Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Lost amid all the 'noise' over Scott Pruitt is the very real damage Obama's EPA did to rural communities

The far left will stop at nothing in their efforts to derail the presidency of Donald Trump. Still bitter about the outcome of 2016, the left claims much of their outrage toward the president is driven by his unpredictable personality, but ideological opposition to his administration’s reform-minded agenda is the real root of their anger.

Nowhere is this more evident than the furor surrounding Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Trump’s opponents have seized on a number of recent unflattering news stories involving Pruitt and his agency. While admittedly not the best public relations for Pruitt, his “real sin is that he is one of Mr. Trump’s most aggressive reformers,” as the Wall Street Journal editorialized last week. President Trump expressed a similar sentiment over the weekend when he tweeted praise for his EPA chief’s “bold actions” and “record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars.”

Since taking office last year, Pruitt has boldly carried out the president’s campaign promises. In October, he moved to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations, ending the War On Coal and providing a shot in the arm for coal country that had been decimated.

Pruitt and Trump issued an executive order doing away with the Obama-era Waters Of The United States (WOTUS) that sought to impose new regulations on every miniscule body of water in this country.  And Pruitt encouraged Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, an accord which the UN itself admitted last year was largely symbolic, but whose damage to American businesses would have been real.

Environmental protection remains a priority: under Pruitt’s leadership, $100 million dollars have been awarded to Flint, Michigan, to upgrade the drinking water and to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants – known as “Superfunds” – has been prioritized.

Pruitt’s “scandals” are exaggerated for political expediency: never mind that the Obama EPA spent just as much, if not more, than Pruitt’s team, according to a recent Fox News report.  Or that Lisa Jackson, Obama’s EPA chief, was caught using the email alias “Richard Windsor” to communicate with people outside the government. Or that one Obama-era EPA employee was caught downloading and watching pornography on the job. These issues prompted no outrage from Hill offices, and one questions if Congressional inquiry could possibly be politically motivated, or if left-wing outrage is a one-way street.

These millions of Americans who lost their jobs, their towns, and their livelihood voted to undo the EPA’s destruction, and Scott Pruitt is doing just that.

The left also knows that opposing Trump and Pruitt will curry favor with Tom Steyer, the San Francisco billionaire taking a bigger and bigger role in the public policy debate. Already having pledged $30 million dollars of his vast fortune to help elect identically ideological environmentalists, Steyer has now embarked on a publicity stunt to impeach the president, spending millions on television and digital ads.

Lost amid all the noise is the extreme damage the previous EPA did to rural communities. My work takes me to small, energy-rich towns around the country.  These are the places where America gets its power, where multiple generations of energy workers live and worship and raise their families.  Places where the champions of the eco-left would not deign to visit.  These towns survived dot.com bubbles and housing crashes because the majority had steady, good paying jobs in coal mines or oil fields.

These proud towns went from prosperity to poverty during eight years of EPA regulatory action as unemployment became rampant, and with it, myriad hardships: shuttered stores on main street, depleted education funds, increased opioid use.  Families broke apart as moms and dads moved from their beloved hometowns looking for work.  The very fabric of their communities – neighbors, schools, churches, little league, diners, town squares – destroyed in less than a decade.

The ideologues of the previous EPA believed they were punishing “the fat cats” as Obama liked to call rich people who didn’t vote for him, or “millionaires and billionaires” in Bernie Sanders lexicon, or “big oil” according to the eco-left. But who they really punished were the forgotten men and women in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, New Mexico, Alaska, and Louisiana, among others.  These millions of Americans who lost their jobs, their towns, and their livelihood voted to undo the EPA’s destruction, and Scott Pruitt is doing just that.  His punishment will be severe: the eco-left, in conjunction with their elected patrons in Congress and media allies, will persecute him relentlessly. 

Our message to Administrator Pruitt: American energy workers who are going back to work thank you. The American economy thanks you. And please remember these wise words: if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.


Tomorrow’s Grim, Global, Green Dictatorship

Viv Forbes

Greens hate individual freedom and private property. They dream of a centralised unelected global government, financed by taxes on developed nations and controlled by all the tentacles of the UN.

No longer is real pollution of our environment the main Green concern. The key slogan of the Green religion is “sustainable development”, with them defining what is sustainable.

