Where Will You Be When The Lights Go Out In America?

Green Lightbulb Where will you be when the lights go out in America?

 

The passage of time is marked with milestones. We each know where we were when President Kennedy was shot, when the Berlin Wall came down, and on the morning of 9-11. If we continue on the current course, you’ll be telling your grandchildren where you were the night the lights went out in America.

America’s energy policy is being dominated by environmentalists’ priorities—regardless of the impact to the American economy, individual communities, or economically-challenged citizens. The plans to shut down or limit America’s abundant, available, and affordable energy are organized, coordinated, and effective. The results will be “lights out in America”—a dim future.

On May 30, the Wall Street Journal alerted us to the Sierra Club’s new campaign aimed at killing the natural gas industry: “Beyond Natural Gas.” WSJ reports: “This is no idle threat. The Sierra Club has deep pockets funded by liberal foundations and knows how to work the media and politicians. The lobby helped to block new nuclear plants for more than 30 years, it has kept much of the U.S. off-limits to oil drilling, and its ‘Beyond Coal’ campaign has all but shut down new coal plants. One of its priorities now will be to make shale gas drilling anathema within the Democratic Party.”

How do they think we will power America? With intermittent, ineffective, and uneconomical wind and solar energy.

Why are the Sierra Club, et al, able to wield so much power? The Obama administration is friendly to their cause. Many of the agencies regulating domestic energy development are staffed with personnel culled from within the ranks of the environmental movement. And, they are not shy about their biases—as was revealed in the now famous “crucify” comment. They also use their vast resources to sue, and sue often. As a new report from the Kentucky Coal Association (KCA) reveals, they don’t just sue the coal miners and the coal-fueled power plants, they sue the EPA to force new standards which are often unattainable—thereby effectively stopping all use of coal. (Remember, natural gas is the next target.)

The EPA, then, goes around standard operating procedures to do the bidding of their environmental buddies.

In Kentucky, hundreds of individual coal mining permits are typically approved each year. The application process has been in place for years. Companies applying for permits know the rules and applications are submitted accordingly. If a rule change is to be made, there is a process that includes a series of public hearings and industry input—providing participation for all parties. When a new rule is implemented, it often has a phase-in period and involved parties can prepare as they know about it far in advance.

However, Lisa Jackson’s EPA isn’t constrained by rulemaking policy.

On April 1, 2010, without reason or science, public notice or opportunity for public comment, the EPA issued “Interim Guidance on Clean Water Act (CWA) procedures for Appalachian surface mines”—which initially applied to only six states: Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Lisa Jackson acknowledged that few—if any—mines would be able to comply with the new benchmark set to limit wastewater discharges from surface coal mining to instream conductivity levels of 500 micro-siemens. Even if you do not understand the conductivity level of instream micro-siemens, you can grasp that the levels called for in the “guidance” are lower than levels found in nature.

In March 2010, 27 permits were issued under the known procedures. Since the “guidance” came out, without warning, on April 1, no new permits have been issued. One company was offered a permit with the 500 micro-siemens limit applicable to every phase of mining beginning on day one. The “virgin” stream was tested before any mining operations commenced and was found to naturally have 1200 micro-siemens. The company would have been in violation before they ever started. On July 21, 2011, the “interim guidance” was replaced with a “final guidance” which suggested that conductivity levels be 300 or less instead of the previous 500—which was already unattainable. Even expensive bottled water doesn’t meet the standards the EPA has set for discharges from coal mining.

For more than 2 years, the Appalachian economy has suffered the loss of hundreds of mines, equaling thousands of direct potential jobs, as a result of this “guidance”—which is not a “rule” but is being treated as one.

In October 2010, the KCA filed a lawsuit against the EPA contending that the issuance of the “interim guidance” violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the CWA by ignoring public notice and comment rulemaking requirements, and unlawfully usurping the state’s role in establishing water quality standards under CWA. That suit has been consolidated with a similar suit filed in West Virginia and with National Mining Association litigation and has been transferred to the federal court in the District of Columbia; the case is scheduled to be heard July 11.

