Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Trump EPA overturns Obama’s veto of Alaska’s Pebble Mine

This is a big defeat for the Greenies so they will fight it all the way

In a move that returns the rule of law to the administrative regulatory process, the Environmental Protection Agency has invalidated an Obama-era attempt to circumvent longstanding legal precedent in its zeal to torpedo a proposed mining project in Alaska.

Debate and litigation surrounding the proposed Pebble Mine in southeastern Alaska near Bristol Bay has been going on for well over a decade. The site that would be mined is said to be rich in gold and rare earths. Rare earths are minerals with unique properties that are essential components in used in high-tech gadgetry for both industrial and military purposes. China is far and away the world’s leader in rare earths, accounting for over 90% of global production, and the proposed Pebble Mine would be one way for the U.S. to close the gap.

The mine would also be located near valuable salmon fisheries, and the project’s opponents – primarily environmentalists, local tribes, and Obama administration officials — cited the potential threat to wildlife as a reason to reject the project.

Obama Administration’s Extra-Legal “Determination”

Despite this opposition, the mine’s developers sought permits from both the state and the federal government, a process they knew would take years. In 2014, Obama political appointees at EPA short-circuited the permitting process by issuing a “determination,” based largely on unproven and unrealistic assumption, that the proposed mine would do irreparable environmental harm. That unprecedented move, a de facto veto, put the project on ice.

On July 30, the Trump EPA officially withdrew the Obama-era determination, which official said was “issued prematurely and is now outdated,” returning the decision on the future of the mine to the traditional permitting process.

“After today’s action, EPA will focus on the permit review process for the Pebble Mine project,” EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a statement. Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which shares regulatory jurisdiction with the agency on matters relating to bodies of water, EPA officials said they have expanded the public record on the mine. That record now contains information that was not available in 2014, they emphasized.

Rule of Law

Trump officials didn’t hesitate to take a swipe at the previous administration for they way in which handled the project.

“Today’s decision is a step towards good government decision making, which we owe under the law to both the public and project proponents,” EPA General Counsel Mathew Leopold said in a statement.

EPA’s action does not mean the mine will be approved. The matter will be tied up in litigation and bureaucracy for several more years. But it does signify that the decision-making process is back where it belongs, after it was hijacked by Obama political appointees intent on the deindustrilization of the United States.


Global warming fairy tale of the week debunked: Dying American Soldiers

The leftist Mother Jones website is promoting a new, false, global warming fairy tale this week – that global warming is killing American soldiers. Citing a “joint investigation between Inside Climate News and NBC News,” Mother Jones reports 17 American soldiers died from heat-related illnesses in the 11 years between 2008 and 2018.

According to the Mother Jones headline for its story, “Climate Change Is Killing US Soldiers.” But is this true?

As an initial flaw, the Mother Jones assertion assumes that no American soldiers died from heat-related causes prior to SUVs and coal-fired power plants. That assertion is ridiculous. Heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and related heat-related causes have always been a mortality factor among U.S. servicemen, particularly during times of military conflict.

Claiming that “climate change” is suddenly responsible for all heat-related deaths requires a degree of evidentiary proof that is completely lacking from the Mother Jones/NBC News/Inside Climate News analysis. The alarmists merely cite a few heat-related deaths and then assert, without any evidentiary support, that the 1-degree increase in global temperatures during the past century is to blame for all of them. Really?

In the hot-climate Middle East, U.S. forces remain deployed in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman.  American military personnel also have been recently stationed in Syria, Afghanistan, and other hot-climate nations. Quite frankly, it is probably a pleasant surprise that less than two soldiers per year die from heat-related ailments given this distribution.

Just as importantly, American mortality data show more than twice as many people die from cold-related causes than heat-related causes.  The same modest global warming that alarmists blame for every heat-related death should also be given credit for reducing the number and severity of cold days that kill far more people than heat-related deaths. Yet Mother Jones/NBC News/ Inside Climate News ignore that obvious counterbalance.

A recent global study in the prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet found cold temperatures are responsible for approximately 4 million deaths per year, which is 20 times more people than die due to warm or hot temperatures. Unless there is some reason that this global ratio does not apply to American soldiers, we can reasonably calculate that for every U.S. soldier who dies due to heat-related reasons, 20 more U.S. soldiers die due to cold-related reasons. Warming temperatures will accordingly save far more American soldiers than it will kill. Again, Mother Jones/NBC News/ Inside Climate News ignore this.

Consider this another alarmist climate scare debunked.


Is Governor Newsom offering up the keys to California’s energy castle?