Greens hate miners. They use nationalised parks, heritage areas, flora/fauna reserves, green bans, locked gates and land rights (for some) to close as much land as possible to explorers and miners – apparently resources should be locked away for some lucky distant future generation. And if some persistent explorer manages to prove a mineral deposit, greens will then strangle it in the approvals process using “death by delay”.

Greens hate farmers with their ploughs, fertilisers, crops and grazing animals. They want Aussie grazing land turned back to kangaroos and woody weeds. They plan to expel farmers and graziers from most land areas, with food produced in concentrated feedlots, factory farms, communal gardens and hydroponics.

Greens hate professional fishermen with their nets, lines and harpoons. Using the Great Barrier Reef as their poster-child, they plan to control the Coral Sea using marine parks, fishing quotas, bans and licences, leaving us to get seafood from foreign seas and factory fish farms.

Greens hate foresters and grass-farmers. They want every tree protected, even woody weeds taking over ancient treeless grasslands. Red meat and forest timber are “unsustainable”. Apparently they want us to live in houses made of recycled cardboard and plastic and eating fake steak and protein powder made from methane generated from decomposing rubbish dumps.

Greens despise the suburbs with their SUV’s, lawns, pools, rose gardens, manicured parks, ponies and golf courses. They prefer concentrated accommodation with people stacked-and-packed in high-rise cubic apartments, with state-controlled kindies in the basement, and with ring-roads of electric trams and driverless cars connecting apartments, schools, offices and shops.

Greens hate reliable grid power from coal, nuclear, oil, gas or hydro generators. Their “sustainable” option is part-time power from wind and solar with the inevitable blackouts and shortages needing more rules and rationing.

Greens lead the war on fracking and pipelines. The victims are energy consumers. The beneficiaries are Russian gas and Middle-east oil.

Greens think it is “sustainable” to uglify scenic hills with whining wind towers, power poles, transmission lines and access roads, and to clutter pleasant estuaries and shallow seas with more bird-slicing turbines. They think it is “sustainable” to keep smothering sunny flatlands under solar panels and filling the suburbs with extra power lines and batteries of toxic metals.

Greens think it is “sustainable” to clear forests for bio-mass to feed large wood-fired power stations, or for establishing biofuel plantations. They think it is “sustainable” to keep converting croplands from producing food for humans to producing ethanol for cars.

Greens hate free markets where prices are used to signal changing supply and demand. There is no room for fun, frills or luxuries in their “sustainable” world. They want to limit demand by imposing rationing on us wastrels – carbon ration cards, electricity rationing meters, water rationing, meat free days, diet cops and bans on fast foods and fizzy-drinks.

They also favour compulsory recycling of everything, no matter what that process costs in energy or resources. Surveillance cameras will keep watch on our “wasteful” habits.

None of this vast green religious agenda is compatible with individual freedom, constitutional rights or private property - and none of it makes any economic or climate sense.

The Despotic Green New World is coming. Climate alarm is the stalking horse, “sustainable development” is the war cry, and global government is the goal.


Japan just found a 'semi-infinite' deposit of rare-earth minerals -- and it could be a 'game-changer' in competition with China

Now no fear of shortages

Because China has tightly controlled the world’s supply of these minerals – which are used in everything from smartphones to electric car batteries – the discovery could be a “game-changer” for Japan, according to an analyst.

The study, published in the journal Nature on Tuesday, says the deposit contains 16 million tons of the valuable metals.

Rare-earth minerals are used in everything from smartphone batteries to electric vehicles. By definition, these minerals contain one or more of 17 metallic rare-earth elements (for those familiar with the periodic table, those are on the second row from the bottom).

These elements are actually plentiful in layers of the Earth’s crust, but are typically widely dispersed. Because of that, it is rare to find any substantial amount of the elements clumped together as extractable minerals, according to the USGS. Currently, there are only a few economically viable areas where they can be mined and they’re generally expensive to extract.

China has tightly controlled much of the world’s supply of these minerals for decades. That has forced Japan – a major electronics manufacturer – to rely on prices dictated by their neighbour.

The newly discovered deposit is enough to “supply these metals on a semi-infinite basis to the world,” the study’s authors wrote in the study.

There’s enough yttrium to meet the global demand for 780 years, dysprosium for 730 years, europium for 620 years, and terbium for 420 years.

The cache lies off of Minamitori Island, about 1,150 miles southeast of Tokyo. It’s within Japan’s exclusive economic zone, so the island nation has the sole rights to the resources there.

