Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Outed by FOIA – EPA strategy memo reveals deep flaws in the integrity of the agency, and lack of integrity of the press

Anthony Watts / 22 hours ago January 26, 2015

Attorney Chris Horner writes in with this bombshell which shows how “evangelism” has replaced factual analysis at the EPA, which is helped along by a compliant mass media. See the attached document obtained via FOIA.
His take on it includes:

* Obtained from the ongoing “Richard Windsor” FOIA, precisely as FOIA intended this allows the American public to see what bureaucrats and, in this case, ideological activists in government say among themselves and their pressure group allies, helping us keep a proper perspective about what these same activists tell the public.

* What this memo shows is the recognition that EPA needed to move its global warming campaign away from the failed global model of discredited Big Green pressure groups and their icons, that it has proved “consistently — an unpersuasive argument to make.” In it we see the birth of the breathtakingly disingenuous “shift from making this about the polar caps [to] about our neighbor with respiratory illness…”.

It also shows the conviction that if they yell “clean air” and “children” enough they, the media and the green groups will get their way....... Possibly most refreshing is the acknowledgement of EPA’s symbiotic relationship with a “cadre of reporters” who EPA expects to demand an agenda — according to EPA, just like pressure groups — to which demands EPA will respond.…..To Read More….
 
My Take - Okay, just because EPA and the green movement has been caught in a couple of "sue and settle" collusion cases.....okay.....a ton of collusion "sue and settle" cases, that does not justify believing in conspiracies......is it? 
 
Okay, let's quelch this conspiracy stuff right now.  Please watch the shiny swinging object and just relax and listen to my soothing and calming voice  - There's no such thing as a conspiracy- There's no such thing as a conspiracy - There's no such thing as a conspiracy - There's no such thing as a conspiracy - There's no such thing as a conspiracy..... 
 
Now when you awaken from your trance you will remember nothing .....NOTHING..... except that there's no such thing as a conspiracy.   Do you understand? 
 
Yes Master! 
 
Oh, one more thing to remember - Green is good - green is good - green is good.....

Random thoughts on the passing scene by Thomas Sowell

It's my opinion that Thomas Sowell is one of the finest thinkers in the nation today, and it isn't because he understands complicated issues to well, it's because he has the unique ability to convey those complicated issues in ways that make them easily undestood. No small intellectual feat!

Thomas Sowell posted another of his insightful Random Thoughts on Tuesday Jan 27, 2015 - thirteen in all.   Here's number one.  To see the rest go here.

1. Who says President Obama doesn’t promote bipartisanship? His complicity in Iran’s moving toward nuclear bombs has alarmed some top Senate Democrats enough to get them to join Republicans in opposition to the Obama administration’s potentially suicidal foreign policy.

The Temperature at Which Global Warming Freezes

Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog

The sky over New York City was a falling sheet of white. Trails of footprints, work boots, paw prints, sneakers and bird claws, told their own story of how the residents of city were getting through the blizzard to their daily errands. Shoppers lugged home milk as if cows were going extinct. Miniature snowmen decorated mailboxes and garbage trucks towing orange plows clattered down empty streets.

Nowhere in the city was the blizzard more pronounced than in Central Park, designed a century ago to create a miniature forest in the heart of Manhattan. Even the tallest trees, taller than any others in the city, were layered with coats of snow and visibility had vanished into a cloud of whiteness.

And walking along a path in the Ramble, I heard a woman lecturing her children on the dangers of what else, but Global Warming.

There is a madness to walking through a blizzard and discussing Global Warming. A theory according to which we should be sliding toward the tropics, awash in fleeing polar bears and Florida style temperatures, instead of frantically shoveling our driveways.

To believe in Global Warming while stamping the snow off your boots is not a matter of science. It is a matter of faith. The scientist sees what is, while the believer has faith in what he cannot see. The scientist does not see Global Warming in a blizzard.

The Warmist does. To see Global Warming while walking through a blizzard, is itself an act of faith.

Every winter, Global Warming advocates stake their bets on a mild winter. And every winter the snow and ice break their cars and shoes, but never their faith.

Last year the New York Times was predicting the end of snow. This year the New York Times building is snowlogged, but still keeping the faith.

No matter how much slush trails through its lobby, its writers must continue to show people the pernicious effects of people driving to work and using extra shopping bags. Digging out of a snowstorm and their own lies, Global Warming advocates claim that colder winters are actually another effect of global warming. Which may be renamed to Global Temperatures We Don't Like.

Walking through Central Park, it's easy to see how perverse the modern day environmentalist has become in his view of the relationship between man and nature.
Central Park was inspired by one of the co-founders of the Republican party, New York Post editor, William Cullen Bryant, and co-created by Republican architect and landscape designer Frederick Olmsted, to harmonize the natural world and the urban one through human industry.


The New York Republicans of the 19th century viewed public parks as part of their civilizing mission.

Central Park was created as part of an ongoing battle with the corrupt Democratic Tammany Hall machine, which wanted segregated slums and downtrodden workers who would rush to them as saviors and vote how they were told.

Bryant and Olmsted saw parks as a way to improve human health, inspire public citizenship and build a strong republic.

Central Park's beauty is both natural and artificial. Modern environmentalists often mistake it for a preserved space, but its natural beauty was the work of human craftsmanship. The original site was a mess of swamps. The sort of place that the EPA fights tooth and nail to protect for the environment. Had Central Park remained a mass of swamps, the city and the country would have been worse for it.

Instead of preserving the wetlands, Central Park's planners dredged them. They created a place of great natural beauty by taking what was best in the natural world and matching it to human use, instead of blindly worshiping at the pagan altar of "Mother Nature". They built a lake so that visitors could row boats. They set up rambling paths between woodlands of trees that they planted. A meadow rose along with sheep and a shepherd. Everything was natural and artificial.

