Monday, August 19, 2013

It’s Time to Restore EPA’s Original Purpose

Jay Lehr, Ph.D.

In 1968, when I was serving as the head of a groundwater professional society, it became obvious to some of my colleagues and me that the United States did not have any serious focus on potential problems with its air quality, drinking water quality, surface water quality, waste disposal problems, and contamination that could occur from mining and agriculture. I held the nation’s first Ph.D. in groundwater hydrology, which gave me unparalleled insight into many of these potential problems.

We spoke before dozens of congressional committees, calling attention to mounting environmental pollution problems. We called for the establishment of a federal Environmental Protection Agency, and in 1971 we succeeded. I was appointed to a variety of the new agency’s advisory councils, and over the next 10 years we helped write a variety of legislative bills to make up a true safety net for our environment. These included, among others, the Water Pollution Control Act (later renamed the Clean Water Act); the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act; the Clean Air Act; the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act; and the Comprehensive Environmental Reclamation, Compensation, and Liability Act.

All of these laws worked extremely well in protecting the environment and our citizens’ health, with the exception of the Superfund Law, which proved to be far too overreaching.

Agenda-Driven Turning Point

A turning point occurred roughly a decade after the creation of EPA. Activist groups realized the agency could be used to alter our government by coming down heavily on all human activities regardless of their impact on the environment. From approximately 1981 onward, EPA rules and regulations became less about science-based environmental protection and more about advancing extraneous ideological agendas.

States Ready

It is my very strong belief that most EPA jurisdiction and functions can and should be replaced by a committee of the whole of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Each of the individual states have its own environmental protection department, and these are much better at assessing and crafting solutions to local and regional environmental issues than the federal EPA. At the national level, a committee of the whole would do a much better job directing environmental stewardship than the money-hungry and power-hungry federal EPA.

Back in 1971, a federal EPA was necessary because the states did not have environmental protection departments. Now, however, with state environmental departments already providing on-the-ground environmental protection throughout the 50 states, EPA has morphed into an overpowering entity that arrogantly dictates to the 50 states while doing everything possible to protect its power and regulatory turf.

The 50 state agencies are ready to assume full management of our environmental issues. The state agencies already do so, with many states enacting and enforcing environmental rules more stringent than those crafted by EPA. Only the EPA research laboratories should be left in place to answer scientific questions, no longer under the heavy hand of Washington politics.

Workable Phase-Out Plan

We could eliminate 80 percent of EPA’s bloated $8 billion budget and return the money to the people. The remaining 20 percent could be used to fund EPA’s research labs and pull together a committee of the 50 state environmental protection departments to take over EPA’s other responsibilities.

A relatively small administrative structure is all that is necessary to enable the states to work together. The states would have the incentive and the means to act as environmental stewards without the power to impose scientifically unjustified, economically punitive restrictions on a national basis.

We could phase out EPA in five years. It would take one year to prepare the new structure and then four years to phase out the various EPA bureaucracy and programs. As each EPA program is phased out, the committee of the whole would assume the phased-out oversight and responsibilities.

Committee of the Whole Responsibilities

The committee of the whole would quickly determine which regulations are actually mandated in law by Congress and which were crafted under EPA discretion. The committee would then reassess discretionary regulations to ensure wise ones are retained and unwise strictures are revised or repealed. A good procedure for reviewing EPA regulations would require a two-thirds vote of the committee of the whole to revise or repeal an existing EPA regulation.

Environmental stewardship would continue unabated, but without the severe negative consequences resulting from EPA arrogance and overreach.

Until and unless the committee of the whole acts upon an existing regulation, each regulation will remain in force. Therefore, all existing environmental rules and regulations are presumed wise and valid unless the states determine otherwise.

When one considers the initial motivation for creating a federal EPA, a committee of the whole 50 states makes perfect sense as a forward-looking means of ensuring wise and appropriate environmental stewardship. The states are in the best position to assess and address environmental concerns within their respective borders, and a committee of the whole can effectively address environmental issues that are regional or national in nature.

The easy path is the path of least resistance. The easy path is to continue funding and granting increasing power to an out-of-control federal EPA. A wiser path is to recognize that the individual states are ready and willing to provide more commonsense environmental protection.


