Dakota Access Pipeline protestor

Arrests, Arson, Anger: Why anti-energy protesters are making it ugly in North Dakota

August temperatures aren’t the only things flaring up in the Great Plains as anti-energy protesters try to stop construction of an oil pipeline.

Emboldened by President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline in 2015, anti-energy protesters have set their sights on stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline.

A valuable addition to U.S. energy infrastructure, the pipeline will cross four states connecting the oil-rich Bakken region in North Dakota with other pipelines in Illinois, allowing oil to reach refineries and making America less dependent on foreign imports.

Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Source: Energy Transfer Partners, L.P.

Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, says the $3.7 billion project will create 8,000 – 12,000 construction jobs and inject $156 million in sales and income taxes to local economies. Lachlan Markay at the Washington Free Beacon notes it has the backing of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).

Approval of the pipeline’s construction went through the standard process of public hearings and comment periods with four states and the federal government. But the public permitting process hasn’t stopped protesters.

In North Dakota, hundreds of protestors—many not from the area–have built a camp near a construction site where the pipeline will travel under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The Army Corps of Engineers approved the pipeline’s water crossing there in July.

The protests have turned ugly. Local public radio reports that construction has been halted because law enforcement worried that some protesters had pipe bombs and guns. Dozens have been arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct. The FBI is investigating an incident where someone pointed a laser pointer on a North Dakota state government plane that was watching the protesters.

The protests got so bad that on Friday North Dakota’s Governor Jack Dalrymple (R) issued an emergency declaration in the construction area to make “available other state resources for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and well-being of the general public and those involved in the protest.”

On Tuesday, LIUNA, the International Union of Operating Engineers, the Teamsters, and United Association sent a letter to Gov. Dalrymple urging him to allow construction to restart:

We strongly encourage you to utilize the power of your office to keep our workers safe and to ensure protestors are following the letter of the law of North Dakota. While they may have a right to protest, we also have a right to do our jobs in a safe environment. Protestors who did not avail themselves of nearly two years of public discourse of the project should not be allowed to continue endangering themselves, construction workers, or law enforcement while trespassing on land legally leased to this project.”

North Dakota hasn’t been the only place where violence has broken out. Earlier this month, along the pipeline’s path in Iowa, three arsons were committed, damaging $1 million in heavy construction equipment.

Pipelines are Safe

Protesters argue that the pipeline will threaten local water supplies, but the fact is pipelines safely move oil all the time. A report from the American Petroleum Institute and the Association of Oil Pipe Lines finds that 99.999% of crude oil and petroleum products are safely delivered. In 2014, 9.3 billion barrels of crude oil were delivered—a 31% increase since 2010.

While more oil has been transported, there have been fewer spills. “The number of pipeline incidents per year in public spaces (i.e. outside of operator facilities) have declined by more than half since 1999,” the report notes.

What’s more, pipelines aren’t a new thing. Hundreds of thousands of miles of pipelines every day safely move energy to households and businesses that need it. For instance, the amount of crude oil pipelines has increased by 29% to 72,400 miles in the last five years.

Map of U.S. pipeline transportation system. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation.

Map of U.S. pipeline transportation system. Source: U.S. Department of Transportation.

Part of “Keep It In the Ground” Movement

Given that pipelines have been around for decades, have a strong safety record, and the Dakota Access Pipeline was closely studied before receiving its permits, we should wonder what the protests are really about.

It’s not fears about water pollution. As North Dakota resident Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog.com, who has been all over this story explains, it’s about stopping oil development period:

The protesters say the pipeline, which crosses the Missouri River at its confluence with the Cannon Ball river near the reservation, puts clean water at risk. That’s certainly an important issue for the reservation, which draws its drinking water from the river near the pipeline crossing, but it’s worth remembering that the American landscape is dotted with pipelines crossing rivers. There are thousands upon thousands of pipelines in America, and building them would have been impossible if we didn’t know how to get them across rivers.

Which makes the claims of the protesters about the Dakota Access project curious. This project is nothing new. It’s an important bit of infrastructure for America’s renewed energy industry. It’s of particular importance to North Dakota’s oil industry in that it will ease oil transport headaches and make development in this state more resilient to low prices.

As new infrastructure, it’s a game changer. But in terms of its actual construction? This isn’t groundbreaking stuff.

But then, these protests aren’t really about the pipeline. They’re about obstructing infrastructure which would support the on-going development of oil resources

The activists air-dropping into North Dakota from all over the country, and even the world, are not anti-pipeline so much as they’re anti-oil. That’s an important distinction. While it may be within the realm of the reasonable to protest a specific infrastructure project, I think most Americans would consider trying to choke the domestic oil industry to death by blocking infrastructure to be an extreme goal.

Don’t believe me? Consider the website for EarthJustice, an activist group which has filed a lawsuit against the pipeline on behalf of the Standing Rock tribe and is currently seeking an injunction to block legally the on-going construction protesters like Woodley are trying to block physically.

The group describes themselves as “opposing infrastructure development that could lock us into decades of dirty fuels.”

“We are working with affected communities to fight pipelines, export terminals and other major infrastructure projects that will spur more gas drilling and burning for decades to come,” the group says in the portion of their website dedicated to describing their work.

Block the infrastructure, block the development.

The “Keep it in the ground” movement rears its head, not that they’re their hiding that fact. Bold Alliance founder Jane Kleeb, one of the ringleaders in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, told Politico, “What should have happened after Keystone got rejected was a huge influx of resources to local and state groups fighting pipelines.”

Stopping the Dakota Access Pipelines and making it more difficult to get oil out of the Bakken—no matter the cost to jobs and energy security—is a means to their radical end of eliminating energy use in the U.S.


why you should love fossil fuels

An Amazing Fossil Fuel Advocacy Success Story

Cover - Moral Case for Fossil FuelsA couple months ago I spoke to the Alaska Oil and Gas Association and met a very bright industry member, Ethan Atwood, who told me how he and his company had become incredibly effective advocates by using the moral case for fossil fuels. He recently shared his story on my podcast, Power Hour. Here’s an edited excerpt:

I was offered a job in the oil and gas sector to come up and work in Canada for a company that does oil and gas service. I wasn’t really excited about the idea of it.

When I decided that it was probably OK to do, it was with some reservations, basically thinking to myself “well it is not that bad and we’re just a service company,” and then I got up and started working and I found out wow, we are actually doing… we are actually part of fracking and fracking is bad. Fracking is a bad word and is a bad thing and, you know, I had a little bit of a dilemma there as well.

