Exposed: Putin And Buffett’s War On U.S. Pipelines by Paul Driessen

Abundant, reliable, affordable oil and natural gas empower people. They support job creation, mobility, modern agriculture, homes and hospitals, computers and communications, lights and refrigerators, life and study after sundown, indoor plumbing, safe drinking water, less disease and longer lives.

Hydrocarbons make plastics, pharmaceuticals and synthetic clothing. They create fertilizers and pesticides, to improve crop yields, reduce food prices and improve nutrition.

But Sierra Club, 350.org and other radicals want to keep America’s oil and natural gas bounties in the ground. They block leasing, drilling and fracking. They block pipelines that transport oil and gas to refineries, power plants, factories and homes. And the more their “dangerous manmade climate change” mantras fall on deaf ears, the more absurd their anti-energy campaigns are getting.

Hydraulic fracturing and Canadian oil sands development made North American petroleum production soar, created millions of jobs, sent oil, gasoline and natural gas prices plunging, and provided some of the few bright spots in the 2008-14 Obama economy.

New pipelines were approved and constructed, including the Keystone system’s first three phases. They augmented 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission and gas distribution pipelines that already crisscross the United States.

But when the Keystone XL segment was proposed, intense opposition suddenly materialized. Protesters railed that habitat disturbance, potential leaks, climate change and ending fossil fuel use necessitated “no more pipelines.” Now the Sandpiper Pipeline from North Dakota’s Bakken shale region across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin is meeting similar resistance.

As with Keystone, the protesters say they’re just concerned student, hiker and Native American grassroots activists: average citizens who just care about their environment. The facts do not support their claims.

In reality, they are being bankrolled by billionaires, fat-cat foundations and foreign oil interests.

Putin-allied Russian oil billionaires laundered $23 million through the Bermuda-based Wakefield Quin law firm to the Sea Change Foundation and thence to anti-fracking and anti-Keystone groups, the Environmental Policy Alliance found.

Sandpiper opponents are also being funded and coordinated by wealthy financiers and shadowy foundations, researcher Ron Arnold discovered.

It’s true that several small groups are involved in the anti-Sandpiper protests. However, the campaign is coordinated by Honor the Earth, a Native American group that is actually a Tides Foundation “project,” with the Tides Center as its “fiscal sponsor.” They’ve contributed $700,000 and extensive in-kind aid. Out-of-state donors provide 99% of Honor’s funding.

The Indigenous Environmental Network also funds Honor the Earth. Minnesota corporate records show no incorporation entry for the Network, and 95% of its money comes from outside Minnesota. Tides gave IEN $670,000 to oppose pipelines.

Indeed, $25 billion in left-wing foundation investment portfolios support the anti-Sandpiper effort. Vastly more backing makes the $13-billion-per-year U.S. environmentalist movement a power to be reckoned with, Arnold and I document in our book, Cracking Big Green.

These tax-exempt foundations do not simply give money to pressure groups. They serve as puppeteers, telling protesters what campaigns to conduct, what tactics to use. Meanwhile, donors enjoy deductions for “charitable giving” to “education, conservation and other social change” programs.

Tides Foundation combined cash flows exceed $200 million annually, Canadian investigative journalist Cory Morningstar reported (here). Like Arnold, she and fellow Canadian sleuth Vivian Krause have delved deeply into troubling arrangements among Big Green, Big Government and Big Finance.

Morningstar calls the San Francisco-based Tides operation “a priceless, magical, money funneling machine of epic proportions.” It enables über-rich donors to distribute funds to specific organizations and campaigns of their choice, without disclosing their identities.

Even more interesting, among Tides’ biggest donors is Obama friend and advisor Warren Buffett. Beginning in 2004, Buffett funneled $30.5 million through his family’s NoVo Foundation to Tides. The cash ultimately went to selected pressure groups that led campaigns against Keystone, Sandpiper and other projects, Morningstar and Arnold found.

