Monday, February 20, 2017
The war on coal is over with Scott Pruitt in at EPA, sets stage for 2018 Senate elections
The Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt on Friday to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Vote was 52 to 46
Ever since his time as Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt has fought the EPA at every turn throughout the country. Pruitt joined 11 other Republican Attorneys General in 2013 to fight against the sue and settle lawsuits of the EPA which provided the agency with wide latitude over the enforcement of environmental law, where environmental groups sue the EPA and to avoid further litigation, the parties settle the suit and the EPA is given permission to address the issue with newly expanded powers.
There will also be an opportunity for the EPA to reconsider the 2009 Carbon Endangerment Finding, defining carbon dioxide as a harmful pollutant under the Clean Air Act, which has been used to justify the continual implementation of regulations that expand the agency’s power and wage a war on coal via the new and existing power plant rules.
The EPA has successfully forced states to regulate the coal industry as an extension of the Clean Air Act, and given itself far more oversight than ever intended.
This assault on coal has placed burdens on the economy that Pruitt has consistently seen as both unattainable and unnecessary, arguing in 2014 in response to a new EPA regulation on emission controls that “The EPA can’t force utility companies to actually incorporate emission control measures unless they’re achievable through technology. And here, there really isn’t any demonstrated technology that will see a reduction of 30 percent… this is coerced conservation.”
Pruitt’s constant defense against this coercion by the agency built by the Obama Administration allowed all 52 Senate Republicans to back him Thursday morning as his confirmation process moved forward. However, Republicans were not alone in their favor for Pruitt.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp both voted in support of Scott Pruitt as well, and this vote could be what saves them in 2018 as Democrats defend a whopping 25 Senate seats. Even Democrats are starting to learn that the war on coal is hurting the jobs of their constituents and polluting the economies of their states.
The Washington Post reported in Dec. 2016 that West Virginians were “euphoric” and “thrilled” by Trump’s win noting that “Before the price of coal collapsed, before the number of working miners in the state fell to a 100-year low of 15,000, miners could make $60,000, even $75,000 a year, without a high school education. Walmart money doesn’t come close.”
In states with a strong mining industry, a senator’s vote for Pruitt is a vote to return economic possibility and the American dream to thousands of workers.
Even Heidi Heitkamp has been consistently willing to oppose her Democratic establishment when it comes to assisting her constituents in getting back to work. In 2015 Heitkamp argued “EPA’s over-reaching policy won’t work for North Dakota. We now have EPA in the driver’s seat dictating how we generate and transmit electricity, and that’s a dangerous road to go down.”
Constituents in states like North Dakota and West Virginia were integral in developing a support base for Trump that Democrats willfully ignored. Heitkamp and Manchin have proved that they are listening to their people, other Democrats would be wise to do the same.
The rust belt was integral to Trump’s election in part because of their reliance on coal; for states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Indiana, three of which Trump won, Trump was the easy decision to get the people back to work and make the economy stable once again. Yet all four of these states have Democrats in office, all up in 2018 as well, who voted against Pruitt: Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Mark Warner and Joe Donnelly.
In a statement, Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning blasted these senators as “those politicians who voted against the Pruitt nomination told the workers in their states they prefer San Francisco radical environmentalist campaign cash over the votes and livelihoods of their constituents.”
Clearly, Heitkamp and Manchin are focused on creating jobs for their constituents and retaining their position in 2018, and proof was their vote for Pruitt. Brown, Casey, Warner and Donnelly, not so much.
President Obama led the war on coal, and now Scott Pruitt is about to end it as EPA Administrator. The work he has done in Oklahoma sets the stage for ending EPA overreach and in doing so, he can force other Democrats in the Senate to actually start listening to their constituents — or else face the music in 2018.
Coal is a gift that we have in abundance. The vast reserves of coal guarantee the United States energy for hundreds of years. Coal is efficient. No fuel, other than uranium, is cheaper. Coal burns clean in modern plants. Strip-mining coal in the modern way improves the landscape. According to the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. demonstrated coal reserve base is 477 billion 2,000-pound tons, enough for more than 500 years at current consumption rates.
In the eyes of the diminishing crowd of believers in catastrophic global warming, coal is evil, a demon. Why? Because it is mostly carbon, and when coal is burned, carbon dioxide (CO2) is created. CO2 is supposed to create a disaster. As the predicted disaster (global warming) fails to materialize, a new disaster (extreme weather) is invented. The disasters that never materialize are blamed on CO2 and indirectly on coal.
