Wednesday, April 13, 2022

An unlikely coalition is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) revised fuel economy rules

At issue is a revised fleetwide. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standard of 55 miles per gallon in model year 2026. The shortened timeline for the much higher fuel economy forces automakers to reduce their fleets’ carbon dioxide emissions by 22.6 percent more than previous rules required.

Sixteen states, plus groups representing the fossil fuel and ethanol industries in 15 states, are challenging the Biden EPA’s emissions rules. They argue the EPA’s new standards effectively mandate a national transition from internal combustion powered vehicles to electric vehicles starting in 2026.

Farmers, Drillers, Attorneys General

A mix of corn and soybean growers associations from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, and South Dakota joined with Diamond Alternative Energy in one of the lawsuits filed to block the EPA’s new rules.

In addition, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit on behalf of Texas, joined by the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Utah. Arizona filed a separate lawsuit to block the rules.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), along with additional petitioners such as the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, a nationwide coalition of 39 associations representing the oil and gas industry, also filed a lawsuit to block the new standards.

Essentially an EV Mandate

The lawsuit filed by representatives of various states’ biofuel associations argues the new standard is an unauthorized de facto mandate forcing people to use electric vehicles.

“Through the final rule, EPA seeks to unilaterally alter the transportation mix in the United States, without congressional authorization and without adequately considering the vast greenhouse gas reduction benefits provided by renewable fuels,” the complaint states.

CEI and its co-petitioners make a similar argument in their filing by lead attorney Devin Watkins, saying the rules exceed the agency’s authority.

“EPA is trying to transform the motor vehicle market from gas-powered to electric vehicles by making gas-powered cars more expensive,” Watkins’ petition states.

Ambitious or Unworkable?

The EPA’s new standard and timeline are unrealistic because the mass adoption of electric vehicles and construction of the infrastructure needed to support and power them won’t magically appear overnight, says Paul Driessen, a senior policy advisor with the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, which co-publishes Environment & Climate News.

“It’s vital to remember that President Joe Biden, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and other climate-focused activists aren’t talking about just replacing current fossil fuel vehicle use or electricity generation,” said Driessen. “They also want to convert home and office heating, cooking, and water heating to electricity; convert factories from coal and gas to running on wind- and solar-generated electricity; and have massive battery modules as backup power for windless, sunless days.

“That means nearly doubling existing U.S. electricity generation, and doing all of it with intermittent, unreliable, weather-dependent power generation systems,” said Driessen. “It means millions of onshore and offshore wind turbines, billions of solar panels, billions of 1,000-pound battery modules, and thousands of new transformers, covering tens of millions of acres, all powered by wind and sunshine, and all connected via thousands of miles of new transmission lines to power users all across America.”

‘It Is a Pipedream’

Electrifying the transportation system and in fact the entire U.S. economy is a fool’s errand, doomed to fail while placing an unnecessary burden on the public, says Driessen.

“They expect, hope, and fantasize this will somehow work, that a massively stressed power grid never built or tested before will be able to handle huge, sudden electricity surges and cutoffs due to wind and sunlight cooperating with demand only incidentally, failing minutes, hours, or days at a time and crashing repeatedly and catastrophically,” said Driessen.

“It is a pipedream that has failed everywhere it’s been tried on much tinier scales than what they intend to impose on us,” said Driessen. “Think of Texas two winters ago, and South Australia a few years ago, multiplied a thousand times over. We’re going to be asked to accept having electricity for every aspect of our industry, hospitals, and lives, when it’s available instead of when we need it.”


Lithium an obstacle to electric car uptake

Lithium — a mineral that is key for electric car batteries — continues to rise in price, jeopardizing the ongoing transition to renewable energy outlined by Western governments.

The cost of lithium has skyrocketed more than 250 percent over the last 12 months, hitting its highest level ever, according to an industry index from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. While the cost of manufacturing a lithium-ion battery for an electric vehicle (EV) has fallen sharply over the last decade, the decline has slowed in recent months due to rising lithium costs.

The average cost of an EV battery pack fell to $157 per kilowatt hour, a measure of energy capacity, in 2021, the Department of Energy said in October. That means a typical EV battery is between $6,000 and $7,000, a BloombergNEF analysis showed.

Battery costs would need to come down to $100 per kilowatt hour for overall EV prices to compete with traditional internal combustion engine cars, according to Bloomberg. The price of lithium will play a large role in achieving that goal.

“It’s like being in a hot real-estate market,” Lithium Americas CEO Jon Evans told The Wall Street Journal. “There’s a mad scramble.”

Lithium Americas has proposed to mine lithium on a dormant volcano in Nevada. However, the firm has yet to mine any lithium due to pushback from environmentalists and ongoing lawsuits related to allegations that the federal government approved the company’s mining permit too quickly.

If the mine begins production, it could help reduce U.S. reliance on foreign lithium and increase supplies at a time when demand for the mineral is surging.

The U.S. has roughly 750,000 metric tons of lithium that can be mined, but it produces very little and imports tens of thousands of metric tons worth from Argentina, Chile, China and Russia, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS report withheld specific U.S. data to avoid disclosing propriety information belonging to companies like Lithium Americas.