After a couple of years of working in the industry one of the vice presidents at our company found your book and started to talk about the moral case for fossil fuel and started shaping really the narrative of our company and even the community. So we started talking about it in groups and inside the company that maybe the oil and gas industry is actually a good thing and we are actually contributing to the health and well-being of others.

And we’ve gone from feeling apologetic when people say “Hey, what do you do?” Instead, we say “Yeah, I’m really proud about it and all the stuff you hear about it, I’d like to talk to you about it a little bit more.” And every time we start that people say “Oh, I never really thought about it that way.” And the vast majority of people I speak with, I would say nearing 100%, with just 5 minutes of discussion are willing to concede that it actually is a good thing.

In the interview, Atwood shares his advice for companies on how to replicate his success. Above all he recommended starting employees with this interview/debate, so employees can see how the moral case framework challenges the traditional framework, and then following it with The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. (You can also start with our new free, two-page preview.)

3 Speeches to Empower Companies

On the topic of employee empowerment, I’ve recently expanded the number of speeches available to companies and trade groups. If one of these might be a good fit for your company, let me know.

Included for every participant is a copy…

New! How to Talk to Anyone About Energy Workshop

A half-day workshop with lots of live practice, demonstrations, and feedback where I teach you how to talk one-on-one to stakeholders, whether attackers, non-supporters, and supporters about your most important energy issues. Included is a copy of our online course How to Talk to Anyone About Energy, but the in-person version is much more customized to your particular issues and your particular team.

The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

My flagship introductory talk that has inspired tens of thousands of employees to be proud of their work and share that pride with others.

Arguing to 0 vs. Arguing to 100: How to Get Off the Defensive and Take the Moral High Ground

Designed for communications teams and senior executives, this talk explains why companies and trade groups are always on the defensive—and how to reframe the conversation to take the moral high ground and win over stakeholders.

keep it in the ground logo

What Does ‘Keep It in the Ground’ Really Mean?

In 2010, Molly Eagen gave herself a challenge: For 100 days the Minneapolis resident would try to live without oil.

Eagen, an architecture student at the time, took the challenge to understand “peak oil,” the flawed idea propagated in the early part of this century that the world would soon run out of oil. (The shale revolution later shot that theory to pieces.) “I knew the issues,” she told Minnesota Monthly. “But it wasn’t real to me.”

Eagen bought and grew locally-grown food, walked or biked everywhere, and limited herself to only the daily amount of water and electricity she could hypothetically collect from the sky (even though oil is rarely used to generate electricity in modern-day America). As part of her research, she expanded on this EIA diagram on U.S. petroleum flow and added where it goes in our daily lives. It detailed how vital petroleum is to productive, comfortable, safe and healthy lifestyles in terms of transportation, food, water, health and energy.

Sustainable living in a “post-oil world”: Molly Eagen at TEDxUMN Salon 2011

Now, take the idea of oil deprivation and expand it to all fossil fuels: oil plus natural gas and coal.

This far-out notion is going mainstream in the environmental movement. Declaring that we should “keep it in the ground,” activists have gone from opposing oil pipelines like Keystone XL and outlawing fracking to pushing for an end to all fossil fuel use – with little thought about the ramifications.

Imagine living without fossil fuels–waking up in the pre-dawn morning and squinting in the dark as you stumble to the bathroom for something to ease a throbbing headache, only to be disappointed when you open the medicine cabinet.

Little artificial light, no aspirin, and little clean water to wash it down. These are three of the untold comforts of modern life that we would lose if we gave up fossil fuels.

The “keep it in the ground” chorus has been growing.

Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and founder of 350.org, is one of the main promoters, declaring, “We have to keep 80 percent of the fossil-fuel reserves that we know about underground.” He wrote in The Nation: “Fossil fuels are the problem in global warming—and fossil fuels don’t come in good and bad flavors. Coal and oil and natural gas have to be left in the ground. All of them.”

Throw in the big environmental groups. Greenpeace is calling for a “revolution against fossil fuels,” and the Sierra Club—with its Beyond Oil, Beyond Natural Gas, and Beyond Coal campaigns–has been pushing this far-fetched idea since at least 2014. Maybe they should call their campaigns “Beyond Progress.”

The message has driven followers of these groups to take action. Federal offshore energy lease auctions are usually mundane events, but in March, protestors unsuccessfully tried to shout one down in New Orleans. In 2015, “kayaktivists” took to Puget Sound to protest Arctic Ocean energy development. Ironically without oil, the flotilla of kayaks—made from petrochemicals and transported on the rooftops of gasoline-burning vehicles—wouldn’t have existed.

The cry has hit the universities with coordinated student movements calling for universities to divest their endowments of fossil fuel company stocks.

Rarely known for their intellectual heft, celebrities and presidential candidates haven’t been able to resist the siren song of a catchy slogan. The Guardian convinced actors to read poems for the newspaper’s anti-fossil fuel campaign. On the campaign trail, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gone so far as calling for banning hydraulic fracturing and stopping all future coal, oil, and natural gas development on federal lands. He has even co-sponsored legislation titled the “Keep It in the Ground Act.”

In Washington, D.C., after years of taking credit for increases in oil and natural gas development, President Barack Obama has embraced the cause and their language.  When he vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline he declared, “We’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground.”

The president is certainly willing to do his part by having his administration advance all sorts of anti-fossil fuel policies.

There is EPA’s Clean Power Plan and other anti-coal regulations as well as proposed unnecessary regulations on methane. The Interior Department issued a moratorium on coal leases on federal lands, pushed more offshore energy regulations, pushed tough oil and natural gas development regulations on federal lands, blocked energy development off the Atlantic Coast, and has made it nearly impossible to explore for oil and gas in the Arctic Ocean. And these anti-energy measures are just the tip of the iceberg.

Apartment windows' lights going on and off.

What Does “Keep It in the Ground” Look Like?

What would it mean to “keep it in the ground?” What would life be like if we took McKibben’s declaration seriously and went farther than Molly Eagan’s experiment by giving up oil, natural gas and coal?

There are a few things that would happen. We’d need a lot more candles (made from tallow or animal fat and not petroleum like most are) lying around the house.


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According to the Energy Information Administration, coal and natural gas generate two-thirds of our electricity. Renewables—wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric—collectively produce only 13%. Replacing fossil fuel electric generation capacity with renewables would cost $2.5 trillion, according to energy expert Vaclav Smil. But reliability is priceless, so even this does not capture the true cost of such a transition. If solar and wind were forced to fill in the gap, these resources are intermittent and therefore less reliable, so we would have daily power outages when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining.

We would be walking or biking a lot, since there would hardly be any gasoline to use, and not enough corn ethanol to make up the difference. Perhaps we would see the return of horse and carriages, but then we’d have a different type of pollution problem.

