Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The law that swallowed California’: Why a much-derided environmental law is so hard to change

The landmark 1970 law for preserving California’s beauty has a long history of backfiring.

Although the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, has made it harder to drain wetlands, pave nature preserves and build oil refineries, it has also stymied the construction of bike lanes, affordable housing and public transportation.

When CEQA recently threatened thousands of young Californians’ admissions to the state’s flagship public university, legislators had enough. They introduced a bill to let the students enroll, passed it unanimously, and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed it all within four days.

“Admit those students now UC Berkeley,” state Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) tweeted after the vote. “Students are not pollutants!”

Yet despite the outrage surrounding the Berkeley incident and regular, high-profile examples of the law blocking environmentally friendly projects, few believe that legislators will use the Berkeley case as an excuse for an overhaul. Too many interests — including environmentalists, labor unions and neighborhood groups — support CEQA, and any attempt to make robust changes threatens blowback and failure.

What’s more likely is that lawmakers will continue to poke holes in the law, exempting or setting aside CEQA only in certain situations while leaving more widespread concerns about the law’s effects on development unchallenged.

“Politicians will always fix a problem as narrowly as they possibly can, particularly when fixing a problem broadly is politically difficult,” said Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University and publisher of the California Planning & Development Report. “The idea of limiting the California dream to UC Berkeley students resonated as an issue where somehow limiting the California dream by limiting the amount of housing does not.”

On its face, CEQA is a simple law. It requires developers to study a project’s environmental effects on the surrounding community and take steps to reduce or eliminate them. But the law can result in thousands of pages of studies examining everything from soil samples, to traffic to shadows a project might cast. Successful court challenges can send a project back to square one. The whole process, lawsuit or not, can sometimes take years to resolve.


The End of the Climate Change Legend

For many years now, there has been a spirited debate about whether climate change is science, religion or even perhaps a secret route to socialism. That question remains unanswered, but we've now discovered with certainty that climate change is a political albatross around the neck of the Democratic Party.

The Left's spiritual devotion to climate change has been speeding the Democrats over a political cliff this fall with likely unprecedented losses this November. The zero fossil fuels suicide pact was always an economic and political loser. More than 70% of all the energy we produce and consume in America derives from oil, gas and coal. President Joe Biden's war on these fuel sources was sure to cause severe shortages and $5 a gallon gasoline at the pump. Didn't Democrats learn their lesson in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won a landslide election against Jimmy Carter that surging inflation and gas prices is a surefire way to infuriate voters?

While Biden keeps saying he is doing "everything I can to lower gas prices," he's speaking out of both sides of his mouth -- because if your goal is to get people to stop using something, raising its price is a pretty good way to accomplish that. If prices go to $10 or $15 a gallon, you can clear the highways of trucks and cars altogether, and what a wonderful world it will be.

Democrats were so enamored with their Green New Deal delusion that they failed to understand that most people aren't as hyper-obsessed with climate change as they are. A new poll sponsored by my group, Committee to Unleash Prosperity, found that people are much more concerned about inflation and high gas prices than climate change. Moreover, the poll found that respondents' average amount they would be willing to pay for the climate change agenda was $55 a year. Sorry, that's the extra cost we are already spending with two fill-ups at the gas station.

Then there is the increasingly unavoidable reality that the green energy sources they fantasize about are decades away from being technologically feasible to replace old-fashioned oil, gas and coal. Even the Energy Department predicts that even with the trend toward renewable energy, by 2035, we will still be heavily reliant on oil, gas and coal for electricity production, home heating and transportation fuels.

Elon Musk, the leading champion of electric cars, reminded Biden in a recent tweet that in the real world rather than in la-la land, we are going to need oil and gas for many years to come. Today 3% of cars on the road are electric, and 95% use gas or diesel.

This brings us to yet another fatal flaw of the climate change movement. The Biden administration and its radical green allies can't explain why getting our energy from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia makes more sense than Texas, Oklahoma and Alaska.

This strategy is especially pinheaded because the war on oil, gas and coal production is a big loser for the environment and increases global greenhouse gas emissions. That is because America has the strictest environmental standards. Shifting oil and gas production to Russia or Iran and shifting coal production to China and India is causing far more air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Chinese President Xi Jinping is busy trying to take over the world economy, and the last thing he or the ruling class in Beijing cares about is climate change.

Finally, Democrats should have learned from the green energy catastrophe of Western Europe. A decade ago, the French, Germans, Italians and others in the European Union moved to a renewable energy future. They slashed much of their oil, gas and coal production, shut down nuclear plants (why?) and subsidized the building of wind turbines and solar panels. It nearly bankrupted Germany as energy prices soared and factories left Europe for America and Asia. A decade later, France is back to building nuclear plants, and Germany is burning more coal than ever before and importing natural gas from Russia. Europe recently redefined natural gas and nuclear power as "clean energy."

Going green wrecked their economies and submerged these countries deeper into the red. Unfortunately, Americans weren't paying any attention to that failed experiment. So now Biden is repeating it. The result is likely to be the same. The Democrats' radical climate change agenda isn't greening the planet, and it is bankrupting our country. Voters know exactly whom to blame.


