Wednesday, January 21, 2015
The Energy Deniers
We hear it all the time from the liberal left: those of us who legitimately question man’s impact on alleged global warming and call out the scandal plagued, phony facts used to support their hypothetical theories, are routinely labeled as, “Climate Deniers.”
Well, I have new term in 2015 for our friends on the left: “Energy Deniers.”
In 2015, the “Energy Deniers” in the White House, the EPA, and the U.S. Senate are out in force. Our misguided President, along with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and EPA Director Gina McCarthy, are elbowing each other for face time in front of network TV cameras to announce plans to deny the Keystone XL Pipeline, deny access to vast energy resources on federal lands, and deny our potential energy and manufacturing renaissance. And, they’ll do it all by imposing unnecessary and costly new environmental regulations that will surely raise energy prices for all of us while reducing energy production. This makes sense to who? Our “Energy Deniers” pander to the environmental fringe and dream of endless tax revenues that we will all pay for.
Against the backdrop of Sen. Schumer saying we should deny the Keystone Pipeline because it supposedly doesn’t create jobs, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers' clarion call for a costly new national carbon tax, we now learn of a new move by the White House and the EPA to impose another strict round of environmental regulations that will only drive up the price of energy in the U.S. This latest move by the EPA will have a harmful impact on countless American workers, small businesses, and energy consumers who desperately need affordable energy to make ends meet.
The EPA has already declared carbon a pollutant and ozone a pollutant. So now, EPA is gunning to declare methane gas a pollutant as well. Why? The obvious answer is that taxing methane is a great revenue-booster for the federal government. Unlimited carbon, ozone, and methane mean unlimited taxes on manufacturers and energy producers, but ultimately you and me (the consumer).
The silo mentality of this White House and the Democrat Party is by any description, amazing. How the President, key Democrats in the Senate, and agency heads can happily line up and announce real efforts to stall or completely choke off domestic energy production is unexplainable – especially given the recent election in which the vast majority of voters sided with candidates who support our energy industry and recognize how energy created here at home can lead us out of long term recession. When will the President and Democrat leaders realize that a robust energy industry, coupled with a resurgence in American manufacturing offered by lower energy costs, provide a real path to economic prosperity and job creation?
Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won resounding reelection in Kentucky on the promise to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants. Other leaders in the Senate won voter support by announcing they want to delay EPA ozone regulations because they are too burdensome and costly to businesses that will never become compliant with the new rules.
When President Obama was on the campaign trail, he told the head of the United Mine Workers Union that if we (the nation) have the technology to put a man on the moon, we have the technology to develop clean coal. Sadly, that was the last we ever heard of clean coal technology. The President clearly wants to shut down the coal industry and now has empowered his EPA hounds to target the natural gas industry with higher fees for carbon, ozone and methane emissions.
The EPA’s energy-denying agenda will likely remain robust and active throughout the year, with new rules expected in February to reduce methane pollution from oil and gas operations. EPA will also target carbon emissions for existing coal and natural gas power plants in rulings expected this summer. Let’s hope our newly elected GOP majority has the gumption to stand up and firm and push back on these needless and costly new regulations that will only raise energy prices for working families.
Oppressive Greenie land trust’s transgressions draw legal, legislative scrutiny
Revelations that a Virginia land trust inserted language into the terms of a conservation easement on a farm, without informing the state agency with which it shares oversight responsibility, have riled lawmakers in the General Assembly and garnered the attention of the commonwealth’s office of attorney general.
The news is but the latest development in the long-running dispute between Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta and the Warrenton, Virginia-based Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC). Once considered politically unassailable in Virginia, the PEC now finds itself increasingly isolated, as it tries to explain its conduct toward the farmer.
In 2006, Boneta purchased the 64-acre Liberty Farm from the PEC. On the day she closed on the property, the PEC filed a conservation easement on the farm. It was agreed that the PEC would share enforcement responsibility for the easement with the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), a quasi-state agency. While the VOF and Boneta have enjoyed a cordial relationship over the past eight years, the PEC’s intrusive enforcement of the easement, and Boneta’s spirited defense of her property rights, have drawn national attention and tarnished the PEC’s reputation throughout Virginia. Among the PEC most egregious acts are the following:
The PEC, a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization, and the husband and wife real estate team of Phil and Patty Thomas, who are members of the PEC, lobbied a zoning administrator and elected members of the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors to issue zoning citations against Mrs. Boneta’s property.
