What Will America Look Like If The Environmentalists Win?

In every war, there are winners and losers. Whether the war is ideological or physical, or even if a truce is declared, there are still battles that end in victory or defeat.

In the United States, and most of the western world, there is an ideological war with dire physical consequences. It is the war on fossil fuels, though the war is much bigger than energy. It is about freedom. It is about control. It is about global governance.

It is happening through a series of battles—one regulation after another, slowly, with some people, in the name of the planet, willingly giving up freedoms. It comes in the form of the Endangered Species Act, Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and the Clean Power Plan—though the list could go on and on.

Others are not so gullible. They see the bigger plan and are willing to be the brunt of scoff, or even persecution. They fight for the principles upon which this great nation was founded.

I recently read Mountain Whispers, Days without Sun. It was sent to me by the author, who reads my column. It is his debut novel and not the usual light, fluffy stuff I like to read. I didn’t expect to like it. But I promised I’d read it. I am glad I did.

In Mountain Whispers, Days without Sun, author Coleman Alderson, using a fiction format that reaches the heart, carefully weaves the green narrative into a spell-binding thriller set just slightly more than 25 years from now—when all of the green policies have taken force. He paints a gripping picture of how the Global Energy Enforcement Organization (GEEO) takes control of every aspect of our lives, leaving people struggling to survive a bleak existence.

Not everyone is willing to abandon freedom for the neat and tidy life promised in “Progress City.” They resist being “registered” and moved to work on an organic farm or serve in “the administration.” Even many of those who accepted the move are beginning to realize the mistake they made. The friction creates the story as the “retros”—Appalachian Mountain folks, many of whom worked in the now-closed coal mines—resist registration and citification.

One of the lead characters is a young man named Agent Candler Greaves, who is sent to round up the rebellious “retros.” Having been raised with the “save the planet” mantra, he genuinely wants to “help guide humanity toward a harmonious existence with the planet.” But, as Mountain Whispers, Days without Sun makes vividly clear, the result of the GEEO’s efforts is a decrease in various public services, more land restrictions, and limited availability of food, electricity and medical treatments—while the leadership thrives in spite of it all.

The idea of citizens being willingly chipped (like a dog) and tracked may seem extreme to some; but as I returned to the U.S. from a recent trip to Mexico, and scanned my passport while the kiosk took my picture and printed out a report that allowed me back into the country, I realized it is closer than we think. If you’ve seen advertising pop up on your computer based on websites you’ve visited, or your phone, without your asking it to, tells you how long it will take you to get to work as you leave the driveway, you know the scenario Alderson presents, while fiction, is totally possible. Unless, like the Appalachian Mountain folks, we get what is going on and fight it while it is still an ideological war that can be won without bloodshed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

An Open Letter To Dr. Ben Carson On Energy Policies

Congratulations on your decision to run for President of the United States. You speak, refreshingly, rather than from a poll-tested script. As such, you’ll likely say a thing or two for which you’ll later have to apologize (at worst) or dial back on (at best).

I hope such is the case when you recently quoted President Obama’s deceptive “$4 billion a year in oil subsidies” line—which is essentially wrong.

When you use the term “subsidy,” the public automatically thinks a handout of government cash. Yet, as Forbes columnist Larry Bell found in his analysis of Obama’s attack on “fossil fuel subsidies,” the so-called subsidies are far from cash handouts; and some of it doesn’t even go to the industry.

Bell points out a broad definition for “subsidy” as used by Oil Change International: “any government action that lowers the cost of fossil fuel energy production, raises the price received by energy producers, or lowers the price paid by consumers.” Though different from public perception, this allows tax deductions—akin to those used by most industries—to be relabeled.

Using the broad definition of “subsidies,” there are some large dollar figures that warrant review. A summary of the data from a 2010 OECD-IEA report titled: “Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Other Support,” concludes a total of $4.5 billion for oil-related subsidies in the U.S. in 2010—which may be where the $4 billion talking point comes from. But that, too, is deceptive.

Energy analyst Robert Rapier broke down the data and found, as reported in Forbes, that the single largest expenditure is just over $1 billion for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Next: just under $1 billion in tax exemptions for farm fuel. The third largest category: $570 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Those three programs account for $2.5 billion a year in “oil subsidies.”

As you can see, it is not the cash give-away the anti-petroleum crowd wants people to believe. And I haven’t addressed the tax and royalty revenue that comes in from the oil-and-gas industry.

I know you were in Iowa, and you must have felt that you needed to offer some nod to corn-based ethanol but your suggestion that oil subsidies should, instead, be used to build ethanol-fueling stations, indicates that you are ill-informed on renewable energy as well.

We could take apart your comment about ethanol being 50-80 cents a gallon less than gasoline and being better for the environment—there is plenty to work with there. But for brevity, I am going to stick with the subsidy theme and expand it to include renewables.