While today's environmentalists are fixated on holding back human development in order to maintain wetlands, banning DDT to save the mosquito and campaigning against agriculture to reduce population growth-- the visionaries behind Central Park did not restrict human development for the sake of nature, instead they used human industry and the state of the art technology of the time to turn a decrepit site used for slaughterhouse refuse, swamps and shantytowns into a magnificent park that seems effortlessly natural.

They did not do it to glorify nature, but to improve man.

Environmentalists demonize human industry and accomplishment as evil because they worship nature. Humanity spoils the unspoiled natural environment. It kills the mosquitoes, destroys malaria and turns lovely swamps into ugly parks full of hideous children enjoying themselves.

In their worldview, for the environment to prosper, humanity must go into decline. And when humanity prospers, they insist that the environment is in decline.

Conservationists, who included the likes of President Theodore Roosevelt, valued the natural world for what human beings can learn about themselves from engaging with it. That was the philosophy behind Central Park, which to this day remains an elegant demonstration of human accomplishment as applied to the natural world.

Global Warming is an ideological weapon by the environmentalists against human civilization. It is part of a broader anti-civilization agenda by the left, which values the natural world only because it sees it as a "primitive" antidote to the complexities of civilization. That romanticism is the borrowed hostility of the nomad to the farmer (and it is very telling to look at Europe and see its intellectuals championing the virtues of Bedouin nomads over London and Paris) taken up by bored intellectuals, arguing against the complexity of civilization and for the noble barbarism of the savage.

Where the conservationist values the natural world because of its beneficial impact on the human spirit through cultivation and achievement, the Environmentalist does not truly value the natural world, he does not love nature, he only hates civilization. Where the conservationist sought out the natural world for its civilizing effects, the environmentalist seeks it out for its decivilizing effects. He does not want to be a better human man, but less of a man. He wants to be a noble savage.

The conservationist sought to integrate the natural world into our lives in order to build a better civilization. The environmentalist is not interested in building a better human civilization. His objective can only succeed if every human being, every building, factory, car and artifact vanished off the face of the earth tomorrow. His environmentalism is a mask for his hostility to human civilization.

Central Park does not duplicate Manhattan before the arrival of the settlers, a trendy bit of landscaping that environmentalists are rather fond of. But then who besides environmentalists would fancy the idea of reverting Manhattan to a swamp bordered island with poor water sources and high rates of disease? Instead it creates something better, improving on the natural world, cultivating land into a transcendent statement that is more about man than nature.

Where Global Warming insists that everything humans do just makes the world worse, Central Park is a shining statement that says we make it better.

Every Warmunist ad is a parable about the evil of humans who chop down forests, pour oil into the oceans and refuse to put things into clearly marked recycling containers. Central Park opens up the natural world to human activities. The ideas of Olmsted about good citizenship and the natural world did not involve teaching people to leave the natural world alone, but to make it a part of our cities.

Environmentalists today sneer at this attitude. They clamor against hunting and fishing. They agitate to restrict human access to national parks. They push Zero Population Growth and mandatory birth control. Their "Green", like that of the Islamic Green, burns with hate for the Red, White and Blue. For human civilization.

Much of the public thinks environmentalism is a good idea, because they think it's ultimately meant to benefit them. Environmentalism however is an ideology that champions the Supremacy of Nature, better known as the ecosystem covering the surface of the Earth, over man. Where Conservationism believed in the Supremacy of Man, and the utilization of the natural environment for mankind's benefit, the environmentalist doesn't give a damn about mankind's benefit. Less so than he does about an endangered mollusk.

Walking through the blizzard, the trees wreathed in bridal veils of snow, I heard their voices in the distance, a distance that in the whiteness may have been only a dozen feet away. "The scientists say Global Warming is coming", the mother said. "It's too cold out for that," answered the little girl.

I wish to thank Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center for allowing me to publish his work. 

Pam Geller's Atlas Shrugs!

Jihad in the Philippines: Muslim Fighters Kill 27 Cops: Officials - The Philippines has made extraordinary concessions to the violent Muslim uprising. But as we know, that only leads to more violence and more demands for an even bigger Islamic State. Islamic terror rages on in the Philippines. Worse, these supremacist savages are rewarded. The modern-day manifestation of the caliphate, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has “observer status” in the “talks” between the Philippine government and the jihadist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Muslim terrorists slaughter and the OIC “mediates.”  It would be comical if it weren’t so deadly. The Philippines (a former American protectorate and 95% Catholic country) has had to give up territory and “share wealth” with...

BBC Chief: We must not call Charlie Hebdo killers ‘terrorists’ - This is a perfect example of the sickness in the media that I rail against every day. Sanitizing savagery. Whitewashing Islamic jihad. My G-d man, they are beheading journalists. Why is the BBC sharpening the dull blade at their own necks (and ours)?
Infiltration.  We are under siege by the jihadists, a siege made possible by their their step and fetchit errand boys on the left.  This is why Atlas Shrugs is so critical……

Turkish court orders Facebook to block pages insulting Mohammad - Obama’s number one “trusted” and “most favorite” ally, Turkey — the “moderate” Muslim country. It is astonishing how much damage the abdication of the leader of the free world can do in so short a period of time. The twentieth century of Ataturk is now a mere historical blip. The secular Muslim countries of Africa and the Middle East are drowning in a sea of blood unleashed by devout Muslim wars.  And Obama has been instrumental in all of it…..

