Category Archives: Environment

Pawley’s Island

Pawley's Island, March 2014

Pawley’s Island, March 2014

Subpoenaed: GOP wants to know why Obama administration misled Americans on drilling ban

From Rob Bluey at HotAir:

President Obama’s offshore drilling moratorium following the 2010 oil spill caused widespread job losses and a significant drop in energy production in the Gulf of Mexico. Two years later, a U.S. House committee wants to know why the administration misled the public about the drilling ban.

The House Natural Resources Committee yesterday issued its first subpoena to the Department of the Interior after Secretary Ken Salazar refused to turn over documents related to the moratorium. At issue is why Salazar’s department suggested a panel of engineering experts supported the drilling ban when in fact they did not.

Despite the Obama administration’s transparency promises, Salazar has rebuffed the committee’s requests and stymied the department’s inspector general investigation. Salazar, who previously apologized, was defiant when asked about the subpoena…

Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) said it was important to understand what happened and why Salazar failed to conduct any technical, scientific or economic analysis prior to imposing the drilling ban. He gave the department one week to produce the documents. The subpoena was a last resort for the committee….

At the time Salazar imposed the drilling ban, he justified his action with a May 27, 2010, report that recommended a six-month drilling moratorium. That recommendation was allegedly supported by seven members of the National Academy of Engineering, who had peer-reviewed the report.

But only after Salazar imposed the job-killing moratorium did Americans learn the truth: Political appointees at the White House and Department of Interior inserted the moratorium recommendation without the knowledge of the seven experts. They subsequently rebutted the implication and went a step further to note the ban “will not measurably reduce risk further and it will have a lasting impact on the nation’s economy which may be greater than that of the oil spill.”…

Read it all.

Warren Buffett cleans up after Keystone XL

From John Hayward at Human Events, a note that transporting oil by rail is much more environmentally dangerous than using a pipeline, but not as financially advantageous to the well-connected crony capitalists:

…Amusingly, a spokesman for the Sierra Club admitted “there is no question that [transporting] oil by rail or truck is much more dangerous than a pipeline,” but that didn’t stop the zero-growth eco-fanatics from calling in their chips with President Downgrade to kill that pipeline.

Those rail shipments are expected to “increase exponentially with increased oil production and the shortage of pipelines,” according to Justin Kringstad, director of the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. That’s going to be quite a windfall for the railroad companies, isn’t it?

As it happens, 75 percent of the oil currently shipped by rail out of North Dakota is handled by Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC… which just happens to be a unit of Warren Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. What a coincidence!

For some reason, nobody from BNSF or Berkshire Hathaway would return the AP’s telephone calls, but oilman Harold Hamm told them he was sure this was just a wonderful “lucky break” for Barack Obama’s favorite billionaire, who is “certainly favored by this decision.” I’ve heard Buffett’s famously overtaxed secretary will be a guest at the State of the Union address tonight. Maybe someone could ask her about it….

Read it all.

Warren Buffett biggest winner from Keystone Pipeline rejection

Because crony capitalism is just that, very , very crony:

…As it turns out, it is not just natural resources and aquifer purity that Obama had in mind when sealing the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. No – it appears there were far more relevant numerial metrics that determined Obama’s decisions. Such as the bottom line number of Buffett’s Burlington Northern, which according to Bloomberg, is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit….

Read it all, and more here from Bloomberg:

Warren Buffett’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit….

“Whatever people bring to us, we’re ready to haul,” Krista York-Wooley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said in an interview. If Keystone XL “doesn’t happen, we’re here to haul.”…

The tallest 20 in 2020: Entering the era of the megatall

Tallest Skyline by CTBUHFrom arch daily:

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat recently published The Tallest 20 in 2020: Entering the Era of the Megatall. Within this decade, the World’s first kilometer-tall building will be constructed, along with many other buildings over 600-meters tall. “The term “supertall” (which refers to a building over 300 meters) is thus no longer adequate to describe these buildings: we are entering the era of the “megatall.”

At the start of the 21st century, the 452-meter high Petronas Tower held the title of “The World’s Tallest.” As the decade ended, the Burj Khalifa took ownership of the title standing “over half a mile” high at 828-meters. Now, construction set to begin this month for Jeddah’s 1,000+ meter Kingdom Tower, doubling the height of “The World’s Tallest” in only two decades. It seems that “600m seems to be the new 300m.”

Check it out.