By donating the market value of greatly appreciated Berkshire Hathaway shares to NoVo, the Omaha billionaire avoided income taxes on his gains. Even more important, while public, media and political attention was riveted on Keystone, Berkshire Hathaway quietly bought the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Union Tank Car manufacturing company – with no notice, dissent or interference, Morningstar observed.

When Keystone XL et al. were blocked, more oil was shipped by rail – much of it via Buffett companies. In fact, oil-by-rail skyrocketed from 9,500 carloads in 2009 to 450,000 carloads in 2014. Mr. Buffett’s “investment” in anti-pipeline activism garnered billions in rail revenues.

The anti-pipeline campaigns blocked thousands of jobs and increased risks of tank car derailments, like the Lac Megantic, Quebec spill that destroyed much of the town and incinerated 47 people.

That may help explain why Mr. Buffett recently criticized President Obama’s veto of Keystone XL legislation. He now says the pipeline would be good for both Canada and the United States, and it is a mistake to jeopardize trade relationships with our northern neighbor.

But the campaigns rage on. Mr. Buffett helped unleash a beast he cannot control. The campaigns are not grassroots, or even Astroturf. Their “green” tint is the color of unfathomable behind-the-scenes wealth.

The clandestine Buffett-Berkshire-NoVo-Putin-Tides-activist-railroad arrangement reflects “a devious strategy on the part of both benefactor and recipient,” Morningstar concludes. “At minimum, it demonstrates an almost criminal conflict of interest.” Legislative investigations are needed, especially since the Justice Department is hardly likely to look into what its key allies are doing.

Meanwhile, pro-Sandpiper students from the Collegians For A Constructive Tomorrow presented these inconvenient financial truths to pipeline protesters at a recent University of Minnesota rally. “Buffet’s Puppets,” the CFACT students called the protesters.

How did the Buffett-Tides-Putin allies react, when they learned they are being used by billionaires? They dug in their ideological heels and shouted insults.

One red-faced protester walked away. Others intensified their chants or shouted racially tinged epithets at the multi-ethnic CFACT students. None wanted to discuss funding issues, America’s need for oil and jobs, or how best to transport fuels safely.

This is what passes for “environmental studies,” “robust debate,” “higher education” and compassion for blue-collar families on campuses and picket lines today. No wonder “environmentalism” and “liberalism” have become such pathetic political philosophies.

R.I.P. Alan Caruba by the Bear

I was stunned yesterday when I learned that Alan Caruba passed away on Monday. Alan has been associated with this website for a long time and we will miss him and his weekly columns.

Although, our paths never crossed we communicated with one another frequently via emails and we mainly discussed politics and the State of the Union.

Alan was 77 years young and a Army veteran and lived in New Jersey.

Life and death is a realty of our existence and as we aged the news of someone passing on comes more frequently to our dismay. Yesterday we where kids in a playground and today we wonder, where have all the years gone?

My heart it hurts for you
On this eve of great sorrow
I know no amount of words
Can wash the pain away from you

The clouds are rolling grey
Sometimes you’ve got to weather the storm outside
In life there are up and downs
Just make the best of all these times

Dearly departed we are here today
Keep your head up fight through the pain
Ashes to ashes for you my friend
Gone for now we will see you again

Here is Alan’s last column:

“Skeptics” Gather in D.C. By Alan Caruba

On Thursday and Friday, June 11-12, there will be a gathering of some of the nation’s and the world’s leading climate change “skeptics” in Washington, D.C. and joining them will be members of Congress and their staffs. The Tenth International Conference on Climate Change will occur and the odds are that the mainstream media, as it has done for all the previous conferences, will do its best to ignore it.

In attendance as well will be scores of scientists, economists, and policy experts for a conference being held just two blocks from a White House in which the President of the United States resides while lying about “climate change” as the greatest threat to the planet.

In March, the Gallup Poll revealed that “Although climate scientists have been in the news describing this winter as a strong signal that global warming is producing more extreme weather, Americans are no more likely today (55%) than in the past two years to believe the effects of global warming are occurring.”

The Conference is sponsored by The Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based free-market think tank and, while most of us have heard of the Rand Corporation or the Heritage Foundation, Heartland is one of the those power houses that labors without the “image” accorded others.