Pentagon Creates Essay Contest To Honor Saudi King, Muslim World - President Obama couldn’t go to France to stand for freedom of speech in the wake of the Islamic slaughter of the editorial staff of a French weekly magazine but he’ll fly to Saudi Arabia for the King of shariah and then force feed this dung down the throats of our schoolchildren.  We are under siege, my fellow Americans. Jihad in the White House.  Dhimmitude and submission at the most senior levels.  TR: The Pentagon announced Monday that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey has come up with a way to honor the recently deceased Saudi monarch, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz: an essay contest.  Despite Saudi Arabia’s abysmal record on human rights, the contest, to be hosted by the National Defense University,......

84% of “Palestinian” Muslims believe Israel was behind Paris jihad mass murder - Here’s the craziness: thousands of “Palestinian” Muslims protested Charlie Hebdo and freedom of speech. They support the slaughter commanded under Islamic law (Shariah). They agree with the murderers. But at the same time, they have no trouble holding the completely conflicting view that the Jews did it. No wonder they are so violent — their brains explode along with their bombs.  “Israel was behind terror attacks in France,” by Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, January 25, 2015:  Following the terror attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish store in which Muslim terrorists killed 17 people in France earlier this month, columnists writing for the official Palestinian...

Thousands of Muslims Protest Charlie Hebdo Cartoons - Instead of seeing tens of thousands of Muslims protesting the slaughter of writers and cartoonists, we see the Muslim world standing in support of the savage law that calls for the death of those who criticize this monstrous ideology.  “Pakistan: 30,000 rally against Charlie Hebdo and the freedom of speech”, thanks to Jihad Watch, January 25, 2015.  How good it would be if, in the face of these ongoing and growing protests, we had a Western leader who would stand up and explain why the freedom of speech is important, and declare that we were determined to defend it. But we don’t.   “Blasphemous caricatures:...

Italy: Muslims Urinate on and Destroy Virgin Mary Statue - More of that mutual respect and mutual understanding we are always being schooled on by our Islamic superiors. Imagine if anything, even remotely like this, was ever attempted in a mosque — the mind reels. Photo above from a previous desecration of a Virgin Mary statue by Muslims.  They are slaughtering people and burning churches because of a couple of drawings. Imagine this.  Italy: Muslims Destroy and Urinate on Virgin Mary Statue, [Source: Alerta Digital] Portuguese (thanks to Raymond Ibrahim), January 17, 2015.  January 9. A man was kneeling in prayer before the statue of the revered Madonna, with the photograph of a loved one in hand, in the small chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia (Italy), when he was attacked by...

Pamela Geller, Breitbart: American Muslim Group Attacks American Sniper, Demands Eastwood and Cooper Denounce Fictional ‘Islamophobia’ - Do read my column today at Breitbart. It’s not to be missed.  American Muslim Group Attacks American Sniper, Demands Eastwood and Cooper Denounce Fictional ‘Islamophobia’, Pamela Geller, Breitbart, January 25, 2016 One of the foundational principles of the Bush Doctrine was and is the oft-repeated dictum, “You are either with us or against us.” Little did President Bush know that the American Muslim community was…against us.  George Bush believed that the moderates in the Muslim world would denounce and destroy the devout (that is, the “radicals”). He was expecting a war within Islam that never actually took place. Imagine Bush’s dismay when he discovered that no one was behind him, like John Belushi in Animal...




 

The Pity Party

January 27, 2015 by Daniel Greenfield 8 Comments

Progressives will always claim that no matter how badly their plans go wrong, at least their terrible policies were well-intentioned.   The regimes that shot orphans, starved entire cities into submission and committed genocide were “caring” in comparison to the heartless Dickensian capitalists who did nothing for the poor except create cheap products and jobs. They might have killed millions, but their red hearts were in the right place.

They didn’t just spend all their time gobbling caviar and diving into swimming pools full of all money like the millionaires of the West. Instead they gave speeches about Marxism-Leninism, killed anyone who wasn’t up on their dialectical materialism and then gobbled working class caviar and dove into proletarian swimming pools full of money.....To Read More.....

Monday, January 26, 2015

Dear Northeast, How’s that solar working out for ya?

Down two power plants since the last polar vortex, the Northest is facing an energy crisis this winter

by Marita Noon

A couple of months ago, effective in November, National Grid, one of Massachusetts’ two dominant utilities, announced rate increases of a “whopping” 37% over last year. Other utilities in the region are expected to follow suit.

It’s dramatic headlines like these that make rooftop solar sound so attractive to people wanting to save money. In fact, embedded within the online version of the Boston Globe story: “Electric rates in Mass. set to spike this winter,” is a link to another article: “How to install solar power and save.” The solar story points out: “By now everyone knows that solar power can save homeowners big money on utility bills.” It claims that solar works even in New England’s dreary winters and cites Henry K. Vandermark, founder and president of Solar Wave Energy in Cambridge, as saying: “Even snow doesn’t matter if your panels have a steep angle. It just slides right off them.”

Solar is not the panacea it is promoted to be, though it is true that—after a substantial investment, heavy government subsidies (funded by all taxpayers), and generous net-metering programs (that raise costs for non-solar customers)—solar systems can save money on the typical homeowners’ monthly bill. (An unsubsidized system averages about $24,000.)

New England has seen one big power plant close within the past year—Salem Harbor Power Station in Salem, MA, went “dark” on June 1, in part due to tightening federal regulations. Another major closure will take place within weeks: Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

A new, state-of-the-art natural gas plant on 18 acres of the 65-acre Salem site will replace the Salem Harbor plant (photo). The remaining 47 acres will see redevelopment, including renewable energy. But, that plan has received pushback from environmental groups that want it fully replaced with renewables. TheBoston Globe states: “A decade ago, replacing the aging plant with a far cleaner natural gas facility would have thrilled environmental and public health advocates.” The Conservation Law Foundation filed a lawsuit against the project’s approval, claiming the state “failed to adequately consider its own climate change law when state energy officials approved the Salem plant.” In February, the group settled the suit after it caused construction delays and reliability concerns.