EPA: Regulations would require 230,000 new employees, $21 billion

Makes you wanna go “huh?” The EPA at work:

The Environmental Protection Agency has said new greenhouse gas regulations, as proposed, may be “absurd” in application and “impossible to administer” by its self-imposed 2016 deadline. But the agency is still asking for taxpayers to shoulder the burden of up to 230,000 new bureaucrats — at a cost of $21 billion — to attempt to implement the rules.

The EPA aims to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through the Clean Air Act, even though the law doesn’t give the EPA explicit power to do so. . .

These new regulatory efforts are not likely to succeed, the EPA admits, but it has decided to move forward regardless. “While EPA acknowledges that come 2016, the administrative burdens may still be so great that compliance … may still be absurd or impossible to administer at that time, that does not mean that the Agency is not moving toward the statutory thresholds,” the EPA wrote in a September 16 court briefing.

The EPA is asking taxpayers to fund up to 230,000 new government workers to process all the extra paperwork, at an estimated cost of $21 billion. That cost does not include the economic impact of the regulations themselves. . .

Check it out–because it’s always easier to spend other people’s money.

“Mad as a hatter”

The Mad Hatter from "Alice in Wonderland"
And why were hatters mad? Because in earlier centuries, hat makers used mercury to cure pelts used in some hats, and in so doing, inhaled mercury fumes. The result? Hatters often suffered mercury poisoning that caused neurological damage, damage that included confused speech, distorted vision, and lack of coordination.

Now the federal government has mandated that you put mercury in your home in the form of light bulbs (even as they warn you about it in your fish). As John Hinderaker of Power Line writes:

You could say that requiring Americans to remove pretty much all of the light bulbs now in use and replace them with bulbs that people don’t want is the ultimate in nanny statism, except that nannies don’t generally poison the children in their care.

In 2007, Congress passed (and to his eternal shame, Pres. George W. Bush signed) the Energy Independence and Security Act, an energy bill that placed strict efficiency requirements on incandescent bulbs in an attempt to phase them out beginning in 2012 and replace them with more expensive (but supposedly more energy-efficient) bulbs, the most popular being compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). One side effect of that legislation was the September 2010 closing of General Electric’s last major incandescent factory in this country and the laying off of 200 workers. Most of these jobs will head over to China, where many of the CFLs sold in the U.S. are made.

And what’s so bad about CFLs? The worst thing (among several) is that CFLs contain mercury, and exposure to mercury vapor is dangerous if the bulbs break.

So what happens when your new CFL does break? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) basically declares your house a hazmat area. (Please, go look for yourself, I’ll wait—check online here at epa.gov/cfl/cflcleanup.pdf)

Did you read the list? Before you can even start cleaning up, you’re supposed to do the following:

  • Have people and pets leave the room. (Why? Because mercury vapor is poisonous.)
  • Air out the room for 5 to10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment. (Once again, why? Because the government has mandated that you put poison in your home.)
  • Shut off the central forced air heating/air conditioning system, if you have one. (Because we don’t want the mercury poison to travel throughout your home’s air system.)
  • Collect materials needed to clean up the broken bulb. (To clean up an incandescent bulb just requires my hands and a trash can. Now, according to the EPA, I will need: stiff paper or cardboard, sticky tape, damp paper towels or disposable wet wipes, and a glass jar with a metal lid or a sealable plastic bag.)

Who wants to bet that many people won’t follow these guidelines, and that 10 or 15 years from now, we will hear from the environmentalists that our ground water and landfills are replete with mercury and will require massive amounts of government funds to clean up?

Already, hospitals warn that CFL bulbs can cause migraines and epilepsy attacks. Others point out that CFLs don’t work well in colder temperatures and Americans will then be forced to use more heat (thus negating any gains in energy efficiency). CFLs don’t work well with dimmer switches, can take up to several minutes to reach full brightness, and the lifespan of the bulb diminishes when it’s turned on and off frequently.

But all that “don’t make no never mind,” because beginning January 2012, 100-watt bulbs will be declared unacceptable to the federal government and therefore no longer available to you. (The state of California, just to show it’s in the forefront of foolish ideas, upped their date to January 2011, so as of now, no more 100-watt incandescent bulbs for sale there.) This diminution of choice will completely disappear in January 2014, when the last remaining wattage, 40-watt bulbs, will be declared enemies of the environment and removed from store shelves. Then you can start worrying about your deadly mercury bulbs . . . if you haven’t already.

Am I stockpiling incandescents?

Why, yes. Yes, I am.

(And check out this as well.)