Meanwhile, applications for individual coal mining permits have been denied. Shortly after the new “guidance” was issued on April 1, 2010, The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet (KEEC) proposed to issue 21 permits for new and surface mines in Eastern Kentucky that did not include qualification for the sudden “guidance,” but met all prior imposed limitations and were consistent with previous applications that were granted permits. The state has the authority to issue permits and the EPA has oversight authority. In September 2010, the EPA issued specific objections to all 21 permit applications—thereby preventing their issuance, blocking jobs and revenues.

On July 1, 2011, the KEEC proposed another 19 permits for new or expanded surface mining in Eastern Kentucky. These permits included a number of enhancements to assure protection of aquatic life. In late September 2011, the EPA objected to all 19 permits—but did not specify the deficiencies. There are currently 36 applications pending; the other four have been withdrawn with the potential investment presumably going elsewhere.

In accordance with the CWA, if the EPA has specific objections, the applicant can request a hearing to challenge the EPA’s decision. The KEEC requested a hearing in December of 2010. Finally, after an 18-month wait, EPA has scheduled hearings for June 5 and 7. The Kentucky Coal Association estimates that just the 19 permits the EPA blocked last September have cost $123,861,000 in state coal severance taxes, 3,800 Kentucky coal jobs, and the production of 125,476,000 tons of coal—all while America is in economic crisis.

Additionally, the micro-siemens benchmark was slated to apply to six states but was pulled back to just two: Kentucky and West Virginia. Why were these states singled out? If micro-siemens were important, if clean water was really the issue, shouldn’t the “guidance” apply nationwide? Interestingly, the two states targeted for the new rules may be victims of retribution. Neither Kentucky nor West Virginia went blue in the 2008 election and are not likely to in 2012. The Democratic primaries in both Kentucky and West Virginia were an embarrassment to the Obama re-election effort. In Kentucky, “uncommitted” got 42% of the vote and in West Virginia, prisoner Keith Judd got 41%. Obama nemesis Mitch McConnell hails from Kentucky and West Virginia’s Democratic Senator Joe Manchin made waves when he ran a campaign ad in which he picked up a rifle and shot a target labeled “cap and trade bill”—which was an Obama campaign promise. Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia were removed from the micro-siemens guidance. They are blue states that are important to President Obama’s re-election. Once again, it appears that the Obama administration is putting electoral posturing ahead of energy production. (If Obama gets re-elected, you can be sure the “guidance” will apply to more states and other industries.)

The micro-siemens guidance is applied under the CWA section 402. While other industries are governed by section 402, the micro-siemens guidance applies only to coal, and only in two states. The selective application indicates that it isn’t really about the water.

The Sierra Club doesn’t want America’s abundant coal resources used in America. Their efforts have already contributed to the announced closure of 100 US coal-fueled power plants and reduced demand for coal. “Sales to Midwestern power plants have slumped, as has the market price of coal, dropping so suddenly that many local mines are cutting back hours or closing,” reports the New York Times. “The anger toward Washington is palpable.” In the May 29 NYT article, Chris Lacy, an executive at Licking River Resources Inc., said “layoffs among his 350 miners—in Magoffin County, where unemployment is already 17.5 percent — are inevitable.” Addressing the increasing regulations against coal, Lacy says the “concerns are overblown.” He sees them as “a conspiracy by environmentalists and the Obama administration to destroy the way of life here in Kentucky.”

The Sierra Club wants to keep coal in the ground and out of international markets where coal- fueled power plants are being built faster than they are being abandoned in the US. They are filing lawsuits against mining companies to prevent extraction and claiming settlements which include their legal fees. Environmental attorneys are among the highest paid—getting double and triple what veterans’ or seniors’ advocates receive. This hurts not only the local economies, such as the one supported by Licking River Resources, but it also does harm to the US economy, as selling US products overseas helps our trade deficit.

