I know we are still in the season of Easter but this is not an Easter story. By now you’ve heard the news report of EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz’ remarks at a local Texas government officials meeting in 2010 where he used a crude analogy to describe his “philosophy of enforcement.”
“It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. You make examples out of people who are in this case not complying with the law … and you hit them as hard as you can” — to act as a “deterrent” to others.”
Apologies have dutifully now been issued disclaiming these remarks and called them out as not reflecting the Administration’s policy on enforcement. But the reason the video clip went viral is that it rings so true of what many have come to believe is, in fact, the Administration’s policy.
This comes on the heels of a unanimous Supreme Court Decision in Sackett v US EPA where the Court overturned an enforcement order of the EPA which sought to fine a couple thousands per day in civil penalties for the temerity of challenging an EPA decision that building a house on their own property was a violation of the Government’s wetlands policy. The decision overturned longstanding precedent that enforcement orders must be challenged administratively before an action is taken to court.
The Regulatory Process is Not Serving the Public Interest
These examples are easy to focus on, but the bigger issue is the pervasive, creeping and creepy over reach of regulation that once just strangled the economy but now is being used to pursue a political agenda the Administration has been unable to get approved by the Congress.
There is a de facto war on fossil fuels being pursued by the EPA. The rush of new regulations is focused on getting as much done in the first term as possible administratively, perhaps out of fear there may not be a second terms or that the Democrats will lose the Senate.
Congress is also to blame big time for this mess. It writes laws that are vague or ill-considered and leaves it up to bureaucrats to define the details and sort out the problems. The Code of Federal Regulations now consists of thousands of pages of rules bearing only a vague resemblance to their authorizing legislation.
We can do better than this:
- Require that rules must either be incorporated directly into legislation or proposed as a companion rulemaking by affected parties BEFORE Congress passes the law. Force the parties to work out their differences before the law is passed and embody the rules in the law.
- Require that EVERY regulation contain a sunset date of not more than 7 years. The law and every rule adopted pursuant to it should expire unless it is reauthorized by Congress. This requirement would be applicable to EVERY existing rule which should be subject to sunset review.
- Require that NO rule may be proposed without a cost benefit analysis based upon standard objective criteria applicable to all regulation for calculating cost and benefits. No rule may be published if the results of the cost benefit analysis show that the costs outweigh the benefits. The cost benefit study may be challenged as not meeting the standard objective criteria before an Administrative Law Judge to decide whether the rule meets the cost benefit test.
- Require that Congress much approve EVERY regulation imposing a cost of more than $100 million on an up or down vote to be taken within 90 days of submittal of the rule to Congress or else it is automatically rejected.
These steps would clarify that regulations are designed to cost effectively and fairly implement specific policies adopted by Congress. It clarifies that rules are not a separate process for pursuing political agendas. It levels the playing field giving business an equal opportunity in the rule making, enforcement and sunset review process with other interest groups. It forces ALL SPECIAL INTERESTS to work out their differences BEFORE laws are passed and rules proposed or have those interests framed to be decided in an up or down vote for all to see.
- Red Tape and Regulation Strangulation (insightadvisor.wordpress.com)
- How to Escape from our Regulatory Winter (insightadvisor.wordpress.com)
- Between FERC and a Hard Place (insightadvisor.wordpress.com)
- U.S. environmental official apologises for ‘crucify’ gaffe (rawstory.com)
- E.P.A. Official Spoke of ‘Crucifying’ Polluters (green.blogs.nytimes.com)
- ‘Crucify’ Slip ‘Revealing’ Of Obama Energy Policy? (foxnews.com)
- The EPA as a Roman Soldier:Crucify the O&G Companies!..and FIRE Dr. Al Armendariz (thefracdog.com)
- EPA Official Apologizes For “Crucify” Remark (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- EPA Official’s ‘Philosophy’ On Oil Companies: ‘Crucify Them’ Just As Romans Crucified Conquered Citizens (Videos) (thedaleygator.wordpress.com)
Do you feel lucky? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently does not. He sent one of his Long Term Planning and Sustainability staff members to a hearing before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee in Washington DC on April 19th to testify on New York City’s concerns about the impact of rising sea levels. The NYC witness Adam Freed, told the Committee that the mayor wanted the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop detailed flood projection maps to help New York prepare for the impacts of sea level rise on infrastructure and real estate properties in the next century.
