Go Green With Gasoline If You’re Going to Consume That Sandwich

A new study shows that if you aren’t ready to go vegan to save the world, then you should quit riding your bike and take a car.

An article in the Journal of Insufferable Busybodies (official title: Sustainable Production and Consumption) calculates the carbon footprint for a variety of sandwiches. These carbon footprints include carbon dioxide emissions from things such as farming, transportation, and refrigeration.

In the article, researchers at the University of Manchester offer helpful tips on Earth-friendly sandwich making. Among them: avoid using lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and meat.

If you’re like me, though, every sandwich you’ve eaten since middle school includes at least two of those ingredients.

However, don’t despair, you still can alter your behavior to reduce your carbon footprint. In particular, make sure you don’t ride a bike when you could drive a car.

How’s that? Well, the people at Phys.org thought the sandwich-climate topic was important enough to get access to the full text of the original article.

They pass on this particularly interesting tidbit: A bacon, sausage, and egg sandwich (the whole Hampton Inn breakfast buffet in one tidy package) has a carbon footprint “equivalent to CO2 emissions from driving a car for 12 miles.”

Driving a car uses energy that comes from gasoline. Riding a bike uses energy that comes from the bicyclist’s food. Both sources of energy have carbon footprints.

We are told carbon dioxide emissions from the life-cycle process of producing a sandwich is equal to that of driving a car 12 miles. The question, then, is how far will the calories in that sandwich take you on a bike?

It isn’t clear that anybody in the U.S. has the courage to sell the cardiologist’s delight described above, which means the total caloric content of the sandwich doesn’t show up on the first page of a Google search. Fortunately, my calorie-counting app (no evidence of use since 2015, hmm … ) can do the job:

English muffin                  150 calories
2 slices of bacon                  87
2.5 ounces pork sausage  250
egg                                          72
Total                                  559 calories

According to this calculator, a 180-pound bicycle rider going 15 mph for 51 minutes will travel 11.9 miles, but expend 729 calories.  So, this bacon, sausage, and egg sandwich doesn’t have enough food energy to power the cyclist for the full 12 miles.

The bicyclist would need to eat 1.3 sandwiches to go 12 miles. That is, the carbon dioxide footprint of riding a sandwich-fueled bike would be 30 percent higher than driving a car.

Since it takes more energy to move bigger people, the imperative to drive instead of ride is even greater for those who shop in the Big & Tall section.

A 222-pound blogger, for instance, would burn 899 calories for the same time and distance, requiring 60 percent more sandwich and, therefore, 60 percent more carbon dioxide from riding a bike than driving a car.

Of course, smaller people need less energy to propel themselves on a bike. The break-even weight for the ride-or-drive decision is around 140 pounds. Going more slowly helps, too.

If carbon dioxide-induced climate change is the existential threat some claim, and if people are still going to eat sandwiches that might include sausage, bacon, egg, tomato, lettuce, meat, or cheese, perhaps we need a prohibition against bike riding. Just sayin’.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of David Kreutzer

David Kreutzer is the senior research fellow in labor markets and trade at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: More than 300 Climate skeptics ask Trump to withdraw from UN agency

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Ingram Publishing/Newscom.

Humans face a far greater threat from one another, rather than from climate change.

Welcome to the latest Energy and Environmental Newsletter.

A superior observation I recently heard: “Humans face a far greater threat from one another, rather than from climate change.”

The corruption going on in our education system is simply stunningly bad.Nothing we do today regarding energy or environmental matters will make any difference if this is not fixed shortly. Please carefully read these important articles (here and here) by two different professors, at two different US colleges.
On a closely related matter, please consider The Decline and Fall of the Media and Will Journalism Destroy Science?  We live in troubled times, where survival depends on getting educated (see prior paragraph), paying close attention,and then defending our rights.
Some of the more informative Global Warming articles in this issue are:

Apocalypse Not
Crucial Climate Verdict, Naked Conflict-of-Interest
Roy Spencer on the Unsettled Science of Climate Change: A Primer
Peer Review: the Publication Game and “Natural Selection of Bad Science”
Short video: Can Computer Models Predict Climate Change?
Short video: EPA’s Scott Pruitt re Climate Change, etc.
Science or silence? My Battle to Question Doomsayers
Survey: US Christians Less Susceptible to Climate Alarmism
Report: Sea Level Rise Acceleration (or Not)
Overheated claims on temperature records

Some of the more interesting Energy related articles in this issue are:

End of federal wind industry handouts is long overdue
Wind projects are disrupting our way of life
Research into mountain wind projects: major risk to visitor economy
Wind project under criminal investigation for bat and eagle deaths
Minnesota: Company helps protect real farms from wind projects
Oklahoma: America’s No. 2 wind producer, sours on the industry
Nebraska: A proposal to remove wind power’s ‘renewable’ designation
Maine: A proposed law amending wind energy regulation
Evaluating a Wind Energy Agreement: A Brief Review
Putting fossil fuel “pollution” into perspective
Environmental Illusion and a Public Swindle
The Legal Shakedown Of US Energy Industry Is Flagrant Abuse Of Courts
Solar giants getting stronger as opponents struggle to fight back

PS: Our intention is to put some balance into what most people see from the mainstream media about energy and environmental issues… As always, please pass this on to open-minded citizens, and on your social media sites. 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 this list, simply send me an email saying that.

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

UN-American & Incompetent

It didn’t take long at the UN’s “World Urban Forum,” currently underway in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for those assembled to voice their displeasure with American freedom.

“We’re not sure what happened to North America [audience laughter] but we’re trying to make sustainable development great again,” said a panel of European Union mayors and city planners.

Debbie Bacigalupi is leading CFACT’s team in Malaysia (thanks CFACT supporters!) and we’d like to say she’s shocked, but at this point she’s seen it all too often before.

“You choosing where and how to live for yourself is not quite to their liking here at the World Urban Forum,” Debbie said.  “They envision us shivering in towering, dimly lit, concrete cubes in a government-sponsored building project, not too different from those the Soviets left strewn about Eastern Europe.  They’re confident we can squeak by on a trickle of expensive ‘Green’ electricity.  They envision themselves living a trifle larger,” she added.

Prince Charles sent a special video message to the UN Ministers, delegates, city planners, bureaucrats and “stakeholders” declaring in Orwellian fashion, “Now is the time to implement the New Urban Agenda.”  Do you think the Prince of Wales will join us in the scaled-down, carbon-neutral, bureaucratically prescribed dwelling-units he now champions?  Charles appears willing to espouse any pious, left-wing cause in order to score points with the British media and ease the damage his reputation suffered by dumping the world’s most popular princess.  He’d love to obtain the title “queen” (which he promised to abandon) for his second wife.

“Sustainable development” has become perhaps the world’s most dangerous term.  It sounds nice, yet defies clear description.  What it means at a UN forum like that in Malaysia is giving the Left whatever it wants.  History has taught us that heavy-handed control is the most unsustainable way to govern.  For a recent lesson just ask Venezuela.