Apocalyptic ideology needs scapegoats. Coal and CO2 serve well. According to the Sierra Club, demon coal will destroy our world and poison our children. If the Sierra Club only offered mountain meadows and wildflowers, it would be pretty boring and wouldn't raise $100 million every year. Demons and conspiracies are the stuff that raises big money.
The CO2 released by burning coal is wonderful stuff. Plants breathe CO2, and if there is more CO2 in the air, the plants breathe easy, grow faster, and need less water. Greenhouse operators put CO2 generators in their greenhouses because more CO2 helps plants thrive. Worldwide agriculture is going strong, partly because the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased from about 0.03% to 0.04%.
The idea that "science" proves that CO2 is a demon is most plausible to people with limited exposure to down and dirty science. Down and dirty science is at its dirtiest when it is seeking money or protecting its money. Former president Dwight Eisenhower, in his 1961 farewell address, anticipated global warming:
The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present - and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
Eisenhower's fears have materialized. A not so elite alliance of climate scientists and federal bureaucrats has captured public policy, demonizing CO2 and predicting a global disaster. Around 2010, the disaster narrative shifted from "global warming" to "extreme weather." That should have closed down the demonization of CO2. It's not fair to keep changing disasters. But they had to change their disaster, because global warming stopped beginning in 1998. By 2010, the revision of the predicted disaster was well underway.
The failure of global warming to continue after 1998 is powerful evidence that the theories predicting disastrous global warming from CO2 are simply wrong and that the amount of warming that might happen is likely negligible or beneficial. Global environmental data suggests that global warming is a scare story whose time has passed. The failure of the globe to warm for the last two decades is validated by satellite temperature measurements, the most reliable form.
In 2015, an attempt was made to erase the global warming pause by re-analyzing ocean temperatures. That attempt has been discredited by angry whistleblowers.
Psychologically, extreme weather is a good choice for a disaster. It seems that weather is becoming more extreme because the memory of previous extreme weather episodes fades with time. Scientifically, extreme weather clashes with global warming. According to global warming theory, the poles are supposed to warm more than the tropics, decreasing the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles. But weather is driven by that temperature difference. Less temperature difference due to global warming should result in less energy available to drive weather. But extreme weather is an elastic concept. If the weather is nice and uneventful for long periods, that is extreme, too. In the U.S., it is clear that extreme weather is decreasing.
The promoters of dubious science like to add conspiracy theories to discredit objections. Anyone who disagrees with them is part of the conspiracy. In the case of global warming skeptics, they are supposedly part of a conspiracy promoted by the fossil fuel companies.
The Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes deserves the title of global warming conspiracy queen. According to Dr. Oreskes, the oil companies, in league with certain right-wing scientists, belonging to the military-industrial complex, are plotting to spread disinformation critical of the absolutely clear and true science of global warming that has been devised by very sincere and nice scientists. She even made a movie about it.
Dr. Oreskes should get in touch with the many inventors of high-mileage carburetors whose inventions are allegedly being suppressed by the oil companies. Also interesting are the people who claim that General Motors bought up and closed down all the trolley car lines so people would have to buy cars and buses.
The organization that hates coal more than any other is the Sierra Club. Every scrap of literature produced by the Sierra Club on the subject of coal includes a picture of a backlit smokestack. By photographing a smokestack emitting harmless condensing steam with the sun behind the smokestack, the steam can be made to look like black smoke.
It is rare to see black smoke coming from a smokestack. Polluting smokestacks disappeared many decades ago. Below is a picture of the John W. Turk generating plant in Arkansas. Nothing visible comes out of the smokestack even while it is burning 300 tons of coal per hour. Noxious substances in the flue gas have been scrubbed down to a low level by pollution control equipment.
In a modern plant that burns coal to generate electricity, the principal polluting substances - sulfur, particulates, nitrogen oxides, and mercury - are removed from the flue gas and reduced to low levels before the gas enters the smokestack. The ash left over after the coal is burned is buried in a safe landfill. In spite of being overregulated by the government, and demonized by the Sierra Club, modern coal plants are highly reliable and generate electricity cleanly and cheaply. The carbon dioxide emitted is harmless and increases agricultural productivity.
By using coal to generate electricity, natural gas, a premium fuel, can be reserved for low-duty cycle, peaking power plants, for powering transportation, for domestic heating, or to be exported to customers in Asia. Natural gas should not be squandered by using it to generate base load electricity when vast coal supplies are available.