Just days before the plant closed, a report from The Daily Climate addressed the controversy over usage of the Salem Harbor site: “Many activists pushed back, arguing for wind or solar generation or non-energy uses, such as a marine biotechnology research facility.” One activist group: HealthLink, “has marshaled opposition to running a gas line to the new plant,” and another: Grassroots Against Another Salem Plant (GAASP), “has pledged to use peaceful civil disobedience to block construction of the gas plant.”

The state of Massachusetts has offered three closed, or scheduled to be closed, coal-fueled power plant sites $6 million to pursue renewable energy projects—even though wind and solar require full back up from fossil fuel power plants so electricity is available in the frigid Northeast winters. Additionally, a new report from two Stanford Ph.D.’s, who spent 4 years trying to prove renewables can, ultimately, replace fossil fuels, have had to admit defeat: “Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”

Having lived with the 63-year-old Salem Harbor plant in her back yard for 20 years, Linda Haley, doesn’t, according to WGBH News, “understand why Salem would encourage use of a non-renewable fossil-fuel resource like natural gas when alternative investments in Green technology finally seem possible.”

These stories reveal the snow job that has been perpetuated on the general public regarding renewable energy. They don’t understand the need for power or how it works. They seem to believe that when a rule passes a magic wand waves replacing older, but still fully functional, power plants with wind or solar — that doesn’t produce electricity 24/7/365 as do the decommissioned coal or nuclear plants — and which require far more land to produce the same amount of, albeit intermittent, electricity.

An iced-up wind turbine or a solar panel covered in 7 feet of snow—even if some of it slides off—doesn’t generate electricity. And the cold days of a Northeast winter create one of the times when energy demand peaks.

Remember last winter’s polar vortex, when freezing weather crippled the Northeast for days and put a tremendous strain on the electric supply?

Congress, following the near crisis, brought in utility executives to explain the situation. Regarding the nation’s electrical output last winter, Nicholas Akins, the CEO of the biggest generator of coal-fueled electricity in the U.S., American Electric Power (AEP), told Congress: “This country did not just dodge a bullet—we dodged a cannon ball.” Similarly, Michael Kormos, Executive VP of Operations for PJM Interconnection (the largest grid operator in the U.S. overseeing 13 states), commented on operations during the polar vortex: PJM was “never—as some accounts have portrayed—700 megawatts away from rolling blackouts. … On the worst day, January 7, our next step if we had lost a very large generator would have been to implement a small voltage reduction”—industry speak for the last option before power outages.

About last winter’s grid reliability, Glenn Beck claims: “I had an energy guy come to me about 3 weeks ago. …He said, ‘We were one power plant away from a blackout in the East all winter long… We were using so much electricity. We were at the top of the grid. There’s no more electricity. We’re at the top.’”

This winter’s extreme weather—with new records set for November power demand—has already arrived. Come January, there will be not one, but two, fewer Northeast power plants since last year—not because they had to be retired, but because of EPA regulations and public sentiment. In a November 17 op-ed, former Senators Bayh (D-IN) and Judd (R-NH) said: “Vermont Yankee produced 26% of New England’s power during the peak of last year’s frigid weather.” The Northeast won’t have Vermont Yankee’s power this January.

Without these two vital power plants, what will the Northeast do?

For several months, since I had a chat with Weather Bell AnalyticsJoe Bastardi at the International Conference on Climate Change, I’ve continued to say that I fear people will have to die due to power outages that prevent them from heating their homes in the winter cold, before the public wakes up to the damage of these policies. AEP’s Atkins seems to agree. He told Columbus Business First: “Truth be known, something’s probably going to have to happen before people realize that there is an issue.”

“New England is in the midst of an energy crisis,” claims WGBH News. The report continues: “Residents and businesses are facing a future that may include ‘rolling blackouts’ on days when usage is highest.”

ISO New England, the agency that oversees the power grid, warns, in the Boston Globe: “Boston and northeast Massachusetts are ‘expected to face an electricity capacity shortage’ that could lead to rolling blackouts or the use of trailer-mounted diesel generators—which emit far more pollutants than natural gas—to fill the gap.” Ray Hepper, the lawyer for ISO New England, in a court filing, wrote: “The ISO simply cannot make megawatts of generation materialize that are not on the system.” In an interview, he added: “We’re really, as a region, at the point of needing new power plants.”

As the Salem Harbor story illustrates, natural gas will likely fuel those new power plants and environmental groups are expected to challenge construction. Plus, natural gas faces cost volatility. On November 20, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in the wake of November cold, not experienced since the 1970s when global cooling was predicted, featured an article titled, “Chill pushes up natural-gas prices,” that stated: “Natural-gas stockpiles shrank by more than expected last week reflecting surging demand.” As in the ’70s, many are now projecting, based on solar activity and other natural variables, a long global cooling trend.

While the Boston Globe, in September, said: “The upcoming winter is not expected to be as cold as last season,” Bastardi told me otherwise. He said: “This winter could be as cold and nasty as last year and in a worst case go beyond that to some of the great winters of the late 1970s, lasting all the way into April. As it is, we still have a winter comparable to last year forecasted, though the position of the worst, relative to averages, may be further southeast than last year.” During a November 19 appearance with Neil Cavuto, Bastardi suggested that we may see a bit of warming after November, but will have one, or two, very cold months after that.