American “farmers have gotten away with murder” sniffed Professor Eugenia Birch of the University of Pennsylvania in an interview with Debbie Bacigalupi.  Birch is in Kuala Lumpur advocating an immediate resumption of the Obama-era push to bury farmers under an avalanche of over-regulation, particularly when it comes to so-called “clean water rules.”  Fortunately for Professor Birch, our farmers will keep her fed.

Our would-be UN urban masters are convinced they are smarter than us.  They’d like us to concede the point already, and do as we’re told.  They’re so “all-knowing,” in fact, that they paid to place a loose insert into Kuala Lumpur’s local The Star newspaper.  “Unfortunately, only half of the message was delivered as the bottom half of the ad was left empty with the words ‘add montage pictures of KL, Penang, Melaka, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Medan Pasar and KLCC.'”

If the 20th Century taught us anything it is that freedom is just and efficient.  Central government planning is not.  People need to know what the UN is planning before the future becomes half empty lives for the lot of us.

P.S.  Thank you to everyone who gave so generously to make CFACT’s mission to the UN Forum in Kuala Lumpur a reality.  Our team has a great deal more work to do.  If you’ve not yet made your gift, can we count on you to chip in today?  CFACT is effective, but only due to the support of our friends.  Fortunately, you are the best.

Trump Is Repealing Obama’s Harmful Water Rule. Why Efforts to Stop Him Are Misguided.

In 2015, the Obama administration finalized its infamous “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule—also known as the Clean Water Rule—that sought to regulate almost every type of water imaginable under the Clean Water Act.

To its credit, the Trump administration is taking action to get rid of this rule by withdrawing it and then issuing a new definition of what waters are covered under the Clean Water Rule.

This process, though, will require significant litigation as lawsuits pile up in an effort to block the administration from protecting the environment in a manner that also respects property rights, federalism, and the rule of law.

In fact, the litigation is already getting underway.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers just finalized a rule that would delay the applicability date of the WOTUS rule by two years. This action helps give the agencies time to work through the regulatory process without rushing, and ensures that during this time, the WOTUS rule won’t go into effect.

The agencies explained:

Given uncertainty about litigation in multiple district courts over the 2015 rule, this action provides certainty and consistency to the regulated community and the public, and minimizes confusion as the agencies reconsider the definition of the ‘waters of the United States’ that should be covered under the Clean Water Act.

This commonsense delay, though, apparently didn’t please New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He recently announced that he was going to sue the administration for this new rule to delay the Obama administration WOTUS rule.

He explained, “The Trump administration’s suspension of these vital protections [the WOTUS Rule] is reckless and illegal.”

He also stated, “Make no mistake: Abandoning the Clean Water Rule will mean pollution, flooding, and harm to fish and wildlife in New York and across the country—undermining decades of work to protect and enhance our water resources.”

He makes it sound as if the WOTUS rule is the only thing protecting us from Armageddon. But in fact it is new policy and hasn’t even gone into effect—so how does it have anything to do with decades of environmental protection? It isn’t as though nixing the WOTUS rule means there will be no environmental protections.

It’s hard to see how a federal power grab that would regulate what most people would consider dry land is so critical to water, or why making it more difficult for farmers to engage in normal farming practices is going to be good for New York and the country.

Is the regulation of man-made ditches a must? Is it really a must for the agencies to regulate waters that can’t even be seen by the naked eye? Should the federal government act as a de facto local zoning board and intrude on traditional state and local power? Do we need to trample on property rights to protect the environment?

These are all effects of the WOTUS rule.

Maybe Schneiderman and others who want to block the administration from getting rid of one of the most egregious federal rules in recent memory think these are all good impacts. Most people, though, likely think otherwise.

There is an underlying assumption held by many of those who welcome such federal overreach: the federal government must regulate almost every water because there is no other alternative. They choose to ignore the fact that even the Clean Water Act expressly recognizes that states are supposed to play a leading role in addressing water pollution.

They see regulation as the only solution to any alleged water problems, not other government alternatives and especially not private means of protecting the environment. Respect for property rights, the rule of law, and federalism apparently are not important.

What should be important to them and certainly to most people is a clean environment. An overboard and vague rule though that seeks to regulate almost every water and ignores states is harmful to the environment, and this is precisely how to describe the WOTUS rule.

By developing a new rule that recognizes the need to work with states to address water issues, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will be helping the environment, not hurting it. A clear and objective rule, unlike the mess that is the WOTUS rule, helps both the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers with enforcement and makes consistent compliance by regulated entities far more likely.

The Trump administration appears to recognize the importance for such a new rule. It is unfortunate that some will use lawsuits to make it more difficult for them to achieve this critical objective.

Ultimately, Congress needs to clarify in the Clean Water Act exactly what waters are considered to be “waters of the United States,” because even if the Trump administration comes up with the greatest rule in history, a future administration could easily undo that excellent work.

In the interim, though, Congress needs to step in and eliminate unnecessary obstacles for the administration as it seeks to move forward with a new rule.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Daren Bakst

Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in agricultural policy. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

VIDEO: Can Climate Models Predict Climate Change?

Predicting climate temperatures isn’t science – it’s science fiction. Emeritus Professor of Physics at Princeton University Will Happer explains.

TRANSCRIPT:

Let’s talk about climate models.

Specifically, let’s talk about the climate models that attempt to predict the future temperature of the planet. But before we do, it’s important that you know a little about me.

I’m a physicist.  I taught at Columbia University and then at Princeton for five decades.

I have published over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers. I have coauthored several books, including one of the first on how carbon dioxide emissions—CO2—affects the climate.

I served as the director of the Office of Energy Research at the US Department of Energy.  And before that, I invented the “sodium guide star,” which is still used on most big astronomical telescopes to measure and correct for atmospheric turbulence—that is, for the unpredictable movement of air and water. This turbulence blurs the images of stars and other space objects.

One more thing: I care deeply about the environment. We live on a beautiful planet. I want to keep it that way. I’ve spent a lot of time working to do just that.

In short, I know a lot about the earth’s atmosphere and climate.  I also know a lot about long-term predictive climate models.

And I know they don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past.  They don’t work now. And it’s hard to imagine when, if ever, they’ll work in the foreseeable future.

There’s a common-sense reason for this.

Aside from the human brain, the climate is the most complex thing on the planet. The number of factors that influence climate—the sun, the earth’s orbital properties, oceans, clouds, and, yes, industrial man—is huge and enormously variable.

Let me try to narrow this down. For the purposes of illustration, let’s just focus our attention on water.

The earth is essentially a water planet. A major aspect of climate involves the complicated interaction between two very turbulent fluids: the atmosphere, which holds large amounts of water (think rain and snow), and the oceans, which cover fully 70% of the earth’s surface.

We can’t predict what effect the atmosphere is going to have on future temperatures because we can’t predict cloud formations.

And the convection of heat, oxygen, salt and other quantities that pass through the oceans, not to mention weather cycles like El Niño in the tropical Pacific, make predicting ocean temperatures an equally difficult business. We can’t predict either side of the atmosphere/ocean equation.