If you are tired of the undue influence the environmental groups, such as the Sierra Club, hold over your energy use and cost—they proudly state that their attack on coal is “just the tip of the iceberg” (natural gas is next), stand with Kentucky against the singular attack. A pre-hearing rally is being held in Frankfort, KY, on June 5 from 5-7 PM between the Capitol Plaza Hotel and the Frankfort Convention Center where elected officials, pro-coal advocates, and invited guests will speak about the dangers of the EPA’s actions to Kentucky jobs. If you can’t make the rally, you can still offer written comment (Docket ID:EPA-HQ-OW-2012-0315).

If we do not stand up to these senseless attacks on the American way of life, our energy freedom, and our economic security, we will be telling our grandchildren where we were the night the lights went out in America.

Photo Credit: Victory of the People (Creative Commons)

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Why Is Panetta Beating The War Drums On Climate Change?

Leon Panetta SC Why Is Panetta Beating The War Drums On Climate Change?

Global warming has been off the energy-news radar as high gas prices have usurped the spotlight—however Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has brought it back. “Defense Secretary?” you might ask. “Not Energy Secretary Steven Chu or EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson?”

No. It was Leon Panetta, who, at an Environmental Defense Fund reception on Thursday May 3, declared “The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security.” (Are we going to declare war on countries like Canada for backing out of the Kyoto climate change commitments, or China and India for never supporting them in the first place?)

Panetta’s comments tell us two things. First, as I’ve stated in aprevious column, the environmental community is important to the president’s re-election efforts, and, second, global warming will be part of the debate in the coming months leading up to November.

President Obama campaigned with the promise that he would slow the rise of the oceans and enact cap-and-trade legislation. Talk of manmade climate change was central to his election efforts. Now we know it will still be a part of the re-election rhetoric.

Likewise, candidate Romney has also supported the theory of manmade climate change and was part of the founding of one of the original cap-and-trade programs. However, Romney has now, after seeing new data, admitted that he doesn’t know whether or not man’s activity plays a role in climate change.

Both President Obama and Governor Romney accepted what was the prevalent thinking on climate change at the time. Many believed that the “science” was “settled.” Scientists like NASA’s James Hansen and Penn State’s Michael Mann publicly proclaimed that global warming was a threat to all of humanity and the earth. But that was then. Leon Panetta’s comment reminds us that the Obama position on climate change has remained static, while Romney’s has matured with the latest findings.

Within the past few weeks, James Lovelock, a scientist and climate-change alarmist, who in 2006 wrote, “Before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable,” admitted he was wrong and acknowledges that he’d been “extrapolating too far.”

Lovelock puts himself in the same “alarmist” category as Al Gore. Now he sees that “the problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books—mine included—because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.” Lovelock continues. “The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now. The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising—carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that.” Despite rising carbon dioxide, sea levels are dropping—though it is doubtful that President Obama can take any credit for it since his promised cap-and-trade plan did not make it through the Democratic controlled Congress.

As Lovelock confessed, the dire predictions haven’t come true.

The polar bear, the mascot of the climate change crisis, believed to be drowning due to melting ice caps, is flourishing. Drikus Gissing, director of wildlife management for the Nunavut region, told theGlobe and Mail, “The bear population is not in crisis as people believed. There is no doom and gloom.” The Canadian study Gissing referenced found that the polar bear population was 66 percent higher than expected.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted in 2007 that “Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and if the present rate continues, the likelihood of their disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.” Then, in 2010, they had to retract the estimate, admitting that it was based on “dubious scientific sources.” Time Magazine called the entire episode “a black eye for the IPCC and for the climate-science community as a whole.” Now, there is a new study reported in Nature that points out that the contribution of melting ice “is much less than previously estimated, with the lack of ice loss in the Himalayas and the other high peaks of Asia responsible for most of the discrepancy.”

