EPA’s Phony ‘Environmental Justice’ Caper by Paul Driessen

The agency’s real agenda: empire, control, and inverted justice for poor and minority families

When it comes to energy, climate change, justice and transparency, the Obama Administration and its Environmental Protection Agency want it every possible way. Their only consistency is their double standards and their determination to slash hydrocarbon use, ensure that electricity prices “necessarily skyrocket,” expand federal government command and control, and “fundamentally transform” America.

The president was thus eager to give away Seal Team secrets in bragging about “he” got Osama bin Laden. But in sharp contrast, there has been no transparency on Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS scandal – or the data and analyses that supposedly support Environmental Protection Agency claims that “dangerous manmade climate change” is “not just a future threat; it is happening right now.”

That rhetoric made it sound like EPA’s Clean Power Plan was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, in July EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy made it clear that her initiative “is not about pollution control.” Rather, it is an “investment strategy” designed to spur renewable energy.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) opined that the agency does not have “explicit statutory authority” to steer investments toward “green” energy. Perhaps so, McCarthy replied, but her actions are legal under the Clean Air Act and within the agency’s ever broadening purview – as are EPA’s attempts to expand its mission and oversight authority by emphasizing “sustainable development” and “environmental justice.”

The ironies abound. Wind, solar and ethanol power were intended to address “imminent oil and gas depletion” that ended with the hydraulic fracturing revolution, and prevent “global warming” that ended some 18 years ago. Now “investment” in these “alternative” energy technologies primarily involves greenback dollars taken from hard-working taxpayers and delivered to crony corporatists and campaign contributors who want to earn fat profits from climate scares, renewable energy mandates and subsidies.

A 2010 report suggested that EPA should begin to examine how it might “encourage the development of sustainable communities, biodiversity protection, clean energy, environmentally sustainable economic development and climate change.” Talk about an open-ended invitation to control our lives. A few weeks ago, EPA proclaimed “environmental justice” as yet another newcause celebre. The agency claims low-income groups are “disproportionately affected” by airborne pollution, and therefore it must tighten air quality standards yet again. The results will likely be a perverse opposite of true justice.

The agency’s own Urban Air Toxics report chronicles a 66% reduction in benzene levels, 84% in outdoor airborne lead, 84% in mercury from coal-fueled power plants, and huge reductions in particulates (soot). “But we know our work is not done yet,” McCarthy said. “At the core of EPA’s mission is the pursuit of environmental justice – striving for clean air, water and healthy land for every American; and we are committed to reducing remaining pollution, especially in low-income neighborhoods.”

Most air quality and health experts say America’s air is completely safe. That’s why EPA pays its Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee and the American Lung Association millions of dollars a year to say otherwise. It’s why the EPA, CASAC and ALA refuse to discuss the $353 billion in annual regulatory compliance costs that EPA alone imposes on U.S. businesses and families (out of a total federal regulatory bill of $1.9 trillion), according to Competitive Enterprise Institute studies.

Those costs mean too many people lose their jobs. Their hopes, dreams, pride and work ethic are replaced by despair and dependency. If they can find new work, they are forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and spend greater portions of their incomes on gasoline and electricity. They suffer greater sleep deprivation, stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse, and poorer nutrition and medical care. More people have strokes and heart attacks; more die prematurely.

EPA’s new 54.5-mile-per-gallon standards mean cars are lighter and less safe in accidents. That means more people suffer severe injuries or get killed. Minority and other poor families are especially at risk.

Every one of these impacts is also a matter of environmental justice. But EPA chooses to ignore them.

Moreover, nothing in the law says EPA has a right to declare that it intends to seek “justice” by drawing a line between poor people and other Americans, all of whom have a stake in clean air. McCarthy’s language is more befitting a rabble-rouser than an agency administrator who is supposed make decisions based on science – not on emotions, politics, or racial and class divisiveness.