But we can say this with certainty: Water—in all its phases—has huge effects on atmospheric heating and cooling. Compared to water—H20, carbon dioxide—CO2—is a minor contributor to the warming of the earth.

It’s devilishly difficult to predict what a fluid will do. Trying to figure out what two fluids will do in interaction with each other on a planetary scale over long periods of time is close to impossible.

Anyone who followed the forecast of Hurricane Irma’s path in the late summer of 2017 should understand this. First, the models predicted a direct hit on Miami and the east coast of Florida. Then, defying these predictions, the hurricane suddenly veered to the west coast of Florida. In other words, even with massive amounts of real-time data, the models still could not accurately predict Irma’s path two days in advance.

Does any rational person believe that computer models can precisely predict temperatures decades from now?

The answer is, they can’t. That’s why, over the last 30 years, one climate prediction after another –- based on computer models -– has been wrong.

They’re wrong because even the most powerful computers can’t solve all the equations needed to accurately describe climate.

Instead of admitting this, some climate scientists replace the highly complex equations that describe the real-world climate with highly simplified ones—their computer models.

Discarding the unmanageable details, modelers “tune” their simplified equations with lots of adjustable inputs—numbers that can be changed to produce whatever result the modelers want.

So, if they want to show that the earth’s temperature at the end of the century will be two degrees centigrade higher than it is now, they put in the numbers that produce that result.

That’s not science. That’s science fiction.

I’m Will Happer, Emeritus Professor of Physics at Princeton University, for Prager University.

Download a PDF of this Transcript

Once Pot Friendly North California County Bans Marijuana

Last week, Calaveras County’s new Board of Supervisors banned all marijuana cultivation within its boundaries. This rural county the size of Rhode Island has a population of 44,000. Financially challenged, it needed the money the previous Board thought legalizing cultivation would bring.

That Board legalized marijuana cultivation for medical use in 2016 after a devastating fire destroyed more than 500 homes the year before. Owners sold their burned-out property to cash-laden pot growers desperate for farmland in anticipation that Proposition 64 would pass and vastly increase demand for a legal product.

Motivated by being able to tax legal growers, officials expected to receive some 250 growing applications. They got three times that. By last week, about 200 had been approved. About the same number were rejected, and the rest were being processed. Another 1,000 illegal grow sites had flooded the county as well. Last year, authorities cut down some 30,000 plants from just 40 such sites.

Last October, Supervisor Dennis Mills released a hair-raising report, Cultivating Disaster, on the unparalleled damage so many growers have done to the county’s environment. The report is an assessment by local, state, and federal agencies, academic institutions, and journalists’ accounts of the environmental devastation cultivation has brought to the county. Below is a picture from the report showing abandoned containers of fertilizers and other chemicals used at just one site.

Suddenly the $10 million in taxes and fees the county took in from licensed growers last year paled in comparison to the estimated $1.2 billion cost to clean up the environmental mess in Calaveras County.

The backlash was so intense that this month citizens removed four of the five members of the Board of Supervisors who legalized cultivation and replaced them with candidates who had vowed to ban it if elected.

Read ABC News story here. Read/view background report from San Francisco CBS-TV here. Read Committee to Ban Commercial Cultivation in Calaveras County report here. Read Cultivating Disaster: The Effect of Cannabis Cultivation on the Environment of Calaveras here.


Cigarettes and Pot Linked to Teen Psychosis

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry finds that teenagers who use cigarettes and marijuana have elevated risks for experiencing psychotic episodes.

Researchers studied 3,328 teens living in the Bristol area of the UK. The teens answered questions about their cigarette and marijuana use at six different times between the ages of 14 and 19.

Compared to nonusers, the researchers found that teens who smoked only cigarettes at an early age had a 4.3 percent higher probability of having a psychotic experience by age 18. Teens who used only cannabis at an early age had a lower probability (3.2 percent) for psychosis but a much higher one (11.9 percent) if they started using the drug later.

Next, researchers looked at other factors in the adolescents’ lives such as bullying, alcohol use, social class, family history of schizophrenia, and others. These factors greatly weakened the association between cigarette use and the risk for psychotic episodes, but did not influence the relationship between marijuana and psychosis.

Read CNN account here. Read full text of JAMA Psychiatry study here.


Did My Brother’s Teen Pot Use Lead to His Schizophrenia?

This is a heart-breaking account of what families go through when a member becomes addicted and is unable to see that he or she needs help to enter recovery.

It appears on the website of Moms Strong, a group of mothers who have lost children to addiction or have struggled through its escalation to many drugs that almost always began with marijuana.

The author of this account and her brother wrote a book, pictured above, about their experience.

Read this account on the Moms Strong website here.


From Gummy Bears to Open Doors, Inspections Identify Problems at Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) has conducted 327 inspections of the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries since the first one opened in 2015.

MassLive.com obtained copies of all the deficiency reports and plans for corrections those inspections generated.

This article details some of the reports and presents all those received in table format. The state has 19 medical marijuana dispensaries which DPH says have been responsive to their findings. “As always, DPH’s priority continues to be that patients have safe and reliable access to medical marijuana across the Commonwealth.”

See next story for a different viewpoint.

Read MassLive.com story here.


Contaminated Flower May Be Getting Patients and Employees Sick

A former employee at New England Treatment Access (NETA), a registered medical marijuana dispensary in Massachusetts, quit her job there and filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) claiming she was regularly exposed to mold in marijuana flowers sold there.

She also alleges that the dispensary soaks plant material in hydrogen peroxide to remove the mold the dispensary denies is present in its product. OSHA responded to her claim with a telephone interview, she says. When NETA denied their plants contained mold and presented outside testing evidence they were mold-free, the case was dropped.

No other NETA employees were interviewed, but many say they dealt with mold in plants they trim. One says his supervisor told him to soak moldy plants in hydrogen peroxide on NETA pot to remove the mold. Some employees say they have gone home from work with rashes. There is no ventilation in the workrooms and no one is advised to wear a mask to protect them from breathing in mold.

Last June, the former employee wrote a letter to DPH:

Two months after beginning to consume NETA products, I began to experience the following symptoms: headaches, sore throat and multiple respiratory illnesses. Once the marijuana concentrates (shatter, wax) were released in 2016, I began consuming them. My symptoms progressed to bloating in my abdomen, nausea, cramps in my GI tract and difficulty sleeping.

Neurological symptoms such as neuropathy (numbness in the toes and ball of my foot) and tetany (spasms) in my calves greatly increased in escalating pain intensity and frequency starting November 2016, and I also began to experience fasciculations (twitching) in my calves when seated in the beginning of 2017.

The article does not say whether she has received a reply.

Read DigBoston.com story here.

Germany Becomes the New Poster Child for Climate Change Hypocrisy

Climate hypocrisy is nothing new.

Celebrities cruise around the world in their private jets, eating filet mignon while telling you to pack a salad and bike to work to reduce your carbon footprint.

So, color me not at all surprised that Germany, a vocal critic of the U.S.’ decision to exit the Paris climate accord, is preparing to abandon its 2020 climate targets.

Strong economic growth is a critical reason why Germany is very likely to miss its target.