Another witness, Ben Strauss, chief operating officer and director of the program on sea level rise at Climate Central, told the committee that sea levels in the United States will rise between one and eight inches by 2030 and between four and 19 inches by 2050. But while Mayor Bloomberg’s staff member was sent to worry out loud in a politically correct way about rising sea levels, the Climate Central witness wanted action on a four-step federal program to reduce risk and vulnerability:
- Protect existing beaches that help prevent the impacts of storm surge,
- Build artificial defenses where appropriate;
- Halt construction in high risk areas; and
- Develop a planned retreat from areas that cannot be effectively protected.
With trillions of dollars of Federal debt looming and deficits as far as the eye can see, what do you assess is the probability that the Government will spent your money entertaining strategies like this? I know—that’s what worries me too! If we can fund bridges to nowhere imagine how much Congress might spend to keep Broadway from turning into Venice.
Then again, think of the charm New York would have if the streets of Manhattan were all turned into canals with yellow hybrid water taxis wisking you from downtown to midtown. Bike lanes could turn into kayak channels and since the subways would all be flooded we could build giant moving sidewalks to connect the building above the projected high water line powered by wave action turbines used to squirt sea water through the subway tunnels under pressure.
The torch on the Statue of Liberty can be replaced with a wind turbine and solar panels can be mounted on all rooftops oriented toward the Empire State Building which can be converted into a concentrated solar power tower with giant tanks of molten salt in the underwater floors to create a combined heat and power microgrid to power the city.
Think of it—auto emissions would be a thing of the past. We would not need RGGI or EPA regulations or the New York Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability.
Maybe this isn’t such a bad idea after all—by all mean prepare the maps. And make sure you hire the same climate scientists who cooked the books to get more research grants because Al Gore told them the climate science was incontrovertible. Let’s see where did I put that hockey stick formula again?
- ‘Surging Seas’ Report: Lower Manhattan Especially Vulnerable To Rising Sea Level (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Climate Change Could Cripple New York’s Transportation System (thinkprogress.org)
- Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee To Hold Hearing on Sea Level Rise (switchboard.nrdc.org)
- Study: Rising Sea Level Threatens Homes of 4 Million Americans (usnews.com)
- How Sea-Level Rise Could Overwhelm Your City (fastcoexist.com)
- Study: Rising Sea Levels a Risk to Coastal States (nytimes.com)
- Study: 5 million face increased flooding risk (news.blogs.cnn.com)
No matter how many times you read it, or how NASA tries to explain it, the following letter to the NASA Administrator signed by 49 former astronauts, flight directors, research scientists and others associated with some of NASA’s greatest achievements in science and space is like nothing we have ever seen before.
The letter first appeared in the blog What’s Up with That after it was delivered but not acknowledged by NASA. It was picked up by the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper on the Texas space coast. Then The Daily Caller asked NASA about it getting the following reply “NASA spokesman Steve Cole told The Daily Caller that they have not received the letter yet. “We are now aware of the correspondence but have not yet had an opportunity to review the contents,” he said.
Read it for yourself in their own words:
“March 28, 2012
The Honorable Charles Bolden, Jr.
Washington, D.C. 20546-0001
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.
The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.
As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate. We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.
Thank you for considering this request.”