But what about electric cars? With two-thirds of electricity generation gone, it’d be hard to power those cars, and as you see later on, green technology wouldn’t exist without fossil fuels.

But it’s more than obvious things like electricity and transportation fuels. Fossil fuels are deeply integrated into modern everyday life. “The U.S. and all prosperous countries are utterly dependent on fossil fuels every moment of the day,” Texas Public Policy Institute Senior Fellow Kathleen Hartnett White told me in an e-mail interview. “The food, services, and goods this fossil-fueled energy systems now daily delivers would be unimaginable to our ancestors one hundred years ago.”

Abandoning fossil fuels would be like going into a time machine. Here’s a sketch of how things would be less comfortable and less healthy. Let’s start with a case study across the Atlantic.

Europe as an Energy Disaster Story

In the wake of the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan and led to the Fukishima nuclear power plant meltdown, Germany moved to shut down all its nuclear power plants by 2022. At the same time, it has also pushed for renewable wind and solar to replace coal power—the energiewende.

Germany’s goal is boosting renewable power to 45% of generating capacity by 2025. Between 2003 and 2015, Germany increased wind and solar generation by 148.5 terawatt-hours. Both coal-generation and natural gas generation fell by around 10%.

But the energiewende has a dark side–literally.

Energy costs have gone through the roof, making German industry less competitive globally. The German newspaper Handelsblatt didn’t pull any punches in describing the harm done in an article titled “How to Kill an Industry.”

Losers include laid-off workers in these industries, but also millions of ordinary consumers. Their utility bills have skyrocketed, largely driven by subsidies for eco-friendly fuels. As much as the transition creates new jobs building wind turbines, farming biofuels or installing solar panels on rooftops, the changes are cutting a deep swathe through other parts of the economy. Germany’s “green” revolution has a dark shadow.

Workers in Germany are feeling a similar fate to U.S. workers who have been hurt by attacks on coal-fired generation:

Thousands of workers have already been let go, disproportionately hitting communities in Germany‘s rust belt that are already struggling with blight. RWE has cut 7,000 jobs since 2011. At E.ON, the work force has shrunk by a third, a loss of over 25,000 jobs.

Manufacturing has been so disrupted that German manufacturer Siemens moved its natural gas turbine business to North Carolina.  It is similarly unsurprising that more and more “German” cars are now being built in America.

(Ironically, cheap, abundant natural gas produced in the United States has drawn investment from German companies like BASF.)

Crossing the North Sea, the United Kingdom is seeing its own energy catastrophe as a result of running away from reliable fossil fuels.

The U.K.’s steel industry, already hard hit by declines in world steel demand and falling prices, has also been hit by high energy costs. It too is facing factory shutdowns and massive job losses.

The U.K. is legally bound to generate 15% of its energy demand from renewable sources by 2020. But it hasadditional mandates that require electricity producers to supply a portion of the electricity from renewable sources as well as price-hiking renewable energy subsidies.

This has resulted in the U.K. having the highest industrial electricity prices in the European Union, according to the Energy Intensive Users Group. Electricity accounts for 20% to 40% of steel production costs, according to the World Steel Association. Put these together with slumping global steel prices and the U.K. is facing a crisis of shuttered steel mills that threatens massive jobs losses and could upend communities.

In both Germany and the U.K., these pains only come from a fractional decrease in fossil fuel use. Imagine the human and economic costs from keeping all fossil fuels in the ground?

The Poor Will Bear the Brunt

Abandoning fossil fuels disproportionately hurts the poor. According to an American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity analysis of federal data, households in the U.S. making less than $30,000 annually spend 23% of their after-tax income on energy. Households making more than $50,000 annually spend only 9% of their after-tax income on energy–primarily electricity and gasoline.

Eliminating fossil fuels amounts to a massive regressive tax, as reduced electricity and gasoline supply results in price spikes that hurt the poor the most.

Again, Europe shows us this bleak future.

Robert Bryce, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow, looked at energy markets after the European Union (EU) launched its first cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions in 2005.

From 2005 to 2015, Spain “more than doubled its production of electricity from wind” and increased solar production from 5.3 gigawatts to 13.7 terawatts (a 5000% increase!). Meanwhile, Spain’s residential electricity prices rose by 111% from 2005 to “more than twice the average residential price in the United States.” Industrial rates rose 84%.

While renewable generation skyrocketed, abandoning cheap and plentiful fossil fuels meant higher energy costs for Europeans.

Spain’s residential electricity prices rose by 111% from 2005 to 2014, France’s rose 42%, Germany’s rose 78%, and the U.K.’s rose 133%. Overall, the EU’s rose by 63%.

Germany’s situation led the magazine Der Spiegel to editorialize that “electricity is becoming a luxury good in Germany” and lament:

Germany’s aggressive and reckless expansion of wind and solar power has come with a hefty pricetag for consumers, and the costs often fall disproportionately on the poor.

“Perhaps one million homes in Germany now can no longer afford electric service at rates that are two-three times higher than average U.S. electric rates. Similar impacts occur in England where the incidence of ‘winter deaths’ has significantly risen,” explained Kathleen Hartnett White of the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

States like New York, California and Oregon think the EU’s energy policies are great. But the Manhattan Institute’s Bryce told The Daily Caller, “If they are concerned about poor and low-income constituents, they should be rethinking those mandates.”

The Material Basis for Our Society

“This is the Petrochemical Age,” Michael Wilson, Chief Scientist of the California Department of Industrial Relations, told The Associated Press in 2010. “It’s the material basis of our society essentially.”

Not only do fossil fuels offer us energy, countless products would not exist without oil and natural gas being converted into other chemical compounds. Here are a few examples.

Fossil Fuels and Farming

Beyond the agricultural use of fossil fuels to power tractors and farm machinery, natural gas is an important feedstock for fertilizer.

Plants love nitrogen. Using the Haber-Bosch process, hydrogen from natural gas is combined with nitrogen to produce ammonia that’s a key component of fertilizers. Slate’s Jonathan Mingle writes that a National Geoscience paper concluded that without ammonia-based fertilizers, the world “could sustain only 3.5 billion people.” Fossil fuels keep us from starving.

One Word: Plastics

Mr. McGuire in The Graduate was right: “There’s a great future in plastics.” Plastics are part of daily life. They’re in your kitchen cabinet, your garage, on your office desk. If you have a credit card or carry a mobile phone, plastics are with you constantly.

Without fossil fuels—specifically natural gas—you wouldn’t have plastics.

Ethane is separated from natural gas liquids and converted into ethylene at a “cracker.” This ethylene then becomes polyethylene resin which is used for everything from chairs to computer keyboards to smart phones to plastic wrap.