Germany has an aggressive plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020. Last November, a leaked document from the country’s Environmental Ministry projected the country would miss the mark by 8 percent without additional action.

In other words, even with generous subsidies for renewable power, the Germans would have to implement some form of economy-restricting policy to curtail emissions. So much for the “go green and grow the economy” mantra.

The Environmental Ministry said the failure would be “a disaster for Germany’s international reputation as a climate leader.” One would think a stronger economy would be cause for celebration, not demonization.

Germany’s abandoned 2020 targets are the latest domino to fall in what is failed international climate policy. Many proponents of action argue that even though the Paris climate accord is nonbinding, with no repercussions when a country fails to comply with its nationally determined contributions, the agreement was an important first step.

The parties that have entered into the Paris accord sure have a funny way of showing they’re committed to it.

Despite bashing the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris accord, all of the industrialized countries are not on schedule to meet their respective targets. Germany is not alone in the European Union.

An article published last summer on Nature.com argues that the EU “faces a big gap between words and actions.”

Even if the United States and the rest of the developed world meet their intended targets, it wouldn’t make any meaningful impact on global temperatures. Carbon dioxide reductions from the developing world, many of whose people are still living without dependable power, are necessary to move the climate needle.

However, developing nations set targets so lax that they likely won’t change any behaviors. Paris proponents can brag all they want about China taking the lead in solar power, but turn a blind eye to the massive amounts of new coal power generation moving forward in China, India, and the rest of the developing—and, in some cases, developed—world.

The Financial Times recently reported, “Between January 2014 and September 2017, international banks channeled $630 [billion] to the top 120 companies planning to build new coal plants around the world, according to research by campaign groups, including the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, and Friends of the Earth.”

And yet, those who want stringent climate mitigation say the Paris targets are only approximately one-third of what is needed to allegedly keep global warming in check.

Paying attention to what you perceive as positive action on climate (e.g., Paris, subsidizing renewables) while ignoring the realities of new coal build, retiring nuclear power plants, and global economic growth around the world is a curious strategy.

“Do as I say, but don’t pay attention to what I actually do” is the trademark of climate change policy. The Trump administration took a different approach and told it like it is: Paris is a costly, meaningless non-solution.

The reason countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea have entered into the accord is not an indication of global commitment to act on climate. It is an indication of how toothless and meaningless the agreement is.

The rest of the world can act high and mighty on climate, but when the rubber meets the road for action, it’s a different story.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

Al Gore Blames the ‘Climate Crisis’ for Cold Weather. But Actually, it’s Just January.

Remember when global warming meant the planet was supposed to, well, warm up? Temperatures would rise, and all manner of ecological calamity would ensue?

Me too. So it was surprising to find myself shivering, like other Americans, through several days of arctic chill and extreme cold, only to hear Al Gore blame it on global warming.

He didn’t use the w-word, though. “It’s bitter cold in parts of the U.S., but climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann explains that’s exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis,” Gore tweeted on Jan. 4.

See, it’s a “climate crisis” now. But it’s hard to blame him for trying some rebranding. After all, prediction after prediction has come to naught.

But no matter: Like other Doomsday prophets, Gore just acts like the last missed deadline didn’t happen and comes up with a new one.

Which is why it’s important to remind ourselves of what Gore has said in the past.

Consider, for example, how he said global warming would cause the north polar ice cap to be completely free of ice within five years. When did he say that? Nine years ago.

News flash: The Arctic still has ice. Indeed, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, “ice growth during November 2017 averaged 30,900 square miles per day.” Oops.

So how about the evidence for the latest cold snap?

Gore’s source, Michael Mann, says the ultra-chilly temps we’ve been enduring are “precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” As the planet warms, he says, we’ll see more cold snaps and “bomb cyclones.”

Seems counter-intuitive, but Mann suggests this is because warming is “causing the jet stream to meander in a particular pattern” that leads to these cold spells.

I use the word “suggests,” however, because this is simply a theory—one that other scientists are not sold on. (Gore and the rest of the climate-crisis crowd often act like their ideas are universally accepted—that the scientific community is in complete agreement with them. But there is more room for doubt and disagreement than they care to admit.)

Just ask Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

“Winter storms are a manifestation of winter, not climate change,” he recently told the Daily Caller. “The Arctic is greatly affected by climate change, and it has a feedback effect—but not in winter.”

Even if Gore and Mann are correct about the link between global warming and cold snaps, the record works against them there, too.

“The frequency of cold waves have decreased during the past 50 years, not increased,” University of Washington climatologist Cliff Mass says. “That alone shows that such claims are baseless.”

The term “bomb cyclone” is new to most of us, but it’s been around for a while. Climatologist Judith Curry recently told the Caller that it was coined almost 40 years ago by Fred Sanders of MIT, who spent a lot of time studying such storms.

Moreover, there are about 50 or 60 bomb cyclones every year, but most of them occur too far out to sea for us to notice.

Gore and his fellow travelers may have trouble admitting that they could be wrong. But their never-look-back crusade isn’t helping scientific research.

“It is very disappointing that members of my profession are making such obviously bogus claims,” Cliff Mass said. “It hurts the science, it hurts the credibility of climate scientists, and weakens our ability to be taken seriously by society.”

That’s what happens, though, when we bend facts to fit theories—and not the other way around. And remember, Al, as the old song goes, “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

Originally published by the Washington Times.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ed Feulner

Edwin J. Feulner’s 36 years of leadership as president of The Heritage Foundation transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: NYC Mayor De Blasio Sues Oil Companies for Global Warming – The Week After NYC Records All-Time Record Cold

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

EDITORS NOTE: Photo: Pedro Fiuza/SIPA/Newscom.

New Offshore Drilling Plan Will Reverse Obama Restrictions, Unleash U.S. Energy Dominance

America is moving forward in its march toward energy dominance, and the Trump administration just took an important step forward in achieving that goal.

In unveiling its draft five-year Outer Continental Shelf leasing plan on Thursday, the Interior Department is reversing the Obama administration’s “Keep it in the Ground” anti-energy policy.

An abundance of untapped energy lies beneath America’s ground and off the coasts. For six years, America has been the world’s largest petroleum and natural gas producer, supporting more than 10 million jobs and contributing more than $1.3 trillion to the economy.

The increase in energy supplies has lowered prices for households and businesses. Families are saving hundreds, if not more than $1,000 each year on electricity bills and home-heating costs, and paying less at the gas pump.

It also means companies around the country devote less money to paying energy bills and more to investing in labor and capital.

All of these benefits have accrued to Americans, despite the fact that the Obama administration made a majority of America’s coastal waters off-limits to natural resources exploration and production.

In fact, 94 percent of federal offshore acreage is off-limits to development. The United States is the only country in the world that has placed a majority of its territorial waters off-limits to natural resources extraction.

Until now, that is.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s draft plan is the first part of a multiyear process that would make more than 90 percent of the total federal acreage available, which includes 98 percent of the undiscovered, technically recoverable oil and gas resources in the Outer Continental Shelf.