New paper finds no increase of deep cyclones in Europe over past 110 years

Warmist screeches these days are mostly about allegedly more frequent  "extreme weather" so yet another paper showing no increase cuts to the bone

Discussing:  Bielec-Bakowska, Z. and Piotrowicz, K. 2013. "Long-term occurrence, variability and tracks of deep cyclones over Krakow (Central Europe) during the period 1900-2010."  International Journal of Climatology 33: 677-689.

Introducing their work, Bielec-Bakowska and Piotrowicz (2013) write that "at a continental scale it is low pressure areas, especially those traveling from west to east with their associated systems of atmospheric fronts, that generally have a significant influence on European weather," as they are "often accompanied by meteorological phenomena of a violent nature, such as sudden changes of pressure and temperature, strong winds, heavy precipitation including hail, and electrical discharges," with the result that "very often these phenomena cause considerable damage to the environment and the economy and may adversely influence human health and well-being." And they add that "at a time of ongoing debate about climate change and the impact of human activities, questions have been asked whether a further increase in the frequency and intensity of similar events might be expected in the near future."

In an attempt to provide a well-founded data-based answer to this important question, Bielec-Bakowska and Piotrowicz analyzed the frequency of occurrence of air pressure values equal to or lower than the 1st percentile (equivalent to ≤ 995.3 hPa) of all air pressure values recorded at 12:00 UTC in Krakow, Poland, over a period of 110 years (1900/1901-2009/2010), with "special attention" being devoted to the tracks of deep cyclones.

The two Polish researchers report that the frequency of deep cyclones in Poland, both overall and in each of a number of specific track groups, "failed to change significantly" over the 110-year period of their study. In the most important of these groups, which was composed of "more than half of all deep cyclones," they found that they "developed over the Atlantic and travelled over or near Iceland via the Baltic Sea and/or the Scandinavian Peninsula," and that "towards the end of the study period, it was observed that deep cyclones following these tracks shortened their journeys considerably," due to the fact that "as they moved over the Scandinavian Peninsula or the Baltic Sea, they 'suddenly' weakened and filled up."

In the concluding paragraph of their paper, Bakowska and Piotrowicz thus write that their study "failed to clearly confirm any increase in the frequency of particularly deep cyclones," which means, in their words, that "forecasts envisaging higher frequencies of strong winds accompanying deep cyclones must be treated with caution."


50-year-old British fracking site that makes a mockery of the  protesting zealots

The beautiful expanse of grassland on the RSPB’s Beckingham Marshes reserve is exactly the kind of environment antifracking protesters are so determined to protect.

During their ‘Solidarity Sunday’ today in the West Sussex village of Balcombe, thousands of eco-warriors will tell the world that fracking – the process of pumping water into underground wells to ‘fracture’ the rock and force out oil and gas – should be banned to avoid ‘industralising’ the countryside.

In fact there has been fracking here in Nottinghamshire since 1963, the last time in 1989. One well has been fracked four times.

Thanks in part to this original fracking process, allowing more oil and gas to be extracted, the oilfield is still yielding about 300 barrels of crude oil and one million cubic feet of natural gas daily.  The gas, piped under the reserve to a local power station, is now used to generate enough electricity to power 21,000 homes every day.

And yet the environmental armageddon predicted so vocally by the anti-fracking brigade has failed spectacularly to appear.

Within the idyllic setting of the reserve stands a nodding donkey – proof that RSPB Beckingham Marshes lies inside the boundary of an oil field that is being actively exploited. Visitors can gaze from the reserve over the flat landscape and see the tops of four more nodding donkeys, all no more than 32ft from the border of the nature reserve.  All four are pumping from oil wells where fracking has occurred.

But wildlife is flourishing and people in the village of Beckingham seem bemused when questioned about the effect on the environment.

In the words of Andrew Austin, chief executive of IGas Energy, the British company running the oilfield: ‘Clearly, the world has not ended in Beckingham.’

A report last year by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering found that at about 200 of the 2,000 onshore wells drilled in the UK in the past 30 years, there had been fracking to improve yields of oil and natural gas.

The anti-fracking prophets of doom may also be surprised to learn that in the 13 square miles of the Gainsborough-Beckingham oil field in which the reserve lies, there have been at least 53 fracking operations.