Because energy subsidies are complicated, I think the easiest way to look at them is using an energy-received-for-dollar-spent model—which is a good indicator of how federal dollars are being used and the value the nation is getting from them.

Using data from the Energy Information Administration’s recent study, the Institute for Energy Research calculated the federal subsidies and support per unit of electricity produced. It concluded: “On a per dollar basis, government policies have led to solar generation being subsidized by over 345 times more than coal and oil and natural gas electricity production, and wind is being subsidized over 52 times more than the more conventional fossil fuels on a unit of production basis.”

Dr. Carson, I know you are smart; but you know medicine. You need very smart people to advise you on energy policy now, before you address the topic any further. I have a cadre of energy experts that I could make available to you—and any candidate who wants smart energy policy.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Deepwater Horizon Five Years Later: Lessons Learned

Five years ago, following a blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers, the nation was spellbound by the 87-day visual of oil flowing freely into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the Macondo well. The 3.1 million barrels of spewed oil has been called “the world’s largest accidental marine spill” and “the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

Looking back, CNN reports: “There were dire predictions of what would follow. Environmentalists and others braced for an environmental collapse on a massive scale.”

In preparation for the spill’s five-year anniversary, BP issued an extensive report called Environmental Recovery and Restoration­—which concludes, according to Bloomberg Business, that the spill “didn’t do lasting damage to the ecosystem.” It isn’t surprising to hear BP burnishing its tarnished image; but after BP has spent $28 billion on clean-up and claims, others seem to agree with them.

While marshes were oiled, businesses struggled, beaches were closed, and the restoration continues, it hasn’t been the ecological cliff that anti-petroleum groups predicted.

Despite the 13 miles of coast that suffered from “heavy oiling,” Science Magazine reports: “Nature has bounced back in surprising ways.” It states: “Brown pelicans were a poster child of the oil spill’s horrors, for instance, but there’s no sign the population as a whole has fallen. Shrimp numbers in the bay actually rose the year after the spill.” And, the state’s bayside sparrows, which had less productive nests in oiled areas, haven’t suffered “a drop in overall numbers.” Common minnows suffered a variety of abnormalities for “up to a year after the spill. Scientists have found no evidence, however,” that they “have caused fish numbers to drop in Louisiana’s estuaries.” Even the ants are starting to “come back and stay.”

In the popular vacation town of Grand Isle, whose beaches remained closed for three years, Jean Landry, a local program manager for The Nature Conservancy, says: “This summer feels more positive than any in the last five years. You see people coming back to their summer homes rather than renting them out to cleanup workers.”

The water is clean, and, “according to the Food and Drug Administration tests on edible seafood, shows no excess of hydrocarbons in the region’s food supply.” It is important to realize, according to the National Research Council estimates that “every year, the equivalent of 560,000 to 1.4 million barrels of oil—perhaps a quarter of the amount that BP spilled—seeps naturally from the floor of the Gulf.”

“The overall message is upbeat,” according to Ed Overton, an LSU chemist who has spent years tracking chemical changes in the Deepwater oil that washed ashore. As quoted in Science, Overton says: “I think the big story is, it’s remarkable how Mother Nature can cure herself. It’s really hard to find permanent impacts.”

While the permanent impacts are “hard to find,” no one ever wants to experience anything like it again. The accident, according to the Journal of Petroleum Technology, “spawned new technology, improved safety practices, and better operations awareness.”

The post-Deepwater Horizon world will continue to need oil and natural gas. Globally, and in the Gulf, drilling is continuing. While the industry will keep making changes and improvements based on the lessons learned at Macondo, we do not live in a risk-free world. We can manage and mitigate the potential hazards.

Technology and safety standards are important. But, perhaps, the best lesson learned is one that could be applied to all claims about environmental collapse at the hands of mankind: Mother Nature is remarkably resilient. Within a short period of time, she can cure herself.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Climate Campaign Hasn’t Worked, But The Fearmongers Keep Trying

Global warming has been the most extensive public relations campaign in history. The 25 years of political and cultural pressure includes most governmental agencies, the public school system, the universities, celebrities, think tanks, and well-funded environmental groups. Yet, despite all the fear-mongering, over the 25-year-long campaign, there’s been no significant change in the public’s concern level over global warming.

Based on new polling data from Gallup, the number of those who “worry greatly” about global warming has actually dropped.

Americans aren’t that stupid after all. We can smell a rat.

It isn’t that we don’t believe the climate changes; it does, has, and always will. But “there is a difference in believing climate change is real and believing that climate change is calamitous.”

In his post at TheFederalist.com, David Harsanyi continues: “As the shrieking gets louder, Americans become more positive about the quality of their environment and less concerned about the threats.”

25 years of intense political and cultural pressure hasn’t won over the public. But they haven’t stopped trying. With the huge investment of time and money, the fear-mongers keep trying—believing, somehow, they’ll get different results.

