The EPA’s Science Problem By Arnold Ahlert

Startling revelations about the agency’s misrepresentation of data.

In a stunning admission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy revealed to House Science, Space and Technology Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) that the agency neither possesses, nor can produce, all of the scientific data used to justify the rules and regulations they have imposed on Americans via the Clean Air Act. In short, science has been trumped by the radical environmentalist agenda.

The admission follows the issuance of a subpoena by the full Committee last August. It was engendered by two years of EPA stonewalling, apparently aimed at preventing the raw data cited by EPA as the scientific foundation for those rules and regulations from being independently verified. Two studies, the 1993 Harvard Six Cities Study (HSC) and the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) 1995 Cancer Prevention Study II, had verified that fine airborne particles measuring 2.5 micrograms or less were responsible for killing thousands of Americans every year. They became the baseline by which the EPA regulated particulate emissions from power plants, factories and cars. Airborne particles of that size are equivalent to approximately 1/30th the diameter of a human hair.

Apparently Smith and other Republicans had an inkling of what was going on at the EPA last November. At that time, Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced the Secret Science Reform Act aimed at barring the agency from proposing new regulations based on science that was neither transparent nor reproducible.

Read more at Patriot Post

SideBear: Now let me get this straight. The EPA is forcing the coal industry out of business because of emissions, Nuclear energy is taboo because is supposedly will give people cancer, burning wood for heat is now outlawed by the EPA, and that brainless twit from California Sen. Boxer says the Keystone Pipeline will give you cancer. She offers no proof or data to back this up.

In the meantime the cost of our energy bills are going through the roof and all of this is subject to unproven science. What’s wrong with this picture?

From the Bear’s Corner: Dumber than my pet rock

When I was in my late teens; that’s that period in life, which I commonly refer to as to the period when you are an “adult in training,” I brought a pet rock which I still have on a shelf in my den.

A rock is a solid mass of minerals and elements and it has no brain and this is very similar to the three bimbos who represent the State of California (Nancy Pelosi, Di Fi and Babs Boxer in Congress today. Such a rare combination that they are they would qualify for the for midget moron role in the next episode of the “living dead.”

The other day Sen. Boxer came out with a stunning revelation that the Keystone pipeline will give people cancer and that’s why she is against the pipeline construction. She cited no sources, no evidence, no supporting facts; we just have to take the word of the brilliant Senator from California.

I wonder if she knows that the oil she is talking about has been shipped into this country for years by tanker car via Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, coincidentally owned by Warren Buffett´s company, Berkshire Hathaway. But, of course, she can´t possibly know that.

But my pet rock knows it and it has a higher I.Q. level than all three of these brilliant people from CA.

But what really upsets me is, doesn’t anyone in D.C. (District of Corruption) care about the welfare of this country, must it be politics, lies and fundraisers all the time?

The Methane Hoax Cranks Up By Alan Caruba

Cow Tank

Having spent decades trying to convince everyone that carbon dioxide (CO2) was a “greenhouse gas” that was going to cause the Earth to heat up, the same environmental charlatans are now embarking on a campaign to do the same with methane. In the U.S. the first move was announced by the White House in late March.

The carbon dioxide hoax fell apart in the wake of a cooling cycle affecting the Earth that began around 1997 and continues to this day. Warming and cooling cycles are natural events and both are tied to the activity or lack of it of the Sun. Humans have nothing to do with the climate other to enjoy or endure it.

Why methane? It has a lot to do with the development of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking”, and the way it unlocks natural gas, aka methane, all of which portends an America that is energy independent, along with its huge reserves of coal and oil. If, of course, the government permits this to occur.

As we know, the Obama administration does not want that. It would mean more jobs, greater prosperity, and the ability to pay down the national debt, not to mention drive down the cost of electricity, gasoline, and everything else that depends on energy.

Despite the cooling cycle that is likely to last for many more years, Steve Hamburg, chief scientist for the Environmental Defense Fund, was quoted by the Washington Post saying that “ounce for ounce, methane is 84 times as potent as a greenhouse gas over 20 years” compared to carbon dioxide. “More than a third of the warming that we’ll see as a result of today’s emissions over the next couple of decades comes from, essentially, methane. We need to remain focused on carbon dioxide emissions, but doing so is not enough.”

Excuse me, but the Environmental Defense Fund and countless other Green advocacy groups have been focused on carbon dioxide for decades and the Earth is cooling, not warming. What part of this does Hamburg not understand?

James M. Taylor, the managing editor of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly published by The Heartland Institute, reported in January that “Natural gas fracking is not causing a spike in the U.S. methane emissions”, citing Environmental Protection Agency data. “Methane emissions specific to natural gas are in a long-term decline, down ten percent since 1990 and down seven percent since 2007 when the fracking boom began.”

The Washington Post, however, asserted that emission levels “are set to rise by 2030 as shale oil and shale gas production expands in the United States.” Do you remember all those predictions about the increase of carbon dioxide emissions and how, in ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred years, the Earth would heat up?