‘There are 53 we know about,’ said Mr Austin, conceding there may have been more.  ‘Most of the fracking was done in the late 1980s when the field was owned by BP.  ‘I think the people protesting are sincere but they have chosen the wrong target. Fracking is standard oilfield practice.

‘All this stuff about it being new is nonsense.’ Fracking, said Mr Austin, had happened at depths of 3,000ft to 4,000ft in the field but the predicted evils – pollution and water poisoning – have not appeared.

And as for the ‘industrialisation of the countryside’, when you approach the small area – about one-50th of an acre – occupied by the well that has been fracked four times, the gentle hum of the 15ft-tall nodding donkey tends to be drowned out by the sound of birdsong.

Electrical engineer Tim Downing, 55, said: ‘The wells have been here longer than us.  They have had no effect on the local wildlife. We see deer and hares all the time and there has been no subsidence.’

It is true that people in the centuries- old village of Beckingham, three miles from the bird reserve, did fear an environmental menace – but it wasn’t fracking. It was the wind turbines so beloved of the protesters in Balcombe.

Local Jayne Hanson, 64, said: ‘Plans to allow wind turbines in the area caused more strong feeling in the village than the oil drilling or fracking ever did. There is considerable opposition to them.’

The extent of the oil and gas still produced today means that some of the resulting profits are ploughed back into the environment.  IG has helped fund the restoration of the Old Willow Works that stand at the entrance to the RSPB reserve.

As well as this improvement to the environment, Mr Austin said: ‘We have 35 employees working at the field in good jobs, supporting 35 families, which have sustained some for 40 years.’

None of this is likely to deter the eco-warriors in Balcombe. Last night some of them were camping in a nearby field. Eagerly anticipating ‘Solidarity Sunday’, they had unfurled banners in the field proclaiming ‘Power to the people’.

Watching what had become of his family’s field, farmer Philip Ponsford struggled with his frustration.

‘When they turned up on Thursday, I tried to explain we needed the field to graze our sheep. But they said they weren’t asking for permission because they were doing it anyway.’

Surveying at least 50 tents, two lorries, eight vans, and one vintage double-decker bus parked on his field, Mr Ponsford, 28, seemed resigned to the inevitable.  ‘The grass will be so damaged we will have to pull it up and re-seed it. So we will lose 24 acres of grazing for our sheep.’  And his position on fracking, from which the protesters were ‘protecting’ him? ‘Neutral. Very neutral.’

The protesters will argue that fracking for shale gas, as yet untried in Britain, will be more damaging than the pre-existing fracking for conventional oil and natural gas. They claim that shale fracking requires more wells, causes more disturbance and will point to the earth tremors in 2011, shortly after Cuadrilla commenced fracking near Blackpool.

However, Mr Austin warned that stopping fracking might only produce greater reliance on coal-fired power stations, which produce more ‘greenhouse gases’ than shale gas. ‘The enemy is coal, not gas.’

Whether those in Balcombe will listen remains to be seen.


The costs of regulation

A little something from the frontlines of international industry

Written by Tim Worstall

Most of you will know that my day job is dealing with the weirder
end of the metals market, most especially the rare earth scadnium. This popped into my inbox as a result of one of those automatic alert jobbies:

"Guangdong Orient Zirconic Ind Sci & Tech Co. is going to spend 30 million yuan ($4.9 million) to build facility to recycle scandium from zirconium oxychloride acid mother liquor. It will take six months to construct the facility, Orient Zirconic told Shenzhen Stock Exchange on August 10. When completed, the facility will have production capacities of 2,500 kilograms for high purity scandium oxide a year, 20 tpy for mixtures of rare earth oxides and 150 tpy for zirconium oxychloride, it said."

I don't know this particular company and have no contact with them. But those numbers all look about right, believable certainly. For I have looked at that (and many other viable ones) method of extracting scandium. It works, no doubt about it.

The thing I'd just note though is that they're going from a standing start to production in 6 months. If I were to pursue exactly the same technology here in the European Union it would take me 18 months just to get the environmental permit to proceed.

No, I don't advocate Chinese levels of environmental non-protection. But I do want to point out that such protection does come at a price: it takes much longer to do things therefore economic growth is slower than it would have been without such enviromental protection. It might even be that the level of protection we have is the right amount: I really do just want to point out that it comes with a cost attached to it.

