Friday, March 03, 2017
Shining the Light on Climate Science
On Monday, Bill Nye, sitting alongside fellow climate alarmist Bernie Sanders, chided “extreme skeptics”, lecturing them “to think about what is called cognitive dissonance.” He asserted, “Instead of accepting that the climate is changing, deniers are denying the evidence and dismissing the authorities.”
The problem, as elucidated in an Investor’s Business Daily editorial, is “we’re often told by advocates of climate change that the ‘science is settled.’ But in fact, ‘science’ itself is in a deep crisis over making claims it can’t back up, especially about climate.” For example, the article continues, an analysis by University of Virginia’s Center for Open Science “estimates that roughly 70% of all studies can’t be reproduced. And this includes the field of climate change.” The fact that “99% of scientists” — a bogus but nevertheless often repeated statistic — blame man-made emissions for global warming despite often being unable to replicate studies is highly alarming.
Meanwhile, a new study of planetary orbits flies in the face of the conventional climate change theory. As reported in a news release, the University of Wisconsin-Madison reports newfound “evidence confirming a critical theory of how the planets in our solar system behave in their orbits around the sun.” The report explains how “small but regular ticks in a planet’s orbit can exert big changes on the location and orientation of a planet on its axis relative to the sun and, accordingly, change the amount of solar radiation a planet receives over a given area. Where and how much solar radiation a planet gets is a key driver of climate.”
Now consider this: The globe soaks up roughly 3,850,000 exajoules (EJ) of solar energy annually. To better comprehend this number, De Anza College’s Ridha Hamidi, Ph.D., says, “More energy from sunlight strikes the earth in one hour than all of the energy currently consumed on the planet in one year. The amount of solar energy reaching the surface of the planet is so vast that in one year it is about twice as much as will ever be obtained from all of the Earth’s non-renewable resources of coal, oil, natural gas, and mined uranium combined.” Read the last sentence twice if you have to.
In an email to The Patriot Post, meteorologist Joe Bastardi responds: “I have not read enough of the study to comment on aspects I have not researched. But given my stated position that the sun is the conductor of the climatic orchestra of the oceans, stochastic events and the very design of the system, it would make sense that the sun should be considered as the source of climatic variations rather than the increase of one molecule of CO2 out of every 10 thousand molecules of air over a 100-year period.” The lesson here is that man’s footprint isn’t just relatively small, it’s minuscule. Perhaps it’s not the skeptics who are, as Nye says, “denying the evidence,” but rather those who want to silence the discussion.
White House eyes plan to cut EPA staff by one-fifth, eliminating key programs
The White House has proposed deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget that would reduce the agency’s staff by one-fifth in the first year and eliminate dozens of programs, according to details of a plan reviewed by The Washington Post.
While administration officials had already indicated that they intended to increase defense spending at the expense of other discretionary funding, the plan spells out exactly how this new approach will affect long- standing federal programs that have a direct impact on Americans’ everyday lives.
“The administration’s 2018 budget blueprint will prioritize rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation’s security,” the document says. “It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path.”
The funding level proposed, which the document says “highlights the trade-offs and choices inherent in pursuing these goals,” could have a significant impact on the agency. Its annual budget would drop from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion. And because much of that funding already goes to states and localities in the form of grants, such cuts could have an even more significant effect on the EPA’s core functions.
Though President Trump professes to care strongly about clean air and clean water, almost no other federal department or agency is as much in the crosshairs at the moment. As a candidate, he vowed to get rid of the EPA “in almost every form,” leaving only “little tidbits” intact. The man he chose to lead the agency, former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, sued it more than a dozen times in recent years, challenging its legal authority to regulate such things as mercury pollution, smog and carbon emissions from power plants.
The plan reflects those past sentiments. As proposed, the EPA’s staff would be slashed from its current level of 15,000 to 12,000. Grants to states, as well as its air and water programs, would be cut by 30 percent. The massive Chesapeake Bay cleanup project would receive only $5 million in the next fiscal year, down from its current $73 million.
In addition, 38 separate programs would be eliminated entirely. Grants to clean up brownfields, or abandoned industrial sites, would be gone. Also zeroed out: the radon program, climate change initiatives and funding for Alaskan native villages.
The agency’s Office of Research and Development could lose up to 42 percent of its budget, according to an individual apprised of the administration’s plans. And the document eliminates funding altogether for the office’s “contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research Program,” a climate initiative that President George H.W. Bush launched in 1989.