Subsequent to his July 24th visit to the Central Valley it seems California Governor Newsom wants to hand over the keys to the Golden State to Vladimir Putin and his Russian cronies to run, in spite of the national security risk that it may create.

There are scary similarities between Newsom’s goals for California and Putin’s objectives. Both support California being more dependent on imported foreign oil, and both support anti-fracking in California as a successful fracking enterprise would lessen the states’ dependency on that foreign oil.

Historically the state’s solution has been to increase crude oil imports from foreign countries from 5% in 1992 to a shocking 57% in 2018, at a cost of more than $60 million dollars a day—and increasing each year.

By driving the oil and gas industry out of the state and into the dust bin of modern economics, the governor’s recent moves to lessen the power of one of the most successful industries in world economics will play right into the hands of Russia’s plan to control oil and natural gas exploration and distribution in the western world.

Putin loves the concept that the Governor is looking into putting a moratorium on fracking for oil in the largest oil reserves in America, located in California. The Governor’s right in line with Putin’s desire to encourage the “leaders” of the 184 ratifying countries of the Paris Agreement, and California, to delay and eventually stop any further exploration of deep earth minerals by diverting those countries’ efforts toward intermittent renewables of wind and solar for electricity.

The governor’s plan of moving forth at such an abrupt pace to end the states’ dependence on fossil fuels and convert to 100% renewable electricity (folks, it’s not renewable energy, it’s only intermittent electricity) will break the back of the oil industry in the state and severely damage the California economy like the green movements have done in Germany and Australia.

During his visit the governor said he has set aside $1.5 million to study ways to reduce petroleum demand and production in the state. Don’t make me laugh. That is barely enough to get research started.  As government research goes most of that will get lost in the bureaucracy leaving barely enough to pay the salaries of the professionals hired to compile and analyze data in the first six months of a multi-years long project.

The Governor seems oblivious to the fact that 100 percent of the 17 infrastructures reported on recently by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in the 2019 Infrastructure Report Card for California use deep earth minerals/fuels to “move things and make thousands of products” to support the state and economies around the world, and those infrastructures are increasing their demand and usage each year of those energy sources from deep earth minerals/fuels.

The Governors ‘aggressive efforts to curtail the use of fossil fuels and seek a long-term strategy to reduce oil production is totally contradictory to the ASCE Infrastructure Report and their recommendations to improve our infrastructures.

All of the infrastructures that will need to shrink their operations without access to the energy they need to continue at current and future levels will impact millions of well-paid Californians in favor of the minimum wage level jobs that will be created by new green technology replacing the oil industry jobs. These new jobs will not generate enough economy to support any town and may even create a new era of ghost towns prevalent during the end of the silver and gold eras at the turn of the 20th century.

The charge into green will require retraining of a huge displaced workforce used to a certain lifestyle. A minimum wage earner is not afforded the time nor the resources to enjoy leisure activities.  Their mainstay in life is to make ends meet.  Most times that requires two and three such jobs and maybe even both heads of household working two of those low wage jobs to break even financially. How does the Governor plan to feed the families of displaced workers when he shuts down their means of survival? By default, his actions will increase the welfare numbers.

Adding insult to injury Sacramento Democrats are seriously considering Assembly Bill AB-345 (Muratsuchi) “Oil and gas: operations: location restrictions” which would require all new oil and gas development that is not on federal land, to be located at least 2,500 feet from a residence, school, childcare facility, playground, hospital, or health clinic.

The effect of this “2,500” clear space around production wells would virtually destroy California’s in-state oil production by half. That will result in California sending another $16 Billion, on top of the current $32 Billion every year (again, Yes, that’s a “B”), to those oil rich foreign countries that have the audacity to not even send California a thank you note.

The Governor should know from data provided by the California Energy Commission that California is the only state in the union that currently imports most of its crude oil energy from foreign countries. In fact, since the state operates what is, in effect, the world’s fifth-largest economy, its ever-increasing dependency on foreign countries for its crude oil needs not only causes inflationary challenges for its citizens and businesses but has the potential to put our national security at risk.

This not an indictment of the esteemed Governor. This is an examination of the facts and exposing the similarities and possibilities. Russia, but not the 184 countries that have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement is well aware that electricity alone, especially intermittent electricity from renewables, has not, and will not, run the economies in the world; electricity alone is unable to support the energy demands of the military, airlines, medical industry, cruise ships, supertankers, container shipping, and trucking infrastructures.

Moreover, it is no secret Putin understands whoever controls the sale and distribution of deep earth minerals and fuels controls the world.