The WSJ quoted Brian Bradshaw, portfolio manager at BP Capital in Dallas: “‘Everyone thinks it’s not possible’ to have another winter like last year, ‘But the weather does impossible things all the time.’” The WSJ added: “The natural-gas market is setting up for a repeat of last winter.”

So, why, when natural gas prices sit at historic lows that experts predicted will lower electricity rates, is the Northeast facing double-digit increases? The answer: there is no magic wand. The changes have been mandated, but the replacements aren’t ready yet. Ray Gifford, former commissioner with the Colorado Public Utility Commission, told me: “I don’t see how the gas infrastructure in New England can be built fast enough to replace retiring baseload capacity.”

Within the past decade, natural gas went from supplying less than a fifth of New England’s power to one half—which could be great if New England had natural gas, but it is, as Tim Maverick, Commodities Correspondent for Wall Street Daily, says: “gas-starved.” After last winter’s freezing weather, Maverick wrote: “The Northeast was slapped in the face with the reality that there’s not sufficient pipeline infrastructure to provide it with the mega-energy pull it draws in the colder season. This is probably because not one new pipeline infrastructure has been introduced in over 40 years. Natural gas consumption in the Northeast has grown more than 20% in the last decade, and not one new pipeline has been built. Current pipelines are stuffed and can carry no more supply.”

At the Edison Electric Institute financial conference on November 11, AEP’s Atkins confirmed that the proposed timeline to cut pollution from the EPA will shutter coal plants before completion of construction of new power plants using other fuels, or the infrastructure to move the needed natural gas around.

The lack of available supply results in higher prices. The Boston Globe explains: “Gas supplies for home heating are purchased under long-term contracts arranged far in advance, so utilities have the advantage of locking in lower rates. Power plants, on the other hand, often buy shorter term and are more exposed to price movements in the spot markets.” In the winter’s cold weather, the gas goes to people’s homes first. Different from coal, which is shipped by train, with a 30-day supply easily held at the point of use, the switch to natural gas leaves power plants struggling to meet demand, paying higher prices.

Addressing the 2013/2014 winter, Terry Jarrett, a former public service commissioner and a nationally recognized leader in energy, utility, and regulatory issues, said: “Natural gas couldn’t shoulder that burden, due in part to a shortage of infrastructure to deliver gas where it was needed—this despite record-setting production in the Marcellus Shale and elsewhere. But more importantly, whereas coal’s sole purpose is to generate electricity, natural gas is also used for home heating. And when push comes to shove, heating gets priority over generation.”

Last winter, coal and nuclear met the demand to keep the lights on and heat homes and businesses. AEP reports that 89% of its coal plants, now slated for retirement, ran at capacity just to meet the peak demand.

These shortages in the Northeast occur before the implementation of Obama’s Clean Power Plan that experts believe will shut down hundreds of coal-fueled power plants nationwide by 2016. New pipelines and new plants need to be built, but “not-in-my-backyard” attitudes and environmental activists will probably further delay and prevent construction as they have done in the Northeast, which will result in higher electric bills nationwide.

“Because less-expensive coal generation is retiring and in part is being replaced by demand-response or other potential high energy cost resources, excess generation will narrow and energy prices could become more volatile due to the increasing reliance on natural gas for electricity generation,” PJM’s Kormos told Congress.

The lessons for America’s energy supply learned from the Northeast’s far-reaching experiment, which has only resulted only in price increases and potential energy shortages, are twofold. First, don’t shut down existing supply until the replacement is ready, as legal action and local attitudes can slow its development. Second, you can cover every square inch of available land with wind and solar, but when extreme weather hits, it requires a reliable energy supply, best met by coal and nuclear.

Current policy direction will have all of America, not just the Northeast, freezing in the dark. I hope it can it be turned back before it is too late.

NOTE: A version of this content was originally published at Breitbart.com.

Note to GOP: Talking about raising taxes is a bad idea

By Marita Noon

What are the Republicans thinking? Coming right out of the gate, at the start of the new GOP-controlled Congress, they began talking about the crazy idea of increasing the gasoline tax. It has little chance of passing, yet can easily taint the party with a tax-raising reputation.

Just two days after the swearing in of the new Congress, the January 8 Wall Street Journal (WSJ) headline reads: “Senate Republicans: Higher Gas Taxes are on the Table.” It states: “Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James Inhofe (R., Okla.), who just took the reins of the panel, said he is open to considering raising the gas tax as a way to help pay for the dwindling Highway Trust Fund that keeps up the nation’s roads and other transportation infrastructure.”

Many of Inhofe’s Senate colleagues are clear about gas tax increase’s future. According to the Associated Press (AP), Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said: “I don’t know of any support for a gas tax increase in Congress.” The WSJ cites Senator John Barasso (R-WY), “who said he doesn’t support an increase and doesn’t think there is a political appetite for doing so on Capitol Hill.”

The House isn’t any more optimistic. According to the AP, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) doesn’t think there “are enough votes in the House for a gas tax increase.” Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman, said: “I don’t think there’s a will in Congress and the American People don’t want it.”

Even the New York Times touts: “Gasoline-tax increase finds little support.”

However, Inhofe’s apparent willingness to consider an increase in the gas tax, along with Senators Orin Hatch (R-UT) and John Thune (R-SD), has given fodder to those who long for a carbon tax. A San Francisco Chronicle article titled: “Odds of gas-tax hike grow with quiet support of GOP Senators,” opens: “With Washington’s most famous climate-change skeptic expressing interest in raising the federal gasoline tax, Bay area Rep. Jared Huffman sees an opening to grab the brass ring of the environmental movement: a tax on carbon.” Huffman sees that “it’s a good time to make the tax a little more sophisticated so it reflects the carbon content of all fuels.”