As the Himalayan story exposes, some of the science behind the manmade climate change hysteria is “dubious.” And some is the result of scientific misconduct, as was revealed in the Climategate scandal that exposed falsified records and silenced scientists.

Add to the above the impact the general public is beginning to feel as climate change mitigation strategies—such as wind and solar power—are hitting their utility bills, and the disgust they feel over the president’s insistence that more taxpayer dollars be thrown at an increasing number of failing so-called renewable energy firms, and it is easy to see why support for manmade global warming theory has waned.

And, one has to question why the president is entrenched in ideology that has now been shown to be demonstrably deceptive. The issue of costly climate change mitigation schemes is about more than just our presidential candidates. More than half of the states have mandated requirements for expensive renewable energy that raises electricity rates for everyone. Each legislator who voted for the cost-increasing standards needs to be as honest as Romney, and admit that they were wrong and reverse the policies, or be voted out of office. Unless that happens, energy prices will continue to climb and will stunt the struggling economic recovery.

The combination of new data, dire predictions that were no more accurate than a carnival fortune teller, scientific misconduct, and harsh economic impacts don’t add up to a strong foundation for a presidential campaign—yet, as Leon Panetta exposed, President Obama continues to cling to claims of manmade climate change crisis while Romney, like former “alarmist” James Lovelock, admits he was wrong.

Thousands of scientists never believed the predictions put forth by computer models, and many more, like Lovelock, have begun to question the assumptions. Later this month, hundreds of them, from across the globe, will converge in Chicago for the world’s largest gathering of “skeptics.” There they will discuss and debate the science.

Over the next six months, we are bound to hear about climate change as an issue. Romney will likely be called a flip-flopper, while President Obama stands firm on his convictions—with one sounding shameful and the other honorable. In contrast, I believe it is honorable to accept new input and admit when we are wrong and shameful to ignore new evidence, putting ideology ahead of reality.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Wind Energy: The Next Green Black-Hole

Wind Turbine Support Group SC Wind Energy: The Next Green Black Hole

The wind energy industry has been having a hard time. The taxpayer funding that has kept it alive for the last twenty years is coming to an end, and those promoting the industry are panicking.

Perhaps this current wave started when one of wind energy’s most noted supporters, T. Boone Pickens, “Mr. Wind,” in an April 12 interview on MSNBC said, “I’m in the wind business…I lost my ass in the business.”

The industry’s fortunes didn’t get any better when on May 4, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) wrote an editorial titled, “Gouged by the wind,” in which they stated: “With natural gases not far from $2 per million BTU, the competitiveness of wind power is highly suspect.” Citing a study on renewable energy mandates, the WSJ says: “The states with mandates paid 31.9% more for electricity than states without them.”

Then, last week the Financial Times did a comprehensive story: “US Renewables boom could turn into a bust” in which they predict the “enthusiasm for renewables” … “could fizzle out.” The article says: “US industry is stalling and may be about to go into reverse. …Governments all over the world have been curbing support for renewable energy.”

Michael Liebreich of the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance says: “With a financially stressed electorate, it’s really hard to go to them and say: ‘Gas is cheap, but we’ve decided to build wind farms for no good reason that we can articulate.’” Christopher Blansett, who is a top analyst in the alternative-energy sector in the Best on the Street survey, says, “People want cheap energy. They don’t necessarily want clean energy.”

It all boils down to a production tax credit (PTC) that is set to expire at the end 2012. Four attempts to get it extended have already been beaten back so far this year—and we are only in the fifth month. TheFinancial Times reports: “Time-limited subsidy programmes…face an uphill battle. The biggest to expire this year is the production tax credit for onshore wind power, the most important factor behind the fourfold expansion of US wind generation since 2006. Recent attempts in Congress to extend it have failed.”

According to the WSJ, “The industry is launching into a lobbying blitz.” The “2012 Strategy” from the American Wind Energy Association includes:

·        “To maximize WindPAC’s in?uence, WindPAC will increase the number of fundraisers we hold for Members of Congress.”