The staffing reductions, which could be accomplished through a buyout offer as well as layoffs, were among several changes to which the EPA staff was asked to react by the close of business Wednesday. Multiple individuals briefed on the plan confirmed the request by the Office of Management and Budget, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The document acknowledges that the cuts “will create many challenges” but suggests that “by looking ahead and focusing on clean water, clean air and other core responsibilities, rather than activities that are not required by law, EPA will be able to effectively achieve its mission.”
Any cuts would have to be codified through the congressional appropriations process and would probably face resistance from some lawmakers. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), a former chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on interior, environment and related agencies, said he did not think Congress would approve such a steep drop in funding.
“There’s not that much in the EPA, for crying out loud,” he said, noting that Republicans had already reduced the agency’s budget dramatically in recent years.
Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, declined to comment Wednesday on the cuts targeted but said in an email that the panel “will carefully look at the budget proposal once it is sent to Congress.”
The EPA also would not comment on the budget proposal. But its new administrator cautioned this week that the particulars of the budget remain in flux.
“I am concerned about the grants that have been targeted, especially around water infrastructure, and those very important state revolving funds,” Pruitt told the publication E&E News after Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday. He said he already had spoken with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney about the agency’s funding.
“What’s important for us is to educate OMB on what the priorities of the agency are, from water infrastructure to Superfund, providing some of those tangible benefits to our citizens,” he said, “while at the same time making sure that we reallocate, re-prioritize in our agency to do regulatory reform to get back within the bounds of Congress.”
It is unclear whether Pruitt’s appeal would produce any changes: The document states that any requests from agencies to increase or reallocate funds must be accompanied by budgetary offsets. Those could include “alternative funding cuts, balance cancellations or viable user fees.”
It instructs agency officials to “make sure any appeal is consistent with campaigns or other policy statements.”
Agencies must submit any alternative budget proposals to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by Friday, the document states, and OMB will convene a meeting April 15 to discuss the “initial draft of the workforce reduction plan.”
Trump Orders EPA To ‘Zero Out’ Global Warming Programs
The White House is pushing for significant cuts to EPA programs and staff levels, giving a glimpse of how the Trump administration plans on devolving more control to the states.
The budget plan sent from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to EPA leadership calls for eliminating dozens of programs, including at least 16 that have to do with global warming and implementing former President Barack Obama’s climate agenda.
OMB also requested a 30 percent cut in grants to states and a 20 percent reduction in EPA’s workforce through buy-outs and layoffs. In total, President Donald Trump is calling for a roughly 25 percent cut to EPA’s budget — about $2 billion.
The cuts are laid out in a letter sent by William Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), to his group’s member state and local regulators. Becker said NACAA received the “pass back” budget information sent from OMG to EPA Monday, according to InsideEPA.
Here are all the programs NACAA said OMB wants “zeroed out”:
Alaska Native Villages Beach and Fish programs
Clean Power Plan implementation
Climate Voluntary partnership programs; there are 14 separate ones
Diesel Emissions Reduction Act
Energy star grants
Geographical programs for lake [Champlain], L.I. Sound, S.F. Bay and South Florida
Global Change Research
Mexico Border grants
Office of Public Engagement
Radon Star Research grants
Small minority businesses
State indoor radon
Targeted air shed grants
U.S. Mexico Border Water Sense
Democrats and environmentalists have opposed Trump’s budget cuts, and EPA union leaders are hemming and hawing about cutting staffing levels. Even some Republicans aren’t on board with cutting so much from EPA’s budget.
“They are operating at 1989 staffing levels. So you really want to be sure you are not cutting the meat and muscle with the fat,” Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole, who is on the House Committee on Appropriations, told Inside EPA.
“There’s not that much in the EPA, for crying out loud,” California Republican Rep. Mike Thompson told The Washington Post. Thompson formerly chaired the appropriations committee’s subcommittee dealing with EPA.
What’s unsurprising is Trump wants to get rid of more than a dozen global warming programs at EPA, including funding to implement the Clean Power Plan (CPP)
Trump promised to repeal Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” — the CPP is the linchpin of the former president’s climate agenda. The CPP limits carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt helped lead a coalition of 28 states to overturn the rule while he was attorney general of Oklahoma. Trump is preparing to sign an executive order to rescind the CPP, so it’s not surprising they’d cut funding for its implementation.
