Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Gestapo-like abuse of power by the EPA


(Vidrine v. United States)

The Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) filed a federal lawsuit today in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Lafayette against the United States for maliciously prosecuting Hubert P. Vidrine, Jr. of Opelousas, LA, for allegedly storing a hazardous substance without a permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

After four years of prosecution, felony charges were suddenly dropped on the eve of trial in September 2003 after Vidrine discovered that the only witness for the government was addicted to cocaine causing hallucinations.

Even after putting their witness under hypnosis in vain, the EPA could not produce the allegedly hazardous substance or any test results.

The suit, filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) seeks a total of $5 million in damages. Mr. Vidrine, a plant manager at Canal Refining Co. in Church Point, LA, was indicted in 1999 in federal court for allegedly violating the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for the improper storage of hazardous waste without a permit.

A few years before Vidrine was indicted, a "SWAT Team" consisting of almost two dozen armed Special EPA Agents from EPA's Criminal Investigation Division (CID), FBI, and other law enforcement officers raided Canal Refining with M-16 rifles and police dogs; falsely accused Mr. Vidrine of storing hazardous waste and lying about it; prevented employees from using the restrooms for several hours; prevented those same employees from calling their homes and daycare centers to make plans to have children picked up; falsely told the employees that Mr. Vidrine had been poisoning them and giving them cancer; and threatened them with imprisonment if they did not provide damaging evidence against Mr. Vidrine.

It appears that the EPA's chief witness in the case, Mike Franklin, claimed that he had taken samples of the alleged hazardous waste and had it tested. However, neither the EPA nor federal prosecutors could produce the test results allegedly proving RCRA violations.

Mr. Vidrine later discovered that Mr. Franklin was addicted to cocaine. Nevertheless, federal prosecutors and the EPA insisted on using Mr. Franklin as their key witness, even though subpoenas issued by the prosecutors to chemical testing laboratories in the area failed to turn up any lab results of the alleged hazardous waste in question.

To no avail, the government went so far as to place Mr. Franklin under hypnosis in a desperate attempt to obtain information about the alleged testing samples.

The trial judge ruled that Mr. Franklin could not be used as a witness. At the urging of EPA agents, federal prosecutors continued to insist that the government should be able to use Mr. Franklin as their key witness and appealed the judge's decision to exclude Mr. Franklin's testimony to the Fifth Circuit.

They reluctantly withdrew the appeal when the U.S. Solicitor General's Office decided not to approve it. On September 17, 2003, on the eve of trial, federal prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the indictment against Mr. Vidrine and two other defendants, which was granted the next day.

Mr. Vidrine was forced to spend over $180,000, his entire retirement savings, to defend himself against the bogus charges. After the charges were dropped, Mr. Vidrine stated, "I didn't think that this could happen in America."

Mr. Vidrine contacted WLF for legal assistance because of WLF's work on behalf of another small business in Worcester, Massachusetts, which was raided by armed EPA agents and where EPA misconduct led to charges being dropped on the eve of trial against the company (Riverdale Mills Corp.) and its owner (James M. Knott, Sr.).

WLF filed complaints in November 2003 with EPA's Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility of the Department of Justice to investigate the misconduct.

In September 2005, Vidrine filed a claim for damages against the EPA and the Department of Justice under the FTCA for compensation for malicious prosecution and other misconduct. Both agencies have failed to respond to Vidrine's claim, thus necessitating the filing of today's lawsuit.

"This is an outrageous case of malicious prosecution and misconduct by the EPA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Louisiana," said Paul Kamenar, WLF's Senior Executive Counsel. "The EPA and the Department of Justice has a sad history of using heavy-handed tactics and criminalizing business activities where administrative or civil remedies would be more appropriate," Kamenar added.


Update of October 7, 2011:

The legal might of the U.S. government is usually enough to roll right over someone like Opelousas, La. plant manager Hubert Vidrine Jr. But last week the underdog had his day: a federal court awarded Vidrine $1.7 million for having been maliciously prosecuted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Our friends at the Washington Legal Foundation, who helped represent Vidrine, give details:

"The just-resolved case started in 1996 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered its SWAT-like special operations team (equipped with M-16 rifles and police dogs) to raid the Canal Refinery, Mr. Vidrine’s workplace. The raid led to a criminal investigation against Mr. Vidrine for allegedly unlawful storage and disposal of hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

When it discovered that evidence of the alleged offense was lacking, the feds refused to back off and in fact redoubled their zeal. In a scathing 142-page ruling, Judge Rebecca Doherty wrote that federal prosecutor Keith Phillips “set out with intent and reckless and callous disregard for anyone’s rights other than his own, and reckless disregard for the processes and power which had been bestowed on him, to effectively destroy another man’s life.”

A Greenwire dispatch published in the New York Times is at pains to present the Vidrine case (quoting a former enforcement official) an “isolated situation” arising from the actions of a “rogue” agent. As a local paper reported, “Phillips was accused of targeting Vidrine because of his outspokenness and choosing an investigation in Louisiana to be close to a woman with whom he was having a sexual affair.” The second of these motives, at least, presumably doesn’t figure very often in decisions to pursue federal criminal charges.

