Partisan Politics Blocks Keystone Pipeline

By Michael Reagan

Talk about being in the middle of Middle America.

A week ago I was in bitterly cold Nebraska — Omaha, to be exact — visiting with my wife Colleen’s family.

On Tuesday night of that week I watched the diehard Democrats in the Senate stop a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada and Montana and North Dakota to the refineries of New Orleans.

The proposed $8 billion shortcut across Nebraska and other Red States is a big deal.

It makes economic and environmental sense for their citizens and for all Americans. But of course that hasn’t stopped the pipeline from becoming a political cause célèbre for liberal Democrats and their narrow interest groups.

President Obama, Senator Reid, and their wacko pals in the environmental lobby have managed to delay the Keystone XL’s approval for six years.

But they’d better celebrate that night’s buzzer beater while they can. Their one-vote “victory” in the Senate is the last time they’ll be able to get away with their “we know better than you” attitude toward voters.

The Keystone XL will get the green light as soon as the Republicans who were elected in the midterm elections start running things in Congress next year.

Watching the diehard Democrats in the Senate vote against the pipeline was creepy. It reminded me of the spiteful thing President Carter did in 1980 when he was blown out of office by my father.

As the 1980 election returns were coming in from back east, my father was taking a shower and getting ready to go to dinner in L.A.

Polls were still open in the rest of the country, but Jimmy Carter already could see the landslide coming. At 6:01 Pacific time he called my father to concede.

Giving up so soon — and thereby discouraging many Democrat voters in the western time zones from going to the polls — made the Reagan avalanche even worse.

Republicans took control of the Senate, 53-46, picking up 12 seats.

Carter knew what he was doing. He was an outsider who never worked well with his party’s Washington insiders.

Insisting on conceding so early, despite advice from his advisers and the pleas of party leaders like Tip O’Neill, was Carter’s way of punishing the Democrats who ran Washington.

I think Senate Democrats were acting like Jimmy Carter on that Tuesday when they defeated the pipeline vote.

It’s inevitable that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built. Harry Reid and his gang of obstructionists know that.

But they voted against the pipeline anyway, even ignoring the small chance that a pro-Keystone vote might have saved Mary Landrieu’s Senate seat in Louisiana.

Democrats flat didn’t care. The pipeline vote was their final act of spite. It was a last-minute kick in the teeth of Red State voters for electing so many Republicans to Congress in the midterms.

I believe it was President Obama who famously said to Eric Cantor after re-winning the White House in 2012 that “elections have consequences.”

Obviously, you were right, Mr. President.

But seeing Democrat senators stick it to the American electorate on the pipeline, and watching you desecrate the Constitution to push your immigration agenda, has made me realize something.

When you and the Democrats win an election, America suffers. And when you guys don’t win an election, America suffers just as much.

For the last six years, voters have been playing in a lose-lose game. But for the next two years things will be different. Because, thank God, elections do matter.

Michael Reagan is the son of former President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the League of American Voters. His blog appears on reaganreports.com

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TAXPAYER ALERT: Big Wind is pressing Congress for yet another bailout

Mary Kay Barton

Taxpayers beware! While you were sleeping, enjoying your family and eating turkey, Congress has been busy.

Congressional Republicans are negotiating with Senate Democrats to extend the infamous wind energy Production Tax Credit through to 2017, after which it will supposedly be phased out, just as was supposed to happen in the past. This sneaky, dark-of-night “lame duck” session tactic should be flatly rejected.

While you’ve been busy just trying to make ends meet, wondering why the cost of everything is going up, and agonizing over how your children and grandchildren will ever pay the mounting $18 TRILLION dollar national debt – the wind industry lobbyists’ group, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), just sent Congress a letter seeking to extend the federal, taxpayer-funded wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).

The list of signers to AWEA’s letter include rent-seeking industries and “green” groups who’ve all benefitted by tapping into taxpayers’ wallets via the Big Wind PTC (aka: Pork-To-Cronies). It certainly isn’t hard to figure out why these corporations pay many millions of dollars to hire lobbyists and run national TV advertising campaigns geared at convincing crony-politicians to vote to continue these TAXES and higher energy prices on American citizens.

AWEA’a letter is typical of wind industry propaganda. It makes specious claims about creating jobs and reducing pollution, without providing a shred of evidence to PROVE any of their claims. AWEA apparently hopes Congressional officials are “too stupid” to understand what energy-literate citizens nationwide know: Industrial wind can NEVER provide reliable power. It raises electricity costs, even after subsidies are factored in. It kills more jobs than it creates. It defiles wildlife habitats and kills eagles, hawks, other birds and bats – with no penalties to Big Wind operators.

Here’s the reality: After 22+ years of picking U.S. taxpayers’ and ratepayers’ pockets, industrial wind has NOT significantly reduced carbon dioxide emissions. It has not replaced any conventional power plants, anywhere. However, the $Trillions spent on these “green” boondoggles to date have significantly added to the $18+ TRILLION dollar debt that our children and grandchildren will have to bear.