Putin’s Russia would love to see America’s economy go to waste while we struggle to employ a hundred thousand people who used to keep their money in banks and spend their wages in local stores and take their children to local schools and enjoy the leisure times provided by local industries that are attracted to the areas where people have the money and the time to spend on them.


Commission: Raise food prices to stop global warming

Higher food prices and a radical transformation in human diets away from meats and toward vegetables like lentils, beans, and peas are necessary to address global warming, A UK government-sanctioned commission claims in a new report. The report calls for “radically shifting the whole system” away from consumer-driven freedom of consumer food choices and toward a “strong and escalating regulatory baseline” that will make it “increasingly difficult (or expensive) to do the wrong things,” like eating meat.

According to the report – “Our Future in the Land,” by the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission – “Decades of policy to produce ever cheaper food has created perverse and detrimental consequences.”

“Whilst food in the supermarkets is getting cheaper, the true cost of that policy is simply passed off elsewhere in society,” the report claims.

The UK Guardian summarized the report this way, “True cost of cheap food is health and climate crises, says commission.”

“The commission criticized decades of government policy aimed at making food cheaper,” the Guardian noted.

“The climate emergency makes urgent, radical action on the environment essential,” Ian Cheshire, chair of the RSA commission and a UK government advisor, told the Guardian.

The report not only criticizes inexpensive food and the consumption of meat, it also criticizes farmers for not decarbonizing agricultural processes.

“This monumental report is a powerful and profound account of the ecological transformation of our food and farming system that we urgently need,” said British Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas in the Guardian.

Coal power plants and SUVs may be the first targets of climate activists, but affordable food prices and meat in your diets are next to be eliminated.


Australia: Almost 60 arrested as climate activists shut down Brisbane CBD

Cops have hauled away almost 60 climate activists as hundreds continue to shut down Brisbane’s CBD as part of a “rebellion day”.

Almost 60 climate change protesters have been arrested as activists shut down Brisbane’s CBD today.

A spokeswoman for Queensland Police told that a number of protesters have been arrested at the scene for blocking traffic — and pictures show activists being dragged away.

Although she couldn’t confirm a number, local reports state that up to 56 people have been detained by police so far.

Carrying gazebos, chairs, blankets and a barbecue dozens activists from the Extinction Rebellion group have gathered in the city’s CBD, according to reports on social media.

The group expects hundreds of protesters will join them outside 1 William Street, the state government’s HQ, and carry out “mass civil disobedience”. The disruption is understood to continue for seven hours.

Queensland Police is advising those travelling to the CBD today to use public transport — saying the group is expected to cause “significant disruption to traffic in the Central Business District and South Brisbane” between 7am to 9pm.

Translink advises there are currently 25 to 30-minute bus delays in the Brisbane CBD as a result of the protest.

The Courier Mail reports that the activists are encouraging families to involve their children in the protests by giving them  chalk to graffiti Brisbane’s roads and footpaths with climate change messages.

“I’ve bought a whole pile of chalk and definitely the main encouragement from the main group was they would love to have the kids chalking, and then it’s still on the street the next day,’’ an organiser said in a hook-up yesterday.

Extinction Rebellion is a socio-political movement with the stated aim of using civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance to protest against climate breakdown, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse.

Begun by a group of British academics in 2018 in response to the IPCC report that found we have just 12 years to stop catastrophic climate change, the movement has held hundreds of street blockades and occupations, mainly in the UK, but also other cities around the world. The group has held several street blockades in Brisbane this year.

“Business as usual is killing us,” the group wrote in a statement. “There is no more time to waste. Government has failed to protect us, so ordinary people have to act now.”

Nurse Daniel Young, who is one of 48 people already arrested in the lead up to Rebellion Day, condemns the way the government is treating climate policy.

“If the climate was one of my patients — and I was ignoring all the warning signs and just waiting for them to deteriorate — I would be charged with criminal negligence,” he said.

Superintendent Chris Stream said police acknowledge the right to lawful and peaceful protest. “Police and partner agencies are working closely to manage the protest and minimise as much as possible disruptions to transportation networks,” Superintendent Stream said.

“We continue to urge protest leaders to engage with police so that we can map out a solution for lawful and peaceful protest activity.”

However, the official Extinction Rebellion SEQ Facebook account appeared critical of police. A spokesman posted: “Queensland police uphold a colonial system of exploitation. “They hold children in watchhouses for weeks, they protect officers who give the addresses of DV victims to their abusers.

“They target indigenous people and people of colour for stop and search checks because of the racial profiling culture in the force. “Stay peaceful, stay non violent. Ignore them as much as you can.  “It f***s with their power trip.”



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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