The gas tax creates headlines because the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which finances the interstate highway system, faces insolvency due to spending more than it takes in. Had Congress not come up with a solution to the $16 billion shortfall by August 1, 2014, federal highway projects would have ground to a halt and as many as 700,000 people would have received lay-off notices. An agreed upon “patch” put the crisis off until after the elections. That fix ends in May and the new Congress must now come up with another way to fund America’s roads and bridges. A gas-tax increase is the obvious solution as the concept means those who use the roads most, pay for them—supposedly making it more of a “user fee” than a tax.

The tax is currently 18.4 cents a gallon for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel—more than double the oil companies’ profit on that same gallon of gas. (Note: the gas tax is a flat figure, not a percent. With lower prices, people are driving more so revenues should be up.) With gasoline prices at historic lows, many think now is the time to raise the tax, as it will hardly be noticed.

But there are other options that don’t require raising taxes—or instituting a new carbon tax.

The fact that modern cars are more efficient than they were when the gas-tax was first instituted in 1956 at 3 cents a gallon is a major problem with HTF funding. Because drivers now go farther on less fuel, the roadways receive wear and tear without enough taxes collected to cover the use. As more electric cars fill our roads, the problem is exacerbated. Electric cars use the roadways for free while everyone else pays for them. Therefore many have proposed a mileage fee rather than a gas tax—or in addition to it. With a voluntary program passed in 2013, Oregon has been at the forefront of what is called mileage-based user fees (MBUF). The pilot program, which takes advantage of smart technology, has been hailed as a great success.

However, MBUFs should concern everyone concerned about more government involvement in our lives. At the Detroit auto show, BMW sounded an alarm about the “fine line between performance and privacy.” While the Financial Times (FT) report focuses on the pressure carmakers receive from technology companies and advertisers who want data collected by “connected cars,” one doesn’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to imagine the data collection morphing into a big-brother-like intrusion. According to the FT: “About two-thirds of today’s new cars have sensors and communications systems that send and receive data.” At last year’s consumer electronics show, Jim Farley, then Ford’s head of marketing, said: “We know everyone breaks the law. We know exactly when you do it because we have a GPS sensor in your car.” Imagine Environmental Protection Agency officers showing up on your doorstep because you have driven more than the allowed amount. Or, more likely, your gas supply getting cut off because you used up this month’s allotment early.

MBUFs may serve as a good option for electric vehicles, but implementation should not be universal—and therefore do not create the full answer to the HTFs funding woes.

The answer requires an understanding of the problem.

Gas taxes used to be more of a user fee—which made it fairer. “But since the 1990s the Highway Trust Fund has come to fund much more than new roads and bridges and highway maintenance,” claims a WSJ editorial. Heritage Foundation transportation and infrastructure analyst Emily Goff believes the problem is: “Spending priorities are determined more by politicians appeasing special interests than local needs or consumer choices. And the federal regulatory burden delays projects and smothers state and private-sector innovation.” She points out: “Washington diverts more than 25% of that money to subways, streetcars, buses, bicycle and nature paths, and landscaping, at the expense of road and bridge projects.” Users of these HTF projects utilize the infrastructure but don’t contribute to it. Cutting non-highway spending would go a long way to closing the funding gap. As the WSJ puts it: “Simply using the taxes that are supposed to pay for highways to, well, pay for highways makes the HTF 98% solvent for the next decade, no tax increase necessary.”

Another part of the solution, would redirect highway projects to the states. Chris Chocola, president of The Club for Growth, explains: “All 50 states have Departments of Transportation. More than 70% of all transportation spending in this country is already financed and spent at the state and local level. Each state has very specific infrastructure needs, and those needs are most effectively addressed at the local level, where those making the decisions are held most accountable by the taxpayers.”

States can more easily innovate and have already solved some highway issues with toll-concession private-public partnerships (PPP). Douglas Holtz-Eakin, head of the American Action Forum, a conservative advocacy group, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, sees creating more PPPs as an alternative to an increase in the gasoline tax.

A Reason Foundation FAQ on Toll Concession PPPs explains them this way: “A toll concession is a DBFOM (design-build-finance-operate-maintain) highway contract in which the principal funding source is tolls charged to users of the highway project. The projected toll revenue stream is used to support long-term revenue bonds, in addition to covering operation and maintenance costs of the project. In a toll concession, the consortium that wins the right to do the project takes on the risks of (a) construction cost overruns, (b) late completion, and (c) inadequate traffic and revenue. Those risks would otherwise be borne by the government (and hence, the taxpayers).”

I’ve outlined just four possible options to fund our roadways without raising the gas tax—which will still exist when gas prices go up and impacts the price of almost everything:

MBUFs for electric cars;
Limit spending to actual highway projects—not mass transit or nature trails;
Redirect some projects to the states; and
Toll concession PPPS.
 
Surely, the great minds in Washington could come up with more ideas.

With several options available to support the nation’s highways, the GOP needs create, innovate, and unify in fixing problems—like the HTF—and show America that they can do it without raising taxes.

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

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

Methane deceptions

Deception, agenda and folly drive latest Obama EPA anti-hydrocarbon rules. Are farmers next?

Paul Driessen

First they came for the coal mining and power plant industry, and most people did not speak out because they didn’t rely on coal, accepted Environmental Protection Agency justifications at face value, or thought EPA’s war on coal would benefit them.