But, if you listen to the Sierra Club, coal is a dirty and outdated fuel. Rather than suggesting natural gas or nuclear, the normal alternatives to coal, the Sierra Club wants us to use windmills to generate electricity. The Sierra Club is especially interested in offshore wind:
Offshore wind produces no air or water pollution as it generates electricity. Coal plants, by contrast, pollute our air with soot and smog that cause or worsen respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and asthma. Asthma from coal plant pollution is estimated to cause3,000,000 lost work days and 554,000 asthma attacks each year, 26,000 of which are severe enough to require an emergency room visit. Coal plants also dirty our water with toxic mercury that can cause birth defects, neurological disorders, and developmental delays in children.
The medical claims that the Sierra Club attributes to modern coal use are false or at least astronomically exaggerated. Note the fake, nearly exact numbers for asthma attacks and emergency room visits.
The problem with wind power is that it stops when the wind stops. You have to have alternative plants to take up the load. With wind power, you don't replace the fossil fuel infrastructure. It keeps on working, as a backup, part-time and at great cost.
If THIS isn’t evidence of SABOTAGE against Trump, I don’t know what it is
By Allen West
I was driving down I-45 from Dallas to Houston Friday morning I heard this very disturbing news.
As reported by The Week, “In a last-ditch effort to block the confirmation of President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency director nominee Scott Pruitt, EPA employees have resorted to calling their senators.
(Ahead of) Pruitt’s confirmation vote… employees at the agency (were) growing increasingly worried about the possibility of a new boss who has vowed to “get rid of” the EPA and who sued the EPA “at least 14 times” while he was Oklahoma’s attorney general, The New York Times reported.
“It seems like Trump and Pruitt want a complete reversal of what EPA has done. I don’t know if there’s any other agency that’s been so reviled,” said EPA lawyer Nicole Cantello. “So it’s in our interests to do this.”
The bold and blatant effort is out of the ordinary, and perhaps unprecedented. “I’ve been here for 30 years, and I’ve never called my senator about a nominee before,” an EPA employee in North Carolina told The New York Times. Former EPA employee Judith Enck said the rebellion reveals how desperate EPA employees are to block Pruitt. “EPA staff are pretty careful. They’re risk-averse,” Enck said. “If people are saying and doing things like this, it’s because they’re really concerned.”
Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was indeed confirmed as the new Director of the EPA on Friday, obviously to the chagrin of the employees of the agency he’s about to lead.
What type of bizarro world are we living in where government employees of an agency are now calling to block the nominations of their future boss? Haven’t these folks EVER heard of the Hatch Act (which prevents government employees from lobbying)?
This is purely political activity and it should not and must not be tolerated. However, this abhorrent behavior has been playing out quite often in these early days of the Trump administration. There’ve been reported instances of similar actions in the Department of Defense and State, and we all know someone is leaking classified information to the liberal progressive media in order to undermine — no, sabotage — the peaceful transition of government.
These are government employees whose salaries are paid for by the American taxpayer. They should not be using their positions as political platforms, which is what the Hatch Act seeks to prevent. This just goes to further lend credibility to this belief that there’s some sort of residual rear guard, Obama shadow government left in place to create chaos for the incoming Trump administration.
Can you just imagine if, in February 2009, there were government agency employees calling their Senators, demanding they block Obama cabinet and agency appointees? The liberal progressive media would be going apoplectic! Instead they’re busy frothing over President Trump’s impromptu press conference from Thursday. Yes, it is the media’s fault they’re losing credibility and are hardly trusted. A story such as this should be receiving immense coverage, but instead, these rogue employees are being heralded as heroes and courageous by the leftists.
It’s time some very serious actions take place, and the government unions are not going to like what I say. These folks cannot see themselves any longer as being impervious to suffering any consequences to their actions. Not just this, but also the failures of government inefficiency — a reason why there are so many government hired contractors.
These government employees must be fired.
They cannot operate in this realm of feeling “untouchable” any longer. Their paychecks are signed by us, the American taxpayer. They don’t work for any political party, cause, or in advancement of an ideology. They are part of the swamp, the bureaucratic administrative state, and there is no place more indicative of that than the IRS and the EPA. This agency in the past eight years was used as an ideological agenda weapon of mass destruction.
US Congress launches a probe into climate data that duped world leaders over global warming
Revelations by the Mail on Sunday about how world leaders were misled over global warming by the main source of climate data have triggered a probe by the US Congress.