EPA’s climate and environmental policies appear destined to become even more insane. Just two months after calling climate change “the world’s most fearsome weapon of mass destruction” – and amid radical Islamist chaos and conflagrations across the Arab world – on September 3, Secretary of State John Kerry actually said “Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable” to climate change. “Scriptures,” he claimed, make it clear that Americans have a “responsibility” to prevent this calamity.

McCarthy’s environmental justice claims also appear to be based on an ugly premise that undergirds many Obama Administration policies: that low-income people are victims and businesspeople are guilty of doing irreparable harm to their health and communities. (At least business people who are not aligned with Obama and don’t support liberal/Democrat agendas and candidates are guilty.)

Such sentiments pit low-income and working-class Americans against businesses. They are a divisive throwback to the 99% versus 1% protests. They ignore the fact that Mr. Kerry, climate politics bankroller Tom Steyer, and President Obama and his fundraiser dinner companions are all part of the 0.1 percent.

These sentiments also ignore the fact that businesspeople create jobs, give workers opportunities to earn a living for themselves and their families, and develop the employment and life skills to successfully climb the socio-economic ladder. Any company that violates environmental, health, safety, tax and other laws is penalized civilly or criminally – whereas all too often the regulators themselves escape any accountability or liability for accidental, incompetent and even deliberate actions that hurt their fellow citizens.

Ms. McCarthy’s statements also reflect the lengths to which EPA will go to continue expanding its reach and grow its bureaucracy. The agency cannot admit that it has nearly won the battle against dirty air, because thousands of government regulators could lose their jobs. (Never mind the millions of Americans who lose their jobs because of EPA regulators and regulations.) To protect its legions of workers, justify its massive taxpayer-provided budget, and expand it many times over, EPA continues to move the goal posts, by invoking environmental justice, climate change and sustainability – for which there can never be objective goals and achievements, but only political considerations and subjective “feelings.”

Apparently Ms. McCarthy embraces the ideology that ignores the benefits of affordable energy and of a robust economy that creates jobs and opportunities. In her view, government controls are paramount, even when they stifle self-reliance, creativity and entrepreneurship, destroy jobs, harm human health and welfare, and cast low-income Americans as perpetual victims.

As Congress of Racial Equality national chairman Roy Innis emphasizes in his book, Energy Keepers / Energy Killers: The new civil rights battle: access to abundant, reliable, affordable energy is essential for individuals, families and communities that want to improve their lives and living standards.

Jason Riley puts it just as forcefully in his new book, Please Stop Helping Us: How liberals make it harder for blacks to succeed. Blacks must “develop the habits and attitudes that other groups had to develop” to improve their lives, he writes. The real secret to rolling back black unemployment and poverty is to change a culture that has allowed too many black children to grow up without the benefit of a father in the home, and that scorns black intellectual achievement as “acting white.”

Environmental protection should never be an “us vs. them” mentality. Such attitudes divide us, rather than bringing us together to improve our nation and world for everyone’s benefit. Ms. McCarthy should base environmental policy on sound science – and check her phony justice rhetoric at the door.

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

If it quacks like a duck … it must be a turtle By Robert W. Felix

“Why We’re Definitely Not Headed for Another Ice Age.”

When I saw that headline in Newsweek, I thought, do they know something that I don’t? But once I read the article, it left me wondering how in the world they came to that conclusion.

It reminds me of the great retort by paleontologist Robert Bakker to those who did not agree with his belief that many kinds of dinosaurs were birds.

“There are still a few of my colleagues who think if it walks like a duck, breathes like a duck and grows like a duck, it must be a turtle,” said Bakker.

Let’s see if this Newsweek article is a duck or a turtle.

It starts out by admitting that “there are currently very low levels of activity on the sun – the lowest in more than 100 years – and they are likely to fall further.”

So far so good. I agree.

Then the article reminds us of the “crippling winters” between 2008 and 2010 that closed airports and paralyzed transport systems in western Europe and the eastern United States. (Interestingly, it fails to mention the record cold and snow this past winter in the United States, nor the record cold in the U.S. Midwest this summer.)