According to a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Boneta, the PEC entered into a partnership with Phil Thomas to assist him in enforcing the conservation easement, either jointly or under Thomas’s name. In so doing, the PEC exceeded its authority to act as a qualified holder under the Virginia Conservation Easement Act.
According to a “stewardship contact log” maintained by the VOF, an officer of the PEC contacted the agency on September 28, 2010, saying that “one of its board members runs a security company and could offer the use of security cameras to record visitors” to Boneta’s farm. The VOF emphatically refused the offer.
During a June 12, 2014, inspection of Boneta’s farm by the PEC, the PEC representative admitted before approximately 20 eyewitnesses, including representatives of the media, that he didn’t know the terms of the conservation easement he was there to enforce.
At a dramatic public meeting of the VOF’s Board of Trustees in Richmond in early November, at which the allegations against the PEC were heard, the board voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to approve a resolution conveying the PEC’s enforcement authority over the easement to the VOF. It was left to Boneta and the PEC to work out the terms of the conveyance.
But as talks between the two parties got underway, the VOF discovered that the PEC, when it filed the easement in 2006, had inserted language into the conservation easement that rendered parts of the document invalid. According to the Daily Signal (Jan. 10), the VOF now says that unless the easement language is amended, the agency determined that “it would be imprudent” to assume control of what “may be an indefensible liability.” Virginia Assistant Attorney General Richard Mahevich agrees with that assessment.
“Bait and Switch”
“The PEC did a bait and switch and filed an easement that both the VOF and the attorney general agree contains erroneous and inaccurate claims,” Boneta told the Daily Signal. “It is imperative that state lawmakers act decisively to protect property rights and end abusive practices.”
Alarmed by the widely reported abuses by the PEC, members of Virginia’s General Assembly are expected to take up legislation in the coming session to set standards for the oversight of conservation easements, and to limit the amount of land a county can have under easements. Virginia is facing a $322 million budget gap, and conservation easements are estimated to cost the state’s taxpayers $100 million a year.
Who’s the Real Environmental Steward?
When Martha Boneta purchased the farm from the PEC in 2006, the property was a dump. Trash was strewn all over the place, and a tree was growing in the dilapidated barn. As far as anyone can tell, the PEC did nothing to restore the farm in the six years that it owned it. At great personal expense, Martha rehabilitated the property, turning it into the beautiful working farm that it is today. Instead of applauding Martha’s environmental stewardship, the PEC, which for years had been an absentee owner, has harassed her relentlessly.
There are people who want to drive Martha Boneta off her land. By forcing her to sell low, they can buy low, sell high, and line their pockets with the proceeds.
It’s not going to work. Martha is staying put.
The EPA’s “Carbon Rule” Ignores Nuclear Power
Does it strike anyone else as odd that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production slights the single most important emission-free energy technology available?
It strikes me as both odd and unfortunate.
Nuclear power is a key to reducing the environmental impact of energy generation, responsible for preventing some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions more lives in the coming decades, according to a study by atmospheric scientist James Hansen. However, nuclear power is not getting the support it deserves in Washington.
I can’t help thinking of the two nuclear plants in Wisconsin and Vermont that were closed recently and prematurely, along with the possibility that as many as 30 more of the nation’s nuclear plants nationwide could also be shuttered by the EPA’s proposed “carbon rule”.
Unless something is done to stop it, the United States could wind up losing roughly a third of its fleet of 100 nuclear plants. Those plants are safe, reliable and environmentally benign, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the nation’s zero-carbon energy sources, eclipsing by far the combined contribution from solar, wind, geothermal and hydro power—which are the renewable energy sources most environmentalists champion.
The EPA’s bureaucrats studiously have failed to recognize the seriousness of the threat to nuclear power contained in their recommended “carbon rule”. Regulators in states like California, Illinois, New York and Texas share the blame because they, too, do not assign any value to nuclear power’s record of producing large amounts of electrical energy without polluting the air or loading the atmosphere with carbon emissions.
Nuclear plants are being whipsawed by competition from cheap natural gas and taxpayer-subsidized wind power.
EPA has proposed a regulation requiring states to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production by an average of 30% by 2030. The agency balked on the policy question of shielding existing nuclear plants from the rule. Under the agency’s plan, states with at-risk nuclear plants receive a 5.8% “credit” against carbon emissions as an incentive to keep the plants in operation. But the incentive is hardly a credit, because it is added to states’ overall emissions-cutting targets.