What makes plastics useful is they are light and strong, and with innovation we’ve seen impressive improvements. Take carbon fiber. It makes cars, planes, prosthetics, and other products lighter and stronger. But carbon fiber comes from plastic. Giving up fossil fuels breaks this innovation chain: No natural gas; no plastic; no carbon fiber; no improved products.


Because oil and natural gas are made of an assortment of organic materials, they can be converted into feedstock chemicals that are the basis for an assortment of drugs and health care products:

  • Aspirin
  • Anesthetics
  • Antihistamines
  • Cortisone
  • Antiseptics

Hard to ‘Go Green’ Without Fossil Fuels

The loss of products derived from fossil fuels really becomes apparent with “green” products.

Carbon fiber is five-times stronger than steel but half its weight, as well as flexible and strong. Carbon fiber along with plastics go into constructing wind turbines and solar panels.

Then there are electric cars like the ones made by Tesla. Plastic and carbon fiber parts go into each car—from the dashboard to the electric battery. And let’s not get into the need for fossil fuels to generate the electricity to power the car.

Where to Stop?

“From what energy source could we make steel, aluminum and other basic metals?” asked Hartnett White, the former chairman and commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  “From what energy source could we produce the feedstocks and products for synthetic material for which hydrocarbons are the raw material?”

Asphalt, synthetic rubber for tires, soap, dyes, nylon, artificial joints, and insulation in your home’s walls – the list of products derived from fossil fuels goes on and on.

Back to Molly Eagen and her oil fast. At a TEDx talk, she described her daily pattern from her “self-inflicted experiment”:

I just finished up an eight-mile bicycle commute after having a typical breakfast of oatmeal and maple sugar and taking a chilly one-gallon bucket shower.

Along with spending “countless hours in the kitchen cooking foods from scratch, local ingredients that I could find in bulk,” Eagen noted that she closely monitored her water use, because in the developed world fossil fuels are used to cheaply transport and clean water. It’s a reminder that not that long ago, dirty water transported deadly diseases. According to Wired, “Cholera outbreaks in London and Newcastle in 1853 killed more than 10,000 people.”

Today, sewage treatment plants packed with plastic pipes, water filters (made from coal), and chemicals derived from oil and natural gas, and pumps powered by fossil fuels make waterborne outbreaks nearly unknown in the developed world.

Here’s where we encounter some irony. Although scarce, fossil fuels have given us abundance never before seen by humanity. Dense with energy, fossil fuels keep us warm, keep us fed, make us healthier, and keep us entertained.

Water treatment plants packed with pipes, water filters, and chemicals from fossil fuels make waterborne diseases nearly unknown.

The debate about energy shouldn’t be about where it comes from. That puts the focus wrongly on inanimate piles of stuff. The debate must be on how energy can be safely provided so that every man, woman, and child can live vibrant, fruitful, and meaningful lives.

“Keep it in the ground” wouldn’t be some green, pollution-free utopia. Instead, it would mean billions of people trapped in the cold, malnourished, sick, and living shorter, more-miserable lives.

Who wants to turn back the clock? I wouldn’t, and I doubt fossil fuel opponents would either when you really ask them.

Whether people realize it or not, this unworkable and harmful dogma would turn back the clock, force humanity to regress, and take it down an unlit path.


Manage Your Energy Costs with Home Automation

This post was written for SafeWise by Bryn Huntpalmer from Modernize.com.

The idea of networking dozens of appliances in the home to serve our needs feels like a revolution in convenience. Often, when we think of home automation, we imagine setting the mood for a movie night with the swipe of a screen or waking up to ambient music on surround sound speakers. But as energy efficiency has become more of a priority to homeowners, the more practical side of home automation has emerged. Now you can program your energy-consuming devices to reduce the load on your utility bills, while reducing your home’s negative environmental impact.

Heating and Cooling

Honeywell Lyric versus Nest thermostat

Heating and cooling accounts for about 48 percent of total energy use in the average U.S home. Without a way to program your thermostat before you leave or control it while you’re gone, your HVAC system is working overtime to make an empty home comfortable and costing you more money. In fact, if you set your thermostat back 10 to 15 degrees throughout a full working day in the winter, you can save 5 to 15 percent of yearly energy costs. You can also save in summer by setting the thermostat at a higher temperature. If you have a manual thermostat, this means coming home to a stuffy or ice-cold house after a long day at work. A programmable thermostat follows a certain schedule, but may not meet your demands on an unpredictable day.

This is where a smart thermostat comes in. Think something like Nest (Amazon), or Lyric (Amazon). With this technology, you can control the heating and cooling actions of your HVAC system remotely. It will also adapt to your habits and show you how efficient your heating and cooling system is.

With home automation, you can also adjust your blinds and shades to either help warm your house with sunlight during the winter months, or block out the light in summer to help your air conditioning efforts go a little further.


Save money by switching to LED

You can customize your home automation system to make it as elaborate or as simple as you prefer. But one of the most practical elements of a smart home is lighting control. Integrating lighting into your system will allow you to program your lights according or your schedule and needs as well as adjust them through your app or smartphone. With a product like GE Link (Amazon), instead of leaving lights on all day for a pet or for security reasons, you can arrange for them to turn on just before sunset. For optimum energy savings, useEnergy Star-Certified lighting products, as these meet certain efficiency criteria and will help your home automation system save you money.


A little leak may not sound like a big problem, but it can damage your walls, floors and fixtures, cause mold to grow in your house, and waste your money. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 10 percent of U.S. homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. By fixing a leak, you can end up saving 10 percent on your water bill. Thankfully, there are home automation devices that monitor your system for leaks and even shut off your water if a potentially destructive leak is detected.

Home Automation Costs

How the internet of things is making family life easier

Your IoT (internet of things) could cost a pretty penny, or it can be entirely reasonable, depending on how intricate a network you desire. Thankfully, the products that save energy are some of the most reasonable. You may need to invest a few hundred dollars up front, but your energy savings over the next few years will easily recoup the cost of installing smart home products.

Bryn Huntpalmer

Find out more about Bryn, here.

miner helmet shovel

“Creating Jobs” Will Hurt the Economy by T. Norman Van Cott

How many jobs would the Keystone Pipeline project create? Political reporter Tom Murse points out that the answer is a matter of dispute. “Supporters argue that the Keystone XL pipeline would create tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new jobs.” But critics “claim those numbers are wildly inflated,” Murse writes.

Both sides assume a higher number would make the project better for the economy. Both sides have it backwards.

Home Economics

The value of work is easy to grasp at the most domestic level: your own home.