Founded in 1984, it has a full-time staff of 31 with approximately 235 academics and professional economists who participate in its peer-review process, plus more than 160 elected officials who serve on its Legislative Forum. In addition to the environment, its scholars also focus on education, health, budget and tax issues.

I have been a Heartland policy analyst for so long I can’t recall when I joined. Approximately 8,300 supporters contribute to its annual budget of $6 million. It does not accept government funding.

Without your knowing it, the nine conferences that preceded the current one have had a dramatic impact on your life and wallet. For one thing, you’re not being robbed by a “carbon tax” aimed at “reducing greenhouse gases.” On the other hand, you may be at risk of losing a coal-fired plant that provides your electricity if the Environmental Protection Agency is allowed to continue its vile attack on our energy resources.

It has been Heartland and a handful of other think tanks that labored to inform the public about the science that utterly debunked the lies about “global warming” and now works to do the same for those applied to “climate change.” Heartland’s power is seen in its conferences.

The problem for Heartland and the rest of us is that we are up against the U.S. government whose Obama administration is completely committed to the lies; agency by agency within the government have budgets and programs to continue to telling the lies. Beyond them is the entire system of government schools and, beyond them, much of the higher education community.

In early June the Daily Caller reported that “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists have found a solution to the 15-year ‘pause’ in global warming: They ‘adjusted’ the hiatus in warming out of the temperature record.” This is what Heartland and others have been fighting against and exposing since the global warming hoax began in the late 1980s. And we are beginning to see the Congress respond.

As reported by CNS News, appropriators in the House of Representatives have let it be known that they are taking aim at one of the Obama administration’s most cherished priorities—international climate change funding. An appropriations bill for the State Department and foreign operations excluded the Green Climate Fund, the Clean Technology Fund, and the Strategic Climate Fund, while also removing funding for the U.SN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. That’s millions in U.S. taxpayer funding that will not be wasted on the climate change hoax.

The Conference will honor some of the world’s leading “skeptics”—the alarmists call them “denier.” They include Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) as the winner of the Political Leadership on Climate Change Award, sponsored by the Heritage Foundation. My friend, Robert M. Carter, Ph.D. will receive Heartland’s Lifetime Achievement in Climate Science award. Others whom you may not have heard of include William Happer, Ph.D., David Legates, Ph.D., and Anthony Watts, all of whom have been on the front lines of the battle for the truth about the planet’s climate.

An entire generation has grown up and graduated from college since the first lies about global warming were unleashed. That’s how long Heartland and others have labored to present the truth. If the media fails to take notice of this week’s conference, you will know that the battle will continue for a long time to come.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Predicting Earthquakes. Not. By Alan Caruba

New Madrid Earthquake

The president of the Space and Science Research Corporation, John Casey, is also the author of “Cold Sun: A Dangerous ‘Hibernation’ of the Sun Has Begun!” and has called attention to a meteorological cycle that until the global warming hoax occurred, was largely unknown to many people and, to a large degree still is.

Nature has not cooperated with the charlatans who made claims about a dramatic warming of the Earth. Since 1998 the planet along with the Sun has been in a solar cycle distinguished by very few, if any, sun spots—evidence of solar storms—and a cooling of the Earth that has some predicting a forthcoming new Little Ice Age.

As Wikipedia reports: “Solar Cycle 24 is the 24th solar cycle since 1755, when extensive recording of solar sunspot activity began. It is the current solar cycle, and began on January 4, 2008, but there was minimal activity until early 2010. It is on track to be the Solar Cycle with the lowest recorded sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750.” These cycles occur every eleven years.

I was surprised to receive a news release from the Space and Science Research Corporation (SSRC) on Monday with the headline “Earthquake and Volcano Threat Increases” because, frankly, I could have put out the same release and, if such activity did increase, I could claim credit for predicting it and, if not, few if any would recall I had made such a claim. While earthquake activity has been studied for decades, even the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) makes no claim to being able to predicting when or where one will occur.