And we have all noted that economic growth has been slower in recent decades than it was in those before we imposed the current level of regulations, haven't we?


Carbon Dioxide: The Gas of Life

Paul Driessen

It’s amazing that minuscule bacteria can cause life-threatening diseases and infections –- and miraculous that tiny doses of vaccines and antibiotics can safeguard us against these deadly scourges. It is equally incredible that, at the planetary level, carbon dioxide is a miracle molecule for plants -– and the “gas of life” for most living creatures on Earth.

In units of volume, CO2’s concentration is typically presented as 400 parts per million (400 ppm). Translated, that’s just 0.04% of Earth’s atmosphere -– the equivalent of 40 cents out of one thousand dollars, or 1.4 inches on a football field. Even atmospheric argon is 23 times more abundant: 9,300 ppm. Moreover, the 400 ppm in 2013 is 120 ppm more than the 280 ppm carbon dioxide level of 1800, and that two-century increase is equivalent to a mere 12 cents out of $1,000, or one half-inch on a football field.

Eliminate carbon dioxide, and terrestrial plants would die, as would lake and ocean phytoplankton, grasses, kelp and other water plants. After that, animal and human life would disappear. Even reducing CO2 levels too much – back to pre-industrial levels, for example – would have terrible consequences.

Over the past two centuries, our planet finally began to emerge from the Little Ice Age that had cooled the Earth and driven Viking settlers out of Greenland. Warming oceans slowly released some of the carbon dioxide stored in their waters. Industrial Revolution factories and growing human populations burned more wood and fossil fuels, baked more bread, and brewed more beer, adding still more CO2 to the atmosphere. Much more of the miracle molecule came from volcanoes and subsea vents, forest fires, biofuel use, decaying plants and animals, and “exhaust” from living, breathing animals and humans.

What a difference that extra 120 ppm has made for plants, and for animals and humans that depend on them. The more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the more it is absorbed by plants of every description –- and the faster and better they grow, even under adverse conditions like limited water, extremely hot air temperatures, or infestations of insects, weeds and other pests. As trees, grasses, algae and crops grow more rapidly and become healthier and more robust, animals and humans enjoy better nutrition on a planet that is greener and greener.

Efforts to feed seven billion people, and improve nutrition for more than a billion who are malnourished, are steadily increasing the tension between our need for land to feed humans -– and the need to keep land in its natural state to support plants and wildlife. How well we are able to increase crop production from the same or less acreage may mean the difference between global food sufficiency and rampant human starvation in coming decades –- and between the survival and extinction of many plant and animal species.

Modern agricultural methods steadily and dramatically improved crop yields per acre between 1930 and today. That is especially important if we continue to divert millions of acres of farmland from food crops, and convert millions of acres of rainforest and other wildlife habitat to cropland, for biofuel production to replace fossil fuels that we again have in abundance. Carbon dioxide will play a vital role in these efforts.

Increased CO2 levels in greenhouses dramatically improve plant growth, especially when temperatures are also elevated; rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have likewise had astounding positive impacts on outdoor plant growth and survival. Lentils and other legumes grown in hothouses with 700 ppm CO2 improved their total biomass by 91%, their edible parts yield by 150 % and their fodder yield by 67%, compared to similar crops grown at 370 ppm carbon dioxide, Indian researchers found.

Rice grown at 600 ppm CO2 increased its grain yield by 28% with low applications of nitrogen fertilizer, Chinese scientists calculated. U.S. researchers discovered that sugarcane grown in sunlit greenhouses at 720 ppm CO2 and 11 degrees F (6 degrees C) higher than outside ambient air produced stem juice an amazing 124% higher in volume than sugarcane grown at ambient temperature and 360 ppm carbon dioxide. Non-food crops like cotton also fare much better when carbon dioxide levels are higher.

Research into natural forest and crop growth during recent periods of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, between 1900 and 2010, found significant improvements under “real-world” conditions, as well.

An analysis of Scots pines in Catalonia, Spain, showed that tree diameter and cross-sectional area expanded by 84% between 1900 and 2000, in response to rising CO2 levels. The growth of young Wisconsin trees increased by 60%, and tree ring width expanded by almost 53%, as atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increased from 316 ppm in 1958 to 376 ppm in 2003, researchers calculated.