On March 6, “a documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire,” Merchants of Doubt, was released. It aimed to smear the reputations of some of the most noted voices on the realist side of the climate change debate. But nobody much wanted to see it. In its opening weekend, BoxOfficeMojo.com reports Merchants of Doubt took in $20,300.

A week later, former Vice President Al Gore, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, called on attendees at the SXSW festival in Austin, TX, to “punish climate change deniers”—which is the tactic being used now.

We’ve seen it in the widely publicized case of Dr. Willie Soon, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who “claims that the variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent Global warming.” The New York Times accused him of being tied to funding from “corporate interests.”

Similar attacks, though less well known, have been made on many others who’ve dared to speak up.

Even Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Raul Grijalva recently joined the crusade. They sent a letter to institutions that employ or support climate change researchers whose work strays from the crisis narrative. The lawmakers warn of potential “conflicts of interest” in cases where evidence or computer modeling emphasizing human causes of climate change are questioned—but no such warning is offered for its supporters.

Somehow, only those who may receive some funding from “fossil fuel companies” are suspect. The anti-fossil fuel movement has been vocal in its funding for those who support its agenda—most notably billionaire Tom Steyer, who promised to fund candidates who oppose the Keystone pipeline and supports lobbying efforts for renewable energy.

In a Desmog post titled “Climate Deniers Double Down on Doubt in the Defense of Willie Soon,” the author states that Soon’s supporters “circled the wagons.”

In a Scientific American story about the Merchants of Doubt, Andrew Hoffman, a professor at the University of Michigan who studies the behavior of climate skeptics, says that “tit-for-tats between mainstream and contrarian researchers tend to raise the profile of skeptical scientists.”

Because of the failure of the manmade climate-crisis campaign to capture the hearts and minds of the average American—who, after all, isn’t that stupid—we can expect the Gore-ordered attacks to continue.

Like the mythical Hydra, when one “skeptic” is cut down, supporters “double down”—two more grow to take its place. The attacks draw attention to the fact that there is another side to the “debate.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Obama Administration Kicks The Oil-And-Gas Industry While It Is Down

Photo credit: commerce.gov

For the past six years, the oil and gas industry has served as a savior to the Obama presidency by providing the near-lone bright spot in economic growth. Increased U.S. oil-and-gas production has created millions of well-paying jobs and given us a new energy security.

So now that the economic powerhouse faces hard times, how does the Administration show its appreciation for the oil-and-gas industry that has been a boon to the economy?

By introducing a series of regulations—at least nine in total, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ)—that will put the brakes on the US energy boom through higher operating costs and fewer incentives to drill on public lands.

WSJ states: “Mr. Obama and his environmental backers say new regulations are needed to address the impacts of the surge in oil and gas drilling.”

U.S. oil production, according to the Financial Times, “caught Saudi Arabia by surprise.” The kingdom sees that US shale and Canadian oil-sand development “encroached on OPEC’s market share” and has responded with a challenge to high-cost sources of production by upping its output—adding to the global oil glut and, therefore, dropping prices.

Most oil-market watchers expect temporary low-priced oil, with prediction of an increase in the second half of 2015, and some saying 2016. However, Ibrahim al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, recently said: “We have the ability to endure low oil prices over the medium term of up to five years, even if it means delving into fiscal reserves to cover a large deficit.”

Many oil companies are already re-evaluating exploration, reining in costs, and cutting jobs and/or wages. “In the low price circumstance like today,” Jean-Marie Guillermou, the Asian head of the French oil giant Total, explained, “you do the strict minimum required.”

In December, the WSJ reported: “Some North American companies have said they plan to cut their capital spending next year and dial back on exploring for new oil.” It quotes Tim Dove, President and COO for Pioneer Natural Resources Co.: “We are seeking cost reductions from all our suppliers.”

Last month, Enbridge Energy Partners said: “it has laid off some workers in the Houston area”—which the Houston Chronicle on December 12 called “the latest in a string of energy companies to announce cutbacks.”

I have previously warned the industry that while they have remained relatively unscathed by harsh regulations—such as those placed on electricity generation—their time would come. Now, it has arrived. The WSJ concurs: “In its first six years, the administration released very few regulations directly affecting the oil-and-gas industry and instead rolled out several significant rules aimed at cutting air pollution from the coal and electric-utility sectors.”

According to the WSJ: “Some of the rules have been in the works for months or even years.” But that doesn’t mean the administration should introduce them now when the industry is already down—after all, the administration delayed Obamacare mandates due to the negative impact on jobs and the economy.

Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets it. Under pressure from the environmental lobby to increase regulations on the oil-and-gas industry, he, during a question session on the floor of the House of Commons in December, said: “Under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy—it would be crazy economic policy—to do unilateral penalties on that sector.”

Introducing the new rules now kick the industry while it is down and shows that President Obama either doesn’t get it, or he cares more about burnishing his environmental legacy than he does about American jobs and economic growth.

(A version of this content was originally published at Breitbart.com)

Photo credit: commerce.gov

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom