Mitch McConnell Wages War Against The EPA

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

In January, Democratic Senator Harry Reid will retire from being the Majority Leader – with Republican Mitch McConnell as his replacement.

McConnell is a consummate Washington insider. After graduating from the University of Louisville in 1964, he traveled to Washington, D.C. to become an intern for Senator John Sherman Cooper. Later, he worked for both the U.S. Senate as a staff member and was also a member of the Gerald Ford administration.

He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1984, and has served in the Senate for over 30 years.

The longevity of his career makes him an expert on how the U.S. Senate works… And according to him, his first duty of business is to restore Kentucky coal to the top of America’s energy mountain.

But will he win the fight, and how else will he use his newfound power?

Righting the EPA’s Defunct Policy

Since taking office, Barack Obama has waged an unceasing war on coal. His U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has been attempting to use the regulatory power it has to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30%.

But to achieve these goals, they’re forcing the closure of coal power plants nationwide.

McConnell calls this policy “a true outrage.”

But he didn’t stop there. He told The Courier-Journal, “So [Obama] has a war on coal – and, honestly, I’m going to go to war with him over coal.” He concluded his interview by saying that the U.S. Senate under his leadership would attempt to stop the administration “in any way that we can.”

The Obama administration hasn’t taken the threat lightly. Head of the EPA Gina McCarthy has been fighting back. She recently defended herself and her agency, saying, “I feel very confident that the American people understand the value of the EPA.”

Meanwhile, McConnell hasn’t hesitated to shoot back. He recently told The Associated Press, “Look, my first obligation is to protect my people, who are hurting as the result of what this administration is doing.”

Tossing more fuel on the fire… he called the Obama administration’s global warming deal with China a “phony deal,” adding that “coal is booming elsewhere. Our country, going down this path all by ourselves, is going to have about as much impact as dropping a pebble in the ocean.”

From a Clear Coal Fight to a Murky Future

It’s clear McConnell will fight for coal. McConnell concluded a recent interview by giving confirmation: “So for the president to pursue his crusade at the expense of the people of my state is completely unacceptable, and I’m going to do any and everything I can to stop it.”

But aside from his clear stance on coal and a few other things – like the Keystone XL pipeline (for which he’s pledged to pass legislation) – he’s mum about his agenda beyond that…

Will he fight the Obama amnesty for illegal immigrants? (McConnell is non-committal.)

Will he fight Obama’s foreign policy adventures in Syria? (It looks unlikely.)

Whether McConnell will go down in history as a great Majority Leader will depend on how well he navigates the difficult relations with our recalcitrant president. Especially since Obama has declared his intention to ignore both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House… and pursue his own agenda via executive action.

It’s a hard call at the moment, but January will be here soon enough.

 

This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service (Flickr)

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

Appeals Court Sides With Gun Rights Activists In Bullet Battle

Photo Credit: Niels Noordhoek (Creative Commons)

In an ostensible effort to mitigate any potential health risks associated with exposure to lead, a number of environmental groups and activists have been pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency to impose regulations on spent ammunition rounds made from the metal. The EPA, however, contends that doing so would necessitate the regulation of cartridges and shells – products exempted under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Naturally, many gun rights groups have supported the EPA’s position as the more than 100 environmentalist groups behind the push have not provided a method for regulating rounds only after they are fired. The issue most recently made its way to the Washington D.C. U.S. Court of Appeals, which also sided with the EPA.

Appeals Judge David Tatel stated in the court’s decision that since “bullets and shot can become spent only if they are first contained in a cartridge or shell and then fired from a weapon,” there is no method on the table by which the EPA “could regulate spent bullets and shot without also regulating cartridges and shells” – a violation of the aforementioned law.

Tatel went on to write, on behalf of the three-judge panel, that the EPA is correct in maintaining that it “lacks statutory authority to regulate the type of spent bullets and shot identified in the environmental groups’ petition.”

In making their case, attorneys representing the environmentalist groups argued that rounds could simply be produced with another metal, specifically copper. Pro-gun advocates, however, note that lead is a far more cost-efficient metal than any proposed replacement.

 

Photo Credit: Niels Noordhoek (Creative Commons)

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

Obama AWOL Again – On Energy Terrorism

Photo credit: spirit of america / Shutterstock.com

Four news stories in four days sum up the Obama presidency and help explain why the world and U.S. economy are in such a mess. President Obama just returned from his two-week beach and golf vacation at Martha’s Vineyard. It took him a month from the time special forces located journalist James Foley to approve a rescue mission – by which time Foley had been moved (and was subsequently beheaded.)

Mr. Obama may pursue a sweeping international climate change deal that bypasses Congress. But on dealing with ISIS terrorist butchers months after they swept through Iraq, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”

President Obama has ordered limited air strikes to “contain” (but not defeat) Islamic State terrorists who have shot, crucified, and beheaded thousands of men, women, and children in Iraq and Syria. However, he still has no plans for protecting the United States from the energy terrorism that jihadists are planning.

The president’s failure to “connect the dots,” to see and prepare for potentially devastating attacks on U.S. and global citizens and energy supplies, is an inexcusable threat to our security. Preparations for massive energy terrorist attacks around the world are increasingly open and obvious. Now that Mr. Obama is back in the White House for a few days, hopefully to deal with real crises literally exploding around the world (from the Middle East to Afghanistan to Nigeria and beyond), let me connect some dots for him.

With Iraqi and other oil fields in jihadist hands, petroleum has become the mother’s milk of Islamic terrorism. Along with drug trafficking and bank robbery, it provides financing to arm, feed, train, and pay terrorists on a scale that makes Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond loot look like chump change.

Islamic State butchers are raking in an estimated $2 million or more every day by selling oil on the black market, from wells they have seized in Iraq and Syria.  “This could fetch them more than $730 million a year, enough to sustain operations far beyond Iraq,” Iraq Energy Institute Director Luay al-Khatteeb told CNN in late August. More captured Syrian oil fields could raise ISIS oil revenue to $1.2 billion a year, says Theodore Karasik, research director at the think tank INEGMA in Dubai. Or worse.

ISIS’ conquest of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Kirkuk area could boost the terrorists’ oil production from 30,000 barrels a day now to as much as 1 million barrels a day: $11 billion a year, if they can peddle their oil at (say) a way-below-market $30 per barrel to countries that are naïve, support terror, or ignore human rights.

That could buy unfathomable terrorism – on levels portended by a laptop computer that moderate Syrian forces found in an ISIS hideout. Amid some 34,000 files, it includes manuals on car theft, disguises, and bomb making; documents on how to develop biological weapons and “weaponize” bubonic plague; and a radical Muslim cleric’s fatwa justifying weapons of mass destruction, “even if it wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.” Detonate the bio-bombs in malls, air conditioning intakes, and similar places, the manuals advise. With laboratories in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria now in ISIS hands, these neo-SS lunatics could well turn their caliphate dreams into Western World nightmares.

Pages: 1 2 3

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

Mark Levin’s Lawsuit Against The Obama Admin Could Leave The EPA In Shambles

Photo credit: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

While the issue of lost or destroyed email correspondences has been a common theme in the ongoing congressional investigation of anti-conservative biases within the IRS, one conservative talk show host is using the concept as the grounds for a suit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

Reports this week indicate that Mark Levin, acting through the Landmark Legal Foundation, recently sought a judicial sanction against the agency regarding allegations that it destroyed vital records regarding the implementation of new federal regulations.

A Washington Post article published late last year confirms that a number of these EPA mandates were purposely held back until the 2012 presidential election had passed in an ostensible effort to protect the Democrat Party from backlash from disillusioned voters. Compounding that potential scandal, Levin said, is his foundation’s claim that the EPA violated federal law by allowing emails and phone records about the systematic regulatory delays to be destroyed.