University of Minnesota scientists compared the growth of trees and other plants during the first half of the twentieth century (which included the terrible Dust Bowl years), when CO2 levels rose only 10 ppm – to the period 1950-2000, when CO2 increased by 57 ppm. They found that carbon dioxide lowered plant sensitivity to severe drought and improved their survival rates by almost 50%. Swiss researchers concluded that, because of rising carbon dioxide levels, “alpine plant life is proliferating, biodiversity is on the rise, and the mountain world appears more productive and inviting than ever.”

Other researchers used historical (real-world) data for land use, atmospheric CO2 concentration, nitrogen deposition, fertilization, ozone levels, rainfall and climate, to develop a computer model that simulates plant growth responses for southern US habitats from 1895 to 2007. They determined that “net primary productivity” improved by an average of 27% during this 112-year period, with most of the increased growth occurring after 1950, when CO2 levels rose the most, from 310 ppm in 1950 to 395 ppm in 2007.

How does all this happen? Plants use energy from the sun to convert carbon dioxide from the air, and water and minerals from the soil, into the carbohydrates and other molecules that form plant biomass. More CO2 means more and larger flowers; higher seed mass and germination success; and improved plant resistance to droughts, diseases, viruses, pathogenic infections, air pollutants, and salt or nitrogen accumulation in soils. Higher CO2 levels also improve plants’ water use efficiency – ensuring faster and greater carbon uptake by plant tissues, with less water lost through transpiration.

More airborne CO2 lets plants reduce the size of their stomata, little holes in leaves that plants use to inhale carbon dioxide building blocks. When CO2 is scarce, the openings increase in size, to capture sufficient supplies of this “gas of life.” But increasing stomata size means more water molecules escape, and the water loss places increasing stress on the plants, eventually threatening their growth and survival.

When the air’s carbon dioxide levels rise –- to 400, 600 or 800 ppm – the stomata shrink in size, causing them to lose less water from transpiration, while still absorbing ample CO2 molecules. That enables them to survive extended dry spells much better.

(The 2009 and 2011 volumes of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change report, Climate Change Reconsidered, especially this section, and Dr. Craig Idso’s website summarize hundreds of similar studies of crops, forests, grasslands, alpine areas and deserts enriched by carbon dioxide. CO2 Science’s Plant Growth Database lets people search for more studies.)

One of the worst things that could happen to our planet and its people, animals and plants would be for carbon dioxide levels to plunge back to levels last seen before the Industrial Revolution. Decreasing CO2 levels would be especially problematical if Earth cools, in response to the sun entering another “quiet phase,” as happened during the Little Ice Age. If Earth cools again, growing seasons would shorten and arable cropland would decrease in the northern temperate zones. We would then need every possible molecule of carbon dioxide – just to keep agricultural production high enough to stave off mass human starvation … and save wildlife habitats from being plowed under to replace that lost cropland.

However, even under current Modern Warm Era conditions, crops, other plants, animals and people will benefit from more carbon dioxide. The “gas of life” is a miracle plant fertilizer that helps plants grow and prosper – greening the planet, nourishing wildlife habitats, feeding people who crave larger amounts of more nutritious food, preventing species loss, and even warming the Earth a little.

That is an amazing fete for a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comprises just 0.04 percent of our atmosphere! We should praise carbon dioxide -– not vilify, ban or bury it.


Environmentalists Want You Powerless... to Resist

The power plant closures are coming; the power plant closures are coming; the power plant closures are coming; and while no one is riding through town to announce the news, the results to America could be nearly as dire as the coming of the Redcoats. Despite millions already spent on modifications, fully functional coal-fueled power plants are being shut down—not because they are not needed but due to ideology. In fact, the Energy Information Administration predicts that electricity demand will continue to grow 0.9 percent per year until 2040 as we plug in to electricity that is becoming increasingly expensive.

One such example is the San Juan Generating Station in New Mexico’s Four Corners area that provides about 60 percent of PNM’s (New Mexico’s primary electricity provider) total electric generation in the state. The coal-fueled plant has four generating units—two of which are being shut down due to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. The Albuquerque Journal reports that there will be “rate hikes to allow PNM to recover costs associated with the changes at San Juan.”