The article then describes the Maunder Minimum, a 70-year period between 1645 and 1715 when solar activity almost stopped. It even discloses that the Maunder Minimum coincided with a period of bitter winters known as “the little ice age.”

This is all true.

And finally, the article quotes Mike Lockwood, Professor of Space Environment Physics at Reading University:

“When you look at the overall trend of solar magnetic fields and things, then you see that we’ve now had three cycles where every (solar) maximum has got weaker, every minimum has got deeper, and there’s no reason not to expect that trend to continue. It’s not a negligible probability that we go into a Maunder Minimum.”

Great! This is still good information.

So what do we have here?

If a lack of sunspots correlated with the last little ice age, and if we now have the lowest sunspot activity in more than 100 years (and still dropping), and if the U.S. and Europe have recently endured the coldest, snowiest winters on record, and if we have the “not negligible probability” of descending into a Maunder Minimum, mightn’t we come to the conclusion that we’re heading into a little ice age?

Uh, no.

Look out! Here comes the turtle. Here comes the legerdemain.

“The sun’s cycles, however inactive they become, will not save the world from global warming,” the article asserts. “A slight, temporary change in the sun’s activity cannot mitigate many years of suffocating emissions, whatever the deniers would have us believe.”

Oh, those nasty deniers.

How did we suddenly move from a Maunder Minimum to global warming?

Because researchers say so. Which researchers? Researchers who crunched their numbers through the UK Met Office’s “sophisticated climate models.”

Forget the facts. Forget what we can see with our very own eyes. Instead, lets bury our heads in our models (computer-generated guesses).

Have these Met Office models been programmed to overestimate the effects of CO2? We don’t know.

Have these Met Office models been programmed to underestimate the effects of solar activity? We don’t know.

Have these Met Office models been programmed to estimate the effects of well-known ice-age cycles? We don’t know.

Remember that acronym GIGO (Garbage in, garbage out)?

If it looks like garbage, and smells like garbage, and tastes like garbage, well, maybe it’s garbage.

What about Russian astrophysicist Habibullo Abdussamatov’s contention that we’re headed into a little ice age? No mention of him.

What about British astrophysicist Piers Corbyn’s contention that we’re now headed into a little ice age? No mention of him.

What about American climatologist Cliff Harris’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age? No mention of him.

What about American climate scientist Don Easterbrook’s contention that we’re now headed into an ice age? No mention of him.

I’ll stick to my guns. I think we definitely are headed into another ice age.

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Source: Ice Age Now

Related

“Dinosaur extinction”
“Earthquakes”
“Global Warming Hoax”

All these titles can be seen at Ice Age Now ( and a lot more)

Greens are the Enemies of Energy By Alan Caruba

Here in America and elsewhere around the world, Greens continue to war against any energy other than the “renewable” kind, wind and solar, that is more costly and next to useless. Only coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear keeps the modern and developing world functioning and growing.

The most publicized aspect is Obama’s “War on Coal” and, thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency, it has been successful; responsible for shutting down several hundred coal-fired plants by issuing costly regulations based on the utterly false claim that carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to save the Earth from “global warming.”

The EPA is the government’s ultimate enemy of energy, though the Department of the Interior and other elements of the government participate in limiting access to our vast energy reserves and energy use nationwide. By government edict, the incandescent light bulb has been banned. How insane is that?

The Earth has been cooling for seventeen years at this point, but the Greens call this a “pause.” That pause is going to last for many more years and could even become a new ice age.

A study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the impact of the proposed new EPA regulation of emissions found that, as CNSNews reported, it “could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion a per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040” adding $2.2 trillion in compliance costs for the same period. Jay Timmons, CEO and president of NAM, said, “This regulation has the capacity to stop the manufacturing comeback in its tracks.”