The EPA’s rule also shortchanges states with nuclear plants now under construction. Instead of rewarding Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee for proactive efforts to limit carbon emissions by building new nuclear plants, EPA includes those plants in states’ baseline carbon emissions calculations, thus requiring them to take regulatory compliance steps as if those plants were not on the drawing board.
Although the cost of building new nuclear plants is substantial, the costs of operating such plants are relatively low, because nuclear fuel is much cheaper than natural gas. Nationally, the need for nuclear power is projected to increase 29.5% by 2040, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Building more nuclear plants is the best option for large-scale production of clean and reliable electricity. Nuclear power has an important role to play in America’s energy future, provided that misguided public policies do not block it.
UK: Respected eco group slams solar panel farm plans
There's no such thing as a happy Greenie
Nature experts have slammed a decision to allow a solar farm with tens of thousands of panels to be built on protected wildlife-rich grassland.
West Dorset District Council has approved plans for the renewable energy project on Rampisham Down, one of the largest areas of lowland acid grassland in England and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its wildlife importance.
Conservationists fear the installation of more than 100,000 panels will destroy much of the site, which supports masses of flowers such as lousewort and eyebright, as well as wildlife including skylarks and waxcap fungi.
The scheme has been approved despite the council's own planning officers recommending it should be turned down, opposition from government conservation agency Natural England and Dorset Wildlife Trust, and an alternative site being proposed across the road.
The development of a 24 megawatt (MW) solar farm will consist of around 119,280 photovoltaic panels on steel frames installed in the 72-hectare (187 acre) former BBC Rampisham Down Transmitter Station site, following demolition of 34 out of 35 radio masts and towers.
Natural England had warned the plans would "damage or destroy" nationally important lowland acid grassland and heathland, and conflict with the legal protection Rampisham Down had been given as an SSSI.
It would also have "unacceptable and avoidable major adverse impacts" on the landscape of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which it is in, the Government's conservation agency said.
Ian Gardner, chairman of West Dorset District Council's development control committee, said: "In taking this decision we had to balance the economic and environmental benefits of the solar farm and the removal of the 34 redundant masts with the impact of the proposed scheme."
But Paul Wilkinson, head of living landscapes for the Wildlife Trusts, said: "Although the Wildlife Trusts are not opposed to solar farms and renewables in principle, we are shocked at the decision to develop this site which has legal protection for its national wildlife significance.
"This is one of the largest remaining areas of special acid grassland in lowland England. It is an area which supports a range of wildlife from adders to skylarks and waxcap fungi - and the development will result in extensive damage and habitat loss across a large part of this very special place."
He added: "This is simply the wrong place for this development and Rampisham should be protected not destroyed."
Dorset Wildlife Trust's chief executive Dr Simon Cripps said: "With a viable alternative site available, we can't understand why the council has allowed this important wildlife site to be lost to developers.
"Dorset Wildlife Trust supports renewable energy, in the right place.
"These special, legally protected wildlife sites are few and far between and there's no need to destroy them, especially in this case, when there is a perfectly acceptable alternative site nearby, which we support."
Australia: Conservative government not fond of sharks
And the Greenies are furious. A Greenie is a type of shark, after all. They're just as anti-people
The Abbot government has been accused of backing away from its international obligations on animal conservation after it declared it would opt out of protecting five shark species.
Australia is submitting a "reservation" to ensure a recent international listing granting protection status to three species of thresher shark and two species of hammerhead does not take effect in Australian waters.
Humane Society International has described the move as an "unprecedented act of domestic and international environmental vandalism".
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals gave new protection status to 31 migratory species at a conference in November.
The listings were agreed to by consensus, with Australia among the countries present for the talks.
But the government has had a change of heart and is seeking to opt out of co-operating with other countries to protect five of the shark species, arguing that Australia already has sufficient protections in place and the listing would have unintended consequences for fishers.
Alexia Wellbelove, senior program manager at Humane Society International, said the government was responding to complaints from recreational fishers who catch and release the sharks, and commercial fishers who can accidentally trap them while hunting for other fish.
If the five shark species were given international protection status, Australian laws would kick in, making it an offence to kill, injure, take or move the species in Australian waters.
The listings were due to take effect next month.
"We just think it's really unbelievably disappointing because Australia has always led the way on shark conservation and this is really a step backward," Ms Wellbelove said.
"It's a very sad day for protection of the marine environment if we take the easy road and opt of these things, rather than taking steps to protect our domestic waters."
In a letter to Human Society International, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Australia already had "strong domestic measures in place" for the five shark species in question but this did "not negate our support for international action related to these species, or for shark conservation more broadly".