Republican Lamar Smith, who chairs the influential House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, announced the inquiry last week in a letter to Benjamin Friedman, acting chief of the organisation at the heart of the MoS disclosures, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
He renewed demands, first made in 2015, for all internal NOAA documents and communications between staff behind a controversial scientific paper, which made a huge impact on the Paris Agreement on climate change of that year, signed by figures including David Cameron and Barack Obama.
The paper – dubbed the ‘Pausebuster’ – claimed that contrary to what scientists had been saying for several years, there was no ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in the rate of global warming in the early 21st Century, and that in fact it had been taking place even faster than before.
The ‘pause’ had been seized on by climate sceptics, because throughout the period, carbon dioxide emissions continued to rise.
This month, this newspaper revealed evidence from a whistleblower, Dr John Bates, who until the end of 2016 was one of two NOAA ‘principal scientists’ working on climate change, showing that the paper based its claims on an ‘unverified’ and experimental dataset measuring land temperatures, and on a then newly issued sea-temperature dataset that is now to be withdrawn and replaced because it exaggerates both the scale and speed of warming.
The ‘Pausebuster’ paper’s claims were trumpeted around the world when it was published by the journal Science in June 2015, six months before the UN Paris climate-change conference. Its assertions were highlighted in scientific briefings to officials who hammered out the Agreement – which commits the developed world to sweeping greenhouse-gas emissions cuts and pledges an additional £80 billion every year in ‘climate-related’ aid to poor nations.
In his letter to NOAA, Congressman Smith expresses frustration that previous demands for documents about the Pausebuster were not met, although his committee took the unusual step of issuing a legal subpoena. NOAA’s decision to withhold the documents was, he wrote, ‘without any justification in law’.
As for the revelations by this newspaper, Mr Smith said they ‘raise additional questions as to whether the science at NOAA is objective and free from political interference’. NOAA has said it intends to bring in ‘independent outside parties’ to investigate the Pausebuster and the flawed datasets.
Last week Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring at the UK Met Office, admitted that notwithstanding the Pausebuster, it was clear ‘the slowdown hasn’t gone away’.
The ‘pause’ is clearly visible in the Met Office’s ‘HadCRUT 4’ climate dataset, calculated independently of NOAA.
Since record highs caused last year by an ‘el Nino’ sea-warming event in the Pacific, HadCRUT 4 has fallen by more than half a degree Celsius, and its value for the world average temperature in January 2017 was about the same as January 1998.
Polar bear numbers still on the rise
Polar bear populations are still growing despite global warming, according to new research.
The new population estimates from the 2016 Scientific Working Group are somewhere between 22,633 to 32,257 bears, which is a net increase from the 2015 number of 22,000 to 31,000. The current population numbers are a sharp increase from 2005’s, which stated only 20,000 to 25,000 bears remained — those numbers were a major increase from estimates that only 8,000 to 10,000 bears remained in the late 1960s.
Until the new study, bear subpopulations in the Baffin Bay and Kane Basin (KB) were thought to be in decline due to over-hunting and global warming. The new report indicates this is not the case.
Scientists are increasingly realizing that polar bears are much more resilient to changing levels of sea ice than environmentalists previously believed, and numerous healthy populations are thriving.
Predictions that bears would die due to a lack of sea ice have continuously not come to pass. Recent rumors about polar bear extinction underscore another time when scientists discovered the creatures possess higher resilience to changing levels of sea ice than previously believed. Another new study by Canadian scientists found “no evidence” polar bears are currently threatened by global warming.
“We see reason for concern, but find no reliable evidence to support the contention that polar bears are currently experiencing a climate crisis,” Canadian scientists wrote in their study, published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.
Polar bears became an icon for environmentalists who claimed that melting Arctic sea ice could kill thousands of bears. Former Vice President Al Gore heavily promoted this viewpoint by featuring polar bears swimming for their lives and drowning in his 2006 film on global warming.
Fears about global warming’s impact on polar bears even spurred the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to say that the bear was “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 2008. Polar bears were the first species to be listed over possibly being harmed in the future by global warming.
Scientists, however, have increasingly been questioning alarmists as there are way more polar bears alive today than 40 years ago.
In fact, polar bears have likely survived past ice-free periods in the Arctic. There is no evidence of large scale marine life extinctions in the Arctic in the past 1.5 million years, despite the Arctic going through prolonged periods with no summer ice cover.
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Posted by JR at 1:32 AM