·        “Continue the Iowa caucus program to ensure the successful implanting of a pro-wind message into the Republican presidential primary campaign.”

·        “Respond quickly to unfavorable articles by posting comments online, using the AWEA blog and twitter, and putting out press releases.”

·        “Continue to advocate for long term extension of PTC and ITC option for offshore wind.”

·        “AWEA requested a funding level of $144.2 million for FY 2012 for the Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Energy Program, an increase of $17.3 million above the President’s Congressional budget request.”

A wind turbine manufacturer quoted in the Financial Times article says, “If the PTC just disappears, then the industry will collapse.” Regarding United Technologies plans to sell its wind turbine business, chief financial officer Greg Hayes admitted: “We all make mistakes.”

Despite twenty years of taxpayer funding, according to the Financial Times, “Most of these technologies are unable to stand on their own commercially, particularly in competition with a resurgent natural gas industry that has created a supply glut and driven prices to 10-year lows.” The WSJ opines: “the tax subsidy has sustained the industry on a scale that wouldn’t have been possible if they had to follow the same rules as everyone else.” A level playing field would mean that wind developers would lose the exemptions from environmental and economic laws.

It is the fear of having to play by “the same rules as everyone else”—like the free market does— that must have propelled the anti-fossil fuel Checks and Balances Project to dig deep to unearth a “confidential” document. The brainstorming document was designed to trigger conversation during an initial meeting of grassroots folks with a common goal—the document’s author didn’t even join us and his ideas received little attention. The meeting was February 1 and 2. I was there. But suddenly, on May 8, our little meeting is in the news.

Many of us who were at the meeting received calls from a variety of publications including The National JournalThe Washington Times and Bloomberg News—none of whom ran with the story (after talking to a number of us, the Bloomberg reporter concluded “I don’t think we’re writing a story about this”)—andThe Guardian who did. The Guardian story was picked up and expanded on in Environment & Energy (the reporter did talk to several of us), HuffPostTree Hugger, Think Progress’ Climate Progress, and others. (Note: Climate Progress and Tree Hugger remove any comment in opposition to wind energy as soon as it is posted.) From there, some form of the story is all over the Internet.

The wind energy industry panic explains the sudden interest, but why our little group?

Washington Examiner columnist, Timothy Carney, provides the answer: “AWEA plans ‘continued deployment of opposition research through third parties to cause critics to have to respond,’ the battle plan states. In other words: When people attack AWEA’s subsidies, AWEA might feed an unflattering story on that person to some ideological or partisan media outlet or activist group.” We are the people who have attacked the subsidies and AWEA has, through a “third party” fed “an unflattering story” to a “partisan media outlet.” Our collaborative actions have helped block the PTC extension efforts.

A common thread in the news stories is that we are really an oil-and-gas funded entity. They’ve tied us to the Koch Brothers. We all wish. Apparently they can’t believe that individuals and local groups canthink for themselves and impact public policy without a puppet master telling us what to do and say.

In fact, the group has no funding. As we began to email back and forth over the sudden reporter interest, one meeting attendee quipped: “My trip was funded, in part, by MY brother, Paul, who donated frequent flyer miles for my trip. I can assure you that my brother is not part of the Koch family. I paid for the rest of the trip out of my own pocket.” Yet, the reporters seemed determined to find a funding link. I told the Bloomberg reporter that we each paid our own way, that the meeting was held in a budget hotel outside of DC (unlike the AWEA meeting held at the prestigious La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, CA), and that we each had to pay for our own transportation, food, and lodging. My comments never made it into print. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the executive director of companionorganizations that do receive funding from oil and gas companies and individual donors. But I, like the others, was invited as an individual, not as a member of any organization.

Additionally, we are not even a formal group. We met to consider forming a group. The “leaked” memo, addresses finding a group that might absorb us, affiliate with us, or align with us.