In fact, Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon gave the Sierra Club $26 million, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the Club $50 million, to help it wage a Beyond Coal campaign. The Sierra Club later claimed its efforts forced 142 U.S. coal-fired power plants to close, raising electricity rates, threatening grid reliability, and costing thousands of jobs in dozens of states.

Mr. McClendon apparently figured eliminating coal from America’s energy mix would improve his natural gas business. The mayor likes renewable energy and detests fossil fuels, which he blames for climate change that he tried to finger for the damages “Superstorm” Sandy inflicted on his city.

Now the Obama EPA is coming after the natural gas industry. Hopefully many will speak out this time, before more costly rules kill more jobs and damage the health and welfare of more middle class Americans. The war on coal, after all, is really a war on fossil fuels and affordable energy, and an integral component of President Obama’s determination to “fundamentally transform” the United States.

Proposed EPA regulations would compel drilling and fracking companies to reduce methane (natural gas or CH4) emissions by 40-45% by 2025, compared to 2012. Companies would have to install technologies that monitor operations and prevent inadvertent leaks. The rules would apply only to new or modified sites, not existing operations. However, Big Green activist groups are already campaigning to have EPA expand the rule to cover existing gas wells, fracking operations, gas processing facilities and pipelines.

But companies already control their emissions, to avoid polluting the air, and because natural gas is a valuable resource that they would much rather sell than waste. That’s why EPA data show methane emissions falling 17% even as gas production increased by 37% between 1990 and 2014, and why natural gas operations employing hydraulic fracturing reduced their methane emissions by 73% from 2011 to 2013. The rules are costly and unnecessary, and would bring few benefits.

The Obama Administration thus justifies them by claiming they will help prevent “dangerous manmade climate change.” Methane, EPA says, has a warming effect 50 times greater than carbon dioxide. This assertion is wildly inflated, by as much as a factor of 100, Dr. Fred Singer says. Atmospheric water vapor already absorbs nearly all the infrared radiation (heat) that methane could, and the same radiation cannot be absorbed twice. The physics of Earth’s surface infrared emission spectrum are also important.

More importantly, to borrow a favorite Obama phrase, let me make one thing perfectly clear. There is no dangerous manmade climate change, now or on the horizon. There is no evidence that methane or carbon dioxide emissions have replaced the complex, powerful, interconnected natural forces that have driven warming, cooling, climate and weather fluctuations throughout Earth and human history. There is no evidence that recent extreme weather events are more frequent or severe than over the previous 100 years.

Indeed, planetary temperatures have not budged for more than 18 years, and we are amid the longest stretch since at least 1900 (more than nine years) without a Category 3-5 hurricane hitting the United States. If CO2 and CH4 are to be blamed for every temperature change or extreme weather event, then shouldn’t they also be credited for this lack of warming and deadly storms? But climate hype continues.

We are repeatedly told, “Climate change is real, and humans are partly to blame.” The statement is utterly meaningless. Earth’s climate fluctuates frequently, and human activities undoubtedly have some influences, at least on local (especially urban) temperatures. The question is, How much of an effect? Are the temperature and other effects harmful or beneficial, especially when carbon dioxide’s enormous role in improved plant growth is factored in? Would slashing U.S. CO2 and CH4 emissions mean one iota of difference, when China, India and other countries are doing nothing to reduce their emissions?

Nevertheless, the latest NASA press release asserts that 2014 was “the hottest since the modern instrumental record began,” and again blames mankind’s carbon dioxide emissions. This deliberately deceptive, fear-inducing claim was quickly retracted, but not before it got extensive front-page coverage.

Let me make another fact perfectly clear. The alleged global temperature increase was 0.02 degrees C (0.04 degrees F). It is not even measurable by our most sensitive instruments. It is one-fifth the margin of error in these measurements. It ignores satellite data and is based on ground-level instruments that are contaminated by urban heat and cover less than 15% of Earth’s surface. Even NASA admitted it was only 38% confident of being correct – and 62% certain that it was wrong. Analyses by Dr. Tim Ball, Marc Morano, Anthony Watts and other experts provide more details eviscerating this bogus claim.

In the end, though, all these real-world facts are irrelevant. We are dealing with a catechism of climate cataclysm: near-religious zealotry by a scientific-industrial-government-activist alliance that has built a financial, political and regulatory empire. They are not about to renounce any claims of climate catastrophe, no matter how much actual evidence debunks their far-fetched computer model scenarios.

Their EPA-IPCC “science” is actively supported by most of the “mainstream media” and by the World Bank, universities, renewable energy companies and even some churches. They will never willingly surrender the political influence and billions of dollars that CAGW claims bring them. They won’t even admit that wind and solar facilities butcher birds and bats by the millions, scar landscapes, impair human health, cannot exist without coal and natural gas, and are probably our least sustainable energy option. They want gas prices to rise again, so that heavily subsidized renewable energy is competitive once more.

Meanwhile, polls reveal that regular, hard-working, middle-income Americans care most about terrorism, the economy, jobs, healthcare costs, education and job opportunities after graduation; climate change is always dead last on any list. Regular Europeans want to end the “energy poverty” that has killed countless jobs, and each winter kills thousands of elderly people who can no longer afford to eat their homes properly. The world’s poorest citizens want affordable electricity, higher living standards, and an end to the lung infections, severe diarrhea, malaria and other diseases of poverty that kill millions of children and parents year after year – largely because alarmists oppose nuclear, coal and gas-fired power plants.

But federal regulators, climate chaos “ethicists” and “progressives” who loudly profess they care deeply about the poor and middle classes – all ignore these realities. They focus on methane, because they view it as a clever way to inject federal oversight and control into an energy sector that had been largely free of such interference, because the fracking revolution has thus far taken place mostly on state and private lands governed effectively by state and local regulators. (Federal lands are mostly off limits.)