As Thomas Pyle, the president of the Institute for Energy Research (IER), said in June, “President Obama is delivering on his promise to send electricity prices skyrocketing.” Noting a proposed EPA regulation that would shut more plants, he said “With this new rule, Americans can expect to pay $200 more each year for their electricity.” Having failed to turn around the nation’s economy halfway into his second term, Obama is adding to the economic burdens of all Americans.

America could literally become energy independent given its vast reserves of energy sources. In the case of coal, the federal government owns 957 billion short tons of coal in the lower 48 States, of which about 550 billion short tons—about 57 percent—are available in the Powder River Basin. It is estimated to be worth $22.5 trillion to the U.S. economy, but as the IER notes, it “remains unrealized due to government barriers on coal production.” It would last 250 years, greater than Russia and China. When you add in Alaska, the U.S. has enough coal to last 9,000 years at today’s consumption rates!

In 2013 the IER estimated the worth of the government’s oil and coal technically recoverable resources to the economy to be $128 trillion, about eight times our national debt at the time.

There isn’t a day that goes by that environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, along with dozens of others, do not speak out against the extracting and use of all forms of energy, calling coal “dirty” and claiming Big Oil is the enemy.

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Greens held off attacking the nuclear industry because it does not produce “greenhouse gas” emissions. Mind you, these gases, primarily carbon dioxide, represent no threat of warming and, indeed, as the main “food” of all vegetation on Earth, more carbon dioxide would be a good thing, increasing crop yields and healthy forests.

Events such as the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island and the 1986 Chernobyl disaster raised understandable fears. The Greens began opposing nuclear energy claiming that radiation would kill millions in the event of a meltdown. This simply is not true. Unlike France that reprocesses spent nuclear fuel, President Carter’s decision to not allow reprocessing proved to be very detrimental, requiring repositories for large quantities.

To this day, one of the largest, Yucca Mountain Repository, authorized in 1987, is opposed by Greens. Even so, it was approved in 2002 by Congress, but the funding for its development was terminated by the Obama administration in 2011. Today there are only four new nuclear power plants under construction and, in time, all one hundred existing plants will likely be retired starting in the mid-2030s.

The Greens’ attack on coal is based on claims that air quality must be protected, but today’s air quality has been steadily improving for years and new technologies have reduced emissions without the need to impose impossible regulatory standards. As the American Petroleum Institute recently noted, “These standards are not justified from a health perspective because the science is simply not showing a need to reduce ozone levels.”

The new EPA standards are expected to be announced in December. We better hope that the November midterm elections put enough new candidates into Congress to reject those standards or the cost of living in America, the capacity to produce electricity, the construction and expansion of our manufacturing sector will all worsen, putting America on a path to decline.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Trampling on Coal Country Families by PAUL DRIESSEN

Between 1989 and 2010, Congress rejected nearly 700 cap-tax-and-trade and similar bills that their proponents claimed would control Earth’s perpetually fickle climate and weather. So even as real world crises erupt, President Obama is using executive fiats and regulations to impose his anti-hydrocarbon agenda, slash America’s fossil fuel use, bankrupt coal and utility companies, make electricity prices skyrocket, and “fundamentally transform” our economic, social, legal and constitutional system.

Citing climate concerns, he has refused to permit construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and blocked or delayed Alaskan, western state and offshore oil and gas leasing and drilling. He’s proud that US oil production has climbed 58% and natural gas output has risen 21% since 2008. But he doesn’t mention that this is due to hydraulic fracturing on state and private lands; production has actually fallen in areas controlled by the federal government, and radical environmentalists oppose fracking all over the USA.

Above all, the President’s war on hydrocarbons is a war on Coal Country families. For 21 states that still rely on coal to produce 40-96% of their electricity, it is a war on people’s livelihoods and living standards – on the very survival of small businesses and entire communities. The price of electricity has already risen 1-2 cents per kilowatt-hour in those states, from as little as 5.6 cents/kWh in 2009. If it soars to the 14.6 to 15.7 cents/kWh paid in “job-mecca states” like California and New York – which rely on coal for less than 3% of their electricity – the impacts will churn through coal-dependant states like a tsunami.