Being a homeowner isn’t easy. Among other things, you always seem to have more chores to do than time to do them. The chores are not ends in themselves. Rather, they are means to an end — in this case, making a home and yard more livable or aesthetically pleasing.

Opting to do a chore yourself — “insourcing” in current parlance — isn’t costless. You lose the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of your other labors. For example, you could tackle different chores, spend more time with your family, or work extra hours in the marketplace, increasing your income. Hiring someone else to do the chore — that is, “outsourcing” — isn’t costless, either. It means you can’t buy other things. Costs represent sacrificed alternatives.

The rule when it comes to home ownership isn’t rocket science. Tackle those chores whose ends you value more than their cost. If your water softener breaks, and you value having softened water more than what it would cost either you or the plumber to repair it, then hire the plumber if his cost is less than what it costs you to fix it yourself. (Don’t forget to count the work time you’ll be giving up to act as your own plumber.)

By outsourcing the repair work, you will have “lost a job,” but your standard of living will be higher. By how much? The difference between your cost and the plumber’s cost.

Added household chores — that is, “gaining jobs” — are anything but a blessing. Chores represent hurdles between you and that more livable, aesthetically pleasing home and yard. Each job represents something you’re going to have to give up before your house is the way you want it. “Gaining jobs” to achieve a given objective is synonymous with worsening your situation, not improving it.

The Rule Writ Large — The Case of the Keystone Pipeline

What is rocket science for many is the ability to recognize that the rule for individual households extends to the national household, as we can see in the case of the Keystone Pipeline controversy. The project, which has been a political football for several years, would transfer oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. The project’s desirability is associated with the number of jobs required for the pipeline’s construction and maintenance. The more jobs created, the more desirable the pipeline, it would seem.

All involved in the discussion fail to apply lessons for individual households to the national household. Pipeline jobs are part of the cost of getting oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. They are not part of the benefits. The fewer jobs created, the better. Indeed, in the best of all worlds, there would bezero jobs required to transfer oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. That way, we could get the oil transferred without having to give up anything!

Pipeline proponents who note a large number of required jobs are unwittingly arguing against the project, just as opponents who cite a small number of jobs are unwittingly arguing in its favor.

Beyond the Pipeline

This failure to apply the simple rules for individual households is not restricted to the Keystone Pipeline issue. It pervades economic, business, and political discussions. Government programs come packaged with estimates of the number of new jobs the programs will supposedly create. The more jobs, the merrier. That’s the political refrain. Likewise, state and local economic development bureaucrats tout the number of jobs associated with business relocations or expansions.

One has to wonder whether those who peddle this more-jobs nonsense apply it to their own households. I bet not. Fewer chores, not more, make their homes more enjoyable. National households are no different. Or as Adam Smith put it in his classic, The Wealth of Nations, that which “is prudence in the conduct of every private family, can scarce be folly in that of a great kingdom.”

T. Norman Van CottT. Norman Van Cott

T. Norman Van Cott, professor of economics, received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1969. Before joining Ball State in 1977, he taught at University of New Mexico (1968-1972) and West Georgia College (1972-1977). He was the department chairperson from 1985 to 1999. His fields of interest include microeconomic theory, public finance, and international economics. Van Cott’s current research is the economics of constitutions.

lng canada

Canadian Liberals War against Liquefied Natural Gas is killing jobs and prosperity

President Obama and Democrats have declared a war against coal. This has led to the U.S. coal energy industry to face regulatory burdens that kill jobs and prosperity. It also leads to higher cost for electricity. The Liberal government of Canada has learned from the American president and has declared its own war against Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG or CH4).

Sheila Gunn Reid reports, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is safe, low carbon and clean burning.

It has the support of local BC mayors, Premier Christy Clark and First Nations. LNG has the potential to pull the entire country out of a recession. So what’s the hold up?The Federal Liberals are the hold up.

Sheila explains how and why in her video.

Lear more.

alex epstein senate hearing oil drop

VIDEO: The Lessons of my Senate Hearing on the ‘Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’

I was overwhelmed by the number of positive comments I got from those of you on this list as well as all manner of people on social media: from comedian Larry the Cable Guy, “This is so good and full of common sense truth it needs to be tweeted again.” to Everybody Loves Raymond’s Patricia Heaton, “I just listened to your senate testimony. You rock.” to meteorologist Joe Bastardi, “Every human being on the planet should look at this. Take 5 minutes and spread this to everyone. Nails it, including the moral imperative of the matter.”

I got a lot of questions about how I manage to be calm, passionate, and fast at the same time. The fundamental answer is: I understand how to frame the issues properly—in a pro-human, big picture way. Once I frame the discussion, I am in control of the situation—even when I am in a huge position of disadvantage, such as being the person in the room with the most controversial view and the most hostility and gamesmanship from Senators who have the right to silence me. When I have framed the discussion, there’s no need to worry about rudeness from a Senator Boxer or anyone else; she can say whatever she wants but I know I have put forward a framework that makes sense and she will just come across as ignoring me and ranting.

The headline from Energy and Environment news, a leading Washington and industry publication, showed me that I accomplished my goal of setting the agenda: “Moral Case for Fossil Fuels’ sparks angry Senate debate.”

The two resources I’ve created that can most empower you to frame discussions in a pro-human, big-picture way are The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and How to Talk to Anyone About Energy.

Here are some links from my Senate testimony last week:


Setting Things Straight: Bill McKibben is Very Wrong About Fracking


A big part of public policy debates involves countering misleading claims. In this regular feature, I highlight important facts about the key issues being debated around Washington, D.C.

Claim: Fracking causes water and air pollution.

What you need to know: After leading the charge against the Keystone XL pipeline, anti-affordable-energy zealot Bill McKibben’s next target is fracking.

“Natural gas” has “to be left in the ground,” he declared in The Nation. “We need to stop the fracking industry in its tracks, here and abroad.”

First, McKibben blames fracking for water contamination, despite it taking place thousands of feet below the ground, far away from water supplies:

The Marcellus Shale, though, underlies densely populated eastern states. It wasn’t long before stories about the pollution of farm fields and contamination of drinking water from fracking chemicals began to make their way into the national media.

The key word is “stories.” Researchers from EPA, Yale, and elsewhere have found that fracking is done safely and doesn’t contaminate water.

Most-recently, researchers at the University of Cincinnati tested water from wells before, during, and after fracking took place nearby. Their conclusion: There is “no evidence for natural gas contamination from shale oil and gas mining.”

But what really scares McKibben is supposed methane leakages. He cites a Harvard study claiming to show that “U.S. methane emissions had spiked 30 percent since 2002.” “We closed coal plants and opened methane leaks, and the result is that things have gotten worse,” he writes.

But like claims of water contamination, facts don’t live up to McKibben’s methane horror.

According to EPA data, “Methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are down nearly 79 percent since 2005,” writes Mark Green at Energy Tomorrow.

Methane released from fracked natural gas well completion has fallen since 2005. Source: Energy Tomorrow.

This makes sense since methane is natural gas, and energy companies are in the business of selling that to customers. There is an obvious incentive to minimize leaks and capture as much product to maximize sales.

But if that’s not enough, a top environmental thinker thinks the McKibben is “misleading” the public. Ted Nordhaus, co-founder of The Breakthrough Institute, read the same Harvard study that got McKibben quaking in his hiking boots and came to a very different conclusion:

[Researchers] concluded that while the United States has seen a 20% increase in oil and gas production since 2002, “the spatial pattern of the methane increase… does not clearly point to these sources.”

To use Nordhaus’ words, the scientists that McKibben puts on a pedestal don’t “clearly point to a source of the increase in atmospheric methane concentrations.”

Fracking opponents like McKibben understand that they can’t win the public debate when it’s about the benefits the technology has given us: access to abundant, affordable energy; millions of new jobs created; and increased energy security. That’s why a recent University of Texas at Austin poll found that more people support fracking than oppose it.

Instead, they have to scare people and mold facts like Play-Dough to push their unrealistic, irrational,“keep it in the ground” fantasies of meeting America’s energy needs without fossil fuels.

The biggest energy challenge is low prices–which is a great boon for consumers. That’s a 180-degree turn from only a decade before. Fracking and the shale boom that resulted from it is an impressive illustration of the power of American enterprise and innovation. Opponents cannot be allowed to undercut that success story by misleading the public.


Businesses in These States are Getting Hit Hardest by Federal Regulations

Here Are 6 Ways Energy Companies Are Using Innovation to Endure Low Oil Prices

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of 350.org founder, Bill McKibben. Photo credit: Scott Eisen/Bloomberg.

carbon tax

A ‘Carbon Tax’ Is a Utopian Fix that Can’t Survive Contact with Political Reality by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Paul Krugman, writing in the New York Times, suggests that Americans should pick a president who favors a carbon tax. But not even Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have proposed a carbon tax as part of their tax plans. All candidates have put forward detailed tax plans, and a carbon tax is not included in any of these plans.

What is a carbon tax? Why do so many academics and columnists love it? And why will Congress be unable to enact such a tax effectively?

No matter that only 16 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by America, and that by many measures global temperatures have not increased over the past decade. No matter than unless China and India reduce their carbon emissions, U.S. unilateral efforts will have no practical effect on global temperature. China has stated that it will reduce emissions in 2030, but has not made any definite commitment.

The carbon tax is a favorite of many academic economists for restructuring the tax system. Proponents include a bipartisan group of professors such as Tuft University’s Gilbert Metcalf, now Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the Department of the Treasury; Harvard University’s Martin Feldstein, Edward Glaeser, and Gregory Mankiw; and Columbia University’s Joseph Stiglitz.

However, as tax practitioners know, a carbon tax is complex to set up. It requires adjustments to make sure that the tax is not unduly regressive and does not encourage consumption of imports relative to domestic production.

But, as we saw from the passage of many tax and budget bills over the years, Congress does not think deeply before it passes major tax bills.

Rather, political expediency always triumphs over academic elegance. Congress is incapable of thoughtful tax solutions, no matter how many are offered by well-intentioned professors. Despite years of notice that the Bush tax rates were due to expire, Congress passed permanent tax laws at the last moment, without reading the bill.

Many academics see a carbon tax as an alternative to an individual income tax, a corporate income tax, or a European-style cap-and-trade system. But a quickly-passed carbon tax in the hands of Congress would be just another add-on levy, with exemptions for friends and punishments for enemies.

A carbon tax raises the price of energy and so discourages consumption without regulation. Carbon tax rates could be calibrated to be revenue neutral or to yield a net rise in federal tax receipts, with the increment possibly dedicated to reducing deficits.

What are the problems with a carbon tax?

Everyone would want to spend the revenue. Some people would want to use it to reduce the deficit. Others would want to use carbon tax revenues to lower other taxes, such as income taxes. And since high income tax rates reduce incentives to work, this could conceivably add to economic efficiency.

Carbon taxes are regressive. Since low-income people use more energy as a percent of their income than high-income people, a switch to a carbon tax would have to be accompanied by transfers to low-income groups.

Some academics suggest that offsets be returned to taxpayers through lower income taxes, perhaps with the proceeds going chiefly to low-income households (individuals and families), which are disproportionately hurt by what is in essence an energy consumption tax.

This could theoretically be done by adjustments to the income tax. However, low-income earners are not required to file returns, and they would have to do so in order to be identified and compensated. That means extra work for them, and for the Internal Revenue Service — which will already be overworked calculating and collecting penalties from Obamacare violators.

Energy-intensive sectors lose under a carbon tax. The prices of energy-intensive goods in America would increase relative to imports from countries without carbon taxes. So Americans will prefer to buy imports, and American firms will lose business. Proponents of the tax suggest putting tariffs on imports in proportion to their carbon content so that American companies will not be at a disadvantage. But the precise quantities are complex to calculate, and tariffs might be illegal under World Trade Organization regulations.

The shale oil and gas that are attracting energy-intensive manufacturing back to America would be taxed, to the detriment of these new industries — and their employees. Some industries, such as coal, would be big losers. Politicians from coal-producing regions are influential in Congress, and they would demand a share of revenues.

So for a carbon tax to make our tax system more efficient, its revenues would have to be used to offset other taxes in the economy. Its negative effects on low-income Americans and on energy-intensive regions would have to be ameliorated. Some border adjustments would have to be made so that domestic goods were not disfavored.

But our disfunctional Congress is incapable of crafting a carbon tax with these attributes. Any tax on carbon would be an additional tax, without the offsets that make it so attractive to university professors. It would hurt the poor and raise domestic prices relative to prices of imports.

None of the front-running presidential candidates have proposed a carbon tax as part of their tax plans, because they know it is unpopular and will not pass Congress. To lower global emissions, the large emitters of carbon such as China and India need to move to nuclear power or natural gas. That would indeed make a difference.

This post first appeared at Economics21.org.

Diana Furchtgott-RothDiana Furchtgott-Roth

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor, is director of Economics 21 and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.


Calls for Fracking Bans Ignore Sound Science

Taxpayers Are Footing Bill for Solar Project That Doesn’t Work

environmntal news

Latest Energy and Environmental News

Energy and Environmental Newsletter is now online.