In documents presented to Judge Royce Lamberth, Landmark Legal Foundation asserts that the agency “undertook no effort to secure potentially responsive emails from the administrator’s personal email account, even though EPA states in its own litigation hold memorandum that every email on a personal email account should be preserved even if it is forwarded to another account.”

Levin took the opportunity to release his own statement on the matter, in which he called the EPA a “toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution.”

Though an agency source indicated the EPA is “committed to transparency” and strives to comply with federal law, the conservative host and constitutional attorney sees it differently.

“When any federal agency receives a [Freedom of Information Act] request, the statute says it must preserve every significant repository of records, both paper and electronic, that may contain materials that could be responsive of that request,” he asserted.

Levin concluded that EPA employees on every level “think they’re above the law, that no one has the right to question what or how they do their jobs.”

Through this suit, Levin apparently wants to send a clear message to the EPA and the Obama administration.

“The laws apply to everyone,” he concluded, “even federal bureaucrats.”

Photo credit: Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock.com

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

President Obama’s Environmental Purity Agency

Photo credit: Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

The rollout of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new draft regulation to limit greenhouse gases was accompanied by a brilliant political cartoon that showed a pair of hapless fellows with automobile mufflers protruding from their mouths, apparently to prevent any renegade CO2 exhalations from polluting the atmosphere with their climate-changing carbon halitosis. Call this part of the agency’s 97 percent solution, based on the frequently made claim that the number represents the percentage of scientists who blame climate change on human activity. The fact that this figure is fiction, as pointed out in an excellent review of the findings by Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer in a recent Wall Street Journal article, deters the climate-catastrophe conjurers not one bit; the number is repeated as part of the climate-control catechism. And anyway, who’s going to quibble over a few percentage points when the fate of the earth is in the balance?

Or is it? Have the climate-change crusaders gone clinically mad, as Steven F. Hayward suggests? The answer is, it depends on how you regard their true motivations–or how you extend the likely consequences of their behavior.

Consider Anthony Downs’ portrayal of bureaucratic types that he outlined in his public administration classic, “Inside Bureaucracy,” published a half century ago. The purely self-interested officials included climbers, who “seek to maximize their own power, income, and prestige,” and conservers, who “seek to maximize their own security and convenience.” Neither type gives a whit about the betterment of their bureaus or society as a whole. More interesting are zealots who are religiously committed to a narrow policy or program; advocates, who work on behalf of their organizations; and statesmen, whose motivations extend to the broader concerns of society or the nation. These types are found in all organizations, but the point in this context is that EPA officials talk like statesmen but act like zealots. Which means that absolutely nothing should stand in the way of their policy goals; only the mission matters, nothing else.

Consider the costs of phasing out coal over the course of the next 25 years or so, which is the consequence of these new regulations. The Heritage Foundation estimates that by the end of 2023, “nearly 600,000 jobs would be lost; a family of four’s income would drop by $1,200 per year, and aggregate gross domestic product would decrease by $2.23 trillion over the entire period of the analysis.” Especially hard hit would be low-income families, manufacturers, and the Midwest, which are heavily reliant on coal. And for what? Reducing global temperature by a few tenths of a degree Celsius by the end of the century, a change that might come about anyway (and in a larger amount) by natural fluctuations in the climate.

It gets worse. In “the most breathtaking power grab I’ve seen in a long time,” according to Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, the EPA proposed rules would extend its jurisdiction over the nation’s “intermittent and ephemeral streams and wetlands,” generated by occasional wet seasons–or simply when it rains. Careful! That pond in your backyard could be toxic! Same with ditches and streams that are miles away from navigable waterways. This extension of control over private property and citizens’ everyday lives is breathtaking. And in spite of a recent Supreme Court decision curtailing the agency’s powers, the EPA’s proclivities remain clear.

Pages: 1 2

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