Nine other migratory species given listings at the convention can be found in Australia and the protection status will apply.
Mr Hunt said Australia was seeking a reservation for the five shark species because a listing would have unintended consequences for fishers as a result of Australia's laws being tougher than required by the convention.
"Not doing so could see recreational fishers being fined up to $170,000 and face 2 years in jail, even when fishing in accordance with their permits," he said.
"There are still strong measures in place to protect thresher and hammerhead sharks in Australia and these will continue.
"The Australian government will continue to actively participate in shark conservation under the convention as a signatory of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks, and through $4.6 million funding for shark research and conservation activities."
Britain's radical Green Party agenda
Six months ago, they were on the very edges of British politics. Now, they are within touching distance of dictating terms to the future government.
A surge in support has seen the Green Party overtake the Liberal Democrats in the polls, with support at 11 per cent. Membership is now greater than the Ukip's.
And, with hopes of winning three seats in the general election, Natalie Bennett believes her party will take part in a “confidence and supply” arrangement, propping up a fragile minority administration in exchange for key policies.
What might they demand?
The party is often dubbed the “Ukip of the left”. But an examination of the party's core priorities - in a document called Policies for a Sustainable Society, set at the party's annual conference - reveals they are far more radical in their aims than Nigel Farage's outfit.
In the short term, a Green administration would impose a string of new taxes, ramp up public spending to unprecedented levels and decriminalise drugs, brothels and membership of terrorist groups.
In the long term, they want to fundamentally change life as we know it.
ZERO GROWTH ECONOMY
Critics call the party’s adherents “watermelons” – green on the outside, deepest red on the inside.
It’s not quite right.
Karl Marx and his pupils championed economic growth and personal consumption: five year plans, tractor factories and fridges for all. The row, for them, was whether the planned economy was a stronger engine than the free market.
The Greens want something very different.
Caroline Lucas and colleagues regard economic growth as incompatible with protecting the planet and a fulfilling personal life.
While their rivals recognise more trade, more innovation, more competition and more globalisation as an engine for prosperity for everyone on the planet, the Greens argue it is nothing more than a race to the bottom than has made the poor poorer, the rich richer, eroded pillages the earth.
The party’s manifesto argues for zero, or even negative growth and falling levels of personal consumption. Britain would be in permanent recession; families would become materially poorer each year. After centuries of growing global connectivity, the Greens want to see greater national self-reliance.
Cottage industries, allotments and co-operatives are good. Banks, supermarkets, multi-national companies and resource extraction are very, very bad.
And while the Labour and the Tories compete on job creation, the Greens argue that government policy should make paid work “less necessary”, with people making their living from the home-based “informal economy” of sharing and barter.
THE CITIZENS’ INCOME
The flagship policy is an unconditional, non-withdrawable income of £71 a week for everyone in living in Britain “as a right of citizenship”, regardless of wealth or whether they are seeking work.
Benefits and the tax-free personal allowance will be abolished, and top-ups given for people with children or disabilities, or to pay rent and mortgages. No-one will see a reduction in benefits, and most will see a substantial increase. Parents will be entitled to two years’ paid leave from work.
The policy will enable people to “choose their own types and patterns of work”, and will allow people to take up “personally satisfying and socially useful work”.
It will cost somewhere between £240-280 billion a year – more than double the current health budget, and ten times the defence budget. Those costs will be off-set by some reduction to the welfare bill, through the replacement of jobseekers’ allowance.
TAX ON PRESENTS
Under Green plans, inheritance tax – “to prevent the accumulation of wealth and power by a privileged class” – will no longer just tax the dead.
Under radical reforms, it will cover gifts made while the giver is still alive – raising the prospect of levies on cars, jewellery or furniture given by parents to their children. There will be exemptions for some large gifts, “such as those received on marriage”.
There will be a threshold for the tax, with receipts calculated over five years – but the party does not set out at what point the levy kicks in. New, higher rates of income tax will be imposed.
VAT will be abolished – and replaced with new levies based on how much environmental damage a product causes. New resource taxes would apply to wood, metal and minerals, and steeper levies imposed on cars.
Crucially, import taxes will be levied on goods brought to Britain reflecting the “ecological impact” of making them – with tariffs reintroduced for trade between Britain and the rest of Europe, ending the free trade bloc.
DRUGS AND BROTHELS
The trade and cultivation of cannabis will be decriminalised under Green policy, along with possession of Class A and B drugs for personal use. Anti-rave laws would be scrapped.