What the USGS can tell you is that their scientists (and others) “estimate earthquake probabilities in two ways: by studying the history of large earthquakes in a specific area and the rate at which strain accumulates in the rock.” A translation of this is that they have only the most minimal clues when and where one will occur. A recent International Business Times article reported that this may change as the introduction of “big data analytics” kicks in to provide “a leap of accuracy of quake predictions.”

The SSRC news release was about a letter that Casey had sent Craig Fugate, the Administrator of the Federal Management Agency which “disclosed that we are about to enter a potentially catastrophic period of record earthquakes and volcanic eruptions throughout the United States.”

Casey’s letter outlined “how the ongoing dramatic reduction in the Sun’s energy output will not only plunge the world into a decades-long cold epoch, but at the same time bring record geographic devastation in monster earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.”

Other scientists have come to similar conclusions, but after years of sorting through all the claims about global warming and “climate change”, one might want to tread lightly before embracing them.

I asked my colleague at The Heartland Institute, Science Director Jay Lehr, for his reaction and he was quite candid. “I have read it and am extremely skeptical. It sounds like the agency is looking for some press and, of course, when they turn out to be wrong no one will be upset. No harm. No foul. Being ready for earthquakes in known quake zones makes sense; creating unwarranted fear does not.”

Dr. Lehr summed up my own reaction. I would recommend his skepticism to everyone.

Will there be earthquakes here in the U.S.? Yes. The New Madrid earthquakes were the biggest in the nation’s history, occurring in the central Mississippi Valley and so large they were felt as far away as New York and Boston, Montreal and Washington, D.C. President James Madison and his wife Dolly felt them in the White House. They lasted from December 16, 1811 through March of 1812 and there were more than 2,000 quakes in the central Midwest, and between 6,000-10,000 in the boot-heel of Missouri where New Madrid is located near the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

When will new earthquakes or volcanic eruptions occur? I doubt anyone knows the answer to that.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

EPA declares no ‘widespread’ harm to drinking water from fracking, boosting industry

Fracking supporters were boosted Thursday by a new Environmental Protection Agency report finding the controversial oil-and-gas extraction process has not caused “widespread” harm to drinking water.

The findings were contained in a draft assessment, as part of a report requested by Congress.

The report said the agency “did not find evidence” that any process has “led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

The agency did say the controversial drilling technique could affect drinking water if safeguards aren’t maintained. It found specific instances where poorly constructed drilling wells and improper wastewater management affected drinking water resources.

But the EPA also reported the number of cases was small compared with the large number of wells that use hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.

For industry and congressional voices who have long argued the health hazards associated with fracking are overblown, the report appeared to be a boon.

“Today’s study confirms what we already know. Hydraulic fracturing, when done to industry standards, does not impact drinking water,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. “States have been effectively regulating hydraulic fracturing for more than 40 years and this study is evidence of that.”

In New York state, the EPA report already was fueling calls to rescind the state’s fracking ban.

“I fully expect Governor Cuomo to reverse his previous decision to ban fracking which was based upon controversial scientific studies and made to appease far left environmentalists,” Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., said in a statement. “Hardworking New Yorkers deserve the job opportunities and economic growth fracking has clearly produced in other states, including neighboring Pennsylvania.”

The Business Council of New York State also put out a statement Thursday urging the ban’s reversal. Other states, meanwhile, have gone in the opposite direction from New York. Texas recently approved a bill barring local ordinances against fracking.

Improved drilling techniques have led to a surge in fracking in recent years that has fueled a nationwide boom in production of oil and natural gas, as fracking wells sprout up from California to Pennsylvania. Fracking involves pumping huge volumes of water, sand and chemicals underground to split open rocks to allow oil and gas to flow.

Improved technology has allowed energy companies to gain access to vast stores of oil and natural gas underneath states from coast to coast but has raised widespread concerns that it might lead to groundwater contamination and even earthquakes.

The EPA assessment tracked water used throughout the fracking process, from acquiring the water to mixing chemicals at the well site and injecting so-called “fracking fluids” into wells, to collection of wastewater, wastewater treatment and disposal.

