Sunday, February 26, 2017

Dakota Access oil pipeline camp cleared of protesters

Authorities on Thursday cleared a protest camp where opponents of the Dakota Access oil pipeline had gathered for the better part of a year, searching tents and huts and arresting three dozen holdouts who had defied a government order to leave.

It took 3½ hours for about 220 officers and 18 National Guard members to methodically search the protesters’ temporary homes and arrest people, including a man who climbed atop a building and stayed there for more than an hour before surrendering.

Native Americans who oppose the $3.8 billion pipeline established the Oceti Sakowin camp last April on federal land near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to draw attention to their concerns that the project will hurt the environment and sacred sites — a charge that Dallas-based pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners disputes. The camp gained increased attention starting in August after its population had grown and authorities made their first arrests. At its height, the camp included thousands of people, but the numbers had dwindled during the winter and as the fight over the pipeline moved into the courts.

The Army Corps of Engineers said it needed to clear the camp ahead of spring flooding, and had ordered everyone to leave by 2 p.m. Wednesday. The agency said it was concerned about protesters’ safety and about the environmental effects of tents, cars, garbage, and other items in the camp being washed into nearby rivers.

Most protesters left peacefully Wednesday when authorities closed the camp, but some stayed overnight in defiance of the government order.

As police in full riot gear worked to arrest the stragglers Thursday, cleanup crews began razing buildings on the square-mile piece of property at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers.

Authorities chose to enter the camp ‘‘cautiously and tactfully’’ to ensure the safety of both officers and protesters, according to Highway Patrol Lieutenant Tom Iverson. The arrests were a last resort, he said. ‘‘We did not want this. Unfortunately, there were some bad actors that forced us into this position,’’ he said.

Only one person resisted arrest; otherwise there were no major incidents and there were no injuries, Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said.

Energy Transfer Partners began work on the last big section of the oil pipeline this month after the Army gave it permission to lay pipe under a reservoir on the Missouri River. When complete, the pipeline will carry oil through the Dakotas and Iowa to a shipping point in Illinois.


UK: £450m lost over failed green power programme

Minister who backed plan now works in sector

Britain is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising power stations to burn American wood pellets that do more harm to the climate than the coal they replaced, a study has found.

Chopping down trees and transporting wood across the Atlantic Ocean to feed power stations produces more greenhouse gases than much cheaper coal, according to the report. It blames the rush to meet EU renewable energy targets, which resulted in ministers making the false assumption that burning trees was carbon-neutral.

Green subsidies for wood pellets were championed by Chris Huhne when he was energy and climate change secretary. Mr Huhne, 62, was jailed in 2013 for perverting the course of justice


NY’s Legislators Rise Up Against Governor Cuomo’s Crony ‘Green Energy’ Boondoggle

(At least ) two notions from famous Americans come to mind when contemplating New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $8 billion flight of unilateral crony “green energy” fancy.

Playwright George Bernard Shaw noted: “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”  And American social scientist William Graham Sumner penned in 1883 “The Forgotten Man” – in which he rightly identifies the “forgotten men” as the citizens paying for the government fiascos in which politicians engage.

What brings these men’s wise words to a New York state of mind?: “Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a unilateral mass expansion of government – in the name of fighting global warming…oops, I mean climate change: ‘The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) earlier Monday passed a new set of standards that by 2030 is supposed to ensure that half of New York’s energy needs are met by renewable methods, ranging from solar and wind, as well as hydro and nuclear power.’”

Is that gi-normous “green energy” increase possible? Not so much as it is highly improbable: “As of 2015, New York only generated 11% of its energy via renewables. A tally it has taken them decades – and tens of billions of subsidy dollars – to attain. And now they have mandated a nearly 500% increase – in only fifteen years. Predicated, again, upon energy sources that require massive, ongoing government cash infusions – and in most instances take more energy to produce than they provide.”

The lofty “green energy” goals nigh certainly won’t happen – but the massive taxes to pay for the attempt certainly will: “(T)he Public Service Commission also included a new (energy) tax worth $8 billion.”

That is a HUGE tax increase.  And where does most of that robbed-from-Peter-the-Forgotten-Man money go?  To Cuomo’s Paul: “(D)ownstate energy consumers bore a disproportionate burden of the cost of state subsidies that will support three upstate nuclear power plants.”

Wait – who?: “(The tax) money will go to plant owner Exelon, a Chicago-based Fortune 100 company with annual revenues of over $34 billion.”

So let’s run the checklist.  Cuomo unilateral government power grab?  Check.  Executed in the name of global warming climate change – the Greatest Scam on Earth?  Check.  Containing completely unrealistic government-mandated “green energy” goals?  Check.  And monstrous tax increases?  Check.  With the tax hike coin taken from faceless citizens – going to a government crony?  Check.

Cuomo’s mandate-and-tax-riddled “green energy” plan is a guaranteed disaster-to-be.  It must be stopped.  Thankfully, New York’s legislators – the Forgotten Men’s representatives – are rising up to stop it.