Higher taxes will be brought in on alcohol and tobacco, and a complete alcohol advertising ban imposed.
All elements of the sex industry will be decriminalised, and prostitutes could no longer be discriminated against in child custody cases.
The Greens also want to see “significantly reduced” levels of imprisonment, with jail only used when there is a “substantial risk of a further grave crime” or in cases where offence are so horrific that offenders would be at risk of vigilantes. Prisoners will be given the vote.
Large schools will be broken up, to have no more than 700 pupils. SATS, early years tests and league tables will be abolished, and “creative” subjects given equal parity to the “academic”.
Independent schools will lose their charitable status and pay corporation tax, while church schools will be stripped of taxpayer funding. Religious instruction will be banned in school hours.
Tuition fees will be abolished - but state research funding for universities will increase to reduce a reliance on “biased” commercial research.
THE BEYONCE TAX
Under cultural reforms, the Greens will explore a “a tax on superstar performances” to support “local cultural enterprises”.
The BBC will be forced to show educational programming during prime time, giving it “equal precedence” to entertainment show and not “ghettoised at inconvenient times”.
Foreign companies will be stripped of newspapers and television shows if they control too much of the market. The “overall volume” of advertising on TV and newspapers will be controlled and cut, as part of a war on the “materialist and consumption driven culture which is not sustainable”.
The England football, rugby and cricket teams would no longer play against countries where “normal, friendly, respectful or diplomatic relations are not possible.” Football clubs would be owned by co-operatives and not traded on the stock markets.
DEATH OF DUTY FREE
The Greens will aim for all energy to be supplied from renewables, with wind the main source of power by 2030.
Under a new hierarchy for transport, pedestrians and bikes come first – and aeroplanes last.
Buses and trains will be electric by 2030, while taxes and regulations will be imposed to force people to buy smaller, lighter and less-powerful cars.
No more new airports or runways will be built, and existing ones nationalised. All new homes and businesses must by law provide bicycle parking. Helicopter travel would be regulated “more strictly”. The sale of alcohol on planes and airports will be tightly restricted to prevent air-rage, and the air on inbound flights tested for disease.
Advertising of holiday flights will be controlled by law to halt the “promotion of a high-carbon lifestyle”. New taxes would be imposed on carriers to reduce passenger numbers.
THE NHS TAX
Foundation hospitals and internal markets will be abolished, PFI abandoned and prescription charges abolished. A new NHS Tax will be introduced specifically to fund the health service.
Assisted dying will be legalised, and the law on abortion liberalised to allow nurses to carry it out. “Alternative” medicine will be promoted. Private healthcare will be more heavily taxed, with special levies on private hospitals that employ staff who were trained on the NHS.
It will be a criminal offence, with “significant fines”, to stop a woman from breastfeeding in a restaurant or shop, and formula milk will be more tightly regulated.
In order to prevent “overpopulation” burdening the earth, the state will provide free condoms and fund research for new contraceptives.
VEGETARIANISM FOR ALL
A Green party would impose “research, education and economic measures” to drive a “transition from diets dominated by meat”. Factory farming would be abolished, and the sale of fur criminalised and shooting banned. Whips and jumps would be banned from horse racing.
SIGN UP TO AL QAEDA
International aid should be increased by nearly 50 per cent to one per cent of GDP under Green Policy.
Merely being a member of Al Qaeda, the IRA and other currently proscribed terrorist groups will no longer be a criminal offence under Green plans, and instead a Green Government should seek to “address desperate motivations that lie behind many atrocities labelled ‘terrorist’,” the policy book states.
Terrorism, it adds, “is an extremely loaded term. Sometimes governments justify their own terrorist acts by labelling any groups that resist their monopoly of violence 'terrorist’.”
Britain will leave NATO, end the special relationship with the US, and unilaterally abandon nuclear weapons. A standing army, navy and airforce is “unnecessary”. Bases will be turned into nature reserves and the arms industry “converted” to producing windturbines.
“Richer regions do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term,” the party’s policy book states.
A Green Government will “progressively reduce” border controls, including an amnesty for illegal immigrants after five years.
Access to benefits, the right to vote and tax obligations will apply to everyone living on British soil, regardless of passport. The policy book states: “We will work to create a world of global inter-responsibility in which the concept of a 'British national' is irrelevant and outdated.”
Political parties will be funded by the state, and the electoral system changed. The monarchy will be abolished.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here or here
Posted by JR at 1:41 AM