Yet that is where rates are headed, as the Obama EPA’s carbon dioxide and other restrictions kick in. Hundreds of baseload coal-fired power plants (some 180 gigawatts of electric generation capacity) will be forced into premature retirement between 2010 and 2020. That’s more than 15% of the United States’ total installed capacity – enough electricity to power nearly 90 million average homes or small businesses. EPA assumes it can be replaced by expensive, unreliable, habitat-gobbling wind and solar power. It can’t.

EPA rules mean the price of everything people do will skyrocket: heating and air conditioning, lights and refrigeration, televisions, computers, medical equipment, machinery and every other gizmo that runs on electricity. Poor, minority and blue-collar families will have to find hundreds of dollars a year somewhere in their already stretched budgets. Shops and other small businesses will have to discover thousands of dollars, by delaying other purchases or laying people off. Factories, malls, school districts, hospitals and cities will have to send out search parties to locate millions a year at the end of rainbows.

Millions will get laid off – in coal mines, power plants, factories, shops and other businesses. Entire families and communities will be pounded and impoverished. Real people’s hopes, dreams, pride and work ethic will be replaced by despair and dependency. Bread winners will be forced to work multiple jobs, commute longer distances, and suffer severe sleep deprivation, if they can find work.

Families will have to cope with more stress, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, spousal and child abuse. Nutrition and medical care will suffer. More people will turn to crime. More will have strokes and heart attacks. More will die prematurely or commit suicide. For no measurable benefits.

EPA cites mercury, soot, asthma, climate change, hurricanes, seas rising seven inches a century, and even ocean acidification to justify the draconian rules. But the scientific basis is bogus. The agency cherry-picks data and studies that support its agenda, ignores libraries of contradictory research, rejects experts whose analyses question EPA conclusions, pays advisors and activists millions of dollars annually to rubberstamp and promote its regulations, and hides its work from those it decrees “are not qualified to analyze it.” The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change operates in much the same fashion.

Moreover, unhealthy US emissions plunged nearly 90% since 1970, even as coal use for electricity generation increased 170% – and the newest coal-fired power plants reduce pollution by almost this amount, using “supercritical” technologies, while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% or more, according the EPA and US Energy Information Administration reports.

Meanwhile, China, India, Germany, Poland and other countries are building some 1,200 new coal-fired power plants, and numerous gas plants, to spur economic growth, preserve jobs and lift people out of poverty. So the sacrifices Mr. Obama is imposing will do nothing to reduce global CO2 levels, which the evidence increasingly shows plays only a minor to trivial role in climate and weather fluctuations.

It’s true that Detroit temperatures didn’t dip below freezing in January and February in’79 – followed by a frost in June. But that was 1879! When he was a boy, “snows were frequent and deep in every winter,” Thomas Jefferson recalled in December 1809. “The Greenland seas, hitherto covered [in ice], have in the last two years entirely disappeared,” Britain’s Royal Society reported … in 1817. “We were astonished by the total absence of ice in Barrow Strait. [Six years ago the area was] still frozen up, and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape,” Captain Francis McClintock wrote in his ship’s log – in 1860.

And don’t forget the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, and the five frigid epochs that buried North America, Europe and Asia under glaciers a mile thick. Or the 4,000-year-old trees that recently emerged as modern glaciers melted back – proving that a forest grew in the now icy Alps just four millennia ago.

On and on it has gone, throughout Earth and human history: wild weather and climate swings on a recurring basis. But now, climate chaos cultists want us to believe such events began only recently, and we could stop today’s climate and weather aberrations – if we would just eliminate fossil fuels, destroy our economies, and condemn Third World families to permanent poverty and disease.

The truth is, only once in all of human history was a government able to control Earth’s climate, to make it “perfect all year,” and it is highly unlikely that we will ever return to those wondrous days.

