Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Greenie dilemma

‘It’s A Nightmare’: American Indians Blast Western States For Waging A War On Coal

Coastal states are using environmental regulations to destroy American Indians’ ability to produce coal, gas, and forms of energy required to lift communities up and out of poverty, according to one prominent American Indian tribe.

A handful of western states — led by Washington — are using EPA regulations to hamstring coal production and transportation, CJ Stewart, a Crow Tribal member and co-founder of the National Tribe Energy Association, told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Thursday.

Stewart’s tribe is dependent on coal production for its survival.

“Tribal economies face many obstacles to success, and currently the economy of the Crow Tribe is facing a critical crisis,” Stewart told Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso and others on the panel. “While we are blessed with untold mineral wealth in oil, coal, and gas on the Crow reservation, regulatory roadblocks and political crisis force us to languish in poverty.”

“The tribe currently has an unemployment rate of 70 percent,” he added. “Imagine having a trillion dollars in mineral wealth under your feet and yet your people are starving and destitute before you. It’s a cruel nightmare.”

The Crow Tribe is heavily dependent on energy from coal and gas for its economic well-being. It has about 13,000 members and is the biggest employer on the reservation, which spans three states — Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming, Barrasso’s state.

Outside of coal revenues, the tribe relies on funding from states and the federal government to employ about 900 people.

Stewart blamed the Section 401 of the EPA’s Clean Water Act, which was intended to provide states with a way to apply key water quality protections to federally permitted activities.

The U.S. holds more of the world’s coal reserves than any other country, Stewart told the panel, adding that the coal “mined by the Crow Nation is preferred by high-efficiency, low-emission power plants” that are in operation and being built around the world.

Washington has come under intense scrutiny in recent months over Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision in January to deny coal mining company Lighthouse Resources a permit to build an export terminal to ship western coal to Asia.

Lighthouse sued Inslee and the State’s Department of Ecology for allegedly violating the Constitution’s commerce clause in denying the permit for what would be America’s largest coal export terminal.


Climate Obsession: Blinding Us to Real Environmental Problems

Are there bigger environmental concerns than climate change? Certainly. But we don’t hear that from our daily news anchors and bulletins.

Why are we obsessed with climate change?

Not long ago, our interests were limited only to weather. But in recent decades, climate change has dominated our news columns.

There is not a day without news on the coming climate doomsday. The reason for this is simple — climate change has been sold by the mainstream media as the most disastrous environmental phenomenon at hand.

But we can safely declare that they’re wrong. The world is not in immediate danger of collapsing due to climate change.

Arctic and Antarctic sea ice volume has never been higher in the last 11,700 years (except during the Little Ice Age of the 16th and 17th centuries), there is no dangerous rise in sea levels, polar bears are healthy, global agricultural outputs are at their highest levels, and there are no signs of global temperatures rising to levels we have not witnessed in the past 2,000 years.

But how about the other environmental problems we are currently facing?

Deforestation is a critical problem, and there are ongoing efforts across the globe to plant more trees. The climate alarmists’ propaganda has largely revolved around closing coal plants and implementing renewables, not planting more trees!

If anything, climate change has actually helped us recover our forest areas. Increasing carbon dioxide concentration levels and relatively warmer temperatures have helped plants grow at a much faster pace than before and also helped expand their ranges into high latitudes and high altitudes previously too cold for them.

Another major problem is the mismanagement of solid waste, especially plastic. The billions of dollars that are being currently spent on climate change mitigation policies could actually have been used for research and better solid waste management.

Water crisis is another major issue in tropical countries of Africa and Asia. Climate alarmists unsuccessfully tried to attribute the existing water crisis to man-made climate change despite no conclusive evidence.

Water is a sensitive resource in many parts of Africa and Asia. Rather than investing billions of dollars in substandard, inefficient, and unreliable renewable technology like wind and solar, the money could have been put to use in large-scale micro and macro water conservation projects.
In fact, the climate change empire’s biggest obsession has been wind and solar. Little do the public know that these two sources are environmentally hazardous and already causing a lot of environmental health issues in China and elsewhere.

Climate change is not people’s most pressing concern. Climate alarmists have done injustice to the environment by diverting people away from real environmental issues that need immediate attention.

Even worse, they have been forcing countries to adopt technologies that are harmful to the environment while providing little return.

The climate obsession has surely blinded us from focusing our efforts towards finding solutions that address real-world environmental problems. Instead we are stuck with mere hypothetical theories about unproven false forecasts of our climate.

Perhaps it is time individuals and local communities move beyond the climate rhetoric of media and climate alarmists and get involved in real-world environmental causes that will leave a positive impact on the environment.


Mining Regulations Hamper Access to America’s Own Rare Earth Metals and Minerals

Australia is however developing its rare earth mines rapidly

China is President Trump’s favorite whipping boy when it comes to blaming other nations for our chronic international trade deficits. Good economists – a category that assuredly does not include the president’s trade advisor Peter Navarro – don’t worry at all about the balance of trade with any single trading partner. We look for other logical reasons explaining why the United States buys more goods from one nation than we sell to it.

A case in point: the rare earth minerals purchased by the armed forces and critical to national defense. America’s supplies of those materials depend heavily on imports from China and other unfriendly countries.