AWEA’s own statements from years and decades past can be used against them. To cite just one example, 31 years ago, a study coauthored by the AWEA stated:

The private sector can be expected to develop improved solar and wind technologies which will begin to become competitive and self-supporting on a national level by the end of the decade if assisted by tax credits and augmented by federally sponsored R&D.

[American Wind Energy Association, et al. Quoted in Renewable Energy Industry, Joint Hearing before the Subcommittees of the Committee on Energy and Commerce et al., House of Representatives, 98th Cong., 1st sess. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1983, p. 52.]

In other words, the PTC should have ended 20 years ago, because wind energy would be self-sustaining by then. It wasn’t. It still isn’t. It never will be. We need to pull the PTC plug now!

Here are some details about the bill that is currently being negotiated during the lame duck session –before the newly elected, Republican majority Senate takes office and can do much about it.

In 2016, wind developers would be eligible for 80% percent of the PTC’s value. They could also claim 60% of its value through the first nine months of 2017, after which it would supposedly expire.

The proposed congressional deal also seems to continue basing PTC eligibility on when project construction project begins. That opens huge doors for abuse.

The last time Congress extended the PTC, as part of its “fiscal cliff” deal in 2013, it said “eligibility” for taxpayer largesse covered projects “under construction,” rather than requiring that they be “placed in service” by a certain date. In practice, this means just a shovelful of dirt has to be moved by that date.

Remember too that the Production Tax Credit supposedly expired last year. But this clever language has allowed construction and expansion in the meantime. Meanwhile, Lois Lerner’s Internal Revenue Service has helpfully said projects that were started or “safe-harbored” prior to the PTC’s most recent pseudo-expiration can claim tax credits if they are in service by 2015. And then they can claim the $23-per-MWh credit for ten more years!

What a wonderful holiday gift for Big Wind and its political sponsors – at your expense.

Our government should NOT be in the business of picking and choosing the winners and losers in the energy marketplace – while assaulting and harming the very citizens they are forcing to pay for this “green” energy scam. It’s time for government to get out of the way and let the markets work!

The best solutions will rise to the top of their own accord because they will provide modern power at the best prices – thereby maintaining the reliable, affordable power that has made America great.

Citizens nation-wide have awakened to this massive “green” energy scam. Many have sent letters to Congress like the one below. You can join the fight by contacting your representatives and urging them to do the right thing: Protect American consumers, taxpayers and ratepayers. END Wind Welfare (#EndWindWelfare)!

Here’s a sample letter that you can use or modify:

Citizens’ Plea – DO NOT RESUSCITATE
the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit

Dear Senator or Congressman:

We, the undersigned, join millions of U.S. taxpayers & ratepayers nationwide in urging you and your colleagues to eliminate the 22-year old wind Production Tax Credit (PTC).

You should know by now that wind energy is a net technical, economic and environmental loser. Why would we want to waste more $Billions of taxpayers’ hard-earned money on a net loser?

The addition of industrial wind in the United States has not reduced our need to maintain and build reliable generation, nor does it add materially to our job force. Because wind energy is so diffuse, unreliable and volatile, it can never supply the reliable, affordable electric generating capacity that our modern society demands. Instead, it creates unprecedented industrial sprawl that is responsible for massive habitat fragmentation, species decline, and the wonton slaughter of countless birds and bats.

By forcing gigantic wind turbines on entire communities where only a few benefit, it has devastated civility in targeted townships, and destroyed rural heritage as landscapes are forever changed.

Renewable energy tax policy has also fostered a generation of developers bent on sticking turbines on every free acre that has transmission access, no matter who is in the way. It is simply unconscionable that, to date, no U.S. elected official has called for appropriate health studies to protect the health, safety and welfare of U.S. citizens who are suffering as a result of living within the sprawling footprints of industrial wind factories. As a result, it’s no surprise that more than twelve active lawsuits are pending against wind projects in as many states, with many more sure to follow.

The issues surrounding wind power expansion also impact energy prices and disrupt otherwise functional markets. The PTC provides project owners with a significant out-of-market revenue source, which invokes predatory pricing practices that unfairly harm the economics of reliable generators. In fact, at 2.3¢/kWh, the subsidy’s pre-tax value (3.5¢/kWh) equals, or exceeds the wholesale price of power in much of the country.

There is no justification for a government program that manipulates and harms otherwise healthy, competitive businesses for the benefit of a few.

After 22-years of tax credits, the business of Big Wind is not about energy production. It is about tax avoidance and tax subsidies. Warren Buffet recently reminded us that wind investment makes no sense without the handouts from taxpayers. Wind energy will never be competitive with the price of the fuel it saves, and would not exist but for the PTC.

After more than two decades, the wind industry is well situated to stand on its own without the PTC. It is unreasonable to continue to force taxpayers to support it. Your constituents know it, and you should, too.

This is why we respectfully request that Congress resist any temptation to reinstate the expired PTC or associated investment tax credit (ITC).