The report identified several vulnerabilities to drinking water resources, including fracking’s effect on drought-stricken areas; inadequately cased or cemented wells resulting in below-ground migration of gases and liquids; inadequately treated wastewater discharged into drinking water resources; and spills of hydraulic fluids and wastewater.

Environmental groups seized on the report’s identification of cases where fracking-related activities polluted drinking water.Lauren Pagel, policy director of the environmental group Earthworks, said, “Today EPA confirmed what communities living with fracking have known for years: fracking pollutes drinking water.”

“Now the Obama administration, Congress and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe,” she said.

But with the EPA finding no widespread impact, industry groups hailed the EPA study as proof that fracking is safe.

“After more than five years and millions of dollars, the evidence gathered by EPA confirms what the agency has already acknowledged and what the oil and gas industry has known: hydraulic fracturing is being done safely under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators and industry-best practices,” said Erik Milito, upstream group director of the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s top lobbying group.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the report marked “the latest in a series of failed attempts” by the Obama administration to link fracking to systemic drinking water contamination.

“The Obama administration is now zero for four,” Inhofe said. “EPA, the U.S. Geological Survey and others have said that hydraulic fracturing is indeed safe.”

EPA officials said the report was not intended to prove whether fracking is safe, but instead was aimed at how state regulators, tribes, local communities and industry can best protect drinking water and reduce the risks of fracking.

“It’s not a question of safe or unsafe,” Tom Burke, deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, said in a conference call with reporters. The issue for the EPA is “how do we best reduce vulnerabilities so we can best protect our water and water resources?” Burke said.

Source: Fox News

SideBear: There have been many studies over many years about “fracking” and they all have come to the conclusion, but I doubt that this will stop the Environmentalist who are just anti fossil fuel energy.

Inspector General’s choice words for the EPA

Curbing EPA Abuses By Paul Driessen

Russian President Vladimir Putin is outraged that the United States has indicted 14 FIFA soccer officials, accusing them of corruption, racketeering, fraud and conspiracy, involving bribes totaling over $150 million in kickbacks for awarding tournament rights. He says the US is meddling in Russian affairs and plotting to steal the 2018 World Cup from his country. What chutzpah.

This is the same Mr. Putin who annexed Crimea and parts of Ukraine, and whose close cronies have been secretly channeling millions of dollars to US and EU environmentalist groups to oppose both American oil drilling in the Arctic and hydraulic fracturing – the game-changing process that is producing so much oil and gas that it’s slashed energy prices … and Russian revenues.

The Justice Department indictments generated global applause. But now the DOJ needs to conduct an equally zealous investigation into corruption, fraud and collusion in the Obama Environmental Protection Agency. Of course, that won’t happen – no matter how rampant or flagrant the abuses have been.

As Kimberly Strassel documents in May 14 and May 21 articles, EPA emails and other documents reveal that the agency had already decided in 2010 to veto the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska on ideological grounds, “well before it did any science” on the project’s potential environmental impacts. Meanwhile, an EPA biologist was working with eco-activists to recruit Native Americans to oppose the mine. “It’s not much of a leap,” Strassel writes, “to suggest that the EPA encouraged [petitions against the mine] so that it would have an excuse to intervene, run its science as cover, and block a project it already opposed.”

At the same time the biologist was aiding the petition drive, he was also helping to write EPA’s “options paper” for the mine – and lobbying his co-authors and report contributors to veto the mine, Strassel notes. Now, contrary to newly discovered agency emails, EPA bosses are pretending they never saw the options paper and trying to put the blame on low-level functionaries, when they were deep in cahoots all the way.

This represents incredible collusion, deception, fraud and abuse of power – to impose agency edicts and appease environmental ideologues in and out of EPA. Moreover, it is just the latest in a long line of abuses and usurpations by this Obama agency, under a culture of corruption and secretive, manipulated science used to justify regulatory overkill that imposes extensive damages for few or no benefits.

