing it. Giving the EPA any more power than they already have would be a drastic error in judgement. Please google “Agenda 21” for more information on what is behind the move toward sustainable development.

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The Continuing Attack On Domestic Energy Production

I’m not quite sure why the radical environmentalists (and the Obama administration) are so opposed to domestic energy production, but their actions indicate that they are. The recent postponement (read that as opposition) to the Keystone Pipeline is one example. Now they are attempting to stop hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”). Fracking is the process being used in the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota. I need to mention at this point that the development of the Bakken oil fields has resulted in an unemployment rate in North Dakota of 3.5 percent in October 2011.

On Thursday the Washington Examiner posted an article on some of the latest attacks on the process of fracking.

The article reports:

Fracking was first used in Oklahoma in the 1940s and in the years since has been employed in more than a million oil and gas wells across the nation. There is not a single independently documented instance of groundwater contamination by fracking anywhere in the country, a fact that was confirmed as recently as May by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson during congressional testimony.

However, the EPA is not deterred by mere facts. On Thursday the EPA announced that they had found chemicals “likely” associated with fracking at a drilling site near Pavilion, Wyoming.

The article further reports:

“EPA also re-tested private and public drinking water wells in the community. The samples were consistent with chemicals identified in earlier EPA results released in 2010 and are generally below established health and safety standards.” By “below,” the EPA means that chemicals in the groundwater do not exceed acceptable health and safety standards.

Please follow the link to read the entire article to discover what the EPA really found and what it means. At some point you have to wonder why the EPA and the Obama administration are working so hard to eliminate a domestic energy program that has the potential to provide jobs for Americans and to turn the economy around.

 

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About That “Pass The Bill” Statement

At times, facts are inconvenient things. They can easily get in the way of actually winning an argument (or an election). The election of 2012 is going to be, among other things, an indication of how many Americans are believing everything the Obama administration tells them and how many Americans are actually checking the facts. One place where the rhetoric and the facts are in total opposition is the most recent jobs bill put forth by President Obama.

First of all, the Republicans are not blocking the bill–the Republicans do not have enough votes in the Senate to stop anything without Democrat votes. Second of all, the House Republicans have passed a number of bills to help cut unemployment and those bills have not made it through the Senate.

GOP.gov has posted a list of bills passed in the House of Representatives that are aimed at job creation that have gone nowhere. I realize this is a really long list, but take a look:

The “Forgotten Fifteen”

1)  H.R. 872—Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act:  The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to clarify that the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state may not require a permit under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act for the application of pesticides regulated under FIFRA.  By removing duplicative requirements, the bill would reduce overlapping and unnecessary regulation on pesticides that are already regulated, thereby reducing costs to both farmers and small business owners.

2)  H.R. 910—Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011:  H.R. 910 would prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.   More specifically, the bill would prohibit the EPA from regulating: water vapor; carbon dioxide; methane; nitrous oxide; and any other substance subject to regulation, action or consideration under the Clean Air Act to address climate change.  The bill would prevent a needless increase in energy prices for American households and businesses.

3)  H.J.Res. 37—Disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices:  The bill would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from implementing a net-neutrality rule which would prohibit Internet providers from slowing or blocking legal websites or Internet services because of concerns over bandwidth.  In May 2010, seventy-four House Democrats sent a letter to FCC Chairman Genachowski making the case that net-neutrality rules will “jeopardize jobs” and “should not be done without additional direction from Congress.”

4)  H.R. 1230—Restarting American Offshore Leasing Now Act: H.R. 1230 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. The bill would help to reduce energy prices and promote job creation by expediting offshore oil and natural gas exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and the Virginia coast.

5)  H.R. 1229—Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act:  H.R. 1229 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to require that any lessee operating under an approved exploration plan obtain a permit before drilling any well, and obtain a new permit before drilling any well of a design that is significantly different than the design for which an existing permit was issued. The bill would prohibit the Secretary from issuing a permit without ensuring that the proposed drilling operations meet all critical safety system requirements (including blowout prevention), and oil spill response and containment requirements. 

6) H.R. 1231—Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act:  H.R. 1231 would require that each five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program offer leasing in the areas with the most prospective oil and gas resources, and would establish a domestic oil and natural gas production goal.  The bill would essentially lift the President’s ban on new offshore drilling by requiring the Administration to move forward on American energy production in areas estimated to contain the most oil and natural gas resources.

7) H.R. 2021—The Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011:  H.R. 2021 would eliminate needless permitting delays that have stalled important energy production opportunities off the coast of Alaska.  The bill would also eliminate the permitting back-and-forth that occurs between the EPA and its Environmental Appeals Board.  Rather than having exploration air permits repeatedly approved and rescinded by the agency and its review board, the EPA will be required to take final action – granting or denying a permit—within six months.