Some of the more interesting energy articles in this issue are:

Some of the more informative Global Warming articles in this issue are:

PS: As always, please pass this on to open-minded citizens. If there are others who you think would benefit from being on our energy & environmental email list, please let me know. If at any time you’d like to be taken off the list, please let me know that too.

PPS: I am not an attorney, so no material appearing in any of the Newsletters should be construed as giving legal advice. My recommendation has always been: consult a competent attorney when you are involved with legal issues.


Obama Sides with ‘Keep It In the Ground’ Fanatics


President Barack Obama continues choosing cementing his legacy among anti-energy zealots rather than ensuring America’s energy security.

Instead of the all-of-the-above energy strategy he touted for most of his time in office, the president is going with the “Keep it in the ground” approach preached by radicals like Bill McKibbon.

The Interior Department flip-flopped on leasing portions of the Atlantic coast to oil and natural gas development, Bloomberg reports:

The proposed offshore leasing program being released Tuesday eliminates the administration’s initial plan to auction off drilling rights in as many as 104 million acres of the mid- and south-Atlantic in 2021, according to an Interior Department statement.

In 2015 Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) proposed leasing parts of the Atlantic coast to energy development. That’s now off the table.

Bloomberg map: Obama reverses offshore drilling plan

The administration “once again put short term political interests ahead of our nation’s best interest,” Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said in a statement:

America’s job creators have become accustomed to the relentless drumbeat of anti-energy policies from the Obama administration. Today’s announcement that the waters off of our Atlantic coast will be excluded from the next offshore drilling plan is nevertheless remarkable for its catering to fringe constituencies at the expense of energy security and the American economy. The Outer Continental Shelf is the backbone of U.S. oil and gas production and the announced deviation from the proposed plan will cost us jobs and harm security for decades to come.

This isn’t the first time that the administration pulled a Lucy and yanked away the football just before Charlie Brown was about to kick it. The Interior Department pulled out from planned Atlantic coast oil and natural gas leases in 2010.

The New York Times reports, “The decision represents a reversal of President Obama’s previous offshore drilling plans, and comes as he is trying to build an ambitious environmental legacy.”

Interior’s action fits a recent pattern of President Obama abandoning abundant, affordable energy:

Interior estimates that 3 billion barrels of oil and more than 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas lie below the mid and southern Atlantic costs.

Because it takes years to lease, explore, plan, and develop offshore projects, cancelling lease sales pushes back any energy development for a generation.

A 2013 study found that opening the Atlantic outer continental shelf to oil and natural gas exploration will create 280,000 jobs. That’s all put on hold.

Leaders in Atlantic coast states support safely developing energy. In 2015 before the House Natural Resources Committee, Governor Pat McCrory (R-N.C.) testified:

Harnessing America’s offshore energy reserves in an expeditious, environmentally safe and responsible manner will lead to greater independence and economic prosperity for North Carolina and the entire nation.

Polls show that those living in Atlantic coast states support energy development because of the jobs and economic growth that would be created. Among registered voters, Harris Poll found 65% support for offshore development in Virginia, 64% in North Carolina, and 67% in South Carolina.

Now, the president’s defenders may note that the Interior Department kept Alaska offshore Arctic drilling under consideration. However, they won’t point out how through excessive regulation, Interior has made it nearly impossible to explore and develop energy there. In addition, Interior could yank those planned leases just like it did off the Atlantic coast.

One thing is for sure, President Obama has decided that improving access to American energy isn’t in the cards for the rest of this presidency. The decision made today will have ramifications for 10-15 years to come, not just until Jan 20, 2017.


EDITORS NOTE:The featured image is of tug boats move a oil platform to the Gulf of Mexico. Photo credit: Eddie Seal/Bloomberg.


Let’s See the University of Cincinnati’s Hydraulic Fracturing Research


Recently, I wrote about hydraulic fracturing opponents being put in the uncomfortable position of funding a University of Cincinnati research project that found fracturing didn’t contaminate groundwater in Ohio’s Utica Shale.

New information has surfaced on how its research was funded. Based on this, the university is obligated to do more to publicize the study’s findings.

For those getting up to speed on the story, Energy In Depth posted a short clip [full video] from the University of Cincinnati’s Dr. Amy Townsend-Small’s presentation to local Ohio hydraulic fracturing opponents along with some key findings about hydraulic fracturing’s safety:

  • “All the samples fell within the clean water range and they did not find any changes over time either in any of our homes during the time series of fracking.”
  • “We never saw a significant increase in methane concentration after fracking well was drilled.”
  • Samples that were collected that were high in methane “clearly did not have a natural gas source.”
  • “Some of our highest observed methane concentrations were not near a fracking well at all.”
  • “There was no significant change in methane concentration over time, even as more and more natural gas wells were drilled in the area.”

Unfortunately Townsend-Small said her team’s research won’t be publicized further because the study’s funders stopped supporting them because of they didn’t like the findings.

“I’m really sad to say this but some of our funders, the groups that had given us funding in the past, were a little disappointed in our results,” Townsend-Small told the audience. “They feel that fracking is scary and so they were hoping our data could point to a reason to ban it.”

No press releases, no research papers, and no data released for the public or other researchers to dig deeper.

That’s not just disappointing; it looks to be in violation of the grant the University of Cincinnati used to fund its research.

The premise of the research project was to see what effects hydraulic fracturing has on drinking water by testing wells before, during, and after fracturing took place.

Here’s how the Ohio Environmental Council (no fans of hydraulic fracturing) described the project that earned one of its Environmental Achievement Awards in 2014:

This innovative research study is examining the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on groundwater in Ohio’s Utica shale. Led by UC geologist Amy Townsend Small, this first-of-a-kind project is testing for the presence of methane (the primary component of natural gas) and its origins in groundwater and drinking water wells before, during, and after the onset of fracking.

Water samples were tested using a stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer to determine the source of methane found in the water. As Inside Climate News explained in a 2014 story:

Each sample is tested for methane, the main component of natural gas. Townsend-Small’s lab uses isotopic analysis to “fingerprint” the methane to determine if it’s “biogenic methane” (produced by microbes, and unrelated to natural gas drilling) or “fossil fuel methane” (methane found in oil, gas and coal deposits).

The University of Cincinnati purchased the mass spectrometer to do the testing in 2012 with a$400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation—i.e. taxpayers’ dollars. Townsend-Small’s team was one group of UoC researchers using the device.

The NSF grant’s mandate states unequivocally that findings gleaned from using the instrument be made publically available:

Results from research projects using this instrumentation will be disseminated through student and faculty presentations at national and international scientific meetings, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and online data repositories.