Cato readers have reason to be less than surprised when federal enforcers abuse their powers, especially at an agency as convinced of its own righteousness as the EPA. Nine years ago, Cato published James V. DeLong’s “Out of Bounds, Out of Control: Regulatory Enforcement at the EPA.” In 2009 congressional testimony, Cato’s Tim Lynch discussed troubling cases like that of Alaska railroad employee Edward Hanousek (“prosecuted under the Clean Water Act even though he was off duty and at home when the accident occurred”).

Yesterday, incidentally, brought another setback in court for the EPA: a federal judge slapped it down for flagrantly overstepping its legal charter by usurping the Army Corps of Engineers’s statutory role as part of its efforts to restrict coal mining in Appalachia. How many times do the agency and its enforcers have to overstep their authority before those incidents cease to be just ”isolated situation[s]“?



A key EPA agent in the case, Keith Phillips, has just been convicted of lying during the civil trial.

Warmists facing failure: No successor to Kyoto treaty likely

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres lauded a climate change meeting in Panama as "good progress" this weekend, even as environmental activists warned that the world's only structure for curbing greenhouse gas emissions appears about to crumble. ...

"South Africa is the tipping point in terms of the future of the climate regime," said Tasneem Essop, international climate policy advocate for the World Wildlife Fund in South Africa. ...

Figueres on Friday lauded the European Union for helping to launch "constructive discussions" and said "governments are exploring those middle-ground solutions that would allow them to go forward with a second commitment period."

Yet the United States, which is not a party to Kyoto but as the world's largest historic carbon emitter is central to the future of the climate regime, appears to be putting the kibosh on such a compromise.

Speaking at a wrap-up press conference in Panama, U.S. Deputy Envoy Jonathan Pershing acknowledged that "the uncertainty over a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol is a source of anxiety for many parties." But in describing the E.U. proposal, Pershing said, "We do not believe that conditions are ripe in Durban for a legally binding agreement."


Arctic Has Gained One Manhattan Of Ice Every Two Minutes For The Last 30 Days

This is due to cold weather, right at the 1958-2002 mean.


Britain faces a mini 'ice age'

Choose your scare!

BRITAIN is set to suffer a mini ice age that could last for decades and bring with it a series of bitterly cold winters. And it could all begin within weeks as experts said last night that the mercury may soon plunge below the record -20C endured last year.

Scientists say the anticipated cold blast will be due to the return of a disruptive weather pattern called La Nina. Latest evidence shows La Nina, linked to extreme winter weather in America and with a knock-on effect on Britain, is in force and will gradually strengthen as the year ends.

The climate phenomenon, characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Pacific, was linked to our icy winter last year – one of the coldest on record.

And it coincides with research from the Met Office indicating the nation could be facing a repeat of the “little ice age” that gripped the country 300 years ago, causing decades of harsh winters.

The prediction, to be published in Nature magazine, is based on observations of a slight fall in the sun’s emissions of ultraviolet radiation, which may, over a long period, trigger Arctic conditions for many years.

Although a connection between La Nina and conditions in Europe is scientifically uncertain, ministers have warned transport organisations and emergency services not to take any chances. Forecasts suggest the country could be shivering in a big freeze as severe and sustained as last winter from as early as the end of this month.

La Nina, which occurs every three to five years, has a powerful effect on weather thousands of miles away by influencing an intense upper air current that helps create low pressure fronts.

Another factor that can affect Europe is the amount of ice in the Arctic and sea temperatures closer to home.

Ian Currie, of the Meterological Society, said: “All the world’s weather systems are connected. What is going on now in the Pacific can have repercussions later around the world.”

Parts of the country already saw the first snowfalls of the winter last week, dumping two inches on the Cairngorms in Scotland. And forecaster James Madden, from Exacta Weather, warned we are facing a “severely cold and snowy winter”.

Councils say they are fully prepared having stockpiled thousands of tons of extra grit. And the Local Government Association says it had more salt available at the beginning of this month than the total used last winter.

But the mountain of salt could be dug into very soon amid widespread heavy snow as early as the start of next month. Last winter, the Met Office was heavily criticised after predicting a mild winter, only to see the country grind to a halt amid hazardous driving conditions in temperatures as low as -20C.

Peter Box, the Local Government Association’s economy and transport spokesman, said: “Local authorities have been hard at work making preparations for this winter and keeping the roads open will be our number one priority.”

The National Grid will this week release its forecast for winter energy use based on long-range weather forecasts. Such forecasting is, however, notoriously difficult, especially for the UK, which is subject to a wide range of competing climatic forces.

A Met Office spokesman said that although La Nina was recurring, the temperatures in the equatorial Pacific were so far only 1C below normal, compared with a drop of 2C at the same time last year.

Research by America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed that in 2010-11 La Nina contributed to record winter snowfalls, spring flooding and drought across the world.