The proposed methane rules would generate more delays, paperwork, costs and job losses, to comply with more federal regulations that will bring no detectable benefits – and much harm, at a time when plunging oil and gas prices are forcing drillers to reduce operations and lay people off.

President Obama devoted 15 lines of his 2015 State of the Union speech to climate fables and propaganda. His goal is steadily greater control over our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties, with little or no transparency or accountability for regulators, pseudo-scientists or activists.

It won’t be long before EPA and Big Green come for farmers and ranchers – to curtail “climate-wrecking” methane emissions from cattle, pig and sheep flatulence and dung, and exert greater control over agricultural water, dust and carbon dioxide. By then, there may be no one left to speak out.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the Save-the-Earth money machine.

Organic yield gap shrinking? Study actually shows it’s less sustainable than conventional ag

"yield is a central metric of sustainability. High yields are an indicator of efficient use of resources. High yields indicate that water, fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, labor, etc were successfully transformed into food instead weeds, bug food, and run off. There is nothing sustainable about pouring resources into a crop that are co-opted by weeds or wasted by pests and disease."

Marc Brazeau | January 20, 2015

Last month, The Proceedings of the Royal Society published a study entitled “Diversification practices reduce organic to conventional yield gap”.  The paper is the largest meta-analysis of comparative conventional farming to organic farming studies done to date. They put together a large data set and compared the yields between the two approaches and the effects of a wide range of variables.  The paper was met with a wide round of applause among foodies and organic activists. The idea of organic farming is very appealing, and many people hope that evidence that there is little difference in yields versus conventional agriculture, particularly where GMOs are grown, will lead to wider adoption. The problem in all this is that the study’s conclusions don’t match the findings–and the coverage of the study completely missed this salient fact……To Read More….

My Take - Although I'm not opposed to anyone who wishes to wallow in the "organic" or "all natural" fever swamps, I am however outraged at the hubris these people display. It's the same world over with the green movement and their cat's paws in the media. One lies and the other swears by those lies. Without having to read one study I've known from very early on all these "organic" claims was claptrap. How? Was it by "faith" I knew this? No, it was based on a rule I’ve never seen fail. 

“If you want to find out why people are doing what they do, find out how they're being rewarded.”

World over farmers abandoned organic for modern techniques - why?  Farmers are the most frugal people on the planet. It doesn’t mean they're cheap, it merely means they don't waste. Are we supposed to believe they abandoned "organic" in favor of what's called "conventional" farming techniques for no reason?  If modern techniques didn't reduce their overall costs, labor and increase their crop yield without increasing the amount of land being used they wouldn’t have made the change, because that change generated extra initial costs. And farmers don't spend money on things that don’t work.....better!  I find the real world experiences of  people who actually do these things for a living is far more enlightening than speculative claims based on assumptions, misinterpretation of facts and blatantly false studies that promote a billion dollar industry – organic farming!

Is Green Another Word For Insane?

From Benny Peiser's Global Warming Policy Foundation

Britain's Green Madness May Kill Shale Revolution
and Without Shale Gas UK Manufacturing Will Collapse

Today sees the UK Parliament consider an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill that would introduce a moratorium on unconventional gas wells in the UK. To coincide with the vote, the Environmental Audit Committee has produced one of its normal sham reports saying that industrial activity will all end in disaster, based as always on a series of interviews with environmentalists and pretty much nobody else. It's good to know that the views of electrohippies are not being overlooked. I gather that the committee's chairman Joan Whalley has been all over the BBC this morning, no doubt given the usual free pass by the eco-nutters who present programmes for the corporation. --Andrew Montford, Bishop Hill, 26 January 2015


By most estimates, the United Kingdom uses about three trillion cubic feet of natural gas every year. According to the British Geological Survey, there could be somewhere in the region of 1,329 trillion cubic feet of such gas under northern England alone. We would be mad to leave it there. We may be about to be mad. Today, the parliamentary environmental audit committee (EAC) will call for a moratorium on fracking. --The Times, 26 January 2015

Two of Britain’s biggest unions are urging Labour MPs not to support a ban on fracking as ministers signalled more concessions to head off a Commons rebellion. In a letter to Labour MPs, the GMB union said: “It would be premature to rule out the prospect of fracking when we don’t know if the industry is viable and, crucially, when so many of the issues around energy and security of supply remain unresolved.” The Unite union has also written to Labour MPs in the same terms. --Francis Elliott, The Times, 26 January 2015


A committee of MPs has been accused of listening to “ill-informed” green groups instead of scientific evidence, after it called for a ban on fracking for shale gas, citing health and environmental fears. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) on Monday called for fracking to be put on hold indefinitely, and at a minimum banned in national parks. Eight committee members, including former Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, have cited this as grounds for a moratorium on fracking, in an amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, due to be debated on Monday. But Government sources dismissed the EAC report as “total rubbish”, while academics criticised the Committee’s findings. --Emily Gosden, The Daily Telegraph, 26 January 2015

INEOS, one of the world’s largest chemical companies, today hit out at the Environmental Audit Committee’s proposal to call a halt to Shale gas development in the UK. The company believes that the EAC has overly focused on the potential risks rather than the benefits of Shale gas extraction. INEOS Director, Tom Crotty, said: “The UK needs Shale gas and we know that INEOS has the skills to safely extract it from the ground without damaging the environment. We have committed to public consultation and to share 6% of the entire revenue from any of our Shale gas wells with the local community. Without Shale gas, UK manufacturing is starting to collapse so we need to kick start the Shale gas industry, not put it on hold”. --Oil & Gas News, 26 January 2015