As highlighted by Interior’s press release:

The Draft Proposed Program … includes 47 potential lease sales in 25 of the 26 planning areas—19 sales off the coast of Alaska, seven in the Pacific region, 12 in the Gulf of Mexico, and nine in the Atlantic region. This is the largest number of lease sales ever proposed for the National Outer Continental Shelf Program’s five-year lease schedule.

The 47 potential lease sales top the number of sales listed in President Ronald Reagan’s two submissions of 41 and 42.

At several points in time, offshore drilling was not such a partisan issue. When President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, made his 1979 energy speech, he said, “We will step up exploration and production of oil and gas on federal lands.”

As a result, the Carter administration’s Interior Department proposed 36 lease sales. As recently as 2013, both Democratic senators from Virginia offered legislation to open parts of the Atlantic to offshore development.

It’s understandable why.

Offshore drilling is a critical component of the Gulf of Mexico economy, one of the limited areas where offshore activity takes place in federal waters.

Recognizing that offshore resource exploration is systematically safe, the energy industry has a very strong relationship with the seafood and tourism industries. In fact, Louisiana hosts a Shrimp and Petroleum Festival each year.

Despite the Deepwater Horizon incident that adversely affected the Gulf environmentally and economically, there was a broad recognition among these three industries that the blanket drilling moratorium was bad policy and bad for the region as a whole.

The economic benefits of realizing America’s true energy potential could be significant. Opening the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelves and the eastern Gulf of Mexico could create more than 800,000 jobs by 2035.

Increased supplies, which could equate to as much as 3.5 million barrels of oil per day, would lower prices for families.

Furthermore, federal and state governments would stand to benefit as well, since increased production would increase revenues from bonus bids (for new leases), royalties, rents, and increased economic activity.

By 2035, the federal government could collect more than $200 billion in revenue. With the country burdened with massive amounts of federal debt, policymakers should welcome the potential for revenue generation.

No one knows where oil prices will be once the Interior Department finalizes the plan. Therefore, it’s difficult to fully project where the industry will invest.

Nevertheless, the market will determine what areas the oil and gas companies will pursue. The federal government should not stand in its way.

It’s encouraging to see Interior take a hatchet to a long-standing barrier to energy dominance and improved economic well-being.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Nicolas Loris

Nicolas Loris, an economist, focuses on energy, environmental and regulatory issues as the Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read his research. Twitter: .

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

This Case Against Western Ranchers Shows Why Americans Are Right to Fear Government

Governments are prone to abuse, especially when unchecked.

Recently revealed actions by the Bureau of Land Management, a federal agency under the Department of Interior charged with managing federal land, are reminiscent of the IRS scandal in which that agency targeted conservative tea party groups for extra scrutiny.

A federal judge ruled Dec. 20 that she was throwing out the Bureau of Land Management’s case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy because the prosecution withheld key facts.

On Monday, the same judge ruled that the case could not be tried again due to the actions of the prosecution, which she said had been “outrageous” and “violated due process rights,” according to azcentral.com.

The story broke before Christmas, but hasn’t received the attention it deserves. It perfectly underscores the pernicious problem of unaccountable agencies and how quickly they can become abusive to citizens.

The trial involved a dispute over grazing rights between Bundy and the federal government, a persistent problem in western states.

The government claimed Bundy owed money for public land use fees going back to the early 1990s, which the Bundy family refused to pay.

After years of trying to recoup the fees, the Bureau of Land Management, working in conjunction with the FBI, tried to impound Bundy’s cattle in 2014.

The story hit national headlines after Bundy, his family, and supporters got into an armed standoff with authorities that fortunately ended without violence. Bundy and his sons Ammon and Ryan eventually were arrested and chargedwith various offences.

However, the actions of government agents badly damaged the credibility of the case and raised questions about the power of supposedly independent agencies to deliver justice responsibly.

What is particularly worrisome is that the Bureau of Land Management appears to have acted punitively against political and religious groups they simply didn’t like.

An investigative report by one of the bureau’s own special agents revealed that the agents in the Bundy case acted with “incredible bias” and likely broke the law, as The Daily Caller News Foundation reported

The level of malfeasance of which one of its own accused the Bureau of Land Management is stunning.

Dan Love, the Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officer who led the 2014 raid on the Bundy compound in Clark County, Nevada, was fired recently amid charges of corruption. That was something prosecutors denied until pressured to release his fellow agent’s report to the defense.

Worse, an investigative report by one of the bureau’s own special agents revealed that the agents in the Bundy case acted with “incredible bias” and likely broke the law, as The Daily Caller News Foundation reported.

In the memo, lead investigator Larry Wooten explained how agents acted maliciously toward the Bundys. He said the “punitive” and “ego-driven” campaign against the ranchers was all an effort to “command the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale, and militaristic trespass cattle impound possible.”

Wooten wrote: “The ridiculousness of the conduct, unprofessional amateurish carnival atmosphere, openly made statements, and electronic communications tended to mitigate the defendant’s culpability and cast a shadow of a doubt of inexcusable bias, unprofessionalism, and embarrassment of our agency.”

The agents called Bundy and his supporters “deplorables,” “rednecks,” and “idiots” among many other worse names, Wooten said. They also insulted the Bundy family’s Mormon beliefs.

Their behavior showed clear prejudice toward “the defendants, their supporters, and Mormons,” Wooten wrote.

Wooten claimed that fellow agents put him through a “religious test” of sorts on several occasions.

“You’re not a Mormon, are you?” they asked.

Wooten’s memo suggested that the attitude and ambition of Bureau of Land Management agents led them to inappropriately militarize the operation against the Bundys, even after the FBI had conducted a threat assessment and concluded that the Bundys weren’t dangerous.

The day after U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro’s declaration of a mistrial, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions called for an investigation into the matter.

However, there is some frustration over the Navarro’s decision, especially among environmental groups that generally would like to boot ranchers from government-owned western land.

Erik Molvar, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, an environmental conservation organization, blasted the mistrial decision in The Hill.

“These federal agencies have been patient and cautious to a fault in their prosecution of the Bundys and their accomplices,” Molvar wrote. “It’s long past time to stop playing games with the prosecution of federal crimes, and instead lay all the facts on the table and let the judicial system work.”

But one doesn’t need to think the Bundys acted appropriately in the dispute to understand why the case had to be thrown out. Nor is it out of line to think it’s worrisome for government agents to act in such an aggressive and abusive manner no matter the guilt or innocence of the citizen.

As columnist Debra Saunders wrote, the disturbing facts that have come to light point “to the sort of federal prosecutorial abuses that give the right cause for paranoia.”

There are better ways of of dealing with Western land. Reducing the federal footprint would certainly help.

Ranchers have been using government land for grazing for many generations, as individuals generally don’t have the financial means to acquire the amount of property necessary to run their business.

But this setup is not a free ride or “welfare,” as some have suggested.

Studies show it is generally more expensive for ranchers to use public land, which, in addition to fees, they are required to maintain, than to use privately leased land. In fact this land use helps the government save a significant amount of money on management costs.