Respectfully submitted,

[signed]

EPA’s Tighter Ozone Standards Seen as Job-Killer

Newsmax

The Obama administration on Wednesday proposed stricter curbs on ground-level ozone, a pollutant linked to several serious health conditions, in a move industry groups said would place a heavy burden on the U.S. economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency said it would set National Ambient Air Quality Standard between 65 and 70 parts per billion concentration of ozone and consider public comments on standards within a 60 to 75 ppb range.

The EPA must finalize the rule by October. It will replace the current standard of 75 ppb set in 2008.

The lower limit would mean less smoke from power plants and car exhaust pipes, leading to slightly cleaner air and reduced smog.

“Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “It empowers the American people with updated air quality information to protect our loved ones.”

The proposal will apply cars and power plants as well as oil and gas facilities. Health advocates and environmentalists hailed the plan as a way to cut down on asthma, heart disease and other respiratory illnesses.

House Speaker John Boehner quickly ripped the “massive new regulation” as a job killer and the “most expensive rule ever proposed by the EPA.”

“If implemented, it would also undercut our ability to use America’s energy boom to reset our country’s economic foundation, revitalize manufacturing, and put more Americans back to work,” he said.

“Americans have made clear to the president that his priorities are not theirs, and this is precisely the kind of misguided policy they rejected earlier this month,” Boehner added in a statement. “The new American Congress will continue listening to the American people, and take action to protect middle-class families, and our economy, from the Obama administration’s regulatory onslaught.”

Speaking on Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum” former Pennsylvania Rep. Robert Walker said the Obama administration’s stricter ozone regulations is further proof that the White House is more concerned with expanding government and power than they are with creating jobs.

“The fact is these regulations will choke off a large portion of our economy,” Walker said. “They will, at the very least, create huge expenses of business to invest in meeting the terms of the regulations and those costs will be at the expense of American jobs.”

The tougher standards would be closer to a proposal drafted in 2011 but unexpectedly withdrawn by President Barack Obama before its release because of cost concerns while the nation was recovering from a recession.

Obama then directed the EPA to craft a new proposal. When it failed to act, groups including the American Lung Association, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund sued for a court-ordered deadline.

“EPA’s proposal to strengthen the standard is a vital step forward in the fight to protect all Americans from the dangers of breathing ozone pollution,” said American Lung Association President Harold Wimmer.

Industry groups had braced for a standard as low as 60 ppb and estimated a price tag of $270 billion a year at that level, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.

“This new standard comes at the same time dozens of other new EPA regulations are being imposed that collectively place increased costs, burdens and delays on manufacturers, threaten our international competitiveness and make it nearly impossible to grow jobs,” said the association’s president, Jay Timmons.

Howard Feldman, regulatory affairs director at the American Petroleum Institute, said U.S. air quality was improving without regulatory change and that meeting the new standards would be extremely difficult.

But McCarthy said the economic cost of inaction was great because of health problems that cause people to miss work or school.

“If the standards are finalized, every dollar we invest to meet them will return up to three dollars in health benefits,” McCarthy said. That could add up to $38 billion to the U.S. economy by 2025 if the emissions rate is set at 65 ppb, while compliance costs would be $15 billion, she added.

“Healthy communities attract new businesses, new investment, and new jobs,” McCarthy wrote in an editorial published on CNN’s website.

In making the rule, EPA scientists reviewed more than 1,000 studies published since the last standards were set.

Terry McGuire, the Sierra Club’s Washington representative on smog pollution, said Obama, who is not up for re-election, was now freer to act aggressively and should push the limit down as far as 60 ppb.

“This should be a centerpiece of his environmental legacy,” McGuire said.

Under the proposal, U.S. states would have from 2020 to 2037 to implement the new standards, based on their current pollution levels. The EPA also cited flexibility to allow for “unique” situations, such as in California, a massive state with a varied environment.

Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy ‘Simply won’t work’

Anthony Watts

A research effort by Google corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After 4 years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy “simply won’t work”.

According to an interview with the engineers, published in IEEE;

“At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope … Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.” http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/renewables/what-it-would-really-take-to-reverse-climate-change

renewable-energy

There is simply no getout clause for renewables supporters. The people who ran the study are very much committed to the belief that CO2 is dangerous – they are supporters of James Hansen. Their sincere goal was not to simply install a few solar cells, but to find a way to fundamentally transform the economics of energy production – to make renewable energy cheaper than coal. To this end, the study considered exotic innovations barely on the drawing board, such as self erecting wind turbines, using robotic technology to create new wind farms without human intervention. The result however was total failure – even these exotic possibilities couldn’t deliver the necessary economic model.

The key problem appears to be that the cost of manufacturing the components of the renewable power facilities is far too close to the total recoverable energy – the facilities never, or just barely, produce enough energy to balance the budget of what was consumed in their construction. This leads to a runaway cycle of constructing more and more renewable plants simply to produce the energy required to manufacture and maintain renewable energy plants – an obvious practical absurdity.

According to the IEEE article;

“Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear. All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.”

I must say I’m personally surprised at the conclusion of this study. I genuinely thought that we were maybe a few solar innovations and battery technology breakthroughs away from truly viable solar power. But if this study is to be believed, solar and other renewables will never in the foreseeable future deliver meaningful amounts of energy.