What is a battery?’ I think Nicholas Tesla said it best when he called it an Energy Storage System. That’s an important distinction

They do not make electricity – they store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators. So, to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid.

Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, do you see?

Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a five-thousand-pound gasoline-driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.

There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single-use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals.

Rechargeable batteries only differ in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium. The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.

All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from an old, ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak small amounts of electricity.

As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill.

In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle single-use ones properly.

But that is not half of it. For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call environmentally destructive embedded costs.

Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs using a can of baked beans as my subject.

In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs in the can of beans.

The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors, combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas.

Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building, transporting the workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost. Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally, add in the cost of the gasoline for your car.

A typical EV battery weighs one thousand pounds, about the size of a travel trunk. It contains twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside are over 6,000 individual lithium-ion cells.

It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each EV auto battery, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just one battery.”

Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls, and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?”

I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone.

In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium- diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicone dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium.

Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent.

“Going Green” may sound like the Utopian ideal and are easily espoused, catchy buzzwords, but when you look at the hidden and embedded costs realistically with an open mind, you can see that Going Green is more destructive to the Earth’s environment than meets the eye, for sure.


The Cold, Hard, Bitter Truth About Electric Cars

During the 2020 presidential debates, Joe Biden admitted if he was elected, he would phase out fossil fuel energy, forcing Americans to convert over to renewable energy sources, regardless of their shortcomings.

Now President Biden, who has a long history of not telling the truth, is actually keeping his word this time concerning energy.

On day one, Joe stopped the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline. Laid-off Keystone XL pipeline workers blasted Joe Biden for LYING about American oil production.

In addition, last June Biden Suspended Drilling Leases in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The decision blocked oil and gas drilling in one of the largest tracts of undeveloped wilderness in the United States.

In a true test of the administration’s resolve, Joe Biden, the media, and Democrats are now using Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a cover for Biden’s inflation and soaring gas prices.

Their solution to the skyrocketing gas prices they caused, to advance electric cars, is telling Americans the best way to get their cost down is to go out and buy a $50K electric car.

Yes, they want those who are struggling to pay $5 per gallon, to instead take on a $700 car payment for a new electric car.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg stressed in a new interview that families who buy electric vehicles (EVs) “never have to worry about gas prices again.”

While speaking on MSNBC’s “The Sunday Show With Jonathan Capehart,” Buttigieg noted that Democrats’ proposed social spending package includes incentives to make it more affordable to buy an electric vehicle.

Buttigieg said that families would essentially have a “$12,500 discount” in transportation costs, adding that “families who own that vehicle will never have to worry about gas prices again.”

“The people who stand to benefit most from owning an EV are often rural residents who have the most distances to drive, who burn the most gas, and underserved urban residents in areas where there are higher gas prices and lower-income,” Buttigieg said.

The problem for Pete, people online are telling the rest of the story.

A woman named Margo, who owns an electric car tweeted out her frustrations on owning her electric car, and Dems aren’t gonna like it one bit.

“Look, I have an electric vehicle. What the government is telling you is a lie. It takes over an hour to SUPERCHARGE my Tesla. Can you imagine waiting an hour to fill up? Or going 25 miles out of the way to charge? It is not for everyone. Our country is nowhere near ready.”

Others are dealing with their own issues, including several who actually had their Teslas catch on fire, with them inside.

Here’s What People Online Are Saying About Margo’s Tweet:
“Electric vehicles are not practical for anything but short distance driving. Also the average person can’t afford them, or their upkeep, especially when the batteries only last 100K miles & it costs a fortune to replace them.”

“We live 58 mi from Anaheim but it can take over 3 hours in traffic. How well will an electric vehicle perform in those conditions? Not very well, I’m guessing…”

“Better have a full charge and not run the AC on blast if you plan to get to point A and Point B and back again. God’s speed LOL”

“I understand it is also around $22 thousand to replace a battery in one. Wow not for me. I love my old gas guzzling 6 cylinder Mercedes! Comfort and know it starts every time . Besides I can get a battery for $125!”

I too own a electric car. Downloaded several apps to plan my road trip. Picked a hotel that had level 2 charging stations. On arrival another Tesla owner checked out the key to use the charger and never returned it. I was unable to charge for 12 hours. What a nightmare”

“We are not ready & it’s like they’re trying to pull the rug out from under us with no one to catch us. And especially during these horrible times from Covid to this war it’s just cruel and maybe evil.”

“LA has brown-outs now. Could you imagine when everyone gets home from work and plugs in ? Power-outage.”

“Another thing that’s being peddled is that it costs nothing to charge an EV. Perhaps it isn’t as expensive to charge an EV as it is to buy gas (comparing EV mile to gas mile cost), but it isn’t free. It’s not carbon free, either. Electricity must be generated…by COAL”

Here is a more extreme way one disgruntled Tesla owner recorded – a Tesla owner blew up his car with 30 kilograms of dynamite after the company told him the cost of replacing the battery was $22,000. Damn…..

I have a much better solution for America, Drill Baby Drill!


My other blogs. Main ones below

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM )

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://australian-politics.blogspot.com (AUSTRALIAN POLITICS)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com/ (TONGUE-TIED)


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