Converting and processing lithium into the actual components of an EV battery may also prevent prices from falling, Bloomberg reported. China currently dominates the battery processing market, and it is responsible for about 80 percent of global battery chemical refining capacity.

Meanwhile, Western leaders have vowed support for aggressive measures to push consumers toward purchasing EV’s as their next new vehicle. In the U.S., President Joe Biden outlined a plan for 50 percent of new car purchases to be zero-emissions by 2030.


Left-Wing Bitish Labour Party Comes Out Against Eco-Warrior Oil Blockades Amid Fuel Shortages

Britain’s left-wing Labour Party has come out against blockades of oil depots by eco-warriors amid a growing cost of living crisis and widespread reports of fuel shortages across the country.

The energy crisis in the UK, spurred on by a combination of the war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, two years of coronavirus lockdowns, and the government’s green agenda failures have seen widespread reports of petrol stations throughout the country running dry.

To add insult to injury, far-left eco-warrior groups such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil have taken to glueing themselves in front of oil depots in order to further disrupt the supply chain.

Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, which has attempted to distance itself from the more radical elements of its leftist base, has actually condemned the actions of the climate change radicals and called on the government to crack down on them.

While Sir Keir infamously ‘took the knee‘ in his parliamentary office in support of the often violent Marxist Black Lives Matter movement, the Labour leader wrote of the oil depot blockades: “The government must stop standing idly by and immediately impose injunctions to put an end to this disruption.”

“On the Conservatives’ watch, drivers are being hammered by rising petrol prices and now millions of motorists can’t access fuel,” Starmer added, despite many in his own party supporting the same — if not more stringent — green policies enacted by the government which have forced the country to be reliant on foreign powers for energy.

Eco-extremists in Britain have a history of blocking motorways, junctions, and city centre intersections. However, in recent weeks, emergent groups such as Just Stop Oil have taken to blocking oil depots and terminals in protest against the government finally admitting the need for new fossil fuel projects in the UK.

Starting on Sunday, two members of Just Stop Oil chained themselves to pipes of the Grays oil terminal in Essex — the third largest in the country — for nearly 40 hours.

Justifying their actions, one of the activists said: “We need a meaningful statement that we will have no new fossil fuel projects. It’s that simple.”

The other Just Stop Oil radical stressed how difficult it has been for them personally, saying: “It’s fucking rough up here. We’ve been up here over 30 hours, haven’t fucking slept, haven’t felt safe, had a fucking panic attack a while back, it’s really uncomfortable.”

After 40 hours of disruption, a “cutter” team was finally dispatched to break their chains and remove the activists.


Biden Wants to Regulate Everything -- Even Your Air Conditioning

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want to regulate any gadget or appliance with an electric switch that turns on in your house or your driveway. New Department of Energy rules will dictate the amount of water that comes out of your showerhead, how much warm air comes out of your heater and how much cool air comes out of air conditioners. There is even talk about gadgets monitoring your home's temperature in the winter and summer months.

How is any of this the government's business?

The latest shower regulations are especially aggravating. The new water-efficient heads make you stand in the shower much longer to get wet and wash your hair because the water pressure is low. It's a drip, drip, drip policy.

This is all reminiscent of the low-flush toilets mandated during the Bush and Obama years. These were designed to save water, but there was so little water flow that you had to flush two or three times. So it ended up not saving water at all.

Light bulbs, swimming pools, refrigerators and freezers are all subject to the same regulatory schemes.

Last week, the Biden regulators announced fuel efficiency requirements for cars, minivans and light trucks of 49 mpg by 2026. New cars are already more fuel-efficient than ever before, and the Trump rules had the requirement rising to 32 mpg over four years. That wasn't enough progress for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "Mayor Pete" hates any car with a combustible engine. At his press conference announcing the strict mileage rules, he assured us this would save motorists money.

But if it's such a great financial benefit, Pete, why do you have to mandate it?

But here's the other part of the story that the greenies won't tell: The new rules won't reduce pollution levels much. This is because the higher fuel standards can raise the price of a new car by $1,000 to $3,000. So to save money, families keep their older gas guzzlers on the road longer. Congrats to the White House: Your new pollution standards may actually mean higher, not lower, tailpipe emissions.

It gets worse. The primary way auto companies comply with strict fuel standards is by making cars lighter. Get the family out of a minivan and into a Ford Fiesta. But our friends at the Competitive Enterprise Institute note that lighter cars are more dangerous and lead to more fatalities. So the Biden administration is willing to spill more blood on the highways to save gas. What humanitarians!

The new draconian fuel standards are higher than what former President Barack Obama requested and even higher than what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recommended. And under the rules, auto companies that fail to meet the standards can buy emission credits for tens of millions of dollars from other auto companies -- like Tesla.

What's the real goal here? Obviously, make fuel standards so unachievable that everyone has to buy an electric car. But, of course, many low and middle-income families can't afford the higher costs for Tesla, so they will henceforth ride on one of Pete's electric buses.

How is this progress?

These rules are designed to save the planet, but most people just want to stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer, and they want to choose their car rather than having Biden choose for them.

If it seems like Big Brother is watching you, you're not paranoid. He is looking over your shoulder. So keep your showers short and your air conditioner off, and stop driving around in that gas-guzzling family car.




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