Attendees brought their individual issues, observations, and successes. Each had valid insights to contribute. Some viewed health impacts as the most important ammunition. Others, economics. Some, setbacks or bird deaths or land use. Others, including the meeting’s organizer, John Droz, believe that the science—or lack thereof, is the best weapon. There are so many reasons to oppose wind that come down to government use of taxpayer money to support something that raises electricity prices based on the failed concept of man-made global warming. As a result of the meeting, we now know we are not alone, and we can call on one another for insight and advice.

We owe a debt of gratitude to Gabe Elsner, a co-director of the Checks and Balances Project. Without his discovery and subsequent exposure of the “document,” we’d still be just loosely affiliated individuals and small citizens’ groups. The attack has emboldened us and helped others find us! A representative from the Blue Mountain Alliance sent Droz an email stating: “I probably need to send them a thank you note for leading me to you and your efforts.”

After the murmurings became known, one of the meeting attendees, Paul Driessen, wrote a detailed and data-filled column, “Why we need to terminate Big Wind subsidies,” which has garnered more than 700 Facebook “likes” on Townhall.com. (To give perspective, I am pleased if I get 50 “likes.” Each “like” generally represents thousands of readers.) In just a few days, his column is all over the Internet.

Wind energy has more opposition than most people realize, and Elsner, who has served as the “third party” in the AWEA strategy, has allowed us to find one another. While a few attendees at the DC meeting were concerned about all the publicity, attorney Brad Tupi, who has represented citizens victimized by wind energy projects, responded: “I would plead guilty to participating in a meeting of concerned citizens opposed to wasteful, unproven, inefficient wind energy. I would agree that we are interested in coordinating with other reputable organizations, and I personally would be honored to work with Heartland Institute and others.”

If you do not support industrial, tax-payer-funded, wind-energy projects that are promoted based on ideology and emotion rather than facts and sound science, you can benefit from our affiliation. Droz has a wonderful presentation full of helpful information. A few of the websites from the meeting attendees include: Illinois Wind WatchCoalition for Sensible SitingEnergy Integrity Project, and Citizen Power Alliance.

The lesson to be learned from the attack on these hard-working citizens is that the little people can make a difference! We’ve got the subsidy-seeking, wind-energy supporters running scared—along with the crony capitalism that accompanies them. Remember, “If the PTC just disappears”—meaning if we do not keep giving them taxpayer dollars—“then the industry will collapse.” Your phone call or email to aSenator or Congressman, such as Steve King or Dave Reichert who recently came out in support of the PTC, can make a difference. Tell them, as the WSJ said, “If the party is serious about tax reform…it will vote to take wind power off the taxpayer dole.”

It is time for the AWEA and the politicians who support the PTC to explain why higher electricity costs, human health impacts, substantial loss of property values in rural communities, dead bats and birds, and increased national debt are good for America and her taxpayers.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

Photo credit: terrellaftermath

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Was The EPA’s Al Armendariz A Scapegoat?

Al Armendariz Was The EPAs Al Armendariz A Scapegoat?

Frequent readers of my column might be surprised to see that I am defending Al Armendariz, the newly resigned EPA Administrator of Region 6. In his recently revealed “crucify” comments, Armendariz was merely reflecting the view from the top—though the exact word choices may have been his own. Yet, Al, alone, is taking the fall. He resigned on April 30, and his resignation was immediately accepted by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Yes, the above is my opinion. No, I do not have any special insight into the agency. What I do have is perspective and personal experience with similar top down attitudes as found in my state of residence: New Mexico.

New Mexico’s experience is a microcosm of what is happening in the EPA and, likely, every Obama administration agency.

From 2003 to 2011, Bill Richardson was the Governor of New Mexico. Despite being the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration (the job currently held by Stephen Chu), Bill Richardson governed with a decidedly anti-oil and -gas ideology (Sound familiar?). The economy of New Mexico is one of the worst in the country. We joke that we’d be on the bottom of every list if not for Arkansas. Our economy is largely dependent on our abundant oil and gas resources—though we also have significant amounts of coal and uranium.