“This is a game changer for Japan,” Jack Lifton, a founding principal of a market-research firm called Technology Metals Research, told The Wall Street Journal. “The race to develop these resources is well underway.”

Japan started seeking its own rare-earth mineral deposits after China withheld shipments of the substances amid a dispute over islands that both countries claim as their own, Reuters reported in 2014.

Previously, China reduced its export quotas of rare earth minerals in 2010, pushing prices up as much as 10%, The Journal reports. China was forced to start exporting more of the minerals again after the dispute was taken up at the World Trade Organisation.

Rare-earth minerals can be formed by volcanic activity, but many of the minerals on our planet were formed initially by supernova explosions before Earth came into existence. When Earth was formed, the minerals were incorporated into the deepest portions of the planet’s mantle, a layer of rock beneath the crust.

As tectonic activity has moved portions of the mantle around, rare earth minerals have found their way closer to the surface. The process of weathering – in which rocks break down into sediment over millions of years – spread these rare minerals all over the planet.

The only thing holding Japan back from using its newly found deposit to dominate the global market for rare-earth minerals is the challenge involved in extracting them. The process is expensive, so more research needs to be done to determine the cheapest methods, Yutaro Takaya, the study’s lead author, told The Journal.

Rare-earth minerals are likely to remain part the backbone of some the fastest-growing sectors of the global tech economy. Japan now has the opportunity to control a huge chunk of the global supply, forcing countries that manufacture electronics, like China and the US, to purchase the minerals on Japan’s terms.


Science is Not Truth

Richard Harris has written a startling book about the state of medical research. The preface to "Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions" includes a warning about scientific naivety:

Most of science is built on inference rather than direct observation…Science progresses by testing ideas indirectly, throwing out the ones that seem wrong…Gradually, scientists build stories that do a better job of approximating the truth. But at any given moment, there are parallel narratives, sometimes sharply at odds with one another. Scientists rely on their own individual judgments to decide which stories come closer to the truth…Some stories that seem on the fringe today will become the accepted narrative some years from now. (italics added)

During the years I’ve spent examining the climate debate, I’ve tried to communicate precisely these ideas. Millions of people think there’s a climate crisis because ‘science says.’ But in addition to being hazy and incomplete, that science relies on indirect reasoning and judgment calls.

Scientists, being human, are susceptible to bias, group-think, self-interest, and tribalism. We often hear that 97% of scientists think climate change is caused primarily by human beings. This, let us be clear, is an opinion.

Ideas championed by the greatest minds of one era are frequently tossed into the dustbin by the next. Google eugenics. Or continental drift. Or germ theory. Or stomach ulcers.

For decades, Pluto was a planet. Then it wasn’t. As a non-scientist, I once thought such matters were straightforward. I was naive.

TOP TAKEAWAY: In Harris’ words, scientists “are groping around at the edges of knowledge.” This means we need to be careful, indeed, when basing laws and government policies on scientific findings.



Canadian hockey analyst, Don Cherry, called out global warming alarmists as cuckooloos and like most liberals they demanded he be fired.

The Great Lakes Region a couple of years ago had Arctic like conditions for several months.  This year has been a little more erratic.  Cleveland had historic snow one week and then a fairly standard winter.  Canadian hockey analyst, Don Cherry, called out global warming alarmists as cuckooloos and like most liberals they demanded he be fired.  Cherry was expressing Ontario was having a very cold winter.  Angry liberals couldn’t just change the channel.  Maybe they were even more embittered in the cold.

Six years ago I lived through a 10 day heat wave in the Tidewater region.  Newspaper columnists with no more science background than the rest of us blamed man-made climate change, except.  It had been terribly chilly through most of June and after the heat wave the rest of the summer was cooler than average.  Heat waves happen and have always happened.

Growing up I remember many late springs.  Journalists claim trees now bloom sooner but a scientist told me buds appear when the length of daily sunlight grows.  Temperature isn’t a factor but don’t let that interfere with a liberal narrative.

Climate and weather aren’t the same, although.  Climate is a series of weather events.  When the forecast one week out rarely is accurate then how can we foresee climate in a century?  When a judge at a trial of America’s oil companies accused of warming the planet asked a simple question the environmentalists were dumbfounded.  “What caused the last ice age?” he queried.  The lefties were at a loss for words.




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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