Friday, September 16, 2016
Last Year the Federal Government Said This Species Did Not Need to Be Regulated, but Now They Are Going to Regulate Anyway
Last year the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the greater sage grouse did not qualify for coverage under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),perhaps because the observed numbers of male grouse had increased by 63% from 2013-2015. This decision was met with relief across the western United States, where livelihoods were threatened with destruction by draconian ESA regulations. But regulators can never be content with not regulating, so last week the Department of Interior (DOI) announced new guidelines to restrict economic activity in the name of protecting the grouse.
Evidence abounds that the grouse continues to do well, with counts increasing for the third year, indicating that state-based efforts to help the grouse are succeeding. But the federal government cannot leave well-enough alone. It is insisting on imposing new regulations on land across the western United States, regulations that could end up actually hindering state conservation. If the grouse is recovering and state efforts succeeding, one might wonder why the federal government is still insisting on meddling. Two answers: power and radical ideology.
For a federal regulator, of course, the concept of a problem being solved without the involvement of the federal government is difficult to grasp. For them, the answer to any question and any problem is more government. This is why the DOI insists on proceeding to regulate for no reason.
The more relevant rationale for these new regulations, however, is radical environmentalist ideology. This ideology despises productive activity like oil and gas drilling, farming, or raising livestock. Across the country, radical environmentalists have sought to use the power of the federal government to suppress or destroy productive enterprise in the name of the environment. In this crusade, they have had the willing support and collusion of the Obama administration. These new regulations are merely the latest developments in the Obama administration’s war on the economy.
A large percentage of the range of the grouse is located on federal land, an opening that the radical environmentalists are seizing upon to advance their cause. The guidelines announced by the DOI place new restrictions and hurdles for anyone seeking to put federal leases to productive use, and will bury ranchers, miners, and oil and gas producers under a mountain of paperwork. These rules are purported to be for the protection of the grouse, but the real reason is to further squeeze those businesses which are out of favor with radical environmentalists.
This is the power of the regulatory state in action. The law does not call for regulatory action, so instead they find a work around and impose new rules anyway. Curbing the size and power of the regulatory state to prevent this kind of overreach should be an imperative for all Americans.
British weather the same as it was a century ago -- due to climate change
Britain recorded its warmest September day in more than 100 years on Tuesday with temperatures rising to over 34 degrees Celsius in the southern county of Kent.
The Met Office said on its Twitter page the town of Gravesend recorded a temperature of 34.4 degrees Celsius (93.92°Fahrenheit), making it the hottest day of the year. "This makes it the warmest September day since 1911," it said.
London's Heathrow airport and Kew Gardens recorded temperatures of 32.8 Celsius, The Met said earlier.
Londoners took to the city's numerous parks to make the most of the sunshine while in the southern city of Brighton, swimmers headed to the beach.
At London Zoo, keepers sought to cool animals down from the heat, such as giving ice cubes packed with tasty morsels to the meerkats.
"They come from the Kalahari desert in southern Africa so it can get very warm during the day but they weren't born in the Kalahari desert so they are quite acclimatised to the UK weather," zookeeper Grant Kother said.
"So although they are quite hardy when it comes to warm weather, it is always nice to give them an option to cool down."
Worldwide, this year is set to be the hottest since records began in the late 19th century, due to a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases and an El Nino event that has warmed the Pacific Ocean, the U.N. weather agency says.
And NASA said on Monday that last month was the warmest August on record. Last year, world leaders meeting in Paris agreed a sweeping plan to shift from fossil fuels this century to limit climate change.
A conversation with Jill Stein: what the Green Party candidate believes
If it hurts the US and takes our freedoms away, Jill is for it.
Usually, when reporters interview the long-shot Green Party presidential candidate, they ask about her low poll numbers, or about whether she’ll spoil the election for Hillary Clinton, and about how she plans to attract Bernie Sanders’s voters.
I wanted to ask a different set of questions: Exactly what would Stein want to do if elected president? How does she think about America’s public policy problems? Does she have a detailed understanding of the trade-offs involved in governance — or does she rely on hand-waving and oversimplified panaceas?
Stein and I sat down in Vox’s offices in New York City this summer to talk about these issues. She went over her proposal to instantly cancel $1.3 trillion in student debt and outlined her argument that the EPA should stop all new fossil-fuel infrastructure right now (even without congressional approval). These proposals tend to be way outside the mainstream policy conversation, so I asked her to talk through her reasoning.
Who's Up for a Carbon Tax?
Most Beltway dwellers are notoriously oblivious to the needs of people in less affluent regions of America. Therefore most of them don’t understand the importance of inflation. Take low gas prices. Taxpayer-subsidized public transit makes price swings less noticeable on the wallets of workers in large metropolitan areas and even less so for those making six-figure salaries, including your senator and representative. But for most of middle class America, the difference between spending $3 or $4 for a gallon of gasoline and $1.95 can be prodigious.
So it’s hugely disappointing to see leftists exploiting low gas prices caused by the oil glut by calling for more red tape to curb driver behavior. The Washington Post editorial board laments the fact that “when oil prices sink, people worry less about conservation, no matter how environmentally desirable. In fact, higher fuel efficiency might also encourage some people to drive more than they would have otherwise, because their gas bills are lower.” And though the editors believe firmly in fuel efficiency standards, lower gas prices make them less than fully effective. So why not add another disincentive in the form of a carbon tax?