The University of Cincinnati should hold up its end and add to the public’s knowledge of hydraulic fracturing’s safety. With so much misinformation being pushed by hydraulic fracturing opponents, a short presentation in front of a few people in southeast of Canton, Ohio doesn’t cut it.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a drilling rig sits on a natural gas pad in Pennsylvania. Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

America's Energy Opportunity

Super PAC Helping Elect Republicans Supporting a Conservative Clean Energy Agenda

CHARLOTTE, N.C. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Conservative philanthropist Jay Faison today announced the formation of ClearPath Action, a new independent expenditure-only political action committee being established to help elect Republicans to public office and advance a conservative clean energy policy agenda for GOP lawmakers.  Faison is also the CEO and founder of ClearPath, a private non-profit foundation dedicated to accelerating conservative clean energy policy solutions.

“No one is currently providing enough support to candidates who embrace conservative clean energy principles and feel compelled to talk about clean energy as part of their campaign,” said Faison in announcing the effort.  “We’re forming this committee to make an impact, provide support, and help Republicans this election cycle and in future election cycles.”

“We know that Democrats are using clean energy as a wedge issue and we’re committed to fighting back and going on offense for the GOP,” added Faison.  “We don’t have to agree on climate change to agree that Republicans can support a conservative clean energy platform that provides energy security, creates jobs and boosts our economy, and reduces pollution.”


ClearPath Action is building a sophisticated campaign infrastructure with plans to help support multiple Republican candidates throughout the country in 2016.

For more information on ClearPath Action, visit www.ClearPathAction.org.

i love fossil fuels tshirt

Why I Wear the I Love Fossil Fuels T-Shirt

For years I have gotten the question: Where can I get one of those shirts? And for years I have had inadequate solutions that involved a) you paying $25-30 a shirt or b) CIP spending a lot of time becoming a mediocre t-shirt fulfillment company.

Now, thanks to the geniuses at Teespring, I am thrilled that you can get between 1 and a million I Love Fossil Fuels t-shirts for $10 each.

This year is the pivotal year for the future of energy in the world. No exaggeration. The results of the US elections and the energy policies adopted by the next President and Congress can either a) commit us to the catastrophic, energy deprivation policies the current administration agreed to in Paris last year or b) liberate the energy industry and capitalize on America’s amazing energy opportunities to create energy abundance around the world.

Wearing the I Love Fossil Fuels t-shirt is the perfect way to show where you stand in the energy battle of 2016.


P.S. Please, please, please also sign and spread the America’s Energy Opportunity ultimatum to our politicians.

The Latest From CIP

“Must Watch” Video Interviews

Alex’s interviews on TheSurge.com’s “Jolted” series (some of his best yet!)


Obama Seeks To Harm America, Again

History proves that President Obama’s plan to slap a ten-dollar tax on every barrel of oil imported into America or developed here to use the money for transformation is both is both fool-hearty and wasteful.  Once again, one of the big chiefs of overbearing nanny goat government is threatening to use unconstitutional bullying to dictate the activities of “We the People.”  This time seeking to increase the tax burden upon business activity and consumption.  The president stated, “I will take advantage of low gas prices to accelerate a transition to a clean energy economy.”  “We’re going to impose a tax on a barrel of oil imported, exported, so that some of the revenue can be used for the investments in basic research and technology that’s going to be needed for the energy sources of the future.”

Oil industry officials, who are always accused by progressive government types like Obama and their cohorts in the dragon media of being greedy, stated that Obama’s proposed $10.00 per barrel tax on crude oil would harm consumers.  “The Obama administration believes that we the American people are not paying enough for gasoline.”  That is why he wants to dictate a higher price for us to pay more for gasoline.  The proposed tax could increase the cost of gasoline by at least 25 cents per gallon.  That development could harm consumers who have ale=ready been hurt by the president’s efforts to “fundamentally change America.”

In addition, more American jobs could be wiped out.  Also our republic’s emergence as a global energy leader could be brought to a halt, according to the American Petroleum Institute.  Actually, that is a goal of the Alinsky inspired Obama administration.

Now that I think about it, no one is more to blame than the bloated federal government for any problems our republic is facing in regards to energy production or transportation.  If you research the mid nineteenth until the early twentieth century, the private sector was providing a vastly superior system of transportation over what has emerged as government transit systems throughout America.  For example, Both Cleveland and Detroit had rail transportation throughout both cities and surrounding areas.

All major thoroughfares and many minor streets had streetcar or rail transport that ran often and almost always on time, baring any natural disaster.  The service was provided by mostly private companies who competed for customers.  The various transportation systems did not overlap and even the quality and cleanliness of the streetcars, or trolleys were well maintained.

In Detroit, among the private companies providing transportation service were the Fort Street and Elmwood Avenue Railway Company, Detroit Railway Company and several others.  Streetcar or rail service for public transport began during the 1860s in both Cleveland and Detroit as horse drawn trolleys.  By 1895 all were converted to electric power.

The nature of government is to progressively either take over or dismantle and then dominate private entities.  That was the case in both Cleveland and Detroit.  In Detroit, during the early 20th century, the transit companies raised their adult ridership price by one nickel to a “whopping” ten cents.  Soon after, the populist city government bullies who desired to take over the transit business publically railed against the nickel increase and duped Detroit voters into approving the city government takeover of transportation services.  City misleaders had convinced city dwellers that they could provide better transportation services at a lower price by using tax dollars to subsidize the trolley services.  That false scenario was played out in other cities as well including New York City.

In fact, the original private based companies that oversaw the building of the earlier subway tunnels in the Big Apple constructed them at a much quicker pace than the tax payer funded union trolls who built subway tunnels in the following decades.

What does the story about past government takeovers of private transportation services have to do with Obama’s call for increasing crude oil taxes today?  It is simple, if government had not gotten involved and taken over viable private run transportation companies, I believe that cities like Detroit would have maintained great transportation systems it their customers desired to continue utilizing transportation systems.

The problem is big government getting involved, thus killing innovation and in most cases quality of service.  How much further ahead regarding energy independence would America be, if only the United States had not been prevented from increasing oil and gas exploration and production by the Obama administration?  Before the curse and onslaught of the Obamacare being thrust upon our republic “We the People” were blessed with the best medical care on earth, but now it is in steady decline.

If Obama wants improved transportation options for America, the government tax regulations and tax burdens must be lessened and certain taxes such as on production should be eliminated as soon as possible, which should be now.  As a result there would come about increased economic activity would fuel incentives for needed changes that the American people desire, not wasteful unwanted government mandates that only bring about destructive and unnecessary declines in the quality of life and related hardships.

RELATED ARTICLE: Supreme Court Halts Obama’s Aggressive Climate Agenda