On climate, EPA relies on computer models and discredited IPCC reports to predict global catastrophes that it insists can be prevented if the United States slashes its fossil fuel use, carbon dioxide emissions and living standards, even if China, India and other developing countries do nothing. Meanwhile, real-world temperatures, hurricanes, tornadoes, polar ice and sea levels continue to defy the fear-mongering. So now the rhetoric has shifted yet again, to national security and asthma threats from climate change.

Homeowners, farmers and businesses will now have to apply for permits to do almost anything that might theoretically pollute or affect waterways. Even taking a shower is now subject to EPA regulation.

On mercury, EPA is shutting down coal-fired power plants that emit barely 3% of all the mercury in US air and water. It claims this will prevent “0.00209 points” in American IQ losses and protect nonexistent “hypothetical female subsistence consumers” who every day for 70 years eat a pound of fish that they catch themselves in US navigable or “nexus” waterways.

For fine particulates, EPA wasn’t satisfied with regulations that prohibited more than one ounce of soot spread evenly in a volume of air a half-mile square by one story tall. When illegal experiments on humans failed to demonstrate that these levels were not actually “dangerous” or “lethal,” it imposed tougher standards anyway, as part of its war on coal.

Before he landed in jail for fraud, high level EPA bureaucrat John Beale concocted the sue-and-settle tactic, under which agency lawyers meet with environmentalist groups behind closed doors, agree to new regulatory standards, and then settle a friendly lawsuit whereby a court orders EPA to adopt the rules. Parties actually impacted by the new regulations never find out about them until it’s a “done deal.”

As presidential candidate Obama promised, under his policies electricity prices would “necessarily skyrocket.” But this means poor families, small businesses, factories, school districts, hospitals and churches must pay far more to keep their lights, heat, air conditioning and equipment running. That means people get laid off, fewer jobs are created, living standards decline, people’s health and wellbeing suffer, stress, depression, and drug and alcohol abuse increase, more people die during heat waves, and far more die during much deadlier winter cold snaps.

However, EPA ignores all these cold, hard realities – as it cherry-picks research and pseudo-science to support its agenda, ignores problematical studies, and pays advisory boards and activist groups like the American Lung Association millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its decisions.

What can be done to curb these abuses and usurpations, and rein in this renegade agency?

Congress should cut EPA’s budget, to eliminate money that it routinely gives to activist and propaganda groups, and prevent the agency from spending any further taxpayer funds to regulate carbon dioxide, impose its new ozone, mercury and WOTUS rules, or participate in new sue-and-settle lawsuits.

Congress should also pass the Secret Science Reform Act, to ensure greater honesty and transparency in EPA rulemakings – and hold hearings on the Pebble Mine and other questionable agency actions, with EPA officials under oath and subject to penalties for perjury and malfeasance in office.

Presidential candidates must become well versed in these issues, discuss them during interviews and debates, and be prepared to amend, suspend and upend EPA decisions and regulations that were implemented in violation of transparency, integrity and honest, robust science.

They should also examine how the federal EPA can be systematically dismantled and replaced with a “committee of the whole” of the 50 state environmental protection agencies – so as to balance and protect our needs for air and water quality, livelihoods, living standards, health and welfare.

State legislators, governors and attorneys general, companies and other aggrieved parties should continue to file lawsuits to block EPA excesses. However, they should stop relying on “abuse of discretion,” as courts almost always bow to government agencies. Instead, they need to demand that every agency decision is grounded in reliable, replicable, testable, peer-reviewed evidence, data and standards – as set forth in the Supreme Court’s Daubert, Joiner and Kumho decisions – and that the agencies demonstrate that they have fully accounted for the negative job, economic, health and welfare impacts of their rules.

Meanwhile, as Charles Murray (author of By the People: Rebuilding liberty without permission) and others have suggested, states, communities, companies and individuals should engage in a new form of “systemic” civil disobedience: refusing to bow to harmful, nonsensical, tyrannical EPA regulations.

In short, we should take Dylan Thomas’s advice – and rage, rage against the dying of the light – due to regulations that are dimming the lights in our homes and the light of liberty and American exceptionalism.