A soon-to-be-released, carefully-documented book chronicles the impact of just one of Governor Richardson’s anti-oil and anti-gas policies and concludes that it “represents a financial loss to the state’s economy of approximately $6 billion.”

Bill Richardson came into office with a $1 billion budget surplus and left with a $653 million deficit. Yes, the national economic downturn happened in Richardson’s final years—but the bad economy remains today, and New Mexico’s Governor Martinez ended her fist year with a surplus of $250 million. The difference? The attitude at the top.

Governor Richardson appointed people to head agencies who reflected his political ideology, and they built a leadership team within the agency made up of people with shared viewpoints. Likewise, President Obama has done the same. When Governor Martinez came into office, she made changes at the top.

My personal research revealed a dramatic change in how the oil and gas industry was treated from one administration to the next—though the rules hadn’t changed. The difference was in the attitude. One administration used the rules and regulations as a hammer—pounding the industry until many ultimately gave up and left the state (taking their revenues with them) and the other used them as a guideline to work with the industry to help them work within the rules.

The difference plays out like this. With hundreds of drilling rigs in operation at any given time, an inspector looking for an infraction, regardless of how diligent an operator might be, can probably find something. Under an administration looking to “crucify” an industry, the infractions are met with fines and delays. When inspectors want to work with industry, they do not look the other way. Rather, they point out the perceived problem and give the operator time to fix it. Under this scenario, honest operators with a clean record are given guidance as to how to do the right thing. Repeat offenders are treated more harshly.

In the current “crucify” news story, Al is taking the fall—but it is really not his fault. The White House wants us to think he is a rogue representative, but similar scenarios have played out in regions other than the one he oversees. The problem is agency-wide—probably administration wide.

New Mexico lost $6 billion in revenue due to one rule designed to “crucify” an industry and benefit the administration and its friends. As the Obama administration “crucifies” the oil and gas industry to benefit its friends in renewables—specifically solar- the American economy is the loser. Untold billions of dollars and jobs have been lost, and we’ve had to borrow from China to make up the shortfall.

A true leader knows that he is responsible for the actions of everyone underneath him or her. Instead, Al has been sacrificed on Obama’s alter of spin.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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Crucify All EPA Bureaucrats Whose “Philosophy” Is Based On Ideology And Emotion—Others Will Behave Better

EPA Crucify SC Crucify All EPA Bureaucrats Whose “Philosophy” Is Based On Ideology And Emotion—Others Will Behave Better
The revelation of the EPA’s “philosophy” used in their regulation of oil and gas companies—“crucify” and “make examples” of, just as the Romans crucified random citizens in areas they conquered to ensure obedience—provides proof of what many have known: policy decisions are made on ideology and emotion rather than fact, sound science, and economic or human impact. For this, we should all be grateful to Al Armendariz, EPA Administrator for Region 6. His honesty, in a 2010 video made public on April 26, allows us all a glimpse behind the shroud.

Armendariz has been making, according to Senator James Inhofe, “comments specifically intended to incite fear and sway public opinion against hydraulic fracturing.” In Thursday’s hearing, Inhofe says Amendariz frequently claimed a “danger of fire or explosion.” Inhofe cited the Parker County Texas case as the “most outrageous.” There, in 2010, Armendariz’s region issued an Emergency Administrative Order against Range Resources—overriding the Texas state regulators who were already investigating the claim that hydraulic fracturing was contaminating well water. “Along with this order, EPA went on a publicity barrage in an attempt to publicize its premature and unjustified conclusions,” Inhofe said.

The Emergency Administrative Order was dropped earlier this month, but was done, as Inhofe called it, by “strategically attempting to make these announcements as quietly as possible.”