This is not about methane, it is about finding a way to shut down fracking and the extraction of natural gas and oil in the same way the Obama administration’s “war on coal” has caused the loss of over 150 coal-fired plants that until it began, were providing electricity. Reducing sources of electricity drives up its cost to everyone. As more natural gas came on line by 2013 it had become the second greatest source of U.S. electricity, but overall the amount of electricity produced was less than in 2007 before the war on coal began.

A natural component of the Earth, it has a number of sources, but one that has also caught the eye of government regulators involves cow flatulence and belching.

The White House has proposed cutting methane emissions from the dairy industry by 25% by 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency has been tracking cow farts since 2012 and now the dairy industry has to worry along with the oil and gas industry. In addition to the EPA, the Bureau of Land Management will be announcing “new standards this fall to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas production on public lands.”

It’s often best just to let the Greens speak for themselves, revealing their never-ending efforts to attack the energy industry that keeps our lights on, heats and cools our homes, and fuels our cars and trucks. “President Obama’s plan to reduce climate-disrupting methane pollution is an important step in reining in an out of control industry exempt from too many public health protections,” said Deborah Nardone, the director of the Sierra Club’s Keeping Dirty Fuels in the Ground campaign.

“However,” said Ms. Nardone, “even with the most rigorous methane controls in place, we will still fall short of what is needed to fight climate disruption if we do not reduce our reliance on these dirty fossil fuels.”

What the heck is a climate disruption? A blizzard, a hurricane, a flood, tornadoes? None of these phenomena have anything to do with using fossil fuels. This is the kind of utter drivel we have all been hearing for decades.

It has nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with denying access and use of the greatest reserves of coal, oil and natural gas that exist in the greatest nation on Earth, the United States of America.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

SideBear: The only thing missing from the picture above is a little short guy from the EPA wearing a gas mask as he inserts a gas meter.

Perils of commercial beekeeping By Paul Driessen

Honeybees pollinate crops but endure stress, parasites and disease. Solutions are coming.

One of America’s earliest food crops – almonds – is also one of the most important for commercial beekeepers. Almonds depend on bees for pollination, but the explosive growth of this bumper crop taxes the very honeybees the industry needs to thrive.

California’s Central Valley produces over 80% of the world’s almonds, valued at over $4 billion in 2012. The boom is poised to continue, with new food products and expanding overseas markets increasing demand to the point that no young almond trees are available for purchase until 2016.

Demand for almonds translates into demand for pollination. So every year commercial beekeepers transport some 60% of all US honeybees to California’s almond groves in February and March, when it’s still winter in most other states. It’s one of their biggest challenges.

For one thing, bee colonies, especially those from northern states, lack sufficient time to emerge from their heat-conserving winter clusters. Some beekeepers thus maintain 20,000 to 30,000 hives. Each one requires careful inspection for diseases and parasites – a meticulous, Herculean task on such a scale.

Complicating the situation, beekeepers are trying to work within a large-scale agricultural system, using an insect whose husbandry practices have changed little since the nineteenth century. The larger the commercial beekeeper’s stock, the harder it can be to tend them and recover from financial setbacks in the form of lost bees.

Almond growers will need 1.5 million hives this year, estimates Colorado beekeeper Lyle Johnston. “It takes almost all the commercial bees in the United States,” to pollinate the almond crop, he says. The payoff can amount to half an individual keeper’s yearly profit.

However, bees can come back from California “loaded with mites and every other disease you can think of,” beekeeper Ed Colby explains. That can often mean bee colony deaths. Last year, US beekeepers experienced an average 30% overwinter bee loss; some lost 10% to 15% of their hives, while others lost much more. It’s a normal cost of doing business, but it can be painful.

Last year’s rate was higher than normal, and higher than any keeper would want. But it was not the “bee-pocalypse” that some news stories claimed. The real story is that efforts to identify a single unifying cause for higher-than-usual losses have failed. Scientists are discovering that multiple issues affect bee health.

Urban, suburban and agricultural “development has reduced natural habitats, clearing out thousands of acres of clover and natural flowers,” a 60 Minutes investigative report observed. “Instead, bees are spending week after week on the road, feeding on a single crop, undernourished and overworked.”

The migration itself is stressful, notes Glenwood Springs, Colorado Post-Independent reporter Marilyn Gleason. “First, there’s the road trip, which isn’t exactly natural for bees, and may include freezing cold or scorching heat. Bees ship out of Colorado before the coldest weather, and drivers may drench hot, thirsty bees with water at the truck wash.”

The convergence in almond groves of so many commercial bees from all over the country creates a hotbed of viruses and pathogens that can spread to many hives. The varroa destructor mite carries at least 19 different bee viruses and diseases, causing major impacts on bee colonies. Parasitic phorid flies are another problem, and highly contagious infections also pose significant threats. The intestinal fungus nosema ceranae, for example, prevents bees from absorbing nutrition, resulting in starvation.