Many ranchers would much rather contract with private entities and pay for services rather than deal with the headache of negotiating with the federal government. In many cases, however, this is impossible.

In Nevada, the federal government owns over 80 percent of the land and creates serious problems for ranchers and others who want and need to use it.

In the past, the federal government was more likely to give ranchers freer use of this land. Government actually encouraged western migration and frontier settlement through policies such as the famed Homestead Act of 1862.

But pressure from environmentalists outside and inside the agencies during the 20th century led to more restrictive policies on how ranchers may use the land.

This resulted in confrontations between the federal government and western farmers and ranchers, most notably the so-called “Sagebrush Rebellion” in the 1970s and 1980s, in which a coalition of westerners demanded that the government privatize land or transfer it to local authorities.

Confrontations and tension between ranchers and the Bureau of Land Management will likely continue as long as the government pursues such tight-fisted policies and insists that it’s more important to close off land use for the needs of the desert tortoise rather than those of ranchers and farmers.

Regardless of policy, Americans have a right not to be targeted by a government created to protect them and mete out appropriate justice.

The unfortunate facts of the Bundy case show how an unaccountable agency can become abusive toward citizens, and strikes at the heart of what we believe about republican government.

The Founders created our institutions to serve us and faithfully uphold the law, not be weaponized to attack individuals and groups in the shadow of darkness.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman

Jarrett Stepman is an editor for The Daily Signal. Send an email to Jarrett. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: It’s Time to Reduce the Power of the Federal Government Over Western Land

A Note for our Readers:

Trust in the mainstream media is at a historic low—and rightfully so given the behavior of many journalists in Washington, D.C.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, it is painfully clear that the mainstream media covers liberals glowingly and conservatives critically.

Now journalists spread false, negative rumors about President Trump before any evidence is even produced.

Americans need an alternative to the mainstream media. That’s why The Daily Signal exists.

The Daily Signal’s mission is to give Americans the real, unvarnished truth about what is happening in Washington and what must be done to save our country.

Our dedicated team of more than 100 journalists and policy experts rely on the financial support of patriots like you.

Your donation helps us fight for access to our nation’s leaders and report the facts.

You deserve the truth about what’s going on in Washington.

Please make a gift to support The Daily Signal.

SUPPORT THE DAILY SIGNAL

Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-District 16) sends out unscientific, biased survey on drilling in Gulf of Mexico

On April 19th, 2011, one year after the Deepwater Horizon incident, CNN released a national poll on offshore drilling. CNN reported that their scientific poll found:

One year after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, support for offshore oil drilling has rebounded despite concerns that the federal government cannot prevent another massive oil spill, according to a new national poll.

[ … ]

Although support for increased drilling in U.S. waters is highest among Republicans, a majority of Democrats also favor it,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Fifty-six percent of Democrats favor more offshore drilling, compared to 70 percent of independents and 86 percent of Republicans.” [Emphasis added]

At the start of March, 2017 U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke announced that 73 million acres in the Gulf would be open to drilling for five years starting in August. Up for reelection Republican Representative Vern Buchanan (FL – District 16) sent out the below in email on Sunday,  January 7, 2018.

Buchanan’s email survey is seriously flawed in four ways. First, the survey is unscientific. Second, respondents have no way of knowing who got the email and their level of knowledge on the topic of drilling for oil and natural gas in the Gulf Coast. Third, an individual on our staff answered the survey multiple times without be told that he had already voted. Fourth, the second possible answer to the question invokes the “precautionary principle.” Perhaps a better survey would have asked:

Do you support or oppose drilling for oil and natural gas off Florida’s Gulf Coast?

  1. SUPPORT…we need all the oil and natural gas we can produce.
  2. OPPOSE..we do not need all the oil and natural gas we can produce.

Conclusion: The results of the survey cannot be used as a basis to form public policy on offshore drilling.

Does Buchanan’s unscientific and biased survey change anything?

The answer is no!

In January, 2011 Fortune magazine published an article titled “A short history of drilling in the Gulf of Mexico” by Doris Burke. Burke in his article asked: Who’s gulf is it? The answer:

Drilling was so lucrative that governmental squabbles developed over who owned the rights. The fight was resolved when [Republican] President Eisenhower signed the Submerged Lands Act in 1953, giving states most rights to natural resources within three miles from their coastlines. The feds could then auction leases for gulf blocks outside the states’ jurisdiction. [Emphasis added]

Today more than 80% of the oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico comes from deepwater wells located more than three miles off of Florida’s coast line.

The Submerged Lands Act was enacted in response to litigation that effectively transferred ownership of the first 3 miles of a state’s coastal submerged lands to the federal government. In the case United States v. California (1947), the United States successfully argued that the three nautical miles seaward of California belonged to the federal government, primarily finding that the federal government’s responsibility for the defense of the marginal seas and the conduction of foreign relations outweighed the interests of the individual states.

Former President Obama on December 20th, 2016 permanently banned oil and gas drilling in portions of the Arctic and Atlantic as a “poke” at then President elect Trump according to Politico. Dan Naatz of the Independent Petroleum Association of America said, “With exactly one month left in office, President Obama chose to succumb to environmental extremists demands to keep our nation’s affordable and abundant energy supplies away from those who need it the most by keeping them in the ground.”

Does it not make more sense and does it not potentially make it safer to drill closer to the Gulf of Mexico shorelines?

It appears that Rep. Buchanan is, like Obama, poking at President Trump and pandering to environmental extremists.

On his Facebook page Buchanan wrote, “Honored to have the endorsement of Oceans Champions.” But who is Ocean Champions? According to its website:

Ocean Champions is a 501(c)(4) organization with a connected political action committee – the first national organization of its kind focused solely on oceans and ocean wildlife. Our goal is to create a political environment where protecting and restoring the oceans is a national government priority.By helping to elect pro-ocean Congressional candidates and engaging with Congress to pass pro-ocean laws and shoot down bills that would harm the ocean.

What does Ocean Champions mean by having a goal to “create a political environment where protecting and restoring the oceans is a national government priority” and to “pass pro-ocean laws and shoot down bills that would harm the ocean?”

Under the Obama administration this meant implementation of the National Ocean Policy on July 19, 2010, known as “Ocean Zoning.” This policy was fully supported by Ocean Champions and twelve other environment groups.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now is the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If the Florida delegation are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy.

That is good public policy. This is the moral thing to do.

EDITORS NOTE: According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining 4% of electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Why the Florida Congressional Delegation is Wrong on Drilling

At the start of March, 2017 U.S. Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke announced that 73 million acres in the Gulf would be open to drilling for five years starting in August.

It appears that some members of the Florida Congressional delegation, lead by Democrat Senator Bill Nelson, are against President Trump’s effort to open up the Sunshine State’s shorelines to oil and natural gas exploration. Included in this group are Republicans Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Vern Buchanan. Interestingly both Rubio and Buchanan voted for the H.R. 1 tax bill which included a provision to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). So they voted for off shore drilling but are now against it?

Some members of the Florida Congressional delegation, including Rubio and Buchanan, are are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). 