The letter is signed by 49 people including seven Apollo astronauts and two former directors of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Here is the complete list of signatories:
/s/ Jack Barneburg, Jack – JSC, Space Shuttle Structures, Engineering Directorate, 34 years
/s/ Larry Bell – JSC, Mgr. Crew Systems Div., Engineering Directorate, 32 years
/s/ Dr. Donald Bogard – JSC, Principal Investigator, Science Directorate, 41 years
/s/ Jerry C. Bostick – JSC, Principal Investigator, Science Directorate, 23 years
/s/ Dr. Phillip K. Chapman – JSC, Scientist – astronaut, 5 years
/s/ Michael F. Collins, JSC, Chief, Flight Design and Dynamics Division, MOD, 41 years
/s/ Dr. Kenneth Cox – JSC, Chief Flight Dynamics Div., Engr. Directorate, 40 years
/s/ Walter Cunningham – JSC, Astronaut, Apollo 7, 8 years
/s/ Dr. Donald M. Curry – JSC, Mgr. Shuttle Leading Edge, Thermal Protection Sys., Engr. Dir., 44 years
/s/ Leroy Day – Hdq. Deputy Director, Space Shuttle Program, 19 years
/s/ Dr. Henry P. Decell, Jr. – JSC, Chief, Theory & Analysis Office, 5 years
/s/Charles F. Deiterich – JSC, Mgr., Flight Operations Integration, MOD, 30 years
/s/ Dr. Harold Doiron – JSC, Chairman, Shuttle Pogo Prevention Panel, 16 years
/s/ Charles Duke – JSC, Astronaut, Apollo 16, 10 years
/s/ Anita Gale
/s/ Grace Germany – JSC, Program Analyst, 35 years
/s/ Ed Gibson – JSC, Astronaut Skylab 4, 14 years
/s/ Richard Gordon – JSC, Astronaut, Gemini Xi, Apollo 12, 9 years
/s/ Gerald C. Griffin – JSC, Apollo Flight Director, and Director of Johnson Space Center, 22 years
/s/ Thomas M. Grubbs – JSC, Chief, Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Branch, 31 years
/s/ Thomas J. Harmon
/s/ David W. Heath – JSC, Reentry Specialist, MOD, 30 years
/s/ Miguel A. Hernandez, Jr. – JSC, Flight crew training and operations, 3 years
/s/ James R. Roundtree – JSC Branch Chief, 26 years
/s/ Enoch Jones – JSC, Mgr. SE&I, Shuttle Program Office, 26 years
/s/ Dr. Joseph Kerwin – JSC, Astronaut, Skylab 2, Director of Space and Life Sciences, 22 years
/s/ Jack Knight – JSC, Chief, Advanced Operations and Development Division, MOD, 40 years
/s/ Dr. Christopher C. Kraft – JSC, Apollo Flight Director and Director of Johnson Space Center, 24 years
/s/ Paul C. Kramer – JSC, Ass.t for Planning Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Div., Egr. Dir., 34 years
/s/ Alex (Skip) Larsen
/s/ Dr. Lubert Leger – JSC, Ass’t. Chief Materials Division, Engr. Directorate, 30 years
/s/ Dr. Humbolt C. Mandell – JSC, Mgr. Shuttle Program Control and Advance Programs, 40 years
/s/ Donald K. McCutchen – JSC, Project Engineer – Space Shuttle and ISS Program Offices, 33 years
/s/ Thomas L. (Tom) Moser – Hdq. Dep. Assoc. Admin. & Director, Space Station Program, 28 years
/s/ Dr. George Mueller – Hdq., Assoc. Adm., Office of Space Flight, 6 years
/s/ Tom Ohesorge
/s/ James Peacock – JSC, Apollo and Shuttle Program Office, 21 years
/s/ Richard McFarland – JSC, Mgr. Motion Simulators, 28 years
/s/ Joseph E. Rogers – JSC, Chief, Structures and Dynamics Branch, Engr. Directorate,40 years
/s/ Bernard J. Rosenbaum – JSC, Chief Engineer, Propulsion and Power Division, Engr. Dir., 48 years
/s/ Dr. Harrison (Jack) Schmitt – JSC, Astronaut Apollo 17, 10 years
/s/ Gerard C. Shows – JSC, Asst. Manager, Quality Assurance, 30 years
/s/ Kenneth Suit – JSC, Ass’t Mgr., Systems Integration, Space Shuttle, 37 years
/s/ Robert F. Thompson – JSC, Program Manager, Space Shuttle, 44 years/s/ Frank Van Renesselaer – Hdq., Mgr. Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters, 15 years
/s/ Dr. James Visentine – JSC Materials Branch, Engineering Directorate, 30 years
/s/ Manfred (Dutch) von Ehrenfried – JSC, Flight Controller; Mercury, Gemini & Apollo, MOD, 10 years
/s/ George Weisskopf – JSC, Avionics Systems Division, Engineering Dir., 40 years
/s/ Al Worden – JSC, Astronaut, Apollo 15, 9 years
/s/ Thomas (Tom) Wysmuller – JSC, Meteorologist, 5 years
For the original version on PRWeb visit:
- Hansen and Schmidt of NASA GISS under fire: Engineers, scientists, astronauts ask NASA administration to look at empirical evidence rather than climate models (wattsupwiththat.com)
- 49 ex-astronauts, NASA scientists protest against NASA’s AGW alarmism (motls.blogspot.com)
- FAMOUS NASA ENGINEERS BREAK RANKS: Hansen and Schmidt of NASA GISS under fire for climate stance: E… (pjmedia.com)
- Astronauts & Scientists Challenge Nasa on Climate Change (mikereport.wordpress.com)
- NASA Scientist: Climate Change Is A Moral Issue On A Par With Slavery (chimalaya.org)
The cap on greenhouse gas emissions in California imposed by AB32 California’s Global Warming Solutions Act does not go into effect until 2013, but already there is maneuvering by state officials to get their hands on the pot of hoped-for gold at the end of this rainbow. It is not that we can’t use the money. California has struggled with huge budget deficits for a decade.
The Governor and Legislature have made billions of cuts in a futile effort to balanced spending with falling revenue in a sinking or stagnant economy. For politicians, the gold from carbon taxes offers relief from the pain of disappointing special interests each eager to protect their part of the pork barrel that is the California State Budget. Some estimates are that the carbon tax will produce between $1 billion and $3 billion in the early years and perhaps as much as $14 billion by 2015 when it is fully implemented. Last year the state budget deficit was $9 billion—so you see why this is seen as the easy way out—tax the polluters!
In all candor California voters are part of the problem. We allow ourselves to be seduced into all manner of silly initiative ballot measures that adopt policies, impose costs and target increasingly scarce resources to pet causes. This is no way to run a railroad—but it is the way California is governed.
We have also made the state revenue picture worse by the steeply progress nature of our tax system which, paradoxically, depends heavily on capital gains taxes and economic growth from the very people the Governor and Legislature now want to ‘soak’ again to get out of the current mess. It does not take a Cal-Berkeley economist to understand that when the economy sucks and capital gains are reduced that when you target those who are successful they simple change their voting residence from California to Texas or Florida and —POOF! This double whammy of bad economic luck and bad public policy is strangling the Golden State, driving up the cost of doing business here, driving away successful people tired of game, and worse no longer working to produce the economic growth, opportunity and revenue California depends upon to live into its 21st century potential.
But carbon taxes are going to kick in in 2013 and California hopes to be in the gold again. There are just a few problems with this calculus:
- California does not allow the construction of coal fired generation in the state so there are no coal plants to tax. The once thru cooling water rule will force many older natural gas plants to shut down and most be replaced with much more efficient and less emitting new gas plants. Neither nuclear power nor hydropower produce carbon emissions and thus are exempt and all that wind and solar also beats the carbon tax. So what’s left to tax?
- Well technically this is NOT a tax it is a fee. This makes a big difference and complicates life for politicians. A tax in California requires a 2/3 vote of the State Legislature or a Referendum so AB32 imposes a “fee” set administratively each year by the California air Resources Board so no requirements that politicians must ‘vote’ to raises taxes even if they could get a 2/3 majority in the Legislature which all agree would be impossible. But a ‘fee in California also has limitations under a 1991 California Supreme Court Decision in the Sinclair Paint v California case where the court ruled that the proceeds from a fee can only be used to mitigate or offset the health or environmental impact of the industry affected. Let the game begin!