The San Juan Generating Station is scheduled for closure in 2017, but the process of replacing the 340 megawatts that will be lost has already started. PNM wants to fill the need with a new natural-gas plant at the same site and by bringing in more nuclear power from the Palo Verde Generating Station in Arizona, in which PNM is already part owner. Environmentalists oppose PNM’s plan and are pushing for more renewables such as wind and solar—which will “drive costs way up.”

But the problem with renewables isn’t just the cost or the intermittency. The problem is that environmentalists also oppose what it takes to get the natural resources needed to build, for example, a wind turbine.

The Northwest Mining Association, lists the metals and minerals needed to build one 3 megawatt wind turbine, which includes: 335 tons of steel and 4.7 tons of copper. (To replace the 340 megawatts of electricity generated at San Juan with wind would take 113 three-megawatt wind turbines—or 37,855 tons of steel and 1598 tons of copper.) Most people don’t think about where the metals and minerals come from or what it takes to recover or shape them.

Steel is an iron-based alloy that requires coal in the production process. It takes about 400 pounds of coal to produce a ton of steel. Unfortunately, the Obama administration—which is closely aligned with the environmentalists’ agenda—doesn’t seem to understand this. They are pushing for more wind turbines—with Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, “gearing up to make offshore wind energy a hallmark of her tenure,” according to the Washington Post. At the same time, environmentalists are coal’s adversaries. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), following an August 1 meeting with EPA administrator Gina McCarthy and White House legislative affairs director Michael Rodriguez, stated: “You cannot describe this any differently than as a war on coal, and not just in West Virginia or the U.S. but on a global scale. They’re using every tool they have to destroy the most abundant, reliable and affordable resource that we have.”

In Wisconsin, a company has begun soil testing with the goal of mining iron ore in a four-mile open pit mine. Gogebic Taconite, or G-Tec, has begun exploratory drilling and is gathering samples to send to government agencies. If results show the process is safe, G-Tec will be allowed to go ahead with its plans to construct the mine in a region where mining was once the main source of revenue. “Many of those who live in the economically depressed towns nearby,” many of them are descendants of miners, according to a Fox News report: “support the company’s efforts and look forward to the potential for much-needed jobs and growth in the region.” Yet, environmentalists are intent on blocking the project and have gone to such extremes as death threats, destroying equipment, attacking workers, and barricading roads.

An attempt to mine copper in Alaska is facing similar opposition—albeit this time through the EPA rather than acts of eco-terrorism. The proposed Pebble mine would potentially bring up to $180 million in annual taxes and revenues to the state of Alaska. A mine plan has not been put forward, nor have the companies behind the Pebble Partnership begun the permitting process, but the EPA has spent more than $2 million in an unnecessary and controversial draft watershed assessment of the Pebble Mine. According to the Daily Caller, the EPA and environmental groups argue that the agency has the authority to preemptively veto a permit. The Pebble Partnership has spent ten years and more than $400 million in research, studies, and fieldwork but has not yet submitted any plan. Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council reports that Pebble Mine opponents urged the EPA to conduct the assessment. She states: “The EPA has the authority under the Clean Water Act to stop Pebble Mine.”

Abraham Williams, president of the pro-development nonprofit Nuna Resources, says environmental groups are active in the region. “They have people on the ground and they move around the communities very well. They are well funded. It’s amazing. They are like ants—they work everywhere.”

The war on coal, the proposed G-Tec iron ore mine in Wisconsin and on the proposed Pebble Partnership copper mine in Alaska are just a few examples of environmental opposition to extracting the metals and minerals that are needed to build the wind turbines they want installed in New Mexico—and throughout the US.

With the volume of power plants scheduled to be shut down in the next few years—nearly 300—and the combination of opposition environmentalists have to any form of electricity generation that is effective, efficient and economical, and their opposition to mining what is needed to build the renewables they want—only one conclusion can be made: environmentalists want you powerless.

When Paul Revere made his famous ride announcing that the British were coming, the pending battle was over high taxes, and the consequences threatened America’s future independence. Likewise, today the battle is over higher-cost electricity which impacts all aspects of modern life and threatens America’s economic independence.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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