“A carbon tax would put a lower ceiling on national gasoline use without more aggressive regulatory interventions,” the Post writes, totally neglecting to mention that said tax is a very aggressive regulatory intervention. Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw highlights a few issues: “First of all, higher gas prices disproportionately affect low income people far more than the more affluent. Wealthy citizens aren’t staying up at night worrying about how much gas costs. And where are the poorer commuters going? For the vast majority of travel they are shuffling back and forth to work. … Hourly workers of modest means have to make every penny count and if you jack up their cost of commuting they take the biggest hit. Also, gas prices aren’t going to be low forever.”
In a free market, competition drives innovation. But the government is going about it completely opposite by attempting to lower emissions through coercion. We’re all poorer and less free as a result.
Critics Protest Obama Administration Overriding Court To Halt Dakota Access Pipeline
Greenies hate pipelines
Critics say the Obama Administration’s decision to override a federal court’s decision -- to allow construction of an oil pipeline in Dakota to continue after an Indian Tribe sought an injunction to halt the project – will hurt working Americans and the economy.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg ruled that, after careful consideration, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe “had not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here,” and the pipeline project should contine.
Shortly after the decision was released, the Obama administration said it “appreciated” the court ruling but called for the project to come to a halt.
“The Obama administration just made the decision to put politics above jobs, trying to stall, obfuscate, and scapegoat in order to block this job-creating energy infrastructure project,” National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement.
“The administration has ignored the rule of law because it doesn’t like the court’s findings that the project can move forward,” said Timmons.
“This sets a bad precedent that could threaten future infrastructure projects of all types,” he said. “For manufacturers, this means the men and women supplying steel pipe, coatings, construction equipment, compressor motors, gauges and instruments, sand and gravel and other key components to the Dakota Access project are sitting idle, without work.”
“We understand there are concerns, and above all, we want discussions about this project to be peaceful, productive and respectful,” Timmons said. “But it’s time for the administration to put its political agenda aside.”
“It’s time to put people to work, including the many manufacturers who will build the components of this project,” he said. “Let’s come together to move forward, create jobs, strengthen our economy and boost manufacturing.”
“The joint statement issued by the Department of Justice, the Department of the Army, and the Department of the Interior immediately after Judge Boasberg’s ruling is deeply troubling and could have a long-lasting chilling effect on private infrastructure development in the United States,” Craig Stevens, spokesman for the Midwest Alliance for Infrastructure Now (MAIN), said in a statement.
“Judge Boasberg had already issued a thoughtful, thorough decision agreeing that the Army Corps had done its job and had adequately consulted with and considered Tribal concerns,” said Stevens, “which in turn led to more than $1.4 billion in investments by Energy Transfer Partners – the pipeline construction company.”
“It is also concerning that the federal government would threaten the livelihoods of thousands of workers who rely on good governance to support a stable workplace,” Stevens said. “Based on the Administration’s actions today, these workers’ jobs are in peril.”
“Should the Administration ultimately stop this construction, it would set a horrific precedent,” he said. “No sane American company would dare expend years of effort and billions of dollars weaving through an onerous regulatory process receiving all necessary permits and agreements, only to be faced with additional regulatory impediments and be shutdown halfway through completion of its project.”
“We hope and trust that the government will base its final decision on sound science and engineering, not political winds or pressure,” Stevens said.
But the Obama administration sided with the tribe.
"This case has highlighted the need for a serious discussion on whether there should be nationwide reform with respect to considering tribes' views on these types of infrastructure projects," the federal agencies said in the joint statement.
“Therefore, this fall, we will invite tribes to formal, government-to-government consultations on two questions: (1) within the existing statutory framework, what should the federal government do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure-related reviews and decisions and the protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights; and (2) should new legislation be proposed to Congress to alter that statutory framework and promote those goals,” the joint statement said.
In his ruling, Judge Boasberg said: “As it has previously mentioned, this Court does not lightly countenance any depredation of lands that hold significance to the Standing Rock Sioux. Aware of the indignities visited upon the Tribe over the last centuries, the Court scrutinizes the permitting process here with particular care. Having done so, the Court must nonetheless conclude that the Tribe has not demonstrated that an injunction is warranted here. The Court, therefore, will issue a contemporaneous Order denying the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction.”
After the statement by the Obama administration, the tribe issued its own statement.
"Our hearts are full, this an historic day for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and for tribes across the nation," said tribal chairman Dave Archambault II. "Our voices have been heard."
Reuters reported that jobs are not the only segment of the economy to be affected by the Obama administration’s decision.
“With the U.S. government siding in favor of Native American protests against a key North Dakota pipeline, local oil producers and shippers are facing the possibility of greater delays in getting a quick route to ship oil to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Reuters regarding the 40-mile stretch of the pipeline through North Dakota.
“The 1,100-mile (1,770 km), $3.7 billion Dakota Access pipeline was originally expected to start up later this year, to deliver more than 470,000 barrels per day of crude from North Dakota’s prolific Bakken shale play through Illinois and toward refinery row in the U.S. Gulf Coast,” said Reuters.
“Should the pipeline be delayed for a substantial period, it would affect producers who had counted on demand for oil to be rapidly shipped to the U.S. Gulf, as well as shippers who could find themselves stuck with crude, putting them at risk of unloading it at a loss.”
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 12:26 AM