The tobacco ringspot virus was likewise linked recently to the highly publicized problem known as “colony collapse disorder.” CCD occurs when bees in a colony disappear, leaving behind only a queen and a few workers. The term originally lumped together a variety of such “disappearing” disorders recorded in different locales across hundreds of years, as far back as 950 AD in Ireland. Thankfully, as during past episodes, these unexplained incidents have declined in recent years and, despite all these challenges, overall US honeybee populations and the number of managed colonies have held steady for nearly 20 years.

These days, perhaps the biggest existential threat to bees is campaigns purporting to save them. Extreme-green groups like the Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network of North America are blaming an innovative new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids for both over-winter bee losses and CCD.

Allied with several outspoken beekeepers, the activists are pressuring the Environmental Protection Agency, Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and government regulatory agencies to follow Europe’s lead – and ban neonics.

Instead of protecting bees and beekeepers, however, their campaigns will likely cause greater harm – because they ignore the multiple threats that scientists have identified, and because a neonic ban will result in farmers using pesticides that are more toxic to bees.

The European Union’s political decision to suspend neonic use came because France’s new agriculture minister banned their use. That meant French farmers would be at a distinct disadvantage with the rest of Europe, if they were the only ones unable to use the pesticide, noted British environmental commentator Richard North. They could lose $278 million per season in lost yields and extra pesticide spraying.

So the French agricultural ministry sought an EU-wide ban on all neonicotinoids. After several votes and a misleading report on the science, the European Commission imposed a ban, over the objections of many other EU members, who note that the evidence clearly demonstrates the new pesticides are safe for bees.

Years-long field tests have found that real-world exposures have no observable effects on bee colonies. Other studies have highlighted other significant insect, fungal, human and other issues that, singly or collectively, could explain CCD. Having analyzed scores of 2007-2012 bee death incidents, Canadian bee experts concluded that “…very few of the serious bee kills involve neonicotinoid pesticides. Five times as many ‘major’ or ‘moderate’ pesticide-related bee kills were sourced to non-neonic chemicals.”

In Canada’s western provinces, almost 20 million acres of 100% neonic-treated canola is pollinated annually by honeybees and tiny alfalfa leaf-cutter bees.

Both species thrive on the crop, demonstrating that neonics are not a problem. Large-scale field studies of honeybees at Canadian universities and a bumblebee field study by a UK government agency found no adverse effects on bees.

Last October, a team of industry scientists published a four-year study of the effects of repeated honeybee exposure to neonic-treated corn and rapeseed (canola) pollen and nectar under field conditions in several French provinces.

The study found similar mortality, foraging behavior, colony strength and weight, brood development and food storage in colonies exposed to seed-treated crops and in unexposed control colonies. This also indicates low risk to bees.

At least two more major, recently completed university-run field research projects conducted under complex, costly scientific laboratory guidelines (“good lab practices”) are awaiting publication. All indications to date suggest that they too will find no observable adverse effects on bees at field-realistic exposures to neonicotinoids.

Meanwhile Project ApisM., a partnership of agro-businesses and beekeepers, has invested $2.5 million in research to enhance the health of honeybee colonies.

Switzerland-based Syngenta has spent millions expanding bee habitats in Europe and North America, through Project Pollinator. Bayer has built bee health centers in Europe and the United States, and Monsanto’s Beeologics subsidiary is developing technology to fight varroa mites.

None of that matters to the anti-pesticide activists. They are using pressure tactics to make Canada and the United States copy the EU. That would be a huge mistake. Science, not politics, should prevail.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

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Canada Could Bypass U.S. If Pipeline Isn’t Approved

Energy: Concern that the White House’s dithering on the Keystone XL pipeline will cause Canada to route its oil to its west coast for delivery to China remains. But a new worry is blowing in from the east.

The Obama administration should have approved the pipeline, which would run from oil fields in Alberta, Canada, south to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico, by now.

It has instead produced delays, deferrals, stone walls and foot dragging. More than three years after Congress required President Obama to make a decision, he has still made none.

There are no compelling reasons for the lack of action. But there are political ones. So Obama, unwilling to go against the wishes of the environmental fanatics who are well entrenched in the Democratic Party, waits.

Meanwhile, the Canadians need markets for their crude and they cannot afford the delay that’s been forced on them by Obama.

“The time for Keystone is now,” Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird said earlier this year to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said then that his country needed an answer right away, “even if it’s not the right one,” because it “can’t continue in this state of limbo.”

Months later, Canada has little recourse but to explore alternatives.
[...]
TransCanada says its construction would directly create 20,000 jobs, while the Canadian Energy Research Institute estimates that number will reach 440,000 U.S. jobs by 2035 when new oil sands investments are figured in.

Read More At Investor’s Business Daily:

SideBear: Just one more big step by Obama to take this country down.