Rep. Buchanan stated, “Florida’s coastal communities depend on a clean and healthy ocean and we shouldn’t jeopardize the state’s economy or environment by gambling on operations that lack adequate safeguards.”

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) released the following statement after the Interior Department released its draft 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing:

“I have long supported the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, which is not slated to expire until 2022, and introduced legislation to extend the moratorium until 2027. As the Department of Interior works to finalize their draft plan, I urge Secretary Zinke to recognize the Florida Congressional delegation’s bipartisan efforts to maintain and extend the moratorium in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, and remove this area for future planning purposes.”

What is interesting is that it is the U.S. Congress that has over site over the Interior Department which sets safeguards for oil and natural gas exploration. It is also important to note that Florida’s tourist, agricultural, transportation, healthcare based economy is dependent on cheap and reliable power.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining 4% of electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Even as the population of Florida has grown dramatically and increased its use of fossil fuels, the Sunshine State has become a much better place to live, work and play.

Alex Scott reported:

A new report from Westwood Global Energy Group has revealed that whilst fewer exploration wells were drilled in the first half of 2017 (compared to the same period a year ago), the commercial success rates of these wells is up.

Overall, commercial success rates jumped to 53% in the first half of 2017 from a 30% success rate in the first half of 2016.

According to Westwood’s Global’s Head of Research, Andrew Hughes, the report indicates, ‘green shoots for exploration drilling, however overall activity remains subdued.’ He also added that ‘the lower well count is translating into more success and lower finding costs, proving that the old exploration mantra of “quality through choice” continues to hold true’.

The American Petroleum Institute (AEI) notes that some of the richest energy reserves in the world are just off of U.S. shores waiting to be discovered in a government owned area lying just 3 – 200 miles out to sea. AEI published a video of an advanced exploration technique called seismic surveying, which is the first step to unlock oil and natural gas resources needed to ensure Florida’s energy security.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now is the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If the Florida delegation are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy.

That is good public policy. This is the moral thing to do.

New Report Finds Marcellus Shale Development Unrelated to Mortality Rates

Environmental groups have consistently been opposed the exploration for, extraction and use of fossil fuels. Since taking office President Trump has made embracing “energy dominance” part of his National Security Strategy:

Embrace Energy Dominance

For the first time in generations, the United States will be an energy-dominant nation. Energy dominance—America’s central position in the global energy system as a leading producer, consumer, and innovator—ensures that markets are free and U.S. infrastructure is resilient and secure. It ensures that access to energy is diversified, and recognizes the importance of environmental stewardship.

Access to domestic sources of clean, affordable, and reliable energy underpins a prosperous, secure, and powerful America for decades to come. Unleashing these abundant energy resources—coal, natural gas, petroleum, renewables, and nuclear—stimulates the economy and builds a foundation for future growth. Our Nation must take advantage of our wealth in domestic resources and energy efficiency to promote competitiveness across our industries.

Read more.

Environmentalists have raised a variety of issues related to fracking, the extraction of natural gas from oil shale. Environmentalists have pointed to health risks of fracking and pollution of groundwater supplies.

However, a new report debunks the healthcare issue. In the EIDhealth.org column “New Report Finds Marcellus Shale Development Unrelated To Pa. Mortality Rates” Nicole Jacobs reports:

Mortality rates in the six Pennsylvania counties with the most Marcellus Shale development have declined or remained stable since shale production began in the region, according to a new Energy In Depth-commissioned report. The findings directly refute accusations from anti-energy groups that the fracking boom is a threat to public health.

Key findings include:

  • There was no identifiable impact on death rates in the six counties attributable to the introduction of unconventional oil and gas development. In fact, the top Marcellus counties experienced declines in mortality rates in most of the indices.”
  • “The proportion of elderly-to-total population increased significantly in the top Marcellus counties compared to the state. Based on this fact, death rates in these six counties would be expected to increase, but this expected increase did not occur.
  • “Unconventional gas development was not associated with an increase in infant mortality in the top Marcellus counties, as the mortality rate significantly declined (improved), even surpassing the improvement of the state.”
  • “Unconventional gas development was not associated with an increase in deaths related to chronic lower respiratory disease (including asthma) in the top Marcellus counties, as the overall chronic lower respiratory disease mortality rate declined (improved) or was variable for the six-county area. The only exception was Greene County where the increased mortality rate was consistent with the increase in the elderly population.”
  • “During the period that unconventional gas development was introduced to these counties, the trends reflected a positive economic change in the area. Thereforeany increases in the death rates in the top Marcellus counties cannot be associated with negative changes to the economic viability of the population.”
  • “Unconventional gas development was not associated with an increase in deaths related to cancer, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, influenza or pneumonia, nephritis or nephrotic syndrome, or septicemia in the top Marcellus counties, as the mortality rates significantly declined (improved).”

Read more.

Jacobs notes the report analyzed Pennsylvania Department of Health data for the state as a whole and the counties of Bradford, Greene, Lycoming, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Washington from 2000 to 2014. The report explains the significance of using the state’s data, noting,

“Pennsylvania has a comprehensive database and a decades-long history of reporting this data, providing the reviewer a consistent, reliable and sanctioned independent database to draw from for this study. Most importantly, the source of the data is the Pennsylvania State Health Department, as part of the National Center for Disease Control reporting system, and therefore is not data generated by the researcher. This protects the conclusion from bias and ensures that the study can be replicated when peer-reviewed.”

As with every issue, science trumps any initial emotional response. The environmentalists rallying cry that fracking will kill you are wrong headed and not scientifically proven. Fracking has been going on in the U.S. since 1940s with a surge beginning in 1990.

Americans rely on cheap reliable power. Fracking and fossil fuels meet both of these criteria and will allow American energy dominance.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

5 Ways Energy Dominance Can Bolster Trump’s National Security Strategy

The Facts of Fracking – New York Times

RELATED VIDEO: Climate Change: What do scientists say?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by Cristobal Schmal.

What we saw at the energy revolution

This week President Trump declared an “America first” defense policy.

Energy independence is its cornerstone.

Despite everything government can do to mess things up, the free market drove the shale energy revolution.  Today we are fracking our way to genuine energy independence.

This drives the anti-energy Greens nuts.

CFACT is just back from a (frozen) tour of the Pennsylvania fracking grounds.

Watching hard-working Americans bring safe, clean, affordable, environmentally superior energy from the frozen ground was an inspiring sight.

The frustration these energy heroes experience with government at every level was eye opening.

“Despite numerous studies declaring fracking safe, the limited environmental impact compared even to solar and wind, and the reduction in utility bills it provides to struggling families, fracking has been vilified.

Arthur Stewart articulated the feelings of the owners, the workers, and their families when referring to cities and governments: ‘We’re just out here clinging to the hope that they’ll need rural America again.'”

Stand firm rural America.  We need you now and always have.

CFACT tours fracking rigs in NW Pennsylvania: Will government shut them down?

When one thinks of “gas companies,” or “fracking,” some might envision powerful corporations with massive facilities that are ravaging Mother Earth. But when CFACT recently visited several fracking companies in NW Pennsylvania’s Allegheny National Forest, a very different picture came to light.