As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Defense procures 750,000 tons of minerals and metals every year. Many of them are essential for manufacturing armaments ranging from bullets, turbine engines, advanced radar and electronic warfare systems, to missiles.

The United States imports half of 50 critical minerals and 100 percent of 21 of them. The imports are shipped from many countries in various corners of the globe – South America, Australia, Africa and Asia. But the largest share by far originates in China or from mines located elsewhere that are owned by Chinese companies.

You might think that the national defense posture of the United States depends on imports of minerals and metals to such a great extent because we’ve run out of them. But you’d be wrong. There is no domestic shortage. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States is home to $6.2 trillion worth of minerals reserves. The problem isn’t a lack of resources, but a rather a burdensome regulatory policy toward mining that has pushed minerals production to other countries, most notably China.

Washington’s knee-jerk reaction to the trade imbalance in so-called rare earth minerals and metals is to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to forbid acquisition from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea of minerals used in the production of three of the most militarily sensitive products – tungsten components, samarium-cobalt magnets, and neodymium-iron-boron magnets.

The House approved the ban in an amendment to the defense measure that’s awaiting action by a House-Senate conference committee. The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Mark Amodei (R-NV), would also prohibit purchases by U.S. defense industries of eight other commodity minerals from adversarial nations. Copper, molybdenum, gold, nickel, lead, silver and certain fertilizer compounds would be added to a list of critical minerals.

Copper is essential in the production of jets, tanks, and warships; beryllium is used to enhance aircraft speeds and is vital for enemy surveillance technologies; rare earth minerals are used to manufacture night-vision goggles. The bill’s aim is to raise domestic prices and thereby stimulate investment in the domestic mining of these and other strategic minerals.

Trade protectionism always is a bad idea, although it would reduce imports and increase the quantities of minerals extracted here at home. But higher minerals prices caused by limiting supplies from overseas mines would add to an already bloated defense budget.

The good news is that Rep. Amodei’s amendment to the defense measure also would streamline the mine-permitting approval process from the 10 years it now takes to just two years, putting U.S. mining operations on the same regulatory footing as the requirements with which Australian and Canadian mines must comply. The Amodei plan includes formal review timelines and schedules for completing the permitting process, the goal being to lower the regulatory barriers that discourage domestic investment in critical minerals production.

Regulatory reform would help offset China’s comparative advantage in mining more effectively than banning imports from there or from any other country. U.S. dependence on imports of militarily critical minerals from unfriendly nations is less a problem of international trade policy than it is of domestic regulations that make it too costly to mine our own abundant domestic supplies.

Over-reliance on imported rare earth minerals, if it worries you, is our own fault. It can be fixed without inviting retaliation from our trading partners.


Australian PM rolls over on climate nonsense

Australia is doing OK without a free trade agreement with the EU so lacking one is unlikely to be noticed. And it's very unlikely that the EU will tie trade to emissions reduction since they themselves are not meeting emission goals

Malcolm Turnbull's backflip on plans to legislate the Paris emissions reduction target could cost Australia billions.

Faced with the prospect of ten rebel MPs crossing the floor to vote against his National Energy Guarantee and a possible leadership challenge from Peter Dutton, Mr Turnbull capitulated in an attempt to secure his own political future.

But the move could spell the end of a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between Australia and the European Union.

Wine and designer goods from Europe would no longer fall in price, and the current five per cent vehicle tariff and luxury car tax would remain.

Australia's pursuit of a free trade agreement between the two 'like-minded' partners was made on June 18 in response to a successful 2017 when the EU was Australia's largest source of foreign investment.

The agreement is intended to open up the market for any Australian purveyor or business person.

Greater access to the EU market would enable Australian farmers to avoid EU tariff quotas on beef, sheep meat, sugar, cheese and rice.

On Friday Mr Turnbull put the deal at risk by dropping the government's plans to legislate the 26 per cent Paris emissions reduction target.

The prime minister instead proposed setting emissions targets by regulation, The Australian reported.

The plan will formally go to Cabinet on Monday night and will be discussed by the coalition party room on Tuesday.

Advice from the competition regulator that power prices would not increase as a result of the commitment will also be required.

The backflip comes after a group of right-wing MPs - led by Tony Abbott - told Mr Turnbull they would vote against his energy policy.

The heart of the policy was the controversial target to cut emissions by 26 per cent by 2030. The Liberal and Nationals MPs who are against NEG and appear willing to cross the floor include Mr Abbott, Andrew Gee, Andrew Hastie, Barnaby Joyce, Craig Kelly, Kevin Andrews, George Christensen as well as Keith Pitt.

Since then the group have urged Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to mount a leadership challenge following his 38th consecutive Newspoll loss to Bill Shorten's Labor Party.

While Mr Turnbull has the support of Simon Birmingham and Christopher Pyne, Mr Dutton is backed by Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott.

Mr Dutton confirmed on Friday he is considering all his options, including resigning his ministry and leading a mass exodus of Coalition MPs across the floor, Nine News reported.

Another Minister told Nine News: 'If the only way this thing gets up is with Labor's support then there is no way it will fly'.

'There are only two good outcomes here - either the energy policy is dead and we can go to the election fighting Labor on it, or Malcolm goes,' an unnamed MP told The Daily Telegraph.




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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