Behold S. 4417.  Sponsored by state Republican Senator Tony Avella, it strikes right at the heart of Cuomo’s true objective, and the only thing that gets his boondoggle off the ground – the mammoth tax increase: “(It) would direct the state PSC to repeal any electric rate increase ‘where such increase is a subsidy to upstate nuclear power plants.’”

New York’s legislature should get behind Senator Avella’s bill – which frees the Empire State from Cuomo’s cronyism – and pass it.

Time’s a-wasting – for New York’s legislature to get out in front of and prevent Cuomo’s monumental tax-money-wasting.  They absolutely should not waste one moment more.

New York’s Peters and Forgotten Men will thank you.


California Rains on 'Settled Science'

Californians are scratching their heads at a seemingly relentless deluge of rain — something that amounted to little more than wishful thinking this time last year. A multi-year drought hit the state’s agriculture system hard, but this winter, to everyone’s surprise, rainfall came. And came. And then came some more. According to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor report, “As of February 21, the daily Sierra Nevada snowpack was 186% of average for the date and 151% of the April 1 climatological peak.” Precipitation there is anywhere from 223% to 230% of average.

Do problems continue? Sure. Particularly in southern California, low water levels persist, as noted by the Drought Monitor: “Even though the reservoirs were responding quite favorably, they still have a long way to go before we can classify this area as drought-free.” Nevertheless, the report continues, “With the removal of … D3 [extreme drought], D2 [severe drought] is now the worst drought condition in the state; August 6, 2013 was the last time California had no D3.” Contrast this to last February, when NOAA reports that 61% of the state fell under extreme conditions. Californians waited a long time for this. And depending on who their source was for news, they thought it would never come.

For example, in June 2016, BuzzFeed ran this alarming headline: “El Niño Is Dead And California Could Be ‘In A Drought Forever.’” After underwhelming rains during last winter’s El Niño and the expectation of drier than average conditions typically experienced during La Niña (this season’s episode), the article dramatically foreshadowed what alarmists wrongly predicted was a perma-drought, not unlike what they prophesied for Texas.

NASA climatologist Bill Patzert defeatedly stated, “We are in a drought forever. I can’t think of any scenario where we would have six wet El Niño years in a row, which would top out all the reservoirs and the ground water supply.” Apparently, we don’t need to. This year shattered expectations, once again demonstrating how much we still don’t know about the climate.

Of course, California could fall back into another expansive drought. Or maybe this summer’s predicted El Niño will behave like normal and keep the bounty coming for months and years to come. Only time will tell. But recent developments should teach us to expect the unexpected and not fall victim to ridiculous predictions that serve only to advance partisan interests.


Hundreds of scientists urge Trump to withdraw from U.N. climate-change agency

MIT’s Richard Lindzen says policies cause economic harm with ‘no environmental benefits’

More than 300 scientists have urged President Trump to withdraw from the U.N.’s climate change agency, warning that its push to curtail carbon dioxide threatens to exacerbate poverty without improving the environment.

In a Thursday letter to the president, MIT professor emeritus Richard Lindzen called on the United States and other nations to “change course on an outdated international agreement that targets minor greenhouse gases,” starting with carbon dioxide.

“Since 2009, the US and other governments have undertaken actions with respect to global climate that are not scientifically justified and that already have, and will continue to cause serious social and economic harm — with no environmental benefits,” said Mr. Lindzen, a prominent atmospheric physicist.

Signers of the attached petition include the U.S. and international atmospheric scientists, meteorologists, physicists, professors and others taking issue with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], which was formed in 1992 to combat “dangerous” climate change.

The 2016 Paris climate accord, which sets nonbinding emissions goals for nations, was drawn up under the auspices of the UNFCCC.

“Observations since the UNFCCC was written 25 years ago show that warming from increased atmospheric CO2 will be benign — much less than initial model predictions,” says the petition.

Mr. Trump said during the campaign he would “cancel” U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement, which was ratified in September by former President Barack Obama over the objections of Senate Republicans, who argued that the accord requires Senate ratification under the U.S. Constitution.

Myron Ebell, a Competitive Enterprise Institute scholar who led the Trump transition team on the Environmental Protection Agency, told reporters last month in London that the president would pull out of the Paris Agreement.

Advocates for climate change policies have called for Mr. Trump to honor the agreement, under which nations agree to enact policies to keep the increase in global temperatures this century under 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

Last week the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reaffirmed its support for the Paris Agreement in a letter to Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, saying the agreement is “urgently needed if we are to meet our common and differentiated responsibilities for the effects of climate change.”

More than 700 companies and investors have signed onto a statement urging Mr. Trump to abide by the Paris accord coordinated by nine environmental groups, including the American Sustainable Business Council, the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Fund.

“Failure to build a low-carbon economy puts American prosperity at risk. But the right action now will create jobs and boost US competitiveness,” said the statement on “We pledge to do our part, in our own operations and beyond, to realize the Paris Agreement’s commitment of a global economy that limits global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.”

Challenging the catastrophic climate change narrative, Mr. Lindzen describes carbon dioxide as “plant food, not poison.”

“Restricting access to fossil fuels has very negative effects upon the wellbeing of people around the world,” he says in his letter.

“It condemns over 4 billion people in still underdeveloped countries to continued poverty.”



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