Electricity in The Netherlands: Windmills increase fossil fuel consumption & CO2 emissions


First we describe the models presently used by others to calculate fuel saving and reduction of CO2 emission through windparks. These models are incomplete. Neglected factors deminish the calculated savings.

Using wind data of a normal windy day in the Netherlands it will be shown that windparks of various size cause extra fuel consumption instead of fuel saving, when compared to electricity production with modern gas turbines only. We demonstrate that such losses occur.

Factors taken into account are: low thermal efficiency at low power; cycling of back up generators; energy needed to build and to install wind turbines; energy needed for cabling and net adaptation; increase of fuel consumption through partial replacement of efficient generators by low-efficient, fast reacting OCGTs.

1. Introduction

Several countries invest heavily in the construction of windmills in order to save fossil fuel and to reduce CO2 emission. The wind comes free, the mills do not pollute and there is no need to burn fossil fuel. However, this simple notion defended by staunch supporters of windturbines, has been criticized by critical analysts, e.g. refs: 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12.

Wind does not blow according to demand of electricity users. Sometimes there is no wind or little wind and sometimes there is a lot. It would be no problem if there was an economic way to store electricity and to use it from that storage whenever needed. Unfortunately we do not have such a storage. Batteries have little capacity and they are much too expensive. There are other possibillities but none of them comes near to anything that is economically feasible. The only exception is hydro power, i.e. lakes in mountains, that can be pumped full if there is an electricity surplus and emptied when the power is needed. Unfortunately there are no mountains in the Netherlands. (Also many other countries that do have them, do not have sufficient place there for such storage lakes.) So the current practice is to have windparks operate in connection to conventional powerplants. These generators step in when the wind fails and they can be switched off, or their output is reduced, if the wind blows. Thus, when considering wind power, one must do that normally in connection with 'back up' conventional systems. That is why the wind influences from minute to minute the performance of the conventional generators.

A handicap prohibiting the settlement of the dispute is the absence in the public domain of factual data of the different producing units. So the the arguments are mostly about model computations. There are exceptions. In the USA a BENTEK study used real emission data of power plants in Texas and Colorado. They became available due to the freedom of information act. Its conclusion was: wind has no visible influence on fuel consumption for electricity production and the emission of CO2 in the atmosphere is not reduced13 .

This shocking result did not convince decision makers. At least not in Europe. The negative result was attributed to a difference in fuel mix. Coal-, oil-, gas- and nuclear heated generators behave differently. So what might be true there, does not mean that it holds true for us.

In August 2011 Fred Udo analysed the data put on the internet by EirGrid, the grid operator in Ireland. His web page article was termed by colleagues abroad 'The smoking gun of the windmill fraud'. He showed that the substantial wind contribution in the Irish republic caused such a small saving of fuel and a corresponding small reduction of CO2 emission, that it shatters the whole economy of the wind policy. He also was able to show that more wind penetration caused an increase of CO2 emission8.

The real situation, however, is even worse. The way EirGrid derives its data on CO2 emission does not correspond with what is actually happening in fossil fired power plants. More over, the Irish data do not enclose some serious other factors that deteriorate the fuel saving aimed at. An indication could be, that the overall CO2 emission in Ireland is 20% higher than the emission calculated in the EirGrid tables, as Udo showed. (His source: ref. 14. A difference of 3% might be due to import of electricity. Transport losses have been accounted for.)
In this present study we shall explain what is wrong. On the basis of existing data and new information on the behavior of conventional generators when they are cycling - i.e. ramping up and down in order to compensate for the variations in wind power - we shall show how much worse the influence of adding wind electricity to the grid really is.

Much more HERE

No local effects of rising CO2?

Gaseous diffusion is rapid but is it this rapid?

If greenhouse gases (GHG), and ozone depleting gases (ODG) are responsible for climate change, then the GHG's, and ODG's should raise the temperature, regardless if the polluted area is local, region, or global. If GHG's, and ODG's are responsible for climate change, then why in the early 20th century, during the industrial revolution in America, and Europe wasn't there high temperature variations in these industrialized regions? These heavily industrialized region, included chemical plants, steel mills, smelting plants, and refineries, etc. The rust belt was located in the north to northeastern region of United Sates. Unfortunately there are no local, or regional Co2 reading, but you can go to the weather almanac to check the local, and region temperature for any period. The temperature year round in these highly industrialized regions in America, and Europe were normal, or near normal,why? The Co2 readings were high in these region.

Why don't global Co2 readings, and the global temperature readings coincide with one another? If you look at both global readings on a linear graph, you will notice that the global Co2 readings show a steady increase over a millennium, but the global temperature readings fluctuates as it increase, during the same period. There were periods where the global temperature was far higher, than the global Co2 reading, why?

Like the industrialized regions of America, and Europe. Why after a volcanic eruption doesn't the temperature ever increases in the region of the eruption. All volcanoes release ton of green house gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, etc into the atmosphere. There has never been a recorded increase temperature variation in the region of the eruption, why? The presence of GHG's already exist in these regions, volcanoes add even more GHG's. I know some eruptions produce ash that blot out the sun to a degree, but when the ash settles there is no temperature increase, why?



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