Entries by Sean Hackbarth

Shale Boom Drives Net Petroleum Imports to 28-Year Low

Tapping into domestic energy resources with hydraulic fracturing continues to improve America’s energy security by pushing net petroleum imports to their lowest level in 28 years. John Kingston at Platts reports on new Energy Information Administration data: US petroleum import dependence in June dropped to 4.659 million b/d. That’s only the second time in the post-shale era […]

New York Federal Reserve: Higher Health Costs, More Part-Time Workers from Obamacare

Obamacare puts employers in a bind, two New York Federal Reserve surveys show. Employers’ health care costs continue to rise, and the health care law is driving them to hire more part-time labor, CNBC reports: The median respondent to the N.Y. Fed surveys expects health coverage costs to jump by 10 percent next year, after seeing a […]

Why You Should Brush Off That New Keystone XL Study

A new study claims that the State Department underestimated the amount of greenhouse emissions from the Keystone XL pipeline. The Los Angeles Times reports: Building the Keystone XL pipeline could lead to as much as four times more greenhouse gas emissions than the State Department has estimated for the controversial project, according to a new study published in Nature […]

EPA Still Wants to Garnish Your Wages Without a Court Order

A few weeks ago, EPA quietly tried to reinterpret its authority and wanted to garnish wages from those who owe it a debt. After a storm of criticism from Members of Congress and the public, EPA pulled back. However, the agency is still trying to grant itself this power, only this time it’s going through the standard notice-and-comment […]

Conflicting Court Rulings May Have Big Implications for Employer Mandate

Within a few hours of each other, two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on Obamacare. The final outcome could have major implications for employers. The legal question of involves whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act allows people to receive subsidies for health plans purchased on federally-run exchanges—covering 34 states and the District of Columbia–or […]

Local Opposition Springs Up Against Federal Water Rule

Federal regulators have stirred up a hornets nest with their proposed expansion of federal power over bodies of water. The proposed “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule would expand EPA’s and the Army Corps’ of Engineers authority over bodies of water beyond the scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA). It would give federal officials more […]

Report: Southern Leg of Keystone XL Has Been a Job Creator, Generated Economic Growth

Critics like Tom Steyer’s Next Gen Climate operation wants you to believe that the Keystone XL pipeline will only create a few dozen jobs. However, after looking at the construction of the southern leg of the pipeline, the truth is far different. A new report finds that construction of the 485-mile Gulf Coast Project, stretching from Cushing, Oklahoma […]

EPA Pumps Up Benefits of Proposed Carbon Regulation

EPA argues that its proposed carbon regulations on existing power plants will offer $30 billion in climate benefits by 2030 with only $7.3 billion in costs. Sounds like a great deal, right? Not so fast. A Brookings Institution white paper finds that EPA pumped up that number by including global climate benefits. If the agency took the standard approach and only […]

Irony Alert! Coal-Fired Train Featured on White House Christmas Ornament

The Obama White House may think coal isn’t good enough to power our economy, but it must think it’s good enough to add some Christmas cheer. While the Obama administration gave coal producers and electricity generators an early lump of coal after EPA released proposed carbon regulations, a coal-fired train is the star of the 2014 White House […]

What could possibly go wrong? Federal agencies are building a massive database to collect personal financial data

The federal government is building a database that will contain extensive personal financial information for over 200 million Americans, the Washington Examiner reports: The Federal Housing Finance Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau posted an April 16 Federal Register notice of an expansion of their joint National Mortgage Database Program to include personally identifiable information that reveals actual users, a […]

Study: Canadian Oil Sands Aren’t Increasing U.S. Carbon Emissions

A mining truck carries oil sands in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Photographer: Jimmy Jeong/Bloomberg. Keystone XL opponents say they’re fighting the project because they fear the carbon emissions that would be produced by developing Canada’s oil sands, but a new report undercuts that argument by finding that the oil sands development has resulted in only […]

Obamacare’s Health Insurance Tax Could Cost Up to 286,000 Jobs

As I’ve written previously, small businesses should brace for big health plan premium increases. Some are already seeing this happen. Rod Winter, a Wisconsin business owner told the Wall Street Journal: Our 440-employee business just received its initial premium from United Healthcare for our July 1 renewal. The renewal premium represents a 29% increase over the current premium. […]

Unaccountable Consumer Protection Agency Will Blow $400,000 on Summer Meeting

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) may be charged with watching over the consumer financial industry, but watching over its own spending doesn’t appear to be a top priority. The Washington Free Beacon reports that the agency will spend nearly $400,000 on an all-staff Washington, D.C. conference this summer: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is planning an “all hands” […]

Obama administration chooses environmentalists over unions on Keystone XL and fracking

While some environmental groups applauded the latest delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, unions whose members would be building it ripped the administration. Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO, called it “a cold, hard slap in the face for hard working Americans who are literally waiting for President Obama’s approval and the tens of thousands of jobs […]