- Eureka! Charge out of state power plants selling into California! You can imagine how happy Utah and other states with cheap coal fired generation are to hear of that ‘California dreamin’. But what if those power producers decide to sell their energy to other states? Since California is a net importer of about 20% of its electricity requirements it may have trouble meeting peak demand unless the price goes up enough to cover not only the competitive market price but also the carbon tax thus socking California rate payers with their own carbon tax. Or alternatively California will have to build more power plants to satisfy its own demand.
- Carbon Taxes and Offset Policies in Europe and the Northeast Are Not Working! Another problem is that the carbon allowance markets now in operating in Europe (European Trading System) and the Northeast (RGGI) are struggling to survive with falling prices for carbon allowances. Make no mistake they have raised a lot of money. In the case of RGGI more than $900 million over the past several years but the states have different policies on how they use those funds and many have just suctioned them up and spent them to reduce deficits or fund pet causes.
This is the situation is facing California now. The carbon tax is not a tax it is a fee. But fee revenue must be spent on things directly related to the health and environment effects giving rise to the fee. No problem says Governor Jerry Brown we’ll spend the AB32 money on the high speed bullet train project. As you can imagine this is going over like methane in a crowded room as the bullet train project is so far over budget, so expensive that is can easily consume all the money the ‘fee’ produces and then some.
Governor Brown’s proposed state budget beginning July 1 2012 includes $1 billion from cap and trade revenue for the fiscal year. So far it is unclear how that money will be allocated, but $ 1 billion is too rich a pot of gold to be left to the whims of mere Governors so the pigs are lining up at the trough to be fed.
So where is all this going?
With California’s overbuilt electricity market awash in wind and solar resources even if there is new power plant construction it likely will be limited to a few clean natural gas plants or peakers that only run a few days a year. That will not produce much carbon fee revenue. Out of state power producers are likely to look for alternatives to doing business in California or raise their prices to recover the carbon fee in bids sticking it to California ratepayers.
The only other source of carbon fee revenue is gasoline prices and since California has a unique set of boutique fuels only sold in the Golden state you can bet fuel prices will get slammed. That makes the progressive carbon fee among the most regressive of revenue raising schemes going and risks alienating drivers and residents in the faster growing ‘warm side of the hill’ and in the Great Central Valley which demographically tends to vote Republican more than the foggy coastal urban centers.
Welcome to California!
There is one more thing—-the inconvenient truth is the Nunavut Government in Canada reports polar bear populations at an all-time high and climate scientists not intimidated by peer pressure to say so tell us that climate temperatures have not risen in more than a decade.
Holy Carbon Fee!
- The greenhouse effect of B.C.’s carbon-tax plan (theglobeandmail.com)
- Gillard the Lunatic. The light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off due to the cost of the carbon tax. What is the total electricity bill ($AUD) at Parliament House/Canberra for: 12 months ? What is the quantifiable “Carbon Footprint” for Parliam (heavycalibre.me)
- Gillard & the “Carbon Tax” Lie. Remember the celebrations when it was passed ? Not “hugs & kisses” for the environment ? No ! Only for the money these corrupt Federal MP’s will be “skimming” & pocketing. Fraud, theft, misappropriation, racketeering, corru (heavycalibre.me)
- Queenslanders to pay $7 out of every $100 on electricity bills to cover carbon tax, Federal Government claims (wrc559.com)
- South Africa to Green its Economy in 2013 with Carbon Tax (greenprophet.com)
- Complaint lodged against ‘carbon tax collector’ ad – Business – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (exitbusiness.wordpress.com)
- Chevron seeks relief from carbon tax (theglobeandmail.com)
- Carbon tax “worst piece of economic reform” says outgoing chairman of the Future Fund (seeker401.wordpress.com)
- Cap-and-trade: One, two, pick up the cash (fresnobeehive.com)