Both the EPA and the White House are trying to distance themselves from the Armendariz comments. Cynthia Giles, the EPA’s assistant administrator in charge of enforcement said, “Inevitably, some will try to imply that the unfortunate and inaccurate words of one regional official represent this Agency’s policy. Rest assured that they do not—and no honest examination of our record could equate our commonsense approach with such an exaggerated claim.”

Yet, history shows that the Armendariz model is used more frequently than most would believe. Decisions are often made on ideology and emotion rather than fact, sound science, and economic or human impact. Those decisions are often walked back—making the future look more like the past. Two current examples include the decision to use “timid” approaches toward preventing malaria in Africa and Germany’s environmentalist-appeasing, post-Fukushima decision to shut down their nuclear plants.

More than 100 years ago, the source of malaria was determined to be the bite of the mosquito—rather than the “bad air” as previously assumed. As I chronicle in the DDT chapter of my book Energy Freedom, DDT had nearly eliminated malaria in the western world when the ideology and emotion of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring led to the ban of DDT—despite the faulty science, and detrimental economic and severe human impact. Since DDT was banned in 1972, malaria has become Africa’s largest killer. In the West African country of Sierra Leone, malaria accounts for more than 40 percent of outpatient mortality and is the top killer of children under five. Since the seventies, prevention has focused on “protecting people rather than halting mosquitoes: bed nets and drug systems prevail. Now the authorities want to return to eradication.” The new strategy calls for the indoor residual spraying of insecticides such as DDT, bendiocarb, and the newly reformulated chlorfenapyr. Indoor spraying pilot projects have shown success. In areas where the spraying has taken place, for the first time, malaria is no longer the top killer of children under five. Dr. Samuel Smith, manager of Sierra Leone’s malaria control program, reports that “a combination of spraying and bed nets has a better impact”—making the future look more like what worked in the past.

Imagine the lives that could have been saved in Africa if DDT was dealt with using fact, sound science, and economic or human impact rather than ideology and emotion.

In Germany, the future could look more like the past as well. Following the Fukushima nuclear accident, a decision was made to shut down 8 of its 17 nuclear reactors with the remainder being phased out within a decade—before their life expectancy is over. Critics of the Merkel administration, say it “never formulated a coherent strategy for switching to new forms of energy or for upgrading the country’s electricity grid.” The decision was motivated by ideology and emotion rather than fact, sound science, and economic or human impact.

One of the closed plants is Unterweser, located in the town of Kleinensiel. Maik Otholt, a Kleinensiel resident expressed his frustration with the decision: “Our facilities were serviced every year; they’re in perfect shape. Nothing ever went wrong. And so now what are we doing? We’re buying nuclear energy from France. Their plant is just over the border. And now we’re buying that expensive electricity. It’s crazy.”

To make up for the loss of electricity from the nuclear plants, Germany is now, as Maik Otholt said, importing nuclear-generated power. Before the closures, Germany had electricity to spare and sold it to other countries. Additionally, Germany is building or modernizing 84 power plants—and more than half of those will be run on fossil fuels including many on coal. The use of coal-fueled electricity generation has angered the very same environmentalists who cheered the nuclear plant closures.

Addressing Germany’s increased use of coal, Stefan Judisch, chief executive of RWE Supply & Trading, said, “If we were to replace (nuclear) baseload with renewable energies and gas, then electricity would become expensive.”

While environmentalists are touting the ideology of a carbon-free future, Germany has to face a reality that is far from a carbon-free future—making it look more like the past.

As the anti-fracking ideology and emotion continues to climb, remember the philosophy of Al Armendariz who punished to “ensure obedience” and the EPA’s “publicity barrage in an attempt to publicize its premature and unjustified conclusions.” In Texas, as well as Wyoming and Pennsylvania, the EPA has had to walk back the accusations as the science didn’t support them—but by then the public had already been swayed by the fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Don’t let ideology and emotion shape America’s energy future. It needs to be based on fact and sound science with consideration for the economic and human impacts.

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

 

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