8) H.R. 2018—Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011: H.R. 2018 would a restrict the EPA ability to issue a revised or new water quality standard for a pollutant whenever a state has adopted and EPA already has approved a water quality standard for that pollutant, unless the state concurs with the EPA Administrator’s determination that the revised or new standard is necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.  The bill would prevent unilateral actions by the EPA that second-guess the decisions of the state regulatory agency.

9) H.R. 1315—Consumer Financial Protection & Soundness Improvement Act:  H.R. 1315 would improve consumer protection and provides greater economic stability by allowing the Financial Stability Oversight Council to vote to set aside any harmful federal regulation.

10) H.R. 1938— North American-Made Energy Security Act:  H.R. 1938 would direct the President, acting through the Secretary of Energy, to coordinate with all federal agencies responsible for an aspect of the President’s National Interest Determination and Presidential Permit decision regarding construction and operation of Keystone XL, to ensure that all necessary actions are taken on an expedited schedule.  The bill would promote job creation and energy security by ending the needless delay of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL pipeline.

11) H.R. 2587—Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act:  H.R. 2587 would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance.

12) H.R. 2401—Transparency In Regulatory Analysis Of Impacts On The Nation:  H.R. 2401 would require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental EPA.  Specifically, the bill would require the President to establish the Committee for the Cumulative Analysis of Regulations that Impact Energy and Manufacturing.  The Committee would be charged with analyzing and reporting on the cumulative and incremental impacts of covered rules and actions of the EPA concerning air, waste, water, and climate change.  The bill would establish the interagency committee to evaluate the economic impacts of EPA regulations and delay the final dates for both the maximum achievable control technology (Utility MACT) standards and the cross-state air pollution rule (CSAPR) until the full impact has been studied. Both regulations would cost consumers and businesses $184 billion from 2011-2030 and would cause electrical prices to skyrocket.

13) H.R. 2681—Cement Sector Regulatory Relief Act: H.R. 2681 would provide a legislative stay of three EPA emissions standards that apply to cement manufacturing plants and are known as the “Cement MACT rules.”  The bill would also provide for the implementation of effective regulation that protects communities both environmentally and economically.

14) H.R. 2250—EPA Regulatory Relief Act:  H.R. 2250 would provide a legislative stay of four interrelated EPA rules, commonly referred to as the “Boiler MACT rules,” that govern emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from approximately 200,000 boilers and incinerators nationwide.  The bill would remove this excessive regulatory burden placed on employers by the EPA’s Boiler MACT rules, potentially costing companies $14 billion and 224,000 American jobs, and replace them with sensible, achievable rules that do not destroy jobs.

15) H.R. 2273—Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act:  H.R. 2273 would utilize the framework and requirements of an existing federal regulatory program developed by the EPA under the Solid Waste Disposal Act (RCRA) as the basis for enforceable minimum federal standards for the regulation of a waste stream known as coal ash.  The bill would include enforceable federal standards, but would leave regulation and enforcement to the states.  The bill would also provide consistent, safe management of coal combustion residuals in a way that protects jobs and encourages recycling and beneficial use.

It seems to me that the Senate could have passed at least one of these bills. I am not convinced that it is the Republicans playing political games with the economy.

 

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Killing The American Power Industry

Yesterday Big Government posted a story stating that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going to put new rules regarding pollution requirements for power plants into effect before a November 29th hearing which is supposed to evaluate the concerns regarding those regulations. In plain English, the EPA is going to implement regulations seriously limiting the ability of coal-fired plants to generate electricity before the hearing to investigate the consequences of those regulations can occur. These regulations will result in the loss of 1.4 million jobs and higher electricity costs for everyone. Where is Congress? Why are they not crying foul? This is the Cap and Trade Bill the Obama administration could not get through Congress. It is being implemented through the EPA–not through the democratic process.

Vice President Joe Biden L'68

Image via Wikipedia

The article reminds us:

Some called it a gaffe when current Vice President Joe Biden was caught on video saying, “No Coal Plants Here in America,” during the 2008 campaign. Now, thanks to a bit of curious timing, the Obama administration may be a step closer to achieving that very thing, destroying up to 1.4 million jobs in the progress. The move will also lead to a significant increase in energy prices; however, it may be too late to do anything about all that by the time the information comes to light. And yet some think Wall Street, not Washington, is the problem.

Over-regulation that hurts Americans and American businesses needs to be stopped. If this Congress cannot do that, we need to elect a Congress that will. These regulations will make life more difficult for all Americans.

 

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