WaPo reported EPA’s “Office of Research and Development could lose up to 42 percent of its budget, according to an individual apprised of the administration’s plans.”
The budget plan “eliminates funding altogether for the office’s ‘contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research Program,’” according to WaPo.
One area of concern, however, is the reduction in state and tribal grants for infrastructure and environmental clean-up. The Environmental Council of the States (ECS) sent a letter to EPA and OMB urging them not to cut those programs.
ECS wrote that “cuts to [state and tribal] categorical grants, or to EPA programs operated by states, will have profound impacts on states’ ability to implement the core environmental programs as expected by our citizens.”
More than 90 percent of EPA programs are carried out by state environmental regulators. That’s something that concerns Pruitt, who promised to push back against OMB and preserve grants to states.
“I am concerned about the grants that have been targeted, particularly around water infrastructure, and those very important state revolving funds,” Pruitt told E&E News Tuesday.
“What’s important for us is to educate OMB on what the priorities of the agency are, from water infrastructure to Superfund, providing some of those tangible benefits to our citizens,” Pruitt said, “while at the same time making sure that we reallocate, re-prioritize in our agency to do regulatory reform to get back within the bounds of Congress.”
North Dakota should send $33 million bill for pipeline protesters to Tides, Rockefeller foundations
The left is destroying their own causes; as they frame themselves as selfless environmentalists, following their funding shows these radicals’ true aims. Now, as North Dakota deals with the $33 million of costs associated with law enforcement and also damage that the Dakota Access Pipeline protestors have left behind, the corporations funding these ventures should be held accountable as well.
The Dakota Access protestors did not come out of nowhere, left-wing charities have been funding protests like these for years. Now in North Dakota, this same group is funding disorderly conduct and disrespect for the law.
Warren Buffett, a strict adversary of pipeline growth, has funneled well over $30 million dollars into the Tides Foundation, the group then disperse the funds among selected NGOs carrying out anti-pipeline campaigns.
The group primarily responsible for the rally behind the Dakota Access Pipeline is none other than the Indigenous Environmental Network, a pawn of the left.
Tom Shepstone explains in his Sept. 2016 analysis “A little research indicates one of the entities leading the charge is a group called Indigenous Environmental Network. Unsurprisingly, it has received funding from the usual fractivist funding suspects. They include the Earth Island Institute (funded, in turn, by the Rockefellers), the Tides Foundation, the Rose Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (funded by Tides and the Rockefeller Family Fund, among others).”
Shepstone explained, “Not only is the pipeline not on the reservation’s land, it parallels an existing natural gas pipeline already built there in the ’80’s. The Indigenous Environmental Network is also part of something called the Sustainable World Coalition… It’s not about the climate, the environment or Native Americans. It’s all about the money and power, which is why Warren Buffett also invests in Tides and other groups to fund opposition to Dakota pipelines that would compete with his Burlington Northern railroad to haul oil. It’s because of these people that groups such as the Indigenous Environmental Network even exist and why the debate over the Dakota Pipeline is such a fiasco.”
Meanwhile, groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network claim to be led by “tribal grassroots members”, despite their lucrative assistance.
It’s not just in North Dakota, either. As Vivian Krause a frequent writer for the Financial Post about this engrained corporate corruption writes, the left-wing opposition to pipelines extended to the Canada oil sands and the Keystone XL pipeline. Wrote Krause, “A large part of Tides’ funding comes from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. These are The Big Five. They give away about $1.2 billion every year. If these foundations decide to undermine a foreign industry, they probably can.”
That is exactly what they have done. Tides, with the help of big name charities and business men, has taken control of the debate on the pipelines and spun it into an indigenous issue. By Krause’s calculations, Tides, a co-funder of the Rockefeller oil sands campaign, has distributed $19 million to anti-Keystone XL pipeline groups from 2008 to 2013 alone, including funding tribal groups like Idle No More. Overall, left-wing foundations have devoted more than $75 million to those operations, according to Krause.
The Tides Foundation for example, got its money’s worth in 2014 when, as Toronto Sun reporter Ezra Levant explains, the left wing lobbying group based out of San Francisco wired $55,000 to the bank account of Allan Adam, from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation chief in Northern Alberta, to oppose the construction of oil sands.
While these protestors fight their “environmentalist” aim, they have actually destroyed the environment of the area they claim to be eager to protect.