So how do the EPA, IPCC, Michael Mann, Al Gore and other Climate Armageddonites deal with all these inconvenient truths, questions and skeptical researchers?

They hide their data and computer codes. Complain that they are being picked on. Refuse to debate “dangerous manmade global warming” skeptics. Harass and vilify contrarian experts, and boot them off university committees. Refuse to attend conferences where they might have to defend their manipulated data, junk science and absurd assertions. Al Gore won’t even take questions that he has not preapproved.

They have no cojones. They hide behind their sinecures the way Hamas terrorists hide behind children.

EPA won’t even hold hearings in Coal Country or states that will be hardest hit by soaring electricity costs. It hosts dog-and-pony shows and “listening sessions” in big cities like Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, DC and Pittsburgh – where it knows passionate lefty students and eco-activists will dominate. People who will be grievously impacted by the draconian job-killing regulations must travel long distances and pay for expensive hotels and meals … or remain silent and ignored.

That stacks the deck – the same way the “public comment” process is tilted in favor of ultra-rich Big Green agitators who have the funding and organization to generate thousands or millions of comments.

We taxpayers pay for these studies, payoffs and propaganda. And we will get stuck with the regulations, soaring prices and lost jobs that result. We have a right to review and analyze the data and claims. We have a right to be heard, in a fair and honest process that truly takes our concerns into account.

The House of Representatives should hold hearings, forcing callous bureaucrats, slick scientists and computer modeling charlatans to present their data, codes and findings under oath. States should sue EPA for violating the Information Quality Act.

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.

The Gases of Life are NOT Pollutants By: Viv Forbes

Our atmosphere contains the four gases of life – nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide.

Nitrogen is the most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (78%). It is an essential building block of amino acids present in all proteins. It is a very stable unreactive gas, but micro-organisms in the soil and some plants are able to extract nitrogen from the atmosphere, making it available to growing plants. Lightning also manages to oxidise some atmospheric nitrogen.

Oxygen is the second most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (21%). Every animal absorbs oxygen with every breath, using it to fuel bodily digestion of the foods they eat. This process builds bodies and provides the energy of muscles. In the great oxygen cycle, plants extract oxygen from carbon dioxide and exhale it to the atmosphere for animals to breathe.

Water vapour is the third most abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (varies up to 5%). Water vapour is part of the great water cycle where water is evaporated into the atmosphere from salty seas, surface water and plants. Rain and snow return it to the surface supply of fresh water. No animals, plants or sea creatures could exist without water.

Water vapour is the most effective “greenhouse gas” in the atmosphere with far more effect than carbon dioxide. It reduces incoming solar radiation by day, and reduces surface cooling at night. Water is also a global temperature stabiliser – heat is transferred from oceans and land as latent heat by evaporation, forming clouds that often cool the surface.

Finally, carbon dioxide is the least abundant gas-of-life in the atmosphere (0.04%) – just a mere trace, but a vitally important trace. No plants could exist on Earth without carbon dioxide and no animals could exist without plants. Plants extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to form proteins, sugars and carbo-hydrates and animals add essential minerals to turn these into protein, fat, sinews and bones. The carbon from carbon dioxide is the building block for all life on earth, for every bit of organic material, and for every carbon fuel – oil, gas and coal.

Carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse gas” which tends to retain some surface warmth, butthere is no evidence in ancient or modern temperature records to suggest that carbon dioxide is a dominant factor controlling global temperature.

None of these natural gases are toxic to life under any feasible atmospheric conditions, but all can be toxic above certain levels. For carbon dioxide, toxic effects on humans don’t even begin until it is fifty times the present atmospheric level – our exhaled breath is 100 times current levels in the atmosphere.

No thinking person could class any of them as an atmospheric pollutant – they are all naturally occurring, non-toxic, essential “Gases of Life”. Together they make up 95% of the human body, which is effectively 68% carbon dioxide – if carbon dioxide is a pollutant, the human body is badly polluted.

Source: Heartland Instiute