CFACT staff met with a few, family-owned small businesses that operate fracking rigs throughout the area. This type of fracking, technically termed “hydraulic fracturing,” is a process that uses water and sand to break up sandstone under the Earth’s surface to release natural gas and oil, and is responsible for much of the energy revolution taking place in America today.

“Guys are out here in 12-degree weather and snow for over 12 hours a day doing hard manual labor while water is splashing on them,” said Collegians Southern Director Graham Beduze. “And all so we can heat our homes.”

Each drilling operation CFACT visited was in a small clearing with hundreds of trees in every direction. Hardly a scene of environmental catastrophe as painted by the Greens. At most, these operators cut down a handful of trees to make the well more accessible. Once this type of drilling is complete, the large trucks roll out and leave a small well pump.

Despite this slight environmental impact, these small businesses have almost been driven out of business by regulations from the federal EPA and PA State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). One particularly onerous regulation is known as the “Methane Rule” that was put in place by the Obama Administration to limit methane emissions from fracking facilities. “This rule alone would cost each operator $10,000-$15,000 to comply with per facility,” explained Arthur Stewart, secretary of the PGCC, a group created by fracking operators to protect themselves against government overreach. “But the methane released is minuscule. You can stand right next to the collection facilities and be perfectly fine.” Many businesses considered closing down. Then, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, appointed by President Trump, put the rule on hold.

Another owner-operator explained his frustrations with the State DEP. “I had a small trickling leak of water from my truck, and the inspector fined us $7,000. We fought it in court and got it reduced, but that took months and thousands more in attorney fees.”

Still another operator told us about the roller coaster of dealing with his state’s bureaucracy: “I was driving back from a hearing at the Capitol and called my family. ‘This is it, we’ll have to just pack up the fracking business and do something else,’ I said. Then the legislature passed a bill to restrict those regulations, and we had new life again.”

Despite numerous studies declaring fracking safe, the limited environmental impact compared even to solar and wind, and the reduction in utility bills it provides to struggling families, fracking has been vilified.

Read more.

Read the  facts at CFACT.org

Florida Must Become Energy Independent by 2020

What will promote human life? What will promote human flourishing — realizing the full potential of life? How do we maximize the years in our life and the life in our years? Answer: cheap and reliable power.

Organic Fossil Fuels are the Lifeblood of Civilization!

Florida’s Governor, Congressional delegation and state legislature must make it their number 1 priority to make the Sunshine State Energy Independent by 2020 or sooner!

Florida:

  1. Imports all of its natural gas and 99.9 % of its oil.
  2. Imports all of its refined petroleum based products (e.g. gasoline).
  3. Is the second largest user of natural gas, Texas being the largest.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

  1. Geologists believe there may be large oil and natural gas deposits in the federal Outer Continental Shelf off of Florida’s western coast.
  2. Florida was second only to Texas in 2014 in net electricity generation from natural gas, which accounted for 61% of Florida’s net generation; coal accounted for almost 23%, the state’s nuclear power plants accounted for 12%, and other resources, including renewable energy, supplied the remaining 4% of electricity generation.
  3. Renewable energy accounted for 2.3% of Florida’s total net electricity generation in 2014, and the state ranked 10th in the nation in net generation from utility-scale solar energy.
  4. In part because of high air conditioning use during the hot summer months and the widespread use of electricity for home heating during the winter months, Florida’s retail electricity sales to the residential sector were second in the nation after Texas in 2014.
  5. Electricity accounts for 90% of the site energy consumed by Florida households, and the annual electricity expenditures of $1,900 are 40% higher than the U.S. average, according to EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

Even as human populations have grown dramatically and increased their use of fossil fuels, the world has become a much better place.

As CO2 emissions have risen so too have the GDP per person, life expectancy and the population.

Florida politicians are addicted to the precautionary principle (“better safe than sorry”). It is a maxim embraced by government planners and regulators in the Sunshine state at every level. They do not even want to determine what organic fossil fuels lay off of Florida’s coastlines. The precautionary principle worked to stop the building of nuclear power plants in the United States after the 3 Mile Island incident. Today the same tactic is being used to stop off shore drilling using the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Off shore drilling naysayers use the example of the Deepwater Horizon spill to strike fear into the hearts of Floridians. But as FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  An example of using the fear factor (precautionary principle) is what happened in Japan following the meltdown of a nuclear power plan in Fukushima. The facts are that no one has died from radiation, nor has cancer increased however, 1,600 did die of stress due to the unnecessary evacuation of people from the area.

Fear kills.

What off shore naysayers, fear mongers, don’t tell you is that mother nature is the greatest polluter in the Gulf of Mexico. According to NOAA over 2,500 barrels of oil naturally seeps daily from fissures in the Gulf. This seeping has been going on for tens of thousands of years, yet the Gulf is doing just fine. Would it not be better to capture this oil, and natural gas, than have it continue to seep into the Gulf?

Some argue that even if natural gas is discovered in Florida’s waters that building an on shore natural gas processing plant is not economically feasible or politically doable. There is an answer to this negative with a positive via new technology. Israel is faced with the same concerns about onshore natural gas processing plants. To solve the problem Nobel Energy and Shell Oil have come up with a solution. Process the natural gas using floating plants. According to Robert Sullivan of the New York Times:

It’s called Prelude, and it’s bigger than big. More than 530 yards long and 80 yards wide, it was constructed with 260,000 metric tons of steel, more than was used in the entire original World Trade Center complex, and it’s expected to displace 600,000 metric tons of water, or as much as six aircraft carriers. Even the paint job is huge: Most big vessels dry-dock every five years for a new coat, but Prelude’s paint is supposed to last 25 years. It will produce more natural gas than Hong Kong needs in a year. And it’s so big that you can’t really photograph it, at least not all at once.

[ … ]

What makes this giant liquefied-natural-gas enterprise feasible, paradoxically enough, is the miniaturization its construction represents. It’s much smaller than landlocked equivalents — imagine shrinking your local refinery until it fits on a barge. Shell Oil, which has the biggest stake in the project, describes Prelude as more environmentally friendly than an onshore site. There are no estuaries under threat, no shorelines to run pipe across and reduced risks to population centers, given the explosiveness of natural gas. And it is designed to ride out extreme weather, thanks to three giant 6,700-horsepower thrusters that can turn it into the wind and waves. “These are the things that the naval architects had to worry through,” says Robert Bea, co-founder of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management, at the University of California, Berkeley. “It works like a big-ass weather vane.”

Read more.

Environmentalists use the fear factor when talking about drilling for natural gas and oil off of Florida’s shores. The same is true for some of Florida’s Congressional delegation, such as Rep. Vern Buchanan.

Fear is not good public policy.

What is good public policy is insuring that Floridians have access to cheap and reliable power in the foreseeable future. Now it the time to take action. Waiting is not an option.

If Governor Rick Scott and Republicans are committed to creating jobs, then they must diversify the economy by promoting energy independence. Energy independence will lead to reduced costs for electricity, gasoline and diversify the economy.

That is good public policy. This is the moral thing to do.

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