The protestors have burned tires, releasing toxic chemicals into the air; dug latrines in the flood plain, washing waste into the Cannonball River; and killed cows and bison, hardly environmentally appropriate at all. Altogether, the damage these protestors have caused runs a bill the state estimates will cost $33 million in damages.
The Tides Foundation and its affiliates are not just paying for protests, they are building a franchise of illegal and reckless activity. North Dakota should send them the bill.
With over 700 already arrested, 90 percent with previous records, these protestors have taken it to the next level of civil disobedience. Individuals have heckled police officers, tied themselves to construction equipment, and when forced to evacuate, set fire to their sites and became violent.
These were the same tactics used in Canada by local tribal groups with great effect, often leading to property damage and arrests, and indicate an international strategy by these foundations to destabilize an entire industry. It need not be tolerated. There is no First Amendment right to destroy property.
The foundations funding this protest can and should be held accountable to the entire state affected by this chaos. By creating a problem in South Dakota, these organizations have helped create a lawless area of senseless social justice advocacy which is costing the state millions. If Tides, Rockefeller and other foundations are willing to fund these protests, it is about time someone made them fund the cleanup.
Trump, Navigable Waters, and the EPA's WOTUS Regulations
Rolling back a "federal land grab" or instituting an "unmitigated disaster for fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and clean water?"
In 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new Clean Water Rule, a.k.a. Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rules defining the jurisdiction of the agency over rivers, lakes, creeks, estuaries, ponds, swamps, prairie potholes, irrigation ditches, and intermittent rivulets. The new rules were based on the EPA's interpretation of the provisions of the 1972 Clean Water Act that mandated that the agency devise "comprehensive progams for water pollution control" aimed at "preventing, reducing, or eliminating the pollution of the navigable waters and ground waters and improving the sanitary condition of surface and underground waters." The agency reasoned that it had authority to regulate non-navigable upstream water sources like farm ponds and intermittent streams since they could carry pollution down to navigable waters like lakes and rivers. These new rules brought nearly half of Alaska and a total area in the lower 48 states equivalent to the size of California under the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction.
The upshot is that under the new more extensive regulations, ranchers, farmers, and property developers had to seek permission from the U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers to make changes that might affect minor sources of water on their land. Obtaining permits could take years and cost thousands of dollars. At least 32 states have sued to prevent the new regulations from taking effect, and the Sixth Federal Appeals Circuit Court stayed the new rules in October, 2016.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference meeting last week, new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that the Obama administration's WOTUS regulation had "made puddles and dry creek beds across this country subject to the jurisdiction of Washington DC. That's going to change." The new executive order that President Trump is expected to sign today directs that EPA to reopen the rulemaking process to repeal and revise the WOTUS rules. The agency is explicitly told to use the standards set out in former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's plurality opinion in the 2006 Rapanos vs. United States case. In his opinion, Scalia declared:
In sum, on its only plausible interpretation, the phrase "the waters of the United States" includes only those relatively permanent, standing or continuously flowing bodies of water "forming geographic features" that are described in ordinary parlance as "streams[,] … oceans, rivers, [and] lakes." See Webster's Second 2882. The phrase does not include channels through which water flows intermittently or ephemerally, or channels that periodically provide drainage for rainfall. The Corps' expansive interpretation of the "the waters of the United States" is thus not "based on a permissible construction of the statute."
Of course, various activist groups are alarmed at the potential rollback of EPA authority. For example, Trout Unlimited issued a statement:
Gravity works cheap, and it never takes a day off. The Administration cannot stop water flowing downhill—and we all live downstream. To be effective, the Clean Water Act must be able to control pollution at its source, upstream in the headwaters and wetlands that flow downstream through communities to our major lakes, rivers, and bays. ... If Justice Scalia's direction is followed, 60 percent of U.S. streams and 20 million acres of wetlands would lose protection of the Clean Water Act; an unmitigated disaster for fish and wildlife, hunting and fishing, and clean water.
In favor of Trump's new executive order American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall declared:
President Trump's executive order to ditch the Waters of the U.S. rule is a welcome relief to farmers and ranchers across the country today. The flawed WOTUS rule has proven to be nothing more than a federal land grab, aimed at telling farmers and ranchers how to run their businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency failed to listen to farmers' and ranchers' concerns when drafting the rule and instead created widespread confusion for agriculture. Under the rule, the smallest pond or ditch could be declared a federal waterway.
In any case, the EPA review process will take years to complete.
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Posted by JR at 6:59 AM